The FEGLI Open Season runs from September 1 through September 30, 2016 and I wrote an article last October about the options available and new premiums. I began the article with, “Even if you think, like I did in 2004 when the last open season was offered, that you have sufficient coverage you may be surprised at what you discover. I wish I knew then what I know now about these attractive low cost options.” FEGLI Open Seasons are few and far between and they are only available for active federal employees, retirees can’t participate. If you are still employed and planning your retirement revisit my Open Season Article  to understand your options and forward this article or a link to my article to others that may benefit from this information.
Phased Retirement Update
Since this program was announced four years ago little has been done to implement this program until recently. OPM reports less than 100 workers within 15 agencies have been accepted into the phased retirement program! The leading agency in the program is NASA with 17 participants. The good news is that in June the DOD announced plans to allow their employees to participate in the program. Other agencies that are currently using phased retirement are NASA, The Department of Commerce, the Smithsonian Institute, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Federal Trade Commission, Library of Congress, the EPA and a few others.
If you are interested in finding out more about the program my article titled “Phased Retirement Update”  explains how the program functions and review OPM’s Phased Retirement guidance . I would also call your HR office and ask them if the program is going to be implemented in your agency.
Federal Employee’s Career Development Center
We launched our updated and expanded Federal Employee’s Career Development Center  on June 24th. This site guides federal employees and their supervisors through the Individual Development Plan (IDP) process. The Federal Employee’s Career Development Center is located online at http://www.fedcareerinfo.com .
This totally interactive site offers free downloadable assessment and planning forms, Word documents, and our checklist (http://fedcareerinfo.com/checklist.htm ) walks federal employees and their supervisors step-by-step through the IDP process. There is no need to register, the site is free for all to use. Basically we incorporated 90% of my book, Take Charge of Your Federal Career  for this update to provide a single interactive and updated resource for employees and supervisors to use and streamline their career development functions.
Several agencies invited me to their headquarters and field offices to conduct career development briefings (workshops). Recent events were held at the Treasury’s Financial Crimes & Enforcement Network (FinCEN), Vienna, VA., the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in Washington, DC, and with the Bureau of Reclamation Great Plains Region.
Bookmark this site and let others in your organization know about this free resource. Training departments and agencies can add a link on their intranet career development sites for those interested in using this free service.
I typically talk about things I’m personally doing in retirement; whether it’s signing up for Medicare, discussing how I made my FEHB Open Season election, major purchases, projects, or simply reflecting on my life in general now that I’m retired. Each month I’ll set aside a section of my column to reflect on lifestyle issues.
On and off over the past 10 years I attempted to try my hand at cooking. My wife has willingly cooked for the family for 47 years now and I felt that it was time to give her a welcomed break. Most of my early attempts were… should I say, insufficient and I quickly lost interest. The cook books were just too confusing and complex with terms and procedures I didn’t understand. I know that the family cooks that are reading this may be saying, take a class or research the terms and procedures. I run a full time business and just don’t have that kind of time.
About a year ago I discovered the Mr. Food Network  and since then found success with making eatable and tasty meals. Their recipes are easy to follow, use everyday ingredients, and step-by-step instructions and videos bring it all together. My three favorite meals so far are the Pork Chop Casserole , Broccoli and Ham Quiche , and Eggs and Hash Brown Skillet . When you first visit the site they ask for your email to gain access. They will send you an email several times each week with a list of really great recipes to choose from.
The Pork Chop Casserole can be converted to a chicken dish by simply switching the broth to chicken, and the condensed mushroom soup to cream of chicken soup, and of course chicken. The quiche is crust less and really good, you can substitute cheeses, vegetables, and meat to whatever you like and the prep time is only 15 minutes tops. Many of their recipes are for a family of 4 which is good for us because we have leftovers for a second day. However, if you prefer cooking for two they publish The Ultimate Cooking For Two Cookbook  which I purchased and use frequently. It sells for $13 on Amazon.com.
Another recipe we like is the Grilled Shrimp Foil Packets  from www.delish.com. It is easy to make and whenever I’m grilling I make these for side dishes.
If either spouse has been doing the majority of cooking in your household it may be time to give that person a welcomed break. If I can follow their directions and create meals that my wife and I enjoy you can too. Give them a try and surprise your spouse. They will really appreciate it. I know my wife does and now I plan at least 2 to 3 meals a week and enjoy making them.
Request a Retirement Benefits Summary & Analysis . Includes projected annuity payments, income verses expenses, FEGLI, and TSP projections.
Helpful Retirement Planning Tools
Distribute these FREE tools to others that are planning their retirement
- Retirement Planning Guide 
- Master Retiree Contact List  (Important contact numbers and information)
- How to be Financially Prepared When You Retire 
- How to be Emotionally and Physically Prepared When You Retire 
- 2016 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
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed herein by the author are not an investment or benefit recommendation and are not meant to be relied upon in investment or benefit decisions. The author is not acting in an investment, tax, legal, benefit, or any other advisory capacity. This is not an investment or benefit research report. The author’s opinions expressed herein address only select aspects of various federal benefits and potential investment in securities of the TSP and companies mentioned and cannot be a substitute for comprehensive investment analysis. Any analysis presented herein is illustrative in nature, limited in scope, based on an incomplete set of information, and has limitations to its accuracy. The author recommends that retirees, potential and existing investors conduct thorough investment and benefit research of their own, including detailed review of OPM guidance for benefit issues and for investments the companies’ SEC filings, and consult a qualified investment advisor. The information upon which this material is based was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but has not been independently verified. Therefore, the author cannot guarantee its accuracy. Any opinions or estimates constitute the author’s best judgment as of the date of publication, and are subject to change without notice. The author explicitly disclaims any liability that may arise from the use of this material.
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