The Best Army Retirement Calculators: Overview

As a member of the US army, you have a few options as to how your retirement is calculated, based on factors like years of service, when your service started, and disability. The available plans to you include:

  • Final Pay retirement system
  • High-36 Month Average retirement system
  • CSB/REDUX retirement system
  • SCAADL compensation

However, calculating your retirement earnings can be quite complex and confusing, which is why finding a good retirement calculator for the army can be extremely helpful.

We will provide a US army retirement pay calculator for both those seeking an active duty retirement calculator and an Army Reserve retirement calculator.

Either way, there is an army retirement pay calculator available for you! 

us army retirement calculator

Source: My Army Benefits

Army Retirement Calculator: Retirement Choice Calculator

While using a retirement calculator to estimate your retirement earnings is important, it’s also worth noting that deciding which specific retirement plan suits you is a necessary step to start with.

 If you do find that you’re struggling to decide which retirement system is best suited for you, using the retirement choice calculator from the Military Pay website is a great option.

This army retirement calculator will provide you with a comparison between the High-36 and the CSB/REDUX retirement plans; however, the actual army retirement calculator itself is not provided on the Military Pay website. Military Pay simply directs you to another army retirement pay calculator provided by My Army Benefits (discussed below).

However, one benefit to using Military Pay to research different retirement plans is that it provides you with a “typical situations” section that describes the differences between the High-36 and the REDUX retirement plans in detail.

This doesn’t provide you with a direct calculation of your retirement pay based on your specific situation, but it does provide you with information based on various scenarios. This can be helpful if you’re unsure of your circumstances and want to test various typical scenarios and perform comparisons.

It’s important to realize that if you’re looking for an army Reserve retirement calculator, the retirement choice calculator won’t be of use to you. As a reserve member, you don’t have the option of the REDUX retirement plan.

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Army Retirement Calculator: CNA

CNA, a nonprofit research organization, is offering another alternative to those who are trying to decide between the High 36 plan and the REDUX plan. These two plans are targeted at those who entered the service after July 31, 1986.

The aim of this US army retirement calculator is to provide service members with the information they need to more accurately weigh their retirement plan options. All you have to do is simply input five pieces of information into the calculator provided.

Once you’ve done this, you’ll be provided with information that tells you the amount of money you’re projected to earn under each plan, the difference between the totals, and the interest rate needed to make up that difference. 

army retirement pay calculator

Source: CNA Retirement calculator

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Army Retirement Calculator: Military Pay

As mentioned above, the governmental website Military Pay is one option when looking for a US army retirement calculator. While Military Pay does provide an army retirement calculator that directs you offsite, as mentioned above, it also has calculators that are specific to its website.

Its entire list of army retirement calculators includes the following:

  • Retirement Choice Calculator (discussed above; directed to My Army Benefits website)
  • RMC Calculator (basic level of compensation every service member receives based on various factors; calculator provided by Military Pay)
  • Final Pay Calculator (only applies to members who entered into service before September 8, 1980; calculator provided by Military Pay)
  • High-36 Calculator (calculator provided by Military Pay)
  • CSB/REDUX Calculator (calculator provided by Military Pay)
  • SCAADL (this calculator is only applicable for certain service members who have been catastrophically injured or are ill. If you need a caregiver or support, this special service calculator would be for you; calculator provided by Military Pay)

Except for the retirement choice calculator, which is a US army retirement calculator provided offsite, the calculators provided in the above list specifically by Military Pay are very straightforward and easy to use.

You simply input your information and a calculation of your estimated retirement earnings are provided to you instantly. You’re only required to input information in 2–6 fields, and all answers are chosen through a dropdown menu, which is convenient for those who want a quick calculation.

In addition, this retirement calculator for the army from Military Pay is recommended by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service. However, it should be noted that all calculations are estimates and are subject to change based on revisions made to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ rates.

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Army Benefit Calculator: Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS)

The DFAS actually doesn’t have its own army retirement calculator. It simply directs people to the calculators provided by Military Pay.

