ForYourBenefit Radio Program


Listen live to ForYourBenefit each Monday morning at 10:05 EST on 1500 AM in the Washington DC metro area or online at www.federalnewsradio.com. Or, if you prefer, listen on your own schedule -- all shows are archived and available 24/7.

ForYourBenefit is NITP’s weekly radio show which features information and discussion on topics of interest to the Federal employee, including Federal Benefits, financial and retirement planning, and other issues.

Guests and topics change weekly –In 2014, our guests will help you plan and navigate through retirement issues and concerns.


April 27, 2015
Understanding Financial Literacy

Join our co-hosts, Bob Leins & Tammy Flanagan, as they welcome Ray Kirk, Ph.D., Federal Benefits Specialist with NITP and the former manager of Benefit Officer’s Training and Development in Retirement Services for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. 

April is National Financial Literacy Month.  What is financial literacy and what can you do to improve your financial literacy?  Financial literacy is the ability to make informed judgments and to take effective actions regarding the current and future use and management of money. 

Listen and learn…

  • What does financial literacy mean?  What is an example that would help me understand the concept of financial literacy?
  • Why is improving my financial literacy is important to me?
  • What steps can I take to get started?
  • What resources are available to help me?


For questions or comments, email us in advance at ForYourBenefit@nitpinc.com or call in, once the phone lines are open, to 202-465-3080.


April 20, 2015
Estate Planning Missteps and How to Avoid Them

Your estate plan is a cornerstone piece of your financial plan but too many people don’t have the right plan is place.  Join our host Bob Leins as he talks with Megan Schaeffer, Esquire, who specializes in estate planning, and Karen Schaeffer, Certified Financial Planner, specializing in financial planning for Federal government employees as they talk about what goes wrong when people don’t plan.  Listen in and learn how to avoid:

  • Assets being distributed to people who can’t handle money
  • TSP and IRAs going to the wrong beneficiaries
  • Retirement Assets being taxed too soon
  • Special needs children losing their benefits
  • Unnecessary professional fees
  • Courts stepping into the void when there is no plan


For questions or comments, email us in advance at ForYourBenefit@nitpinc.com or call in, once the phone lines are open, to 202-465-3080.


April 13, 2015
The Top 6 Financial Planning Questions!

Join our host, Bob Leins, as he welcomes Joe Sullender, Managing Director/Investments for the Financial Strategies Group of Wells Fargo Advisors.  Together they will discuss some of the most frequently asked questions from their clients during this tax season regarding finances and planning for future expenditures.

  • Investments?  What are the best options for long term growth?  For short term growth?  How is each subject to income tax?
  • How can the investment be structured to guard against negative volatility?
  • What’s the best way to plan for and protect investments from market volatility?
  • What options are there for education savings vehicles and what are the pros and cons of each?
  • What are some suggestions for managing cash flow during tuition paying years?
  • Generally 2014 was a good year for investments.  Any good year for investments generally, but not always, generates income tax. What are some opportunities to try and keep income taxes on the investment earnings as low as possible?


For questions or comments, email us in advance at ForYourBenefit@nitpinc.com or call in, once the phone lines are open, to 202-465-3080.


April 6, 2015
Personal Finance Preparations Before and During Retirement

This week on For Your Benefit, join our hosts, Bob Leins and Tammy Flanagan as they welcome Mike Townshend back to the studio. As a Social Psychologist and Professional Philosopher, Mike has focused on human behaviors that are less visible, but that will make a large impact on a retiree’s joy and comfort during retirement. Two of these behaviors relate to our financial choices, and are both widespread while having an impact on each of us prior to and during retirement.

1. Embracing the concept of “Enough” in order to make decisions about the timing and enjoyment of our retirement years.

• “Need” vs. “Want” (shaking the habit that desires “More”)
• “Reverse budgeting” to identify the true amount that will sustain us in comfort

2. Accessibility to our financial resources by those who will be available to assist us when we are not able to access those resources ourselves.

• Realities of secrecy and the impact of that, often, even with our “Significant Other”
• “The Financial Road Map”

Mike Townshend will talk about his own journey into retirement, his wrestling with the two concepts above and how he has found peace and abundance in his retirement.

