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46 Navy | Summer 2018 USAA FINANCIAL ADVICE S erving in the National Guard or Reserve means a lot more than annual training and a monthly trip to the barber. It's a great way to serve your country without wearing a uniform on a full-time basis. And, in return for your service, you have an opportunity to boost your retirement. Points = Years Guardsmen and reservists earn points toward retirement by performing their regular duties and also for additional tasks. e military converts these points into creditable years of service, and at 20 years you'll qualify for one of three retirement benefit plans, which become available when you turn 60 — depending on when you entered military service. How do I earn points? You accumulate points by belonging to a unit and partici- pating in: ❑ Annual training. ❑ Monthly weekend drills. ❑ Correspondence courses. ❑ Funeral honors duty. ❑ Active-duty service. Retired Reserve: Staying Ready Reaps Rewards Once you've qualified for retire- ment and have decided to hang up your boots, you have two options: discharging from the service altogether or transferring to the Retired Reserves. While it may be tempting to discharge, you're leaving money on the table if you do, says JJ Montanaro, a certified financial planner with USAA. at's because transferring to the Retired Reserve will allow you to earn longevity credits and receive retirement pay based on the pay tables in effect when your retirement pay begins, not the pay when you were discharged. "I highly encourage people to transfer their status to Retired Reserve," says Montanaro, a retired Reservist himself. "e choice you have to make is a huge one, from a financial perspective. If you choose to be discharged, your retirement pay calculation is frozen in time. You'll miss out on 20 years of infla- tion along with longevity increases in pay. "e trade-off, of course, is that you could be called back to duty if there's a national emer- gency." Protect Your Benefits When you're looking at a lifetime of inflation-adjusted income, Guard and Reserve retired pay is a valuable financial asset for a retired service member and his or her family. As you develop your retirement plans, consider preserving this asset for your loved ones aer you die for a reason- able monthly premium through an optional government program called the Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan. Reprinted from a July 2 article with permission from USAA. Making Sense of Guard and Reserve Retirement PIXABY

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