Guide: The Best Military Retirement Calculators for Active & Reserve Military Personnel
Serving in the military has its own unique benefits, not least of which is the personal fulfillment of serving one’s country and ensuring that natural liberties are preserved for present and future generations.
The payoff, of course, doesn’t have to be entirely value, skill, experience, or character-based. Thankfully, there is a sincere monetary benefit to military service.
One of the inherent benefits of military service is that retirement can be achieved perhaps quicker than when working in a traditional job. Typically, after a 20-year service period, military service members are eligible to retire with pay.
In fact, the military retirement system is arguably one of the best retirement systems in existence. Still, within the last 25 years, there has been a significant amount of changes to the military retirement system, making it somewhat difficult to navigate.
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Tools like a military retirement calculator or a military reserve retirement calculator can be extremely valuable when trying to calculate military retirement pay.
There are plenty of calculating systems available, and each will cater to a different branch, service or retirement plan. Without the right information, looking for the best military retirement pay calculator can quickly become a confusing process.
Our review will strive to provide a thorough and in-depth look into the military retirement system. First, there are a few basic questions that military and reserve members typically have before using a reserve retirement calculator or active duty retirement calculator. These questions include:
- What are the different types of retirement plans?
- How do the various types of military retirement calculators differ?
No military retirement calculator is the same, as each retirement plan comes with different sets of criteria and methods of payment. Through answering the above questions, we will provide you with everything you need to know regarding each available retirement calculator for military service, including:
- Military reserve retirement calculator
- Active duty retirement calculator
- Military medical retirement calculator (or military disability retirement calculator)
- Military retirement divorce calculator
No matter what your duties are, planning for retirement is crucial to ensuring that your assets and lifestyle can be maintained. When thinking about retirement options, the use of a military retirement calculator can go a long way in creating goals and milestones for the future.
For this reason, military personnel should look to find the best military retirement pay calculator possible.
After discussing each type of available form for a military retirement calculator, our review will provide 6 ways to find the best military retirement calculator or military reserve retirement calculator for you.
What Are the Different Types of Retirement Plans?
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No matter what military retirement calculator or military reserve retirement calculator you use, you will need to define which plan you want to adhere to.
The government follows 4 traditional plans in order to calculate military retirement pay. These 4 types of retirement plans are as follows:
- Final Pay
This plan uses the final basic pay as a foundation for retirement pay. The final basic pay will be multiplied by 2.5% per year. There is no bonus applied to this retirement plan.
This plan will take the average of the highest 36 months of basic pay throughout a service member’s career. This average will be multiplied by 2.5% per year throughout retirement.
Formerly one of the most popular forms of retirement pay, CBS/REDUX is falling slightly out of favor. A military retirement calculator or military reserve retirement calculator that uses this plan will practice the same principles as the High-36 plan, except each year short of 30-year career results in percentage reductions.
Despite the reduced percentages, the added draw to this program is that there is a bonus of $30,000 with an obligation to serve a total of 20 years.
- Disability or Medical
A or will allow those who are retiring on disability to choose either the Final Pay or High-36 plan. Whatever the basis for retirement is, that number will be multiplied by 2.5% per year.
Before choosing a military retirement calculator or military reserve retirement calculator, understanding the options for retirement plans is crucial. Depending upon the length of a military career and accrued points, some retirement plans may work better than others.
The common thread between each retirement plan is that they operate on a base of 20 years of service, with the only exception being the upcoming Blended Retirement System.
Starting in 2018, military service members may be eligible for a new blended system for retirement. As many military service members do not remain for 20 years, this blended system will offer retirement benefits for those who serve with any time span. The Blended Retirement creates automatic savings plans for all members and matches the savings amount.
While there may not be a military retirement calculator for the blended system as of yet, for those looking ahead into retirement options, it may be worthwhile to consider this retirement plan.
How Do the Various Types of Military Retirement Calculators Differ?
