ProFed Fed Employee Retirement workshop: FA sales or legit help?

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BogleFanGal
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ProFed Fed Employee Retirement workshop: FA sales or legit help?

Post by BogleFanGal » Fri Oct 12, 2018 7:45 am

Hi all: I subscribe to the My Federal Retirement newsletter and see ads there for "retirement workshops" by ProFeds. Can anyone recommend it as a good source for federal employee retirement planning or are they just thinly-veiled FA pitches?

We're not looking for investment advice - we're looking to understand OPM technicalities, so we avoid any mistakes or "gotchyas" that will mess up health benefits or other important retirement paperwork.

I don't work for the gov, but my spouse does. His target retirement date is about 3 years away and we're not sure what we need to be aware of.

His HR dept is very poorly run. They don't return calls or emails and when he has been able to ask a question, they have given wrong information that really messed up some things for us. They often say they don't know the answer and rather than help us find it, they just palm us off to other depts who then push back, saying it's not their area. It's a time-wasting frustrating loop.

Hoping this workshop - or something else any former fed employees here can suggest - can help us make this transition process clearer. :beer

Kaufmanrider
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Re: ProFed Fed Employee Retirement workshop: FA sales or legit help?

Post by Kaufmanrider » Fri Oct 12, 2018 7:52 am

Never heard of them but you might check out the Webinars and information offered through the National Active and Retired Federal Employees, NARFE. I happen to be a member.

https://www.narfe.org/federalbenefitsinstitute/

mrc
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Re: ProFed Fed Employee Retirement workshop: FA sales or legit help?

Post by mrc » Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:02 am

Your husband's agency HR department should have everything he needs to know at the ready. Retiring from federal service isn't an event, it's a process. Whether FERS/CSRS also matters. A good place to start is the OPM retirement website, but little takes the place of the agency contact. It's good to start planning early.

Larger agencies may contract out retirement planning seminars, and he may end up in one by ProFeds (or another organization). Sponsored group events should be at no extra cost to the worker.
If it’s not long term it’s small talk

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BogleFanGal
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Re: ProFed Fed Employee Retirement workshop: FA sales or legit help?

Post by BogleFanGal » Fri Oct 12, 2018 12:03 pm

mrc wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:02 am
Your husband's agency HR department should have everything he needs to know at the ready. Retiring from federal service isn't an event, it's a process. Whether FERS/CSRS also matters. A good place to start is the OPM retirement website, but little takes the place of the agency contact. It's good to start planning early.

Larger agencies may contract out retirement planning seminars, and he may end up in one by ProFeds (or another organization). Sponsored group events should be at no extra cost to the worker.[/


I do appreciate your input - thank you - but please see my original post, which clearly explains that we've tried his HR dept many times - they can't help. The dept is poorly run, understaffed, rarely available to answer questions and has actually created problems for employees by giving them wrong info. His supervisors don't care - this agency has extremely low morale and people can't wait to retire. There is no sponsored event - managers just refer us to HR. :oops:

A big problem is that my spouse is not a manager or higher level employee - he's a front line worker. So zero clout. No one at his agency seems interested in helping front line employees - he just gets continuous runaround and disinterest.

If we want retirement planning help, we're going to have to take a paid seminar or book a one-on-one advisor appt. I'm aware of OPM website and if we have no other choice, we'll do our best to figure it out using that, but it's tough to learn that way vs human help. Just figured there were so many fed employees on BH, someone may have taken the ProFeds one.

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BogleFanGal
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Re: ProFed Fed Employee Retirement workshop: FA sales or legit help?

Post by BogleFanGal » Fri Oct 12, 2018 12:05 pm

Kaufmanrider wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 7:52 am
Never heard of them but you might check out the Webinars and information offered through the National Active and Retired Federal Employees, NARFE. I happen to be a member.

https://www.narfe.org/federalbenefitsinstitute/
Thank you...I will look into this.

Texgal17
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Re: ProFed Fed Employee Retirement workshop: FA sales or legit help?

Post by Texgal17 » Fri Oct 12, 2018 1:31 pm


I’m a retired fed and I found OPM.gov extremely helpful in finding out information. They have a frequently asked questions link on there also. Plus, for pre-retirement and post-retirement info. Also, GovExec.com has good info. Tammy Flanagan has a retirement blog on there with tons of info. Hope that helps!
Edit to add....I googled ProFeds, and saw the owner has a YouTube video that you might want to check out. I did not watch it, just wanted to add that.

delamer
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Re: ProFed Fed Employee Retirement workshop: FA sales or legit help?