However, one reason it is good to look at the DFAS website while trying to calculate your retirement pay is that it breaks down how retirement pay is calculated in a brief and easy-to-understand manner. You can see how your pay is calculated both as a Reserve and an active duty service member.

This may be especially useful to those looking for an army Reserve retirement calculator since options are more limited and the process is slightly more complex.

When dealing with something as important as your retirement pay, it’s important to understand the basis of how your pay is calculated rather than simply inputting your information into an army retirement calculator and hoping the number is accurate.

 You should use a retirement calculator for the convenience but also understand the basis for how that number is calculated.

Army Retirement Calculator: My Army Benefits

The first and foremost important thing to note about the army retirement calculator from My Army Benefits is that it requires a login and password in order to access its army retirement calculator. The login and password that needs to be used is accessed from the Department of Defense Self-Service.

If you have this login and password, this means you have access to a detailed and extremely informative US army retirement calculator.

If you don’t have a login to this army retirement calculator, My Army Benefits specifically directs people to the army retirement calculator provided by Military Pay (discussed above). 

My Army Benefits retirement calculator provides:

  • Personalized retirement reports
  • Provides “what if” exercises to inform users of how their benefits can change
  • Provides detailed fact sheets about retirement options 

My Army Benefits provides both an active duty retirement calculator and a Reserve army retirement calculator. 

retirement calculator

Source: Military Guide

Once you have your login details, below is an example of the type of information you will be inputting into the army retirement calculator.

army reserve retirement calculator

Source: Military Guide

If you can’t access the army retirement calculator from My Army Benefits because you don’t have your login information, the website is still worth checking out. My Army Benefits provides a wealth of knowledge with its fact sheets for both those who are Reserve service members and active-duty soldiers.

These fact sheets are necessary because while it is, of course, important to use a US army retirement calculator to determine an estimate of your retirement earnings, it’s also important to note the other benefits that you’re potentially entitled to as a retired member of the Armed Forces.

For example, you may be eligible for a retirement home. You can find out this information by heading to the fact sheet, entitled “Armed Forces Retirement Home.”

Another fact sheet provided by My Army Benefits that is important to check out would be the sheet entitled “Retirement Service Program.” This program is aimed at helping soldiers and their families transition to retirement.

It’s important to read through this fact sheet so you know your rights, benefits, and entitlements as a former member of the service.

There are other various fact sheets provided by My Army Benefits that you should be sure to look over, including:

  • Soldier for Life: Transition Assistance Program
  • Thrift Savings Plan
  • Transition Assistance Program
  • Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act
  • Balancing Buddies, Families: the New Normal
  • and more 

If you’re looking for more than just a basic retirement calculator for the army, and you want to be informed and knowledgeable about your retirement, then this is the website you should be visiting for the most in-depth look at what life after your military service looks like and what is provided to you.

If you’re specifically looking for an army Reserve retirement calculator, this is your only option.

Be aware that other government websites direct people to the My Army Benefits army retirement calculator, including Military Pay, The United States Army Human Resources, and the National Guard gateway.

This is likely because the My Army Benefits army retirement calculator it is the most in-depth calculator for gaining information about your retirement.

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Army Retirement Calculator: Understanding Guard and Reserve Points

As either a member of the Reserve or National Guard, before you can even begin to input your information into an army Reserve retirement pay calculator or an army National Guard retirement calculator, it’s necessary to understand how your retirement pay is calculated.

Instead of calculating your retirement based on your years of service, as you would as an active-duty soldier, your retirement is actually based on retirement points.

What are the retirement points? Points are accumulated based on different tasks performed and how many years one participates in the Guard or Reserve. For example, you receive 15 points for each year in the Guard or Reserve, one point for attending funeral service, and one point for three hours of military correspondence courses. In a “normal year,” most people in the Guard or Reserve will accumulate approximately 78 retirement points.

Always make sure that you are tracking and reviewing your points. You will need to understand your points and have an estimate of how many points you’ll accumulate in order to best estimate your retirement earnings as a member of the Guard or Reserve. For more details on how to calculate your points, head here.

