FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- The Department of Defense will introduce a new, enterprise-wide retirement system in 2018 and an upcoming seminar will arm Soldiers with the knowledge they need to make the best choice for their future.

Soldiers joining the Army on or after Jan. 1 will be enrolled into the Blended Retirement System, which was instituted by the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, and some current service members will have the option to opt in to the new system.

Soldiers with less than 12 years of active duty service, and National Guard and Reserve members with less than 4,320 points as of Dec. 31, will have until Dec. 31, 2018 to decide if they want to opt in or not. If Soldiers elect not to opt in, they will remain in the Legacy Retirement System.

"The Blended Retirement Seminar will be a useful resource for Soldiers who are eligible to opt in, as well as leaders and families, including how retirement pay is calculated, continuation pay, and [Thrift Savings Plan] matching contributions," Jo Anne Close, Army Community Service financial counselor, said. "The knowledge that can be expected would be a better understanding of what the BRS has to offer compared to the Legacy (High-3) System."

The seminar takes places Tuesday from 6-7 p.m. at the Soldier Service Center, Bldg. 5700, Rm. 282.

Attendees will take part in a discussion of the significant aspects of BRS, including how retirement pay is calculated, continuation pay and the TSP with matching contributions.

"The BRS is the new retirement system the military is moving toward," Close said. "With this new system, there are some significant changes when compared to the Legacy (High-3) Retirement System. BRS has the potential to create a level playing field when compared to the civilian market.

"An individual can work for a civilian company and, after a few short years, walk away with some retirement savings," she added. "Whereas, with the Legacy System, only 19 percent of active duty forces complete the 20 years [required] for retirement. The main component changes for the BRS compared to the Legacy are the pension, the matching opportunity for TSP, continuation pay and the Lump Sum options."

The discussion will be facilitated by accredited ACS financial counselors.

Space is not limited for this free seminar and free child care is available with registration.

"Eligible Soldiers should attend the seminar, even if they do not think they will opt in," Close said. "This is the education year, so that Soldiers can make a well-informed decision in 2018. In addition, every service member, even if they are not eligible, should attend. As a leader, Soldiers will ask about the BRS. By attending the Seminar, leaders will be better prepared to answer Soldier's questions.

"The seminar is an opportunity for Soldiers to ask questions or sort out information they have already learned or heard about to separate fact from fiction," she added. "Because every person has different learning styles, this seminar is an opportunity to present the information in the Soldier's language and provide an opportunity for questions because not everyone speaks the financial language. Soldiers are encouraged to take the opt-in course at Joint Knowledge Online. Leaders are encouraged to take the Leadership Course on JKO."

For more information or to register, call 255-3765 or 255-9631 or visit https://rucker.armymwr.com/us/rucker/programs/army-community-service/.

ACS will host a separate class the same day and time for individuals seeking financial guidance. The financial wellness class, also presented by ACS accredited financial counselors, is Tuesday from 6-7 p.m. at the Soldier Service Center, Bldg. 5700, Ste. 350. Topics include attitudes toward money, credit histories and credit scores, and financial goal setting. The seminar is open to the public. Pre-registration is required by Monday.

For more information, call 255-9631 or visit http://rucker.armymwr.com/us/rucker/programs/financialreadiness.