Posted on Monday, 14th July 2014 by

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Federal employees have valuable knowledge, skills, and training that can be highly beneficial to companies after retirement or that can be used to start your own business. Today many companies recruit active federal employees.  FERS employees are more easily persuaded to change careers because most of their benefits can go with them, unlike CSRS employees who don’t pay into Social Security or have a 5% TSP match.

Retirees go back to work for many reasons including financial necessity, volunteering to serve their community or church, and for others it’s simply a matter of staying active and involved. For some it’s to maintain a sense of purpose or to simply share what they’ve spent a life time learning with others.

The retiree stereotype today is profoundly different from what it was for our parents who were expected to retire, disengage, and simply take it easy. Retirees that don’t go back to work have avocations to pursue, travel, and do what they love to do and often do more of it than previous generations.

There isn’t a defined retirement path to follow, being an active and involved retiree can be whatever you want it to be as long as you put a plan into action. It’s a personal journey that can take you to new heights and expand your horizons beyond what you could have ever imagined.

Chuck Jumpeter, a former FAA associate, retired in 2006 and worked to expand a part time business he and his wife started while still working for the FAA. After being retired several years he discovered his true passion; golfing. He completed the United States Golf Teachers Federation (USGTF) instructor training courses and is now the golf pro at the Sand Springs Golf Club in Drums, PA. Plus, he teaches in the US Golf Little League program. He is living his dream and spending quality time imparting his talents to others and enjoying each and every day.  Here is a link to one of his golfing tips videos that he made for a local TV station. He also takes time to spoil and watch his 9 month old grandson.

Many retirees continue working by expanding part time businesses or building on their interests and hobbies while still employed. This approach has a distinct advantage over starting a business from scratch. You build the framework while still employed with Uncle Sam and transition the business to full time after you leave. That is what I did when I retired in 2005. I knew early on in my career that I would retire at age 55. That was my goal and my established business made the transition from and active federal employee to a fully employed retiree easy.

Several of our Forum Hosts, all of which are retired federal employees, pursued this path. Ann Ozuna, a retired CSRS Personnel Management Specialist and owner of  Personnel Solutions Federal Benefits Counseling hosts our Divorce & HR Forum.

Cynthia Compton-Conley Ph.D., our Hearing Loss Help Forum Host, is a Board Certified Doctor of Audiology, Professor of Audiology, and Hearing Industry Consultant. She is a retired Professor of Audiology who taught at Gallaudet University for 32 years and retired in the CSRS system. In 2013 she founded Compton-Conley Consulting.

Herbert Casey, recently signed on to host our HR & Benefits Forum. Herb is a human resource (HR) professional with over 35 years experience in the public sector. He served in HR managerial positions for various federal agencies, domestically and abroad and retired in November, 2013 from the Department of State. Herb is also an Adjunct Professor (Human Resources) at the Catholic University of Washington.

Nancy Holston, host of our Travel Forum is a veteran and retired in 2008.  She travels around the world and shares her many travel experiences with our site visitors. Her last article, titled An African Photo safari, was featured last week in our newsletter and blog.

Simply put, take all that you learned, enjoyed, and experienced while still employed and use it to your advantage when you leave. Become a consultant, write about your experiences for associations and related blogs, take on a part time job in an occupation of interest, work for contractors that serviced your agency while employed or jump start a profitable hobby.

There are many traditional full and part time jobs posted on our retiree jobs board.  Contracting firms, state agencies, and others post job vacancies specifically targeted to federal retirees that have the skills they need. Search our extensive listings to find opportunities in your area.

There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t find another retiree employment opportunity. Here are just a few examples to mull over.

Grounds Keeper – I often drive by large homes that owners neglect to maintain between annual maintenance when they have landscapers weed, mulch, edge the beds, and generally clean up around the exterior of the home.  I do this myself and use herbicide bi-weekly, trim, weed, and clean up small branches, leaves, etc. Many don’t bother and each year it costs them far more for the annual maintenance than what it would cost to have a local grounds keeper (a retiree that loves working outside), come bi-weekly or monthly to spruce up the grounds, weed, plant flowers, and spray herbicide.  Minor work only, leaving the heavy landscaper chores to the professionals. How much would you charge to spend an hour or two every other week to provide this service? You could establish a relationship with several owners and give it a try and your business will grow by word of mouth. No advertising necessary.

Doggie Foster Care – According to the American Veterinary Medical Association there are over 69,000,000 dogs in America.  Dog owners often forgo going on day trips or vacations, where they can’t take a pet, for fear of kenneling their dogs. Many pet owners would travel more if there were dog sitting services in a home environment. You could charge $25 or more a day just to keep a trained pet in your home and adopt the pet for short periods. Something like short term foster care for a favorite pet! This would be especially good for retired pet lovers who don’t want the responsibility and expense of owning their own pet after retirement. Pet owners would pay for this service willingly to have the peace of mind knowing that their pet is being kept in a compassionate and caring family home while they are away.  It would be easy to find a half dozen or so families that would want to take advantage of this service from time to time and you could expand it to visiting their home for short day trips to walk the dog, feed the fish or cat, and perform other services such as picking up the email and papers and just looking in on the house for an extended trip.

Sewing Work – Recently I tried  finding a sewing service to make a 38″ x 20″ x 2″ high pad for an alcove in my study. I even have the material. After numerous online searches I came up empty. I even called local fabric shops and a sewing center asking if they had referrals without success. Avid sewers could make a few bucks doing small jobs like this by advertising their services in local papers, on Angie’s List, or posting a notice at local fabric shops.

Baking & Hobbies – I went to a local computer recycling center this morning and passed a Farmers Market along the way. On the way home I stopped in and to my surprise found many tables set up for everything from baked goods and specialty foods such as homemade jams and jellies to nut breads, candles and collectables. If you enjoy wood working, collect and restore watches, toys, classic cars, or just about anything along that line, turn your passion into profits. It would seem to me that being out in the open air, selling something you made and love doing, would be a winning and profitable proposition.

