Delivered on: Thursday, April 29, 2021
Breaking Down the Military Service Buyback
When it’s possible, when it’s worth it, and when to avoid it altogether
- ELIGIBILITY: identify certain military service that may help you to be eligible to retire from federal service sooner
- PENSION: determine how your federal pension can be higher by adding your military years to it (covering active duty, reserves & academy service)
- RETIREES: pinpoint how active duty and reserve retirees differ – and who is an ideal candidate to make a military deposit
- PROCESS: review the various forms and the process for buying back military time
Download Handouts: CLICK HERE
Register for our next 30-minute webinar: FedImpact.com/webinar
Find a comprehensive retirement workshop for your area: FedImpact.com/attend
Prefer to read instead? Below is a transcript from the video:
Hello everyone, and welcome to today’s webinar on Military Service Buybacks. As a military veteran myself, this is a topic that is near and dear to my heart, because I find so many veterans don’t know how or why to get credit for their military service under the federal service that you have. We’re going to solve that today because I want you to take advantage of every opportunity that you have. I suspect our audience today is made up of federal employees who have also had military service. Not many people want to hear about this if this doesn’t apply to them. We do have, of course, our support team standing by in the Q&A area to answer questions. One little note here though. I don’t want you to get so stuck in the Q&A that you’re not listening to the material that we’ve put together for you to try to explain this.
If you believe we’re going to get to your scenario, I want you to really absorb all of this. Then if we don’t quite cover what you’re hoping for, pop it over to the Q&A and we’ll help you out. Handouts are available for download. They’re right in the handouts section of the webinar platform. We also have a link right at the bottom. Feel free to download those. They’ll also be emailed to you following today’s session with the recording of the replay. Even if you don’t get it today, if you’re not in a spot that you can get it, maybe you’re on your phone, all of that will be sent to you. Be sure to stay until the end, because I have a couple of aha moments that surprise most people with respect to military service.
I want to make it crystal clear for everybody so that you have a really good understanding. There’s tons of bad information out there about military service deposits. And I want to be able to get all of that squared away today. Of course, I’m Chris Kowalik of ProFeds. I deliver all of these webinars. We’re really delighted to be able to do this. Like I said, this one is near and dear to my heart. So glad we’re going to be able to help you out today. Today’s session is all about breaking down the military service buyback, or that’s kind of slaying for a deposit.
Today we’re going to talk about when it’s possible to make a military deposit, when it’s worth it, and when you should avoid it all together, because this happens. Each one of these scenarios can happen, and we’ll show you through some case studies how that all comes together. So before we jump into the heart of the material, I’d like to do just a quick poll of the audience. Because we all love to brag of which military service we are in. So you’ll see a poll pop up. In which branch of the military did you serve?
We’ve left it open because some of you have served in multiple branches. So we’d love to hear from you just to brag a little bit. I was in the Marine Corps, loved it, miss it every day. I suspect all of you miss your respective services for different reasons. I don’t miss sleeping outside or having to run a physical fitness test. But I do miss the people and the comradery and all of those wonderful things that were really present in the military in all the different locations that I served. So I suspect all of you are equally as proud of your service and glad to have you here today. Thanks for doing that poll.
For our agenda today, we’re going to talk about the five categories of military service. What does it mean to buy back your military service, how those buybacks might affect your eligibility to retire from the federal service, and the pension from your federal service? In order to do that, we’re going to review five case studies and assess the outcome. See what things look like, and if it seems worth it to buy it back. And then, of course, we’re going to do a step-by-step process to complete the buybacks, so that you know the documents you’re supposed to fill out, and how the process works from start to finish.
We have five categories of military service. This must be honorable active service. Let’s start there. Within honorable act of service, we can have active duty time. We can have, of course, reserve time. Time at one of the military academies as a cadet or midshipman. And then two different versions of retirees, an active duty retiree and a reserve retiree. Now, some of you on this session might say, “But wait a minute, I’m in the National Guard, or I have been in the Guard. Doesn’t that count?” Well, it might. Keep in mind the National Guard is a state retirement program. There are exceptions to that time being able to count under your federal service, but we’d want to make sure that you actually qualify for one of those exceptions.