Post by delamer » Fri Oct 12, 2018 1:46 pm

My agency sponsored workshops done by this group, which were very helpful: https://www.nitpinc.com/federal-employees/

Lots of information about rules/TSP/FEHB/pensions, etc. The presenters offer financial planning, but there is no pressure to use them.

It looks like they offer open enrollment seminars too.

One suggestion regarding HR — if your husband works for an agency within a larger department, try contacting the departmental HR.

When he is actually ready to retire, he will need to submit his paperwork to OPM via a retirement specialist. In my small agency, we had limited HR staff but there was a floating specialist within the department who serviced my agency and a number of other small ones.

Also, with all the feds on this forum, you may be able to get specific questions answered here.

Morgan Dollar 1921
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Re: ProFed Fed Employee Retirement workshop: FA sales or legit help?

Post by Morgan Dollar 1921 » Fri Oct 12, 2018 1:57 pm

Kaufmanrider wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 7:52 am
Never heard of them but you might check out the Webinars and information offered through the National Active and Retired Federal Employees, NARFE. I happen to be a member.

https://www.narfe.org/federalbenefitsinstitute/
This is good advice, and for the price of a membership you can review all archived Webinars & info, they have two or more specialists, Tammy is excellent and has the experience needed, there is a new gentleman who is good also, and they have a CFP who adds strong content as well. NARFE is also a voice in DC to help the Federal employee & retiree's cause.

I also recommend this book "NAVIGATING YOUR FEDERAL RETIREMENT" author, Brandon Christy CPA PFS. The info is three years old now, but it is still a good starting point to understanding the basics. The landscape of OPM is changing daily. Proposals include changes to factors to compute your annuity, the ability to make various elections, the COLA, the amount you pay for FERS, and elimination of the SRS (annuity supplement for early outs, to bridge to age 62 social security income.

Planning early is VIP and three years in not one minute too soon, trust me. We experienced a delay of six months for her payment, and thus her delay compounded my payments to over thirteen months for a court ordered benefit, via COBB (the court order benefit branch) I really believe they try hard, however at least four factors cause delays, A. they may be understaffed, B. data from agency HR can be lacking or incorrect, and C it is a manual process still, finally D. a lot of federal employees have decided to depart in the last two years. (baby boomers) The increase in volume overwhelms the staff it seems.

With some agencies, your sick leave increases your service time, and the annual leave comes as a check to you about 4-6 weeks after your last day of work.

It is also VIP to plan to leave on the "RIGHT" day, NARFE and others have details on this so I will not bog down my response further with that info. If you have further questions, post, I will try to help and I am sure others can too.

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BogleFanGal
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Re: ProFed Fed Employee Retirement workshop: FA sales or legit help?

Post by BogleFanGal » Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:40 pm

Can't thank everyone enough. Excellent info and so much detail - appreciate the time and thought you put into your replies. Will be exploring every link and suggestion each of you posted to better understand all the particulars - best days/months to retire, paperwork issues, mistakes to avoid, etc.

Our situation will probably be simpler than most fed retirees, as there's not a pension to even worry about: he only has 10 yrs in and is leaving right at MRA - so whatever fraction of a FERS pension he may be eligible for, if anything, will be tiny at his job grade. Also keeping TSP, which is mostly in G.

The #1 thing I don't want to screw up and the only reason he's willingly stuck it out in a pretty bad environment, is the continued health insurance coverage - we've been on his plan for 10 years and keeping this coverage for both of us is the most valuable asset he can take from this job.

retiredjg
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Re: ProFed Fed Employee Retirement workshop: FA sales or legit help?

Post by retiredjg » Sun Oct 14, 2018 7:36 am

If your husband can get his agency to send him to a retirement workshop, it would likely be a good experience for him. The people running these workshops probably do gather some customers there, but the workshops themselves (at least the 2 I went to) are legit.

I think your best source of information, since HR is undependable, is the internet. I think pretty much all of the pamphlets and instructions published by the government are available there. The OPM site for sure. FEHB info, etc.

Having federal insurance in retirement is a great benefit in these days of health insurance uncertainty. And when you go onto Medicare, keeping it is a very good idea - you can drop into one of the lower tier plans and have a very high level of health care coverage between the two. I pay no medical bills other than prescription co-pays.

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BogleFanGal
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Re: ProFed Fed Employee Retirement workshop: FA sales or legit help?

Post by BogleFanGal » Sun Oct 14, 2018 12:06 pm

And when you go onto Medicare, keeping it is a very good idea - you can drop into one of the lower tier plans and have a very high level of health care coverage between the two. I pay no medical bills other than prescription co-pays.

Thanks, retiredjg: good to know. Haven't thought about Medicare options too deeply yet, as that's still 12-13+ years away and so much can change, but hoping what you mention is still a viable option when the time comes.

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