Balancing worklife, cash flow and sanity

If your 9-to-5 hours are confusing, welcome to the club!

If you don’t know whether to buy, sell or stay put you are not alone, for whatever that’s worth. If you are truly nervous in the civil service it means you have been paying attention. So now what?

You may be fully aware of what is going on, the big question is where is it taking you?

Consider that tens of thousands of federal workers are wondering and many are asking if they are going to get Christmas Eve off with pay! There is precedent both for and against it, mostly against.

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An equal number of federal workers also are wondering if there is going to be a partial shutdown — the latest budget deadline is Dec. 21 — which could give them an extended mandatory vacation that could run into and past Christmas. If there is one, who will be hit? What about folks scheduled for vacation, or those on official travel who, in the past, have been required to return home and then go into enforced idleness?

If there is a shutdown will employees be paid for it at some later date? And if so, how much later? The last time there was a shutdown the Federal Employees Education & Assistance Fund ran out of money making emergency loans. FEEA is a feds-helping-feds charity and it took a hit as shutdown victims struggled to pay rent, mortgages and do other essential things, like eat.

Finally there is the Thrift Savings Plan, a nice feature for workers who remain under the old Civil Service Retirement System. But it is an absolute must for those planning to retire under the Federal Employees Retirement System. Contributions and earnings to the TSP will make up one-third to one half of all the income most FERS retirees have to live on. Since they get diet COLAs they need to have bigger self-financed nest eggs to keep up with inflation.

During the long march back from the recession of 2008 and 2009 workers who kept buying the stock indexed C and S funds made out like bandits — nice, smart bandits. They bought low for years and now are sitting on big balances. But since the market started acting funny, as in normal, many folks are nervous. Many of the same people who fled from stocks into the “safety” of the G fund are wondering if they should do it again.

Here at Federal News Network we get dozens of questions daily from feds wanting to know about an extra Christmas holiday, the possibility of a shutdown, the fate of FERS future benefits and now what, if anything, to do about the up and down stock market.

Thoughts? Please let me know.

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Amelia Brust

Blue jeans often have a small rectangular pocket in the front because in the 1800s, when the pants were invented, miners and cowboys used them to hold their pocket watches.

Source: The Independent

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