It’s not exactly news that career military personnel aren’thappy with a number of the changes to the military’s retirementplan.

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But it is news that the more they see, the less theylike.

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The First Command Financial Behaviors Index found that half ofmiddle-class military families (commissioned officers and seniorNCOs in pay grades E-5 and above with household incomes of at least$50,000) are aware of the changes unveiled in February as part ofthe proposed Defense budget for fiscal 2017.

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While the recommendations include some potentially positivechanges, the negative ones are clearly of the greatest concern—and82 percent of survey respondents feel anxious about theproposal.

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Back in January, 73 percent of those middle-class militaryfamilies said they wanted to be grandfathered in under the old system,up from 70 percent last October. The newchanges seem likely to increase that percentage.

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Those February changes weren’t at all popular, including as theydid delays to contributions for younger servicemembers and endingmatching contributions for career military after 26 years ofservice. And then there’s the little matter of personal discountrates, which would effectively lower lump sums way beyond whatcivilian retirement lump sums would be. The American Academy ofActuaries actually warned the Department of Defense aboutthose rates in April.

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But the plan wasn’t a rousing success even before those moveswere announced, and now new moves are afoot.

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While two of those changes are positive—one extends matchingcontributions for servicemembers who serve beyond 26 years, whilethe other increases the cap on government contributions to theThrift Savings Plan from 5 percent of basic pay to 6 percent—theothers? Not so much.

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TSP matching contributions are now delayed from the third yearof service to the fifth year, and the new system’s mandatoryminimum continuation pay for all troops reaching 12 years ofservice has been removed.

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First Command projected that, under those last two provisions,monthly retired pay under the 2017 proposal could fall roughly 5percent short of that under the 2016 law, but the shortfall couldbe even larger.

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