CSRS / Civil Service Retirement System
FERS / Federal Employees Retirement System
TSP / Thrift Savings Plan
Social Security retirement
FEHB / Federal Employees Health Benefits Program
FEGLI / Federal Employees Group Life Insurance Program
FLTCIP / Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program
FEDVIP / Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program
FSAFEDS / Flexible Spending Account
for a NARFE Webinar
Tammy Flanagan is a frequent contributor for the NARFE (National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association) Federal Benefits Institute. The Institute is a member-only resource designed to help NARFE members take charge of their federal benefits and guarantee a secure future. To attend the live events, access the on-demand sessions, benefits briefs and other FREE resources, JOIN NARFE TODAY.
NARFE's webinar series is a much needed resource for the Federal community. Knowledgeable, skilled presenters, including Tammy Flanagan and James Marshall make complex federal benefit and retirement issues easy to understand. Covering topics from Pre- and Post-Retirement to FEHB & Medicare, TSP to Social Security, and Estate Planning to Survivor Benefits, NARFE members have reliable information to help them manage their benefits and plan their future. See the list of upcoming webinars and recorded session HERE.
YOU CAN FIND TAMMY AS A FREQUENT GUEST ON
YOUR TURN WITH MIKE CAUSEY
AND ON FOR YOUR BENEFIT WITH THE
NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF TRANSITION PLANNING
PLEASE NOTE that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some or all of the seminars may be canceled or postponed until further notice.
If you would like to attend a pre-retirement or mid-career planning seminar at your agency, please contact Nancy Lilja at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out if NITP, Inc. will be presenting a class at your agency.
Are you in charge of training at your agency? Contact us to set up individual retirement counseling for your employees, web-based training for your employees with live Q & A or on-site classroom training.
Financial Planning Resources
Working with a financial professional might be your next step after your benefits consultation.
The information below provides a few key tips to help you make a well-informed choice when choosing to work with a financial professional. The Retire Federal team members are all federal benefits experts and can help you prepare to transition from being an employee to becoming an annuitant. Once you understand the value of your federal retirement benefits, it’s time to do the important financial, tax and estate planning required for a successful retirement. We work with many such professionals and are happy to provide their contact information
Here is a list of six questions to ask when interviewing a potential financial professional:
Who is actually managing my investments? A genuine advisor keeps your funds in a discretionary
account and can conduct transactions involving individual stocks, bonds, ETFs, mutual funds and so on without your trade-by-trade approval. Beware the investment pro who claims to be a “money manager” and touts his “assets under management” but is really just a middleman between you and another
investment advisor doing the investment research and management.
What is your track record? Ask for a copy of the Form ADV, which discloses possible conflicts arising from securities trades and answers a lot of other questions. Also request a risk-adjusted performance
record going back at least five years, in writing. Get a list of client references—and call them.
What is your background? Many registered investment advisors have advanced degrees in business and finance and years of experience as investment analysts or traders at major financial firms. Be wary of an advisor with little or no previous experience outside of his or her years in brokerage and/or insurance sales.
Who pays you? Virtually all the compensation an investment advisor receives should come directly from his clients. Any other sources of income should be insignificant and fully disclosed. Brokers, on the other hand, can earn commissions on trades, trailer fees for mutual funds and annuities, and bonuses tied to their firm’s proprietary investment products or trading. These other sources of income create lots of conflicts.
Can I pay you by the hour? The going rate for a genuine financial advisor has historically hovered around 1 percent of assets under management. But one benefit of the Internet has been a dramatic reduction in transaction costs. If you and your advisor agree that most or all of your money should be put in a mix of index funds, mutual funds and exchange-traded funds that’s practically on autopilot, ask him to charge less. Get him to subtract the cost of the fund expenses from her percentage. Or better yet, ask if you can pay by the hour, as Forbes’ William Baldwin suggests.
Are you always legally bound to act in my best interest? The answer has to be yes, all of the time. If it is, get it in writing. This is fiduciary duty. It’s a well-established legal principle, backed by decades of precedent. An advisor who acts as your fiduciary knows you can haul her into court or, if you agree,
arbitration. Finally, beware of any “advisor” who swears you’ll always be the boss. From a legal standpoint, brokers are free to carry out your orders, even ones they think are unwise. But mindful of his fiduciary duty, a true advisor will say he’d decline to make an investment he believes could threaten your financial health. At the very least, he should try hard to talk you out of it. If he can’t, he should give you your money back and let you go it alone.
HOW FEES & EXPENSES AFFECT YOUR INVESTMENT PORTFOLIO
Just like shopping around for the best price on any other product or service, you should consider how much you are paying for investing services. However, to the extent you decide to move to a new firm, you should think about any tax consequences and fees for closing or transferring your account, for example, if you have to sell some or all of your current holdings in order to transfer.
HOW INVESTMENT FEES
Investment expenses directly reduce your portfolio’s return. If your portfolio was up 6% for the year but you paid 1.5% in fees and expenses, your return is actually only 4.5%. Over time, that difference really adds up.
Take this example, in which an investor puts $500 a month into a brokerage account each year for 30 years, depositing a total of $180,000 over that time:
The second highlighted row shows the prior TSP expense ratio of $.038. Current TSP administrative expense ratio of .049 - .068% (2021) which is higher than in prior years so that the cost per $1,000 is now between $.49 - $.68. The last column in the chart shows how much would be lost to fees over the course of 30 years. An investor who paid 2% in fees each year would give up more than $178,000 over 30 years, almost as much money as the $180,000 deposited in the account during that time.
The reason why paying this fee may be worthwhile is because of the professional services and management of your investment. By offering and managing a wide variety of investment choices that are well diversified across a broad spectrum of investments, your overall returns over time may exceed your ability to manage your investment on your own. No one can guarantee the performance of your investment, however, managing a portfolio of funds does take experience, time, and diligence to be sure it is working towards your financial goals.
WORKING WITH A FINANCIAL PROFESSIONAL
7 Types of Financial Advisors & Professionals and When to Hire Them – Money Crashers article describing the difference between a financial planner and an investment adviser (and more).
Resources to learn more about investing for retirement and working with a financial advisor
Tips for working with an Investment Professional from the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Check out brokers and investment advisors (Securities and Exchange Commission)
The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors Locate financial advisors in your area who are members of this organization of professionals. Applicants for any category of membership (Members) or affiliation (Affiliates) with NAPFA must meet strict standards to be considered for admission, and must continue to abide by such standards in order to maintain eligibility and good standing in NAPFA
CFP Board and their Coalition partners are strong advocates for a fiduciary standard for professionals who provide financial advice to the public. Our advocacy on the fiduciary standard is centered on our belief that financial planning services should be delivered to the public with fiduciary accountability and transparency, serving the client's best interest first and always. - See more at: Let's Make a Plan
Looking to Hire Professional Financial Assistance?
Retire Federal has many colleagues in the world of financial planning, tax planning, or estate planning. These are professionals who typically work with federal civilian employees. When it comes to your financial security, it’s all about partnering with someone who is committed to putting your interests first and understands the unique concerns of the federal employee or retiree.