I have to mention this last one. When I was in my pre-teens, in the late 1950s, I would search for pop bottles to turn in at the local grocery store for from 2 to 5 cents each. I would do just about anything to make a few cents back in those days. We have an Aldis grocery store in our area and you have to use a quarter to unlock and use a grocery cart. In my younger days I would have been in the parking lot offering to unload your groceries and returning the shopping cart for the quarter that you get back when you return the cart to the parking station. Many of our teenage children and grandchildren can’t find traditional work, they too have to be creative to earn some spending money other than just relying on mom and dad.

If you are considering working after retirement there are other benefits. CSRS employees could earn sufficient quarters to collect Social Security which could pay for your Part B Medicare premiums and more. If you work for a company with a 401K plan you can contribute while deferring taxes and increase your retirement income down the road. Work keeps your body and mind active, a wining proposition for anyone.

Learn more about your benefitsemployment, and financial planning issues on our site and visit our Blog frequently at http://fedretire.net to read all forum articles.

Helpful Retirement Planning Tools Distribute these FREE tools to others that are planning their retirement

Visit our other informative sites

The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, and financial information is subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact your benefits coordinator and ask them to review your official personnel file and circumstances concerning this issue. Retirees can contact the OPM retirement center. Our article is not intended nor should it be considered investment advice and our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic economic factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM or any federal entity. You should consult with a financial or human resource professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

 

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    Posted in EMPLOYMENT OPTIONS, LIFESTYLE / TRAVEL, RETIREMENT CONCERNS, SOCIAL SECURITY / MEDICARE

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    Posted on Sunday, 6th July 2014 by

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    Tanzania, Northern Circuit Safari

    Waking up in the Serengeti with a chill in the air and the sound of birds you’ve never heard before is an appetizer for your day ahead. The camp crew has a warm basin of water waiting outside your tent to freshen up before breakfast. What is awaiting you in the dining area? How about eggs cooked to order, toast, bacon, fresh roasted vegetables, fresh fruit and coffee. Then you climb in the safari vehicle to spend your next 9 to 10 hours driving through the park looking for adventure and any animals that come our way.

    That first morning we stopped by a large swampy section of the Senera River. There were birds in the reeds and Giraffes off in the distance gracefully walking and looking for an Acacia tree to munch on. All of a sudden a spray of water shot up from the swamp and a huge Hippo emerged. It was amazing! He was alone, away from a huge number of females and babies that just appeared to be rocks in the water. The water was keeping him cool and he may have been napping. After letting out a big yawn he rolled upside down showing us his feet and did a 360 to cover his back with mud to prevent a sun burn. Those animals are huge but to the untrained eye, I hadn’t even noticed they were present until that fellow exhaled a spray of water. Our guide Adam knew they were present but didn’t spoil the surprise.

    While in the Tarangire National Park, early in the morning, we took a box breakfast with us into the park so we could see the animals at dawn. Our first sighting was a family of Vervet monkeys around a group of trees. It was playtime for the little ones. They would climb the trunk of a large tree and jump into the bush on each other then chasing and trying to catch each other. It was a great way to start the day watching those little ones at play.

    As we were driving through the park our guide Adam spotted a lion print in the soft dirt along the road. We followed the trail until we finally came upon the pride. There were four females, two cubs and a large male in the pride. They were looking for pray but the only animals in the area were elephants. The pride stopped in an open area and they seemed to be taking a break. But after several minutes the male wandered off alone. We continued to watch the older cub sit on a raised spot in the dirt. The young cub, probably just 3 months old, was out of sight.

    Suddenly, a family of nearby elephants nearby started trumpeting, waving their ears and running toward the road ahead. The male lion had gotten too close to their family and the older elephants were protecting the young. The elephants circled facing out with the littlest elephants in the center protecting them from the lions but it was only the male that had approached. The elephants trumpeting were much louder than I would have ever thought. Don’t get on the wrong side of an elephant. Adam explained to us that the lion was doing the same thing as the elephants. He needed to keep the elephants from charging the pride to protect the two cubs. It was on our last game drive that we saw this confrontation and it was a highlight of the entire safari experience.

    The safari was full of wondrous sights: Giraffes walking amongst trees with only their heads visible above the branches, a leopard perched in a tree keeping an eye on a lion pride 100 feet away, a two week old baby elephant learning to use its trunk, zebras daring to get a drink from the watering hole but running for their lives at any sudden movement, lions moving stealthily through the tall grass in hopes of surprising zebras at the water’s edge for a much needed meal, elephants raising their trunks using their tusks to face off in a practice for future status in the elephant male pecking order, a secretary bird dancing away in the tall grass in hopes of stirring a small rodent to move for a meal. These are the things that await you on any given day, and every day is different. Everywhere there is an animal or bird waiting to show you what it’s like to live in the African Savannah.

    Lodging in Luxury Tented Camps

    What exactly is “Luxury Tented Camps”? There are two kinds. A mobile tented camp and a permanent tented camp. A permanent tented camp has permanent flooring, wood or cement, and has a flush toilet, vanity sink and shower permanently plumbed. The walls are canvas and the roof might be wood, thatch or canvas. The interior is set up like a hotel room. You will either have twin or a king size bed. There is often a table to write at, a dresser or chest to put clothing in and a place to hang clothing. You won’t find a couch or recliner in the tent but the furnishings are comparable to a standard hotel room. Most of the camps also offer laundry service.

    The mobile tented camps are inside the parks and have to be moved periodically due to animal migration patterns or weather during the rainy season. The mobile camp rooms are fully enclosed with a durable floor that ties into the canvas walls with canvas roof. There is a secondary canvas roof to prevent leaks. The mobile camps do not have permanent plumbing but they do have flush toilets and a vanity sink. The camp crew keeps the water tank full for the sink and toilet that has a pump flush. The shower is by a scheduled time. You tell the staff at what time you want to take a shower and they raise a canvas bag full of warm water on a pole at the designated time. The water temperature is perfect for a shower. You use a pull chain to turn the water on and off to soap up and rinse off. The mobile camps do not usually offer laundry service but they provide laundry soap and a place to hang clothing to dry.

    Security is provided after dark at all the camps, often by Maasai tribesmen. This is for safety reasons in case an animal is passing through and so you can see where you are going. Each camp will have you signal with your porch light or a flash light that you need an escort to go to the dining area or bar. They will escort you back to your room when you are ready. We also found that the staff was very helpful at clearing your tent of the occasional spider or frog you find out of reach or just too creepy to get yourself.

