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Colorado Springs, CO, Main Office City Carrier Terry Butterfield

Colorado Springs, CO, Main Office City Carrier Terry Butterfield

After a 46-year career, Colorado Springs, CO, Main Office City Carrier Terry Butterfield decided to hang up his satchel and enjoy a well-earned retirement.

To honor their friend and colleague, coworkers gave Butterfield a delicacy-filled potluck and a special cake. They also presented him with a special keepsake item that everyone had a chance to enjoy.

City Carrier Lisa Moran designed a unique Every Door Direct Mail mailpiece that the team sent to Butterfield’s customers announcing his retirement. The celebratory card also detailed a number of historic facts representative of the time when he first joined the Postal Service.


In addition to the appetizing send-off, Postmaster Sam Reed presented a 46-year award, certificate of appreciation and a Postal Proud T-shirt to Butterfield. NALC Branch 204 President Mark Robbins and Vice President Jon Meyer also presented a certificate of appreciation, while union representative Lisa Childs presented him with a framed flag.

Bitter-sweet retirement

Salina, KS, City Carrier Jimmy Nuss

Salina, KS, City Carrier Jimmy Nuss

When Salina, KS, City Carrier Jimmy Nuss announced his plans to retire, his co-workers experienced a bitter-sweet moment. Though they were thrilled for Nuss’s chance to explore a new chapter in his life, they would miss his exuberant personality.

To honor his time in service at the Salina Post Office and cheer the time they shared together, employees held a memorable office celebration. While co-workers appreciated Nuss’s enthusiasm for his job, his customers are no less energetic about his service.


As an example of his commitment to customers throughout his career, Nuss related a story during his retirement party about a customer who suffered from cancer. Instead of seeking a cure, she wished to spend a few moments visiting with Nuss. He was moved by the sentiment and granted the customer her request. Later, he received a letter and poem from the customer expressing her appreciation for Nuss taking time to visit with her.

Postmaster General to retire in 2015

Pat Donahoe

Pat Donahoe

The Postal Service Board of Governors announced last week that Postmaster Donahoe said he believes the Postal Service is headed in the right direction, but still has a long way to go. “The organization has a lot of momentum right now, and we’re doing a lot to innovate and improve the way we serve the public and our customers,” Donahoe said. “The nature of delivery is changing dramatically and the Postal Service will continue to be an important part of those changes.”

Under his leadership, the Postal Service launched several new mailing products and enhancements including Every Door Direct Mail which has generated more than $1 billion in new revenue. Donahoe also guided the organization’s shipping and package strategies to capitalize on the rapid increase of e-commerce.  In the last few years, the Postal Service has seen double digit growth each year in its package business.

Megan Brennan

Megan Brennan

Brennan will become the 74th PMG and the first woman to hold the job.

“I am deeply honored and humbled to take on this role at such an exciting time for the organization,” said Brennan. “The Postal Service plays a vital role in America’s society and economy and I’m looking forward to strengthening that role and meeting the demands of a rapidly evolving marketplace in the years ahead.”

Sleeping in for a Change

Sleeping in

The Blodgett Country Store is home to a variety of food and beverage items that satisfies the interests of the local community. A special feature at this particular business provides shoppers with a service most other stores don’t offer – access to an in-store Post Office.

Blodgett, OR, Postmaster Nan Sumners has worked at this particular location nestled within a small corner of the store for 23 years, the last 13 in her current position. She enjoys spending time with the people of Blodgett, which made her decision to retire tomorrow a more difficult one.

“I love working so close to home, and I enjoy the people,” Sumners said.

Her sentiment toward the local community is a mutual one and reflected in a profile of her in the Corvallis Gazette-Times on the eve of her retirement.

Sumners didn’t start her employment at the Country Store with the Postal Service, but rather at the store itself. Shortly thereafter, the former Postmaster and store owner recognized Sumners’ dedication to her work and asked her to become a relief worker for the Post Office in 1991. When a full-time employee left to pursue other interests 10 years later, Sumners took over the position. In 2001, when the Postmaster position became available, she gladly accepted the opportunity to take over the role.

While many changes have occurred since Sumners first began her employment at the Postal Service, the biggest change she witnessed has been the evolution of technology.

“Thirteen years ago, the books were done manually, and we didn’t use the credit card machine,” said Sumners.

Sumners doesn’t have any major plans for her post-working life, but she does intend to switch off the alarm and sleep in for a change.

100 Percent Investment Returns

100 percent investment returns

There are very few investment vehicles in the world of finance that offer a 100 percent return on investment dollars. Despite the lack of assurances that investment money will grow substantially over time, there is one avenue of opportunity that offers a consistent 100 percent return on money set aside for retirement.

As defined benefits plans have undergone significant transformations over the years, many companies have added an incentive for employees to set aside their own funds for retirement. A company offering a match on investment dollars in a 401k retirement contribution plan, for example, will typically offer a percentage-based matching of an employee’s contributed funds. The process of company matching is, in effect, and instant return on investor’s money.

If an employer match is 5 percent of an employee’s wages, for example, an employee can contribute up to 5 percent of their base pay into the retirement fund and receive another 5 percent contributed by the employer. That’s a 100 percent return on investment money – an extremely difficult return to match in the stock market. Adding an amount less than 5 percent into a retirement account will still be matched by the employer, but the employee will effectively be leaving money on the table that could have been added to boost retirement account growth even faster.

Whenever an employer offers a contribution matching incentive in a 401k type of retirement plan, it’s important to take advantage of the instant return on investment dollars in order to increase the opportunity for a more secure retirement.

