The journey to federal employee retirement promises to be everything that human nature is: complicated, a little bit frightening, exciting, anticipative, wonderful and riddled with the strong emotion of change and what to do with it. When you think about retiring from Federal Service, there is so much to do. There are hundreds of things that could be added to the list of things we have to do to get ready for your federal retirement.
FEDERAL RETIREMENT FINANCIAL PLAN
However, it is apparent that there are two travel companions we must carry with us into our retirement future – a solid financial plan and an action plan tailored to our own individual needs and desires. There is no perfect time to retire and there is no perfect set of goals by which to reach for. There is, however, a best time to retire and there are SMART Goals that are realistic and attainable. There are logical steps to making decisions. We can only reach a place where we can even discuss retirement through hard work and self-reliance; and we know that plans will often fail even under the best of circumstances, if we make them without the commitment and wherewithal to stick with them, stay the course and know when to modify our plans.
From 2007 to 2009, the country faced a temporary slow-down in the economy. A slow-down in the economy is technically called a recession. Foreclosures and job losses were at an all-time high. 2010 to present have still not normalized the economy for many Americans, but it is getting better.
Given the brutal economic melt-down of the past years, should we prepare differently for retirement? The answer is NO. It is not that we should prepare differently for retirement, but that we should prepare always early and consistently for retirement. The two key words – Early and Consistent are not dependent on the state of the economy, but rather on proactive individual determination to enter retirement in relative comfort and security.
Barriers must always be included in the plan. These are things that might prevent us from accomplishing our retirement goals. A good plan must be flexible and evolve over time as events in our lives change.
Retirement is a methodical process of carefully orchestrated steps culminating in an individual action plan and a very well laid-out financial plan. What is perhaps the most critical thing that any of us can do to protect our retirement future, irrespective of the sway of the economy, is to consider the words of an ancient proverb: Cut Your Coat According to Your Own Size. In essence, it means you must measure your coat (your resources) to fit your budget (your expenses) in good times, so that in bad times, it will still fit. Be careful with spending and saving in hard economic times. Be fanatical about spending and saving in good economic times.