This is actually a fair short article because, if you break it down, military retirement isn’t the complicated. I hope this is helpful to you.
How does it work?
Your spouse is entitled to this type of retirement after 20 years of service. They will get 50% of their base pay on whatever rank they are their last 3 years of service which is why they call it the High 3 Retirement system. This is also why many service members are unsure of when they will retire because they will have to stay an extra 3 years to get the full entitlement if they promote.
Who has this type of retirement?
Anyone who joined the service between August 1, 1986 to December 31, 2017 and didn’t opt into the new Blended Retirement System. If they joined after January 1, 2018 they are not in this retirement, they are in the BRS retirement system.
What does it include?
It’s basically a monthly paycheck from the government that is 50% of your spouses base pay at the rank they held the last 3 years they were in.
This retirement is based solely on the pay they get from the military, not what is in their TSP.
It does NOT include your BAS, BAH, or COLA. If you’re not sure what these are please read this. It also doesn’t include their TSP account.
When does it start?
They start collecting this the month after their retirement date. This means if they retire June 1 they won’t get paid until July 1.
Who collects it?
This is your service members retirement and they ultimately collect it. If something happens to them, you can get Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), if your spouse signed up for this program. This is a fee based program through the military that allows you to get half of their retirement(remember that’s about 27.5% of their base pay) if they passed away.
Below are some resources and calculators to start having conversations with your spouse. Please comment below about how often you and your spouse talk about retirement. Is it something you both have clear defined goals or do you find it is an area of improvement?
Military High 3 Retirement Calculator https://militarypay.defense.gov/Calculators/High-3-Calculator/
Bankrate Retirement Calculator https://www.bankrate.com/calculators/retirement/retirement-plan-calculator.aspx