Best month to retire

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Topic Author
privateID
Posts: 297
Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2014 4:59 pm

Best month to retire

Post by privateID »

I have been thinking about my retire date recently. I have been playing around in tools online, my own spreadsheet and tools from my employer. In all cases, I have found it easiest to plan for retiring at the end of the year for the year I want to retire. As such, I had planned to retire on 12/31/2025 or 12/31/2026. Then I started to think about it a bit. If I retire a little into a new year, I would be able to put a good chunk of money into some retirement plans. For example, by retiring after 4 months, I can max out 2 IRAs (myself and spouse), most of my 401K if I maxed it out every week in the first quarter, 1/3 year of my after-tax 401K to Roth 401K contributions and a chunk into my HSA from me and my employer (my company usually contributes a good chunk in Jan - I believe it was $1600 last year). That totals over $50K in tax-advantaged accounts. So, my new plan will most likely be to retire 4/30/2025 or a year earlier than that.

I was just wondering if many people retire at the end of the year because it is simply easier to plan for it in various tools? Assuming one can afford it, it would seem to me retiring some time in the second quarter would be optimal where one can fully fund many tax-advantaged accounts.
Last edited by privateID on Wed Jun 16, 2021 10:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
RickBoglehead
Posts: 7119
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:10 am
Location: In a house

Re: Best month to retire

Post by RickBoglehead »

Many don't do any figuring. For example, many companies provide benefits for the month if you work 1 day of the month.

My wife retired last Friday. Gets benefits for the month, and gets benefits for the summer by paying her portion.
Avid user of forums on variety of interests-financial, home brewing, F-150, PHEV, home repair, etc. Enjoy learning & passing on knowledge. It's PRINCIPAL, not PRINCIPLE. I ADVISE you to seek ADVICE.
sailaway
Posts: 3357
Joined: Fri May 12, 2017 1:11 pm

Re: Best month to retire

Post by sailaway »

Our problem is, there is always something within the next few months, with the bigger RSU vesting happening towards the end of the year, the same week as the cash bonus. Nonetheless, like you we are leaning towards earlier in the year - 401k benefits, some of the HSA seed money, sailing is more fun when it isn't cold out...

We are looking at next year and we haven't figured out an exact schedule yet. As of right now, DH is mostly committed to working through to the next RSU vesting period later this year. We just agreed to go on a cruise with my parents next year and we have never spent so much on a single week experience before, so it would be nice to have another lump sum to cover that before we start drawing down. It might become his retirement/sabbatical celebration 8-)
supalong52
Posts: 474
Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: Best month to retire

Post by supalong52 »

I agree with beginning of the year. Get some SS credits, 401k and Roth contributions, etc. You can do it early enough so you save some headroom to do some taxable gain harvesting, etc.
redmaw
Posts: 295
Joined: Mon Apr 22, 2019 7:20 am

Re: Best month to retire

Post by redmaw »

It is going to depend on your companies policies. Where I work the old timers get their full years worth of vacation (which is paid out upon separation) on Jan 1, but have to work at least 1 day in the year to get it, and by policy must retire on the first of the month. So seems like about 1/2 of the retirements for the year come on feb 1.

That doesn't apply to me, so personally I would probably need to balance taking advantage of roth space while limiting taxable income to pay little to no taxes of the year. Here is my first cut at the problem: At a hypothetical 100k/yr, 25% 401k cap (company policy), and working until July 1, I would have 50k gross , put 12.5k to roth 401k, 12k to roth iras, after insurance, hsa deduction (I think I could still max the 7k), and standard deduction, something like 20k in taxable income. So I could either pay <2k in taxes, or start the roth conversions in the 12% bracket. Working the second half of the year would get me another 50k gross, 12.5 to the 401k (mega back door as necessary), but cost 6k in taxes. About 1/3 as much going to tax advantaged space, and cost 3x as much in taxes, not as great a deal. You get the added bonus of your first days of retirement being leading into summer instead of the heart of winter.

Other considerations are your anniversary date, are any retirement benefits calculated based on years of service and do you get credit for partial years?
User avatar
JupiterJones
Posts: 3069
Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2010 3:25 pm
Location: Nashville, TN

Re: Best month to retire

Post by JupiterJones »

When I'm finally in a financial position where I can retire, I'll be champing at the bit to do it.

