I really cannot decide 100% on whether I should stick with current Military Retirement plan or switch to the BRS. Currently at 9.5yos, 6.5 of those were enlisted. I PLAN on staying until 20, but nothing is guaranteed. Just looking for advice or different ways to look at the pros and cons. Thanks!
This is a great question. I would venture to say that you will probably never be 100% certain on your decision given your situation. However, let me try to break it down for you by providing one question to answer.
Will you retire from the military? (not an easy question, is it?)
If you are in doubt that you will or even want to retire from the military, BRS is better since you don't have to retire from the military in order to receive some government provided retirement benefit. At 9.5 years of service, you have a good chance of making it to retirement but as you know, the only guarantee in the military is change. While you have a good likelihood of making it to military retirement, the military might decide otherwise.
Here are some pros and cons:
BRS is not a "retire or nothing" system like the High-3. However, it does have a 20% smaller retirement pension for those that do retire from the military.
High-3 has a larger retirement pension but provides nothing if you don't retire from the military. BRS provides the 1% automatic contribution and up to a 5% match to your Thrift Saving Plan
BRS has a continuation pay option which is not available with High-3. However, in most cases, the 5% match and continuation pay does not make up for the 20% reduction in military pension for those that retire.
Basically, it comes down to "BRS gives you options." With BRS, you do not have to retire from the military to get some help towards your retirement savings. However, if you do retire from the military, you still get a great pension that our civilian counterparts don't get.
I recently wrote an article that also might help and I recommend that you take a look at it: BRS is Finally Here!
Hope it helps and thank you for your service to our country.