By and large, each military retirement calculator will operate on the same basic formula. The formula used to calculate military retirement pay is:
Retired pay base x service percent multiplier = gross retired pay
Your retirement will be credited depending upon two different factors: the number of points you have built up as well as the number of “good years” that you have completed. Points can be a little tricky to keep track of. While each service branch may have its own different methods for calculating, a retirement calculator for the military will take the following components and apply them toward total points:
- Annual participation points: typically 15 points each year
- Drill weekends: each weekend is 1 point
- Active duty: each day is 1 point
This basic formula can go through a few adjustments, depending upon the retirement plan and service branch.
Depending upon whether you are retiring as active duty, reserves or disability, there will be a few key traits that may change in each military retirement calculator. The differences in each retirement category are as follows:
- An active-duty retirement calculator will use each year of active duty service as a 2.5% addition toward your service percent multiplier.
- A reserve military retirement calculator will take reserve service and convert it to active duty through dividing retirement points by 360.
- A military disability retirement calculator will provide two options to determine the multiplier, ultimately assigning whichever option works best. The multiplier can either be the traditional 2.5% for each service year or the disability percentage assigned at the time of retirement. This is also commonly referred to as a military medical retirement calculator, as retiring due to disability is seen as retiring for medical reasons.
- A military retirement divorce calculator will use a formula that divides the number of years of good service during the marriage by the total years at the time of retirement. Using a military retirement divorce calculator will differ from other versions of a military retirement calculator by dividing the numbers evenly.
Though each calculator will operate on the same basic principles of using accrued points and years of service, each military retirement calculator is a little different. This is especially true for a reserve military calculator, military disability retirement calculator, and military retirement divorce calculator.
6 Ways to Find the Best Military Retirement Calculator
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While it may seem as though military websites should make retirement pay information easily accessible, this is not always the case.
Sometimes, a retirement calculator for military service is easily accessible, but, more often than not, finding a good military retirement income calculator takes some extra work. The following list will help guide your search for the best military retirement calculator to calculate military retirement pay.
1. Research Options for Retirement Plans
Part of the reason why finding a good military retirement calculator can be confusing is that there are multiple options for retirement. Without a full understanding and commitment to a specific retirement plan, a military reserve retirement calculator is useless.
Since there are multiple options for military retirement plans, the most important step to finding a great active duty retirement calculator or military reserve retirement calculator is to understand the available options. Depending upon the retirement plan, each military retirement calculator may provide different projections.
If you are unsure about what type of retirement plan to enroll in, finding a good military retirement calculator can be even more confusing. To streamline the process, make sure to thoroughly research each retirement plan.
This will ensure that you use the right military retirement calculator or military reserve retirement calculator to best represent your retirement plan.
2. Create Your Own Military Retirement Calculator
While not all branches provide an easily accessible military retirement pay calculator, there are methods to create your own. If you happen to be proficient in making spreadsheets, a perfectly effective military retirement income calculator can be put together in the comfort of your own home.
A good starting point when looking for a military retirement calculator or a reserve retirement calculator is to utilize the resources offered by the Department of Defense.
The Department of Defense website provides all the necessary factors for reserve retirement in order for you to create your own military reserve retirement calculator or military retirement calculator. It also has informative resources for active duty and disability retirement.
While this might take a little bit of extra work, some service members may prefer to create their own military retirement pay calculator. For service members who are adept at managing numbers, creating your own retirement calculator for military service may be a worthwhile endeavor.
3. Visit Your Military Branch Website to Calculate Military Retirement Pay
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While the Department of Defense outlines all the qualifications and components for what is used in a military reserve retirement calculator or military retirement calculator, there are resources available within each branch. It may be worthwhile to take a look at your specific branch’s website in order to find the best military retirement calculator.
Although there may be some overlap, one of the best ways to find a military retirement income calculator is through using direct military resources.
For example, the Army website has a military retirement pay calculator that doubles as an Army National Guard and Army Reserve military retirement calculator. Even better, it can also be used as an active duty retirement calculator.
