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Don’t Panic!

The author says that real and perceived threats to the benefits of federal employees are popping up more frequently. His advice to federal employees: don’t panic.

That’s good advice for federal employees and retirees who are getting worried about the real and perceived threats to their benefits. 

It seems that almost every week, someone new is recommending cuts to federal employee and retiree benefits.  First, it was John Boehner, well before he was Speaker of the House, who recommended eliminating the FERS Special Retirement Supplement. Interestingly enough, all he did was recommend it, he didn’t even introduce legislation to eliminate the SRS.  Then it was the President’s Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform who, last December suggested several changes to federal retirement, including changing from a high-three retirement computation to a high-five computation.

Then Representative Paul Ryan in the “Path to Prosperity” suggested a five year pay freeze for federal employees.  Just a couple of days ago, FedSmith led with an article entitled “Deficit Subcommittee Proposes Significant Cuts to Federal Employees’ Retirement”.  This article listed the recommendations of the minority staff of a minor Senate subcommittee.  The 17 proposals listed in the article consisted of the “greatest hits” of fed bashers of the last several years.  Who will be next to make new recommendations – the ladies auxiliary of the House subcommittee on Civil Service?

Last week, in an editorial, the Federal Times said: “Congress rarely moves quickly or makes…significant policy changes that take immediate and full effect.”  Amen to that remark. 

People have been proposing cuts like the “high-five” for decades.  I first heard of the proposed high-five when I was a 25 year old letter carrier (almost 40 years ago) and it still hasn’t happened.  Of course, this does not mean that there might not be some changes coming, but, at a time when the Republicans and Democrats cannot even agree on what day of the week it is, let alone solve any serious problems; changes may be a long time coming.

In the meantime, don’t panic, don’t lose sleep, and be confident that if changes come, there will be ample time to react and make decisions on what you will do.

Agencies can request to have John Grobe, or another of Federal Career Experts' qualified instructors, deliver a retirement or transition seminar to their employees. FCE instructors are not financial advisers and will not sell or recommend financial products to class participants. Agency Benefits Officers can contact John Grobe at [email protected] to discuss schedules and costs.

About the Author

John Grobe is President of Federal Career Experts, a firm that provides pre-retirement training and seminars to a wide variety of federal agencies. FCE’s instructors are all retired federal retirement specialists who educate class participants on the ins and outs of federal retirement and benefits; there is never an attempt to influence participants to invest a certain way, or to purchase any financial products. John and FCE specialize in retirement for special category employees, such as law enforcement officers.