Posted on Friday, 3rd August 2018 by

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Recently, Greg asked, “how important is it to attend a retirement briefing or not?” He and his wife intend to travel the country for several years after leaving federal service.

I developed my retirement planning website because I attended two agency sponsored retirement seminars and came back with more questions than answers. That being said, that doesn’t mean I didn’t benefit from our personnel office’s retirement counselor briefings. They provided valuable benefit information, introduced me to the retirement application process, and outlined available options. After attending a briefing research and use all available resources to ensure you make the right decisions when you complete your retirement application. Retirement briefings along with your personal research will help you get it right the first time.



For information about specific retirement benefits search and review our retirement planning article index to find guidance for just about any subject. Use other valuable sources such as OPM’s online retirement services and columnists like Tammy Flanagan who explains even the most complex issues in language that all can understand. Tammy’s recent article titled 13 things to Know About Your Annuity Option is an excellent example of how she drills down to the essential elements of an issue.

I receive numerous requests to provide one-on-one personal retirement planning counseling. Even though I manage a fulltime business including 10 internet properties, and just completed my 27th book, I make time to answer questions I receive from my site visitors and newsletter subscribers. There isn’t enough time in a day, especially when you add in family and our three beautiful grandchildren, for me to provide personal counselling services. Fortunately, there are options available for those needing one-on-one counseling and assistance.

A number of organizations provide fee-for-service retirement planning consulting, conduct on-site retirement seminars, offer comprehensive retirement planning reports, and/or host webinars that can answer even your most demanding questions. I’ll list several here:

  • Request a comprehensive 27-page Federal Retirement Report™ for $79 that evaluates your retirement benefits including FEGLI options and TSP investments, retirement eligibility, and annuity projections. They include a 1-hour, one-on-one, personal consultation with their federal retirement specialist to review your Report with you. This service comes with a 100% money back guarantee if not completely satisfied.
  • Retire Federal and Tammy Flanagan, their Principal Retirement Specialist, provide personalized federal employee retirement training and counselling on a fee for service basis. Tammy is a consummate professional that has worked in the federal retirement arena for many years and is well known for her expertise in this area. They also offer on-site retirement planning seminars.
  • Divorce consulting – If you are anticipating a divorce or currently in divorce proceedings talk to Ann Ozuna, our Divorce Forum Host. Ann works with employees/retirees and their lawyers on divorce matters such as dividing federal retirement, survivor benefits, and the Thrift Savings Plan. Here are two of Ann’s articles that you will find helpful if you are in this situation:
  • For those that would like to advance in their careers consider contacting CareerPro Global. Barbara Adams, the owner, has spent a lifetime working with federal employees to prepare a professional application package. Their services can dramatically improve your chances for promotions and thereby increasing your high-3 average pay that is used to calculate your retirement annuity. They also offer fee for service career counselling.

The more time and preparation that you devote to retirement planning the better off you will be when you finally walk out the door. Retirement planning can be compared to taking a journey. Greg and his wife plan to sell all of their belongings and travel the country when he retires. When you plan an extensive trip, you do your research; find the right motor home, select your destinations carefully, and project your income and expenses for the adventure. You don’t generally leave things to chance, you plan to make it a successful and safe journey.

Retirement planning uses the same process. You explore your options making sure you leave nothing on the table, project your expenses against income in retirement and so much more. You make the right benefit elections so you don’t jeopardize you and your family’s well-being and you must take your time to do it right.

If you don’t understand how a retirement benefit will affect you and your family reach out to your HR retirement specialist first, search our web site for answers and if necessary contact services such as those mentioned above to find the answer before making the election. A successful and financially secure retirement depends on making the right decisions to protect you and your family. Unfortunately, you can’t change many of your benefit elections after your retirement application is processed by OPM.

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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 adviser. 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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