Keep Your Records

By Tammy Flanagan

February 29, 2008

If you want tips on organizing your life, all you need to do is turn on the TV, open a magazine or do a quick Google search. Here's a piece of advice from Monica Ricci, who has been an organizing and productivity specialist since 1999:

"Many people accumulate paper clutter due to a fear of throwing away something important, or a concern that it may be needed later. The result is they end up keeping everything, and not being able to discern which things have present or future value and which can be safely discarded. Remember, your trash can and your shredder are your friends."

With the proliferation of this kind of de-cluttering advice, I thought it might be a good time to let you know what you should make sure not to get rid of. There are several good reasons why it's important to hold on to records related to your federal employment for retirement planning purposes:

What to Keep

Here's a list of the kinds of records you should keep:

Missing Records

If you are missing any of these documents, check with your agency's human resources office to find out how to get new copies. If you have been out of federal service for 120 days or more, you'll have to contact the National Personnel Records Center at the National Archives and Records Administration.

Hopefully, you can keep all this information neatly in a three-ring binder or on disk next to your computer. Review it once a year so you maintain an up-to-date history of your federal career as well as your benefits that are important to both you and your family.

Tammy Flanagan is the senior benefits director for the National Institute of Transition Planning Inc., which conducts federal retirement planning workshops and seminars. She has spent 25 years helping federal employees take charge of their retirement by understanding their benefits.

By Tammy Flanagan

February 29, 2008