Retirement Benefits Specialist
MEET OUR TEAM
Our Team can help you to Maximize Your Federal Retirement Benefits
Retire Federal was founded with the central goal of providing civilian federal employees with the resources, guidance and understanding needed to maximize your federal retirement benefits. Tammy and her team are dedicated to helping you, the federal employee, understand the complex rules of retirement planning so that you will receive the full value of your federal retirement benefits. There is never a better time to begin planning for your retirement. We have found a variety of formats to assist you in every aspect of your retirement planning from the basic information needed by new and mid-career employees to more complex issues encountered by those who are planning to retire or already living in retirement.
PRINCIPAL RETIREMENT SPECIALIST
Tammy Flanagan has been providing retirement planning assistance to federal employees since 1985 when she first began her work as a retirement benefits specialist at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Her extensive knowledge of the federal benefits systems and her ability to explain difficult concepts in an easy to understand manner has made her a sought after speaker and presenter at pre-retirement seminars, training conferences and online training events. Throughout her career, she has also enjoyed assisting individual employees by providing guidance and pre-retirement benefits counseling.
Ms. Flanagan is the Senior Benefits Director for the National Institute of Transition Planning, Inc. which has been conducting pre-retirement seminars and workshops throughout the Washington, DC area and beyond since 1985. Since 2006, Tammy has authored the popular weekly “Retirement Planning” column for Government Executive online magazine. More than 200,000 subscribers have learned how to prepare for a smooth transition to retirement through this regular feature available at www.govexec.com. You will also find Ms. Flanagan as a frequent co-host of the “For Your Benefit” radio program that is heard on Federal News Radio. The hour long broadcasts are archived online at www.federalnewsradio.com and heard live on Monday’s at 10 am EST.
In 2015, Ms. Flanagan became certified in long term care insurance and has conducted webinars and live events for the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program. Her webinars can be found archived at www.ltcfeds.com. Tammy has been a member of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association since 1988. In 2015, she engaged with NARFE more formally to provide training through the NARFE Federal Benefits Institute that was implemented in that same year. NARFE provides many valuable services to federal employees and retirees and membership is available at www.narfe.org
Retirement planning involves several areas of expertise besides an understanding of federal retirement benefits. Tammy has developed relationships with certified financial planners, estate planning attorneys and certified public accounts and has partnered with these professionals in coordinating individual retirement plans.
Tammy was honored to have been 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.
Bob Braunstein is a proven subject matter expert in all areas related to Federal Retirement and Benefits programs including those associated with unique occupational categories such as law enforcement, fire fighters, air traffic controllers and positions within the Federal Intelligence community.
Bob gained most of his Federal benefits background as a human resources professional working for the Federal government. His Federal HR career spanned over 30 years and took him through numerous agencies including The Department of Health Education and Welfare (now HHS), Department of Veterans Affairs, Internal Revenue Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Since retiring from Federal service in 1997, Bob has continued to assist thousands of federal employees preparing for their retirement from active Federal service as a Federal Benefits Seminar Presenter for the National Institute of Transition Planning. His seminar audiences’ range in size from 25 to 700 attendees and feedback from attendees is always at the highest levels. Bob is also a frequent guest host on NITP’s weekly radio show “For Your Benefit” which airs on Federal News Radio in Washington, DC.
In addition to conducting seminars, Bob counsels many private clients, including those with retirement coverage errors that fall under the Federal Erroneous Retirement Coverage Corrections Act (FERCCA). FERCCA requires knowledge of remedies and provisions that go beyond the scope of regular retirement rules and regulations and assist affected individuals with choosing between alternative retirement coverage options. His in depth understanding of these and other complex retirement and benefits rules and regulations, coupled with a strong ability to simplify and convey information on these important topics, provides his seminar audiences and clients with a complete understanding of their entitlements. This understanding is critical for ensuring they develop and follow financial strategies that ensure they meet their retirement lifestyle goals and objectives.
