Want to switch to the Blended Retirement System? Time is running out.

Community Manager
Community Manager

You’ve heard the saying, “You never appreciate something till it’s gone.” Don’t let that be the case with the military’s newest retirement system, the Blended Retirement System (BRS). 


Between Jan. 1, 2018 and Dec. 31, 2018, eligible military members have the option to choose between the new BRS and the High-3 retirement plan. The following infographic helps explain your options: military-changesaheadbrs-how-does-this-affect-you-banner.jpg



Just remember that on Jan. 1, 2019, the decision will be made for you. If you do not opt into the BRS before then, you will remain in the High-3, which may not be the best choice for you if you don’t plan to retire from the military. However, also keep in mind that once you opt into BRS, your decision is final and you can’t go back to High-3. Therefore, it’s important to make this decision wisely before it’s too late.  Here are some things to consider as you compare these two military retirement systems.


Your situation: You plan to retire from the military after 20 years of service.

  • Likely Choice: High-3 (old system)
  • Why: Your retirement benefit under the High-3 system includes a larger pension. If you separate without retiring, you’ll leave without any government-provided retirement benefits. This is important because only 15% of military members retire from the military. Most will never see the military pension. Also, while your desire may be to retire from the military, it’s not always your choice. We all know someone who has separated due to medical reasons, downsizing or failure to promote.

Your situation: You plan to separate before reaching military retirement.

  • Likely Choice: BRS
  • Why: Under BRS, you can leave the military before 20 years and keep your vested DoD automatic and matching contributions. This is important since DoD reports that 85% of military members do not retire from the military and thus would not receive any retirement benefit under the High-3 system. If you decide to retire from the military, the BRS still includes a pension. Either way, you have greater control over your future career with the BRS.

Your situation: You’re not sure if you’ll stay in or get out

  • Likely Choice: BRS
  • Why: Under BRS, you have options. If you contribute to the TSP to get the matching contributions the DoD provides through BRS, you can separate and leave with your vested TSP balance. If you stay until retirement, you still get the pension, even if it’s a reduced amount. This choice puts you in the driver’s seat, giving you the best chance of leaving the military with some government-provided retirement benefit.

 USAA’s Military Retirement Comparison Tool (MRCT) can help you compare the two systems from a financial perspective. You can find this tool and more information about the two systems on USAA’s BRS page.





No Department of Defense or government agency endorsement.

Information is accurate as of October 2018 and is intended for use by USAA, its members, and prospects.

The information contained is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for obtaining professional financial advice. Please thoroughly research and seek professional advice before acting on any information you may have found in this article.  This article is no way attempts to provide financial advice that relates to all personal circumstances.

USAA means United Services Automobile Association and its affiliates.

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