So listen with an open mind, and then we’ll give you the information to be able to know for sure whether that Guard time can count, but don’t get distracted on that. Stay focused on the material today. Another group of you might say, “Well, I’m in the reserves, but that’s my federal job. I’m what’s called a military reserve technician or sometimes referred to as a dual status employee.” For you, you go to work every day as a military reservist for your federal job. So that time that you’re already serving, you can’t buy back again.
If there was other time not associated with your federal service that you had maybe some active duty time before you came over to FERS, you’re going to be able to buy that back. I don’t want to get too complicated right here at the beginning, but I know that we’re going to get these questions because we get them all the time. And so want to make a special shout out to these people, National Guard and MRTs, or some of you refer to ARTs. Very, very important that you’re paying attention to today’s session. But we’ve got to really break down your service a little further than people who were just straight military.
There are two ways that military service can count in FERS. I am only going to review the FERS version today. About 96% of the federal workforce is FERS, and the CSRS piece of this is way more complicated. And so I don’t want to muddy everybody’s brains since it doesn’t apply to most people. But if you are a CSRS employee and you’ve had military service, pop a comment into the Q&A, and just write I’m CSRS, and we will send you back a special link to another video that has all of your numbers. It’s a little bit different than the one that we’re reviewing here today, but you can see how your rules are impacted. The same concepts still happen here, but very important that you go watch your numbers. That way we can all stay focused on one category of federal workers, and that’s the FERS.
Again, military service can count in your FERS retirement, but in order to do so, you have to make a military deposit, and that’s slang for “buying back your time,” or I guess buying back your time is slang for making a deposit. So if a deposit is made for that military service, that time will count for two reasons. It’ll count in the retirement eligibility that might allow you to retire sooner from FERS, because you’ll have more service years. It might help you meet one of the eligibility gates a little bit sooner. And just a quick overview for FERS, for regular employees, you must be either age 62 with five years, age 60 with 20 years, or have met your minimum retirement age with at least 30 years to be fully eligible.
Your military time can help you get to those service years, which is great. The piece that most people focus on is the calculation of the pension. So by virtue of adding more years into the pension calculation, you’re, of course, increasing the pension because of those extra years. So more years are put into the math, and that’s beautiful for everybody. I do have a special, and it’s a small note but it is important, note at the bottom here. It didn’t really fit anywhere else in the material, but I think it’s worth noting. That is that military service never ever, ever counts in the calculation of your FERS Special Retirement Supplement.
We’re not going to give the details of how that calculation works. I again, don’t want to muddy that water to make things more complicated, but the Special Retirement Supplement only includes your true FERS years of service. So don’t ever confuse buying back your military time with helping your Supplement because it won’t. So we first have to talk about a common problem that we see with military service members that are now under FERS.
And really this happens under CSRS too, but we’ll just stay focused on FERS. You might look at your pay stub and you say, “Look, the Service Comp Date that’s on my pay stub shows my military time. It includes it. So I must get credit for it in my first pension, and towards FERS eligibility to retire.” That’s not true. That date, that Service Comp Date that is on your pay stub represents from today backwards to that date all of your service for annual leave accrual purposes only.
Just because a piece of service is in that Service Comp Date that’s on your pay stub does not mean that it will count for retirement purposes. Very, very important. This screws people up, and you have this grand plan of retiring using that date to determine how many years of service that you have. And if you have not made a deposit for your military time, you are going to be very surprised. You’re going to have to change retirement plans, or you’re going to get a whole lot less than your pension than maybe you thought. So important to get your Retirement Service Computation Date. Now your agency can manually calculate that for you. You can manually calculate it as well. We’ll show you an example here just to give a really easy example.
But remember this date represents from today backwards, the length of service that counts for retirement purposes. So let’s look at our example here. Let’s say that an employee looks at their stub, and they see a Leave Service Comp Date of July, 1st of 1990. They know they had four years of military service that they have decided not to make a deposit for, for whatever reason. Maybe they didn’t listen to this webinar. So the Leave Service Computation Date has to be adjusted forward by four years to eliminate the military service altogether. So now we have July 1st of 1994, which is the Retirement Service Computation Date. Because remember, we’re only going to get credit for that military service if a deposit is made.