So my answer is "any month with 31 days or fewer." :D
Stay on target...
THY4373
Posts: 1477
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:17 pm

Re: Best month to retire

Post by THY4373 »

This is going to vary on your personal situation and probably what your organization offers. For example I'll hit 55 in December in a few years. That is my magic number for retiree health benefits. I'll probably retire early the following year. For example my company gives me $1200 into an HSA in the first pay period of the new year so even working one day in the new year gets me $1200 which isn't exactly a lot but hey it is free money. I'll likely work a month or two fund some additional money into 401k/megabackdoor Roth/backdoor Roth and then call it quits.
StealthRabbit
Posts: 597
Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2009 1:25 am

Re: Best month to retire

Post by StealthRabbit »

Retiring early in a tax year gives better tax / income planning, especially if there is a severance or retained vacation or bonus pay. My previous employer contributed to previous yrs 401k, only if you were actively employed during January of following yr. Some benefits required to be employed through all of January. Often the company offered severance package in February, with exit delayed until end of May. (Quarterly reporting)

I am partial to leaving jobs in April or May. (Spring fever), but last time I retired, I was in a hurry, so left in late March. I do a lot of tax manipulation on exit, and usual want a low income during exit year. (Section 179, accelerated depreciation to offset wage earnings + gain harvesting / stock options)
Chadnudj
Posts: 887
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2013 11:22 am

Re: Best month to retire

Post by Chadnudj »

I'm pretty far away from retiring myself, but my wife is in the process of leaving her job, and we timed it (somewhat intentionally) to make sure she got her 401k match (paid out in April) and any bonus (typically paid around same time), while also giving her some SS credits for the year, making 401k contributions/dependent care flex spending contributions, etc. Sounds like there is a benefit to thinking through these issues, albeit not so much so that you delay actually retiring.
rich126
Posts: 2923
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:56 pm

Re: Best month to retire

Post by rich126 »

You might as well wait a few days and at least get in one final holiday (New Year) :)

I see people suggesting all kinds of things when it comes to government retirements, some make sense but most are just playing with numbers and I think are fooling themselves.

I thought someone would have said the best month to retire was last month.
User avatar
HomerJ
Posts: 16950
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:50 pm

Re: Best month to retire

Post by HomerJ »

How is ACA subsidy eligibility determined?

Does it look backwards at last year's income to determine if you get a subsidy, or do you say you won't make much THIS year, get the subsidy and then a year later at tax time, they decide if you have to repay it based on that year's income.

Guess I'm asking if one should retire in March or something before you make too much to be eligible for any ACA subsidies?

(Or I guess, just use COBRA for a year, and then join ACA the following year?)
A Goldman Sachs associate provided a variety of detailed explanations, but then offered a caveat, “If I’m being dead-### honest, though, nobody knows what’s really going on.”
User avatar
vitaflo
Posts: 1643
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2011 3:02 pm

Re: Best month to retire

Post by vitaflo »

Early May. Early in the month because then health care is paid for the full month, a few months into the year so you can max retirement accounts and get any bonuses paid out, and May for me because before that (where I live) is still basically winter so there's not much else to do then anyway. Spring is a great time to transition.
oyster99
Posts: 72
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2021 11:41 pm

Re: Best month to retire

Post by oyster99 »

Like nearly everything in finances, there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer. It depends mainly on the various programs or bonuses you are or will be eligible for at your company, and possibly your age and years of service could trigger some other dates to consider. So even within a given company, there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer.

If your company is large enough that it has some retiree programs where retirees gather and discuss things, that might be a good resource. Or if there have been a number of folks who announced their retirement this year (often they include a post-retirement email to get in touch with them) at your company, you might reach out to them, even if you didn't know them. Many of them will be happy to share their experiences and considerations.
Colorado13
Posts: 1267
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:58 pm
Location: Colorado

Re: Best month to retire

Post by Colorado13 »

I'll likely follow the path that others have described and retire early in the year (March or April) after maxing my 401(k). I may also attempt to earn enough for one final year of Social Security credits.

However, there is also some appeal to retiring on January 4 so that I get health care coverage for the month. Plus I could avoid the hassle of beginning-of-year insanity at work, which would be wonderful. ACA subsidies are not a factor for my situation.
RubyTuesday
Posts: 905
Joined: Fri Oct 19, 2012 11:24 am

Re: Best month to retire

Post by RubyTuesday »

Some employers have benefits that are impacted by when you retire.

For example, employer allowed prepaying a year of retiree medical employee portion pre-tax from last paycheck received in January for December work. Employer also paid unused vacation as cash and allowed you to defer this into 457 plan, and this counted as income for IRA purposes too, so it could both be deferred and then we could qualify to contribute to IRA.
“Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.” – Lao Tzu
sport
Posts: 10372
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:26 pm
Location: Cleveland, OH

Re: Best month to retire

Post by sport »

redmaw wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 9:30 am It is going to depend on your companies policies. Where I work the old timers get their full years worth of vacation (which is paid out upon separation) on Jan 1, but have to work at least 1 day in the year to get it...
My employer had a similar policy. I did not trust them to let me finish out the year if I gave notice in December, so I gave notice on the first work day in January. I gave them a month notice, so I retired on 1/31. I received the vacation pay after I left.
marcopolo
Posts: 4499
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2016 10:22 am

Re: Best month to retire

Post by marcopolo »

HomerJ wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 10:31 am How is ACA subsidy eligibility determined?

Does it look backwards at last year's income to determine if you get a subsidy, or do you say you won't make much THIS year, get the subsidy and then a year later at tax time, they decide if you have to repay it based on that year's income.

Guess I'm asking if one should retire in March or something before you make too much to be eligible for any ACA subsidies?

(Or I guess, just use COBRA for a year, and then join ACA the following year?)
ACA is based on current year income. You provide estimate when you sign up and then reconcile next year when doing taxes.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.
User avatar
HomerJ
Posts: 16950
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:50 pm

Re: Best month to retire

Post by HomerJ »

marcopolo wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 2:20 pm
HomerJ wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 10:31 am How is ACA subsidy eligibility determined?

Does it look backwards at last year's income to determine if you get a subsidy, or do you say you won't make much THIS year, get the subsidy and then a year later at tax time, they decide if you have to repay it based on that year's income.

Guess I'm asking if one should retire in March or something before you make too much to be eligible for any ACA subsidies?

(Or I guess, just use COBRA for a year, and then join ACA the following year?)
ACA is based on current year income. You provide estimate when you sign up and then reconcile next year when doing taxes.
Thanks... so that leads me to believe that retiring in July may be a bad idea...

Retire in Feb-March, and you can jump on ACA subsidy right away, since your current year income will be low.
Retire in Oct-Nov, you can just do COBRA for 1-2 months, and then do ACA in January.
Retire in July, and you've already made too much that year to get ACA subsidy, so you'll have to pay full price COBRA (or full price ACA) for 6 months.
A Goldman Sachs associate provided a variety of detailed explanations, but then offered a caveat, “If I’m being dead-### honest, though, nobody knows what’s really going on.”
Escapevelocity
Posts: 634
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2019 8:32 am

Re: Best month to retire

Post by Escapevelocity »

THY4373 wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 10:06 am This is going to vary on your personal situation and probably what your organization offers. For example I'll hit 55 in December in a few years. That is my magic number for retiree health benefits. I'll probably retire early the following year. For example my company gives me $1200 into an HSA in the first pay period of the new year so even working one day in the new year gets me $1200 which isn't exactly a lot but hey it is free money. I'll likely work a month or two fund some additional money into 401k/megabackdoor Roth/backdoor Roth and then call it quits.
My exact situation as well with regard to age 55 and retiree health. Is your company subsidizing the premiums?
User avatar
beernutz
Posts: 666
Joined: Sun May 31, 2015 12:50 pm

Re: Best month to retire

Post by beernutz »

I know, because a pension rep told me, that more teachers and faculty in my state retire on June 1st than all the other months combined. The reason is teachers/faculty are typically paid for a 9 month year ending June 1st over a 12 month period ending September 1st.

So if you retire June 1st you start collecting your state pension on June 30th but you also get salary check on July 1st, August 1st, and September 1st. You are also covered by your employer health insurance through September 30th so you don't have to pay for the state health insurance until October 1st.

That said, I've had enough and have enough so I'm retiring 1/1/2022. I confirmed with the payroll office that I will get my last check in 2022 so that I can make a $7,000 Roth IRA contribution for 2022.

