We salute a long running voice for federal employees

Long time benefits show host Bob Leins broadcast his last show. But coverage of retirement and how to build that nest egg will continue on Federal News Network.

I’d like to note the conclusion of a long running show on Federal News Network’s radio airwaves. Bob Leins broadcast his final show Monday. For Your Benefit had been running on our 1500 AM signal in the D.C. area for 24 years.

The show in fact appeared on other stations before the formation of what was then called Federal News Radio. Bob, in my interview, couldn’t quite remember how many years back it went.

Bob is alive and well, but he’s no spring chicken. He retires from the air having built a large and loyal following of people, mostly federal employees. Bob and his guests served regular plates of advice on financial and estate planning, wealth accumulation, taxes, Social Security and a myriad of related topics.

Low key and self effacing, Bob glided into our studios faithfully every Monday until the pandemic, so I’ve only seen him sporadically in the last few years. For his last show he was here, so we could give him a proper sendoff, complete with cake. He was joined in studio by regulars Marc Levine, an estate and wills lawyer, and Tom O’Rourke, a retired tax attorney. On the phone were benefits consultant Tammy Flanagan, who may know more about Social Security than anyone at the agency itself; and Karen Schaeffer, a certified financial planner.

Couple of things you may not know about Bob. For one, he’s got a dry but sharp sense of humor. A Christian Scientist who eschews most conventional medical practice, he recalled the time, as a child, he was playing football in the street. A Jewish kid, taller and heavier, demanded to know, if Bob were to fall, break an arm and have a bone protrude through the skin, whether he’d go to the hospital.

“I answered,” Bob said, “well, if you were starving, would you eat pork?” That ended the confrontation.

For another: Although soft spoken, Bob has real skill in speaking and guiding a conversation, which explains the steady success of For Your Benefit. Bob explains how an early boss, the late Mr. McCarthy, would give traveling seminars to promote his tax return preparation business. One day McCarthy, without warning, handed full responsibility for the presentation to Bob and left the room.

“I’ll see you at lunch,” the boss said. Bob handled the presentation just fine, and realized, he said, that Mr. McCarthy in some sense knew Bob better than the young Bob knew himself.

More than a guy who knows taxes, Bob is a creator with good business acumen. Early on he co-founded a CPA firm, Turner, Leins & Gold, which operates to this day. He founded the National Institute of Transition Planning, a leading training outfit for federal retirement.

Bob has helped others realize their potential, having learned a lesson from Mr. McCarthy. He sort of pushed Tammy Flanagan to the front of an NITP stage, telling her, “I’m going to be walking backwards,” leaving her to lead the presentation. Now, she’s one of the best.

A couple of columns ago I commented on how, if I do eventually retire, I have so many things I’ll want to do beyond work. Whatever one’s retirement plans, it takes planning for what will give your life meaning. It takes takes planning, and in some ways decades of discipline, to make sure you can pay for it all.

That’s been the appeal of For Your Benefit. Bob and his guests have provided not only information, but some assurance that you can in fact build a secure retirement. The singular voice may be gone, but our coverage of these issues will continue.

Nearly Useless Factoid

By: Derace Lauderdale

Social Security recipients get a 3.2% raise in 2024, compared with the 8.7% increase that beneficiaries received in 2023.

Source: AARP.org



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