Don’t Mess With the G Fund from govexec.com

April 10, 2015  |   Blog   |     |   Comments Off on Don’t Mess With the G Fund from govexec.com

What is unique about the Thrift Savings Plan? Well, first of all, it’s a retirement savings plan specifically designed for federal employees and military service members. Another notable fact about the TSP is its very low administrative costs -- 29 cents per $1,000 invested per year. For some 401(k) plans, such costs can be as high as $24.50 for every $1,000 invested. But more than any of these characteristics, one thing really sets the TSP apart: the G Fund, a short-term Treasury security that is exclusive to the TSP and is guaranteed by the U.S. government. Nearly 40 percent of the money invested in TSP accounts is in the G Fund--almost $200 billion. The G Fund aims to deliver a rate of return higher than inflation while avoiding exposure to default risk and market price fluctuations. But it’s currently at risk of losing that feature. As GovExec’s Eric Katz reported in late March,  a House Budget Committee report takes issue with how the interest rate on the G Fund is calculated, arguing that “those who participate in the G Fund are rewarded with a long-term rate on what is essentially a short-term security.” Strictly speaking, this is true. The G Fund interest rate calculation is based on the weighted average yield of all outstanding Treasury notes and bonds with four or more years to maturity. Yet it is a short-term security. But there’s more to the story. The G Fund was ...

Treasury Taps Federal Pensions as Uncle Sam Hits Debt Ceiling from govexec.com

March 16, 2015  |   Blog   |     |   Comments Off on Treasury Taps Federal Pensions as Uncle Sam Hits Debt Ceiling from govexec.com

The Treasury Department has suspended investments into federal employees' pensions, as the government officially hit its debt ceiling of about $18.1 trillion on Monday. The law allows the government to take “extraordinary measures” to avoid a default, including tapping into and suspending investments into the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund and halting the daily reinvestment of the government securities (G) fund, the most stable offering in the Thrift Savings Plan's portfolio. Continue Reading: http://www.govexec.com/management/2015/03/treasury-taps-federal-pensions-uncle-sam-hits-debt-ceiling/107601/#.VQcx79PQLxc.email

Is the Digital Wave Creating a ‘Never-Ending Work Day’ for Feds? from nextgov.com

January 23, 2015  |   Blog   |     |   Comments Off on Is the Digital Wave Creating a ‘Never-Ending Work Day’ for Feds? from nextgov.com

Many federal leaders are enthusiastic about the power of digital technology to improve the way government workers get their work done. But almost as many federal managers worry the rise of new technology has actually upended a healthy sense of work-life balance and could lead to “never-ending work days” that drain federal employees’ morale. That rift is revealed in a new survey examining agency leaders’ views about technology in the federal workplace conducted by the National Academy of Public Administration and ICF International. "There's a dichotomy -- an almost even split -- between those in the survey who really thought that digital technology benefited them ... and those who saw that technology actually became more of a tether,” said Dan Chenok, executive director of the IBM Center for the Business of Government. Chenok, who was a member of the five-person panel that drafted the survey and analyzed the results, spoke last week at an event unveiling the survey results. By overwhelming margins -- nine out of 10 -- federal leaders surveyed say they’ve embraced digital technology in the workplace, in part, because of the promise of enhanced productivity. Continue Reading: http://m.nextgov.com/cio-briefing/wired-workplace/2015/01/digital-wave-creating-never-ending-work-day-feds/103242/

Beware of Scams from govexec.com

December 22, 2014  |   Blog   |     |   Comments Off on Beware of Scams from govexec.com

Many federal employees and retirees have amassed large balances in their Thrift Savings Plan accounts. That gives them some long-term retirement security, but it also exposes them to targeting by scammers who want a piece of their nest eggs. No one wants to be misled by unscrupulous sales people. Unfortunately, it happens all too often -- sometimes even on federal property during pre-retirement seminars. The National Institute of Transition Planning, which pays me to provide unbiased information to federal employees at seminars, has been diligent about never selling anything to employees. Read More: http://www.govexec.com/pay-benefits/retirement-planning/2014/12/beware-scams/101613/?oref=retirement_planning_nl

VA’s Whistleblowers Win Undisclosed Settlement — GOV EX

September 30, 2014  |   Blog   |     |   Comments Off on VA’s Whistleblowers Win Undisclosed Settlement — GOV EX

