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Federal Agencies Required to Provide Retirement and Financial Literacy Education for Employees

 In FERS, Retirement

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) requires all Federal Agencies to develop and implement a financial retirement literacy and education strategy to assist Federal Employees in planning for the future. Unfortunately, these requirements are a bit loose. Take a look at the policy for yourself.

While OPM means well, a number of issues were immediately apparent to me:

1) There is no defined format for how this education must be provided.

The resources available to you will vary from Agency to Agency. Some agencies offer multiday seminars with exercises and expert instructors, while others may only provide you with videos and articles. If you are someone who requires or prefers an in-person learning experience, it simply may not be available to you.

2) Curriculum varies from Agency to Agency.

Since each Benefits Officer is responsible for developing the financial retirement literacy program for their own Agency, you will find that the curriculum will differ between agencies. Some will only provide the basics of your Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) or Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and benefits provided by the government. Other agencies go above beyond the requirements set by OPM to provide education on creating financial security and protecting wealth through means outside of your federal benefits.

3) Trainer qualifications are not defined.

If you are lucky enough to have the option of live training through your Agency, the knowledge and skills of the trainer can greatly vary. Sometimes the trainer is simply reading from a provided curriculum, while other trainers have real-life experience and are constantly expanding their knowledge to be able to provide you with the most up-to-date information and answer your questions.

4) Only some agencies provide tuition reimbursement.

If your Agency isn’t providing education that works for you, you may be eligible for tuition reimbursement for open-enrollment courses taken outside of your agency.  Unfortunately, not all agencies offer this benefit.

Set yourself up for financial success by taking matters into your own hands. Check with your Agency to see what resources are available to you. If you don’t find these resources adequate to help you create a secure and successful retirement, then look outside of your agency for Retirement Planning for Federal Employees courses and seminars. You’ll find free resources with basic information, as well as paid courses that range from the hundreds to the thousands in tuition. Remember to check with your agency about tuition reimbursement or the use of Standard Form 182 to cover the tuition. If you are serious about creating a secure and successful retirement, the investment in yourself and your future will be well worth it.

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Intupower has worked with thousands of Federal Employees in the US and Europe to help them gain a thorough understanding of the retirement benefits provided by the US government as well as other critical components for creating a secure and successful retirement. Interested in learning more about Intupower’s Retirement Planning for Federal Employees courses? Visit www.intupower.com/FERS.

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