A recent survey conducted by Federal News Radio and me suggests that the federal retirement training system appears to be, at best, dreadfully ineffective.
The current training system doesn’t provide timely, suitable, consistent or adequate guidance that feds are desperate to acquire. Unprepared feds are left to fend for themselves in making wise planning decisions that will significantly influence their retirement.
Yet most feds don’t have the slightest idea where to begin. They are not only unfamiliar with comprehensive retirement planning, their Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) selections are akin to the proverbial dart and board.
Granted, some feds are “naturals.” They focus on their retirement early in life, manage their assets to fit their personal risk tolerances and remain vigilant planners throughout their federal employment. But they are in the minority. The majority of feds are lost and confused about their retirement income benefits until it is too late for them to make any meaningful or positive impact.
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I recently penned a column “Who’s to blame when feds don’t feel prepared for retirement?” that concentrated on the results of a survey of 563 feds. It focused on their knowledge, management and planning of the federal retirement income benefit packages. At the end of the column I asked you, the readers, to provide me with possible solutions. I was amazed by the quantity of thoughtful responses!
The following is a sampling of the suggestions you sent in to help fix this damaged training system:
For good measure, the following is a sampling of problems with the current system as described by some of those that responded:
The apparent effects of sticking with a dysfunctional system of this nature and magnitude may have far-reaching and long-lasting consequences, such as feds:
Based on the answers you provided, here are some ideas to improve training:
Within the next couple of years, hundreds of thousands of feds will be able to cash in on their full federal retirement benefits. How many will be forced to continue working, due to financial considerations, that a more vigorous training program could have helped avert? How many of them will direct their ire at their respective employers for not providing better training? What impact could this discontentment have on the federal workforce?
The argument could be made that due to the present form of federal retirement training:
So, we should ask, is the federal workforce fast approaching a perfect storm? A moment when the federal government will reluctantly be paying higher wages for lower production to a workforce with a historically weakened morale? Even more frightening, will members of that workforce that retire unprepared and unequipped cause an additional drain on this already weakened economy?
Has is already begun?
The bad news: When many feds read the material they are so unfamiliar with the jargon and concepts they ultimately get frustrated. That frustration then leads to procrastination and indecisiveness. Procrastination and indecisiveness then serve as shovels to assist in digging their retirement hole.
While we all strive for change in this area, we understand that change takes time. So while we wait, my office has agreed to donate up to eight free one-hour phone sessions each week to federal employees interested in receiving a Federal Retirement Readiness Review (FRRR). It can’t replace all the years of training and attention identified above. But it is a valuable tool. It is designed to help feds gauge their preparedness to enter retirement at the time and in the manner they desire.
Randy Silvey is the published author of “You FIRST, Federal Employees Retirement Guide,” one of the bestselling books of its kind on Amazon and Kindle. He has 14 years’ experience guiding feds to pursue a youthful and wealthy retirement. Randy can be reached at 816-524-515 or www.silverlightfinancial.com.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Securities offered through LPL Financial, member FINRA/SIPC.