This is what showed up on my RSS newsreader this week….

 Notice a recurring theme here?  Federal Employee Morale stinks.   This is because overall Federal Employee compensation is shrinking while workloads are expanding (due to hiring freezes).  Pay, benefits, and the FERS Annuity itself are once again bargaining chips on the table.

No wonder 12,000 Feds bailed out in October.

Two Navy commands I met with last month were both mentally preparing themselves for the Next Shutdown (in January 2014).

What to do? Continue reading

For those who have arrived here via search engine, this is (bonus) Part Four of a response to a reader question, “How do I go about starting a Federal Career”?   I recommend you start with Part One of the response to catch up.

So, you wan to be a Fed, huh? Let’s review the traditional advantages to being a Fed: Continue reading

Federal Furlough Sequestration Survival Guide

Federal Furlough Sequestration Survival Guide

Union squawking aside, furloughs appear to be a done deal.  Here’s a comprehensive guide for Federal Furlough Survival tips, plus some new additions to your PhD in Administrative Furloughs.

The good news: High-3 Average Salary is not affected.  Your FERS retirement calculation will be unchanged.  If you’re approaching retirement, you could take the optimisitc approach and consider each extended furlough weekend as a retirement ‘test drive’.  That’s pretty much it for the good news.

TSP: Unless you are contributing specified dollar amounts (not percentages), your TSP contributions will drop, as will the TSP Matching Contributions.  TSP contributions and Matches drop in accordance with what you are actually paid, not your base pay rate.

Take home pay: Calculate what your furlough take home pay will be.

Your Budget: Evaluate ways to trim your personal budget.  Here’s 9 10 ways to Fight Back.

Other sources of cash:

Consider a TSP Loan or setting up overdraft protection as a ‘backstop’ on your checking account (I’m not a huge fan of this, but if it prevents overdraft fees, so be it).

NFCU has set up some special programs to assist its customers during furloughs, including:

  • Delayed loan repayments
  • Low interest-rate overdraft loans, and
  • Waived penalties on early withdrawals from CD’s.

USAA is offering similar assitance to its members, including:

  • Special payment arrangements, which could include payment deferral, on some bank products1.
  • Refunds of certain fees for credit cards and other USAA Bank products.
  • Early withdrawal of funds from certificates of deposit without penalties.
  • Billing arrangements for insurance products.

If you’ve exhausted all the above options, and you have a specific traumatic event (i.e. utility shutoff or imminent foreclosure/eviction), you can seek help via interest-free loans from from the Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund (


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