Author Mike Miles

Mike Miles is a Certified Financial Planner licensee and principal adviser for Variplan LLC, an independent fiduciary in Vienna, Virginia. Email your financial questions to fedexperts@federaltimes.com and view his blog at money.federaltimes.com.

Q. Let’s suppose you reach your 67th birthday, which happens to be my full retirement age for Social Security, and you begin to draw Social Security while you are still working past your 67th birthday. At the end of the calendar year, will Social Security recalculate your monthly payment for the next calendar year because you continued to work? Or will the Social Security monthly payment be the same forever once you began drawing your Social Security once you turned 67?   If you continued to work until 70 at basically the same wage, would Social Security recalculate your monthly payment each…

Q. I am a retired Navy captain after 40 years of service. I read with great interest your article in the November 2017 issue of Federal Times titled “TSP Lump-Sum Withdrawal.” I currently have $391,811.74 in my TSP account as of 14 November 2017. On October 27, 2017, I had $392,954.73 in the TSP account. I have seen the amount of TSP goes up and down over the years. I need your advice if I should do a partial or lump-sum withdrawal. I had seen a Navy Federal Credit Union Financial adviser in the past and he was not good…

Q. I am a federal employee working for DCMA. I plan on retiring in May 2018. The maximum allowable TSP contribution amount for 2018 is $18,500. The maximum allowable TSP contribution for TSP catch-up is $6,000. Is there a limit as to what I can contribute per pay period during these final months of employment, as long all of my mandatory deductions (FEHB, life insurance, Medicare, FERS, etc.) are covered, and as long as I don’t exceed the TSP limits of $18,500 or $6,000? I’m thinking of living off of my non-TSP savings till I retire in May 2018, so I…

Q. My Social Security payment is affected by the windfall elimination provision due to my City of Los Angeles police pension. I am currently receiving SS payments. My wife becomes eligible for SS distributions in one year at age 62. She will also inherit my pension (at a reduced amount) when I die (hopefully not soon). The question is: will her SS amount be affected by WEP while I’m still alive and the beneficiary of the pension or after I’m dead and she is the beneficiary of the pension?

Q. What does Social Security consider substantial earnings? It says if you have more than 30 years of substantial earnings, the windfall elimination doesn’t apply. I have 32 years of taxed Social Security earnings and 37 years of taxed Medicare earnings, but I am not sure what substantial is.

Q. Just for clarification, when you say “I suggest that you invest your account in the L Fund that most closely corresponds to your life expectancy,” you mean the fund that most closely corresponds to the year of your expected end of life, not the number of years until your end of life, right? In other words, if I expect to live 30 more years (or until 2047), I would invest in the L2050 fund, as opposed to the L2030 fund?

Q. I am 67 with $360,000 in TSP and 29 years of federal service. I am also $26,000 in credit card debt at 16 percent annual interest rate. I am vacillating between an age-based in-service withdrawal and a 2.35 percent TSP loan to pay off the credit card debt. Finance-wise, I suppose it makes sense to pay off the credit card with the TSP loan, ($630/mo over 5 years versus $460/mo), but what I’d really like to do is get rid of the debt entirely and not have it hanging over my head at all! I am aware of the…

Q. In the Federal Times October print issue your column “Finding the best Thrift Savings Plan strategy” raises some good funds allocation concerns for investors … but how the heck does the average federal employee go about calculating the ER and the SDR? Or simply where might someone look to find formulas to make such calculations?

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