Sharon is a native Texan. She enlisted in the United States Navy immediately following high school and proudly served her country for five years as an Air Traffic Controller. While serving in the Navy, Sharon began her college education in Whidbey Island, Washington and continued her studies on nights and weekends while working and raising her children for the next 26 years. Her studies spanned over three different states and five different colleges but she finally received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston in 2010.
Sharon Alford has been serving Federal Employees in the Houston area with their insurance needs since 2014. With her life and health insurance license, she has been able serve her clients with finding the “right fit” for them in their insurance needs. Her integrity, “customer-first” mentality, and superior customer service (at the sale and beyond) has gained her hundreds of loyal clients.
Sharon chose to enlarge her portfolio to include retirement financial needs after her father retired without any benefits outside of social security. Her father was under hospice care until he sadly passed in December 2019 and she served as his Power-of-Attorney, handling all his financial and medical affairs. She understands, firsthand, how NOT preparing for your retirement years can affect, not only you, but your loved ones, as well. Her experience over the years of caring for her father has deeply ingrained in her a passion for assisting, educating, and implementing retirement plans for her clients. Ms. Alford is a Federal Retirement Consultant℠ and is authorized by the Federation of Federal Employee Benefit Advocates to provide consultation to all federal employees.
Ms. Alford is licensed to serve the needs of federal employees in the states of Texas and Louisiana and is available for formal classroom education and training for benefits, as well, as more private individual consultations.
Proposed 2021 Budget Would Eliminate Some Benefits
Recently, the White House released its fiscal year 2021 budget proposal. The proposed $4.8 trillion budget makes some significant cuts to federal employees’ benefits and retirement programs.
For many the proposals sound familiar. This is because they have been seen in many past budget proposals. Up to now, none of these have been approved; they are just proposals put forth to start the budget negotiation process, each year, in Washington.
Some of the suggested reductions include;
Eliminate FERS COLA, Reduce CSRS COLA by 0.5 percent
Currently, FERS and CSRS COLAs for annuitants are determined based on formulas tied to the Consumer Price Index. FERS annuitants are somewhat protected from economic effects, because their retirement packages include Social Security benefits and potentially, the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) in addition to the FERS annuity. Eliminating the FERS COLA and reducing the CSRS COLA payments would reduce both FERS and CSRS annuity benefits. Doing this will bring compensation more in line with the private sector.
Eliminate the Special Retirement Supplement
If a FERS employee retires before Social Security eligibility age, and meets their MRA, they receive a supplement in addition to the FERS annuity. This supplement partially replaces the Social Security portion of the retirement package. This benefit is an “extra” benefit, which is not provided in private sector annuity plans.
Change Retirement Calculation from High-3 years to High-5 years
Federal retirement annuity calculations are based on the average of the Federal employee’s three consecutive high salary-earning years. Private sector pension companies commonly base employee annuity calculations on the five highest salary-earning years. This change would create greater alignment with the private sector.
Reduce the G Fund Interest Rate
The G Fund, an investment vehicle available only through the TSP. Currently, G Fund investors benefit from receiving a medium-term rate of return on what is essentially a short-term security. Making this change would reduce both the projected rate of return to investors and the cost of the fund to the Treasury.
Modify the Government Contribution Rate to Federal Employees Health Benefits Program Premiums
The budget proposal also recommends revising the government’s contribution rate to base it on a plan’s score from the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program Plan Performance Assessment.
The proposal additionally recommends revising the government’s contribution rate to base it on a score from the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program Plan Performance Assessment.