Federal retirement counselors share the importance of keeping personal records
We love our agencies. Unfortunately, we cannot depend on them to get it right every time. To be human is to err, and this means that discrepancies are bound to happen. What we can do is prepare for them by keeping copies of our own personal records. The old saying, “it’s better to be safe than sorry” applies doubly when it comes to finalizing your retirement package, and keeping copies of your records could save you from a world of trouble in the future.
What Copies Should You Keep?
Find a safe, risk-free location where you can store your records in an organized fashion. Records to save include:
- The last pay statement from each agency you’ve worked for
- Notification of Personnel Action Statements documenting your retirement coverage
- The beginning and ending dates of federal service
- Any salary changes during your high-three average salary period and work schedule
- Insurance documentation showing level of coverage and required five years of coverage under the Federal Employees Health
- Benefits Program and Federal Employees Group Life Insurance
- Coverage and enrollment in long-term care insurance
- Coverage under dental and vision insurance
- Beneficiary designation forms
- Records of deposits or redeposits for civilian or military service credit
- Divorce decrees
- Marriage certificates
- Your completed retirement application
Even with records, if an error were to occur, it may still take over a year to make a correction. However, having copies of your records readily available will definitely smooth the process.
Understanding Your Benefits
It can be difficult to calculate what you are entitled to at retirement. To begin with, you should know how much creditable service you have, the salary rates used for your high-three average, how much life insurance coverage you have at the start of your retirement and how much you will maintain afterwards; and your survivor benefit election.
For tax planning, it is also important to know how much money you have contributed to the retirement fund. Having someone to walk you through each of these critical elements can be extremely helpful.
MyFEDBenefits will bring to your attention things such as tax liability, and other things you may not even be aware of. A federal benefits specialist will explain to you exactly what you need and significantly reduce the chance or error.
Mistakes happen every day, but you don’t have to be a cautionary tale. By keeping track of your retirement records and understanding your benefits you can have a financially secure future.
Contact a MyFEDBenefits specialist in your area today to ensure that you are on the right track to retirement.
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