Army Community Service Financial Readiness Program has had an extremely busy start to 2018 with the new Blended Retirement System taking effect Jan. 1.

Kimberly Bottema, ACS Accredited Financial Counselor said her calendar is filling fast with Soldiers and Family members coming in for one-on-one counseling to review their personal calculations.

It is really beneficial for a Soldier to know what their future plans are, she said. "We help to explain their options and what the differences between the legacy and blended retirement systems."

She has had several this year already review calculations and Opt-In to the new system while others after reviewing of their calculations made the Family decision to stay in the old legacy system.

One of these Soldiers was Capt. Matthew Dixon, a team leader with the Army Physical Fitness School, who wanted to learn more about his options. He has been in the Army for seven and a half years and wanted to talk to someone face-to-face to get answers to some of his questions about the retirement systems.

ACS "did the math with me and talked about TSP. How to invest money and what are the best investment options for me," he said. "They literally answered all the questions I had and more."

According to a Department of Defense News article the new retirement system is "one of the most wide-reaching and significant changes to military pay and benefits over the last 70 years."

Service members joining the uniformed services Jan. 1 are enrolled in the new retirement system. Pentagon officials said. This includes not only the military but the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps.

The new system is a blend of the traditional military retirement system with a contribution system similar to a 401K.

The article also reported roughly 1.6 million current service members will have the option to remain in the traditional retirement system or opt-in to the BRS. A majority of service members have until Dec. 31 to make their selections.

However, there is no need to stress, Bottema cautioned, because they have almost a full year to make their choice.

Once a service member decides to join the BRS the decision is irrevocable, ACS officials said. If eligible service members take no action they will remain in the legacy system.

ACS officials recommend service members take advantage of all resources available to them before making their decision.

"Please call the ACS Financial Readiness program at 751-5256 to schedule your one-on-one financial counseling appointment to see which retirement program will benefit you and your Family," Bottema said.

Soldiers, sailors and airmen can opt-in by visiting, while Marines must visit Marine Online at

On Fort Jackson there is no better place to get more information on BRS than ACS.

"We are the place to go to learn more about the retirement systems," Bottema said.