The one thing you can't get more of is time.
Don't gamble; take all your savings and buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don't go up, don't buy it. --Will Rogers
Chuckles960
Posts: 109
Joined: Thu May 13, 2021 12:09 pm

Re: Best month to retire

Post by Chuckles960 »

beernutz wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:32 pmThat said, I've had enough and have enough so I'm retiring 1/1/2022. I confirmed with the payroll office that I will get my last check in 2022 so that I can make a $7,000 Roth IRA contribution for 2022.
If one is old enough, retiring on 1/1 (rather than 12/31) has another advantage, which is that RMD and salary are not received in the same year. If retiring on 12/31, full RMD must be taken for that year, which might have tax bracket implications.

At our school, tenured faculty were offered a retirement incentive some time ago: two years' additional salary to quit at the end of the academic year, August. A number of people took it, but I wonder if they figured the taxes on their total income for the year, 2-2/3 times annual salary plus (for those old enough, i.e. most of them) full RMD.
RMO87
Posts: 176
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 9:11 am
Location: Kansas City, MO

Re: Best month to retire

Post by RMO87 »

At my company, you must be employed on December 31 to receive the the 401(k) match, which is paid the end of January. I would say the best month would be February. Contribute to a healthcare FSA and have any elective procedures, get new glasses, etc. in January. That way, you get reimbursed for the full amount, but will have only had ~10% withheld from your paychecks.
Housedoc
Posts: 746
Joined: Thu May 24, 2018 4:25 pm
Location: Alabama

Re: Best month to retire

Post by Housedoc »

Jan 2nd. Paid for New Years Day and any contribution that state 12-31 employment required for benefits.
flyingaway
Posts: 3472
Joined: Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:19 am

Re: Best month to retire

Post by flyingaway »

My retirement date will be December 31if I have my way. It is easier to calculate everything.
Hockey10
Posts: 934
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2016 12:20 pm
Location: Philadelphia suburbs

Re: Best month to retire

Post by Hockey10 »

Retire when the bad weather in your area ends for the year. Where I live, that is early Spring.
User avatar
Watty
Posts: 23002
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: Best month to retire

Post by Watty »

Best month to retire
Last Month! :D

I retired in July and part of the reason for that was that I could then use COBRA for 18 months which would get me through all of that year and part of the next year.

If you will be using the affordable care act and can get a subsidy then that may not be an issue. If you do switch to an ACA policy in the middle of the year then you will need to start a new deductible for the year. Be sure to look into getting an ACA subsidy and how that interacts with COBRA. I don't remember the details but there were some important details in how that works.

One thing that may not have been mentioned is that if you have a healthcare flexible spending account(FSA) at work then you can use the entire amount early in the year, then retire, and not have to pay back the difference. For example if you put $100 a month into a FSA then have something like a large dental bill in January then you can get reimbursed for the full $1200 for the year. If you retire at the end of January then you will have only put $100 into the FSA, but you do not need to pay back the other $1,100. This is the flip side of the "use it or lose it" rule.

I am not sure what the current rules are but if you have not used all the FSA by the time you retire then you may not be able to use it after you retire and you could lose what you contributed. You would need to check that yourself though since I am sure just how that works now, and the rules may have changed.
User avatar
Watty
Posts: 23002
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: Best month to retire

Post by Watty »

Hockey10 wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 5:33 pm Retire when the bad weather in your area ends for the year. Where I live, that is early Spring.
That makes sense but being retired through the Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Years holiday can also be nice especially if you are in a business that is hectic during the holidays or at year end.

In a normal non-pandemic years there may be some good travel deals to warm places in January and February and many people start out retirement with a big trip.
humblecoder
Posts: 677
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2020 8:46 am

Re: Best month to retire

Post by humblecoder »

Fun topic since I am closer to the end than the beginning :-)

At first, I was thinking I'd retire on 12/31 of my chosen retirement year to be eligible for that year's bonus payout.

But then if I work through 3/31, I'll get an extra year of vesting towards my pension and retiree health benefits.

But then if I stick around through 4/30, I get my first quarter 401k match (paid out on 4/15).

But then if I work until 8/31, I'll hit my official 25 year anniversary. No financial benefit but a point of pride :-)

But, at that point, I might as well work until the end of the year to be eligible for another year's bonus!

