Retirement can feel like a long way away, especially if you’ve only just started your military career. Still, what you save today will grow significantly by the time you’re ready to retire – even if it’s only a little bit each month.
Try using the Blended Retirement System’s official military pay calculator. You may be surprised at how fast tiny contributions today can grow into a fat nest egg of BRS lump-sum retirement payments or steady withdrawals from your Thrift Savings Plan, or TSP, over retirement.
How to fill out each section of the BRS calculator
You may need to make a lot of guesses about your future service career while you’re filling out the information for the BRS calculator, and you may not have all the answers. Don’t let that stop you. The calculator doesn’t give you a guaranteed amount – just an estimate. It can automatically fill in answers for you based on common situations for most service members. And, you can change your responses at any time.
If you’re using a computer or tablet to access the calculator, you can scroll your cursor over underlined phrases. A small window will appear with a definition and explanations for pre-filled responses. This is not available if you’re using a smartphone.
Understanding your projected military retirement income
Your retirement benefits – as estimated by the BRS retirement calculator – will be presented in four different tabs. Each of these tabs will contain different information, so make sure you browse through all four for a complete picture. Each of these sections will display total payment for the year, so divide by 12 for your estimated future monthly payments.
You can also choose to have the data show in “today’s” dollars or “future” amounts. Today’s dollars reflect what your benefits would be worth if they were paid out today. Future amounts try to show you the actual dollar amount you’ll likely receive when they’re paid out.
If you’d like to talk to someone who knows a ton about how to save for the future while still living in the here-and-now, Military OneSource offers free financial counseling for all active-duty service members and their immediate families. They can review the estimates provided by the calculator and tell you how to get the most for your retirement.
Check out these calculators if you’re in the legacy retirement system or a member of the National Guard or reserves trying to project your retirement pay.