ACS prepares service members for blended retirement Print E-mail
Thursday, 09 March 2017
By Derek Gean
Assistant editor
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Financial advisors at Fort Leonard Wood Army Community Service are now in the process of training service members for the new Blended Retirement System set to go into effect Jan. 1.

The new system will be available to service members and all components with less than 12 years of service (active component) or 4,320 retirement points (Reserve component), said Tammy Fink, accredited financial counselor/training coordinator. New Soldiers will automatically be enrolled into the program.

With the new retirement plan, eligible service members will receive automatic and matching Thrift Savings Plan contributions. The new plan is similar to the old one in that it is a traditional defined-benefit plan like the current system, but there is also a 401k-type defined-contribution plan with a portable retirement account through the TSP.
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Courtesy graphic

Service members currently serving are grandfathered into the current plan unless they choose to change plans in January.

“Even though this affects a portion of our military population, all military personnel in leadership roles will play a part in educating and  mentoring their subordinates,” Fink said.

Training for the program is in two parts, Fink said, followed up with training from a financial professional at ACS.

The first step for service members is to receive initial training in their units, which began on Fort Leonard Wood in February. Following unit training, the second step is to participate in online training.

“Training for the new system is available via the Joint Knowledge On-line and ArmyOneSource websites. Individuals serving in remote and deployed locations will also have access to the training via DVD,” said John Daskauskas, accredited financial counselor.

For those meeting the criteria for opting into the new system, Part 2 training is available at, https://jkosupport.jten.mil/Atlas2/page/login/Login.jsf.

“The training portal is set up in an ‘online newspaper’ format, which allows users to independently click on videos, glossaries and example scenarios that explain the new retirement benefits and provide comparisons of the current and new systems,” Daskauskas said.

Following Part 2, a service member will print their certificate and bring it with them to a one-on-one counseling appointment with a Financial Readiness staff member who will be able to use calculators for the BRS to project the impact on opting into the new system, Fink said.

Fink said the benefits of opting into the new system are established on a case-by-case  basis depending on an individual’s future goals.

“Compounding interest is what allows us to build our wealth with little investment,” Fink said. “The younger you are; the more time you have to compound the interest in your TSP.   Any way you look at it, the agency automatic contribution and the agency matching contributions is free money to help you build your wealth even faster.”

Finks said she encourages everyone to be informed by taking the unit training, and the JKO online course and then scheduling a session with an ACS financial counselor. Being informed, Fink  said, is the key to  making a solid financial decision.

For more information or to schedule training, contact the ACS FRO at 573.596.0131, ext. 60212.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 22 March 2017 )