The Army keeps tools to calculate military retirement pay on its public website, but not all branches will do the same. For example, the Navy Reserve and the Marine Corps reserve both keep their military reserve retirement calculator hidden behind a firewall, so you will need to have specific login information.
While getting login information may take a little extra work, this is one of the best ways to get up-to-date information specific to your individual reserve retirement calculator criteria.
4. Use Other Service Members as a Resource for the Best Military Reserve Retirement Calculator
One of the best ways to find a great military retirement calculator is to use the personal connections and resources that you have.
Speaking with other service members is a great way to expand your search for the best military retirement income calculator. In fact, one of the best resources may be a commanding officer, with years of experience and service.
Since finding a good retirement calculator for military service can be difficult, it is likely that they have been asked about it previously. They may have additional resources that aren’t readily available. It is possible that a commanding officer is looking into retirement as well, so he or she may have additional personalize tips about finding the best military retirement calculator.
This may be particularly important when looking for more specified resources, like a military retirement divorce calculator or military medical retirement calculator.
5. Seek Expert Guidance on a Retirement Calculator for Military Service
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Finding a dependable reserve military retirement calculator can be a lot easier when using expert guidance. If online resources don’t provide enough detailed explanation, there are a few other valuable options to consider when looking for the best military retirement calculator.
The Department of Defense uses the Defense Finance and Accounting Service to process all retirement payments. While it does not have an official calculator, it does have additional resources available to help calculate military retirement pay. The department offers a customer service telephone line as well as an email service for service members to ask questions about their retirement pay.
For those seeking additional ways to find a military retirement divorce calculator or a military disability retirement calculator, speaking with an attorney can often be helpful. The best attorneys are generally well-versed in the process of military retirement, especially when extenuating circumstances, like spouses or injuries, are concerned.
Your attorney may have his or her own military retirement calculator or military reserve retirement calculator available for use. As an additional benefit, your attorney may be able to explain the process succinctly, eliminating confusion during the calculation process. Getting together with someone who practices law can certainly have its benefits when considering using a military retirement calculator.
6. Pay Attention to Reviews and Frequently Asked Questions
Thankfully, there are plenty of available reviews and answers to questions available online. There is no shortage of articles and blog posts that have been spurned by the most frequently asked questions regarding a military retirement calculator.
The writers behind these articles are typically service members themselves or experts on military finances.
Since they are so thoroughly focused on providing the best possible information on military finances, these top-rated websites can be outstanding resources when looking for a military reserve retirement calculator.
When searching for reviews, articles, and answers to frequently asked questions, the best two options are:
This organization was created in 1999 to offer support and information for current military members as well as veterans. Its free membership allows for access to insider tips and the latest military news. One of its largest topics is retirement investment planning.
By using military.com, service members can find a wealth of reviews and information regarding how a military reserve retirement calculator works, including what military retirement calculator models are easier to use than others.
As a personal finance website, The Military Wallet aims to help the military community manage its finances and understand the wealth of programs and benefits that are available. Founded by a former USAF aircraft mechanic, The Military Wallet offers military-specific financial insight and has been recognized as a top 100 finance blog.
These blogs and news articles tend to come directly from people who have had personal experience with finding and using a military retirement calculator. Looking to former and current service members for honest and educated opinions can go a long way toward helping find the best military retirement pay calculator.
Having savings set aside for the future is an important component. Retirement allows us to not only ensure our own financial future but the future of loved ones as well. For military service members, planning retirement can certainly be a stressful task. Part of understanding a retirement plan is to know how a retirement calculator for military members works.
There is no doubt that a military reserve retirement calculator or military retirement calculator can be a useful tool when looking into the financial future. Though they may seem difficult to find, there are certainly available resources to help smooth the process.
By following these 6 ways to find the best military retirement calculator, organizing your finances can be much less intimidating and much more rewarding.
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