U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Matthew Gilmore

The military retirement system has recently been revamped in a big way. Instead of giving retirees the traditional 50% of base pay after 20 years of service, the new plan is a more complicated “blended system” — a mixture of a defined-benefit pension starting at 40% pay for 20 years' service, plus a 401K-style Thrift Savings Plan with matching contributions that individuals can take with them even if they leave the service early. That’s a big step forward, especially for the 83% of enlisted servicemembers who don’t stay long enough to earn the traditional 20-year pension.

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Photo by Patrick Gordon

MANAMA, Bahrain — Servicemembers must choose soon whether to keep their retirement plans or enroll in a new plan that more closely resembles those available in the private sector.

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