What You Need To Know About Retirement Planning for Every Stage of Your Careers

Recent studies have indicated that 68 percent of employees have access retirement resources and only few agencies offered personal retirement and benefits counseling, external resources such as retirement or benefits guides, professional financial planning assistance, and career fairs.

Our ambitions hope is that all federal employees have access to early career, mid-career and pre-retirement services. If you do, consider yourself fortunate — they have all but disappeared from many federal agencies.

Here are some questions that you should be asking yourself at each stage of your career (early, mid-career, and pre-retirement), along with lists of resources to help you find the answers.

Early Career

(Up to 10 years on the job)

What are the basics of my retirement plan?

When am I eligible for retirement?

What is the formula to compute the value of my retirement benefit?

What if I become disabled during my career?

How much can I expect in Social Security benefits?

Do I have adequate life insurance protection?

Do I have the best health benefits coverage for myself and my family?

How much should I save for my retirement in the Thrift Savings Plan?

What if I leave federal service prior to becoming eligible for retirement? What are the vesting requirements for basic retirement benefits and the TSP?

How do I buy back Military time?


(From 10 years on the job to five years before retirement)

Do I know if and/or when I plan to retire from federal service?

If I am planning a second career, have I begun to explore options?

If I am planning to stop working, have I computed how much retirement income I will need?

Have I reviewed my electronic official personnel folder?

There should be evidence of the beginning and ending dates of each of my federal appointments. Has my retirement coverage changed during my federal career? Has my work schedule changed?

Are my beneficiary designations for FEHBP, FEGLI and unpaid compensation up to date?

Have I performed active duty military service that I want to use towards eligibility or computation of my retirement benefit?

Do I have any civilian service that was not covered by retirement deductions?

Do I have any refunded retirement contributions?

Have I had a life event such as marriage, divorce, death of a family member, or birth or adoption of a child?

Do I need help from a professional financial adviser?

Have I updated my beneficiary designations?


(Five years or fewer before retirement)

Have I requested a retirement estimate for a specific date or several dates from my human resources office? Am I eligible to continue FEHBP and FEGLI into retirement?

Do I understand my options for electing an unreduced CSRS or FERS annuity payable during my lifetime compared with a reduced annuity to provide a survivor annuity to a spouse or a person who may have an insurable interest in me?

Have I started to explore the different withdrawal options for using the money that I’ve saved in my TSP?

Have I considered signing up for long-term care insurance?

Have I re-evaluated my life insurance needs? Will I be eligible for Medicare when I retire?

If I will be retiring at age 62 or later, have I started to explore the strategies for claiming my Social Security retirement benefit? Do I understand how spousal and survivor benefits work under Social Security?

Do I understand how my retirement benefits will be taxed?

We believe the key to simplifying the complexities of Retirement Planning is to learn the basics. Retirement is not a word that should cause anxiety and fear. Our goal is to make things understandable and easy to process to overcome any anxiety with confidence in the choices you make.