Ignore the most recent you-shiftless-bum tiff with your spouse, partner or parent. No matter what they say you are loved, and really do have value.
Even if most feds don’t think of themselves as people with portfolios, many have significant investments (including real estate) and are worth more than they think.
People who retire under CSRS or Social Security (or both) are guaranteed lifetime monthly payments linked to inflation. FERS retirees get full cost of living adjustments under Social Security and diet-COLAs under FERS. Some are also qualified to get military retired pay.
In addition to their work-related benefits, most federal workers are investing in their Thrift Savings Plan. Workers under the FERS program are eligible for a maximum 5 percent tax-deferred matching contribution from the government. CSRS employees and military personnel don’t get the match.
In 2013, the average TSP account balance for FERS employees was $103,996 while the average for CSRS account holders was $102,540. Employees also have Roth accounts that averaged $3,616 for FERS investors and $6,029 for CSRS employees.
During the recession, many investors moved out of the then-shakey stock funds (C, S and I) of the TSP and sought safety and stability in the treasury securities G fund, or the bond-indexed F fund. The G-fund never had a bad day. On the other hand, it rarely has a very good one either. Last year, the G-fund returned 1.89 percent, the F-fund was down 1.68 percent. The C-fund (large cap stocks) was up 32.45 percent, the S-fund (small caps) was up 38.35 percent and the international stock I fund was up 22.13 percent.
The automatic pilot lifecycle funds were also up, ranging from 6.97 percent for the L income fund, the most conservative, to 23.23 percent and 26.20 percent for the L2040 and L2050 funds which have a bigger share of stocks and less in the G and F funds.
Other investments that many feds have (and don’t necessarily think of as investments) include your home. After several years in the tank, resale prices were up 8 percent. One year CDs were paying only about 0.2 percent. After a long upward run, gold — which many had counted on to increase annually in value — was down 29 percent in 2013.
With more wealth than they thought, a growing number of federal workers (and retirees) are turning to fee-based financial planners to help them tailor, and monitor, their total investment package. Earlier this week on our Your Turn radio show we talked with Arthur Stein, a Bethesda, Md., based financial planner about the benefits and pitfalls of investing. You can get his take on risk management, market-timing and the pros and cons of the L-funds here.
Boys named Dennis are more likely to become dentists, according to research published in the journal Attitudes and Social Cognition. The phenomenon is called “implicit egotism,” which describes the idea that people are more likely to prefer things — such as an occupation — that they associate unconsciously with themselves
Coburn to Congress: Look in the mirror for the cause of waste Sen. Tom Coburn told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Thursday that Congress isn’t doing its job and that’s the root cause of much of the waste in government. Rep. Darrell Issa promised to work with Coburn and Sen. Tom Carper on legislation to reduce overlapping programs.