The Foreign Service Journal - January/February 2018

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2018 61 big-ticket items right after they retire, but Beagle suggests avoid- ing overspending. “The safe withdrawal rate from your invest- ments is about 4 percent of the balance a year,” he says. “Spend- ing beyond what you get from your annuity and 4 percent of the balance can potentially cause plan failure.” It’s also important, says Cymer, to monitor your investment allocations and make sure you have a distribution plan in place. Folks in retirement need to focus on keeping as much in their pockets as possible, looking at how to continually minimize taxes and making sure they aren’t being too aggressive with their retire- ment funds.” But remember what you worked for, says Carrington, and “don’t live an unnecessarily constrained life.” Many FS members have more flexibility than they think. “If you have a pension, Social Security, TSP and a paid-offmortgage,” he says, “you are golden.” Consult a professional and work out a cash flow and spending plan so you knowwhat you can comfortably afford to do. Now is the time to update your will and medical care direc- tives, advises Mandojana. “Be sure your financial plans include end-of-life care plans, such as a nursing home, in-home care, etc. Be sure you have a plan in place of who will take care of your financial responsibilities when you are no longer able to do it yourself,” she says. What about Family Members? This is all useful information—if you’re the employee. But what should family members be doing to prepare for retirement? Many have sketchy work histories and no TSP of their own. Most of our experts recommend that spouses find some sort of employment at every post to ensure their family’s financial security. “With today’s technology we can be connected to each other while we are virtually anywhere on the planet,” says Cymer. “Look for a flexible position that allows for working remotely. Some of the more creative jobs my work-from-home clients have had included things like transcribing services, coding, web design and social media marketing.” Mid-career is the time to develop networks and skills for careers or income potential after the Foreign Service and outside the federal government.