During this time of uncertainty, the more educated we are about our rights as government workers the better off we are. As your president, I have researched and posted some links that may contain answers to some of your questions. For those links, please click here.
It is most everyone's desire to work in a friendly and non threatening environment. And, that is just the reason the above organizations exist. Your union is here for you. This page was designed just for you. You are an educator; so, become educated about your rights, and don't be afraid to stand up for them. We are not afraid to stand with you.
This page was designed specifically for WEA members. However, it is our hope that anyone needing the information contained herein will feel free to make appropriate use of said material. Unless otherwise specified, all information contained herein is for public dissemination and may be used free gratis and without any further permission.
Your elected officials are:
I'm forever being asked for investment advice. While I do know some folks who have made a bundle in investments, the same ones have also lost a bundle. So, my advice to folks is; read, read, read. Watch the market; read some more; watch the market; and, never invest money you have to have now.
Do, however, pay yourself first. By that, I mean set aside a percentage of your income each pay period to put away, wherever you decide to put it away. I am not a finical advisor, nor are many of those who bill themselves as such. So, I will not tell you who to see or with what firm to invest. Lord knows I've not been so good at that. However, I will go out on a bit of a limb and tell you that if you are not making full use of the TSP program to which you are entitled, shame on you.
I like the TSP for multiple reasons. It has a proven track record. You can
come up on the TSP page just by typing TSP into your browser and selecting the
page. Or you can just click on the link I've provided here. I've already done the work for
The Official TSP Home Page,
maintained by FRTIB; 2004-12-14
But, I'm getting the cart before the horse. You ask, "But I've been paying into Social Security all these years; won't that take care of me? Besides, I know I have a government retirement; what do I need with TSP?" If you are like I was, for years, I had no clue as the what my retirement consisted. I just assumed I had a government retirement similar to the military in which I spent just over ten years. I assumed it was like the CSRS, Civil Service Retirement System, or the former government retirement system. Boy, was I mistaken.
This article assumes the reader is under the newer retirement system Federal Employees' Retirement System, FERS, and plans to retire after twenty or more years of service at the age of 62. This system is a three tiered system of which the highest three salary years are used to compute the employee's retirement pay.
The system is a pyramid with social security at the top, FERS in the middle, and your investment in the TSP at the base of the pyramid. This means the majority of your retirement income will be coming from the TSP. Had I understood this in the beginning, I would not have waited so long to start an aggressive investment into the TSP. When you consider that the government automatically puts 1% into your account and the agency will match up to 5% of your basic salary, this is a good deal. Currently, you may invest up to 15% of your salary. This changes in 2006. Read the information provided on the TSP site.
If you are over 50 years old, you may make catch-up contributions. These catch-up contributions can be $3000, in 2004, $4000 in 2005, $5000 in 2006, thereafter, increases will be indexed to inflation. You don't have to wait till open season to start or stop these contributions. These contributions are supplemental tax-deferred and available to participants age 50 or older who are already contributing the maximum amount of regular TSP contributions for which they are eligible. For 2006 you must do a $15,000.00 contribution in order to participate in the $5000.00 catch-up. http://www.dodea.edu/offices/hr/ You may use the link to the left to take you to Human resources page. You then must click on Employees at the top of the page. Then click on online Employees, then click on EBIS. You must have your password and pin number handy because you will be required to login a couple of times. You may allocate your contributions right on site and never have to fill out any paperwork at all.
Now, let's take a look at some of the information that is available to us after we log on to the TSP site. That site is: http://www.tsp.gov/
The five funds available through TSP may be found at this link. Their last twelve months records may be viewed here as well. http://www.tsp.gov/rates/monthly-current.html
You're back at our site? Find more information than you could digest? Well, don't feel like the Lone Ranger. Just take your time. Read about the history of each fund. Then for more information go to any of the below links. Where do you think I got my information?
Remember, there is no penalty for withdrawal if you are 55 or older at retirement. Otherwise TSP is like any other 401k program. You will pay a 10% penalty to the federal government at tax time if you take money out before you are 59.5 years old.
What happens to your money at retirement? Well, that all depends on what you decide to do.
If at retirement you elect to place your TSP in the G fund, depending on the amount you have saved, you could elect to draw a set percentage and never touch the principal.
If you, instead elect to buy an annuity from a firm, the annuity is going to cost you so many cents per thousand; and, of course, this is like having a middle man eating up part of your hard earned money. Annuities are purchased from life insurance companies, which I consider the lesser of two evils, dying being the other.
If you were to die today, would your family know what to do? Would they know where you would want to be buried? Or would you want to be cremated? Would your next of kin, know where everything is? For your family's sake, take a few moments and fill out the forms from the below link and make sure everyone knows where they are maintained.