Monthly e-News

The Many Flavors of Federal Retirement

By:  Maureen Wilkin, Federal Benefits Specialist

Published:  December 20, 2018


If you are a current Federal employee you are most likely covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). Or you might be covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). Then again, you could be covered by either of those, but be in a Special Retirement occupation.   If you have a temporary appointment, you are covered only by Social Security.  There seems to be a limitless number of retirement coverage categories.  That’s quite a menu of possibilities or “flavors.”  Continue reading

Am I Ready For Retirement?

5 Important Questions Federal Employees Should Ask

By: Vanessa Craddock, Federal Benefits Specialist

Published:  November 20, 2018


  1. Will I have enough money to live on?
    General rule of thumb is that you’ll need approximately 80% of your pre-retirement income to live comfortably in retirement.  FERS, if you work 30 years, you’ll have at least 30% of your high-three average salary, so you’re well on your way.  Save consistently in TSP, claim Social Security at full retirement age and you should be fine.  CSRS, if you work 41 years, 11 months you’ll have the entire 80% without TSP, IRA’s or any other retirement savings!  Continue reading

Retirement Health Series, Part 3: Emotional Health While Preparing For Retirement

By:  Michael Townshend

Published:  October 19, 2018

If we Google “Retirement”, over 80% of the references will discuss financial preparations and post-retirement spending.   Another 10 to 15% will address issues of physical health management allowing for an active and enjoyable time in our later years.  Certainly, these are necessary topics to plan well and enjoy a retirement with minimal worry, assured that we will be able to afford a comfortable life in the best health for our age.  Continue reading

Retirement Health Series, Part 2: Financial Health: Healthy Habits of Happy Retirees

By:  Karen Schaeffer, CFP®

Published:  September 20, 2018

For over 40 years we’ve been helping Federal government employees transition from their working years — also known as the accumulation phase of life — into a comfortable retirement.  The future has always been murky.  No one knows exactly how long they are going to live, how the markets will perform, how healthy they will be and for how long, what tax laws will change…you get the picture.  Nonetheless, there are several habits common to successful retirees.   Continue reading

Retirement Health Series, Part 1: Physical Health: Think Health Over Wealth

By:  Kari Utz-Wolsky, (ISSA) CFT, SPN, SSC; Crossfit Level 1, Nutrition and Conditioning Specialist

Published:  August 20, 2018

When we think of retirement, we often have visions of reading our favorite book on the patio. Maybe some of us think about having more time to travel, time to visit kids and grandkids. Or we look forward to having more time for our favorite hobby. And almost always, we think about whether we have enough finances to cover our retirement. Perhaps we should give as much attention to our physical wellbeing as we do to our financial wellbeing. Continue reading

“Tax Cut and Jobs Act” (TCJA) Mid-Year Review

By:  Bob Leins, CPA®

Published:  July 20, 2018

Congress passed the TCJA December 27, 2017 and the law became effective five days later, January 1, 2018. Now, over six months later, how will the TCJA benefit you?  As we enter the second half of 2018, changes within the TCJA have become somewhat easier to identify but remain less clear to apply personally.   A central focus of the TCJA changes is structured to decrease personal total income tax. Let’s review some highlights and focus on their application to you:

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What You Really Should Know About Social Security Benefits

By:  Maureen Wilkin, Federal Benefits Specialist

Published:  June 20, 2018

Most people working today tend to think of Social Security benefits as something to consider when they get old.  Human nature being what it is they put off thinking about those benefits.  And that’s not a good idea.  Social Security benefits are not a component of old age.  In fact, as a working individual, you might qualify for some type of benefit long before you reach old age.  Benefits are available to workers at retirement age, if they become disabled, and then to surviving family members at the time of the worker’s death.  If you are married to a worker receiving a benefit, you might qualify for a spousal benefit, even if you do not qualify for a worker’s benefit of your own. 

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Why Everyone Must Do Estate Planning Today

By:  Norman Handler, Esquire

Published:  May 21, 2018

Estate planning often falls to the bottom of our “to-do list”, because it is not a pleasant thing to think about and because none of us expect to need it anytime in the near future. And the probability is that most of us will not need it in the near future. But estate planning deals with possibilities, not probabilities, and it is possible that the need will arise. We have to plan to care of ourselves and our families, just in case the need does arrive sooner than expected.

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Can You Handle an Unexpected Expense?

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

Published:  April 20, 2018


You had an unexpected car repair; a squirrel got into your attic, your water heater ruptured.  Sudden unplanned expenses can play havoc with your budget and you are not alone.  More than one-third of households (34 percent) endured a major unexpected expense over the past year, according to Bankrate’s latest Financial Security Index survey.

Only 39 percent said they could cover a $1,000 expense with savings.  A quarter of the households would borrow from friends or cut back on other regular monthly expenses.  One out of five would use a credit card and pay off over time, making the total cost even greater.  Your best protection is to have an emergency savings fund as a cushion.

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TSP Versus IRA: Which is Better?

By:  Karen Schaeffer, Certified Financial Planner®

Published:  March 20, 2018


So, which is better, the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) or an Individual Retirement Account (IRA)? Such a deceptively simple question can fill countless, “well, it depends” paragraphs without getting to an answer.  Rather than ramble on about endless variables, lets walk through some of the strengths of each, trying to keep in mind the correct answer might:

  • Be both instead of either/or;
  • Differ based on whether we’re in the accumulation phase or the spending phase of life; and
  • Be different for you than for someone else – its personal financial planning after all.

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