This past election campaign was arguably the most malicious in recent history. Unquestionably, the election’s outcome has resulted in a concerning rift among Americans, including those that work together in the federal government. The campaigns, the election results and the divide are worthy of every American’s attention. Yet, are these issues so compelling that feds are overlooking the forest for the trees? Is there another issue that may, potentially, be even more personally critical?
Putting political and ideological differences aside, there is one issue that now looms heavily over every federal employee’s head. It should (ironically) unify them all — federal benefits! As distracting as the past several weeks and months have been, feds may want to adjust their focus and keep their eyes on the prize. Regardless of how one voted, federal employees need to recognize that their retirement benefits may be in more danger of slashing, reduction and eliminations than ever.
While I wish to raise the perception, concern and actions of federal employees, I do not want to unnerve them. No one can predict whether now is different than any other time in the past. But begin by considering what has been discussed and what has not come to fruition in the past.
Historically, federal benefits bashing has been somewhat of a political “whack-a-mole.” In the past, suggestions have been made to either eliminate or alter the following:
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But is now different?
Is posturing necessary when the Republicans hold a majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, combined with a Republican President?
Is it reasonable to think that federal benefits may be under serious threat this time?
If so, some conceivable proposals may have a bearing on greater changes to federal employee health care, SRS, pensions, union strength and job security.
Admittedly, it is pure speculation as to which (if any) of these benefits will be assaulted. Or even if this time is any different than past affectations. But a wise person should probably take steps (where possible) to prepare for the possibilities.
Remember the words of Reinhold Niebuhr when he penned the “Serenity Prayer:”
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Let’s examine items for which feds may need to develop serenity:
What items will require federal employees to develop courage:
There is no easy fix here. It will take work to offset any retirement benefit cuts. For those who want to stand pat and do nothing, because they fear that doing something will be worse, I offer these words.
Understand when making changes and taking a risk, you’re potentially exposed to harm. Yet don’t forget, there may be (lifelong) regret in doing nothing at all. Perhaps it is the one who learns to adjust and to change that ultimately endures.
Perhaps, early on, I asked the wrong question. Maybe the real question isn’t “How will the recent election results impact federal retirement?” Maybe the real question is “Will feds be courageous enough to ‘change the things they can?’”
Take the following Risks to Federal Benefits Survey to share how you feel about your concerns with the potential risks to current federal benefits. We will publish the results in a future article.
Note: Silverlight Financial donates free/no obligation Federal Retirement Readiness Reviews” (FRRR). These reviews culminate with a no costs, one-on-one, hour long phone meeting with founder, Randy Silvey. To personally request your FRRR email: email@example.com
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Investing involves risks, including the loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss. For a list of states in which I am registered to do business, please visit www.silverlightfinancial.com. Securities offered through LPL Financial, member FINRA/SIPC.