11:46 pm, April 23, 2014

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  • TSP Limits
    Donna S.
    Hi Mike! I love your column and hate to take exception with anything you say, but there is a slight error in your column. When you state that FERS employees can contribute an additional 5% after the government match, that is no longer the case. The percentage limits were lifted a few years ago and only the IRS deferral limit of $16,500 applies. Although I'm a CSRS employee and do not receive a matching contribution from the government, I was happy to see those percentage limits lifted so that I could contribute more to my TSP account. Thanks for keeping us so well informed!
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • TSP
    BeanerECMO
    Firstly, make sure that it is clear that all of the funds of the public employee that is put into the TSP, SocSec, Medicare and the public employee's pay is taxpayer money (Yes, I know the public employee pays taxes as well; but what does it really cover? It is the private sector that funds the public sector). Secondly, remember, also that even if the fed employee does not want to participate in contributing to TSP, the gov will still contribute 1% to that employee's TSP account. Thirdly, TSP is invested in the money market, stock market, mutual funds, etc. Fourthly, a huge hue and cry was raised when it was proposed to have the general public, as well as public employees, voluntarily authorize as little as 1% from their SocSec contribution to be invested in the market because it was privatizing SocSec and was going to wreck it. The only reason the dem sheeple of, inter alia, AFGE, AFSCME, AFL-CIO, etc. opposed it was because they could not stand anybody else getting as good a deal as the public employees have gotten over the past 2 generation and we know that their position is unsustainable; forgetting, of course, that they could have participated in the program as well and increased their retirement portfolio. Yes, the market has had its roller coaster ride; however, at least for me, my portfolio has recovered nicely, I've never gone into the principal; and I am up 50% from 2001.
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  • Response to Beaners anti union diatribe
    Moderate
    First, the funds that are put into the TSP etc. are the employees' funds and employer's funds. They may come from the taxpayer, but are employee and employer funds. We are employees and have almost the same rights, including rights of private property (salary and benefits) as private sector employees. We also have the same obligations as the private sector to pay our taxes. Therefore, the contributions to medicare and social security come from our benefits packages, just like the private sector.------------------------------------------------------------------ Your comments about the 1% contributions are not relevant as the article advises FERS employees to contribute 5% of their money to the TSP in order to maximize their benefits in this area. Why lose a piece of your compensation? My addition is to consider making your contributions part of the Roth plan when it is available. It may or may not be good for you depending on a multitude of factors.----------------- You are correct in saying that there was a huge objection to taking 2% (not 1%) of your pay (not in addition to the social security contribution, but from the social security contribution) and investing it into the stock market. You leave out the fact that the defined benefit part of social security would have been reduced by a huge amount. Many retired people cannot afford this as social securiotymakes up a very substantial part of their income. They cannot afford the risk of the stockl market. They cannot afford to have their basic benefit reduced. (continued)
    worker
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  • Response to Beaner cont)
    Moderate
    Yo0u write that the only reason the dem sheepie...increased their retirement portfolio. You have a fantastic imagination, but it is on par with those who make up things in their imaginations. Please cite your source for this fictional reason for the opposition to Bush's "reform of social security. People do have access to the same thing union and public employee people do. They have 401K's in many cases. In most cases they can have an IRA. They can invest these monies in stock market or stock market type of activities. You are and always been a regressive radical rightist who wants to deprive the regular people of their right to make a decent living. You also do not mind having them work in sweatshops for 60 or 70 hours per week. You also do not mind if emergency exits, which are used for fire escapes, are locked or barricaded.
    worker
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  • WHAT CANNOT BE COUNTENENANCED
    BeanerECMO
    is that the public employees are receiving much more than their share of the taxpayers' money and that's what Obama wants to re-distribute because of the luck of the draw, you've had success. I believed that's what AFGE, AFSCME, AFL-CIO etc. wanted. Re: regular people; that's what Obama says you're not; you're the lucky and your wealth has to be spread around. Re: 5% advice; sure; however, there are so many people in the fed that believe they are still going to receive a gov pension w/o contribution, and donot participate, and when it comes to the end of the line, they are outraged that something was taken away from them, was not explained to them, etc. Re: SocSec investment; where do you believe the gov gets a return on SocSec payments; right they don't - it's a Ponzi Scheme. Further, the rights you listed; they are not rights - they are entitlements - and remember, “A Government Big Enough to Give You Everything You Want is Powerful Enough to Take Everything You Have — Thomas Jefferson”; and Bubba, that's what's coming - Obamaville.
