What’s Up in April 2020?

Debbie HatchBlog, Federal Retirement, NewsLeave a Comment

Pinnacle Personnel Services, LLC  |  Debbie Hatch

                                                             My year, in a graph.

 

One thing has remained constant – my coffee.  To be honest,  I’m struggling a little with this “working from home” stuff.  I have no schedule.  There’s no definitive time for me to work but – and maybe more importantly – there’s no definitive time to stop working.  Some days I may end up sitting at my desk from 0530 – 1900 or even later.  I need to get better at that!  I’m currently setting alarms on my phone to remind me to eat, and to get up and move occasionally.

 

 

I’ve started doing a short (15ish minutes) Facebook Live every morning on my business page.  These are tidbits about changes to the law, basic retirement, budgeting, or insurance information.  The toughest part has been getting over myself and actually going live on video.  Public speaking in front of 100 people?  No problem.  Live video, talking to myself not knowing if anyone will even watch it?  Not my favorite, but I keep showing up:  reminding myself I AM making a difference.

 

I continue to work on the virtual class and am working with several agencies to move their scheduled live classes onto virtual platforms.  The problem is that every agency seems to have different ability to access sites.  Two can access Microsoft Teams.  Others have had multiple problems on that platform.  One can use JoinMe and one GoToWebinar.  One can’t access any of them.  Zoom has been popular but isn’t my favorite and has had some recent issues.  Webinar Jam, WebEx and Adobe Connect are all things I’m looking at.  I’d prefer not to try to learn a new platform every week but, at this point, that’s what it is.

 

I digress.

 

THRIFT SAVINGS PROGRAM

 

While walking on the treadmill this morning, I listened to an interview with Ravi Deo, Executive Director of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board and Kim Weaver, the Board’s Director of External Affairs.  It was interesting and is information I feel worth sharing.

 

Obviously, because of what happened in all markets due to the current pandemic, there are fewer TSP millionaires than there were back in January.   About 27,000 versus 30,000 with 57,000 versus about 74,000 showing account balances at $750,000 – $999,999.  That said, TSP remains the country’s largest retirement investment account; with current assets of $550 billion ($630B in January).  I was encouraged to hear them say 95% of all TSP participants are riding the storm out at this point and have made no changes to their investments and are not withdrawing at higher amounts.  That was the case with my own informal survey.

 

I asked if anyone was planning to change his/her retirement date because of COVID-19.  Of the 60 or so who responded, only 4 said they were changing their plans and delaying retirement.

 

Current fees for TSP sit at 4.2 net basis points.  That means administrative fees are 42 cents per thousand dollars.  Incredible competitive with the open market.

 

Lifecycle 2020 will merge into L Income this summer.  At that point, we will see Lifecycle 2055, 2060, and 2065 roll out.  Yup, we are seeing them every five years from now on vice every ten.

No RMD Required for 2020 Regardless of Age or Employment Status

I mentioned previously the SECURE Act increased our age for Required Minimum Distributions from 70 ½ to age 72.  The CARES Act has removed the requirement altogether for this calendar year.  You do not need to make any withdrawals from your TSP account in 2020 to satisfy an RMD, regardless of your age or employment status.  TSP will not do automatic RMDs this year either.  If you are already receiving monthly payments, they will not stop unless you specifically stop them.  If you do nothing, these payments will continue.

 

FLEXIBLE SPENDING ACCOUNTS

Changes to your FSAs are allowed when Qualified Life Events (QLEs) take place.  You may   increase or decrease your election if:

  • You experience a change in employment status for you, your spouse or dependent
  • There is a change in cost of coverage of your dependent care services

The change to your account must be consistent with the reason for the change. For example, if a dependent care provider is no longer providing care (i.e., before/after care/daycare closes, summer day camp cancels or care is no longer needed) the election can be reduced. Similarly, if you need supplemental child or adult care due to an increase in hours worked, you may increase your election.

OPEN OPPORTUNITIES PROGRAM

OPM is working with agencies on expanding its Open Opportunities program that makes short-term professional developmental assignments available to existing federal employees looking for a chance to share their knowledge and experience across the federal enterprise.

The COVID-19 Response Program allows agencies to post details and temporary assignments so current federal employees, with applicable skills, have the opportunity to support pandemic response efforts for up to six months.

 

Stay safe.

Keep your coffee strong.

Keep in touch.

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