Switch to federal job?

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spammagnet
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Switch to federal job?

Post by spammagnet » Sat Jul 08, 2017 12:31 am

My DW is about 5 years away from retirement. She makes ~$88K gross and gets an 8% 401k match plus a 1.5% effective annual bonus through an ESPP (15% max payroll deduction, 10% discount, sold immediately.) There is no defined benefit retirement plan. 401k options are good. Her healthcare insurance isn't bad but we use mine, which is better. The present plan is to use her plan to cover me between the time I retire at ~62 and Medicare eligibility at age 65. That corresponds to when she'd retire at 62.

There's an opportunity to work in a federal job that pays a max of $78K. She's highly qualified but I doubt they'd hire at the max. Whatever the case, it's a guaranteed pay cut. The federal job would be somewhat lower stress and more time off than her current position. She'd have to move fairly soon to qualify for DB benefits, as my understanding is there's a 5 year minimum to qualify. The annuity would be small, having accrued only 5 years' service, but it's (presently) adjusted for cost of living.

Considering that federal retirement benefits include health insurance, would it be worthwhile for her to consider taking a cut in pay to get the benefits? An important point may be that we need to cover her health insurance needs between her retirement at 62 and Medicare eligibility at 65. We also should also consider Medigap insurance of some kind, which FEHB can provide.

Edit: she worked for the VA for about a year, many years ago. I believe that time can be considered in annuity calculations.

Thanks

rgs92
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by rgs92 » Sat Jul 08, 2017 12:43 am

Yep, she should take the federal job. It's an elite privilege these days. Don't even think about passing up this opportunity. The advantages are so obvious vs. the private sector it's not even worth discussing. Every single person I know who managed to switch from the corporate world to a federal gov't job basically tells me they went to heaven. (Other levels of gov't are also much better than corporate, but a federal job is the gold standard for employment.)

Fishing50
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by Fishing50 » Sat Jul 08, 2017 4:46 am

Not if she's happy in her current job...
It's perfectly legal, go ask the IRS, they'll say the same thing. I actually feel stupid telling you this, I'm sure you would've investigated the matter yourself. Andy Dufresne

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mrc
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by mrc » Sat Jul 08, 2017 5:10 am

Read about FERS Benefits, and OPM eligibility, and decide. Salaries are notoriously lower than in the private sector, but the benefits are supposed to make up for some of that. Carrying health care throughout retirement, including a spouse, is a big plus.
People often hate what they fear

bayview
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by bayview » Sat Jul 08, 2017 5:16 am

Her annuity (pension) will be peanuts: $78,000/100 * 5 years = $3,900/year. That will partly cover health insurance premiums in retirement though.

She should plan to be on the FEHB (health insurance) plan for a full five years to be eligible to carry it into retirement. <-- IMO, that's a big factor in your decision-making. We plan on keeping FEHB while still signing up for Medicare B (and A, of course.) We figure one (or both) of them will get radically changed, so we hope to cover our bets.

She can get assets into TSP, which many people like, especially for the G fund. She can also move existing retirement funds into G if she likes.

Federal jobs vary in terms of attractiveness. They can be completely maddening, with budgets changing every month. We have our share of the Walking Dead among fellow employees, and you have to find a way to work around them. Rants by media and others can get old fast. But one thing I like about many federal jobs is they have less of the resume-building gone-in-a-year employee churn that seems so common in private sector jobs.

And everything can change if the congress-critters can figure out a way to do so.
The continuous execution of a sound strategy gives you the benefit of the strategy. That's what it's all about. --Rick Ferri

Swansea
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by Swansea » Sat Jul 08, 2017 5:40 am

Without knowing the situation, I will offer this. New feds do not have to come in at the first step of the pay grade if the Agency wants and can justify an Above the Minimum appointment. I had done a lot of those at my former Agency, as we struggled to match private sector salaries oftentimes.
Job satisfaction as a Fed varies greatly Agency to Agency.

Dude2
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by Dude2 » Sat Jul 08, 2017 6:57 am

I do not understand how this opportunity is viable based on the Trump-imposed federal hiring freeze. I was all set to take a new federal job at the beginning of the year only to have it taken away from me in his first days in office. Nevertheless, I still receive emails about the job as if it were still viable and could come through any day now. I am personally glad this happened to me (job went away) and take it as a lesson learned. For one thing, they were undergoing a massive build-up in personnel prior to the new administration, so this is why I was given the offer in the first place. I was never told any of this by the federal personnel who did the interviewing or the human resource people that handle the details. Point being: They are gearing up for the ban to be lifted and are looking for bodies, but they still have no idea if these opportunities are viable or have any idea the extent of their viability (could be offered and taken away, could start the job and be let go, etc.).