For questions or comments, email us in advance at ForYourBenefit@nitpinc.com or call in, once the phone lines are open, to 202-465-3080.


March 30, 2015
Discussion of TSP Issues from the People that Know

This week on For Your Benefit, join our hosts, Bob Leins and Tammy Flanagan as they welcome Greg Long, Executive Director, and Kim Weaver, Director of External Affairs, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board to the studio.

With the discussion of using a loan from the G Fund to help fund the Federal deficit, TSP participants in our seminars and emails are confused as to what will happen to their investments.  Today’s discussion will include the process, which funds within the G fund are used, the interest rates paid on the “loan” and possible duration of the loan.   Additional topics for today’s show include:

  • Discussion of the House Budget proposal in Congress about resetting the interest rate paid on G Fund investments.

  • TSP's YouTube channel with attention, among other subjects, to awareness of being targets from unscrupulous financial “advisors.”

  • One of the monthly distribution options from the TSP allows for a reset of the monthly distribution amount each December for the coming calendar year. There was discussion that there could be two reset dates - one in December and one at the end of June. What is the current status?

  • Will the TSP provide for State Income Tax to be withheld from distributions?

  • Is it possible that the “Mirroring Effect” will be softened or eliminated with regards to Roth TSP distributions and their impact on Traditional TSP distributions?

  • What does the landscape look like for the “Mutual Fund Window” and other changes being discussed?

  • Is a TSP distribution choice that would allow specific distributions from specific funds under consideration?

Tune in, this is a show that you won’t want to miss!  For questions or comments, email us in advance at ForYourBenefit@nitpinc.com or call in, once the phone lines are open, to 202-465-3080.


March 23, 2015
A Practical Guide to Roth IRA Conversions

This week of For Your Benefit, join our hosts, Bob Leins and Tammy Flanagan for information on possible tax law changes as mentioned by the President during his FY 2016 Federal Budget address. These changes could impact the transfer of the Voluntary Contribution funds into a Roth IRA, close the backdoor Roth opportunity, and no longer allow a stretch IRA to non-spouse beneficiaries. This show is an update of our January 5, 2015 presentation on “A Practical Guide to Roth IRA Conversions.”
Click here for the download.

  • The Voluntary Contribution Program: What it means and how it works.
  • Brief history of traditional and Roth IRAs
  • Ability to “contribute” directly to either type of IRS
  • Transfer or rollover to a Roth IRA
  • Why you should consider doing this in 2015


For questions or comments, email us in advance at ForYourBenefit@nitpinc.com or call in, once the phone lines are open, to 202-465-3080.


March 16, 2015
How can Social Security add GREEN to your retirement cash flow?

This week on For Your Benefit, join our hosts, Bob Leins and John Elliott, as they welcome Lester Austin, Retired Senior Public Affairs Specialist for the Social Security Administration, to talk about Social Security and retirement.  Topics of discussion include:

  • How do I qualify for benefits?
  • What is the difference between a quarter and a credit?
  • If married what consideration(s) should there be to maximize both SS benefits?
  • What can be done to see an individual’s history of credits earned?
  • How do I calculate my retirement benefit?
  • When should I apply for Social Security?
  • After the President’s recent Federal Budget presentation there is a rumor about “file and suspend” potentially being eliminated. What is “file and suspend” and why would it be eliminated if the rumors are accurate?
  • What is the Windfall Elimination Provision?
  • What happens if I choose to continue working and not claim Social Security when I am first eligible?  If there are changes to SS entitlements would there be a “grandfather” clause?

For questions or comments, email us in advance at ForYourBenefit@nitpinc.com or call in, once the phone lines are open, to 202-465-3080.


March 9, 2015
The New Congress

This week on For Your Benefit, our hosts, Bob Leins and Tammy Flanagan welcome Ken Gold to the studio.  Ken is the Director of the Government Affairs Institute at Georgetown University. 

Republicans now have the majority in both chambers: What does it mean?  What is going on with the debt and deficits?  What are the prospects for federal spending in the departments and agencies?   Our show today will focus on these and more.