If this person listens to this webinar and by virtue of what they hear, they decide it’s a good idea to make a deposit for their military service, their Leave Service Comp Date, and the Retirement Service Comp Date will be exactly the same. But it takes your action with military service to make that happen. It doesn’t just automatically happen. Your military time will automatically be included in your Leave Service Comp Date. But in order for it to show up in your Retirement Service Comp Date, you have to make a deposit for it. That’s what today’s session is all about.
Let’s give you the general rules for FERS for any service that happened after 1956, which I suspect is all of you. If it happened prior to that point, you get free credit, but most of you who are still working for the federal government, had your military service after January 1st of 1957. So, if you make a deposit, here we’re in this middle section here. This second line that says on or after January 1st of 1957, if a deposit is paid, then you get credit both for eligibility purposes, and in the calculation of your pension. So it’s a two for one special here. But you’ll notice if you don’t make a deposit you don’t “buy back your military time,” you will not get credit from an eligibility standpoint, or in the calculation of your pension.
That’s what we’re going to solve today. How do we know whether we should buy back military service or not? What are the factors that we’re looking at? So we’re going to dig into this. When we think about whether it’s worth it to buy back your military time, there’s two steps. The first is figuring out what it costs you. How much is the deposit, and do you have to give up anything to get it? The second step is, what does it get you in return? Does it get you more money? Does it allow you to retire earlier? So a freedom there. Does it possibly enhance another calculation?
So we’ll show you how this works through the case studies. We’re going to try to make this really, really simple. I can make this super complex because there’s a lot of complexity in all of these scenarios, but we’re just going to try to break things down really easily for everybody. In the military, we call that, break it down Barney style, or by the numbers. So we’re going to make this as easy as we can. So here’s our assumption. We’re going to do a couple of case studies. The assumptions that we’re going to make is that these are regular FERS employees. Meaning they’re not law enforcement, firefighters, air traffic controllers, anything like that.
They’re not with the state department. They’re not any enhanced pension calculation, just because we want all these to be apples to apples that we’re comparing. And the first three that we’re going to look at are not retired from the military. They just spent some time, but then decided to move on. They all have a $100,000 high-3. Again, we want an apples to apples comparison so you can see how things are different for each scenario.
These are our three case studies. We have Sarah who did five years of active duty. We had Rick who did 10 years in the Reserves. And then we have Zach who had four years at one of the military academies. We’re going to break each one of these down to show you how the math works. Let’s look at Sarah first. Sarah is 60 years old and has 20 years of FERS time already. So based on the rules I gave you earlier, she’s already eligible to retire. 60 with 20 is one of the rules. Remember, she had five years of active duty service and she was wondering, does it make sense to buy it back? Remember we have two steps that we have to go through to determine if it’s worth it or not. What does it cost you, and what does it get you?
As far as what it costs Sarah, the deposit owed, which includes interest, is $8,000. Now, you might have five years of service and it will cost you more or less than $8,000. It all depends on how much Sarah made while she was in the military and how long ago it was, because that’s going to determine the interest. So you’re going to have to get your own numbers, but for Sarah it’s $8,000. And so if we look to the right-hand side, what does she get? Well, it’s going to add five years of service to her pension, which is an extra $5,000 a year for the rest of her life. So one time she makes an $8,000 deposit. It pays her over and over and over again, this $5,000 a year plus cost of living adjustments.
But if we just look at what she owes, which is the 8,000 and ask, “What’s the break even point here?” In a little over a year and a half, she would have made her $8,000 back once she retires, because it’s going to enhance her pension so much that she’s going to get her money back very quickly. So, that’s a beautiful concept here. For Sarah, it probably does make sense. I can’t imagine a scenario where this doesn’t make sense, because it is going to be that break even point that’s so quick.
Rick is 58 years old right now, and he has 28 years of FERS time. Now, remember I told you he had 10 years of Reserve service. He’s not going to be able to buy back 10 years. It’ll look a little different for him, but he went through the process that we’ll share with you here at the end. He went through the process and it says $6,000 that Rick owes. It’s going to add two and a half years to his pension. Now, why is it not 10? Because the entire time, that 10 years of service, he was not on active duty. He was doing his regular civilian job, drilling on the weekends, doing his two weeks in the summer. The drill weekends do not count in this calculation anytime you’re on orders.
So your annual training anytime you are deployed, you are activated, you are called to training, whether it’s for a short period or a long period, all of that can count. And so when he tallied up all of that time, it came to two and a half years. So that’s what he’s going to be able to add to his first pension. That’s $2,500 a year for the rest of his life. So it still seems to make pretty good sense, right? In about two and a half years, he would have made his $6,000 back. Then he’s in the black, right? He’s no longer in the red. He’s in the black from that point forward. Beautiful. But there’s something extra special that happens for Rick that I want to bring to everyone’s attention. Remember when we were trying to decide whether it was worth it or not. One of the questions was, does it help you to be eligible to retire sooner?
Well, in his case, he’s not currently eligible to retire from FERS. He’s met his Minimum Retirement Age, but he only has 28 years of service. He really needed 30, but in his case, now if he buys back this military time, this two and a half years, he’s magically fully eligible to retire! So it’s giving him not only extra money, it’s also allowing him to retire sooner than he naturally would have. He was planning to wait another two years to get to his 30, but now he could go right now, or he could go ahead and wait. Either one, but this is a nice little perk that a lot of people don’t think about.
It has everything to do with freedom of going ahead and moving on and retiring from FERS and not having to take any kind of penalty or anything like that. So this is a great opportunity for Rick because he does want to actually retire right now. The next person is Zach. So Zach is 62 years old. He has 18 years of FERS time. So he’s already eligible. Remember at 62, all you need is five years of service. So he’s way eligible to go ahead and retire. But remember Zach had four years of academy time, and maybe he went on to also work some active duty time. Maybe he ended up even retiring from active duty. That happens a lot for academy grads.
We have to segregate the academy service from any other kind of service that Zack had. That will be treated separately under those rules. The academy service is very special because Zach made very little money while he was at the academy. That’s what the deposit is based on. The amount that he owes is only $2,000. So in his case, he owes the $2,000 and it gets him an extra four years in his pension calculation. Whoa! For two grand, he gets an extra four grand in his pension every year for the rest of his life. Pretty impressive, if you ask me. Plus he gets an extra perk because those extra four years of service takes him to 22 years of FERS time, or total time, in the calculation, which means that he qualifies for that enhanced pension calculation.
Normally, FERS is just the 1% for every year. 1% of your high-three for every year that you’ve served. In his case because now he meets the special rule of being at least 62 with at least 20 years of service, all of his are calculated at the 1.1% level. So that $4,000 a year, we’ll caveat that by saying, if we just segregate out those four years, that’s what it would look like. But in fact, it’s $4,400 a year because that added to the other 18 years of service gets all of his service time calculated at the 1.1% level. So in his case it would be the hundred thousand dollar high-three times 22 years of service times 1.1%. So one of the steps was what does buying back your military time get you in return?
One of the questions was, does it enhance another calculation? And this is a perfect example of it doing so. But even without that last part, this makes absolute sense. I cannot imagine a scenario where someone who spent time in the military service academy wouldn’t want to buy back their time. It’s based on such a low number of what you were making at the academy. Of course, interest is going to be applied. So that can be kind of killer. But boy, the reward that you get is based on today’s high-three of whatever your high three is when you retire. That is the delta between those two calculations is very, very big. And so you have a great opportunity to really enhance your pension. Keep in mind if you retired from the military or the Reserves or active duty, your academy time is never included in your pension calculation.
So this is treated totally separate from those other two pieces of service. Always make sense for academy grads. So those were our people who had not retired from the military. Our three case studies there, but we have to switch gears because we come across tons of military retirees. Both on the Reserve side and active duty that we have to address the unique complexities for these guys. Again, the assumptions are that these are regular employees, not law enforcement, firefighters, air traffic controllers. That these folks have retired for military service. And again, they have a hundred thousand dollar high three. Again, just to make our math really easy.
