When it comes to retirement, you have so many great resources available, it can be difficult to hunt down the resources that actually meet your needs rather than simply take up your time. Determining the best course for your retirement is one of the most important things you can do throughout your career. One of the resources at your disposal is this handy guide to the best free retirement resources of 2018.
The retirement services section of OPM.gov is one of the most useful resources for staying up to date on benefits and services to help plan your retirement. Information on Federal Employees Health Benefits is posted here, along with a portal for managing your monthly annuity online. You can also find a benefits estimator to help you determine how much you need to save for retirement. The Frequently Asked Questions section is a quick resource for finding the answers to many retirement questions you might be asking as well.
Thrift Savings Plan
If you are contributing to the Thrift Savings Plan, the Planning and Tools section offers a number of useful resources for managing your investment strategy to maximize your retirement savings at any point in your career. Map out contributions over different phases of life in order to take the best advantage of the retirement options available to you. Explore their Retirement Planning Phases tool and gain valuable information on how much you should be saving today.
Dane Financial, LLC
The investment advisory firm, Dane Financial, offers a wealth of information on general financial planning for federal employees. Learn more about investment strategies, retirement mistakes to avoid, and more through their website without signing up for services, or schedule a meeting to speak to one of their investment advisors for more information.
Fed Retirement Planning Channel on YouTube.com
When you just want someone to explain retirement planning and benefits for federal employees in a way you can understand, the Fed Retirement Planning Channel on YouTube.com is one of the best places you can turn for no-nonsense information. Cooper Mitchell offers help for federal employees looking to better understand their benefits. Cooper Mitchell is an expert on financial planning and investing for federal employees, and is a well-known public speaker on the subject. With dozens of videos and regular updates, the Fed Retirement Planning Channel is sure to keep you up-to-date with the best strategies for planning your retirement.
US Office of Personnel Management
The YouTube.com channel for the US Office of Personnel Management (USOPM) is another informative channel for keeping on top of the latest information for federal employees. With regular updates to the channel and topics affecting federal employees on a regular basis, the USOPM channel is a good place to stay ahead of changes in policy.
National Federation of Federal Employees
The website of the National Federation of Federal Employees is a great site for discovering tools and information for planning retirement. Members have access to financial and educational benefits that are among the best in the nation. You may also be able to save on retirement and financial planning through their member discounts program.
Produced by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Investor.gov is a fantastic resource for anyone planning to invest for their retirement. The site offers a free introduction to investing that will walk you through the basics of saving and investing for retirement, retirement plans including federal government plans, and managing your income. The site also offers a guide to researching investments before risking your hard-earned money. With retirement calculators and simple explanations of investment jargon, this is a great tool for educating yourself whether you are new to planning for retirement, or installing the last bit of padding to your nest.
The Consumers’ Checkbook to Health Plans for Federal Employees is a great comparison tool for evaluating the health plans available to you as a federal employee. The site is independent and non-profit, so you are not confronted with ads and have the peace of mind of knowing that the information presented is unbiased and accurate. The site also features member ratings, so you can get an idea of how others who have tried the plans have rated them. One of the best features is the personalized cost estimator, which can help you calculate what your total out of pocket expenses will be on any give plan. Should you need more assistance, support is available through email.
CSRS-FERS Benefits Calculator
Calculating your retirement benefits and analyzing your progress toward saving for retirement is a complicated process. If you want a good estimate of where you are in the process, you can hire a financial planner, or look for a benefit calculator online. What sets the CFRS-FERS Benefits Calculator apart from many other retirement calculators is that it is designed specifically with federal employees in mind. The calculator will help you determine retirement date eligibility, types of retirement annuities available to you and where you stand, creditable service time, survivor benefits and more. The calculator also estimates accumulated contributions to the Thrift Savings Plan and withdrawal options and their consequences. While available for free only for a 14-day trial, this benefits calculator is one of the best and easiest to use for federal employees.
Internal Revenue Service
No retirement plan can be complete without taking into account the role taxes will play as you approach retirement, and as you begin to withdraw money from savings accounts after retirement. The IRS has compiled a helpful Tax Guide to U.S. Civil Service Retirement Benefits that helps you accomplish just that. This guide will help you understand some of the tax consequences relating to the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act. As many federal employees look to potentially participate in this program, understanding how it affects your tax burden is a significant piece of the retirement planning puzzle. While you may be daunted by a publication from the IRS, this document is not only informative, but readable as well.
You’re working hard to reach retirement and want to ensure that the retirement decisions you make will benefit you over the long term. Hopefully in retirement you’ll be all set to live the good life – spend time with family, pursue your hobbies, and take cruise vacations. Using these free resources will help maximize your money and make the best planning decisions.