Confusing career advice with financial planning

When it comes to career planning, many federal agencies do an excellent job. Better than most private sector operations do for their employees.

But when it comes to providing financial planning, most federal agencies do little, if anything. Which is good. The less the better. Most private firms also avoid the subject.

A primary reason is that financial planning requires personalized, hands-on planning and information that employers generally don’t want, or need. And shouldn’t have.

So what next? We checked in with Tammy Flanagan, a top federal benefits specialist. She’s done lots of agency training and now does individual career coaching.

Here are some tips she provided of financial vs. career planning:

For financial advice, employees should hire a financial advisor who understands federal employee benefits, if possible. Here is a list of financial planning information and some advisers who I am familiar with and would recommend to my clients.

The TSP tries to help employees understand how to invest and manage their retirement savings, but they try hard to not to provide “advice,” but they do a very good job, in my opinion, of providing training that helps employees prepare for retirement: TSP webinars are hosted by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board’s Office of Communications and Education.

OPM provides not much retirement counseling at all. They instruct employees to contact their agency retirement specialist and some agencies do a better job than others of providing retirement counseling, but none of them should be providing financial advice.

The Social Security Administration provides good information, but not much advice. They do have a fact sheet that provides general guidance.

Before you make your decision…

There are advantages and disadvantages to taking your benefit before your full retirement age. The advantage is that you collect benefits for a longer period of time. The disadvantage is your benefit will be reduced. Each person’s situation is different. It is important to remember:

  1. If you delay your benefits until after full retirement age, you will be eligible for delayed retirement credits that would increase your monthly benefit.
  2. That there are other things to consider when making the decision about when to begin receiving your retirement benefits.

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Alazar Moges

There are a series of underground tunnel below Disney World known as Utilidors. They are used so cast members can travel through the Magic Kingdom without having to deal with crowds or being seen. The tunnels also feature a series of trash chutes on the ceilings to help move the high volume of garbage around the park.

Source: All Ears

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