We have Jose who spent 20 years on active duty, and we have Kacey who spent 20 years in the Reserves. Both are retired. They may or may not be drawing their pension yet. Jose would, as an active duty retiree. Kacey would be able to draw her pension, her Reserve pension, typically at age 60. So we’re going to break it down for these folks as well. Before we jump into the case study, I want to get some rules out here. For active duty retirees, they are allowed to make a deposit for their active service. Remember, honorable active service, but they must waive their military pension upon receipt of their CSRS or FERS pension. So they can’t get double credit on the military side and FERS for the same piece of military service. They have to pick one. Most of the time as an active duty retiree, it does not make sense to make a military deposit, most of the time.
The reason being is that typically your military pension calculation is richer than what those years of service would get you under FERS. Now, there are exceptions, and Jose is one of those exceptions that we’re going to show you. But, as a kind of a broad brush, typically for active duty retirees, this doesn’t make sense because they have to give up their military pension. Reserves, on the other hand, and certain disability retirees, and this is a very narrow group of disability retirees. These are folks who are disabled due to combat, or by an instrumentality of war. This is not just your service connected disability, the normal stuff. This is a serious disability that we want to make sure you meet these special, special rules. We’re not going to get into those rules today. But don’t think just because you’re a disabled vet, and even a service connected disabled vet, that you will qualify for this exception.
For Reserve retirees, you too can make a deposit for your active service. Even though your HR departments might tell you otherwise. I see them give bad information all the time. Reserve retirees, any active service that you had where you were on orders. So your annual training. If you are called to training, separate of your annual training. If you were deployed, all of that time can count. The time that cannot count are your drill weekends. Let’s make that very clear distinction. So you can make a deposit for all of that act of service, and you can draw a military pension, and your FERS pension simultaneously without penalty. So you can be a double dipper. You can get credit on the military side for a piece of service. And for that same piece of service, you can get credit on the FERS side. And draw two pensions, including one piece of military service, and get paid for both of them. This is beautiful.
But so many people are told you’re not allowed to buy back your Reserve time, and that’s completely bogus information. If you have an HR department that is telling you that, you need to challenge them. Challenge them with the actual CSRS and FERS handbook that lays it out very clearly what service can be bought back, and what can’t in the Reserves. So let’s talk about Jose. Jose had 20 years of active duty. He retired as a normal active duty retiree. So what does it cost him to make his deposit? Well, he was in say the mid-grade enlisted range, and his deposit owed is $15,000. But he’s now come over to the federal side, and has a nice paying job that got him a hundred thousand dollar high-three. So, if he were to make that $15,000 deposit, it’s going to add 20 years of service to his pension. And keep in mind, we all remember how much we made in the military. Certainly if you were on the enlisted side, you didn’t make very much. But if you come over to the federal side, and you’ve got a much higher paying job, the math works. If Jose didn’t have a hundred thousand dollar high-three, but had a $50,000 high-three, it would only add $10,000 a year for the rest of his life.
That’s why it’s so important that you get your numbers, but in this scenario, it looks like it makes sense. There’s a caveat though. So let’s go through the right-hand side and then we’ll kind of circle back to the left. So what does he get? So he’s going to add another 20 years of service to his pension. That’s going to increase his pension by $20,000 a year for the rest of his life. Plus with those extra 20 years, he’s now fully eligible to retire from FERS and all of his years count under that 1.1% level that we talked about before. There’s another perk for Jose that a lot of military retirees don’t realize. If you’re not already eligible under FERS without your military service, but by virtue of adding your military service, you do qualify, you end up becoming eligible for the Special Retirement Supplement.
So in Jose’s case, he’s 58. He’ll now have 38 years of FERS time. He could retire right now with his military service, and draw up the Special Retirement Supplement from 58 to 62. So that’s a little bit of a perk, but the catch is that in order for Jose to count his 20 years of military service in his first pension, he has to waive his $22,000 a year military retired pay once he retires from FERS. So Jose has some thinking to do here, because he’s giving up a $22,000 pension to get a $20,000 a year boost, which is really a little bit more than that because of the 1.1% calculation like I said.