    Animals and canvas a concern? We could hear animals at our camp in the Serengeti and our camp near the Tarangire National Park. We did hear lions, elephants, and probably hyenas. The low moan of elephants in the distance and the occasional grunt of lions probably sounded much closer than they actually were. We had heard both during game drives and they could be heard during the day when they were a good distance away. I can tell you it was more fascinating listening to them make sounds in the night than fearful because of it.

    I did however have a hard time going back to sleep one night in the Serengeti after hearing an unknown animal that must have also marked the area somewhere near our tent. I suppose it could have been a Hyena. The smell was over powering and very disgusting. The hyenas often come to camps at night looking for garbage to eat. The staff warned us if we washed any clothing not to leave it outside after dark. Apparently Hyena’s like to steal your clothing, whether it fits or not.

    Lodging and Safari Links

    This site is a link to the Tanzania Northern Circuit Safari area. It is set up for travelers to plan an independent safari. I used it as a resource to explore lodging options with the safari company I booked with. Plan to depart from Arusha Tanzania if you choose the Northern Circuit.

    http://www.africatravelresource.com/africa/tanzania/n/

    This is the link for the safari company I traveled with. I recommend the company and would use it again. There are no prices on the site. Contact the company for a quote. Magda is very responsive via email.

    http://www.flash-safaris.com/site/

    Other safari company links including southern African destinations.

    Luxury Safari Links

    Request a FREE Retirement Benefits Summary Analysis from a local adviser. Includes projected annuity payments, income verses expenses, FEGLI, and TSP projections. A sample analysis is available for your review. This service is not affiliated with www.federalretirement.net

    Learn more about your benefitsemployment, travel, and financial planning issues on our site and visit our Blog frequently at http://fedretire.net to read all forum articles.

    Visit our other informative sites

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    The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances. Travel policies and packages are subject to change without notice. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact travel providers and hotels at the time of your bookings to confirm pricing, itinerary, and all costs. The comments and observations are limited to the author’s personal experience and your results may vary significantly. This article and replies to comments are not intended to substitute for professional travel services. Our reply is time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic economic factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change.

     

     

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      Posted in RETIREMENT CONCERNS, Travel

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      Posted on Saturday, 28th June 2014 by

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      FEGLI Retirement Options Part (1) discussed how to assess your insurance needs and a general discussion of FEGLI options, benefits, and considerations. FEGLI Insurance Options (Part 2) outlined parts A, B and C options to help readers decide on what coverage to carry into retirement and alternatives to Part B multiples. This article, Part (3),  covers Life events that allow employees to make FEGLI coverage changes.  It’s important to be aware of these life event options otherwise you may lose out on important family coverage.  Employees also have the ability during a life event change to increase their coverage.

      Retirees are only able to change FEGLI beneficiaries, they can’t add family members or elect expanded coverage.  However, retirees can make significant changes to their benefits for life events. They can add a new spouse and children to their FEHB program and annuitants can elect to provide a survivor annuity for a new spouse if they do it within the required time period.  For more information on retiree life event changes read my article titled Qualifying Life Events, Don’t Lose Your Benefits.

      An employee may elect Basic, Option A, B and/or C insurance within 60 days following a FEGLI qualifying life event. These events are: marriage, divorce, spouse’s death, or the adoption of an eligible child. For option B and C, employees may elect up to 5 multiples based on the life event.  You have 31 days before the event to 60 days after the event to make changes. After that you must wait for an open season and they are few and far between for the FEGLI program.

      Federal employees that marry can add family coverage for  FEGLI and FEHB coverage within the time period mentioned above. If you don’t elect FEGLI life insurance coverage for your new spouse and children you will only be able to add coverage if an open season is announced. They seldom offer FEGLI open seasons. However, if you neglect to add a spouse and your children to your FEHB health insurance program when you first marry, within the 31 days before to 60 day period after the event, you can always add them to your health plans during the next annual open season.

      All federal employees experiencing a life event, no matter where they are at in their career, need to evaluate their insurance needs and  fully understand benefits options. This is an ideal time to review and increase your coverage if needed and to obtain life insurance for a spouse and qualifying children. No physicals are required for life event changes.

      If an employee is 37 and their spouse is 35 the cost of each Option C family coverage FEGLI multiple is only 29 cents biweekly.  For that 29 cents your spouse receives $5,000 life insurance coverage and each child $2,500. You can elect up to 5 multiples which provides $25,000 spousal coverage and $12,500 for each child. The total cost to you for the five multiples at age 37 is only $1.45 biweekly! The cost of Option C increases with age so review the employee FEGLI rates to determine if the cost is worthwhile for you and your circumstances.  The same 5 multiple coverage for a 60 to 64 year old would be $13.50 biweekly, $2.70 per multiple. When you retire at age 65 you can elect either full reduction or no reduction for Option C coverage.

      Retiree Employment Update

      We added more jobs over the past two weeks to our Jobs Board from companies looking to hire skilled federal retirees. These new positions include several data analyst positions and an HR manager for a government contracting firm in Reston Virginia.  Many opportunities exist for those looking to supplement their retirement income or to start a second career.  We provide this free job listing service to companies that are seeking to hire experienced retired federal workers.

      COLA Update

      It looks like our COLA for 2015 will be 2% or more depending on the final CPI numbers due out in October. The CPI-W increased .3 % in May and if that continues we could receive a decent increase next year. They keep telling us that costs aren’t increasing yet we all know that isn’t the case. Gas is approaching $4 a gallon in Pittsburgh! The cost of food, clothing, cars, electricity and everything we use have gone up considerably this past year. If they measured inflation like they did correctly during the Carter years it would be three times what they are officially reporting it today.

      Learn more about your benefitsemployment, and financial planning issues on our site and visit our Blog frequently at http://fedretire.net to read all forum articles.

