A Blast From The Past: Federal Employee Retirement Benefits
Focusing on Federal Employee Retirement Benefits
Have you ever experienced one of those moments in life where you find yourself sucker-punched by reality?
I don’t mean a gentle love tap, either. I’m talking about a knockout punch from Mike Tyson.
It happened to me the other day and it made me realize something that’s slipped my attention lately.
I can’t remember what was going through my mind at the time, but it was probably something like how cool it would be to have a heated keyboard. (Patent pending. Don’t judge me; my office gets really cold sometimes.)
Anyway, there I was in deep meaningful thought, when… BAM! Reality hit me in the face.
It suddenly occurred to me just how far our work with federal employee retirement has come. I guess I got so caught up the chaos of the day-to-day details that I lost track of the progress happening right under my nose.
It seems like it was just yesterday we worked with our first federal employee and now we've helped thousands of federal employees with their benefits and retirement planning.
The First Federal Employee
I remember how nervous I was when I met with her for the first time….
Even with a perfectly knotted tie around my neck, nothing could have prepared me for the expression on her face when she saw how young I look.
I must admit, I didn’t find it very funny at the time, and her inability to hide her surprise certainly didn’t help to calm my nerves.
But it gets worse.
We sat down and she began unloading concerns about her Federal Employee retirement benefits.
She had followed the advice of someone who told her to drop her FEGLI coverage and wasn’t sure if she made the right decision.
She knew that she needed to build a bigger nest egg to retire comfortably, but had no clue how to do it. She didn’t want to take a lot of risks with her investments, but she didn’t feel like putting everything in the G fund was the best strategy either.
But putting all of that aside, her number one worry was that she would end up like a crazy cat lady. (No joke!)
So she eventually finished telling me all her thoughts, but for some reason she didn’t seem to be relived at all. In fact, she was starting to look even more worried than she had been before.
That’s when I realized that I wasn’t very good at hiding my expressions either, and in that moment I looked exactly like I was feeling—confused and overwhelmed.
Long Story Short
She was confused about her benefits, and frankly, so was I.
This was back before Federal Navigators existed and, like most advisors, I didn’t know the first thing about federal employee retirement benefits or what makes them unique.
Fortunately for me, she showed a lot of patience as we navigated the swamp of rules and regulations together.
One of the most difficult things we faced throughout the whole process was the fact that when we asked questions about the federal system, the answers were often confusing or even contradictory.
Luckily, this story has a happy ending.
It wasn’t easy, but we were able to find solutions to most of her concerns. Unfortunately, there were a few things (like dropping her FEGLI coverage) that we couldn’t fix because of the damage that had already been done.
After making it out alive, one thing was clear—something had to change. So we (myself and the four partners at my firm), rolled up our sleeves and started learning everything we could about federal benefits and how they apply to retirement planning.
Our Work with Federal Employees Really Begins
Looking back, there’s no way that any of us could have known it would grow so quickly into what it is today, or that we would begin to develop lasting relationships with so many wonderful people.
It’s incredible how far we’ve come, and I find myself filled with gratitude for the amazing team I have the privilege of working with, as well as the amazing federal employees I’ve gotten to know, who bring value to our community and encourage me to push beyond any limitations we face.
Finally, I’m grateful for life’s way of punching me in the face when I need it. (But maybe it doesn’t have to be quite so hard next time…)
Thinking about the past also gets me really excited about the future, because I realize that this is only the beginning of our journey.
We're Here for You
So whenever you find yourself in a funk, dazed and confused…
Or just worn down by the everyday mundane things in life, it can help to stop and reflect on what it is that really matters to you.
It’s a lost cause if you forget why you’re doing it all in the first place.
It’s that deeper purpose that should make up the entire foundation of your federal employee retirement plans, and it will help to give you clarity and guidance when you find yourself faced with difficult decisions.
Until next time, I wish you much success on your journey.
For over 30 years, federal employee retirement planning has been a key focus of Medallion Financial Group. We recognize that FERS retirement benefits have extra layers of complexity, such as the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), 401K, Pension plan, FEGLI and more. It’s easy to get lost in a sea of bad advice when so few people understand the basics. We help with the basics and beyond to enable our clients to get the education and advice they need to retire with confidence.
Our focus is twofold: first and foremost, we are fiduciary advisors. We stand against any violation of laws, values, and ethics. Second, we treat our clients as part of our family, not only those who call Maryland and Georgia home, but clients across the US who have benefited from our reputation of personal service, integrity, and expertise.
We strive to exceed client’s expectations – because we have high expectations of ourselves.