Author: Kevin Wirth

Federal Employee Retirement Eligibility by Kevin Wirth

Kevin Wirth explains retirement eligibility for Federal Employees

Kevin D Wirth Kevin D. Wirth – Retirement Expert

For many people, “saving for the future” means just exactly that – setting money aside for “some day.” But as the years clip by, it becomes more important to have an actual plan for retirement, and a big part of that plan includes knowing the time when you can actually separate from employment service.

If you are a federal employee, the good news is that your retirement program makes it somewhat easier to track when you can retire. For example, retirement eligibility is determined by your age, as well as the years of service that you have put in.

In many instances, employees can retire and receive an immediate retirement benefit. This refers to a benefit that begins within 30 days from the date that he or she stops working. Provided that the employee meets one of the following criteria, they would be entitled to an immediate retirement benefit:

  • Age 62 with 5 years of service
  • Age 60 with 20 years of service

In some cases, you may also be required to have reached the MRA, or Minimum Retirement Age, in order to receive an immediate retirement benefit. Upon meeting the MRA, you may be required to either have 10 or 30 years of service, depending on your circumstances.

The following chart outlines what your MRA would be, based upon your year of birth:

If you were born: Your MRA is:
Before 1948 55
In 1948 55 and 2 months
In 1949 55 and 4 months
In 1950 55 and 6 months
In 1951 55 and 8 months
In 1952 55 and 10 months
In 1953 – 1964 56
In 1965 56 and 2 months
In 1966 56 and 4 months
In 1967 56 and 6 months
In 1968 56 and 8 months
In 1969 56 and 10 months
In 1970 and after 57

Source: OPM.gov

A federal employee may also be eligible for early retirement. This could be the case in the situation of an involuntary separation from service, as well as in the case of a voluntary separation such as for a reduction in the workforce or during a major reorganization.

In order to be eligible for retirement in these types of situations, an employee must either be age 50 and have put in at least 20 years of service, or be any age and have put in a minimum of 25 years of service.

When Will Your Benefits Begin?

Are far as benefits beginning, it is important to be mindful of the actual date that you retire, as well as the date that you legally attain a certain age. For example, a person actually legally becomes a given age on the day prior to his or her date of birth.1 This can be significant when choosing the date of retirement, as it could make the difference between your annuity benefits beginning the month of separation from service, or the month following.

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Sources

  1. FEDweek (http://www.fedweek.com/reg-jones-experts-view/the-first-day-you-can-retire/)

Higher FEGLI Rates in 2016 by Kevin Wirth

Kevin Wirth discusses the Higher FEGLI rates in 2016

If you’re enrolled in the FEGLI (Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance) program, either as an employee or a retiree, you may have recently noticed that your premiums have increased. This is because the FEGLI plan has changed its premiums for those who are currently enrolled, effective as of the first pay period of 2016.

FEGLI

Although the rise in cost is considered to be “slight” for older enrollees (and in fact the cost for those who are in the younger age brackets has actually gone down), the increase in premium can nevertheless be difficult for some who have not had a pay raise lately, or who are living on a fixed income.

Yet, if you’re planning to cancel your FEGLI coverage due to the higher premium, you may want to consider all of your alternatives prior to moving forward, as well as the financial consequences of going without this important financial protection.

For example, most people carry life insurance so as to ensure that their loved ones will not have to endure some type of financial hardship upon their passing. With that in mind, ask yourself what type of debt you may be leaving behind, such as:

  • Unpaid mortgage balance
  • Personal loans
  • Auto loan(s)
  • Credit card debt
  • Any business loans or debt

You may also have additional financial needs to cover, such as a surviving spouse and / or dependent’s ongoing income – especially if retirement income sources will be reduced or eliminated upon your passing.

In addition, today, even the cost of basic final expenses can exceed $9,000 in many areas of the country now. This is especially the case when factoring in elements such as a burial plot, head stone, transportation, and obituary notices.

So, while the cost of your FEGLI premium may be rising, the cost of going without life insurance protection could be a great deal more. If this particular coverage is too cost prohibitive, though, there may be other options available in terms of an individual life insurance policy or a final expense life insurance plan.

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Getting Started Early for a Successful Retirement by Kevin Wirth

Kevin Wirth Explains How to Get Started Early for a Successful Retirement

Nearly everyone dreams about the day they can retire. Regardless of whether you plan to hike in the mountains, relax on the beach, or volunteer in a faraway place, one thing is for certain, and that is in order to have a successful retirement, a good plan should ideally be in place.

Unfortunately, though, not everyone has the opportunity to do an ample amount of long-term planning. That may be due to an unexpected health situation, an offer of early retirement, or some other event that has moved up the clock on your leaving the world of employment.

In any case, the good news is that you still have some options on your side for making the most of your finances, as well as your insurance benefits, for your retirement years. The best way that you can ensure success beforehand, then, is to start by taking a good inventory of what you’ve got.

Getting All of Your Retirement Ducks in a Row

As you plan for this next phase of your life, the most important aspects from a planning standpoint will include the following:

  • Insurance – Because health care can be a retiree’s biggest expense, you will want to make sure that you have good coverage here. If you won’t be eligible for Medicare yet, and if being added to a spouse or partner’s employer-sponsored health plan also isn’t an option, then there are ways that you can take your FEHB (Federal Employees’ Health Benefits) with you – provided that you meet certain criteria. You will also want to ensure that you don’t leave your loved ones vulnerable to financial hardship when it comes to life insurance. So, be sure that you check into either an individual plan of coverage, or consider taking your FEGLI (Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance) coverage with you in retirement.
  • Financial – A good, solid financial plan is also an essential aspect of a successful retirement. This is because in order to live the lifestyle that you desire, you will need a way to replace your current income. Therefore, you should start by obtaining an approximation of how much you will be receiving from your retirement annuity when that time comes. If you’re covered by FERS, inquire as to how much income you’ll get from Social Security benefits, too. Because this income won’t likely be enough to completely replace your employer’s salary, you will also want to give yourself a boost by maxing your contributions while you still can to the TSP (Thrift Savings Plan). This will help you to obtain a larger amount of payout when the time comes to convert your savings into income down the road.

Once you have actually decided when the big day will be, you will want to get your retirement paperwork filled out in plenty of time. Typically, you should do so approximately two months prior to your actual date of retiring. This will help to ensure that all goes well – and just in case there are any glitches, you will have some time to get things straightened out and back on track.

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Federal Employees Eligible Retirement by Kevin Wirth

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