      Helpful Retirement Planning Tools Distribute these FREE tools to others that are planning their retirement

      Visit our other informative sites

      The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, and financial information is subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact your benefits coordinator and ask them to review your official personnel file and circumstances concerning this issue. Retirees can contact the OPM retirement center. Our article is not intended nor should it be considered investment advice and our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic economic factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM or any federal entity. You should consult with a financial or human resource professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

       

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        Posted in BENEFITS / INSURANCE, EMPLOYMENT OPTIONS, LIFESTYLE / TRAVEL, RETIREMENT CONCERNS

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        Posted on Friday, 20th June 2014 by

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        My last column discussed Basic FEGLI coverage and how to evaluate your insurance needs. This article will discuss options A, B, and C and part 3 of this series will discuss changes you may wish to make with certain life events.  If you are approaching retirement print these articles to help you decide on options when you fill out your retirement forms.  You can only elect FEGLI optional insurance when you are first employed, after an authorized life event, or during one of the rare open seasons that OPM schedules. Basic FEGLI coverage is automatic when you are first selected for federal employment.

        Part A Standard coverage is a flat $10,000 with an additional $10,000 accidental death coverage if you are under 45. The premiums increase with age however they are relatively low.  Most who elect Option A keep it in retirement because at age 65 it’s free like Basic coverage.  The maximum cost for an annuitant under age 65 is currently $13 a month.  At age 65 the insurance reduces 2 percent a month until the coverage decreases to $2,500. 

        Part B increases you insurance coverage by multiples of your salary, from 1 to 5, and the FEGLI Part B premiums  increase dramatically with age. This coverage becomes very expensive in retirement and many approaching retirement either drop, reduce their multiples, or seek lower cost private term insurance if needed.  The younger you are when applying for term coverage the lower your premiums  so it makes sense to look for Part B alternatives long before you retire.  In Part 1 of this series Larry, a federal retiree, was facing Part B premiums of $10,000 a year to retain his 5 multiples at age 65. That same coverage would have increased to $20,000 a year at age 70! Not many retirees on a fixed income can afford to pay high premiums like this.  If you assessed your insurance needs and decide to retain significant  insurance coverage in retirement it may be beneficial to look for lower cost alternatives.  

        You may not have the option to convert your coverage to a private insurer if you have preexisting medical conditions. In this case many are trapped into keeping high cost multiples. Don’t let this happen to you. If you determine you need to maintain Part B coverage after a thorough needs assessment seek out alternatives early, long before you retire.  Whenever I look for insurance coverage or contractor services I always obtain multiple bids from reputable companies. It’s important to read the fine print before sighing any contract.

        I was looking for lower cost home owners insurance recently and did find one company that offered coverage at half of what I was paying. After a thorough review of the low bidders proposal I discovered that many things were not covered, such as sewer back up and water damage from broken pipes, and I kept my current coverage . However, before signing up again with the same company I reviewed the policy online with customer service and determined that they had misclassified  our home.  We ended up getting a $500 rebate and a significant premium reduction.  It pays to question companies when things don’t seem quite right.    

        Part C is family and dependent coverage and you can elect up to 5 multiples as well.Family coverage includes $5,000 for a spouse and $2,500 for each child under age 22 in your household. You can elect up to 5 multiples and the premiums adjust as you age. When you retire you can elect either a full reduction benefit or no reduction.

        If you elect full reduction your multiple coverage will stay in force until you reach age 65. At age 65 the premiums stop and your coverage reduces 2% a month for 50 months when coverage ends. The premium costs per multiple ranges from 48 cents per multiple at age 35 to $14.30 per multiple from age 80 and up. If you don’t have private insurance for your spouse this coverage will fill the gap. Three multiples would cost a person between the ages of 60 to 64 $17.55 a month ($5.85 per multiple) for $15,000 in coverage. From 65 to 69 the cost increases to $20.40. 

        Final Thoughts

        After retirement you can’t increase coverage, you can only reduce your coverage. If you remotely think you or your spouse will need insurance it’s best to elect that coverage now and if you run into a bind down the road you can always reduce multiples or certain options altogether if desired. If you do decided to obtain quotes from private insurance companies for Part B alternatives consider keeping your Basic, Part A and C options. They may try to talk you into dropping all of your FEGLI coverage and they can be convincing. From my perspective the FEGLI insurance costs for Basic, A, and C are reasonable and depending on what you elect in retirement two of the three are FREE when you reach age 65. They stopped taking premiums out of my annuity in June of this year for my Basic since I elected the 75% reduction when I retired in 2004. I’m now officially 65!

        Updates:

        For those planning on retiring in 2014 and 2015 now is a good time to evaluate the best dates for you to leave. You have to consider your annual and sick leave balances and so much more.  We have several informative articles available on this subject including a link to Tammy Flanagan’s article titled “Best Date to Retire in 2015.”  Review this information before you settle on a date to maximize your annuity and lump sum payment.

        Learn more about your benefitsemployment, and financial planning issues on our site and visit our Blog frequently at http://fedretire.net to read all forum articles.

        Helpful Retirement Planning Tools Distribute these FREE tools to others that are planning their retirement

        Visit our other informative sites

        The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, and financial information is subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact your benefits coordinator and ask them to review your official personnel file and circumstances concerning this issue. Retirees can contact the OPM retirement center. Our article is not intended nor should it be considered investment advice and our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic economic factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM or any federal entity. You should consult with a financial or human resource professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

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          Posted in BENEFITS / INSURANCE, ESTATE PLANNING, FINANCE / TIP, RETIREMENT CONCERNS

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          Posted on Thursday, 12th June 2014 by

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          If you think you have a hearing loss and are now pondering whether or not you should buy hearing aids, take a few moments to read this article so that you are empowered with the information you need to obtain competent hearing health care. 

          Finding a Competent Professional

          The first thing you need to do is find a hearing health care professional who can do a comprehensive audiological evaluation (hearing test).   An audiologist is a healthcare professional specializing in identifying, diagnosing, treating and monitoring disorders of the auditory and vestibular system portions of the ear.  Audiologists also dispense hearing aids.  The other professional who can sell hearing aids is a hearing instrument specialist.  Both audiologists and hearing instrument specialists may work in private practice or work for big box stores like Costco.  Audiologists also may work for physicians specializing in the ear.  Audiologists should hold an AuD (Doctor of Audiology) Degree, which is a professional 4-year degree earned following an undergraduate degree.  Some audiologists may also hold a Ph.D.  In order to practice audiology in each state, audiologists must be licensed.