But he’s got some things to think about here. How much is his freedom worth? Not only does he have to pay the $15,000 upfront, but he’s going to get $2,000 less per year in his first pension for that same piece of military service. So it’s not as cut and dry for Jose. There’s a lot of decisions to be made. Next up we have Kacey. Kacey spent 20 years. She retired from the Reserves. And as of right now, she’s 60 years old. She’s got 20 years of FERS time. So we know she’s already eligible to go, but she must have come to a great webinar where she heard that she could buy back this time. Maybe her HR department didn’t give her very good information. Maybe the water cooler chatter gave her some bad information too.
And she went through the process and determined that it was going to cost her $9,000 to buy back her Reserve time. When she went through and added up the time, and of course, with the help of DFAS and her HR department, it determined that she would add seven years of service to the pension. And she would get that $7,000 a year for the rest of her life. Remember, we’re assuming that all of these employees have a hundred thousand dollars high-three, and that’s how we’re making all of these calculations.
So if we just look at the $9,000 that she owes, and the $7,000 a year that it will get her for the rest of her life by making the deposit, we know she’s going to break even in about a year and a quarter. This seems like a real no-brainer and here’s why: If you look on the right-hand side at the bottom, it says she does not waive her military retired pay when she retires from FERS. Remember as a retiree in the Reserves, they can double dip. They can get credit under their Reserve pension for any of their active service. They can get that credit for that exact same piece of service under FERS with a deposit. And so oftentimes we get a Reserve retiree that says, “No, I heard it wasn’t worth it to buy it back.” And that I’d have to give up my military pension to do it. Well, no, that’s not true.
So it’s very, very important that you’re working with the right set of rules based on the circumstances that you are in. Another quick poll, I’m curious, do you already know how much you owe to get credit for your military service? Some employees have been a little bit more proactive than others to find this out. Some have had a terrible time in this process, but I’m curious, do you already know the number that you have to pay to get credit for your military service? Just pop that into the poll. So we’re going to try to make this process as simple as the government will allow us to.
The process of buying back military service can be an interesting one, because of course, we have lots of different services. We have employees that sometimes have very complicated military backgrounds. Let’s kind of walk through this. I do want to make a special note that you are not permitted to buy back only a piece of your military service. If you had a 20 year continuous career in active duty, you can’t decide just to buy back four years. If you had several broken pieces of service where maybe you were four years active duty, you left, you went out to the civilian world, and then you returned and worked another six years, you could buy each of those periods back separately from one another. So, you could pick or choose which you wanted or both. So it’s important to know that for an entire DD214 block of service, you must buy back that whole amount.
For FERS employees, the military deposit that you owe is equal to 3% of the pay that you earned during your military service. Then they add interest on top of that. I’m not going to go into the details of how the calculation works. This is something your HR department will do for you. We have to get the ball rolling so that you get them the information they need to be able to do the calculation. Once they tell you how much it is that you owe, you must pay that prior to retiring. You can either do that in a lump sum payment or by payroll deduction if you have a little bit of time before you plan to retire. Just keep in mind that interest keeps accruing the longer it takes you to pay this off.
So the earlier the better, get it out of the way, and then it counts for sure. Getting started in your decision about whether to buy back your time starts with first knowing how much you owe. The first step to figure that out is you want to identify the dates, and military earnings with the Defense Finance and Accounting Service. So DFAS knows all of the pay that they paid you during the time you were in the military. We just need them to write it down. So that we know, and your agency knows what that number is.
The document you’re going to submit to DFAS is the RI 20-97. It’s your Estimated Earnings During Military Service document. So you send that off to DFAS, and you say, “Here’s my Social, here’s my DD214, can you put all this stuff down, can you tell me how much I earned during that time? That document will be returned back to you. And it won’t really mean anything at that point, because you just have some big number that you earned over your time in the military, or sometimes not all that big if we remember how much we earned back then, but you’re going to have that number. So the next thing you have to do is to complete the application to make deposit, or redeposit.
