The coming implementation of the Blended Retirement System (BRS) offers Service members a choice about how they structure their retirement savings accounts, but that flexibility can also lead to confusion and uncertainty. Service members who reach 20 years of active service will continue to receive a military pension. Since only a small percentage of Service members who enter the military retire in the military, the BRS enables those who don’t expect to serve a full 20 years to leave the military with an established retirement account. But there’s no way around it: if you’re opt-in eligible, some numbers must be crunched to find the right solution.

DoD had this in mind in developing the Blended Retirement System (BRS) comparison calculator. The calculator, along with the mandatory BRS Opt-In Course, is available to help nearly 1.7 million opt-in eligible Service members and their families make informed decisions on whether or not to elect the new retirement system. The new system takes effect Jan. 1. 2018.

“We have designed an all-in-one calculator that is intuitive to use and takes into account the unique financial situations of our active duty, National Guard and Reserve Service members,” said Tony Kurta, performing the duties of undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. “The calculator will provide Service members the ability to compare estimated benefits between their current retirement plan and BRS prior to making this important decision.”

The tool is flexible. You can adjust 12 inputs to reflect your personal situation and planning assumptions to see how changes to your career and savings will impact retirement benefits over the long-term. With a simple click, you can change any of the inputs and re-run the calculations as many times as you need. In other words, it’s designed to personalize your choices and situation.

To get the most benefit, DoD encourages you to use the calculator in conjunction with the mandatory BRS Opt-In Course, which launched Jan. 31. The opt-in course is focused on comparing the current legacy military retirement system (often referred to as the high-3 system) and the new Blended Retirement System, along with elements of financial management and retirement planning.

So, before you check out of the military, check out these resources. You’ve worked hard for your retirement. Now make retirement work for you.