In my humble opinion, the organization (yes, I mean the US government) is not very professionally run. Yes, there may be benefits galore, but consider what you will be a part of. I do not mean to disrespect many dedicated and hard-working folks with a mission, but I think those used to a normal, capitalistic environment will encounter some difficulty. Ask her if she remembers how it was at the VA (think really hard). I am not on the inside. Outsiders perspective. Make more money and give it a pass.

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mrc
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by mrc » Sat Jul 08, 2017 7:18 am

Dude2 wrote:I do not understand how this opportunity is viable based on the Trump-imposed federal hiring freeze.

Make more money and give it a pass.
The freeze was agency-specific, and purportedly lasted for 90 days. And has since been lifted. Moral: Things change a lot.

I can retire with affordable healthcare insurance, at age 58, only because of the FEHB eligibility.
People often hate what they fear

spammagnet
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by spammagnet » Sat Jul 08, 2017 9:08 am

DW's concerns are rigidity of schedule and a reported lack of collaboration among peers. The latter is a local work culture thing, I'm sure.

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MikeWillRetire
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by MikeWillRetire » Sat Jul 08, 2017 9:38 am

It really depends on her personality also. After so many years in the private sector, walking into some government offices can be difficult to adjust to. If she expects to be part of a fully functioning team, she may be disappointed. Not always, but some federal offices are not like that. If she is content with doing her job well, and can ignore the under-performers, then she may be happy with it.

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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by junior » Sat Jul 08, 2017 9:48 am

spammagnet wrote:DW's concerns are rigidity of schedule and a reported lack of collaboration among peers. The latter is a local work culture thing, I'm sure.
Employer Health insurance in retirement is a great benefit. There's a decent chance based on the above that she won't enjoy the job as much as her current one. So the question is how much is retirement health insurance on the government plan worth to you?

spammagnet
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by spammagnet » Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:01 am

junior wrote:... So the question is how much is retirement health insurance on the government plan worth to you?
What I don't know is how to determine that, objectively.

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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by junior » Sat Jul 08, 2017 12:02 pm

spammagnet wrote:
junior wrote:... So the question is how much is retirement health insurance on the government plan worth to you?
What I don't know is how to determine that, objectively.
Here's the 2017 rates under the federal health plan.

https://www.opm.gov/healthcare-insuranc ... al-hmo.pdf

It lists what the government pays versus what the employee pays for each choice of plan you can take.

I believe essentially the government health insurance will be worth 10000 per year as an employee benefit if you were not Medicare eligable - in other words the employer contribution is about 10,000 towards the policy per two people. What I don't know is how to account for Medicare and what you'd be able to get in the private sector if you didn't have the government plan.
Last edited by junior on Sat Jul 08, 2017 12:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.

spammagnet
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by spammagnet » Sat Jul 08, 2017 12:14 pm

junior wrote:... I believe essentially the government health insurance will be worth 10000 per year as an employee benefit if you were not Medicare eligable - in other words the employer contribution is about 10,000 towards the policy per two people. What I don't know is how to account for Medicare and what you'd be able to get in the private sector if you didn't have the government plan.
Currently having excellent plans available to us, FEHB provides no extra benefit now. The added value is for her coverage between ages 62 and 65, and as supplemental insurance for both of us when on Medicare.

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mrc
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by mrc » Sat Jul 08, 2017 1:01 pm

spammagnet wrote:Currently having excellent plans available to us, FEHB provides no extra benefit now. The added value is for her coverage between ages 62 and 65, and as supplemental insurance for both of us when on Medicare.
Exactly: In retirement, most people cannot retain the insurance they had while working.

Or, instead of Medicare (B/D)
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bayview
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by bayview » Sat Jul 08, 2017 1:02 pm

mrc wrote:
spammagnet wrote:Currently having excellent plans available to us, FEHB provides no extra benefit now. The added value is for her coverage between ages 62 and 65, and as supplemental insurance for both of us when on Medicare.
Exactly: In retirement, most people cannot retain the insurance they had while working.

Or, instead of Medicare (B/D)
And most people who do retain their (non-Federal) insurance have to pay much higher premiums, often 100%.

