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It’s no secret… life is full of choices. Hot or iced? Spicy or mild? Original or extra crispy?
But as military spouses, not all of our choices are as straightforward as the food-focused options above. Sometimes we have to make decisions that can impact, well, everything. Do we stay at our duty station during deployment or move home? Should we try to plan that vacation or wait, knowing that things can always change last minute? Is it worth the effort to match the various shades of the green army socks? (Spoiler on that last one: It’s really not.)
Even more so, the choices we make today could have a profound impact on our future, as in several years down the road “beyond the boots.” One of the big questions that military spouses have to answer is “to blend or not to blend?”
And you guessed it, I’m not talking about that Starbuck’s Frappuccino or that breakfast Keto shake.
The Blended Retirement System officially went into effect this year. As a society, we love options, but sometimes understanding all of the ins and outs of the details for something as important as retirement planning can be a bit overwhelming.
Especially if you are like me. I don’t math. I word.
Thankfully, my husband is proactive and has done an excellent job planning for our future (retirement could be less than half a decade away for us)! However, he has also been very intentional to include me in the process.
As military spouses, we play a very unique role in planning for retirement for our family. If you have been around Army Wife Network for a minute, you might recall that although I am a Type-A-planner-to-the-max, I have learned to live by the no-plan-plan within the Army schedule, primarily out of necessity. Being flexible is very helpful in the here-and-now of the Army wife life, but what about the then-and-there, for the coming years beyond the boots? Retirement will be here sooner than we think (#YayYikes!), so getting a game plan in place is so important.
Knowing where to start with the retirement planning process is vital, especially if we are interested in learning more about details of opting-in (or not) to the Blended Retirement System. Thankfully, First Command is here to provide guidance and direction!
First Command is a team of financial advisors who can help you with, well, all things financial. In regards to retirement planning, they’ve written up an easy-to-understand yet oh-so-helpful blog post here. It’s a quick two-minute read, but will give you basic information to help get your retirement planning process started.
Oh, and don’t forget about the powerful benefits of TSP, also known as the Thrift Savings Plan. The military has intentionally created systems and processes for service members to plan for their future beyond the boot years of career military service.
On that note: While the service members might wear the boots, the spouses are more involved than ever when it comes to planning for the future (as they should be). According to First Command’s Financial Behaviors Index, two-thirds (66%) of military spouses expect to be extremely or very involved in the BRS opt-in decision. Additionally, three in five career military families who are eligible for the BRS opt-in decision want to be grandfathered into the traditional pension system.
But the question is: How do you know what choice is right for YOUR family? Well, the great news is that you aren’t the only one wondering about that. In fact, three in four career military families who are eligible for the BRS opt-in decision expect to ask a financial coach for help. Yes, readers, 77 percent of career military families will be seeking outside support and information to ensure they are making the right retirement planning choice (Financial Behaviors Index, 2018).
It might seem like retirement is a lifetime away. But as the old saying goes, “Time flies when you are having fun,” or in our case, time sure flies when we are serving our country! Don’t wait to plan for the future.
Those decisions are a lot more important than whether or not our coffee will be hot or iced or our chicken original or extra crispy. Contact First Command Financial Services to get the information you need for all stages of life, especially for those coming years beyond the boots.
 Source: First Command Financial Behaviors Index®, SEPTEMBER 2018 survey
©2018 First Command Financial Services, Inc., parent of First Command Financial Planning, Inc. (Member SIPC, FINRA), First Command Advisory Services, Inc., First Command Insurance Services, Inc. and First Command Bank. Securities and brokerage services are offered by First Command Financial Planning, Inc., a broker-dealer. Financial planning and investment advisory services are offered by First Command Advisory Services, Inc., an investment adviser. Compiled by Sentient Decision Science, Inc., the First Command Financial Behaviors Index® assesses trends among the American public’s financial behaviors, attitudes and intentions through a monthly survey of approximately 530 U.S. consumers aged 25 to 70 with annual household incomes of at least $50,000. Results are reported quarterly. The margin of error is +/- 4.3 percent with a 95 percent level of confidence. Sentient Decision Science was commissioned by First Command to compile the Financial Behaviors Index®. SDS is a behavioral science and consumer psychology consulting firm with special vertical expertise within the financial services industry. SDS specializes in advanced research methods and statistical analysis of behavioral and attitudinal data.