          The Hearing Test

          An audiological evaluation should include a battery of tests to determine the degree, configuration (shape) and type of hearing loss you have and whether or not you need to be referred to a physician for medical treatment.  There are many causes of hearing loss and it is important that serious medical issues be ruled out.  For more information on symptoms and causes of hearing loss, consult the Hearing Loss Association of America’s fact sheet.  Be sure that the office tests you in a calibrated sound booth for reliable testing.

          In order to determine how much difficulty you experience listening in noise, an adaptive speech-in-noise test should be performed.  The QuickSin™ is fast and can also inform decisions on what type of technologies will best meet your needs.  For example, a good score on this test may indicate that hearing aids alone will help you in most situations.  A poor score may indicate that you need to be pairing hearing aids with wireless technologies in many of your day-to-day listening situations.  Inclusion of this test is considered a “best practice” and I would search for a profession who includes it in his or her battery of diagnostic tests.

          Counseling/Needs Assessment

          Once a medical condition is ruled out, then it’s time to talk about your hearing loss and what to do about it.  If the first thing you hear out of the professional’s mouth is “How much do you want to pay for hearing aids?”, then you should stand up, turn around, and head quickly for the nearest exit.  Why?  Because the first question that should be asked is “So are you having any hearing difficulties?  Tell me about them.”  Your hearing health care professional should focus on you as a whole person, not as a potential hearing aid buyer.   Thus, a comprehensive receptive communication needs assessment should be done that examines four universal receptive communication needs:

          1.      FACE-TO-FACE:  We must be able to engage in face-to-face communication, whether in one-to-one situations or in groups.

          2.      MEDIA:  We must be able to receive media on all platforms:  TV, radio, tablets, phablets, phones, movie theaters, etc.

          3.      TELECOMMUNICATIONS:  We must be able to communication on the phone. This includes landline and mobile as well as teleconferences using phones and computer devices.

          4.      ALERTING SIGNALS:  We also need to be aware of alerting signals such as the alarm clock, smoke alarm, baby cry, appliance signals, etc. 

          All four needs may occur at home, at work and while out and about.  The role of the hearing health care professional is to ensure that you hear and comprehend in as many listening environments as possible.  Depending on your particular hearing loss and lifestyle, hearing aids alone may or may not meet all four needs in all situations.  Oftentimes hearing aids can be used along with hardwired and wireless accessories (known as assistive listening devices (ALDs) or hearing assistance technologies (HAT).  By combining these technologies, every single communication situation in your life can be made accessible.  To read more about HAT, you can read some tutorials I wrote for a website called SoundStrategy.

          You might be wondering why hearing aids may need to be used with accessories.  Hearing aids are designed to make speech audible (and thus understandable), but they do this best at close distances.  In order to hear better in noise and amidst reverberation in larger rooms, the signal of interest (whatever it is that you want to hear) must be louder than the noise and/or reverberation.  So, you have two choices.  Move closer (which you cannot always do) or place a wireless microphone next to the talker, or plug a wireless transmitter into a TV, etc.  These wireless devices function like binoculars for the ears, picking up the signal of interest and broadcasting it across the room directly into your hearing aids. 

          To learn more about how hearing loss and room acoustics impact communication and why hearing aids may or may not be enough, go to this link.

          Hearing Aid Features

           When selecting hearing aids you have the choice of various models, but it is very important to be sure that the model you chose contains some key features.

           Directional Microphone

          Directional microphones can improve your ability to understand in noise by reducing what you hear to the sides and behind you.  They work best when you are close to the sound source (“near-field” listening).  However, their effectiveness is reduced or eliminated if you get too far from the sound source (“far-field” listening) and/or are listening in a very reverberant room.   In these situations the hearing assistance technology (HAT) described above can be used along with your hearing aids.  There are other factors affecting directional microphone benefit.  To learn more, read this excellent blog by Jason Galster, Ph.D. 

          Telecoil

          Another helpful feature is a telecoil.  As shown in the illustration, a telecoil is a small sensor that is placed inside of the hearing aid (or implant) and used to pick up electromagnetic energy from hearing aid hearing aid compatible phones.  They also provide wireless access to large rooms that are equipped with loops, FM or infrared wireless listening devices.  These systems are mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and can provide access to movie theaters, concerts, plays, meetings and even your own TV.  If your hearing aids do not have telecoils, then the only way to access large area wireless listening systems is to remove your hearing aids and use the receiver and earphones provided by the movie theater or other venue.  This may or may not be ideal.  To learn more, click here. 

          Wireless Hearing Aids

          Newer hearing aids contain wireless receivers that can be paired with wireless accessories from the same manufacturer.  For example, one brand of hearing aid can be ordered with a TV transmitter that allows you to hear a stereo TV signal in your hearing aids when you enter the room.  This same system can be ordered with a “spouse mic” that your significant other can clip to his or her lapel so that you can hear better in a car, restaurant, etc.  Multiple mics also can be used in meetings.  Some hearing aids can also be used with the iPhone, allowing phone calls and music to be sent to the hearing aids directly. 

          Because of the existence of old and new technology side-by-side, it makes sense to include telecoils in your new hearing aids, even if they are wireless.  This way you can be guaranteed to have access to all existing technologies. 

          Verification Is Key!

          When fitting hearing aids, the hearing health care professional should ensure that the hearing aids chosen for you are working properly and are meeting well-researched fitting targets for audibility and comfort. 

          When the audiologist or hearing aid dispenser purchases hearing aids from a manufacturer, the first thing he or she should do upon receiving the hearing aids is to measure their performance  in a hearing aid analyzer to verify that the hearing aids meet the manufacturer’s specifications. 

          This is quality control, folks.

