Financial planning musts for new feds

Friday - 7/8/2011, 10:31am EDT

Ed Zurndorfer, registered employee benefit consultant

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Financial planning is important for everyone. And, if you're a new federal employee it's even more important as you start to think about your TSP and FEHB possibilities. Registered employee benefit consultant Ed Zurndorfer joins the Federal Drive with some financial planning recommendations for new feds.

Zurndorfer elaborated on five of his top 10 tips:

  • Making deposits for military and temporary service
    Many federal employees enter the government with prior military or temporary federal service. By making a deposit, they can get credit for prior service time. "They'll be able to retire earlier and they'll have more retirement income as a result," Zurndorfer said.
  • For employees that had previously left government service and cashed out their FERS contributions, the money can be re-deposited, with interest, when they return to federal service.
  • "Contribute each year the maximum possible to the Thrift Savings Plan," Zurndorfer. "Try to do this as early as possible in your career."
  • Remember that the TSP is a long-term investment fund. The overall majority of money, 60-70 percent, should be invested in the stock funds.
  • Don't look for the cheapest premiums when deciding on health insurance plan. Also, consider enrolling in health care flexible spending plan since health insurance may not pay for everything.
"There's things employees can do that can really enhance their overall retirement benefits, and they are in full control," Zurndorfer said. "They just have to know about it."