All federal employees should look for this acronym
as they plan for their financial futures

provided by Tim Estes & Brie Reyes, CFP, ChFEBC


ChFEBC … what does that mean? It means Chartered Federal Employee Benefits Consultant. If you’re a federal employee searching for a financial consultant, it means you have found a financial services professional with a full, thorough understanding of CSRS and FERS annuities, the Thrift Savings Plan, FEGLI, and other benefits available only to federal government workers.

Today, the financial world is full of credentials and designations. Some are respected, some aren’t. When it comes to retirement planning for federal employees, the ChFEBCsm designation is easily the most respected. You really have to earn it. (There are some financial credentials simply conveyed to people after the completion of a glorified sales course. The ChFEBCsm designation is not one of them.)

The average financial advisor faces a learning curve when it comes to understanding federal benefits and the retirement issues that concern federal government employees. A ChFEBC does not.

It stands for education. To become a ChFEBC, you have to undergo an intensive training course covering the CSRS/CSRS offset annuity, the FERS/FERS transferee annuity, Special Provisions FERS (for air traffic controllers, reservists, and firefighting and law enforcement personnel), Federal Employee Group Life Insurance, the Thrift Savings Plan, the Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program and more.

Part of the curriculum also has to do with fact-finding: knowing how to ask the right questions of federal employees to get a truly accurate picture of their financial situations. After the course of study, you must pass a rigorous examination. Many ChFEBC's have further educated themselves by studying to earn other financial and insurance industry designations.

It reflects ethical and experiential standards. Before you can even study for the ChFEBCsm designation, you need to have at least three years of experience in insurance, benefits planning, retirement planning or a related field. As a ChFEBC, you must put the interests of a federal employee first, and consult that employee with objectivity and integrity while providing services based on his or her needs.

ChFEBC’s also continually educate themselves on the annual changes in federal benefits, so that they may be recertified at the start of each calendar year. They also have to pass a background check to see that they maintain good ethical standing and valid SEC and FINRA licenses.

This is why the ChFEBCsm designation is so respected. Knowing all this, would a federal employee settle for any less qualified financial consultant? I doubt it.

The critical difference. Many people today call themselves “financial planners” or “financial consultants” without having this kind of experience and knowledge. Many of them work with a sales-based mentality. Often, they will suggest an investment product as a financial solution. Quite often, they get a nice commission off the sale of that product.

On the other hand, ChFEBC’s know that investments are simply components in an overall financial strategy, not solutions in themselves. We have the education and experience to create integrated retirement savings, retirement income and insurance strategies for the long-term goals of federal employees, and the experience to implement, oversee and revise them through the years.

Choose a ChFEBC. Talk to a ChFEBC today, and enjoy the confidence that comes from meeting with a truly educated and qualified financial consultant who truly understands the unique choices offered to federal employees.