  • Is compromise possible?
  • Congress’s mood re Federal employment and benefits
  • What happened to the Sequester? 
  • Will there be higher defense spending?
  • Tax reform? 
  • Entitlement reform?


If you are curious, please tune in to the show.  For questions or comments, email us in advance at ForYourBenefit@nitpinc.com or call in, once the phone lines are open, to 202-465-3080.


March 2, 2015
Estate Planning for Younger Families

This week on For Your Benefit, our host, Bob Leins welcomes Marc Levine, Esquire, with Handler & Levine, LLC to the studio to focus on why you should think about estate planning now.  

We are often so busy with our day-to-day lives, that estate planning is often not a priority on our To Do List.  Does this sound like you?
 
“I don’t have an estate, so I don’t need an estate plan.”
“I won’t have to worry about this until I am older, since it is unlikely anything will happen for a while, if at all.” 
“Doesn’t my spouse or family have legal authority to do anything that needs to be done if something happens     to me?”  

Discussion points will include:

  • A typical minor’s trust
  • Basic marital trust planning
  • Lifetime documents

    Is a beneficiary designation more powerful than a provision in a will?

For questions or comments, email us in advance at ForYourBenefit@nitpinc.com or call in, once the phone lines are open, to 202-465-3080.


FEBRUARY 23
Tax Savings Now and During the Year

This week on For Your Benefit, our host, Bob Leins welcomes Tom O’Rourke, tax and estate planning attorney and principal at Miles & Stockbridge P.C., into the studio to talk about tax savings. Click Here  to view IRS Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for 2015

  • “Extenders” Passed by Congress late in 2014
  • The ultimate tax shelter and the IRS dirty dozen 
  • The TSP (or the Roth Tsp)
  • IRA’s and Roth IRA’s
  • Section 529 plan
  • Exclusion of gain on sale of home (what if you have a loss)
  • Make sure you file and pay on time (or request an extension)
  • What you may have heard about Federal Budget proposals that have common application


For questions or comments, email us in advance at ForYourBenefit@nitpinc.com or call in, once the phone lines are open, to 202-465-3080


FEBRUARY 16
Medicare Enrollment: A Complex Landscape

This week on For Your Benefit, our host, Bob Leins welcomes Bob Braunstein, NITP Seminar Presenter and Federal Benefits Specialist into the studio to chat about Medicare enrollment.

Discussion point will include:

  1. Medicare Defined
  2. When Medicare Is Primary
  3. Enrolling in Medicare
    • Cost/benefit analysis
    • Option of Changing FEHB plans out of Open Season
  4. Enrollment Considerations
    • Your Health (now and in the future)
    • Access to Providers who accept Medicare Assignment
    • Where you are living
    • Penalties for late enrollment (Part B) vs premium savings


For questions or comments, email us in advance at ForYourBenefit@nitpinc.com or call in, once the phone lines are open, to 202-465-3080


FEBRUARY 9
Oil, Interest Rates, & Political Risk; Oh My!  A Discussion on investing during rising Volatility

Join the discussion on this week’s For Your Benefit with Bob Leins, Tammy Flanagan and their guest, Kristina E. M. Sturgis, CFP® CDFA™ Financial Advisor, NITP Seminar Presenter and Certified Financial Planner™ with Valenstein & Patterson, a financial advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.

  • Kristina will discuss among other topics:
  • The reasons why volatility is a fact of financial planning. 
  • Determining your personal risk tolerance and its impact on long term financial planning.  A focus on the best laid plans can be subject to bad weather, traffic jams and scenic stops along the way. 
  • While it is very difficult to predict your reaction to an investment’s decrease during a period of negative volatility there will also be a subsequent period of positive volatility.
  • i Investments including the TSP will have a bad day (with the exception of the G Fund), but knowing how to understand and prepare is key.


For questions or comments, email us in advance at ForYourBenefit@nitpinc.com or call in, once the phone lines are open, to 202-465-3080


FEBRUARY 2
Financial Security?  Be aware, Be Concerned and Address it!

