Estate plan candidate: You may be richer than you think

Long ago a financial planner told me the key to success was to have a steady job, invest in any company 401(k) plan that is offered, get and stay married to the same person, buy a house in an up-and-coming neighborhood, live within your means and wait.

Sound like anybody you know? Do you know anybody who actually did, or is doing it? Maybe it’s you?

Tens of thousands of federal/postal workers and retirees fit the profile, except maybe for the one spouse rule.

Even so, the fact is that a lot of people fit the profile of somebody who has done very well financially, especially if they have been with one employer for 20 or 30 years, and if that employer offers a 401(k) plan, a generous company match and a retirement plan. Maybe they fit it better than they realize.


Having a secure financial future is even more likely if you know where you are now and where you are heading, as you get closer to that magic time when you could retire. So how do you know what you are worth, your future prospects and the legal tools you need to guarantee the best financial outcome?

Well you’ve come to the right spot. On today’s episode of our Your Turn radio show we’ll be talking to estate attorney Thomas O’Rourke. The former IRS employee specializes in advising current and former feds on estate planning. Among other things, Tom will talk about things you should be doing to plan for retirement, such as:

  • Analyzing your sources of income.
  • Getting a Social Security estimate.
  • Evaluating your annuity: this is the foundation of your planning for retirement. The cost of a lifetime annuity that pays $40,000 per year is approximately $1 million.
  • The Thrift Savings Plan: How much you accumulate will determine whether you have an enjoyable, carefree retirement or one where you must watch every penny. Participating in the TSP to the maximum level possible is the one goal every federal employee should have.

Estate Planning should be part of your retirement plan. This plan should allow you to:

  • Control your assets.
  • Protect yourself and your loved ones in the event of incapacity.
  • Distribute your assets after your death to whom you want, the way you want, and when you want at the lowest overall cost.

The key tools in most estate plans include wills, powers of attorney, medical directives, and trusts. Which of these, if any, do you need? If you have an estate plan, how often do you need to review it?

Your Turn airs at 10 a.m. EDT at or on 1500 AM in the D.C. area. Questions for Tom O’Rourke can be emailed before the show to

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Amelia Brust

The reason raccoons can climb down buildings and trees head first is that they can rotate their hind feet 180 degrees. They can also run up to 15 miles per hour.

Sources: Wikipedia and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife