FERS Civil Service Retirement: Planning Required

FERS Civil Service Retirement: New Ideas Bring New Complications

It’s human nature that when someone gets a good idea they want everyone to get on board. This also holds true for good ideas in the government.

The Federal Government needed to replace the CSRS retirement system, so they came up with the FERS civil service retirement system instead. Of course, a retirement system that covers millions of people is destined to be a little complicated.

Three-Legged Stool

The FERS civil service retirement system is the proverbial three-legged stool of retirement.  It includes Social Security, the basic annuity, and the TSP.

Life’s Attic:  Forgotten Financial Knickknacks


In most everyone’s attic of life, they have collected all sorts of accounts, business and asset holdings, equity in the home, active policies, and debts that have long been forgotten or ignored.

These things need to be looked at, sized up, and properly placed into your retirement puzzle.

The Good Handbook Says

Page 1 of chapter 40 in the CSRS/FERS Handbook says, “For most people, the retirement process is quite simple and straightforward.”

…For most people? Who did they poll?

Then it goes on to say, “However, it does deserve some time and attention.”

…Yeah, you think?

HR: Like a Good Neighbor

Regarding your agency’s responsibility for your retirement planning, the handbook says they must supply “all of the information the employee may need about retirement…”

Right. I bet the first thousand pages are an easy read.

“…responsible for giving the employee an all-inclusive presentation of the retirement process that the employee needs for successful retirement planning.”

…Did you get yours?

And here’s my favorite:

“The agency should not advise or counsel the employee what to do.”

In other words, you’re on your own.

The Old Saying

Remember the old saying, “A man does not live by savings alone”?

Okay, it’s my saying. But I’m old, and I’m just saying.

The truth is, it’s not enough to just save money for retirement.   Being a participant in the FERS civil service retirement system is not retirement planning.  To make sure you are adequately preparing for retirement, speak with a federal benefits specialist.

Want to learn about your federal employee benefits? Request our free Personal Benefit Analysis