Major Areas of Expertise:
• CSRS, CSRS Offset, FERS, FSRDS, FSPS, and other unique Federal Retirement plans
• Federal Erroneous Retirement Coverage Corrections Act (FERCCA)
• Social Security
• Federal Insurances: Health, Life, Dental/Vision, and Long-Term Care
• Flexible Spending Accounts
• Thrifts Savings Plan
Education: Bachelor of Arts (History), Georgetown University
HERB B. CASEY
Herbert (Herb) Casey is a human resource (HR) professional with over 35 years of Federal HR experience. He worked in HR technical and leadership positions at 4 federal agencies (Office of Personnel Management, Internal Revenue Service, National Institutes of Health and the Department of State). He served in civil and foreign service positions and is familiar with the retirement systems of both. He retired under the CSRS.
Herb has been providing retirement counseling and coaching services to federal employees since retiring in 2013. He has extensive knowledge of federal benefits and has taught over 1,000 employees in pre-retirement planning workshops covering FERS/CSRS, Thrift Savings Plan, insurance programs, Medicare and Social Security. Comments from participants consistently indicate that he is very knowledgeable, patient and responsive to their needs. He’s a member of the National Active Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) and keeps abreast of retirement issues affecting federal employees.
Mr. Casey is also a certified retirement coach which allows him to help you assess your readiness for retirement and discuss non-financial issues to consider when transitioning to retirement. He’s presented talks on retirement transition to large federal audiences.
As a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR®), Herb is experienced in late career development concerns, especially when preparing for retirement. He can help you update your resume and prepare for interviews as you transition. Herb can also help you develop a retirement action plan to create a purposeful and successful transition.
Mr. Casey is a Retirement Income Certified Planner (RICP®) which allows him to provide you with practical knowledge of retirement income sources and strategies.
Herb is a firm believer that retirement is the time to do those things that interest you and continue to explore. Since retiring, he's explored various interests, including writing for an online federal retirement site, pro-bono HR work, adjunct professor, museum docent and creating/presenting career workshops for teens.
He has a B.B.A degree in Human Resources Management from the University of Memphis and a M. S. in Human Resources Management from the University of Maryland. He is a certified practitioner of the Myers-Briggs type Indicator (MBTI) instrument. Herb and his wife Josefa have two adult sons and live in Silver Spring, MD. In his leisure time, Herb enjoys traveling, spending time with his grandkids, playing tennis, and roasting coffee for family/friends.
Deborah L. Hatch, MSOL
Deborah Hatch has an extensive amount of training experience in both technical and soft skill elements of human resources management, leadership, and federal benefits. Debbie has worked for, and with the federal government for over 24 years. She was a federal employee herself, within Departments of Defense, Air Force, and Veterans Affairs. After leaving the government, Debbie worked with Federal Benefits Services, LLC. (2004 – present), and created her own company, Pinnacle Personnel Services, LLC. (2005 – present). She has conducted hundreds of seminars and webinars for dozens of federal agencies and 50+ DoD installations, worldwide. She’s trained thousands of federal employees on their retirement and federal benefits.
The technical stuff:
The more important stuff:
James Marshall has personally processed over a thousand federal retirement cases for various agencies in both the Executive and Legislative Branches, and ensured that many more retirees received the benefits they were expecting in a timely manner.
Over the years, by providing agency on-site counseling, James has assisted thousands of federal employees with understanding all of the complex issues that they face when preparing for retirement. James looks at the bigger picture and constantly analyzes various service details to give the employee the most complete information, allowing the employee to make the best decisions for him/herself.
Even the more seasoned agency retirement counselors, who may have been around for decades, have relied on James for guidance and/or assistance for some of the more complicated cases.
James has helped identify and correct hundreds of errors made by agencies and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), sometimes netting the employee hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in retirement income each year. James is highly adept at identifying retirement coverage errors and is exceptionally skilled at providing the federal employee with a comprehensive understanding of his/her rights and options under the Federal Erroneous Retirement Coverage Corrections Act (FERCCA).
