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The Final Stretch: The Secure Act is Coming for Your Retirement Beneficiaries

By:  Anne Sullivan, Esquire

Published:  July 2021

 

When was the last time you checked your TSP or IRA beneficiary designations? If you haven’t lately, or even if you have, please go back and review them now against the Secure Act. Never heard of the Secure Act?  Let me explain.
In December 2019, Congress enacted the Secure Act to encourage Americans to save more in their retirement accounts. While the law ushered in several changes to stimulate retirement savings, it also dramatically changed the distribution rules for TSPs, IRAs, and other income tax-deferred accounts. The law applied immediately to IRAs but delayed implementation for the TSP until December 30, 2021. 

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Bob Braunstein

Postponed or Deferred Retirement: What’s the Difference and What Are My Options?

By:  Bob Braunstein, Federal Benefits Specialist

Published:  June 2021

When the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) was introduced as the alternative to the original Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) in the mid-1980s, it was touted as a more flexible and portable program – which, in fact, it is.  Instead of a pension-only retirement plan that required staying in Federal service for almost 42 years to gain the maximum entitlement, FERS offers the following flexibilities:

  • A pension with a personal early retirement option; CSRS early retirements require special circumstances,
  • Social Security (SS) coverage for the same years of service; CSRS is not covered by SS, and
  • Thrift Savings Plan with agency matching; CSRS employees do not get agency matching on their TSP contributions.

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Young Teacher

NITP is Looking to Expand Our Team

Federal Benefits Specialist

National Institute of Transition Planning, Inc. (NITP) is the trusted source for Federal benefits, financial and pre-retirement planning.  We have been in business since 1984 and have trained over 600,000 Federal employees.

Our mission is to educate Federal employees and enable them to make informed and sound decisions about their financial futures and retirement options.  Our courses are designed for Federal employees at all career stages: Early, Mid-Career and Pre-Retirement.

NITP, Inc. has a need for a Federal Benefits Instructor to address the follow topics:

  • FERS Retirement Benefits and Options
  • Minimum Age and Service Requirements
  • Creditable Service
  • Deposits and Redeposits
  • Calculation of the Basic Retirement Benefit
  • Disability Retirement
  • Survivor Benefits
  • Retirement Processing
  • Federal Insurances – FEHB, Medicare Parts A&B, FEGLI, LTCIP, FSAs
  • Social Security and Medicare – Qualification, calculation and claiming strategies
  • Thrift Savings Plan Contributions

 

Requirements:

  • Must possess a comprehensive knowledge of the 3-tiered FERS program.
  • Experience in public speaking to small and large groups of Federal workers, either virtually or live.
  • Demonstrate the ability to convey information via professional and interesting format to adult learners.

 

This is a Contractor position.

Please submit resume in confidence to avincent@nitpinc.com

Medicare

Thinking About Medicare?

Published: May 2021

By: Maureen Wilkin, Federal Benefits Specialist

 

If you are or soon will be age 65, it is time to consider enrolling in Medicare. Enrollment is voluntary. Your opportunities to enroll are limited. You should plan on spending about as much time to make this decision as you would to choose a cable provider or streaming service. Well, maybe not that much time!

 

 

Enrollment may be done online. You can find complete information regarding Parts A, B, C, and D and also enroll at: https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/medicare/

 

You have three opportunities to enroll:
  • Initial opportunity = 7 month window around 65th birthday
  • Special opportunity = 8 month period that starts when health insurance coverage becomes retirement based AND you are 65
  • General enrollment = January – March each year; becomes effective in July (when payment begins) Possible late penalty for delaying Part B enrollment – a permanent penalty.

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Cash

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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Tom ORourke

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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Checklist Concept

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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Employee Benefits

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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Health Care Power of Attorney

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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Mike Townshend

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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