Currently, 81 percent of active service members leave the military with no retirement benefits. The new Blended Retirement System (BRS) will ensure that nearly 85 percent of military service members leave the service with retirement benefits.
Below you will find an overview of the BRS, including information about eligibility, opt-in dates and next steps. Get retirement ready! Now is the time to educate yourself about the BRS so that you can take decisive action in 2018. Military Saves is here to help.
The Blended Retirement System (BRS) is the new military retirement system that combines the 20-year military retirement (the defined annuity), with a defined contribution plan, known as the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), as it's more commonly referred to.
The defined contribution component or TSP, includes automatic 1 percent DoD contributions after 60-days and up to 4 percent additional matching contributions after two years of service to the member's TSP account. That can mean a lot of retirement savings for you if you do your part--make an informed decision and commit to automatic retirement savings.
The BRS goes into effect between January 1 and December 31, 2018. Follow the steps below and download our Five-Step Blended Retirement System Checklist to Success to make sure you're BRS ready!
Am I eligible?
All members serving as of December 31, 2017 are grandfathered in the currently legacy retirement system. No one currently serving will be automatically moved to the Blended Retirement System. If you wish to move to the Blended Retirement System you will need to "opt-in" during the one-year opt-in period, January 1 - December 31, 2018.
Active duty service members with fewer than 12 years of total service as of Dec. 31, 2017 are eligible to opt into the BRS.
Reserve and National Guard:
Reservists with fewer than 4,320 retirement points as of Dec. 31, 2017, are eligible to opt into the BRS.
Get into the savings habit now - Take the Military Saves Pledge
By creating a good savings habit you will set yourself up for success in preparation for the BRS. Jumpstart your financial fitness by creating healthy savings habits:
- Save automatically (through direct deposit, automatic transfer from checking to savings or allotment)
- Spend less than you earn and save the difference
- Take the Military Saves Pledge to set short-term and long-term savings goals:
- Set up a separate savings account for emergencies
- Pay down (and manage) debt
- Save for retirement, automatically, and take informed action in the Blended Retirement System (BRS)
Take the BRS Opt-in Course
To ensure service members fully understand their retirement plan options, all eligible service members will be required to take the BRS Opt-In Course, (CAC required version, non-CAC version). The course is mandatory and must be completed before a service member can opt-in to the BRS.
Educate Yourself on the BRS and Use the DoD Comparison Calculator to Analyze Your Estimated Benefits
Learn more about the BRS by visiting the one-stop U.S. Department of Defense shop at military compensation. Here, in addition to the BRS Opt-in Course, you will find infographics, timelines, informational videos, frequently asked questions, and the BRS calculator to help you run the numbers.
The BRS Comparison Calculator is designed to assist eligible service members in comparing the legacy military retirement system (commonly referred to as the "High-3 System") to the BRS. It is intended to be used in conjunction with the mandatory BRS Opt-In Course.
Schedule an appointment to consult your installation personal financial manager/counselor
This is one decision you don't need to make on your own. Personal financial managers (or PFMs) and personal financial counselors (or PFCs) are available at military installations around the world to provide free, high-quality financial counseling. You can also talk to a PFM or PFC by calling Military OneSource at 800-342-9647.
These professionals can help educate you on the BRS as you consider your options. Use this benefit today, and be wary of financial consultants or salespeople posing as financial experts who offer BRS education and try to get you to purchase other services for a fee.
Make your decision to opt-in (or not) between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018
Eligible members have all of CY2018 to educate themselves about the BRS and make their decision by December 31, 2018.
If an eligible service member wants to stay covered under current system - they do nothing.
If an eligible service member decides the BRS is better, they must opt-in by Dec. 31, 2018.
All service members who enter the military on or after January 1, 2018 will automatically be enrolled in the BRS.
How will service members opt-in? While details will be released in the coming months, it depends on their branch.
- Army, Navy and Air Force will opt-in via MyPay.
- Marine Corps will opt-in via Marine Online (or MOL).
- Coast Guard and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration will opt-in via Direct Access.
- U.S. Public Health Service will contact their Human Resources Servicing Office and request to opt-in.
To learn more about BRS, visit the one-stop DoD shop at http://militarypay.defense.gov/BlendedRetirement/. Here, in addition to the BRS Opt-in course, you will find infographics, timelines, informational videos, and in late February, the BRS calculators to help you run the numbers.
Additional information on the BRS may be found at these sites:
- Thrift Savings Plan
- Defense Credit Union Council - Blended Retirement System Guide
- Military OneSource
- FINRA Educational Foundation - SaveandInvest.org
- USAA Educational Foundation - Command Your Cash
- USAA - Military Retirement Comparison Tool
If you're looking for a coach in your corner to give you the gentle nudge towards setting savings goals and following through on them, Military Saves has you covered.
Take the Military Saves Pledge to set your savings goal and follow the prompts to opt-in to receive text message reminders and tips, and for the latest updates on the Blended Retirement System. Think of us as your personal financial support system!
Then become a part of the Military Saves savings community by receiving emails with the latest savings information, liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter.