Retirement Planning Strategies April 2018

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APRIL 2018

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Anything’s Possible

WHY I LOVE MARCH MADNESS

“Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.” –Jim Valvano

Though they didn’t wind up winning it all, South Carolina’s shocking series of victories reminded me of one of my favorite underdog teams of all time: the 1983 NC State Wolfpack. Coached by Jim Valvano, they entered the tournament as a sixth seed. In the championship game, they were pitted against a fearsome Houston squad that featured Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. Nobody, myself included, expected them to put up much of a fight. I certainly wasn’t anticipating that last-second alley- oop to give the Wolfpack the title. I don’t think Valvano was expecting it either. After the game, he was so overcome with excitement that he ran around looking for somebody to embrace. Moments like this are what March Madness is all about. I think the reason why these upsets resonate so much with me is because I work with underdogs every day. Federal employees, despite their education and commitment to public service, are often unfairly maligned. People talk about government spending, budgets, and the deficit in abstract terms, often forgetting the impact these policies have on people working for the public good. A lot of my clients are people who could be making a lot more money in the private sector,

but they have chosen to work for the government out of a desire to make the world a better place. That’s why I get so frustrated when we expect our federal employees to constantly adapt to a changing rule set governing everything from their benefits to their programs. Imagine if a basketball team had to deal with the hoop being moved multiple times throughout a game. That’s essentially what’s required of federal employees. And yet, they persevere. Like a scrappy team going up against a national powerhouse, our federal employees use determination and willpower to overcome a lack of resources and a constantly changing employment environment. As I sat down to make my picks this year, I couldn’t help but wonder which underdog would end up becoming America’s darling. I always pick a 5/12 upset (they usually seem to happen), but I also try to guess which low-ranked team will become 2018’s version of South Carolina or NC State. Regardless of how my bracket turns out, I know I’ll come away from the NCAA Tournament with some indelible memories. –Ann Vanderslice

Basketball has always been my favorite sport to watch, and I look forward to the NCAA Tournament every year. Nothing beats those first few days of March Madness, when the games last all day and incredible plays happen when least expected. Because of the one-and-done nature of the tournament, anything can happen and it usually does. IMAGINE IF A BASKETBALL TEAM HAD TO DEAL WITH THE HOOP BEING MOVED MULTIPLE TIMES THROUGHOUT A GAME. THAT’S ESSENTIALLY WHAT’S REQUIRED OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES . As the tournament progresses into the later rounds, there’s usually one team that makes a surprise run deep into the tournament. Last year, that team was South Carolina. I always end up rooting for the team that’s the Cinderella story. In 2017, the Gamecocks were that team. As they marched through Duke, Baylor, and Florida on their way to the Final Four, I couldn’t help but get excited.

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