Getting Your Ducks in a Row for Retirement

Jan 3, 2024 | Retirement, Retirement Planning

For federal employees who’ve dedicated years of service to their country, preparing for retirement is a big step. To ensure a smooth transition into this new phase of life, it’s essential for federal employees to gather the necessary information and make informed decisions. Let’s explore key steps federal employees should take to get their ducks in a row and prepare for a well-deserved retirement.

Understand Your Benefits

The first step in preparing for retirement is to thoroughly understand your federal benefits. This includes your Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) or Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) pension, Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), Social Security benefits, and any other applicable benefits. Take the time to review your benefits statement, and if needed, consult with a Fed-Focused Advisor to ensure you clearly understand what to expect in retirement.

Financial Assessment

Conduct a comprehensive financial assessment to determine your retirement income and expenses. Consider factors such as your mortgage, healthcare costs, and any outstanding debts. Create a budget that reflects your anticipated retirement lifestyle and  be realistic about your financial needs. Assessing your financial situation early on will help you make informed decisions about when to retire and how to manage your resources in retirement.

Investment Management

Decide whether you want to manage your investments on your own in retirement. This is a choice that demands careful consideration. While it may seem appealing for financially astute retirees to take control of their financial portfolio, it’s crucial to recognize that navigating diverse investments can be overwhelming, especially if one doesn’t fully comprehend the intricacies of their benefits and assets. Time constraints also play a significant role; managing investments can be more time-consuming than anticipated. Furthermore, unforeseen challenges may arise, making it prudent for retirees to have a reliable resource to lean on during stressful times. Seeking professional advice or relying on expert financial services can provide the necessary support, ensuring a more secure and well-managed retirement strategy for federal employees.

Get the Retirement Process Started

Wondering what documents you need to start the retirement process? Here are eight items we recommend:

  • Copy of a recent Leave and Earnings Statement
  • Copy of your Retirement Estimate, FERS Benefits Statement (from Employee Express, MyPay, Government Retirement & Benefits Platform, etc.)
  • Copy of your TSP Statement
  • Any other investment statements that you have identified as retirement money (money you would like to include in your retirement plan)
  • Detail of life insurance policies or Long-Term care policies you have in force (coverage amounts, face amounts, premiums, etc.)
  • Statement from Social Security (You can get one at
  • Divorce Decree, if there is one, while you are a federal employee
  • Your spouse’s benefits—if you are interested in developing both of your retirement plans

Determine Your Date

If you’ve chosen your date, you will want to let your HR department know. They can help you get pension estimates and the documents needed to get the process started. HR typically likes to get your retirement paperwork 90-days out.

Legal and Estate Planning

Ensure that your legal affairs are in order by reviewing and updating important documents such as your will, power of attorney, and healthcare directives. Consider consulting with an estate planning attorney to address any specific concerns and ensure a seamless transition of assets to your beneficiaries.

Looking for assistance? We can help!

If you are looking for a guide to make sure all your retirement ducks are in a row, Benchmark Financial Group can help. It all starts with gathering your information, discussing your goals, and preparing a plan so that we may help you maximize your income in retirement. With the right strategy, you may get your income equal to or exceed your pre-retirement net income. To get started, schedule an appointment today with Benchmark Financial Group by filling out the form online or calling David Raetz at 913-534-8256 to discuss your financial needs. Benchmark Financial Group is happy to help you navigate your options and determine the best path to move toward your financial goals.

*Securities and Advisory Services Offered Through CreativeOne Securities, LLC  Member FINRA/SIPC and an Investment Advisor.  Benchmark Financial Group, LLC and CreativeOne Securities, LLC are not affiliated.

9300 W. 110th Street, Ste 160
Overland Park, KS 66210

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