What Is The Military Retirement Plan


Very Few Military Members Receive Any Retirement Benefits

New U.S. Military Retirement Plan

Only about 17% of military members remain on active duty long enough to serve the full 20 years required to earn a military pension. That means roughly 83%, or about 5 out of every 6 servicemembers, dont receive any long-term retirement benefit from their military service. Servicemembers do have access to the Thrift Savings Plan. However, they can only contribute funds from their own pay and bonuses. The military does not currently make matching contributions like many civilian companies offer.

Soon Or Currently Retired Maximization

Once service members retire, there aren’t many options to maximize their military retirement pay because that amount is locked in based on service history. However, the TSP account is a portable retirement benefit. This means that when a service member leaves, they can have the TSP transfer part or all of their account into an IRA or another eligible employer plan account of a new employer) and continue to earn an annuity.

What Comes Standard In A Military Retirement Ceremony

This is a question to ask your spouse. There are elements of a military retirement ceremony that are fairly standardbranch and installation specifics excluded. Typically awards are presented, something read aloud, and a speech or two. Beyond that, a traditional ceremony will have an invocation, parade of colors, and playing of applicable anthems. Kind of like a change of command ceremony, there are just some things expected.

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These are the bones of the ceremony, but you may want to make it more meaningful by making some additions. The commanding officer may also limit what the command is willing to do. Operational needs still take priority, so sometimes a conference room presentation in the middle of the afternoon is all you get.

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A Year Of Travel And A New Perspective

With our HHG safely secured, we set off for our year of travel, and we were completely free of the burden of all that stuff. The goals were to explore parts of the U.S., see a few places overseas that were on our bucket lists, and enjoy the luxury of visiting destinations and staying until we felt like leaving, rather than rushing through the main tourist attractions and moving on. We wanted to experience what it was like to live in those places, in part, because we were shopping for our next home base.

We drove around the U.S. for nearly 3 months, staying in locations where we might want to settle. With few exceptions, we stayed in military lodging everywhere we went. Base lodging was our preferred choice, because it was convenient, affordable, and safe. It also gave us access to a good gym, the commissary, and all of the other base MWR facilities, such as the golf courses, beaches, and boat rentals.

Of all the places we visited, we liked San Diego best. As expensive as it is, we thought the high cost of living might be a worthwhile tradeoff for the location and climate. We even visited a few open houses, toured apartments with a realtor, and picked out a couple neighborhoods we liked.

More Benefits: Veterans Affairs Health Care And Insurance Systems

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All veterans receive coverage for most care and services, but only some will qualify for added benefits like dental care. The full list of covered benefits depends on your priority group, the advice of your VA primary care provider and the medical standards for treating any health conditions you may have.

  • If you are a retired service member, both you and your family have access to Tricare, the militarys health care plan. If you have other forms of health care coverage , you can use VA health care benefits along with these plans.
  • Disability pay from the VA is also available for service-connected injuries.
  • The Post-9/11 GI Bill helps you pay for school or job training if youve served on active duty after September 10, 2001.

Military members have access to other benefits, such as special types of checking and savings accounts within financial institutions, VA loans for purchasing a home or access to additional select credit lines to help start a business after separating from military service. Military members and their families also have several unique considerations when it comes to choosing auto insurance coverage.

It’s also essential to go with the right life insurance, whether that’s one of the government-sponsored programs or a private-sector policy. Whatever coverage you choose, it’s critical to know exactly what your insurance policy covers.

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How Can I Manage Taxes With My Military Retirement

Like other income, retirement pay is subject to federal income taxation unless wholly or partially exempted by statute. The federal government and individual states have established tax breaks for military members and veterans to lighten your financial load and ease your return to civilian life. If the retirement is for disability and all retired pay is tax-free, retirees are not required to report this income. Taxable income from retired pay does not include the amount of SBP deductions. Service members are taxed only on what they receive.

You can get both Social Security benefits and military retirement. Generally, there is no reduction in Social Security benefits because of your military retirement benefits. You’ll get your full Social Security benefit based on your earnings. While you can retire as early as age 62, your Social Security benefits will be reduced if you do and won’t be increased when you reach full retirement age. If you decide to apply for benefits before your full retirement age, you can work and still get some Social Security benefits. When you reach your full retirement age, you can earn as much as you can and still get all of your Social Security benefits.

Veterans Administration Disability Compensation

Don’t confuse VA Disability Compensation with Military Disability Retirement Pay. They are two separate animals. The VA uses completely different standards for determining service-connected disability than the military uses for its disability retirement system.

