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News > Understanding a good year toward retirement
Understanding a good year toward retirement

Posted 5/6/2009   Updated 5/6/2009 Email story   Print story


by Senior Airman Deborah Robinson
512th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

5/6/2009 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- When asked how many points are needed for a good year toward retirement, Tech. Sgt. Jason Fitler had to put on his thinking cap. 

"Let's see, you get four points each Unit Training Assembly and one point for each active duty-day; you probably need around 50 points each year," said the 712th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crewchief. 

Although he was a little unsure about his answer, he was right. 

Unlike Sergeant Fitler, some reservists may be unaware of how many points make a good year toward retirement and how it will impact their retirement pay at age 60. 

The retirement point system can be difficult to comprehend especially for Airmen new to the Air Force Reserve. Knowing the basics and where to find information can assist reservists with the challenge of understanding and planning for their retirement. 

For reservists to total 20 years of satisfactory service, a minimum of 50 points each year must be accumulated by the date they joined the Air Force Reserve. This date is called the retention and retirement date or the date the Airman enlisted into the service. If a reservist doesn't earn 50 points in this year, it's considered a bad year and doesn't count toward retirement. 

A reservist automatically earns 15 membership points for just being in the Reserve. The other 35 points can be accrued by attending UTAs. 

Points are also earned for annual tours, readiness management periods, correspondence courses and flying training periods, said Chief Master Sgt. Caroline Miller-Horton, 512th Mission Support Squadron chief, military personnel programs.
Reservists can download their Point Credit Summary at the Virtual Military Personnel Flight web site. 

"It's important for all military members to be aware of the personnel programs that affect their careers," said Chief Miller-Horton. The point credit accounting system can be confusing at first glance, but if one takes the time to review and understand the program as it relates to their personal service history, it becomes clear. 

"This system is the basis for determining our retirement eligibility, so it's very important that we all understand it," said the chief. 

Retirement pay is based on two factors, the highest grade held and points accumulated. How retirement pay is calculated for reservists is explained in the 2009 Guard and Reserve Personnel Fact Sheets, which can be downloaded at http://www.arpc.afrc.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-090128-038.pdf

This is not only a great desktop reference reservists can refer to for retirement benefits, it also has information on pay charts, promotions, entitlement benefits and assignments, said Chief Miller-Horton. 

There's also an online retirement benefits calculator located in the vMPF. 

With all the tools available, Airmen can have a better understanding of what it takes to have a good year, which contributes to a better retirement plan.

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