Retirement Planning Strategies - October 2017

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OCTOBER 2017

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Your Future Is Not a Budget Item A s I’m sure many of you are aware, Congress recently negotiated a deal with President Trump to push back budget negotiations

HOW TO PLAN FOR UNEXPECTED CHANGE

When a RIF occurs, the first step is always to offer an early out to qualified employees. Ask yourself if you’re willing to take an early out. If not, you may want to wait until round two, when buyouts are added to sweeten the pot. Only after these steps do involuntary cuts occur. Nobody gets an anvil dropped on their head out of the blue, even if the office gossip makes it feel that way. If you do take an early out, the next question you need to ask yourself is “Will I still need to work?” If so, how much do you need to earn? Set up these contingencies early, and you’ll be taking a more active role in your planning. Nobody wants to go to work one day thinking everything is fine and be contemplating an early out the next. You don’t need to act like the sky is falling, but watching the clouds is still worthwhile. Whenever I speak with clients, we are always developing plans for the future. When you’re a government employee, it can certainly feel like your future is up to the whims of policy makers, but you have

a lot more power than you think. These conversations come up every October, and they’ll return when the new budget deadline arrives again. Almost always, the looming deadline causes more concern and anxiety than anything that happens after it passes. If you’ve been a federal employee long enough, you know that policy change and administrative turnover is simply a fact of life. You’ve probably made it through more budget negotiations than you even realize. When you’ve made it through contentious Congress debates, government shutdowns, and decades of a party turnover at every level of government, you shouldn’t let a regular budget negotiation keep you up at night. What you should do is keep your eye toward the future. Annual meetings, proactive thinking, and understanding your benefits and options will leave you on solid ground no matter what happens when Congress hashes out the budget. – Ann Vanderslice

three months beyond the standard October 1 deadline. Budget discussions always bring with them plenty of office scuttlebutt and watercooler talk. Looming budget cuts are a little bit like something that’s also been in the news recently: hurricanes. Everyone is wondering if there will be a reduction in force (RIF) in their agencies and if they’ll end up caught in the eye of the storm. can have on a government agency, and it’s important to understand what the worst- case scenario is for your situation. That being said, the worst-case scenario rarely ends up happening, and there’s plenty you can do to mitigate its impact. If you plan for the worst and do everything you can to control the factors over which you have some agency (sorry for the pun), suddenly the situation doesn’t seem so scary. Creating your own options leaves you less at the mercy of forces that you cannot affect. Now, I don’t want to understate the impact that budget deals and new fiscal years

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