Your 12-month 2020 checklist, survival kit — easier than Keto!

Over the next couple of weeks the long-lines at your local gym — the one you resolved to attend religiously — will start to thin out. Their pledge to look like Jennifer Lopez or Chris Hemsworth by years’ end probably won’t last until spring.

Within a month, for many, the diet plan they, you and I swore to follow will fall by the wayside and be replaced by more realistic, if less healthy food choices. For many January is a hope-springs-eternal transition time that doesn’t last very long. But there are things members of the federal family can, and should, be doing that are important, smart and most importantly, doable. Things that will save you money, maybe make it possible to retire earlier and/or on larger annuity, and generally distress your life — and career. The trick, according to Abraham Grungold, is to have a goal, have a timetable and stick to it. That’s never as easy as it sounds over a 12-month period, but doable.

Grungold, a fed for three decades, successful Thrift Savings Plan investor and financial coach, gave his by-the-month calendar for 2020. It should make things better for you this year, both on the job and in retirement — if you stick to them.  All are doable, the trick is you’ve got to do them:

“We live in a society now filled with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other media that takes up our time. Why do we not take the time to review our employee benefits and other opportunities? Every year, I hear co-workers say, ‘Oh, I forgot open season. I still have not filed my taxes and I must find a new job.’ We are federal employees. After a few years, certain events should be ingrained in our federal DNA, but they are not.

“In an effort to help all federal employees, I have prepared a useful calendar. Each month, take one hour and address a monthly topic. You will be on top of your federal benefits, opportunities and continue your career as a less stressful employee:

  1. January: New Year’s may bring new beginnings. Update your resume and look over the application forms on
  2. February: Reach out on Valentine’s Day and make a connection on LinkedIn.
  3. March: Spring clean, and update your Thrift Savings Plan and life insurance beneficiaries.
  4. April: File your federal, state and quarterly tax returns before the 15th.
  5. May: Before that Memorial Day weekend barbecue, think about long term care insurance.
  6. June: Celebrate Flag Day but also think about life insurance!
  7. July: After watching the fireworks, give some thought to a dental plan.
  8. August: Look into a vision plan.
  9. September: In case of a government shutdown, be prepared to have a surplus of cash to pay your bills.
  10. October: Spend Columbus Day discovering your options for the Federal Spending Account Program.
  11. November: Veterans Day is the time for Federal Employee Health Benefits premiums and choices.
  12. December: Before attending the office holiday party, decide on your TSP 2021 contributions and review your 2020 levels.

If you check off the boxes and stick with it this could be one of your best years. It could make you more financially sound, and put your family in the best possible position whether you are around, or not.

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Amelia Brust

Because dogs don’t see colors the same way humans do, they cannot read traffic lights. Therefore vision-impaired persons who use guide dogs learn to judge the movement of traffic by its sounds and at the appropriate time, will command their guide dog, “forward.” The dog will not carry out the command unless it is safe to do so, which is called “intelligent disobedience.” However, hybrid cars and other vehicles are made to be quiet, which can present problems for both dogs and owners.

Source: The Seeing Eye

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