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • Response to Beaner
    Moderate
    Again Beaner is giving us more nonsense by saying we are overpaid. More than likely, since I must speculate he will cite some stats that say the average government worker is paid more dollars and has better benefits than the average private industry person. He deliriously ignores the fact that we have proportionately less hamburger flippers, sales people in department stores, part timers, and other low paying low or non benefit jobs than private industry. Therefore, his favorite stat is skewed. ---------------------------------------------------Also, the point of his first sentence appears to blame unions for something that I cannot make sense of. Is he saying that the unions have conspired with Obama to make us better off? We have hardly done well under Obama due to the inherited economy. Re 5% sentences make no sense.--------------------------------------------- Regarding social security, an entitlement is a right. Yes, it can be taken away, just like our pension. But, it is a right as we have paid into the system. However, I will agree, it is not a properly funded insurance. It was never properly funded because it was set up during the depression. Taxes were taken in to pay out retirement benefits to others. This has continued with some funds being built up. The bubble will burst as there are too many baby boomers for the next generations to support. You are and always been a regressive radical rightist who wants to deprive the regular people of their right to make a decent living. You also do not mind having them work in sweatshops for 60 or 70 hours per week. You also do not mind if emergency exits, which are used for fire escapes, are locked or barricaded.
    worker
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  • The "College Fund" Consideration
    hfk
    While making sure you have your children's college fund intact sounds like a laudable, good-parent thing to do, it strikes me as something on which we should place far less emphasis. It would be nice to have college paid for but let's face it, most of us didn't have that option and in the current economy it is (in my opinion) fiscally irresponsible to drill the idea into folks' psyche that they must give this very expensive gift to their children. Think of it this way: if you've scrimped on your retirement investing now so that you can send your children to college with minor or no financial requirements on their part, you risk your future ability to care for yourself and then--in all likelihood--you'll be a burden to your well-educated child. At a minimum you'll have a somewhat less comfortable retirement because you paid for your child's college education. I'm of the opinion that people value what they've had to work for, not what is given to them, so I say... teach your children well the values of earning what you get. Don't give them an entitlement mentality by bestowing them with this very valuable gift merely by virtue of their birth. On the other hand, if you're wealthy enough to pay for their college degree without any impact on your retirement... still make them work for it to some extent. Food for thought.
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  • You're 100% correct
    Rob
    Anyone who is putting money aside for their children's college fund at the expense of saving for your own retirement is making a HUGE mistake. There are many ways to pay for a college education. I know of only one way to pay for retirement. If you're not maximizing your own retirement savings then who is going to pay the bills when you retire? This is a no brainer but too many folks get caught up in the idea that they must save for their children's education. Also, if you are FERS you should definitely contribute the 5% to get the free money. After that, if you still have money you can sink into retirement savings, you should fully fund a ROTH IRA. Then if you still have money after fully funding your ROTH you should go back and maximize your TSP. Once that is done and you still have money to spare then go save for your children's education. Now that's sound advice!!
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • To rob and htk
    Moderate
    First Rob, don't say your advice is sound advice. Let others tell you it is. Your position is lessened by you giving your opinion to your own advice. Just my observation so take it as you see fit. It does not influence me.------------------------ Second, you have made some good points, but they are debateable. I am under CSRS so my insights will be different from those under FERS. One should estimate periodically the amount of the defined benefit plan one will receive. Then one should estimate the amount one will need to live on and then decide how much to contribute to the thrift planm, with 5% being the minimum for FERS people. Then, according to one's point of view, one should consider funding options for their children's education. You are not legally obligated to pay for their college education. Remember that your children do not make much money as children. Therefore, they will need financial aid for this education. Unfortunately, when they apply for financial aid, parental income is strongly considered when determining the amount of financial aid. (See FAFSA) Therefore, they could be saddled with very large financial obligations after college. Add to that the cost of a car loan and multiply that by 2 if there is a young married couple and you have a very difficult situation. Add to that the cost of renting an apartment or mortgage payments and you can see why I paid for most of their education without being wealthy and getting some financial aid which was paid back right after graduation without interest charges. Just my thoughts.
    worker
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  • Moderate - Always Looking For a Fight Aren't You?
    Rob
    This isn't "my" advice. This is the advice shared by countless financial planners. The gist of my point is, don't save for your children's education before saving for your own retirement. Is that not "sound" advice?
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • Advice
    Moderate
    Read your previous post. It sounds like it came from you until your last clarification Also, different people have different ideas on what their "obligations" are. I do agree with the general statement that one should plan for ones retirement ahead of funding college. The dog is in the details. That depends on many factors including your starting age when planning for retirement, your benefits, when your last child graduates school, how long you plan to work, your pay, and so many other factors I cannot begin to say. It also depends on what you want to do for your children. There is no one size fits all.----------------------------------------------------------------- Rob, your title is stupid. You make controversial comments and tolerate no replies. You are not always right, neither am I. I expect opposing points of view and respect them unless they are derogatory. I also respond to them. That is a major reason for this board. I complemented Mr. Causey and related parties for setting up this board. So relax, enjoy the board, and enjoy responding to those you agree or disagree with. I hope you will find it much more enjoyable to respond to those you disagree with than those you agree with. The latter is boring and is not mind stimulating.
    worker
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  • College
    CAfed
    Why can't they pay for their own college AS THEY CAN AFFORD IT? Many of us did it that way. There is no reason to have $100,000 debt for college. If you can't afford it, go where and IF you can. I understand medical school is tough, but if you don't have the money, do something else or figure out a way to do it. Sorry, I have no sympathy for people who want to be on the public dole for no good reason, and this includes grants. Who do you think is paying for these?
