Military Retirement

Last Updated on March 17, 2024 by Ben

Military Retirement

Military retirement is a term used to describe the process of leaving military service and transitioning into civilian life. Military retirees often face many challenges after their time in the military, including adjusting to new careers and lifestyles. Military retirement can be an emotional time for those who have served our country over the course of decades, but it is also one that offers so much opportunity for growth outside of uniform.

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The Military Retirement System

The retirement system for the military is a great deal because you don’t have to pay for it. If you join the military, you will get a pension starting from when you retire. You can start getting the pension as early as age 37. The pension will continue to grow each year with an adjustment for inflation.

If you die before retirement, your family can still get your money from the retirement account. The retirement systems for military people have a common theme. If you stay for 20 or more years, then you get a pension depending on a percentage of your basic pay.

The military in America has a retirement system. It is designed to help people in the military and make it easier for them to stay. The benefits can be different depending on how long you have been in the army, but they will always help you be safe and have a good life after being in the army.

The United States has a military retirement program that is not just for veterans. This program provides retired service members with payments to help them live. The current version of the military retirement system in the US is called the Blended Retirement System (BRS). The new Retirement System is a mixture of two previous systems.

There was the Defined-Benefit Retirement System called “High-3”. This was combined with an employer matching supplement. People who were on active duty before January 1, 2018, are eligible to continue service under the old system, or they may elect to join the new one. Every new recruit of the US military who signs up for service from January 1, 2018, onwards will be automatically enrolled in a program called BRS.

Types of Military Retirement Plans

Final Pay

A defined benefit is when the final salary you get from your job is multiplied by 2.5%. Defined benefits are often for people who have a lot of years in their job. Members of the military who joined before September 8, 1980, have a different retirement plan.


Defined Benefits are a certain amount of money the member will get when they retire. The amount is determined by how long they have been working. It is usually 2.5% times the number of years they have worked and then multiplied by their average pay. Members with an initial entry date into service on or after September 8, 1980, but before January 1, 2018, have a primary retirement plan.


At 15 years of service, the employee will get a lump sum bonus payment of $30,000. This is if they promise to work for the company for 20 more years. If they do not work for 20 more years, then they won’t get the bonus.

Defined Benefit is:

(a) Before age 62:

If you have worked for the company for (2.5% of the number of years) minus 1% for every year less than 30 times (the average of your highest 36 months of pay), then you will get a pension.

(b) At age 62 and after:

The formula is 2.5% times the number of years you worked at your job times how much money you earned in your best 36 months there.

For those members who have an active duty and joined after July 31, 1986, the retirement plan they have is different from the one before. People can join this plan if they joined after July 31, 1986, but before January 1, 2018.

Blended Retirement System

The Blended Retirement System is a mix of both the old system and the new system. People can choose different things like what they want to do in the future and how much money they want to have. The opt-in period for most of the service members closed on December 31.

But it is important to learn about your retirement choice and how to maximize it by looking at this information. If you have any more questions about the Blended Retirement System or financial planning, please call your local pay or finance office.

Retirement is when you stop working. The retirement system has changed. It’s called the “Blended Retirement System.” You get money from two places: an annuity for people who have been working for 20 or more years and the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). The TSP is a retirement account for government workers. They can save money for their future in either stocks or government bonds. And they get a contribution from their employer.

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Preparing for Your Military Retirement

When you’re retiring from the military, there are many things to think about, but don’t worry- there is help available for your transition. Here are some steps that can make this process easier:

Separation Requirements

Transition assistance is information about what you get when your military service ends. You can find out about this on the Department of Defense Transition Assistance Program website. If you don’t know which branch to contact, call your installation’s TAP office.

Initial Counseling and Pre-separation counseling: You need to complete Individualized Initial Counseling and Pre-Separation counseling at least 365 days before your retirement date. That is when the counseling must be done. You can do it up to 24 months before that date.

Core Transition Curriculum: As part of the Transition Assistance Program, you will have the opportunity to attend briefings on how to prepare for your next life by getting a job and taking care of yourself. You should go to these briefings because they will teach you about what benefits you can get from the government. You can learn more about the requirements on the DOD TAP website.

Final medical exam: You need to have a medical exam before you leave your base. Schedule it with your base’s clinic 90 days before you leave.

Scheduling final move: You have one year to finish your final move after you come out of the military. But you can get the date you want if you make a reservation. Learn more at number 3 under benefits in this document.

Finding a Job

If you want to work after you leave the military, think about what jobs might interest you. What skills that you learned in the military would be good for a civilian workplace?

