STWS Advisor Jen Meyer provides her recap of the week. This edition includes COVID relief, the second impeachment of Trump, and more.
News for the week ending February 12th continued to focus on the COVID pandemic and the potential for a fiscal stimulus plan to advance in the coming weeks. However, stimulus talks took a back seat for a few days to the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump. There were moments of drama as new video footage of the attempted insurrection on January 6th played out; however as predicted, there were not enough GOP Senators on board with impeachment and the former President was acquitted by a vote of 57-43.
Weekly items to note for federal employees:
- Retirement claims surged in January to the highest level since April 2013. The average processing time is currently 78 days.
- House Democrats introduced a COVID relief bill that includes up to 15 weeks of paid emergency leave for federal employees forced to quarantine or who are ill with COVID-19, or for those who are forced to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed or conducting virtual learning. The emergency leave could also be used to help care for a family member incapable of self-care whose care provider is unavailable due to COVID. This bill is separate from the 12 weeks of paid leave proposal discussed in last week's column. There are many hurdles to cross before either of these bills are passed into law, but the potential benefits to our feds are tremendous so we will be watching closely over the coming weeks.
- TSP Board announced today, Feb. 16th that they are experiencing high call volumes and requested participants call later this week to avoid the long wait times.
- Tax season is upon us- if an employee took funds out of TSP in 2020 under the provisions of the CARES act- it is critical they understand and file their taxes properly to account for such withdrawals. We do not suggest that employees go it alone if they are impacted by these rules. Consult with a tax advisor or financial advisor with expertise in this area.
- Federal employees may contribute to IRAs as well as TSP if they meet eligibility criteria. We find that many employees do not understand the rules around this and therefore miss out on the opportunity to maximize their retirement savings. Consult with a tax advisor to determine if you are eligible.
**Written by Jennifer Meyer, Financial Planner. The information has been obtained from sources considered reliable but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Jennifer Meyer and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. Any information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of strategy suggested. Every investor’s situation is unique and you should consider your investment goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon before making any investment or financial decision. Prior to making an investment decision, please consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation. While we are familiar with the tax provisions of the issues presented herein, as Financial Advisors of RJFS, we are not qualified to render advice on tax or legal matters. You should discuss tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional.**