          The next step is the programming of the hearing aids.  Each hearing aid is programmed using software provided by the manufacturer.  The hearing aid will be programmed according to your needs as determined by your hearing loss and certain fitting targets established by a large body of audiological research.  To determine if each hearing aid is meeting target, verification must be done.  This means that a small flexible microphone will be placed in your ear, first without the hearing aid inserted and then with it inserted.  This is the ONLY – I repeat – ONLY way to objectively determine what Sound Pressure Level (SPL) the hearing aid is delivering to your eardrum.  Without this Probe-Microphone Test (also called Real Ear), it’s anyone’s guess as to whether or not the hearing aid is adjusted properly.  Probe-microphone testing also provides a baseline for comparison when you return for adjustments and is also used to compare performance if your hearing aid malfunctions.  Before you make an appointment to be fitted with hearing aids, always ask if the hearing health care professional uses probe-mic (or real ear) testing to verify a hearing aid fitting.  If the answer is “no”, find another professional.  There is no excuse for not providing probe-mic measurement.  Period. 

          After the hearing aids have been verified, you should be instructed in the care and use of the hearing aids.  This process should involve your significant other(s) as well.  The ultimate success of the hearing aid fitting may depend upon how much information you are able to recall from the orientation process so feel free to ask questions and take notes and call the office if you have any questions.  Remember, it’s all about YOU and your happiness.  A good service provider will be more than happy to help you through the process.   You should also ask for a formal report showing objective benefit achieved in quiet and in noise after the fitting.

          Validation

          Validation is where you and your audiologist or hearing aid dispenser judge whether or not the treatment goals have been achieved.  Oftentimes a questionnaire is given before and after the hearing aid fitting to see how many communication difficulties have been resolved and what else needs to be done, if anything, to improve your ability to hear in all situations of your life.   It is also the time to decide if you want to keep the hearing aids.  A popular questionnaire is called the COSI and you can read more about it here:  http://www.nal.gov.au/outcome-measures_tab_cosi.shtml

          Make sure you understand the return and refund policy if you are not totally satisfied with your improved hearing/comprehension.  Beware of professionals who brush off your complaints with “Your brain will get used to the hearing aid…give it time.”  Yes, there may be an adjustment period, but if you feel something isn’t right, then it probably isn’t.  Have faith in your judgment and be assertive!  State laws require trial periods with hearing aids and money back guarantees.  However, if best practices are followed – i.e., your provider takes the time to listen to your concerns, verifies and validates, then most likely you will keep the hearing aids and may end up using them along with additional hearing assistance technologies to meet all four of your receptive communication needs. 

          Training

          Depending on the nature of your hearing loss, you may need additional training (called aural rehabilitation) to help you hear better with your new technology.  Some providers offer this training in a group or individually.  You may also want to inquire about LACE (Listening and Communication Enhancement) Auditory Training programs that retrain the brain to better comprehend speech in difficult listening situation such as noisy restaurants, rapid speakers, and competing speakers.  To learn more, visit this site:  http://www.neurotone.com/

          Support: Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA)

          HLAA is the nation’s leading organization representing people with hearing loss.  HLAA provides assistance and resources that can help you and your family learn to adjust to living with a hearing loss.   HLAA has a major impact on communication access, public policy, public awareness, and service delivery related to hearing loss.  Their national office is located in Bethesda, Maryland and they also have state chapters around the country.  They are a great organization and I have volunteered for them for many years.  I currently consult for them on technology and training.  Check out their website and consider coming to their convention in Austin this June!  It’s always great fun.

          Final Thoughts

          We all deserve to have FULL receptive communication access – for a lifetime.  By employing a holistic systems-engineering approach that uses best practices to carefully assess your communication needs, only then can your hearing health care professional move forward to select, verify and validate appropriate technology.   Remember, need informs technology, not the other way around.  Finally, you want a professional who can also provide you with behavioral and environmental strategies that can be used along with your technology to help you achieve the full communication access you deserve.

          Cynthia Compton-Conley Ph. D. is a Board Certified Doctor of Audiology, Professor of Audiology, Hearing Industry Consultant and Host of the Hearing Loss Help Forum. Dr.  Cynthia is a retired Professor of Audiology who taught in the graduate school at federally-funded Gallaudet University for 32 years and retired in the CSRS system.  In 2013 she founded Compton-Conley Consulting.

          Learn more about your benefits, employment opportunities, and financial planning issues on our site and visit our blog frequently at http://fedretire.net to read all forum articles.

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          Limits of Liability and Disclaimer of Warranty

          We do not provide medical advice. This website and the information provided on this site are intended solely for consumer education. This website and its information services do not constitute the practice of medicine, nursing, or other professional health care practice and nothing contained in this website is or should be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Do not disregard, avoid or delay obtaining medical advice from your physician or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on this website.  While the publisher and author have used their best efforts in providing information on hearing loss and associated hearing enhancement or hearing protection technology, they make no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the content of this forum and Website, replies to site visitor questions, or prepared articles, and they specifically disclaim any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation. You should consult with a physician or audiologist where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

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            Posted in BENEFITS / INSURANCE, RETIREMENT CONCERNS, WELLNESS / HEALTH

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            Posted on Sunday, 8th June 2014 by

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            It’s  wise to evaluate your insurance needs before deciding on what  options you will carry into retirement and long before filling out your retirement forms.  Linda Sherman wrote an excellent article titled A Life Insurance Check-up: Assessing Your Insurance Needs that I recommend everyone read no matter where they are in their career; from new hire to those planning their retirement.  It will help you evaluate what your insurance needs are and then you can make prudent FEGLI election decisions.

            What FEGLI insurance options to carry into retirement is a critical issue for employees planning their retirement. If you make the wrong decision you could either leave your family with burdensome debt down the road or negatively impact your monthly income for you and your spouse.

            New hires and younger employees often take their FEGLI coverage for granted and put little thought into their coverage until late in their careers.  Typically, life insurance for the younger generation is the last thing on their minds. When approaching retirement this facet of our life takes on new meaning, especially for those who we will inevitably and eventually leave behind.

            The younger generation also needs to ensure their spouse and children are protected throughout their young lives. FEGLI insurance costs are minimal early on in our careers and the Basic benefit offers multiplication factors for those under age 45.  If you are 35 and earning $75,000 a year, your Basic Coverage is $77,000, $2,000 over your annual base salary. At no additional cost your Basic coverage doubles to $154,000! The premium for this coverage is a meager $11.55 biweekly at age 35. A great deal by any standard.

