Most military families are concerned about additional changes proposed by Congress for the military retirement system, which underwent a complete overhaul just last year, says First Command, a financial and research organization for the military.
Under the overhaul, future military personnel will be part of a retirement system that resembles private sector 401(k) plans. It reduces the size of the traditonal 20-year pension that has been part of the military for decades. The new system employees a smaller pension plan and allows military personnel to contribute to a retirement fund to receive matching money from the government and allows them to take the funds with them if they leave the military before the 20-year mark. The downside for the personnel is they have to save some of their own money for their retirement.
Now that the new system is in place (for those who enter the military starting in 2018), more changes already are being considered and 82 percent of the 500 military members surveyed are worried, according to First Command.
The proposal that has raised the most concern is one that would give each branch of the military flexibility in setting continuation bonuses that are designed to keep military personnel from leaving the service after 12 years.
Currently, the continuation bonuses are mandatory for all personnel who reach the 12-year mark.
Other proposed changes would have a positive effect for military personnel by increasing some pension pay. The pace of the changes is worrying members of the military, says First Command.
“This proposal is understandably challenging for our men and women in uniform,” says Scott Spiker, CEO of First Command Financial Services Inc., which provides financial planning support for military personnel. “Career military families are still trying to sort out how the recent overhaul of the military retirement system may affect their financial futures.”