That's while the retiree insurance option still exists.
The continuous execution of a sound strategy gives you the benefit of the strategy. That's what it's all about. --Rick Ferri

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fandango
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by fandango » Sat Jul 08, 2017 2:57 pm

When benefits are considered, federal jobs pay 30 to 40% more than the private sector. [OT comment removed by moderator prudent]

However, very difficult to get things done and get rid of poor performers. It can be very frustrating for former private sector with any initiative.

spammagnet
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by spammagnet » Sat Jul 08, 2017 3:37 pm

mrc wrote:... Or, instead of Medicare (B/D)
As in, decline to enroll in Medicare? That's risky, no?

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mrc
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by mrc » Sat Jul 08, 2017 3:45 pm

spammagnet wrote:
mrc wrote:... Or, instead of Medicare (B/D)
As in, decline to enroll in Medicare? That's risky, no?
With FERS FEHB, no I don't think so. We'll elect part A (hospital, at no extra cost), but skip parts B & D which have stiffer premiums for higher AGI couples. We'll essentially keep the health insurance we have now into retirement, with the same (subsidized) premiums, and copays, we have now. Adding part B&D is simply not cost effective our situation, and would only make sense if FEHB were unavailable. We see no reason we'd have to add it later, and face penalty premiums.

Edited to add: And we won't have to worry whether our doctors accept Medicare.
People often hate what they fear

spammagnet
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by spammagnet » Sat Jul 08, 2017 4:01 pm

mrc wrote:... We'll elect part A (hospital, at no extra cost), but skip parts B & D which have stiffer premiums for higher AGI couples. ...
Makes sense to me. That implies to me that you assume FEHB is as likely to remain as is, as much as Medicare B&D will. Correct?

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mrc
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by mrc » Sat Jul 08, 2017 4:04 pm

spammagnet wrote:
mrc wrote:... We'll elect part A (hospital, at no extra cost), but skip parts B & D which have stiffer premiums for higher AGI couples. ...
Makes sense to me. That implies to me that you assume FEHB is as likely to remain as is, as much as Medicare B&D will. Correct?
Yes. And if (when) there are (drastic) changes, I would expect grandfathering or a grace period to get back into Medicare without the delay penalty. No one knows the future, but as things stand now, we feel good about this.
People often hate what they fear

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Cobra Commander
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by Cobra Commander » Sat Jul 08, 2017 4:27 pm

One concern that was briefly touched on but I think is worth considering is job security as a new hire. She will probably have a probationary period and if the agency needs to reduce headcount it is easiest to terminate probies. My division has frozen hiring and recently canned several employees in their probationary period as we needed to slightly reduce headcount. In the govt its mostly a LIFO system although if they do a formal RIF its a far more complicated process but new hires are still generally cut first unless they have vets preference.

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dm200
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by dm200 » Sat Jul 08, 2017 6:08 pm

Lots of good comments - and a few not.

1. Even a modest defined benefit (with annual cost of living increases) is worth something.

2. The "value" of retiree health benefits can be complex. If the dependent/spouse can take advantage of this during Medicare, the value goes up quite a bit. That makes the calculations more complex.

3. Federal retirees I know have reached different conclusions about whether to get (and pay for Medicare Part B) or not. One longtime friend, who does very extensive research/analysis and has a dependent wife, concluded he is better (net financially) to not get Part B.

4. As pointed out, the hiring "freeze" has been lifted, but there are significant differences in agencies, etc. about hiring.

5. I assume that the one year can be credited if she is hired.

Net opinion - take the federal job.

tim1999
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by tim1999 » Sat Jul 08, 2017 6:21 pm

Anecdotally, every federal worker I know personally works fewer hours for similar pay but better benefits than their private sector counterparts once they have been in the job for awhile. Will not always be true, but at least is the case in my line of work. (GS-12/13/14 jobs).

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SeeMoe
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by SeeMoe » Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:30 pm

tim1999 wrote:Anecdotally, every federal worker I know personally works fewer hours for similar pay but better benefits than their private sector counterparts once they have been in the job for awhile. Will not always be true, but at least is the case in my line of work. (GS-12/13/14 jobs).
"Good enough for government work" isn't just in jess then, eh? One downer is the fact a civil servant will never become the CEO with a salary in the millions per year! Something to think about if you are an aggressive" A " personality go-getter.

SeeMoe.. :annoyed
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FedGuy
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by FedGuy » Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:24 pm

tim1999 wrote:Anecdotally, every federal worker I know personally works fewer hours for similar pay but better benefits than their private sector counterparts once they have been in the job for awhile. Will not always be true, but at least is the case in my line of work. (GS-12/13/14 jobs).
Well, that's not true of legal jobs. I, and most of my colleagues, took big pay cuts to join the federal government.

