2020 has been a whirlwind. From COVID-19 to the presidential election and just about everything in between, the first year of the new decade has been anything but normal, typical, or boring. Federal employees across the country saw drastic changes to the way they work and live, and no aspect of federal employment was unaffected by the swift moving current of change brought on by the Coronavirus. Markets experienced unforeseen and unprecedented periods of volatility and the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) reflected these rapid redirections in fund value. In the midst of such a turbulent year, how can one finish 2020 well? Let’s discuss three keys to wrapping up 2020.
1. Recalibrate Goals.
Think back for a moment. What was life like back before the craziness of the current year ensued? What were the goals you had for 2020 last December or January? If dealing with COVID-19 restrictions has caused you to lose sight of those goals, now is the perfect time to call them back to mind and evaluate them. Your goals for 2020 can be greatly impacted by where you are in your federal career. New hires may be pondering how to continue advancing their careers in a new work environment while tenured employees may be more concerned with positioning themselves for the smoothest transition into retirement.
Whatever your goals may be, it’s likely the path to reach those objectives has altered slightly during the last 11 months. Now is the perfect time to recalibrate your intentions and consider if the plan to achieve those goals is still feasible. For those federal employees trying to prepare for life in retirement, Retirement Benefits Institute offers a wide array of resources, including online trainings that may be useful to you.
2. Revisit the Budget.
Though revisiting and perhaps revising a budget is typically not an enjoyable task, this year’s review may provide some unexpected, but good news. With the lockdowns for COVID-19 limiting eating out and traveling opportunities, some individuals may have spent less than was budgeted. (Unless those funds were spent on online shopping.) In the case of those who did spend less than originally planned, it would be wise to consider what to do with this money. Planning to reallocate 2020 travel money for an extravagant trip in 2021? Although not as exciting as paying for a lavish vacation, one important question to ask is, “Have I fully funded my retirement accounts?” Individuals under age 50 can typically contribute $6,000 to a Roth IRA and $19,500 to a Traditional or Roth TSP; those over 50 have higher contribution limits.
3. Plan to Succeed in the New Year.
The onslaught of the holiday season means one thing: 2020 is almost over. Whether the current year has personally been a time of trials or triumphs, victories or defeats, 2020 is nearly in the past. The new year brings with it a fresh chance to rethink your goals and put yourself in the best possible position to achieve those goals. Whatever your desires for 2021, we at Retirement Benefits Institute encourage you to take some time to be thankful for what you do have in this topsy-turvy year and get ready. 2021 is nearly here!