All retiring members who believe they have a service-connected disability can apply for VA benefits prior to, or after retirement. If you are eligible, a service-connected disability is established. While you are required to relinquish military retirement pay on a $1 to $1 ratio in order to receive VA Disability pay, the following benefits accrue as a result of VA compensation:

  • VA compensation is nontaxable
  • VA approved disability gives you a priority admittance to VA hospitals for medical treatment for your disability
  • VA outpatient facilities are available for the treatment of your disability
  • If you die as a result of the service-connected disability, your surviving spouse is eligible for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation from the VA
  • Even a rating by VA of 0% documents your physical condition as service-connected.
  • A rating by VA of 30% or higher allows you to receive additional tax-free allowances for your dependents.
  • Annual cost-of-living increases to your compensation amount.
  • VA disability percentage can be increased, based on a request and approval of reevaluation, resulting in increased tax-free compensation.
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    Base Access For Commissary Bx/px And Other Needs

    Military retirees and their immediate family members qualify for base access with their official, unexpired retiree ID cards issued by the DoD. You will need to apply for ID cards for yourself and your familythey are not issued automaticallyvia your base or installation Pass & ID office or similar on-base service provider.

    These ID cards serve to allow entry to the base, the use of the Commissary and BX/PX, any available medical services on-post. Not all bases have the same services or access for retirees, but many do. Your options for on-base services may also include base pharmacies, fitness centers, golf courses, and other recreational offerings provided on-post, via MWR, etc.

    Retiree access also includes perks such as being welcome at certain MWR recreational facilities such as RV trailer parks and camping areas, etc.

    What Is The Military Buyback Program

    Military Blended Retirement (BRS) Explained

    If youre preparing for your federal retirement, youre likely looking into all of the options available to you regarding benefits and increasing your annuity to get the maximum payout possible.

    One program that many FERS employees overlook, however, is the Military Buyback Program.

    The Military Buyback Program was created to serve as a method for all veterans with active federal duty service military time, including reservists, USPHS, NOAA, ANG, and ARNG service members, to increase their retirement pension using their military service time.

    However, many arent even aware of this programs existence. Could using this program to increase your annuity make sense for your retirement?

    This article will detail all of the information you need to know to help you determine if the Military Buyback Program is right for you.

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    What Happens To My Military Benefits After A Buyback

    If you make a deposit to have your military time transferred to your FERS time, your military benefits will not be affected. This includes items such as medical , VA benefits that you may be receiving, and commissary privileges.

    However, you will not receive your military retirement if you go through with buying back your military time. This is because you may not collect multiple retirement annuities in the same period. However, your planning will reveal if you are best advantaged by a military buyback program or not. The greater income will benefit you, regardless of how you plan.

    Get The Scoop On Military Retirement Planning & Changes

    To help you through your military retirement planning process, our partners at the Defense Credit Union Council developed a guide. It provides a total view of what to be thinking about when planning for retirement and gives all of the details you need to know about the new Blended Retirement System. .

    This content is for informational purposes only and may not contain all material information about financial planning, nor is it intended to address any particular reader’s individual financial planning goals. This information is not intended to be, nor should it be construed or used as, financial, tax, legal, or investment advice. Please consult with your advisor regarding your financial planning and/or retirement goals.

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    What Is New About This Retirement System

    BRS uses the retirement annuity formula that has been in place for years: the average of the service member’s highest 36 months of basic pay times 2.5% of their years of service — but the 2.5% is adjusted downward by half of a percentage point, from 2.5 to 2%.

    To make up for this reduction the government will contribute to a member’s Thrift Savings Plan .

    After the first 60 days in the service, all members are enrolled in TSP and receive an automatic government contribution of 1% of basic pay into their account each month. This 1% contribution is automatic, you don’t have to put any of your own money in to receive it. Additionally, members are automatically enrolled to contribute 3% of their out-of-pocket basic pay to the TSP each month .

    After two years of service, the government will match the member’s contributions up to an additional 4%. So, after two years of service, members can get up to a 5% government matching contribution on top of what they contribute each month. Therefore if a member contributes 5% of their basic pay the government will match it, making a total contribution to the TSP of 10% of their basic pay.

    If a member only contributes 3% of their basic pay to the TSP, the government matching contribution will be 3%, and so on. If a member has the ability to contribute more of their basic pay to the TSP – say 10% – the government will still only contribute a maximum amount that equals 5% of the member’s basic pay.

