Posted on Friday, 11th August 2023 by

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Please forward this to others needing retirement planning assistance.

Those planning their retirement and annuitants require accessible resources to find answers to their retirement questions. The new year is fast approaching and many feds are now determining their best date to retire.

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.

Recently OPM issued a Retirement Quick Guide, A Reference for Voluntary Retirement that you will find helpful. Download a copy and keep it with your retirement paperwork.

OPM services the retirement community; 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.

It is difficult getting through to them by phone and when you do, expect long waits. OPM is the only entity that can effect desired changes or update your records.

NOTE: OPM’s Services Online changed how you access your account last year.

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.

A site visitor commented after finding the retirement answers he needed, “I spent 3 hours on the web looking for answers to questions concerning federal retirement. After a Google search yielded your address, it took only 20 minutes to find all of my answers! Thank you!!!”

How to Find Essential Retirement and Benefits Information on This Site

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 sign up for a retirement planning seminar. 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 your federal benefits up to and throughout retirement. You can also add income and/or expenses from other sources.

This calculator is used by tens of thousands of federal employees as well as Federal HR departments to make informed retirement planning decisions. Checkout their Sample Report to get a better understanding of how comprehensive their calculator is for federal employees planning their exit.

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. 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, OPM only services 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.

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.

Their staff will assist you with a thorough review of your pre-retirement tasks and help 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.

Ms. Flanagan is also the Senior Benefits Director for the National Institute of Transition Planning, Inc. which has conducted pre-retirement seminars and workshops since 1987.

Since 2006, Tammy has authored the popular weekly “Retirement Planning” column for Government Executive online magazine with more than 250,000 subscribers. She was selected as one of Money Magazine’s “Money Heroes” of 2012 for the service that she provides to help federal employees prepare for life after retirement.

Retirement Planning and Divorce Related Issues for Federal Employees – Consultant

Ann Ozuna is a retired Personnel Management Specialist. She founded Personnel Solutions Federal Benefits Counseling upon retirement from federal service in 1996.

Her federal benefits consulting firm specializes in educating federal employees on retirement benefits and assisting employees with CSRS/FERS regular and disability retirements. They also work with employees/retirees and their lawyers on divorce matters. Federal retirement is not under the same law as private sector retirements.

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.

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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