NARFE NewsWatch
Feb. 14, 2012

Feb. 15 is NARFE Call Congress Day — Your calls are vitally important!
NARFE
NARFE President Joseph A. Beaudoin asks every NARFE member to plan now to make three toll-free telephone calls to their members of Congress tomorrow, Feb. 15. The calls will urge lawmakers to oppose the House highway funding bill (H.R. 7), which would increase federal employee contributions to retirement, and to oppose any plan that would pay for two-thirds of the payroll tax holiday by taking money out the pockets of America's middle-class federal employees. To view the updated script and step-by-step instructions, please click here.More

Federal budget 2013: Plan calls for increase in federal employee pension contributions
The Washington Post
The Obama administration is proposing to increase the contribution of federal employees to their retirement program by 0.4 percent each year over three years. In a telephone briefing with federal union leaders on the administration's proposed budget for fiscal year 2013, officials from the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management said the 1.2 percent increase over three years would save the government about $27 billion over 10 years.More

As retirement applications surge, what should feds consider?
FederalNewsRadio.com
VideoBriefRetirement requests are pouring into the Office of Personnel Management. The Federal Times reported that 104,000 feds put in retirement applications in 2011, up from about 84,000 in 2010. But retirement from federal service is not just a policy matter — it's a decision that employees must make on their own. Tammy Flanagan, the senior benefits director for the National Institute of Transition Planning, joined FederalNewsRadio.com with Francis Rose to discuss how feds should prepare for retirement. More

Transition smoothly from retirement saving to spending
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
You've spent your entire career saving for retirement and, finally, you're close to reaching that milestone. Now it's time to start thinking about how you will spend that money. The transition from saving to spending isn't as easy as you might think.More

Loving relationships can keep heart healthy
The Miami Herald
This Valentine's Day, do something good for your heartthrob and your heart. Treat your Valentine to a romantic dinner and stroll. Toast yourselves with a glass of wine. And don't forget to give that heart-shaped box of dark chocolates to the one you love. Such activities are not only good for your relationship, they also may be good for your heart, says Dr. Melissa Tracy, medical director of the University of Miami Cardiac Rehabilitation Program.More

Millions now manage aging parents' care from afar
The Associated Press via Fox News
As lifespans lengthen, and the number of seniors rapidly grows, more Americans find themselves struggling to care for an ailing loved one from hundreds or thousands of miles away. The National Institute on Aging estimates that around 7 million Americans are long-distance caregivers. Aside from economic factors that often drive people far from their hometowns, shifting demographics in the country could exacerbate the issue.More

How to ace a job interview on the phone
Forbes
With hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants often vying for a single job these days, recruiters and hiring managers are increasingly doing their initial job interviews on the telephone. Though the practice may soon shift to video conferencing or Skype, recruiters and coaches say that, at this point, the phone is still the most common way for a first interview to take place. They estimate that more than half of first screens take place on the phone.More

Is a busy retiree a happy retiree? It depends
Time
We've been moving away from the notion of retirement as a carefree period of leisure for at least a couple of decades. It started with the longevity revolution. Willfully fading away to irrelevance makes no sense when you realize that you have another 30 years. Looking at the new mortality tables, millions of retirees began to want to do something with their time.More

World's least romantic places
Travel + Leisure via msnbc.com
You finally made it: You're canoodling in a Venetian gondola, while a musician croons a melody that seems composed just for the two of you. It would be the most romantic moment of your life — if not for that stench from the canal and the bottleneck of gondolas up ahead. Destinations that lay a claim to romance are immediately held to a far more stringent standard. If those iconic hot spots don't deliver a swoon-worthy stay, the disappointment can be akin to being jilted at the altar.More

Dining out on a budget
U.S. News & World Report
Restaurant dining is often one of the biggest unnecessary spending items in your budget. This indulgence is usually one of the first things people cut when they need to tighten their budget. Here are a few ways you can still enjoy dining out without breaking the bank.More

Can I make Medicare coverage secondary?
NARFE
Question: I am a federal retiree with Medicare and Blue Cross/Blue Shield health insurance. Medicare is my primary insurance; BC/BS is secondary. Most doctors in my area are either ending service to Medicare patients or not taking any new Medicare patients. Would there be any advantage in making BC/BS my primary insurance with Medicare secondary?More