Benefit and Retirement Advice for Federal Employees
Are you a federal employee nearing retirement and want to be sure that you will be able to live comfortably afterwards? Are you earlier in your career and want to make sure that your dream of an early retirement can come true? Are you are already retired and want to make sure that the retirement savings you've built will last for the rest of your life? There are important decisions to be made at all points of a federal career, and each can have an impact on your lifestyle after leaving federal service.
At Brook Federal Advisors, primary advisor Jason Visner can answer your federal retirement questions and help you put a plan together for your retirement. That includes consideration of all of the following (click headings for more information):
This is where we like to start, to get a good overall picture of where you stand. We will evaluate all of the various federal benefit packages, to make sure you're making the most of the options available to you. Choices made within one program often affect the recommendations for another program, and the entire situation should be considered.
Your primary federal retirement benefit will be your CSRS or FERS annuity. We can help you estimate your expected benefits for either system, including CSRS Offset and FERS transfers. Learn what factors affect the calculation, and what the impact of adjusting your plans would be.
The TSP is a very important part of a federal retirement, and is the area where you have the most control over your own situation. This is especially true for FERS employees. We can help evaluate where you stand today, and what you need to do to meet your retirement goals. We can also discuss your options with TSP after retirement.
Protecting your family is important. Life insurance can be there to help provide income if you can't be. We can help you identify how much insurance you need, and understand your options for getting that coverage at the lowest cost.
Health insurance coverage is an important benefit, and there are many options for you as a federal employee. As you get close to retirement, you need to understand how the choices you make affect the ability of you and your family to remain covered in the future.
Some classes of federal employees have different retirement systems and requirements, and often face different challenges in retirement. That can include dealing with mandatory retirement, having less time for TSP contributions, and potential early withdrawal penalties. We can help guide you through the issues that come up so you can make the most of your situation.
Military service can be "bought back" to be added to your civilian retirement. The decision to do a buy-back depends on many factors, including military and civilian time of service, military salary, civilian salary, age, time to retirement, and several others. We can help you through all of the calculations to see if a buy-back the right decision in your case.
When can you afford to retire? What is the best date to retire? Are you sure you're not missing out on important benefits? Selecting an actual retirement date is very important and can have an effect on your overall benefits, especially initial cash flow. We can help you avoid some common pitfalls and get the most out of your benefits.
When you finally get your retirement paperwork, you will have many options to choose from. Those include FEGLI, FEHB, survivor annuities, and TSP. For CSRS employees, it could even include the Voluntary Contribution Program (VCP), which is a little known but highly valuable benefit for some situations. Make sure you don't feel pressured in the process, and take the time to choose wisely. We can help you make sense of the options available, and point out some you may not have considered.
Social Security doesn't just apply to federal employees, but it is an important part of the retirement picture for those people eligible for it (FERS, CSRS Offset). There are many different strategies that can be used to maximize the benefits, especially for married couples. We can help review those with you, and see what makes the most sense in your case. We can also discuss the effects of the "Windfall Elimination Provision" and the "Government Pension Offset", which will have an effect on the future income for both you and your spouse.
Most of other items mentioned have to do with your long term retirement plan. The short term plan can be even more important, and requires sufficient attention to avoid a painful start to retirement. Keep in mind that you won't get an annuity check for at least a month after retiring, and that will be a reduced "interim" amount until the final amount is calculated by OPM. The FERS supplement will also be delayed for final calculations, if you are eligible. These cash flow interruptions can be dealt with, but they take some up-front planning. We can help make the transition smoother, especially if we start the process with a couple years to go before retirement.