Your personal pandemic checklist

Six months into an historically-lethal pandemic that potentially threatens everybody on the planet is probably a pretty good time to update or begin your personal financial checklist —In case you unexpectedly check out.

Many people, and especially long-time career federal civil servants are almost certainly worth more dead than alive, and by a lot more than they think. Especially true if you can leave a lifetime indexed-to-inflation survivor annuity, subsidized lifetime health insurance coverage, life insurance and more.

But how much more? Do you have a clue? Can you think of a better time for a personal tune-up?


Benefits expert Tammy Flanagan has spent most of her adult life, in addition to raising sons, probing the mysteries of the federal benefit package, from cradle to grave and beyond. But it’s worth keeping on top of because it is one of the best, anywhere, for you now and for your survivors down the road.

But it can get complicated — as in very complicated. Also things change. Deadlines must be met and then they expire. Tammy has explored them many times in her regular Government Executive column and as a guest on our Your Turn radio show, which she will join today at 10 a.m. EDT here on and on 1500 AM if you are in the metro Washington, D.C., area.

Today’s show is regrettably very timely. As she says, “Do you know how long you could continue to remain financially secure if you were diagnosed with a serious illness?” The answer, if you are a fed with 10 years service, could be as much as six months of paid time off. But do you qualify? How do you know, and what do you need to do now to position yourself for best-case-outcome in a worst-case-scenario?

In her July 30 column Tammy asked — then answered, which is always helpful — if you know the five questions you should ask yourself right now to know, and control, your benefits:

  1. Do you know how long you could continue to remain financially secure if you were diagnosed with a serious illness?
  2. Do you know what your dependents would be entitled to if something happens to you?
  3. Did you stay-the-course with your retirement savings despite the stock market volatility this year?
  4. Do you have an investment strategy for retirement?
  5. And finally,  do you know the current value of your life insurance, including who gets it? Did you forget to update it to include a new spouse, or deal with a currently out-of-favor child or relative?

These are super important things you should know to give yourself peace of mind, and leave a best-case scenario for your loved one’s in a worst-case situation. Definitely check out and save Tammy’s column, and join us today at if you can. The show will be archived on our website so you can listen again, listen later or refer it to a friend. If you have questions today please send them to me before showtime at

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Amelia Brust

On Aug. 12, 1883, the last known quagga died at a zoo in Amsterdam, marking the extinction of the South African plains zebra subspecies. The horse resembled a zebra in the head, but its body was mostly brown with a white underside. A project to breed back the quagga — in appearance only as genetically the new population would be different — began in the 1980s.

Source: Wikipedia