This week on For Your Benefit, our host, Bob Leins welcomes Dwayne Jackson, CPA, CFP and Principal at Rembert | Pendleton | Jackson into the studio to talk about planning for the future, financial tips and a plan of action. Among the discussion points we will address:

  • What is the most important goal for you and your family as you plan for the future?
  • What is the importance of cash flow and retirement projections?  If there is not enough cash flow for retirement, what options should be considered?
  • How to better your investment allocation?
  • How to decide if you should keep you funds in the TSP or transfer them to a Traditional IRA or another investment account?
  • Should your mortgage be fully paid before you retire and if so what source of funds will you use and what source should you not use?


This week’s broadcast is important at all stages of your Federal Career, newly hired, mid-career, or within 5 years of retirement. 

For questions or comments, email us in advance at ForYourBenefit@nitpinc.com or call in, once the phone lines are open, to 202-465-3080.


JANUARY 26
De-Stressing Your Life

This week on For Your Benefit, join our host, Bob Leins, as he and Patti Hudson share ideas on how to de-stress your life.

Stress is an inevitable feature of work and personal demands.  Distress does not have to be the inevitable consequence.  Stress can be managed.  It is also not inherently "bad".  Stress serves to stretch you towards personal goals and personal growth.  How you appraise the stressors in your life will be directly proportional to your stress level and can prove to be the difference between disease and wellness.  Recognizing stress triggers, creating a positive attitude, and accepting self-responsibility for the physical body are some tools for diffusing stressful situations.  Today, fast- paced lifestyles and rapid-fired changes dictate the need to understand ways that we can use stressful events to our advantage. This will serve to improve the quality of lives and enhance our health. 

  • Define stress 
  • Examples of “stressors”
  • Loss of control and change are the two greatest stressors
  • Behavior is subconsciously driven, what does this mean?
  • What is Mindfulness?
  • What is the connection between stress and mind set?
  • Work/life balance and your "should" list
  • Your sensible life plan


For questions or comments, email us in advance at ForYourBenefit@nitpinc.com or call in, once the phone lines are open, to 202-465-3080


JANUARY 19
Singles and Retirement

This week on For Your Benefit, join our host, Bob Leins,  and Michael Creedon, DSW,  discuss issues of interest to single retirees.  Michael has been involved with federal employees on retirement issues since 1979.  He regularly addresses retirement transition and the personal and family challenges that come with aging and retirement.

The leading edge of the Baby Boom is now 68.  Recent estimates indicate that more than 7 million Americans over age 65 are single. This number will rise rapidly in the years ahead as the Baby Boomers move into their later years.   Did you know that the average age of widowhood is currently in the low 60’s?   This program will discuss some of the challenges that face Single Retirees, and it will also focus on some of the opportunities that Retirement can bring to them:

  • The importance of having friends and family (and even pets) in retirement.
  • Have you developed an agenda for use of your time?
  • Do you have social support opportunities?  Are you engaged in community organizations?
  • Have you thought about a support system in the event of health challenges?
  • Are you able to say no to the demands of others?
  • How to cope with sudden loss of a spouse or companion.
  • Have you prepared a will, advance directive or living will?

For questions or comments, email us in advance at ForYourBenefit@nitpinc.com or call in, once the phone lines are open, to 202-465-3080.


JANUARY 12
Separating Federal Service Mid-Career

This week on For Your Benefit, join our host, Bob Leins, as he  and James Marshall, Federal Benefits Specialist, discuss important aspects of leaving your Federal Career when you are not eligible to retire. 

If you are planning to separate mid-career (before you meet the age and service requirements to be eligible for an Immediate Retirement), there are a few things you should consider regarding your Federal Benefits.  And if you choose to return to Federal Service at a later date some of these decision will impact your retirement options.

  • Severance Pay
  • Sick Leave
  • Annual Leave
  • Thrift Savings Plan
  • Federal Employees Health Benefits
  • Federal Employees Group Life Insurance
  • Federal Pension Rights
  • Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay (VSIP)
  • Survivor Benefits


If you have questions about leaving Federal Service Mid-Career, email us at ForYourBenefit@nitpinc.com or call into the show, once the phone lines are open, 202-465-3080.


