Andy Roberts/Getty

Tammy’s Top 12 Tips of 2022

Our Retirement Planning columnist’s best pieces of advice over the course of the year. 

As the year comes to a close, Government Executive’s retirement planning columnist offers one tip for every month of 2022.

If you’re feeling pessimistic, do something. Fearing high inflation? Take some time to calculate your likely retirement benefit, get educated on financial planning and calmly consider your “what-if” strategies.

Figure out how much life insurance you need. It’s all about your financial obligations vs. your liquid assets. 

Don’t be afraid to ask dumb questions. Because in all likelihood, they’re not actually dumb. 

Know your payment percentages. Speaking of not-dumb questions, here’s an explanation of the distinction between a cost-of-living adjustment and the annual federal pay raise. 

Get a job. For some people, retiring from federal service is a launchpad to a new kind of career. Just beware of the potential pitfalls. 

Don’t retire too soon. A couple of years of work in government can make a big difference in your retirement benefit. 

Make a to-do list. Starting about a year before you want to retire, you should begin the paperwork process. 

Study up on Social Security. Figuring out how much you’re going to get and when you should start taking it can get complicated.

Don’t spend it all in one place. Or at one time. Determining how much retirement income you need—and whether to spend it now or save it for later—is among the trickiest aspects of preparing for your post-work life. 

Get the most out of your unused annual leave. A guide to planning when to move on in order to maximize the lump-sum payment you’ll get for saving up vacation time. 

Be kind. If you’re polite and courteous to the person on the other end of that customer service call, you just might get better treatment.  

Pick a retirement date that works for you. Here are some of the best options for 2023.