Looking ahead to retirement

A Reader Writes:

What requirements under federal law, rule, regulation and the Office of Personnel Management identify when explanations and briefings about federal retirement benefits must be provided to federal employees prior to their retirement? What information must be provided, how should it be provided and what benefits need to be computed for planning to retire within 30 days, 90 days, one year or five years?

If one considers that his or her agency's current policies and training do not meet minimum policy, rule, law and regulation requirements, whom does one complain to and what is the format?

Milt Replies:

I don't think there are any firm requirements for agencies to provide seminars and training on retirement planning. Retirement is an individual decision, although many agencies do conduct retirement planning seminars.

If you have retirement questions, go to your agency human resources department or www.opm.gov/retire. You also could consult a financial planner.

A Reader Writes:

I had a 20-year break from federal service and have been back for a couple of years. When I re-entered the federal workforce, I had 20 years of catch-up to bring my retirement funds current (about $22,000 at the time, which included the $10,000 or so I took out when I left the government).

I haven't put the "deficit" back into my retirement account yet, and wanted to know who to talk to about calculating the pros and cons of doing such. I am a GS-13 and will be eligible for retirement in four more years.

Milt Replies:

You need to talk to a certified financial planner who is "fee only"—one who doesn't sell any products.

Zall is a retired federal employee who since 1987 has written the Bureaucratus column for Federal Computer Week. He can be reached at milt.zall@verizon.net.

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