    How Do I Opt Into The Blended Retirement System

    Best Retirement Plans for Veterans

    First, you have to complete the mandatory Blended Retirement System Opt-In Course via Joint Knowledge Online or your services learning management system before the opt-in option is available to you. If you have completed the Blended Retirement System Opt-In Course via Military OneSource, you must turn the completion certificate in to your training manager before the opt-in option is available to you.

    Then, to opt into the Blended Retirement System, you need to visit one of these designated resources, depending on your branch of service, between Jan. 1, 2018, and Dec. 31, 2018.

    • Army, Air Force, Navy: MyPay
    • Coast Guard, NOAA Corps: Direct Access
    • U.S. Public Health Corps: Contact your Compensation Branch

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    What Is The Choice Military Retirement Plan

    Military personnel who entered service after July 31, 1986, who are eligible and intend to serve for 20 years, must choose between DODs High-3 plan, which bases retirement pay on the highest average basic pay for three years of a career, or the REDUX plan, which provides a $30,000 upfront bonus with smaller retirement

    About The Military Retirement System

    The military retirement system is arguably the best retirement deal around.

    Unlike most retirement plans, the military offers a pension that starts the day you retire, no matter how old you are. That means you could start collecting a regular retirement pension as early as 37 years old. What’s more, that pension check will grow with a cost of living adjustment each year.

    Your surviving family members can even draw a portion of your retirement if they outlive you.

    All of these retirement systems have a common thread: If you stay in the military for 20 or more years, you get a pension based on a percentage of your basic pay.

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    Extending Our Final Pcs Move

    Our first year of travel went by so fast! Before we knew it, it was Spring 2016 and we still didnt know where we should tell Bekins to ship our HHG.

    As noted earlier, Section 052013 Paragraph C of the JTR states that time limit extensions may be authorized or approved through the Secretarial Process when the extension is in the Services best interest or to the Service members benefit, and it is not more costly or adverse to the Service. Our interpretation of that phrase was that after the first year, we would assume the cost of our monthly storage, and therefore, the Service would not incur any further costs. Also, we were still looking for a place to settle, so requesting an extension was to our benefit, which we believed was in line with the JTR.

    Per the Armys guidance, 30 days before the end of the first year, my husband sent an e-mail to the Joint Personal Property Shipping Office , Fort Belvoir, Virginia and requested a one-year extension of our storage it was approved.

    From that point forward, starting on the first anniversary of my husbands retirement date, we paid a monthly fee for our storage, which started at $420 for approximately 10,000 lbs of HHG. We arranged payment directly with Bekins. They invoiced us monthly, and we set up an automatic payment.

    It also gave us time to re-envision our future while learning more about our priorities and the lifestyle we wanted.

    Does The Military Still Have A 20

    Changes coming to Military retirement

    There have been changes made to military retirement so that those who retire before 20 years whether due to circumstance or personal choice can still obtain retirement pay. Stepping back into civilian life after years or decades in the military brings certain retirement benefits depending on the length of time served and rank in the military. Typically, however, you’ll need to serve for at least 20 years to receive full retirement pay.

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    Military Retirement Prior To World War Ii

    In the years before the Second World War, the retirement systems of the United States military were highly varied between the different branches of service. In 1916, the military instituted new “up or out” policies, forcing the retirement of members who were not selected for promotion in a prescribed amount of time. In conjunction with these reforms, the military began using what has become the “standard” calculation for retirement compensation of 2.5% of base pay, multiplied by years of service, with a maximum payout of 75% of base pay in retirement. For example, a soldier retiring after 25 years of service would be eligible for a payment equal to 62.5% of his base pay at the time of his retirement. This method of calculation has remained ingrained in the military retirement system to present day.

    How To Create A Saving And Investing Plan

    Knowing your options for saving and investing money as a member of the military is just one part of the equation. It’s also important to consider your bigger financial picture.

    Specifically, as you shape your financial plan, consider things like:

    • How much debt you’re carrying, if any
    • How much your income is likely to increase or decrease over time
    • Your monthly budget and typical spending
    • When you’d like to retire
    • How much money you’d like to have at retirement
    • Your current age and risk tolerance
    • What you’d like to save toward other financial goals, such as paying for college or purchasing a home

    If you don’t have an advisor yet, you may want to look for one who specializes in helping military members and their families.

    Also, consider how you’re protecting your savings and investments. Life insurance, for example, can offer a financial benefit to your loved ones if something happens to you. You may be eligible for group life insurance through the Department of Veterans Affairs, but you may also want to purchase additional coverage to ensure that your family is financially protected. Meeting with a financial advisor can help you create a strategic plan for retirement saving and investing.

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