This is the SF-3108. This is not unique to military service. You can use this document to buy back other time as well, but you’ll take this document, the SF-3108, and complete it. And provide that to your agency along with the RI 20-97 that DFAS completed for you. Your agency’s going to use those two pieces of information to calculate the final deposit owed. And then they’re going to give you a letter that says, “Based on the information provided from DFAS, you have military service from this date to this date, or for this length of service. Based on the earnings that were provided from DFAS, you owe a deposit of X number of dollars, and here are your payment options.”
You can pay it lump sum. You can pay it by payroll deduction. And you simply indicate to your agency, whether you want to take advantage of that or not. So the reason I want to point out this kind of oddity here is when you complete document that says application to make deposit, or redeposit, it seems as though you’ve already made the decision to do it, but that’s not true in this case. This is just the starting point, the first domino to fall, or I guess the second domino to fall here other than DFAS. You’re going to submit that application to make the deposit or redeposit. And then when the agency gives you the letter back, that’s when you decide whether you want to do it or not. You can’t decide to make a deposit for your military service unless you know how much it is, and then be able to do your math, like we’ve done in these case studies to say, “Okay, if I do this, does it allow me to retire earlier? How much extra am I going to get in my pension? And does it feel worth it to me? What’s my break even point? Is this the right move?”
So this is the basic process. Hopefully this helps you to know exactly how this weird process goes to be able to buy back your time. All right. So the question is, is it worth it to buy back your military service? Well, Gunnery Hartman would tell you, “Hey maggot, it’s at least worth finding out.” And we have to inject a little bit of military humor in here, but I think it’s important to know we can’t definitively say you should always buy back your military service. It depends. It depends how long ago it was that determines the interest.
It determines how much or it’s determined by how much you made in the military. If you’re enlisted, you made a very different wage than the officer’s side. So that’s going to play a factor in how much you owe. And then the other big factor is, how much it gets you. And that determined on your high-three when you retire. So, someone who makes $50,000 a year will have very, very different numbers than someone who makes $150,000 a year. As far as how quickly you get your money back, how valuable those years are in your service.
So it’s really important that we bring all of that together to make a sound decision on whether it makes sense to buy back your time or not. Now, Gunnery Hartman would also tell you, you need to get to one of our workshops because your military service is just one aspect of this entire decision to finally retire from government service. So to get the rest of the story, to see how that military service affects all of these other pieces of your benefits, and what to expect in retirement, get to one of our workshops. We have a lots of virtual workshops open. We’re starting to come back live in certain locations. There’s no cost to attend our sessions. And we cover all of the federal benefits topics. All those decisions that you’re going to need to make. So to find a list of all of the locations that we have available, go to fedimpact.com/attend.
For handouts and the replay, the handouts are available right here in this session. If you missed it for whatever reason, or you’re on a device that it’s hard to save those handouts, we will email them to you along with the link to the replay. So you’ll be able to listen to this as many times as you need to be able to get through it and make sure you know what you’re doing. Now, our next webinar. I’m excited to be able to do this one. This is a topic that’s near and dear to my heart, federal law enforcement officers. My husband happens to be a federal law enforcement officer. So I wanted to get this session out, because there are a lot of unique retirement complexities for law enforcement officers that are worth addressing specifically for them. So if you happen to be a LEO, mark your calendar for May 27th at 1:00 PM Central Time, we’ll be right back here in the same type of platform, and be able to get out a lot of these details to you. So that you know how you are quite different than the average regular employee.
So you can sign up for that webinar. It’s open right now at fedimpact.com/webinar. We’ll see you on May 27th for that session. Thank you so much for playing along with me today. Hopefully this was enlightening. That it gave you a little bit of perspective and maybe cleared out a little cobweb there that your water cooler chatter, maybe even your own HR or mentors of yours that have maybe given you some bad information. Hopefully this has cleared that up. We look forward to being able to serve you at a future workshop, or at our webinar next month. Thank you all very much. Have a great day!
Register for our next 30-minute webinar: FedImpact.com/webinar
Find a comprehensive retirement workshop for your area: FedImpact.com/attend