As a federal employee, you’re rewarded for your hard work with more than a paycheck. You also get benefits that make up your total compensation and become part of your financial plans for retirement.
It can be hard to make sense of federal employee benefits and retirement. It is a complex landscape of acronyms, jargon, legislation, tax implications, deadlines and paperwork.
A Chartered Federal Employee Benefits Consultant, or ChFEBC practitioner, is an expert in federal employee benefits. Let’s look at how a ChFEBC practitioner can help you understand and navigate your financial options.
What does it take to become a ChFEBC?
ChFEBC is a professional designation that financial advisors, accountants, attorneys, and others can obtain once they have the right mix of experience, qualifications, and education.
These professionals need at least three years of financial services experience and a state insurance license. They also must hold one of several securities licenses, be a Registered Investment Advisor or an Investment Advisor Representative, have a master’s degree in business, finance or economics, or hold a specific financial or legal certification.
Certification requires an intensive course and final exam. Candidates learn the ins and outs of the two retirement annuity plans (a.k.a. pensions) for federal employees: the newer Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS) and the older Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). They also study federal employee life insurance, health insurance, the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), Social Security and more. Once certified, they must take regular continuing education courses.
What makes a ChFEBC practitioner different from other financial planners?
Federal employees, whether still working or already retired, have different financial planning needs than other workers. Because ChFEBC practitioners are specialists in federal benefits, they can create a comprehensive financial plan that incorporates all the different options available to federal employees. ChFEBC practitioners know how the various benefit programs are affected by tax withholdings, payout options and retirement timing, and how the programs interact with each other.
During their training, ChFEBC practitioners learn about the specifics of federal service and the most useful questions to ask clients about their retirement dreams. This uniquely informed perspective means ChFEBC practitioners can guide federal employees through all the financial planning decisions they’ll have to make.
How can working with a ChFEBC practitioner change your financial planning?
A ChFEBC practitioner has the right kind of insight to help you understand your pension, survivor benefits, life insurance and more. They can also anticipate how Social Security will affect these and other benefits, so you get the most out of all your retirement income sources.
A ChFEBC can also walk you through planning for your family’s needs. This might include choosing life insurance, health insurance, saving for your children’s or grandchildren’s education, or providing for your heirs after your death. It’s all part of a complete financial plan.
What are long-term benefits to getting guidance from a ChFEBC practitioner?
Even if the day you’ll retire is a long way off, the earlier you plan for it, the better. Helping you envision your retirement — and how federal employee annuity programs will support that goal — is something a ChFEBC practitioner is specially trained to do.
For federal employees, retirement planning can take more than just figuring out your pension and Social Security. The financial benefits of life insurance can come into play well before your death. A ChFEBC practitioner can set up a strategy where you repurpose the money saved by choosing a minimal survivor benefit for your spouse and using that money to purchase a life insurance policy. When you pass away, this life insurance could provide your spouse with as much or even more money than the survivor benefit alone would have. If your spouse dies before you do, the life insurance can be set up so your children or other family could be the beneficiary.
At the end of it all, life insurance can also provide your heirs with money on which they won’t have to pay taxes. Planning your finances well is a legacy your loved ones will appreciate.
If you’re ready to make the most of your federal financial plan, contact The Government Employees’ Benefit Association (GEBA) to work with their team of Chartered Federal Benefits Consultants (ChFEBC). GEBA’s Wealth Management team has over 45 years of expertise in investment and retirement planning, TSP allocations, life insurance, long-term care insurance and personalized financial plans. Learn more about GEBA’s services and premier financial and life insurance products at www.geba.com.