VA's Phoenix Whistleblowers Win Undisclosed Settlement By Charles S. Clark September 29, 2014 Three Veterans Affairs Department employees who blew the whistle on patient scheduling problems and financial mismanagement at the VA’s Phoenix medical center have won settlements for their claims of management retaliation. The Office of Special Counsel on Monday announced it had obtained “full and fair” relief for Katherine Mitchell, Paula Pedene and Damian Reese, though details of the settlements were not disclosed. Since VA was hit by scandal this spring, lawmakers from both parties have called for a criminal investigation into whether VA officials potentially committed fraud by lying about patient wait times so they could meet performance measures that would-win them bonuses. Whistleblowers played a key role in the exposing the issues, which resulted in reform legislation signed by President Obama in August. “Dr. Mitchell, Ms. Pedene, and Mr. Reese followed their consciences and reported wrongdoing, and their efforts have improved care and accountability at the VA,” Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner said. “I applaud the VA’s leadership for taking actions to quickly resolve these cases and [take] concrete steps to change the VA’s culture. The settlements allow these courageous employees to return to successful careers at the VA. VA leadership is sending a clear message: whistleblowing should be encouraged, not punished.” The three cases are the first since VA’s post-scandal reforms, which include overhauling the department’s Office of Medical Inspector, setting up an expedited review process for whistleblowers and creating an Office of Accountability Review. The three whistleblowers who won settlements had received demotions and poor performance ratings for speaking out. Dr. Mitchell, a 16-year veteran, was removed ...

How To Choose The Right Financial Adviser

September 12, 2014  |   Blog   |     |   Comments Off on How To Choose The Right Financial Adviser

How to Pick a Financial Adviser By Tammy Flanagan September 11, 2014 One of the questions I get asked over and over at my seminars is: “How do I find a financial adviser who I can trust and who understands federal retirement benefits?” Sometimes, I get mistaken for such an adviser, since I talk about financial issues in the context of discussing federal retirement benefits. It’s true that the topics of benefits and financial planning are intertwined. But there’s a difference between the two. Think of it this way: If you ask a retirement specialist at your agency, “When should I retire?” they would be able to tell you when you would be eligible for retirement and might even help you pick a date that maximizes your retirement benefits. But the question, “When can I afford to retire?” requires a different kind of expertise -- that of a financial planner. Who has been your financial planner so far? The answer may be yourself -- and you may have done a great job. But you may also be reaching the point where you need some outside help to ensure your decision-making is sound when it comes to planning for life after government. The Old and the New Under the older Civil Service Retirement System, financial planning considerations were simpler. CSRS is based on a single defined benefit that replaces a portion of your pre-retirement income -- up to 80 percent of it, in fact. Once retirement begins under CSRS, the benefit is paid monthly for life and includes an annual cost of living adjustment. So as long as you’ve ...

GOV EXEC – OBAMA Plans To Give Feds 1 % Raise

August 29, 2014  |   Blog   |     |   Comments Off on GOV EXEC – OBAMA Plans To Give Feds 1 % Raise

Obama Issues Plan to Give Feds a 1 Percent Pay Raise By Eric Katz 5:51 PM ET President Obama issued an alternative pay plan late Friday, setting an across-the-board increase for civilian federal employees of 1 percent in 2015. The figure matches the amount the president requested in his fiscal 2015 budget proposal. Obama issued a separate plan providing a 1 percent boost in monthly basic pay rates for military service members. Obama alluded to a desire to give feds a ...

31% of Americans have No Retirement Savings at All from Money.CNN.com

August 18, 2014  |   Blog   |     |   Comments Off on 31% of Americans have No Retirement Savings at All from Money.CNN.com

It's no secret that many Americans aren't saving enough for retirement, but a big chunk of households have saved nothing at all.   Nearly a third, or 31% of U.S. adults said they had no savings or pension to help them afford retirement, according to the Federal Reserve Board. Even more alarming: 19% of those very close to retirement age, between the ages of 55 and 64, said they had no savings. As a result, more than half of these respondents said they planned to either work full-time or part-time during their retirement years. Read More: http://money.cnn.com/2014/08/08/retirement/retirement-savings/index.html