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    Blended Retirement System Opt-in Deadline Reminder



    Story by Cpl. Nikki Morales 

    Marine Corps Installations East       

    MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – Time is running out. With less than two months to decide, eligible Marines must either accept or decline The Blended Retirement System by December 31, 2018. If a Marine does not opt-in to BRS, they will default to The Legacy Retirement System.
    Service members with less than 12 years of service as of December 1, 2017 are eligible to opt-in, where the opportunity to choose between the two is available, while those who joined after January 1, 2018 will automatically be enrolled in the BRS.
    “BRS is a new retirement system that is replacing the old legacy system,” said Corrinne McKenna, a personal financial manager with the Marine Corps Community Services Lejeune-New River. “The point of BRS is to combine elements of the legacy retirement system with benefits similar to those offered in many private-sector 401(k) plans.”
    According to McKenna, both plans, BRS and Legacy have two key elements. The key differences between the two is a pension and the Thrift Savings Plan. A pension is the paycheck received every month given from the employer after retirement. The TSP is similar to a civilian 401(k). The money inserted into the TSP will get invested and grow through compounding interest.
    Under legacy, the monthly paycheck after serving for 20 years is 50% of your pay, where under BRS it drops to 40%. The trade-off is that under BRS not only will the Marine be able to put money into their TSP account, but the government will also insert money to match the Marine’s amount contributed up to an additional of 4% of the pay. Under legacy, only the Marine can put money in.
    Under BRS, benefits like medical coverage and commissary access are not affected.
    The spouse’s survivor benefits plan operates in the same way that it does under the legacy system.
    According to a report by RAND Corporation, the legacy system is considered inequitable, or unfair, because the majority of service members never qualify for its benefits. Most service members never get a pension, walking away with nothing. Under BRS, 80% of service members will receive retirement benefits from the government through TSP automatic and matching contributions. In other words, under BRS, more people will leave with money to retire on.
    “The sooner someone opts-in to BRS, the sooner they start receiving government contributions into their TSP,” said McKenna. “I often tell people don’t procrastinate if you know BRS is for you, because every month you wait, you are leaving money on the table.”
    Once someone opts-in to BRS, the decision cannot be reversed, however if an eligible Marine does not opt-in to BRS, they will default to the legacy system. This default is finalized on January 1, 2019.
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    Date Taken: 11.15.2018
    Date Posted: 11.16.2018 14:32
    Story ID: 300298

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