financial planner Stephen Zelcer

Fiduciary advice for federal employees

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Is FERS really a 3 legged stool?

In our latest video, we scrutinize the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), traditionally described as a three-legged stool comprising the FERS pension, Social Security, and the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). This analysis is crucial for FERS employees contemplating early retirement, specifically at the Minimum Retirement Age (MRA). We delve into the accessibility of each retirement component at MRA, explore the nuances of employer-based versus individual retirement plans, and assess the FERS annuity supplement’s role in bridging the gap to Social Security eligibility. This concise yet comprehensive exploration offers vital insights for those navigating their retirement planning within the FERS framework.


finance expert zelcer federal employees

What's better, to retire with the biggest balance of leave, or to spend down your leave??

In this video, we delve into a vital decision for those nearing retirement: is it better to retire with a large balance of leave (sick and annual) or to spend it down? We analyze the benefits of each approach, highlighting the conversion of unused sick leave into credible service towards pensions and the potential for maximizing benefits by strategically using leave before retirement. The discussion covers the implications of using sick leave for an extended service period, accruing additional leave, benefiting from TSP matching, and saving on pre-tax FEHB premiums. We also explore the concept of ‘terminal leave’ and provide practical advice for those considering extending their service by utilizing their leave, thereby maximizing their retirement benefits. This video is an essential guide for those planning their transition into retirement, offering insights into optimizing leave for a more advantageous retirement package.

finance expert zelcer federal employees

Federal Sick Leave: What you need to know.

This video examines the role of unused sick leave in federal pension calculations, highlighting that while it can augment the final pension amount, it doesn’t affect eligibility for retirement. It offers clarity on conditions such as the requirement of 30 years of service for full pension benefits at minimum retirement age and the increased pension rate for those over 62 with at least 20 years of service. The discussion emphasizes strategic considerations for federal employees approaching retirement, particularly how sick leave can boost the pension computation rate from 1% to 1.1% per year, despite not contributing to retirement eligibility. This analysis is essential for those aiming to maximize their retirement benefits under the Federal Employees Retirement System.