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US service members face big changes to retirement plan

The military is requiring mandatory financial education training on bases and online. More than 80 percent of those who must make a decision have taken the class, according to Pentagon officials.

Yet some financial advisors worry one course may not be enough. A recent USAA survey of enlisted members found 41 percent admit to living paycheck-to-paycheck. That number was slightly higher for millennials.

Financial education “has to start in the boot camps,” said Rene Bruer, a former Marine, who is now a financial advisor and co-CEO of Smith Bruer Advisors in Tallahassee, Florida.

“This has to be fully integrated into training,” Bruer said. “Just as much as they teach you how to shoot a gun, they need to teach you how to manage your paycheck.”

Cpl. Zachary Beckman, a 23-year-old government contractor who is also in the Marine Corps Reserves, has taken the required financial education training. He says opting into the new program is the right move for his financial future.

“Given my civilian job and having my Marine Corps experience, I know the value of a dollar and see it is important to save up for the future,” Beckman said. “It’s what is needed nowadays…It gives younger people who might not stay in the military the opportunity to get a retirement plan.”

More from Retire Well:
When working into retirement can cost you
How to start thinking about an estate plan

Don’t let surprise medical bills drain your retirement


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