Army Reserve Retirement Calculator

As a member of the Army Reserve, after 20 qualifying years of service, you are eligible to retire at 60. However, in 2008, a law was passed that allows you, as a member of the Reserve, to begin drawing retirement benefits after 20 years of service, even if this is before you turn 60.

Your pay is either calculated using the Final Pay retirement system (if you entered service before September 8, 1980) or the High 36 system. There is no REDUX retirement plan for those seeking Reserve retirement. It’s also very important that those in the Reserve be aware that retirement payment is not made unless it is specifically requested.

An active-duty retirement calculator requires different information than an army Reserve calculator; namely, Reserve retirement is based on retirement points rather than active service, as mentioned above. If you’re looking for a US army Reserve retirement calculator, you will find yourself redirected to the My Army Benefits calculator.

As mentioned above, to access this army Reserve calculator, you must have a Department of Defense Self-Service username and password. There are also various fact sheets provided by My Army Benefits that are specific to those seeking retirement as a Reserve member.

The United States Army Human Resources directs those trying to calculate their retirement pay to My Army Benefits. If you’re a Reserve member over age 60 who is seeking to send in your application for retirement, a retirement application is provided by the US Army Human Resources.

Calculating your retirement earnings as a member of the Reserve is not a simple task, which is why an army Reserve retirement pay calculator is so useful.

Calculating your retirement earnings yourself requires determining your “points” for service (accumulated from drill weekends, active duty periods, funeral detail, recruitment, etc.), whether you’re using the Final Pay or High 36 Retirement plan, and then calculating your service percent multiplier.

Calculating your service percent multiplier is a process in and of itself; however, if you don’t want to use an Army Reserve retirement calculator, and would prefer to manually calculate, a detailed account of how you can do this is provided by the Military Guide. It is suggested, though, to simplify matters and be more accurate, to use an Army Reserve retirement calculator.

National Guard - army retirement calculator

Source: National Guard

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Army National Guard Retirement Calculator

To begin, as a member of the National Guard, it’s important to first get an overview of what you’re entitled to and any benefits you might receive upon retirement. You can find a fact sheet that highlights this for you as a member of the National Guard on My Army Benefits.

If you’re looking specifically for an Army National Guard retirement calculator, again, you’ll be directed to the retirement calculator provided My Army Benefits. There really are no other options for you as a member of the National Guard.

If you go to the Army National Guard Personnel Gateway, you’ll see a list of calculators; however, the one you’re looking for to calculate retirement is the “Retirement Reserve Component” link, which will redirect you to the Army National Guard retirement calculator provided by My Army Benefits.

Even still, it is useful to check the gateway out because the other calculators provided can help you with calculating survivor benefits, calculating earnings from your Thrift Saving Program, and determining dependency compensation.

These calculators are helpful to those both in the National Guard and the Reserve because both of these positions are considered non-regular, and the same calculations apply. So if you’re in the Reserve, it’s also recommended you check out the gateway as well.

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Army Retirement Calculator: Conclusion

It’s hard to ignore the fact that governmental websites like Military Pay, United States Army Human Resource Command, and the National Guard gateway all direct people seeking an army retirement calculator to the website My Army Benefits. So, if you’re looking for an army retirement calculator that will give you detailed information specific to your service, My Army Benefits is your best option.

This is especially true if you’re looking for an Army Reserve retirement pay calculator since this is really the only option that provides a calculation for those in the Reserve or National Guard.

While it is slightly inconvenient that this army retirement calculator requires a password, those who actually need an army retirement calculator should already have this login information.

However, if don’t have a password or you are looking for an army retirement calculator that provides a quick and fast way to calculate your pay, the army retirement calculator provided by Military Pay will get you a quick and straightforward answer.

 Whether you’re seeking an Army Reserve retirement calculator or an active duty army retirement calculator, the calculators provided by My Army Benefits and Military Pay should provide you with all the information you need to ensure you receive the retirement pay you are entitled to.

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