The Foreign Service Journal, June 2022

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | JUNE 2022 61 AFSA NEWS Retirement Planning Five to 10 Years Out In an April 12 virtual presentation, AFSA Retiree VP John Naland reviewed important issues that employees should consider five to 10 years before retirement to best position themselves for life after the Foreign Service. John Naland, a former director of the State Department’s Office of Retirement, walked members through the steps they need to take to ensure they’re prepared for near-term retirement. He shared a detailed checklist, viewable at checklist-ret, outlining how prospective retirees can ensure a smooth transition. In his overview, Naland touched on the following topics: • What if you resign before you can retire? • Understanding your benefits. • Growing your TSP: Roth IRAs vs. traditional; stocks vs. bonds. • FEHB and the pros and cons of signing up for Medicare Part B at age 65. • Social Security: deciding when to start. • Prior service credit. • Divorce decree (if applicable) and retirement benefits. • Leave classifications: What adds to your pension, what’s use-or-lose? • Post-retirement employment with the government: potential impact on pension. “Please do your own due diligence,” Naland emphasized. “The two-day and four-day Foreign Service Institute retire- ment planning seminars are excellent, and AFSA’s website has State Department guidance. You can also hire a financial planner to give you individual advice.” He reminded the audience of the importance of signing up for AFSA membership in retirement, which is done by submit- ting an SF-1187a to the association. AFSA actively lobbies to maintain earned retirement benefits for Foreign Service members. Naland’s presentation and the Q&A session are available to members at You can also visit AFSA’s one- stop shop for retirement information at services.