Will You Ever Be Able To Retire?

Monday - 2/21/2011, 4:00am EST

When it comes to being able to retire, federal and postal workers are in better shape than most Americans. Because:

  • Those who retire under the CSRS program (or the CSRS offset system) will get an annuity fully indexed to inflation, based on their highest 3-year average salary and length of service. They also have their Thrift Savings Plan accounts.

  • Those who retire under the FERS program (the majority of current working feds) will get a smaller civil service benefit. But the inflation-adjustments don't begin until they are age 62 and they are subject to diet COLAs (cost of living adjustments) that are one percentage point less than the cost of living as measured by the Consumer Price Index. FERS employees get Social Security (which they pay into) and are eligible for a total match of 5 percent from the government to their TSP accounts.

    But because of the stock market hit a couple of years back, many TSP accounts suffered big time and are only now returning to their pre-crash levels. Feds are also under a 2-year pay freeze which Congress may extend another three years.

By contrast, a new Harris Poll indicates that 34 percent of American adults have no retirement savings whatsoever. And many of them work for companies that no longer offer pensions of any kind (if they ever did). Most of them will be dependent on Social Security benefits. For more on that, click here.

So will you be able to afford to retire when your numbers (age and service time) come up?

To find out, listen to the For Your Benefit radio show here on Federal News Radio. The show starts at 10 a.m., EST. And this one, if you are ever planning to retire, is for you!

Bob Leins, the host of the show, is a tax expert. Tammy Flanagan is well known in the federal community as an expert on federal benefits. Karen Schaeffer is a certified financial planner who specializes in members of the federal family. They will discuss ways to get the most out of retirement. And they'll take your calls at 202.465.3080.

Since today's a holiday, take time out to listen (again, 10 a.m. EST) either here on www.federalnewsradio.com (click the Listen Live icon) or in the Washington area on your home or car radio at 1500 AM.

To reach me: mcausey@federalnewsradio.com


Nearly Useless Factoid
by Suzanne Kubota

There's another Guinness World Record! The Largest Gathering of Lady Gaga Impersonators was 121 achieved at the 2011 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on February 13th, 2010. Be proud America!

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