Monthly e-News

Social Security and Medicare – Keep It Simple

By: Maureen Wilkin, Federal Benefits Specialist, NITP

Published: November, 2019


Medicare and Social Security become topics of conversation for most people as they begin to plan for retirement.  That conversation often reveals how overwhelmed people are by the amount of program information available.  The good news is that it’s really not that complicated. Each program has some key points to know and follow. Let’s go through each program to help you gain a basic understanding.

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Federal Benefits Open Season is Coming! Give It Some Thought

By:  Maureen Wilkin, Federal Benefits Specialist, NITP

Published:  November 2019


Federal Benefits Open Season for health insurance, dental and vision insurance, and the flexible spending program will begin this year on November 11 and run through December 9. The number of participants who will make changes to existing enrollments will be quite low, as usual, and even fewer new enrollments will occur. Why?  Complacency and aversion to change are the main reasons.

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Online Resources for Federal Open Season 2019

By:  Michele Bollier, Federal Benefits Specialist

Published:  October 2019


Federal Open Season is November 11, 2019 – December 9, 2019


Michele has compiled a useful guide containing hyperlinks to online resources during Federal Open Season.
CLICK HERE to view the guide.


Michele Bollier, Federal Benefits Specialist, NITP, is a retired Federal employee.  She worked for the Federal government for over 30 years focusing on Federal benefits.  Since then, she has been a seminar presenter for NITP.


New & Improved TSP

By: Karen Schaeffer, CFP®

Published: September 2019

You’re Going to Love the New and Improved TSP!

For years (ok, let’s be honest, decades) when participants in our retirement classes learned of the limited withdrawal options from the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) they were stunned.  For Traditional TSP accounts the choices amount to:

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The FERS Annuity

By:  Vanessa Craddock, Federal Benefits Specialist

Published:  August 20, 2019

As many Federal employees may know, the FERS retirement program is a three-tiered benefit system: the FERS Annuity, the Social Security retirement, and the Thrift Savings Plan.  It is the FERS portion, however, that serves as the foundation of this retirement plan.  So what exactly is a FERS Annuity benefit and what can employees do to get the most from it?

The Federal Retirement Paper Chase

By:  Maureen Wilkin, Federal Benefits Specialist

Published:  July 18, 2019


If you are a soon-to-be-retired Federal employee, you should begin the retirement application “paper chase” about six months before the date you plan to retire. No need to panic.  It actually requires less paperwork for you to leave Federal service than it did for you to enter!   Continue reading

Preparing to Meet with your Benefits Officer About Retirement

By:  Phil Gardner, Federal Benefits Specialist

Published:  June 20, 2019

Getting ready to retire? Your agency benefits officer wants you to start the process 3 to 6 months ahead of your retirement date.  Here are some things to think about before setting up your meeting.  Your benefits officer will provide you with full details and an estimate of your annuity.  Continue reading

What To Do First When a Loved One Dies

By:  Marc S. Levine, Esquire

Published:  May 20, 2019


What are some of the practical considerations when a loved one dies? A lot of my work [or “an estate planning attorney’s work”] with clients is about planning for some low-probability / high-impact events – such as an early or unexpected death, as well as planning for the reality that all of us will pass.  This is one of the most important aspects of what we do – helping people navigate what can be a complicated maze of what has to be done after someone dies.  Continue reading

Credit Reports – Credit Scores

By:  Ray Kirk, Ph.D., Federal Benefits Specialist

Published:  April 22, 2019


Banks, car dealers, credit card companies, newspaper columns all talk about credit scores and credit reports. Do you know how they differ and what they are used for?

A credit report chronicles your credit history — a credit score predicts your credit future.

A credit report is the detailed history of your credit use and repayment patterns.  A credit score is a single number, based on an algorithm, predicting your credit risk based on the information in your credit report at one point in time.

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What is the Roth TSP, and Should I Use It?

By:  Joel Cundick, CFP®

Published:  March 20, 2019


What is a “Roth”, and where did it come from? In 1974, Congress passed legislation allowing the creation of Individual Retirement Accounts, or IRAs. Twenty-three years later in 1997, a new form of IRA was created by Congress. Labeled a “Roth IRA” (after the late Senator William Roth of Delaware), this new IRA allowed individuals to choose to pay taxes before contributing to the IRA, and then pay no taxes on growth and income in the account at the time of future withdrawals. From this point forward, the initial tax-deferred IRA option began to be referred to as a “Traditional IRA.” Roth options in employer retirement plans began to be offered in 2006 generally, and specifically in the Thrift Savings Plan in 2012.

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