Harness the Power of the TSP for Greater Retirement Flexibility

Nest Egg

Retirement is the ability to voluntarily refrain from active employment while continuing to pay for financial obligations. While that goal is easy to imagine, the opportunity to reach it depends entirely on financial resources. For federal employees, that opportunity includes a significant advantage.

The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a private sector 401k equivalent for federal employees. The plan allows employees to contribute their own dollars into a retirement account with an agency matching contribution of up to 5% for members of the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS). Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) employees can also participate in the TSP, though they don’t receive matching contributions.

Contributions to the account can’t exceed $17,500 for 2013, though individuals 50 and older can make additional catch-up contributions of up to $5,500. There are two options when making contributions that affect how the money taxed – the traditional TSP and the Roth TSP.

The traditional TSP offers investors the chance to deposit money into the retirement account before taxes. When money is withdrawn from the account at retirement, the amount received is subject to taxation. Conversely, money contributed into the Roth TSP is taxed as it’s deposited. When money in the Roth is withdrawn at retirement, the amount disbursed is not generally subject to taxation.

There are various options to consider when investing in the TSP, but the only way to gain the advantages the program has to offer is to become a regular investor. It’ll not only make a post-working lifestyle a more affordable one, it could also increase peace of mind in knowing that the healthy next egg is there waiting to support the many retirement possibilities.

Borrowing from the Future

Borrowing from the future

With a pinch of luck and a little planning, retirement is something most people look forward to after a long journey. There are many different ways to plan for that retirement, and saving money in a 401k type plan is certain one of the more popular ones. When that money becomes a tempting piece of fruit on the tree before retirement, is it worth picking?

Making the choice to withdraw funds from a retirement account has its benefits and disadvantages. Taking a low-interest loan from the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) to pay off significantly higher interest rates on debt can potentially lead to great cost savings. Then again, the benefits may not be what one expects at the end of the day.

Any earnings that money withdrawn from the TSP could have earned had it remained in the account might be greater than the savings realized from interest on other loans. If a 2 percent loan from the TSP replaces a 20 percent loan on a credit card, but the stock market yields a 25 percent return that year, then the net effect is less money in the TSP at retirement. If the stock market performs poorly and loses 10 percent, then the move was beneficial.

Nobody knows exactly which direction the market will travel in a given year, much less by what degree. When making the decision to take a TSP loan, the best resource you can draw upon is your own judgment.

If a difficult financial situation is making it hard to sleep at night, and a TSP loan can alleviate that issue, it might be worth consideration. If the money from a TSP loan is used to buy a new boat, RV, TV, or other toys, it might not be the best use of retirement assets.

What do you think about TSP loans?

Would Two Years Be Enough to Retire Early?

Would two years be enough

Early out incentives are common for businesses looking to reduce expenses without resorting to layoffs. For some businesses, those particular incentives can be more generous than others.

Coming this spring, FedEx will be offering some of its employees up to two years of pay as an early out incentive. It’s an organizational effort to reduce costs by up to $1.7 billion within the next two years.

Employees who volunteer to leave FedEx by May 31 will receive four weeks of pay for every year of service. That incentive maxes out at two years of total pay.

What do you think of the early out incentive?

When Should Someone Be Able to Retire?

Many people look forward to retiring as soon as possible to begin doing some of the activities they’ve looked forward to for some time. Others prefer working for many years longer to continue spending time with the people they enjoy seeing every day. For many countries in Europe, that retirement decision may no longer be up to the individual.

As some of the hardest hit areas in Europe struggle with a massive debt crisis, many governments are choosing to boost the minimum retirement age to compensate. The measure isn’t a popular one with most citizens of impacted countries, such as Italy, France and Greece, and many are choosing to express their frustration in government elections.

After announcing an increase in the retirement age from 65 to 67, the Prime Minister of Spain was voted out of office. When the President of France supported a measure to increase the retirement age from 60 to 62, he also lost in his re-election bid. Citizens in Greece protested strongly when their retirement age was increased as a part of austerity measures. Though resistance to these changes is high, most countries in the European Union are considering bumping up the minimum retirement age to as high as 69 within the foreseeable future.

So far, in the United States, the issue of increasing the minimum age hasn’t been a part of recent fiscal efforts. Do you think it should be?

What does our SSA deduction buy?

Among other deductions from our paycheck, Social Security takes a portion of our income and contributes it to a government retirement benefit program. We see this deduction each and every time we peek at our paystubs, but what does this contribution buy?

The amount an employee contributes into Social Security is only a portion of what gets paid into the system. For 2012, employees pay a total of 4.2% of their earnings into Social Security. Employers contribute an additional 6.2% on top of that amount for a total of 10.4%.

As much as we might like to see that money accumulate into an account set aside just for us, contributions into Social Security are used to pay current retiree benefits. We add money into the system with the expectation that when we retire, we’ll receive a lifelong stream of income guaranteed by the government. How much income an individual receives depends on several variables:

–         How much you earn.

–         How long you contribute to the program.

–         What age you intend to retire.

The greater these figures are for each category, the more money you’ll receive in retirement. For example, let’s assume an individual born in 1950 that started working in 1968 is earning $50,000 this year. He earned a consistent stream of income throughout his working life that increased at a rate of 2% per year. If that person were to retire this year at age 62, his monthly income would be $1,012 per month. Waiting until age 66 to retire would yield him a monthly benefit of $1,413 per month. If he waited until age 70 to retire, he would receive $1,962 per month.

You can perform your own calculations more specific to your situation by going to the Social Security Administration website.

What do you see as some of the major challenges facing Social Security going into the future?

  • Hello, I'm Benny the Blogger: I'm the world's most famous postal employee. My hobbies are snappy quotes, kite flying and publishing. I was born Jan. 17, 1706, but don't call me old.

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