            FEGLI coverage, especially for option B, is extremely expensive as we age and if you have the full 5 multiples your monthly premiums could put a huge dent in your monthly annuity payment. Jeffery wrote to me about the high cost of his coverage.  When he was 64 and ready to retire his Part B premium was over $10,000 a year for the full 5 multiples. If he wanted to retain that same coverage at age 70 his premiums would have increased to $21,000 a year! Fortunately, he was in good health and obtained term life insurance at about half the cost from a private insurance company. Had he purchased the term life at an earlier age it would have cost him much less.

            The amount of FEGLI insurance coverage that you need is determined by your personal situation. If your children are grown, have little long term debt, with sufficient income from your annuity, social security, and other savings to live comfortably, your insurance needs are much less than a couple with a dependent or disabled child living at home.  Linda’s article, that I mentioned earlier will help you decide on what coverage you will actually need based on your personal circumstances.

            My personal opinion is that Basic coverage is well worth the cost and most should consider retaining it into retirement. It is a fixed cost and doesn’t increase with age like options A, B and C does.  Plus if you elect the 75% reduction at retirement when you turn 65 it is free and the full insurance amount decreases 2% a month until it drops to 25% of its original value.  You can elect to carry 50 or 100 percent of your Basic insurance into retirement however you will continue to pay a Basic Premium for that coverage for life.  Again, it all depends on how much coverage you need.  In my personal situation I obtained whole life coverage when I was still in my 20s and that insurance, along with the reduced FEGLI insurance, was more than sufficient for us.  Option A is also a good  choice because the premiums are minimal and it too is free after age 65.

            The Nuts and Bolts of Option A, B and C FEGLI Coverage will be featured in Part 2 of this series.  In the meantime visit OPM’s excellent FEGLI calculator to determine the cost of your current options and how much it will cost to carry them into retirement. You have the option of reducing your Part B & C multiples and you can try different scenarios.

            Retiree Employment Update

            We updated our Retiree Jobs Center to include more relevant job searches. The searches are targeted and we improved our methods of searching national jobs boards for current vacancies.

            Private companies, contractors, and  state government departments use our Retiree Jobs Board to hire skilled federal retirees for part and full time positions nationwide. You will find jobs ranging from general clerks, consulting, and sales positions, to security guards, bank tellers, engineers, IT specialists, client services, researchers, writers, and everything in between. Most are part time and you can tailor you hours to your routine.  Many opportunities exist for those looking to supplement their retirement income or to start a second career.  We provide this free job listing service to companies that are seeking to hire experienced retired federal workers.

            I am personally looking for two retirees for part time consulting services. One from the federal sector and the second a retired Personnel Specialist familiar with the Postal Service recruiting system.  I need a federal manager/supervisor or HR Recruiting specialist with excellent writing skills to write articles for our new Federal Jobs Blog located at http://www.federaljobs.net/blog/. This blog is targeted to new federal sector hires.  If you know of a retiree that fits these descriptions forward them a copy of this newsletter or direct then to our jobs board.

            New Hearing Loss Help Forum

            I would like to welcome Cynthia Compton-Conley Ph.D., a Board Certified Doctor of Audiology, Professor of Audiology, and Hearing Industry Consultant to our new Hearing Loss Help Forum.  She is a retired Professor of Audiology who taught in the graduate school at federally-funded Gallaudet University for 32 years and retired in the CSRS system.  She will be hosting this new forum starting this month and her  first article will be published shortly with many more to come. Anyone experiencing hearing loss will benefit from her many years of experience.  You will all receive her first article, How to Manage Your Own Hearing Health Care,  Monday June 16th. It is so informative that I would be remiss in not sending it to the entire newsletter subscriber list.  If you wish to receive her articles in the future just click on “update Profile / Email Address” at the bottom of next week’s  email message and you will be able to add Cynthia’s “Hearing Loss Help” articles to your mailing list.

            Learn more about your benefitsemployment, and financial planning issues on our site and visit our Blog frequently at http://fedretire.net to read all forum articles.

            Helpful Retirement Planning Tools Distribute these FREE tools to others that are planning their retirement

            Visit our other informative sites

            The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, and financial information is subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact your benefits coordinator and ask them to review your official personnel file and circumstances concerning this issue. Retirees can contact the OPM retirement center. Our article is not intended nor should it be considered investment advice and our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic economic factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM or any federal entity. You should consult with a financial or human resource professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

             

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              Posted in BENEFITS / INSURANCE, RETIREMENT CONCERNS, SOCIAL SECURITY / MEDICARE, SURVIVOR INFORMATION

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              Posted on Saturday, 24th May 2014 by

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              Many approaching retirement and retirees alike express regret at how fast technology is changing our lives.  They recall the days, not too long ago, when we were not a connected society with instant messaging, cell phones, and computerized everything. It’s amazing just how far we’ve gone in such a short time and how our lives are so dependent on computers of every stripe. The younger generations have grown up with this technology, with its ever changing landscape, and accept it without pause.

              I was at our local bank awhile back when their computer system crashed.  I wasn’t able to make a deposit, get cash or even access my safety deposit box! This is systemic with most businesses today and when a computer system fails that sector shuts down and comes to a dead stop.   

              Back in the 1960s, 70s, and much of the 80s we had passbook bank accounts and even when power went out local banks could still make book entries and cash checks with money on hand.  Most stock transactions were made by phone and online shopping was nonexistent.  Many things were handwritten, manually filed, and accountants had a field day working through detailed ledgers to balance the books, especially for small businesses. We needed a lot more workers back then to complete the manual data entry and so forth.  

              This past winter presented another challenge; a potential power grid failure. With so many coal fired plants taken offline recently due to environmental regulations we came close to exceeding our supply and without power everything grinds to a stop.  Recently, a local electric provider announced a 50% increase in premiums for the next 12 months because they had to pay high prices to electricity suppliers over the winter and they could hardly keep up with demand.

              I’m sure our grandparents felt the same way when the telephone, radio, cars, and transportation changes were up and coming in 1900. They probably felt intimidated by all of the changes and had similar reservations.  Regardless, I still feel we are more vulnerable today than ever because of our complete reliance on computers. I wouldn’t be so concerned if we had manual backup systems to handle major power grid and computer system failures.  For example, if there was ever an Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) event from manmade or natural causes our computer dependent society including our cars, power grid, etc would be compromised and some estimate it could take years to restore power across the country.  