But then if I work through 3/31... :D
musicmom
Posts: 224
Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2015 4:48 pm

Re: Best month to retire

Post by musicmom »

I retired july 5th two years ago.

Working past June 30 earned me my last cash balance employer contribution for previous year..
For me it was 13% of last yearly salary if I remember correctly.
And just in time for summer at the lake.

I'll always remember my freedom day was the day after our country's independence day.
User avatar
cockersx3
Posts: 363
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2016 3:55 pm

Re: Best month to retire

Post by cockersx3 »

Planning to retire in the spring of next year. This allows me to collect bonuses that pay out in the spring, and also allows me to retire right when the weather is starting to get nice out 😃. I plan to max out my 401k (including after tax contributions as I can do a mega backdoor Roth) to help drive my taxable income lower and perhaps get some ACA credits as well.
EdTheYellowJacket
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2008 2:35 pm

Re: Best month to retire

Post by EdTheYellowJacket »

At my work you get credit for the year on your pension once you reach 6 months. That would also make cobra for 18 months cover the rest of that year and the next year for easier planning.
Grogs
Posts: 802
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2015 4:55 pm

Re: Best month to retire

Post by Grogs »

I like the idea of retiring 3-4 months into the year. It would get me the HSA match and enough income to max the IRA while keeping the tax bill pretty low for the year. The argument about retiring when the weather gets nice (usually April for us) sounds nice, too.
NancyABQ
Posts: 395
Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2016 3:37 pm

Re: Best month to retire

Post by NancyABQ »

When I thought I might retire in 2018, I timed it for June 1, to get health insurance for that month, have COBRA for 18 months starting in July (and waited until after a round of RSUs vested). RSUs vested on May 15 and I think I gave notice on the 17th :)

It turned out I didn't retire that time -- instead I moved on to a nice unrelated part-time gig. I am probably retiring from that job any week now. My current job pays for my health insurance premium, but it's not a group plan (for Reasons) so COBRA doesn't figure into the timing. Instead I am mainly timing it after I have maxed my 401K contributions for the year. My other timing factor is "not too close to the end of the year bonus (December)" so I won't feel like I have to stick around long enough to get it.
Johnny Thinwallet
Posts: 211
Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2012 6:07 pm

Re: Best month to retire

Post by Johnny Thinwallet »

I'm still 10-15 years away from retirement so still too far away to think about tax specific issues, health insurance stuff (I'm on my wife's plan now), 401k match contributions (these things change), and other stuff. That said ...

I've half-jokingly thought when I do retire I'd make it effective February 28 (in a non-leap year, of course). We get paid semi-monthly so our pay checks are simply annual salary / 24, which equates to 86.67 hours per pay period regardless of how many hours were actually in the pay period. The shortest pay period of the year is February 16-28. And we get President's Day as a paid holiday.

Depending on the way the calendar falls, there are several years where the pay period of February 16-28 is only 8 actual working days for me. So that means the last pay period would be working 64 hours to get paid for 86.67 hours.

Additionally ... March Madness, MLB and the arrival of spring in March/April is another perk to getting out on 2/28.
User avatar
Nestegg_User
Posts: 1738
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 1:26 pm

Re: Best month to retire

Post by Nestegg_User »

effectively retired in early January... but due to timing/leave I was able to leave at end of Dec (and had already put in years to get full pension)

while it may be nice to retire once the weather gets nicer, on the flip side... it's also nice to retire without having to trudge in during the bad weather (snow/ice storms). {those who have had to do so in heavy storms (I've been in multiple foot snowstorms... not pleasant to deal with chains/absolute crawling traffic under those conditions) know what I'm talking about}. In retirement, having a morning coffee without having to deal with it while others are stressing out while making the slow crawl is a far better experience
User avatar
HomerJ
Posts: 16950
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:50 pm

Re: Best month to retire

Post by HomerJ »

Hockey10 wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 5:33 pm Retire when the bad weather in your area ends for the year. Where I live, that is early Spring.
That's probably the right answer. :)
A Goldman Sachs associate provided a variety of detailed explanations, but then offered a caveat, “If I’m being dead-### honest, though, nobody knows what’s really going on.”
User avatar
beernutz
Posts: 666
Joined: Sun May 31, 2015 12:50 pm

Re: Best month to retire

Post by beernutz »

Chuckles960 wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:20 pm
beernutz wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:32 pmThat said, I've had enough and have enough so I'm retiring 1/1/2022. I confirmed with the payroll office that I will get my last check in 2022 so that I can make a $7,000 Roth IRA contribution for 2022.
If one is old enough, retiring on 1/1 (rather than 12/31) has another advantage, which is that RMD and salary are not received in the same year. If retiring on 12/31, full RMD must be taken for that year, which might have tax bracket implications.

