By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterDecember 8, 2016
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- The way people in the military save for retirement will be changing in the coming year, and Fort Rucker Army Community Service wants to make sure people are in the know when it comes to their nest egg.
ACS will host a bended retirement system seminar Dec. 14 from 6-7 p.m. in Bldg. 5700, Rm. 282, where people can learn about the new system and whether they would like to opt in or stay with their legacy plan, according to Jo Close, ACS accredited financial counselor.
"This (seminar) will be a snapshot of what the new retirement system is," she said. "This new system will offer a Thrift Savings Plan matching system, much like many companies 401k matching plans."
As of Dec. 31, 2017, for active-duty service members, if they have had fewer than 12 years of total service, they have the option to opt in to the new retirement system, said Close. For those with over 12 years of total service by the given time, they must stay in the legacy system.
For Reservists, those with fewer than 4,320 retirement points will have the option to opt in.
Those who are eligible will have all of calendar year 2018 to decide whether they wish to opt in or out, she said, and members who wish to stay with the current system don't need to do anything. No one will be automatically moved or opted into the BRS.
With current military retirement plans, there is no option for monetary matching plans that traditional 401k plans offer, said the financial counselor. For that reason, a change is being implemented to give service members that option.
"Only 19 percent of people who come into the military stay for 20 years or longer, so when they leave (before retirement), some would say they leave with nothing (in terms of retirement benefit,)" said Mike Burden, ACS accredited financial counselor. "Now, with this, if they separate before their retirement, they still have their retirement TSP that they can take with them, because the TSP is basically a 401k. Now they have the option if they separate before their 20 years in service, they have this retirement benefit to take with them."
The seminar will hit on the specifics of the BRS, and Burden said that the seminar isn't just for those who have the option to opt in.
"There is no formal training in place at this time for newer Soldiers until January, so if leadership wants to come to be able to counsel their Soldiers on this topic, it would be good for supervisors or leadership to attend this," he said. "It's also good for spouses to sit in with their Soldiers because this type of thing should be discussed together."
Close said the seminar is also a good opportunity to weed out any misinformation that might be floating around about the new retirement system.
"This seminar will clear up some of the (details) for a lot of people because there are different theories floating around on what's going to happen, how it's going to be affected and who's going to be affected," she said. "This is meant to clarify some of the training that will be coming available, as well as putting out the right information."
People must pre-register for the seminar by Dec. 13 and free childcare will also be available with registration.
For more information or to register, call 255-3949, 255-9631 or 255-2341.