              All that being said I’m hooked on new technology and life is so much easier with it if we embrace it and take the time to understand and use it. For example, I pay all of our bills online,  change cable TV channels, search TV listings, visit internet sites, and follow stocks on my iPhone.  Some newer hearing aids also offer pairing to your iPhone to answer calls, adjust sensitivity, and change programs.

              The iPhone and iPad along with Face Book are fun ways to keep up with family and friends. Our son, daughter-in-law, and daughter frequently send photos, videos, and messages to keep us up-to-date with what is going on in their lives and we can follow our grandchild through all of his hilarious antics.

              I use GPS when we travel and it makes trips so much more relaxing now that a friendly voice prompts you to take the shortest route and the right turns to your destination.  If you get lost on a day trip just press home on your GPS and it takes you there and when you run into a traffic jam you can select an alternate route around the problem.  My wife and I also enjoy all that SIRIUS XM radio offers and while traveling we listen to news, CNBC, talk radio, plus explore hundreds of channels loaded with music from the 50s, 60s, 70s, and more.  Due to computer components our cars are more reliable, burn less gas, and now are equipment with collision avoidance RADAR and soon will take us to our destination with the computer behind the wheel so to speak!

              There are pros and cons to everything and unlike our ancestors the changes are coming faster than most can possibly keep up with. All we can do is adjust as best we can and enjoy the ride.   

              Learn more about your benefitsemployment, and financial planning issues on our site and visit our Blog frequently at http://fedretire.net to read all forum articles.

              Helpful Retirement Planning Tools Distribute these FREE tools to others that are planning their retirement

              Visit our other informative sites

              The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, and financial information is subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact your benefits coordinator and ask them to review your official personnel file and circumstances concerning this issue. Retirees can contact the OPM retirement center. Our article is not intended nor should it be considered investment advice and our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic economic factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM or any federal entity. You should consult with a financial or human resource professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

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                Posted in LIFESTYLE / TRAVEL, RETIREMENT CONCERNS

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                Posted on Friday, 9th May 2014 by

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                Turning 65 often proves to be a pivotal year for retirees.  I’ll be 65 next month and discovered many tasks await us at this juncture in our lives. There are many things to consider and first and foremost I’m grateful that I made it to this milestone; many don’t, including my parents and grandparents on my father’s side. None of which lived long enough to collect Social Security.  

                Starting this month my FEGLI is FREE and my monthly annuity payment will increase by the amount of my previous FEGLI premium. I elected the 75% reduction when I retired in 2005 and paid the monthly premiums for the past 10 years.  During those 10 years I retained full coverage that equaled my base pay plus $2,000. Over the next 36 months or so the coverage drops 2% per month until it reaches 25% of the original value.

                Speaking of free, in the previous article I discussed final arrangements and talked about the veteran’s National Cemetery burial benefit. My wife and I finalized our plans and decided to take advantage of this program which can save veterans and their spouses close to $10,000 in burial costs.  Two of my cousins, my brother, and other family members and friends will eventually be there as well. Of course I hope that my heirs won’t be able to take advantage of this benefit for many years to come. I at least wrote down our wishes and checked off another item on my to-do list. Strangely enough my to-do list never seems to get smaller even though I keep checking off item after item. I suppose that’s a good thing, adding new actions that need to be done, proving that I’m not content to just sit on the sideline.

                Medicare is the next item on my list. You have a 7 month window starting three months before your 65th birthday to apply without a penalty. I decided to apply in the 7th month because I converted one of our retirement accounts to a ROTH two years ago. Social Security obtains your Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) from the IRS each year. The problem is that Social Security’s information can be from income tax returns that are up to two years old. If I wait until August Social Security may have updated income figures from the IRS. Your part B premiums are based on your (MAGI) and they can more than double if you don’t time ROTH conversions, TSP withdrawals, and/or capital gains properly.

                If you apply for Medicare and your Part B premium is based on a higher MAGI you can file a Medicare Income Adjustment SSA-44 form. This form allows you to submit recent tax returns and other documentation that support a lower income than Social Security estimated.  Another reason for the delay on my part is that it takes about 2 months from the date you apply for Medicare to go into effect. Therefore I’ll save about 5 to 6 months worth of Part B premiums. Our FEHB plan will remain primary until Medicare kicks in. I debated for months whether or not to apply for Part B and after much research and thought decided it made sense for me and my family.  The vast majority of retirees elect Part B and for good reason.  Review my Medicare and Part B article for additional information on this subject. NARFE members can also visit the NARFE web site and read Tammy Flanagan’s excellent article on this subject. 

                The good thing about turning 65 is that I turned 65 and that my wife and I are still able to do pretty much what we like to do, with limitations of course.  The bad and inevitable part is that I still think I’m in my forties when it comes to projects and I frequently bit off more than I can now chew. For example, I love to work on home projects and over the years I’ve landscaped 5 properties planting hundreds of trees and shrubs plus built patios, decks, room editions, and so much more. Now, after three hernia surgical repairs and knee surgery I can’t physically take on those projects anymore without contracting much of it out.  Inevitable, YES but the good thing is that I can still do the planning but now have to pay someone else to do the work I use to enjoy.  Such is life.  

                Learn more about your benefitsemployment, and financial planning issues on our site and visit our Blog frequently at http://fedretire.net to read all forum articles.

                Helpful Retirement Planning Tools Distribute these FREE tools to others that are planning their retirement

                Visit our other informative sites

                The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, and financial information is subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact your benefits coordinator and ask them to review your official personnel file and circumstances concerning this issue. Retirees can contact the OPM retirement center. Our article is not intended nor should it be considered investment advice and our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic economic factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM or any federal entity. You should consult with a financial or human resource professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

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                  Posted in BENEFITS / INSURANCE, ESTATE PLANNING, FINANCE / TIP, RETIREMENT CONCERNS, SOCIAL SECURITY / MEDICARE, SURVIVOR INFORMATION

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