- Talk about it & know where to go for more (and correct) information!
Whether you are eligible to opt-in to the BRS or not you can help by talking about it in-person at your unit, on social media, whatever works for you – just get the conversation going. But also, be aware that there can be incorrect information out there.
As a member of the military spouse financial counselor community I have heard multiple stories of incorrect BRS information being shared within the military community.
You don’t have to know it ALL – just know where to send people for the correct information. The DoD online BRS website is the clearing house for all BRS related info: http://militarypay.defense.gov/BlendedRetirement/
For face-to-face questions & answers, information, and education please encourage your friends, wingman, battle buddy, those you supervise, leaders, etc. to reach out to the Family Readiness Center Personal Financial Managers & Counselors or visit the on-base financial institution for information and guidance. They are there to HELP!
- Take the On-Line Training Yourself
As mentioned above, if you are eligible to switch to BRS yourself or not, there is training that you can take and information you may want to know, especially if you are a supervisor. The old saying “You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know” could not be truer in this situation. The more people who are educated about BRS and can help share the facts the more it will help the whole community.
Another important fact – the BRS is not just an opt-in program for those in the group of eligibility (those with less than 12 years of service as of December 31, 2017) but all new troops as of January 1, 2018 will have this as their only retirement plan. Knowing more about it will be helpful for everyone!
All online training links can be found here: http://militarypay.defense.gov/BlendedRetirement/ You do not have to have Common Access Card (CAC) access to take these courses.
- Know a few facts to keep in your hip pocket – or literally print this and keep it in your uniform “hip” pocket
- The Blended Retirement System is (just as the names suggests) is a Blended plan. Part defined contribution (your own TSP contribution and matching DoD funds) and part defined benefit (20-year retired pay pension-like the current legacy (High-3) plan). It is not either or, it is a Blend of the two.
- The choice to opt-in to the BRS is open to those who have served for less than 12 years as of December 31, 2017 or for those in the National Guard and reserve who have fewer than 4,320 retirement points. No one in the opt-in window will be automatically moved to the BRS. Those who begin service on or after January 1, 2018 will be automatically enrolled in BRS.
- If you opt-in to BRS the choice is irrevocable – you cannot switch back. It is permanent.
According to this article posted on October 31, 2017 in the Military Times, only about 43% of those eligible have taken the mandatory BRS training.
Want to help? Spread the word, get the conversation going, learn a more yourself and help your community understand the Blended Retirement System a little more!