Who Can Attend?
Frequently Asked Questions About Our Federal Employee Benefits Classes
Myth: Only Federal Employees can attend, spouses cannot.
In-Truth: We welcome Federal Employees and ENCOURAGE spouses and/or significant others to attend.
No, they do not also have to be Federal Employees.
They can work for the State, the Private Sector or not at all! Many of your FER's Benefits that we discuss will involve, "Survivor Benefits" and as a family owned and operated company, we think it is critical for both an Employee and non-employee to receive education on their options.
Myth: I have to be within 5 years of retirement to attend a class.
In-Truth: In the mid 2000's OPM had anticipated a mass exodus of federal employees retiring from service as they became eligible for retirement.
At that time, many educational programs were being offered but only to participants who were within 5 years of retirement to attend.
Our classes are open to all federal employees at every single stage of their career.
Too often we hear, "I wish I could have known this when I started working..." and it is a sentiment we could not agree with more.
That is why we are firm believers that your financial education should start the moment you start interacting with money and your education on benefits the moment you begin working.
Myth: All Benefits Classes are the same.
In-Truth: Not all Federal Employee Classes are the same. In an effort to reduce costs, some classes offer open enrollment up to 100+ people, are limited to only federal employees and can cover different topics and are presented by people from out of state.
100+ people... not for us. We have done this before and it is possible to host but we just don't feel that promotes the kind of environment that is conducive to learning. Therefore, our classes are limited to 40 people. With no more than 40 people in a room we can easily navigate through the material and hopefully have time to answer questions.
Our firm is local so when we provide input for Alaska's Federal Employees you know it comes from local Alaskans who live, work and raise families right here in the Last Frontier.
Our class is put together using OPM's guidelines to increasing Financial Literacy which includes:
"Model of Financial Education
The OPM retirement financial education strategy is based on a model of financial education that brings together information and training on the Federal benefits programs with a broader holistic approach about what information employees need to know in order to set and achieve their retirement goals. This strategy broadens the focus of pre-retirement education in Federal agencies. Our education model underlying this strategy brings together the basic information about the benefits provided by the Government, as an employer, and the broader financial education needs of employees. Rather than being a "near retirement" event, the strategy considers retirement financial literacy and education as a career-long process. The strategy is based on a model that incorporates the broad range of information employees need to be aware of and understand, in order to make informed retirement planning decisions. It also recognizes that these needs change as a person moves through his or her career.
The information needs include such factors as:
- Understanding their Federal benefits, such as the amount of their retirement benefits, life insurance, health insurance, Medicare, long term care insurance, and the Thrift Savings Plan;
- Achieving financial security, such as the basics of investments and investing, calculating retirement income needs, financial planning, and credit management;
- Retirement health, such as medical and long term care needs;
- Retirement lifestyle, such as post-retirement work and leisure activities, relocation, and housing options; and
- Estate planning, such as wills and survivor benefits.
Some of the needs are met completely or in large part by employer provided benefits programs. For example the CSRS, FERS, and TSP may provide a substantial portion of a retiree's retirement income. The Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP) is available to address long term care needs and the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program and Medicare provide post-retirement health insurance. Employing agencies have a responsibility to provide information and education to their employees on those benefits programs and the part they play in retirement planning.
Some of these needs are not part of the employer-provided benefits structure. These include education on financial basics, setting retirement life-style goals, and estate planning. It is beyond the ability of agency benefits officers to provide the same level of information and training to employees on these needs. The employer must act as a resource to its employees. The employer will help employees identify those needs and assist them in locating resources where they can gain the information and knowledge they need to address those needs. This can be accomplished by conducting workshops, providing materials developed by outside resources, or directing employees to resources such as other agencies', universities', or non-profit organizations' websites." (https://www.opm.gov/retirement-services/benefits-officers-center/trainin...)
Myth: My Human Resource person can provide retirement advice.
In-Truth: In our experience, H.R. Specialists here in Alaska are FAN-TAS-TIC. They really care about the people that they help and take extra effort to be as timely as possible. They are great at providing necessary paperwork, buy-back information for military time, receipts for credits, your OPF and a million other tasks that they handle on the daily for people that they work with.
What they cannot do however is provide advice on your retirement. To provide retirement and investment advice you have to be a licensed professional in the investment / securities industry.
Just like the TSP Office which is wonderful to work with but cannot provide investment advice. You can call the TSP office and ask them how to set up your allocations but they cannot tell you what allocations to make. That's investment advice and for that, you need to be licensed.
Questions about our classes? Call us at 1-907-278-1351