JANUARY 5, 2015
Roth IRA Conversions 

Join the For Your Benefit hosts, Bob Leins and Tammy Flanagan, as they have their yearly discussion:

“A Practical Guide to Roth IRA Conversions”

Subjects will Include:

  • The Voluntary Contribution Program
    • What does it mean and how does it work?
  • Brief History of Traditional and Roth IRAs
  • Ability to “Contribute” Directly to Either Type of IRA
  • Transfer or Rollover to a ROTH IRA
  • Why considering doing this?

    There is an informative handout that accompanies this program available at the nitpinc.com website.  Follow this link to the show listing and to download the handout.

    Click here to listen to the archived show.


    If you have questions are this, please email them in advance to ForYourBenefit@nitpinc.com or call into the show once the phone lines are open, 202-465-3080. However, given the subject there may be a time constraint.


DECEMBER 29
Ringing out 2014 and Ringing in 2015

During the show we will reflect on past events of 2014 and how they affected your Federal Employment/ Retirement; AND we will look ahead to 2015.

Join Bob Leins and Tammy Flanagan as they reflect on 2014 and make projections for 2015 with FederalNewsRadio's own Mike Causey.

Some topics may include:

2014 Reflections:

  1. No news is good news... no big changes to retirement in 2014
  2. Retirees get a new FEHB option designed to work with Medicare
  3. Retirees look forward to faster retirement processing
  4. Last minute legislation passed by Congress and the impact on you - tax credits, tax breaks, energy credits 

 
2015 Projections:

  1. Is phased retirement really coming?
  2. New hires endure FERS FRAE and L Fund options
  3. Changes in the tax code for 2015, passed by Congress, and what it means to TSPs & IRAs
  4. NITP to offer more webinars for 2015 - Tammy and Bob will provide a preview!  

For questions or comments, email us in advance at ForYourBenefit@nitpinc.com or call in, once the phone lines are open, to 202-465-3080.


DECEMBER 22
Retirement - An Opportunity to Re-invent Ourselves

This week on the For Your Benefit radio show, our host, Bob Leins, welcomes Mike Townshend, Career Transition Coach, as he discusses facing your retirement!  With the end of the year rapidly approaching, many Federal Employees are making plans to retire from Federal Service.  For those who are not planning to go immediately into another job, there will be some considerations for what to do in this phase of life.

  • What kinds of Activities are people choosing to pursue when they retire?
  • What do our pre-retirement hobbies tell us about what kinds of things we might pursue during retirement?
  • What are behavior styles and what do they tell us about the choices we ought to make in retirement?  How do I find out my style?
  • Why should people think this through before the retirement date?  Why not just wait until we're retired and see what happens?
  • What is the most useful thing that people need to assure for themselves when retiring, besides a sufficient income? 

If you have questions about your transition into retirement, email them in advance to ForYourBenefit@nitpinc.com or call in, once the phone lines are open to 202-465-3080.

 

DECEMBER 15
Planning for Several Reasons

Join our host,  Bob Leins,  as he welcomes Bob Braunstein, Federal Benefits Specialist, to the studio. This show’s discussion will focus on year end planning and 2015 opportunities for income tax as well as benefit planning. Click here to download the handouts that go with today’s show. 

This will include discussions of:

  • Implications of frontloading your TSP in light of a mid-year retirement date
  • Understanding what your personal tax bracket is.
  • Opportunities to transfer funds to and from the TSP
  • The “mirroring” impact to you of withdrawing/transferring funds from the TSP when you have both a Traditional TSP and a Roth TSP.
  • What does the RMD rule mean to you in dollar amounts
  • Issues to be aware of in 2015 relative to your future benefits


Please be sure to go to our website to print slides and handouts we will use during today’s show.  (Please put a link here to download the handouts)

If you have question about your Federal Benefits or tax issues, please email them in advance to ForYourBenefit@nitpinc.com, or call in once the phone lines are open to 202-465-3080.


Click here for web links that provide useful information when listening to archived shows.


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