James can help you become better prepared for your future federal retirement and give you peace of mind, as you will be aware of the unique circumstances that might impact your future benefits. After spending time with James, there shouldn’t be any surprises at the time of retirement, and you’ll be properly educated and equipped to make the best decisions for you and your family.
Sheila Nichols is a retirement and benefits expert, helping federal employees transition from their federal careers into retirement. She retired from the federal government herself in 2015 after 33 years of federal service. Ms. Nichols has worked for the Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). She has given various seminars over the years on topics related to retirement and benefits to federal employees. In 2010, Ms. Nichols received the highest honor bestowed upon NIST employees, the Bronze Medal, recognizing her for her superb leadership and customer service in helping employees navigate through their federal benefits and into retirement.
Upon her retirement from federal service, Ms. Nichols created her own business, HR4U2 LLC, providing training and consulting services in human resources. Her passion is providing benefits and retirement counseling and helping others transition smoothly into retirement. Ms. Nichols most recently provided her retirement and benefits expertise under a contract with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
Ms. Nichols is currently working with Long Term Care Partners LLC and gives presentations on long term care insurance for federal employees and retirees. She is an active member of the National Active Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) and the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM).
Ms. Nichols has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Frostburg State University and a M.B.A. from Frostburg as well.
She lives in Venice, Florida with her husband and four teacup poodles (Martini, Shaker, Margarita, and Salt).
RETIREMENT & BENEFITS SPECIALIST
Michele Bollier is a retired Federal employee, who started her career as a GS 1 and moved to Human Resources in 1986 as the Federal government changed retirement systems and continued to enhance other benefits. She has counseled thousands of employees and ensured their retirement cases were complete and accurate for a smooth transition to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) annuitant rolls. As a supervisor of the Benefits Program, she led a team in five locations who provided approximately 9000 employees counseling on their benefits and retirement. Michele developed and provided various informational classes including new employee orientation, Planning for the Future, FEHB and Medicare as well as others of interest at different points in one’s career. She produced reference materials for her office as well as for employees on benefit resources, options at retirement, etc., and created the Bureau Benefits web page. She ended her Federal career with the Department of the Interior after over 42 years.
Michele moved to an encore career to use her comprehensive knowledge and innate ability to explain the various complexities of FERS and CSRS Retirement Systems, Federal Insurances, Flexible Spending Accounts, Thrift Savings Plan, Social Security and Medicare so employees understand their compensation package and the impact it may have on their family and financial future. She has experience with live classroom presentations, in both large (over 200) and small groups, as well as virtual training. Now she is an instructor with the National Institute of Transition Planning (NITP) ensuring employees at Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, NIH, EPA, Army COE, MDA, FEMA, HHS, SBA, USDA, NRC, etc., have a comprehensive understanding of their compensation package.
She earned her BA in Business from Westmont College, Santa Barbara, CA in 1982 and later an MA in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminar in 1991. While with the government, she attended various technical courses and workshops on Federal benefits, training, and presentation skills. She is a member of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE). She has been a presenter with NITP since 2017. Michele has a passion to ensure all Federal employees she meets along her travels are taking advantage of the TSP and other benefits offered.
CLIENT DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST
Your first contact with Retire Federal is usually with Karen. She will help you understand the benefit, value and cost of doing business with our team and help prepare you for your individual consultation. Karen joined Retire Federal in 2016 and serves as business manager, bookkeeper, scheduling coordinator, accounts receivable specialist as well as all around class act providing friendly and professional customer service to our clients. Karen, a CPA, hails from Wisconsin with a BBA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Karen spent 20 plus years working in administration in the post-secondary education field. Karen and her equally friendly husband, Tom, have two grown children and live in Bradenton, FL.
Retire Federal adheres to four important principles for every consultation, seminar, and webinar that we conduct:
These foundational principles have guided the successful consultations offered to countless civilian federal
employees in the U.S. and around the world.
Contact us today to take ownership over your retirement!
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