The sooner you start looking for a job, the better. A study by the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation Hiring Our Heroes found that service members who started looking for a job more than six months before separating from the service were twice as likely to land a job before they left as those who waited. Some things that will help are to go to job fairs, look at AJCs, and check into Hiring Our Heroes’ resources. You can also use Military One Source for one year after your transition.

Housing Considerations

You are entitled to a government-paid move anywhere in the United States or to your home of record internationally. If you are buying a home in your new location, consider applying for a VA home loan. VA loans are different from traditional mortgages. They have many benefits you may not find with a normal mortgage. These loans are backed by the federal government, so the terms of your loan will be more attractive.

Navy Federal is a top 5 VA lender. They don’t need a down payment or private mortgage insurance (PMI) on their loans, and they have low rates.

Note: One of the things that many lenders look at when they are considering people who want to get a loan is whether they have had a job for more than one year.

Health Insurance

You could be eligible for TRICARE benefits if you have 20 or more years of service. Keep in mind that these plans must be activated and paid monthly to keep the coverage going! You can also add dental and/or vision insurance, which will require a payment fee each month for continued use.

If you have fewer than 20 years of service and plan to find another job, health insurance through your employer is often the best bet. But, don’t forget about gap coverage through the Transitional Assistance Management Program (TAMP) or Continued Health Care Benefit Program (CHCBP). If you don’t have automatic access to a retirement plan from your employer, review the options through the VA or your state’s Health Insurance Marketplace.

Your Retirement Budget

There are many uncertainties about retirement. It is very important to plan for a different type of budget than the one you have currently as an Active Duty service member. Compare your expected income with how much that money can realistically cover, including set costs and optional expenses like vacations or hobbies outside of work hours.

How Much Income Will You Have?

You need to know what your monthly income will be in order to determine how much you can afford for a mortgage. This includes both disability and retirement pay and any other sources of income such as from jobs or investments. Do not forget that you need to take away taxes and other stuff before you have your final amount.

How Much Will You Receive When You Retire From the Military?

If you served in the military for a long time, when you step out into the world of civilian life, you have retirement benefits. These benefits can include a pension, health coverage, and disability benefits. The amount that you get will depend on how much time you served in the military and your rank.

Average Military Retirement Pay

The amount you can have is based on your plan and if you are in the military. One can anticipate receiving about half of their base pay every month when they retire, says Rob Drury at the Association of Christian Financial Advisors in San Antonio, Texas. The estimated annual salaries for a typical enlisted person and officer are between $30,000 to $35,000 per year. That equates to around $60,000 to $70,000 annually if you stay in the reserves your entire career.

Military websites are a great resource for information about retirement pay. This calculator is especially helpful in estimating military benefits based on the people’s specific plans.

Military Survivor Benefits

At retirement, a military member may decide to pay for the Survivor Benefit Plan, which provides payments of loved ones after their death. This plan requires them to give up some amount of their pension while they’re alive, and it can leave behind benefits in an amount equal to 55% of anything between $300 and full value if there is one available on your particular type or rank.

This benefit might be left for a spouse, former spouses, children, or even an individual who qualifies as insurable interest. It could also go to someone that is financially dependent on you. If you want to leave the military benefits for your spouse, it will cost 6.5% of your pension, and this money will be taken from you each month. If you choose to do this, think about how much they need the money because often, they depend on your military pay.

Military Medical Benefits

After retiring from a military career, you can expect to receive medical coverage. You will be granted access to the TRICARE program, which is designed for retired service members and their spouses as well. The health care plan covers any injuries or illnesses that may arise while not on active duty.

Before you retire, remember to schedule a medical exam so that your file is complete. You may also be entitled to disability benefits later on if it turns out you have health conditions in the future and are not yet retired.

Additional Benefits for Military Retirees

If you retire near any military base, be it active or inactive, you have access to special services. Retirees and their families can enjoy privileges from gas stations, the commissary, the PX, Class VI, and gyms. You may also be qualified to receive benefits like dental care and vision insurance through the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program.

After retiring from the military, you may find that it’s time to enter the civilian workforce. Transitioning into a new career can be an intimidating task! Luckily for you, there are plenty of services available through your branch of service and even more outside sources such as government agencies or private companies who have experience with veteran hiring programs.

People who were in the military have the right to free legal assistance for the rest of their lives. This can help people when they are doing things like writing their will, getting divorced, or understanding contract law for a new business.

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Veterans have a variety of benefits available to them when they leave the military. Veterans and their families might not know that these perks take on different forms, such as health coverage, disability benefits, or even pension payments. The particular amount you receive will depend on your rank in the military and how long you served.

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