Outstanding Message from Col Eric Bratu

Please see below a message from Col Eric Bratu. He does an outstanding job of explaining his thoughts on taking care of Service members by making sure their families can keep afloat financially if something tragic should happen as well as how important it is for a Service member to keep themselves informed and on top of their military careers.


It’s that time of the year, Association dues. Each year we solicit dues from our personnel to join their respective associations. However, do we take the time to explain the benefits? I agree membership is voluntary and we as senior officers have to be careful in how we discuss association membership. However, don’t we typically share information with others when we find a good deal? Well our associations are good deals so hopefully you will share some of this information. I have attached an “unofficial NGAMS brochure” that lists some of the benefits of NGAMS. Since some may not read the attached document, I wanted to provide a short comparison on the association insurance based on what I could find on line based on the TV advertisements for life insurance.

Also notify your personnel of the limited time offer to get their lifetime national and state dues at a 25% discount ($750) and they can set-up a payment plan (24 months). Further, if you have already paid your dues for this past year then you also get subtract that amount from the active life membership plan as long as you do it prior to December 31, 2016. For example, an O5 that paid $103 annual dues for 2016 can subtract that amount from the $750. That means an active life membership would only cost $647. Conservatively, an officer over a 26 year span will spend $2,347 in NGAMS/NGAUS dues. For longer careers, this number only increases. That is why a life membership makes so much financial sense. See https://ngams.org/membership/life-membership-savings for more information and cost comparisons.

Insurance spill (for all MS NG personnel, officer and enlisted):
Part of taking care of our fellow Guardsmen is taking care of them and their families in the very unfortunate incident when the unthinkable happens in the death of either the husband or wife. How many or our personnel are not aware of the life insurance program offered by their association?

For only $6.80 per month, NGAMS will provide $10,000 for the member (increases to $12,500 after the first year), $10,000 for the member’s spouse and $2,500 per child. For $25.25 per month, the member can increase their FAMILY’S coverage to $35,000 for the member (increases to $45,000 after the first year), $50,000 for the spouse and $15,000 per child. Compare this to $30+ per month for a female only (no coverage for spouse or child) from the insurance companies advertising on TV.

In addition, MS National Guardsmen can increase their coverage in increments of $50,000 for an additional $400,000 in coverage on them and their spouse as needed. Hopefully, most of our guardsmen have the $400,000 of SGLI. However, how many of our young men and women do not know they can get the same level of coverage on their spouses? What would happen if the unimaginable happens and a young airman loses his spouse who may have a job of which they are dependent to make ends meet or stays home and takes care of their children? We cannot replace the loss of a loved one but we can relieve some of the stress of how he/she pays the bills or hires a care giver for young children. For an additional $32 per month, a member can add $400,000 of coverage for their spouse (under age 50, nontobacco user). Note the member pays $29 per month for SGLI and believes that is a deal so covering the spouse with $400,000 for an additional $32 per month is not a deal? Additional information and rates for different increments is available at https://ngams.org/insurance/state-sponsored-life-insurance/.

I admit, life insurance premiums increase dramatically with age. From age 50-59, that same $32 will only get you closer to $100,000 of insurance. However, typically, we are most vulnerable to debt at the younger ages. There are mortgages, young children, etc. As we get older, we don’t need as much life insurance so even if the member decides to cancel their enhanced insurance in the later years, they can keep their basic coverage for life (coverage reduces at age 60 and again at age 70). That’s right, even after you retire, you can keep a basic policy. However, you must have the coverage for at least 12 months prior to retirement and the good news is the premiums don’t increase based on age (coverage decreases to $5,000 for member and spouse).

Following are some comparisons from Internet sites. At a minimum, this should get our people to relook at their existing policies.

Whole life policy comparison (Mutual of Omaha site)
$10,000 for a female age 50 – $30 per mo from Mutual of Omaha, $37.20 per mo from New York Life and $47.80 per month from Colonial Penn

Other numbers are below:

MetLife – Whole Life policy – At age 50, $25,000 costs $126.50 per mo (male

AIG – 10 year term life – At age 40, $250,000 costs $13.75 per mo (male)

Mutual of Omaha – Term Life- $100,000 for ages 50-54 costs $62.75 per mo and ages 55-59 increases to $100.33 per mo