FERS + COVID = retirement tsunami?

Have your career plans changed some, a lot or completely since the COVID pandemic? Has the retirement tsunami, first predicted in the 1990s, actually started? What if another recession is just around the corner? Lots of work-related questions for lots of people.

If ordered to return to the office full or even part time, will you do it or retire? Many surveys show that up to 40% of people who have been working from home don’t want to come back to the office. Ever! The same studies show many people can’t wait to get back to the office, to interact with coworkers and work with the discipline of the office.

Does the prospect of a large — 6% or more — January cost of living adjustment (COLA) change your plans for retirement under the Federal Employees Retirement System’s diet-COLA? After years of low inflation — 2-to-3% — many experts think that government spending programs, COVID and other things are driving up the cost of just about everything. That could present a problem for FERS retirees who get diet-COLAs when living costs exceed 2%. For a look at the history of COLAs and their impact on FERS annuities, click here.

Concerned that a stock market correction/plunge might eat into or devour your Thrift Savings Plan nest egg if its in the C, S or I funds? Worried about the impact COVID will have on your 2022 health premiums? Will you have to downsize your coverage?

If you said yes to any or all of the above, welcome to a large and fast-growing club of retirement-eligible feds for whom the bells are tolling.

Many people who’ve been working remotely or from home for 15 months like the situation. They say they are more productive. Others are chomping at the bit to return at least a couple of days a week. What happens if your agency requires you to work permanently work remotely or come back to the office?

Some feds have said that if the vaccine mandate is enforced they will refuse to take the required jabs and take their chances with possible dismissal. So does that change benefit levels? Will workers fired for noncompliance get severance pay?

So what if the long-predicted retirement tidal wave actually happens in 2021-22? Will you be ready for it or buried by it? Is this a good time to go?

Lots of questions — and we may have some or all of the answers. That’s because my guest today on Your Turn is benefits expert Tammy Flanagan. She is going to talk about the impact of a big COLA in 2022, the likely federal pay raise and what retirees who are 65-plus should be doing to prep for the federal health insurance open season. It begins Nov. 8 and will run through Dec. 13. The good news is that all of the plans are good-to-excellent. And people can change every year regardless of health, preexisting conditions, age, etc.

The bad news is that while all of the FEHBP plans are good, some are just too expensive. Or their out-of-pocket (cost to you) requirement is too high.

Other bad but fixable news is that more than half of all federal and postal retirees are in the “wrong” plans. As in overly expensive plans. They could save thousands a year by switching to a different plan or option.

If you do decide to retire this year, or next, what impact will that have on your Social Security benefit? There are things you can do to increase your starting benefit an eye-popping 68%.

And once you leave government, should you leave the TSP to get more investment and withdrawal options? Look before you leap.

And much more…

The show begins at 10 a.m. It will be streaming live here and on the radio at 1500 AM in the D.C.-Baltimore area. The show will be archived here so you can listen later, listen again or refer it to a friend. If you have questions for Tammy please send them to mcausey@federalnewsnetwork.com before showtime.

Be calm and carry on, but not before you listen to Tammy.

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Alazar Moges

The first roller coaster in the United States was unveiled at Coney Island, in Brooklyn, New York on June 16,1884.. Created by LaMarcus Thompson, the switchback railway traveled at almost six miles per hour and cost a nickel to ride.

Source: Britannica 

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Your Turn with Mike Causey

WEDNESDAYS at 10 A.M.

Learn about everything from pay, benefits and retirement, to buyouts, COLAs and pay freezes. Call the show live Wednesdays from 10-11 a.m. at 202-465-3080 with your questions. Dial 605-562-0264 to listen live from any phone. Follow Mike on Twitter and send him an email with your questions and comments. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Podcast One.

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THRIFT SAVINGS PLAN TICKER

Oct 21, 2021 Close Change YTD*
L Income 23.3044 0.0046 3.52%
L 2025 12.1079 0.0054 6.40%
L 2030 42.9634 0.0268 7.92%
L 2035 12.9286 0.0088 8.58%
L 2040 49.0234 0.037 9.26%
L 2045 13.4534 0.0109 9.83%
L 2050 29.5260 0.0261 10.41%
L 2055 14.6038 0.0181 12.65%
L 2060 14.6037 0.0182 12.65%
L 2065 14.6035 0.0181 12.65%
G Fund 16.6867 0.0006 0.99%
F Fund 20.7462 -0.0407 -1.40%
C Fund 68.4916 0.2095 15.90%
S Fund 87.8446 0.5128 11.66%
I Fund 39.2498 -0.1287 8.56%
Closing price updated at approx 6pm ET each business day. More at tsp.gov
* YTD data is updated on the last day of the month.