The Best of 2014

By on December 29, 2014 in Current Events, Pay & Benefits, Retirement with 3 Comments

Every year at this time, we like to take a moment to reflect on the events of the past year. For FedSmith.com, that means looking back at the year’s most popular articles.

The most popular topics we cover are often pay, benefits, retirement and the Thrift Savings Plan, and this year was no exception. From the projected pay raise for 2015 to advice on utilizing the TSP, the list that follows captures the most widely read articles on FedSmith.com from this year.

For those who like a little history, you can check what the most popular articles on FedSmith.com were in the past several years in the related articles section at the end of this article.

We are both fortunate and thankful to have a growing number of authors writing for us who offer our users the benefit of their expertise and experience in working for and with the federal community. Thanks to them, it’s possible for us to provide our readers with articles such as these. For more advice from the FedSmith.com authors, be sure to check out the retirement Q&A section on the FedSmith Blogs site.

Our thanks to all of you who visit the FedSmith.com network of sites throughout each day to stay informed. We wish all of you a happy and prosperous 2015!

  1. Calculating the 2015 Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)
    June 18, 2014
    How much will inflation add to the amount added to your retirement annuity or Social Security payment in 2015? We will not know until sometime in October but here are the latest calculations.
  2. When You Leave Federal Service, Should You Leave Money in Your TSP?
    January 29, 2014
    When you leave federal service and have a Thrift Savings Plan account, should you withdraw your money or leave it in the TSP? Here are several considerations before you make this decision
  3. Merry Christmas to Federal Employees: Extra Paid Holiday Announced for Dec. 26
    December 6, 2014
    President Obama has issued an executive order giving federal employees an extra paid holiday on Friday, December 26.
  4. 1% Pay Raise Becomes More Likely for 2015
    July 16, 2014
    The House passed the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act of 2015 which defers the decision on a figure for a pay raise for the federal workforce to President Obama. What does this mean for your chances of a pay raise in 2015?
  5. How to Locate Individual Federal Employee Salaries
    April 12, 2014
    How much does an individual federal employee make? The database of federal employee salaries has been updated with the latest available salary data and is now available for use.
  6. Holiday Discounts for Federal Employees
    November 18, 2014
    With the Christmas shopping season fast approaching, people will be looking for ways to save money. Here are some ways federal employees can get discounts on travel, restaurants, tech items and more.
  7. Locality Pay and that Federal Pay Raise
    February 27, 2014
    Federal employees in areas as far apart as Albany, NY to Las Vegas and Tucson are wondering, “What about my locality pay?”
  8. Locality Pay and the Federal Pay Schedule
    July 14, 2014
    Will new locality pay areas be added to the federal GS pay system in 2015? A report from the President’s Pay Agent suggests this will be done but no final decision has been made.
  9. 2015 COLA for Social Security, Federal Retirees to be Announced This Week
    October 19, 2014
    What will the COLA be in 2015? Here is a quick summary. The percentage will be less than the increase of the average FEHB increase next year.
  10. The Best Day to Retire in 2014
    January 4, 2014
    The concept of a “best” day to retire is more often than not related to financial considerations, specifically maximizing your lump-sum annual leave payment. The author offers some details on how to best make this decision.
  11. Federal Pay Raises Through the Years
    March 11, 2014
    There are probably several reasons for the small pay raises of the past few years. Looking back, there are times when pay raises have been substantial. Why is today different?
  12. Utilizing the TSP After Retirement
    September 16, 2014
    What should you do with your TSP account after you retire? The author offers some advice and considerations for federal employees who have reached this milestone in their careers.
  13. Do You Want the Day After Christmas Off?
    October 22, 2014
    Should you get the day after Christmas off this year? Federal employees are asking the president to issue an executive order to make it an extra paid holiday.
  14. The Best Travel Deals for Federal Government Employees
    April 28, 2014
    As summer approaches, it’s a good time to start planning a family vacation. These are some discounts you can get as a federal employee to help keep your summer vacation travel costs down.
  15. Understanding and Getting the Most Out of FERS
    January 22, 2014
    FERS is a complex system and much depends on an individual’s status with the government when planning for what to expect upon retirement. The author offers a basic guide to help understand some of the key points of the FERS system.
  16. Self Plus One Health Insurance Effective January 1, 2016
    March 25, 2014
    The self plus one enrollment option for federal employee health insurance will be available for enrollment on November 9, 2015. A copy of the OPM letter is contained in the article.
  17. TSP’s Roth vs. Traditional Roth IRA: Advice From an Expert
    March 17, 2014
    Should you invest in the Roth option within the Thrift Savings Plan or do a traditional Roth IRA? One financial advisor offers his advice to a member of the Air Force on what he believes is the best choice.
  18. Is a Lifecycle Fund the Best Choice for Your Thrift Savings Plan?
    March 3, 2014
    Are the lifecycle funds a good investment for you? Here is a summary of how these funds are constructed so readers can ponder whether one of these funds is the best way to provide a future retirement income.
  19. Obama Calls on Feds to Do Their “Fair Share” With 1% Pay Raise for 2015
    August 30, 2014
    President Obama has sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and Vice President Joe Biden for a 1 percent across-the-board pay increase for the federal workforce. Here is a copy of the letter describing the pay adjustments to take place in January 2015.
  20. Maximizing Your Social Security Benefits
    February 4, 2014
    Would you like to get a 32% higher Social Security benefit? How about being able to collect ½ of your spouse’s Social Security benefit while you are still working; with no earnings test? The author explains a technique called “restricting your benefits” that can work for many FERS or CSRS employees to boost Social Security benefits.
  21. How Should I Allocate My TSP?
    June 13, 2014
    What is the best way to allocate the investments inside of your Thrift Savings Plan account? One financial advisor explains to a young investor what he considers to be the best strategy for building the most retirement savings over a working career.
  22. Power Shift in Congress: What Does This Mean for Federal Employees?
    November 8, 2014
    As a result of the Republican wave of victories in the mid-term elections, Congress will now be under the control of Republicans. What subjects of interest to federal employees are likely to arise as a result? Here are a few that are likely to impact the federal workforce.
  23. At the Brink of an Irreversible Mistake
    June 19, 2014
    One federal employee ended up pulling his retirement paperwork before the big day because he almost made an irreversible mistake. He was relying on all the previous benefits estimates he had received from his human resources department, but at the last minute found out he wouldn’t be getting the pension he had expected. Learn from his story and make sure it doesn’t happen to you.
  24. Will My TSP Go Down?
    April 10, 2014
    The stock market has been on a tear since its drop in 2008. Are you worried about losing money in your TSP due to a pullback? Before you make any emotional investment decisions, you may want to read one financial expert’s advice to a federal employee who was recently facing this dilemma.
  25. Your Minimum Retirement Age and How it Will Impact Your Federal Employee Annuity
    May 28, 2014
    Under the Federal Employee Retirement System, there is an option for a federal employee to retire at the minimum retirement age with as little as 10 years of service. This option is commonly referred to as MRA+10, but OPM has another name which is equally descriptive: reduced.

© 2016 Ian Smith. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Ian Smith.

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About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce. Ian also has a background in web development and does the technical work for the FedSmith.com web site and its sibling sites.

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