Posted on Friday, 12th August 2022 by

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Please forward this to others needing retirement planning assistance.

Those planning their retirement and annuitants require accessible resources for answers to their individual and unique questions. OPM does a good job managing our retirement system overall. However, there are limits to what they can provide. It’s often frustrating and difficult finding competent help and the level of assistance required. There are many variables to what initially might seem like an obvious resolution; it makes sense to seek out clarifications.

Can you afford to retire today, considering the current state of affairs? Stock markets are in turmoil, retirement account values are plummeting while rampant inflation rages throughout the country. Tammy Flanagan replied to a comment she received from a person who was having second thoughts due to this economic situation. She brilliantly addresses this issue targeted to the individual in question. Tammy’s article titled, “Second Thoughts on Retiring This Year – Inflation makes a would-be retiree feel like a deer in the headlights” is thought provoking and a must read for those in similar circumstances.

Retirement planning is of and in itself a complicated process with many avenues to explore. Fortunately, help is available; what service you require depends on the complexity of the issues and the level of assistance you personally need.


  • General Assistance (Try these resources first)
  • Comprehensive Guidance
  • One-on-One Counseling / Assistance



The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is the HR department for the federal government; they administer the retirement benefits program. Active federal employees can research various aspects of retirement on OPM’s site. However, they must contact their agency’s HR office for retirement forms processing and guidance.

OPM services the retirement community directly; If you are an annuitant (retiree), call or use their online services portal to obtain current benefit information, related documents, and payment statements online if registered for their service.

I can see eyes rolling when I suggest calling OPM. Yes, it is difficult getting through to them by phone. I dial their number, 888-767-6738; if it’s busy, I hang up and immediately click redial. I typically get through in several minutes using this technique. Expect long waits. OPM can access your records and it is the only entity that can effect desired changes or update your records.

NOTE: recently changed how you access your account.

Federal Employee’s Retirement Planning Guide (

I launched this site in 2004 when I was planning my retirement. It is designed to help federal employees and retirees find the information they need to make informed benefit and retirement decisions.  Abundant retirement planning guidance is compiled from a multitude of federal agencies: OPM, Social Security, Medicare, TSP, the Department of Labor and others. Use the main menus and search box at the top of each page to find benefit clarifications, financial planning guidance, FERS / CSRS eligibility determination and annuity estimates, general explanations, examples, and suggestions that you won’t find elsewhere. The related blog and weekly email newsletter offer guidance on current topics of interest.


Retirement Planning Seminars

Contact your HR department to find out when retirement planning seminars are scheduled for your area. They cover CSRS and FERS employees, (including Special provisions) and may be offered in Full or Half-day sessions. The information is generally divided into seven key areas:  CSRS or FERS retirement annuity, Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), Voluntary Contribution Plan (VCP) – CSRS and CSRS Offsets only, Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI), Social Security, Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB), Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) and disability programs.

Federal Employee’s Retirement Planning Software (

This easy-to-use and reasonably priced software is uniquely designed for federal employees (full-time, regular CSRS & FERS) to calculate all of your federal benefits up to and throughout retirement. You can also add income and/or expenses from other sources.  For example, if you have other income from a rental, pension, retirement account or other expenses from a mortgage, credit card debt, living expenses, etc., you can add those in for a more comprehensive look at all income versus total expenses.

This calculator is used by tens of thousands of federal employees as well as Federal HR depts across the country who appreciate their accurate and comprehensive reports. Use this software to make informed, financially literate decisions in planning your retirement. Checkout their Sample Report to get a better understanding of just how comprehensive their calculator is for all federal employees planning their exit.

Federal Retirement Software is offering an exclusive discount available only through  For a limited time, pay only $24/year (regularly $99/year). CLICK HERE to take advantage of this incredible offer.

Federal Retirement Report – A 27-page Personal Retirement Report Summary.

RP & A Financial Strategies develops personalized 27-page written Federal Retirement Reports™ customized to your specific situation and includes a summary of all benefits, TSP investments, and annuity estimates with projections. This service costs $179 and includes a one-hour, one-on-one, session with their federal retirement specialist to review your report and answer any questions you may have. A moneyback guarantee is offered if you aren’t completely satisfied with their services. They also offer a one-hour personal consultation with a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) at no additional cost if desired.

ONE-ON-ONE COUNSELING / ASSISTANCE (Finding someone to talk to)

Often, individuals need to talk with an expert to address complex issues and make informed decisions about what is best for their situation. It is difficult finding anyone to call or email that you can trust and get the information you need. Here is a list of those you can contact to help you address your concerns when the research you’ve done hasn’t provided an answer.

Call Your Agency’s HR Department (Federal Employees)

Federal employees with retirement questions should contact their HR department, if you call OPM they will refer you back to them. OPM only service annuitants and survivors. Your HR department will provide annuity estimates for multiple target retirement dates, explain your benefit options, and arrange for you to attend a retirement seminar.


Many columnists, like myself, reply to email questions. Generally, I’ll send a reply with links to relevant sections of my website, related blog articles, and to OPM guidance that will help. When I’m asked to provide one-on-one counselling, I refer them to the professional counselors listed below under Retirement Planning Consultants.

You can also sign up for our email newsletter or review past articles of interest that are posted on our blog. Over 350 articles are listed on our article index.

Retirement Planning Consultant – All Areas

A professional federal benefits consultant can address your concerns and answer any questions that you may have. If they don’t have the immediate answer, they have the contacts and resources to obtain them.

Retire Federal,, a consulting firm owned by Tammy Flanagan, a federal benefits expert who has been assisting feds since her days of employment with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. She and her staff of experienced counselors offer invaluable fee-for-service personal consulting for civilian federal employees and annuitants on pre-retirement retirement prep to post-retirement decisions and events. They will assist you with a thorough review of your pre-retirement tasks. They also specialize in helping you decide about Medicare Part B and which FEHB plan will coordinate best for your situation. They can address your concerns, answer questions, recommend options, provide details as to why one path is preferred over another, and put your mind at ease.

Consultant – Divorce Related Issues for Federal Employees

Ann Ozuna is a retired Personnel Management Specialist.  She founded Personnel Solutions Federal Benefits Counseling upon retirement from federal service in 1996. In addition to her 25-year federal personnel career, she holds an MBA from Gonzaga University and the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and Chartered Federal Employee Benefits Consultant (ChFEBC) designations. She provides consulting services for federal employees facing divorce and attorneys working with federal clients.

If you need answers to retirement questions or don’t know what options are best for you and your family, use the resources listed above or other reputable services.

Helpful Retirement Planning Tools

Disclaimer: The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, medical procedures, and benefit information are subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact relevant parties for assistance including OPM’s retirement center. 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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