If you’re thinking about retirement, what does that look like for you? Will you welcome a lifestyle without an alarm clock and a rigid schedule, and the freedom to travel when and where you want? Or will you look for part-time employment or take part in the “gig economy”? Will you look for a post-retirement job like teaching, or maybe start a new career? Perhaps taking care of grandchildren or aging parents will become your new full-time job.
So what type of retiree will you be?
Depending on the specific source and stats, somewhere between 42% and 74% of retirees will end-up in that last category of unprepared for retirement. For some federal employees, working after retirement may not be an option, the only choice will be in deciding on a second career or taking on part-time work.
So how do you know if your federal retirement benefits will be enough, and how can you be better prepared now – before retirement?
You could, of course, dig through OPM’s CSRS/FERS Handbook and try to make sense of all the options, decision timelines, and sift through material that may (or may not) apply to your specific situation. You can also try working with internal resources, but with 114,000+ federal employees retiring every year, there is often a backlog when it comes to dealing with paperwork and getting the information you need.
Another resource is Insight Benefit Counselors (IBC). IBC is an organization dedicated to providing education and resources that can help federal employees maximize their retirement benefits. IBC counselors are trained in federal employee benefits, and because they are not a government agency, can also provide benefit options and information outside of standard federal benefit programs.
If you are current or past federal employee, you’re eligible to receive consultation and access to resources through Insight Benefit Counselors at no cost. If you want to run through calculations yourself, you can start online by creating a free FedTrack account. FedTrack is a federal benefit and retirement calculator that can give you a quick snapshot based on your specific situation and the data you provide.
Of course, everyone’s personal, financial, and job situation is different, and sometimes it helpful to walk through your options interactively with a trained federal benefits counselor. You can also schedule a one-on-one benefit review and consultation to get into your specific situation and details. Again, if you are a former or current federal employee, there is no cost for the consultation.
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