Paycheck Chronicles

From The Mailbag: New Military Retirement

One of the hot topics in military finance is the Blended Retirement System, the new military retirement system rolling out on 1 January 2018.  I'm glad people are interested, because it is important.

Dear Kate,

I'm in the Army, and I  hear military retirement is changing next year.  Why are they messing with the benefits promised to us?  What can I do to stop it?

SS

There's a lot of misinformation out there, and a lot of people are worried unnecessarily.

Dear SS,

Don't worry - no one is changing your benefits! Anyone currently serving, or already retired, remains in the old retirement system UNLESS they have served less than 12 years on 1 January 2018 AND they elect to choose the new retirement system.

The new retirement system will be automatically effective for anyone who joins the military after the 1 January 2018 implementation date.

If you have less than 12 years of service, you'll have to take some time to get really educated so you can make a smart choice about which retirement plan is better for you.  The new one is not bad.  If my husband only had a few years in, he'd be opting for the new system.

The military is offering a ton of training on the two systems, and I'll be writing about it extensively over the next few weeks.  

You will be able to opt-in to the new retirement plan via myPay online account access between 1 January 2018 and 31 December 2018, so you have plenty of time to learn more and make the best decision for your particular situation.

I appreciate your concern, and I hope you are feeling a little less worried now.  No one will make you switch to the new retirement unless you want to.

Kate

This letter is pretty typical of the comments and emails I've received.  There is so much confusion!  Stay tuned through the course of 2017 for more and more and more information about the new blended retirement system.

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