I was recently asked if my trainer of financial advisors and planners interested in the federal workforce differed from training federal workers? Without missing a beat, I said most emphatically “It certainly does.” It is more intense because financial advisors and planners need to know more about the Federal Retirement Systems than the federal workforce.
The Federal Retirement Systems probably have some of the best benefits you will find all things being equal. It, too, is a system of immense rules and regulations that can be undeniably complex, even for someone who has spent a career absorbing all of the nooks and crannies.
The Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) often referred to as the old retirement system was enacted in 1920. The world has changed a number of times since then and many amendments have been made to the system. One must be constantly updated on the changes so as to be an excellent source of information dissemination. I find that many financial advisors and planners I work with who wish to begin helping the federal workforce think of simply helping the workers manage their money. There is nothing wrong with that premise only that would leave the federal employee missing out on a great number of potential benefits
Financial Advisors and Financial Planners (really the same thing) are important pieces of the partnership needed to guide the federal workforce to safe harbor so that their sails can withstand the uncertainty of storms that will surely come in their lives. To strategize such a journey requires acquiring a very sound knowledge of the Federal Retirement Systems (FERS, CSRS, FEGLI, FSAFEDS, etc.).
We are not talking about becoming Federal Retirement Specialists, but we are talking about partnerships that will equip these professionals to help manage the financial resources of a very unique group of employees. When you cast your net to work with the federal workforce in helping to plan their retirement, it needs to be cast wide because federal employees are as diverse as their many duties and responsibilities.
Although there are two retirement systems technically, there are a number of aspects that apply to special categories of employees as well, like firefighters, air traffic controllers and law enforcement officials.
Yes, my approach to conversational training with financial professionals is much more intense and absolutely focused on ensuring they know the language of the federal retirement systems and its workforce so that they can give them the tools necessary to retire in comfort and security.
If the federal workforce gets a course in the basics of the Federal Retirement Systems, then the professionals they entrust to handle their hard earned money – get the ADVANCED-ZERO TOLERANCE version with lots of hand-holding collaboration. I learn as much from Financial Advisors and Planners as they learn from me. We are all invested in making life in retirement and before a little easier to maneuver for federal workforce.
Financial Advisors who are knowledgable in federal and postal benefits need to be able to help you with your TSP.gov account and Thrift Savings Plan fund choices, your FEGLI selection (both while employed and any potential reduction elections that you might want) and also possibly help you with your FSAFEDS and FEHB elections.
P. S. Always Remember to Share What You Know.