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Did the Shutdown Shut You Down? WHY PLANNING FOR YOURSELF MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE
What’s important is having a personal plan in place when events like a shutdown occur. As a government employee, there will always be factors you can’t control. The shutdown may be an extreme example, but you deal with these factors all the time. From administration turnovers to policy changes, rolling with the punches is the nature of a career in the public sector. With so many external factors influencing your profession and well-being, it’s doubly important to create and execute a plan that isn’t reliant on the whims of politics. As I spoke to clients affected by the shutdown, I couldn’t help but notice a difference in attitude between those with a plan and those without one. People in the first camp may have been strained by the shutdown, but they didn’t see it as the end of the world. For some of our clients, it was a chance to begin the retirement they’d been putting off. It was the push they needed to take the next step. People without a plan, on the other hand, were immediately thrust into uncertainty and turmoil. Don’t get me wrong; a month-long shutdown is an historic circumstance. Even with the promise of backpay, many federal employees were not financially equipped to deal with being out of work
for so many weeks. Seeing people who serve this nation lining up for food banks and other charitable services is infuriating. However, ensuring you have something to fall back on when the waves get choppy can make the event a nuisance rather than a catastrophe. Part of what makes retirement planning for federal workers so different from the private sector is the necessity of accounting for the unexpected. When you began a career in civil service, you knew you’d forgo some of the comforts of corporate life for the chance to make a positive impact on this nation and the world. Dealing with situations and change outside of your control is part of that. Instead of wasting time and energy bemoaning those changes when they arrive, I encourage you to plan proactively to limit their impact. When systems fail, it’s easy for panic to set in. A government shutdown is a huge deal, but it doesn’t have to be a source of constant worry. It pays to always have a plan, but there are extra dividends when you can execute that plan no matter what happens in Washington.
It will come as no surprise to readers that I’m talking about the government shutdown this month. It’s been the topic among the federal workforce this year for good reason. After the longest shutdown in U.S. history, we’re still not certain whether another one will occur soon or not. It’s a source of stress and anxiety for millions of Americans and a constant concern for our clients. That being said, I’m not here to discuss the politics of the shutdown or proclaim that the sky is falling for federal employees.
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AL-CHEMIST AND AL-PINE ADVENTURER
Al Ossinger’s Incredible Retirement
There are 54 “fourteeners” in Colorado, which is to say 54 peaks that are more than 14,000 feet above sea level. Only a select few can claim to have summited all of those mountains. Al Ossinger, one of our clients, is a member of that elite club. What’s even more remarkable is that Al has finished each of these climbs at least three times. Of course, making the remarkable seem routine is nothing new for Al, though his humble nature would preclude him from saying so. Al credits his lifelong love of nature and climbing to his experience in the Boy Scouts of America during his youth. “The first time I ever camped was because of the Scouts,” Al reveals. “I was as green as they come at that time and had to learn by doing. I had no skills at the time, but I knew right away that nature could inspire me for a lifetime.” When Al began his undergraduate career at Stanford, he found his way to the Alpine Club by chance. “I was a member of the El Tigre Eating Club, which was an informal gathering of folks who’d hang out in the dining hall together,” Al recalls. “One member, who was a year behind me, was heavily involved with the Alpine Club. Later, tragically, we would both be struck by lightning on the same day. I survived my shock, on Longs Peak in Colorado, but he passed away in the Alps as a result of being struck. Whenever I was climbing [after that], I couldn’t help but feel him watching over me.” In addition to literally climbing dozens of mountains, Al made it his life’s work to help the environment. He worked as a chemist for the National Enforcement Investigation Center of the EPA. For want of a better description, Al essentially performed environmental forensics, figuring out when and by whom environmental regulations had been skirted. “I even got to appear in court a few times for different cases across the country,” he says. Al has reached his golden years and has had to give up climbing, but he still has plenty of passion left to burn. “Neuropathy in my feet and legs have made climbing impossible,” he says, “but I’ve turned my attention to growing flowers.” Al specializes in irises and dahlias and is constantly exploring which varieties work best in his garden.
At one point, Al had 96 varieties of iris plants growing at one time. Whether it comes to mountains or marigolds, Al doesn’t do half measures. He also enjoys spending time and creating memories with Dotty, his wife of 42 years and counting. Al credits Ann with helping him make sure his financials were in place before he transitioned to retirement about a decade ago. “In addition to being an expert in federal retirement,” Al says, “Ann is a wonderful lady, no matter how you Vander-slice it.” We’re honored to serve clients as remarkable and energized as Al Ossinger. He never fails to put a smile on our faces. Everyone should be so lucky to have a career and retirement as mind-blowingly cool as his. Thanks, Al, for being amazing!
