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NEWS | Jan. 17, 2018

Retirement choices

By Airman Michael S. Murphy 11th Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- For many, the beginning of the new year brings in a variety of questions. What kind of personal goals do I want to set? How much weight do I want to lose? How much time can I set aside for volunteering?

For me and other service members with less than 12 years of service, or fewer than 4,320 retirement points, we’ll have to ask ourselves, “Will I opt into the Uniformed Services Blended Retirement System or stay with the legacy plan?”

The legacy plan is a retirement plan that pays a pension to service members who serve 20 years or more, paying roughly half of what they averaged in their highest three years of pay while serving.

I lean toward the BRS, because I don’t see myself serving more than 20 years, and see the new system as a great way for me to start a retirement fund while completing my original goals in joining. I see more flexibility in this new plan compared to the legacy.

I joined for the education benefits. Neither of these retirement systems effect that choice, but the BRS prepares me for success by giving a larger security net for not knowing how long I will truly be in.

If I end up serving more than one enlistment, or for 20 years, the new system would still be to my advantage because I could still receive an excellent pension. The new system averages your highest three paid years like the legacy system, but at about 40 percent instead of 50 percent of your pay.

The most prominent benefit the new system holds is matching contributions into the service member’s Thrift Savings Plan. The Department of Defense will automatically contribute one percent to your TSP, and up to four percent matching funds. So you can potentially contribute 10 percent a year into your retirement

For members who don’t have a solid plan as to what they want to do, or know they want to get out sooner than later, the BRS is definitely something to consider.

Those considering BRS can receive one-on-one counseling from the Military and Family Support Center concerning which system would best suit them at 301-981-7087.

Airmen able to opt into BRS will receive a notification message from myPers requiring action to take the mandatory opt –in training. The training takes about two hours to complete.

Air Force service members can opt into the BRS by going through myPay (