At our school, tenured faculty were offered a retirement incentive some time ago: two years' additional salary to quit at the end of the academic year, August. A number of people took it, but I wonder if they figured the taxes on their total income for the year, 2-2/3 times annual salary plus (for those old enough, i.e. most of them) full RMD.
I am a decade from worrying about RMDs so that isn't an issue. Is your school a private institution? I've never heard of a public university offering buyouts. That is pretty lucrative as buyouts go. My wife worked for a Fortune 500 company for 35 years and her buyout, which was the maximum, was 1 year and we were damned glad to get it.
Don't gamble; take all your savings and buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don't go up, don't buy it. --Will Rogers
MathWizard
Posts: 4921
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:35 pm

Re: Best month to retire

Post by MathWizard »

My plan is to retire in early March so that I can make a full Roth contribution for both of us, or
waiting until mid to late May/ early June which would allow for a full $26K into a Roth 403b as well.

On the other hand, even $40K is getting to be a small amount relative to my retirement account
balance, so it may not be worth the aggravation of going beyond the first working day in Jan
(to get Jan 1). I also believe that vacation payout may be able to be put into the 403b , though
I don't think that it this would count for the Roth IRA contribution.

Also, vacation payout at the end of the year will add to your taxable income, which may push you
into a higher bracket, or at least be taxed at your top marginal rate. Waiting until the next tax year can avoid this.
John Doe 123
Posts: 138
Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2014 2:48 am

Re: Best month to retire

Post by John Doe 123 »

I think the best month to retire is June, but my answer will change in 2 weeks.
Chuckles960
Posts: 109
Joined: Thu May 13, 2021 12:09 pm

Re: Best month to retire

Post by Chuckles960 »

beernutz wrote: Thu Jun 17, 2021 1:49 pm
Chuckles960 wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:20 pmIf one is old enough, retiring on 1/1 (rather than 12/31) has another advantage, which is that RMD and salary are not received in the same year. If retiring on 12/31, full RMD must be taken for that year, which might have tax bracket implications.

At our school, tenured faculty were offered a retirement incentive some time ago: two years' additional salary to quit at the end of the academic year, August. A number of people took it, but I wonder if they figured the taxes on their total income for the year, 2-2/3 times annual salary plus (for those old enough, i.e. most of them) full RMD.
I am a decade from worrying about RMDs so that isn't an issue. Is your school a private institution? I've never heard of a public university offering buyouts. That is pretty lucrative as buyouts go. My wife worked for a Fortune 500 company for 35 years and her buyout, which was the maximum, was 1 year and we were damned glad to get it.
Yes, private. The difference with your spouse is that these faculty were tenured and for all practical purposes could not be fired.

But anyway, my point is, there are tax implications. The first RMD can be taken the following year, but then there are tax implications for that year because you have two RMDs.
User avatar
Sandi_k
Posts: 1749
Joined: Sat May 16, 2015 11:55 am
Location: SF Bay Area

Re: Best month to retire

Post by Sandi_k »

I plan on retiring in November, so that my VL payout will happen in that tax year. It also means that I am 3 years away from Medicare for DH, so COBRA can cover him (18 months Federal COBRA, and another 18 months CA COBRA).