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Creating a Home Care Plan
TO LIVE YOUR BEST RETIREMENT
When retirement approaches, you may be thinking about the freedom you’ll enjoy after putting in your last nine-to-five. It’s a culmination of years of hard work and a cause for celebration! An important consideration at this time is to reflect on what kind of support you might need as you age. With our generation living longer than our parents, there’s a possibility that we may require additional support services as we age. You and your spouse may not know if either of you will need in- home care, but considering this possibility and the financial factors that come with it can help you better enjoy this exciting phase of your life. In most cases, neither Medicare or Medicaid covers in-home care. There are some exceptions, like home- and community- based services that are state and locally funded and cover those who qualify through
Medicaid. If you or your spouse are veterans and meet the requirements, you may be eligible for aid and attendance benefits. These benefits are paid for by the VA in addition to a veteran’s monthly pension. It may cover the costs of in-home care for veterans who require the aid of another person or are housebound. Visit Benefits.va.gov to learn more. Still, you may not want to rely on qualifying for one of these services. Consider adapting your estate plan to include designated in-home care. Meet with your attorney to review your living trust and see if it addresses a caregiver. Talk to your family members and loved ones about the possibility that you or your spouse may need this service. While a family member may offer to step into that role, consider the potential impact on them. Even a part-time caregiver could provide you
with needed support and make your family members feel like they are not doing it alone.
Planning for the possibility that you may need in-home care services can help make your retirement even more enjoyable. Knowing you’ll have a close helping hand can ease your family’s worries and even strengthen your bond.
Inspired by Bon Appétit magazine Beet, Mint, & Ricotta Hummus INGREDIENTS
• 1 garlic clove, grated • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander • Mint leaves, poppy seeds, and olive oil, for garnish
• 1 6-ounce beet (about the size of an adult fist), scrubbed • 1 15 1/2-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
• 1/3 cup tahini, well-mixed • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1. Heat oven to 425 F. 2. Wrap beet tightly in foil. On a foil-lined baking sheet, roast wrapped beet until fork tender, about 60–70 minutes. 3. While beet is roasting, blend chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, ricotta, garlic, salt, pepper, and coriander until smooth. 4. Once beet is cool enough to handle, use a paper towel to remove beet skin. Trim root end and cut into small pieces. Add to blender or food processor, and blend until entire mixture is smooth. Add additional salt if desired. 5. Transfer to a shallow bowl, top with garnishes, and serve.
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issue INSIDE THIS
What to Do When Systems Fail PAGE 1 A Retirement at the Summit PAGE 2 Considering the Costs of Home Care PAGE 3
How to Make Your Sailing Dreams Come True PAGE 4
SET SAIL ON A VACATION Take Your Next Trip Offshore
TAKE A DAY SAIL Many day sail charters exist for those who want to go out a little farther than a dinghy would permit. If you’ve captained a boat and are familiar with the waters, you can apply for a bareboat charter. However, if you are inexperienced or simply don’t want a local guide at the helm, signing up for a day trip with a skipper and crew is a great option. DO A FULL CHARTER Short of owning your own vessel, chartering a boat for multiple nights is the closest you can get to realizing your nautical dreams. Some of the most beautiful destinations on earth — from the Caribbean Sea to the Mediterranean — are best experienced from the deck of a sailboat. Letting the sea guide you to amazing snorkeling destinations, remote cays, and bustling harbors is the stuff of real adventure.
If you’re lucky enough to have been aboard a ship under full sail, chances are you know the thrill and serenity sailing can provide. If you’ve never been but have always wanted to know what it’s like to get out on the wind and waves, there are many great options available for beginners. Here are some ideas to inspire your next waterside vacation. START SMALL For those who dream of becoming a skipper one day, a great way to start is by sailing dinghies. These one-sail, beach-launch boats fit one to two people and can be rented at most water sports shops. If you want to make it a family experience, shops usually have 16-foot catamarans for rent as well. Catamarans have two hulls rather than one, making for a smoother, more spacious ride. If you’ve never sailed before, inquire about lessons. Most rental operations have instructors on hand who can show you the ropes. The great thing about sailing is that whether you’re in a 12-foot dinghy or a 60-foot sloop, the same basic principles, rules, and skills apply.
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