Shutdown assignment: Taking care of number one

Whether you are on the job or at home, not getting paid and worrying about the state of the nation, this is a good chance for a new year checkup for the time when this is all a bad memory.

Regardless of age, experience, grade, location or job federal workers today fall into one of two categories, neither of which is good:

  1. You are either on the job today, not getting paid and very likely worried about the state of the nation. That’s saying nothing of things such as food, rent, mortgage payments and maybe some overdue medical bills, or even the mid-winter vacation you had planned.
  2. You have been told by the boss to stay home without pay until further notice. The fact that this may cause a serious cash flow is less important than the political tug-of-war being waged between a group of majority-millionaires in the White House and Congress. Some politicians have said they won’t collect their salaries until the shutdown is over and you have been reimbursed regardless of whether you worked or were locked out. Raises of up to $10,000 that were “due” to political appointees have been put on hold but they will go into effect once the shutdown is over.

In the meantime, life goes on.

If you have a Thrift Savings Plan account, following the ups and downs of C, S and I stock-indexed funds is nerve-wracking. Big dips are followed by not-so-big rebounds. Is the record bull market going away or is it already gone? Do you head for the “safety” of the Treasury securities G-fund even though many experts say its returns over time will be eaten up by inflation?


Should you file for unemployment benefits? How do you do it and how long does it take? Do you have to pay the money back to the state once the shutdown is over and you’ve been reimbursed? If so, how, and how long do you have?

What about getting a loan based on your TSP account — how does that work? What might it do to your final TSP balance, which is designed to provide one-third to one-half of your total retirement income?

Today at 10 a.m. EST on the Your Turn radio show, we’ll be talking with Greg Klingler of the Government Employee Benefits Association. He is the director of products and member services for the nonprofit. He’ll talk about life and long term care insurance for members, 529 college savings plans and options feds have during the shutdown to make changes — or additionals — to their TSP accounts, the pros and cons of self-adjusting Lifecycle funds and ways to possibly get your financial house in better order during and because of the shutdown.

Listen to the show on or on 1500 AM in the Washington, D.C. area. If you have questions or comments send them to

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Amelia Brust

Kiwis can remember events for at least five years, allowing them to learn from past mistakes.

Source: Kiwis for kiwi

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