This is a good time of year to look forward and decide on a path to take either towards retirement or to what you would like to accomplish while retired. It’s easy to let another year slide by without taking action – procrastinating – on a number of issues.
Federal employees who are approaching retirement must start planning years in advance of their departure. Too many wait too long to start researching their benefits and selecting a realistic departure date. Retirees often see their retirement dreams languish as each year goes by. It has been over ten years since I retired and it seems like yesterday! Time flies by at a faster rate as we age and when we look in the rear view mirror many wonder what they missed along the way?
Don’t let this happen to you. If you are thinking about retirement NOW is the time to start exploring your options, learning about the process, and evaluating whether or not you can financially afford to leave. Another very important aspect of retirement is what you will do when you get there .
Retirees on the other hand are already there and if you are one of those wondering why you haven’t achieved what you set out to do take steps to get back on track.
I’m not talking about making a New Year’s resolution, resolutions are too easy to break. What you need to establish is a plan. Write down your goals (take baby steps) and list the actions needed to achieve them. I discovered a long time ago that if you don’t write your plans down on paper, with specific actions to take along the way, you will easily forget about it and another year will pass you by.
Your plan has to be realistic and achievable within the time and means available. Too often we start off setting unrealistic goals, get frustrated and abandon the plan.
Most know when it’s time to retire or at least they are aware that things aren’t what they use to be and it’s time for a change. It takes courage to make a decision that will affect the rest of your life and your entire family as well. The only way to reduce the fear and stress is to address it head on and start researching retirement from your very personal perspective. You need to ask yourself the following questions:
- Can I afford to retire?
- What are my current expenses?
- What is my total income from all sources?
- Dividends / Interest Income
- Social Security
- Spouses income
- How much will my federal annuity be?
- What will I do in retirement?
We have a free report that you can download titled How to Be Financially Prepared When You Retire  that includes a link to a free spreadsheet we developed to capture much of this information. Just taking this first step will help you get started.
If you have a target retirement date or several tentative dates in mind request official annuity estimates from your HR department. They must provide you with this information.
Don’t get overwhelmed if you are just getting started. There is a lot to consider but if you take it a step at a time you will find your way and discover the answers you need to make an informed decision. Visit our Federal Employees Retirement Planning Site  for additional guidance, helpful reports, retirement forms, and much more.
- Request a Retirement Benefits Summary & Analysis . A sample analysis is available for your review. Includes projected annuity payments, income verses expenses, FEGLI, and TSP projections.
- Retirement Planning Guide 
- Master Retiree Contact List  (Important contact numbers and information)
- 2015 Leave & Schedule Excel Chart  (FREE Excel chart tracks actual leave balances)
- Survivor’s Guide 
- Estate Planning Guide (An 11 part series that will help readers prepare for retirement, understand basic estate planning techniques, and compile their personal “Survivor’s Guide” binder.)
Visit our other informative sites
- Federal Government Jobs & Career Center 
- Federal Employee’s Career Development & IDP Center 
The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, medical procedures, and financial information are subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact relevant parties 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, medical 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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