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • COLLEGE TUITION
    BeanerECMO
    Come on!! The taxpayer is going to foot the bill. The gov's taken ove the student loan program. There has been talk mof reducing the Pell, but that is only so the Obama Grant can be funded. And, Rob and Glory J., it is clear that we have traveled the same path and provided what we could, not necessarily what we wanted. But, we also, did not want to be a burden to either our perents or our children, let alone the American taxpayer. And, clearly, going to an Ivy League school, while a fantastic goal for so many, it is painfully obvious that the so-called 'leaders' for the last 3-4 generartion have not acqitted themselves well at all - look where we are with their fine leadership. There is nothing bad about going to a community college, then a 4-year, or going to a vo-tech - oh, how horrid. My one daughter, did that route, and now she's a PA. She also repaid us. My other daughter went the 4-year route, and she repaid us. My son did the 4-year route, in a field that he does not use in his current job (nor has he); and he repaid his debt. I just believe Moderate protests too much, and he's not Moderate - he's a taker.
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  • To Glory J and Beaner
    Moderate
    The problem is that an 18 year old cannot afford to pay much for education. The 18 year old, generally, has not worked long enough to pay for a collge education, even at a state school. An 18 year old would have to work a substantial number of years at a minimum wage job, if he could get one, to be able to pay for college. Many doctors have huge loans to go to medical school.---------------------------------- By having taxes provide support for post secondary high school, we encourage students to get a higher education, which should provide better incomes and get them to pay higher taxes. So there is a benefit.----------------------------------------- To Beaner-Your last comment was stupid. My parents paid for 2 years of college and I paid for the last 2 years. So do not accuse me of being a taker when you are clueless of what I have done. Additionally, Beaner, did you go to public school? If so, you were a burden on the taxpayer. Do you eat? Do you drive on public roads? These among many other things are tax supported. so you are a burden on the American taxpayer. Your child went to community college. That is taxpayer supported. You are nothing but a hypocrite. You are and always been a regressive radical rightist who wants to deprive the regular people of their right to make a decent living. You also do not mind having them work in sweatshops for 60 or 70 hours per week. You also do not mind if emergency exits, which are used for fire escapes, are locked or barricaded.
    worker
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  • PUBLIC SCHOOL
    BeanerECMO
    I attended parochial school; and tuition was paid by my parents and me doing janitorial services for the school and church. Further, I attended a 4-year non-public university, where I worked in the cafeteria, at a gas station; my wife taught school, and part of the university cost was paid with a blank check that included up to and including the cost of my life, as was the post-grad degree. Re: stupid, hypocrite, regressive radical, etc.; insults are really overrated, and it appears you overrate yourself quite often considering the continued diatribe about locked exits, regular people, etc. Clearly, there are no other instruments of thought to clearly express the lack of confidence in yourself or your 'opinions (?)', however, it does clearly illustrate that the lack of substance is no bar or embarrassment to you.
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  • To Beaner
    Moderate
    So you did mooch from your parents for 12 years to pay for Catholic school tuition. Did you pay them back for this tuition? The only reason I say mooch is because of your attitude towards college students whose parents pay for or help with tuition. Parents, in most cases want to help their children be successful. Yours paid for Catholic school for 12 years. Mine paid for college for 2 years.--------------- Would you be more clear about "and part of the university cost was paid with a blank check that included up to and including the cost of my life, as was the post-grad degree."-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hypocrite refers to your diatribe regarding taking from taxpayers and you did the same thing by sending your daughter to a community college. There is nothing wrong with sending your child there. it is your nonsense about taking from taxpayers that is objectionable.------------------------------------------------------------ My last sentence is a play on your last paragraph which you have insanely repeated here and in another column for so long that it is old and pathetic. It really shows that you have a lack of ability in your attempts to present a logical position. Therefore, you must rely on that nonsense.
    worker
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  • TSP good, bad & ugly?
    contrarian
    Great advice Mike. People have to put in 5%, even new hires that don't intend to stay, just to get the match. But the plan itself is now second rate to plans like Chrysler or State of Utah that have 100% self directed options (with fees at employee's expense). The TSP managers have brainwashed TSP accountholders into thinking that frequent traders cost them money, this is so far from the truth that I have lost any respect for these managers. At today's low interest rates you could make the case to borrow as much as possible out of the TSP and put it into your own self directed account, while making the loan payments! I plan to totally withdraw my TSP funds as soon as possible because of the poor investment choices.
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • to contrarian
    Moderate
    You made a very good point when you said that various entities have a self directed option with the fees being paid by the employee. I agree that the TSP management should explain why this cannot be done. I would like to hear their side of the story. They may or may not have a legitimate reason for their position, but TSP customers should hear it.
    worker
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