Working for the government has its ups and downs, as I am sure those reading this already know, but sometimes I wonder if most feds know how good they have it.
Now I know that it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows but no job is. All I am saying is that the government offers things that you can’t really find anywhere else such as benefits that many private sector folks only dream about. Let’s dig into a few.
Those that have been with a number of employers know well that the government’s benefits are incredibly hard to beat. Here are some of the big ones.
FEHB (Health Insurance)
Your health insurance is one of the best, if not the best, benefit that you enjoy. With medical costs going through the roof, having great health insurance can be a deal breaker for financial security.
Not only does the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program have hundreds of plan options to fit your unique needs, but your agency also pays 70-75% of the premium. Think about it: if you pay $300/month out of your paycheck for your part of the premium, that means that that insurance plan would normally cost you at least $1,200/month on your own.
This is sometimes called an annuity or just your retirement paycheck. Regardless of what you want to call it, it is the monthly check that you’ll get from the government once you retire (assuming you meet all the eligibility requirements).
While this type of benefit was popular in the 1900’s, it is becoming increasingly rare because of its cost to offer. Most employers simply aren’t willing or able to offer it to their employees. Just by having this benefit, most feds are miles ahead of their private sector counterparts when it comes to retirement planning.
I am a huge fan of the Thrift Savings Plan. While it is not perfect, it does a lot of things really well.
The 5% match is incredible and the simplicity of the funds is unparalleled. Some people dislike the fact that there are only 5 funds to pick from, but as a financial advisor, I have seen that these 5 funds work great for 98% of people.
Many employers offer a 401(k), but most of them are hard to understand, expensive to invest in, and consequently don’t work as well in helping employees build wealth. When used effectively, the TSP is great at creating millionaires.
Other great things
Even after all of the financial benefits (of which I have only mentioned a few), the government offers other things that are harder to quantify but still very valuable.
One of these things is job security. Although it may be difficult to get through the hiring process, once you are on board, feds enjoy very high job security. Even during the Covid-19 crisis when the private sector was letting people go left and right, none of the feds that I work with even thought about job security. This type of consistency is a rare and valuable asset.
And who knows, I could be wrong about all this. After all, I am not a federal employee myself. Maybe working for the federal government isn’t what it seems. I am sure the comments section will quickly fill up with all the downsides and inconveniences, so I guess it is up to each individual reader to decide what they think and care about in life. As for me, I am still thoroughly convinced that working for the government is an incredible thing especially for those that take advantage of all the great benefits and opportunities that the government offers.