Even better: For the first time since I was 15, I won't have a job over the holidays. :sharebeer
User avatar
Elric
Posts: 427
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2018 12:23 am
Location: Virginia
Contact:

Re: Best month to retire

Post by Elric »

It depends on circumstances and many factors. For me, even though annual bonuses vested months earlier, I wanted to stay until they were paid out in November just to be on the safe side. And as long as I was staying until November, it made sense to stay just a bit longer until the first week of the new year so that PTO payout would come in the new year, when we'd be in a lower tax bracket.
"the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence." Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis
basspond
Posts: 1448
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2013 4:01 am

Re: Best month to retire

Post by basspond »

Save your vacation, work until the vacation you accrued gets you through the year, use your vacation for the next year to get you to your retirement date.
User avatar
Cheez-It Guy
Posts: 1722
Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:20 pm

Re: Best month to retire

Post by Cheez-It Guy »

I see that my intended joke comment has already been posted twice. Carry on.
User avatar
telemark
Posts: 2918
Joined: Sat Aug 11, 2012 6:35 am

Re: Best month to retire

Post by telemark »

I retired halfway through April, after I had accumulated enough earned income to max out my Roth IRA for the year.
oldmotos
Posts: 131
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:37 pm

Re: Best month to retire

Post by oldmotos »

I retired April 3rd so I could load up my Roth 401k and receive health insurance through the end of April. My last day was a Wednesday which was unusual as most at this company left on a Friday with a small celebration but we had a cruise to catch.
User avatar
HomerJ
Posts: 16950
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:50 pm

Re: Best month to retire

Post by HomerJ »

basspond wrote: Mon Jun 21, 2021 7:21 am Save your vacation, work until the vacation you accrued gets you through the year, use your vacation for the next year to get you to your retirement date.
wow... that's terrible advice, in my opinion.
A Goldman Sachs associate provided a variety of detailed explanations, but then offered a caveat, “If I’m being dead-### honest, though, nobody knows what’s really going on.”
Derpalator
Posts: 95
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2015 2:52 pm

Re: Best month to retire

Post by Derpalator »

humblecoder wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 6:22 pm Fun topic since I am closer to the end than the beginning :-)

At first, I was thinking I'd retire on 12/31 of my chosen retirement year to be eligible for that year's bonus payout.

But then if I work through 3/31, I'll get an extra year of vesting towards my pension and retiree health benefits.

But then if I stick around through 4/30, I get my first quarter 401k match (paid out on 4/15).

But then if I work until 8/31, I'll hit my official 25 year anniversary. No financial benefit but a point of pride :-)

But, at that point, I might as well work until the end of the year to be eligible for another year's bonus!

But then if I work through 3/31... :D
Agreed. Experienced exactly that once I began reviewing exactly when to retire. I ultimately decided to retire when I had had enough of work. This October 1st, baby!
User avatar
Sandi_k
Posts: 1749
Joined: Sat May 16, 2015 11:55 am
Location: SF Bay Area

Re: Best month to retire

Post by Sandi_k »

humblecoder wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 6:22 pm Fun topic since I am closer to the end than the beginning :-)

At first, I was thinking I'd retire on 12/31 of my chosen retirement year to be eligible for that year's bonus payout.

But then if I work through 3/31, I'll get an extra year of vesting towards my pension and retiree health benefits.
Retire here. Everything that follows is a rounding error. The previous calculations are base-building. The future ones are 1x payments. And pride?! Really?! I'd be proud for GETTING OUT. ;)
humblecoder wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 6:22 pmBut then if I stick around through 4/30, I get my first quarter 401k match (paid out on 4/15).

But then if I work until 8/31, I'll hit my official 25 year anniversary. No financial benefit but a point of pride :-)

But, at that point, I might as well work until the end of the year to be eligible for another year's bonus!

But then if I work through 3/31... :D
pasadena
Posts: 1303
Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2016 1:23 am
Location: PNW

Re: Best month to retire

Post by pasadena »

In my current situation, it would be one of two dates:

* 03/31 after maxing out 401(k) (Roth for that year I suppose), including full employer match, a final round of ESPP, enough income to make a Roth contribution for that year, and some SS contributions to cover one of my zero years.

* 07/15 to be eligible for my annual bonus, which is fairly high and nothing to sneeze at (1/2 year of living expenses, after tax), max out my mega-backdoor Roth, plus an additional employer contribution to HSA (but that one is a rounding error).

It would probably take some tax forecasting to see if the latter date is actually worth the hassle. So if I were to retire next year, I'd probably aim for July with an option for saying "scr** it, I'm leaving" anywhere between those two dates (using up remaining PTO and sick days first :twisted: ).

No health care consideration as our coverage stops on the day we leave, unfortunately.
Last edited by pasadena on Tue Jun 22, 2021 5:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Post Reply