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Top 5 Money Concepts to Master

By:  Karen Schaeffer, CFP®

Published:  April 2021

In honor of Financial Literacy Month, here are the top five money concepts financial planners think everyone can and should master:

 

 

1.      Managing and analyzing cash flow. How much money is coming in and where the heck is it going? Now is a great time to compile the numbers from 2020 and calculate a couple data points: What percentage of your income went to taxes? How much did you save or invest? And, since the rest got spent, determine how much went to your fixed expenses and how much of your spending was discretionary. Happy with your choices? Congratulations. Not so much?  Make a list of small positive changes that you can implement in 2021. Spend less on one particular item, bring in a little more income from a side gig, round up what goes into TSP each pay period by $50; you get the idea. 

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Use Your Federal Benefits to Reduce Your Tax Bill

By:  Tom O’Rourke

Published: March 2021

 

Paying the least amount of taxes possible and staying out of trouble with the IRS are common goals. The Federal benefits package helps Federal employees achieve both of these goals.
Federal employees are eligible to participate in the Thrift Savings Plan, the Federal Flexible Spending Account (FSA), and the Dependent Care Assistance Plan (DCFSA). They may also pay any health insurance premiums on a pre-tax basis and, if they are enrolled in a high deductible health insurance program, to set aside funds on a pre-tax basis in a Health Savings Account (HSA).

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Financial Planning at Every Stage of Your Career

By:  Brian Kurrus, CFP®

Published:  February 2021

 

Whether you are just starting out or getting ready to retire, it’s never too early or late for financial planning. Many wish they started planning earlier and those that did sometime wish they had made better adjustments along the way.  Here are the most important steps at every career stage.

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What’s New for Federal Employees and Retirees in 2021?

By:  Bob Braunstein, Federal Benefits Specialist

Published:  January 2021

 

The year 2021 holds some interesting changes for Federal employees and retirees. The changes include new health, dental and vision plans, a health care flexible spending account rollover increase, and the possibility of continuing certain cost-saving exceptions for these programs under the “Corona Aid Relief and Security Act (CARES)”. Active employees will be afforded a new way to elect their TSP contributions, also known as “Spillover.”

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Updating Your Health Directive to Address Coronavirus Concerns

By:  Tom O’Rourke

Published:  December 2020

 

Concerns about the coronavirus have caused individuals to review their estate plans “just in case”.  A common concern is to make sure you have a plan in place to allow somebody you love and trust to act on your behalf with respect to your medical care if you contract the virus. You can do this by implementing a health care directive.

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Approaching Retirement Also Means Saying “Goodbye”

By: Mike Townshend

Published: November 2020

 

Why does this matter?

About 30 years ago, I was working for one of the Intelligence Agencies as a full-time contractor. I worked in their Headquarters Building near D.C.

 

After several years as a Senior Professional, and on a Monday morning, I arrived a bit early. So, I stopped at the Coffee Room to take a hot cup to my office and warm up to my day. As I walked down the hall to my office, I passed the office of one of the most senior Agency managers who I thought I knew well. I was alarmed to see his office barren without a hint of the volume of papers I had seen while in a meeting the previous Friday afternoon.

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Understanding Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

Published:  November 2020

By:  Bob Braunstein, Federal Benefits Specialist

 

The Relationship Between OPM Disability Retirement and SSDI

 

Most Federal employees are able retire from Federal service around 56 or 57 years of age after completing 30 or more years of creditable service. These retirements are immediate and include important benefits such as health insurance, life insurance, dental and vision coverage, and other benefits for the rest of their lives.  Similar retirement and benefit options could be available earlier to employees who become disabled for their work and qualify for the Office of Personnel Management’s Disability Retirement benefit. Disability retirement is available to any Federal employee who has completed at least 18 months of creditable civilian service with a medical condition that renders them incapable of performing the duties of their current position (or those of any job at the same grade and pay in their organization and general commuting area). Disability retirements come with the similar pensions and insurance benefits and continue as long as the retiree remains disabled.  Those approved for Disability Retirement must also apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) when they separate.    

 

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HSA or FSA: Which is Better?

By:  Vanessa Craddock, Federal Benefits Specialist

Published: October 2020

Would you like an easy way to save money on your healthcare expenses?

By now, many Federal employees have heard of the various medical accounts they can use to save money, but have no idea which offers what and saves them the most. Let’s take a look at the two popular choices: Health Savings Accounts vs. Flexible Spending Accounts, and determine which one is best for you.

An HSA is a Health Savings Account, and an FSA is a Flexible Spending Account. Both have much in common. They are both designed to give you better control of the money spent on your healthcare. They both also allow you to save money in a tax-free account that can be used to cover qualified out-of-pocket expenses. However, depending on your Federal health insurance plan and your medical needs, one type may be better than the other.

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Tricare Plus FEHB – A Possible Health Benefits “Ace in the Hole” Arrangement When You Retire

By: Bob Braunstein, Federal Benefits Specialist

Published: September 2020

Military retirees who retire from the Federal civilian service have a little-known health insurance option that may be too good to pass up. For a very low cost, they have the ability to expand their health insurance networks beyond Tricare to include an FEHB program. And when the FEHB coverage is no longer needed, they can suspend paying for it. To have this option, one would need to be under active FEHB coverage upon retiring from civilian service. FEHB coverage in retirement for non-military retirees typically requires having the coverage for at least 5 continuous years immediately prior to separating/retiring. But, if one has Tricare, this coverage is included in the 5 years provided they are also covered by an active FEHB plan when they retire.

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Your Next Career Chapter

By: Kathy Lavinder

Published: August 2020
All transitions can be daunting; none more so than transitioning from the public sector to the private sector. Most people inherently understand that government agencies and for-profit businesses have different agendas, goals, cultures, and expectations. Just how different those are will come into clear focus as you begin your post-government job search.

Here are some things to keep in mind:
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