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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by kjvmartin » Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:25 pm

tim1999 wrote:Anecdotally, every federal worker I know personally works fewer hours for similar pay but better benefits than their private sector counterparts once they have been in the job for awhile. Will not always be true, but at least is the case in my line of work. (GS-12/13/14 jobs).
The job I do in non-federal-government can also be done for the federal government. The pay is much better, the job description is less demanding, and the retirement (law enforcement) is rather early. I have lost count of the applications I've snail mailed, e-mailed, and faxed all over the country trying to break in. With 9+ years of relevant experience, I have had two interviews. I am 33 and become ineligible for hire at 37. I would move to Alaska if they'd take me just to get the foot in the door. I had an interview in Sioux Falls and another in Boston.

If someone offers you a federal position, take it. The few colleagues of mine that made it used connections (helps to start dating someone on the inside). They were not the most proficient, well liked, qualified, or hard working among the applicants I knew.

Nova1967
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by Nova1967 » Sun Jul 09, 2017 8:07 am

kjvmartin wrote:
tim1999 wrote:Anecdotally, every federal worker I know personally works fewer hours for similar pay but better benefits than their private sector counterparts once they have been in the job for awhile. Will not always be true, but at least is the case in my line of work. (GS-12/13/14 jobs).
The job I do in non-federal-government can also be done for the federal government. The pay is much better, the job description is less demanding, and the retirement (law enforcement) is rather early. I have lost count of the applications I've snail mailed, e-mailed, and faxed all over the country trying to break in. With 9+ years of relevant experience, I have had two interviews. I am 33 and become ineligible for hire at 37. I would move to Alaska if they'd take me just to get the foot in the door. I had an interview in Sioux Falls and another in Boston.

If someone offers you a federal position, take it. The few colleagues of mine that made it used connections (helps to start dating someone on the inside). They were not the mos

proficient, well liked, qualified, or hard working among the applicants I knew.
Try Immigration or Border Patrol, they are hiring thousands of agents to round up illegals, At last resort get your foot in the door at Bureau of Prisons
If your lazy, uneducated, and want to make good money BOP is the place to be

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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by kjvmartin » Sun Jul 09, 2017 12:57 pm

Nova1967 wrote:
Try Immigration or Border Patrol, they are hiring thousands of agents to round up illegals, At last resort get your foot in the door at Bureau of Prisons
If your lazy, uneducated, and want to make good money BOP is the place to be
lol - I am not sure if you meant to offend, but I am none of those things. It's just a very competitive job market at the federal level for what I do. Takes a miracle or a connection to get in.

I could also take an "assistant" level position in federal work to more easily get in, but I can't afford the pay cut to start. The same goes for BoP jobs and border patrol. All of these are a lower pay scale than my current assignment. Would have been an option before I had a family to feed. Also CPB requires Spanish proficiency to get in.

kjvm.

IFKC
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by IFKC » Sun Jul 09, 2017 2:06 pm

Man, for a group that's so well-informed about investing, I'm constantly amazed at how mis-informed some commentators are when it comes to the largest single employer in the United States. Some of these posts are just silly...

OP, as at least one person already noted, her pension would be very small. That said, if at 5 years it would make up for the difference in salary for her (I've read a decent valuation is 20 years), then consider it. I haven't had to look into the health benefits for retirees, but while the costs for FEHB are certainly good, I think you still do pay.

Gut feeling, to me, is that it MAY be a good move, but only if she's brought in towards the higher salary (either via grade or step).
Tragedy at 17 --> $$$ - mistakes + education (including Bogleheads) = a poster who still knows the least on this forum. Happy father, tepid lawyer.

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mrc
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by mrc » Sun Jul 09, 2017 3:05 pm

IFKC wrote:Man, for a group that's so well-informed about investing, I'm constantly amazed at how mis-informed some commentators are when it comes to the largest single employer in the United States. Some of these posts are just silly...

...

I haven't had to look into the health benefits for retirees, but while the costs for FEHB are certainly good, I think you still do pay.
:oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops:
People often hate what they fear

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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by IFKC » Sun Jul 09, 2017 6:07 pm

mrc wrote:
IFKC wrote:Man, for a group that's so well-informed about investing, I'm constantly amazed at how mis-informed some commentators are when it comes to the largest single employer in the United States. Some of these posts are just silly...

...

I haven't had to look into the health benefits for retirees, but while the costs for FEHB are certainly good, I think you still do pay.
:oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops:
:D

Ah, bud, that's almost worse: critiquing while only suggesting something is wrong. I looked it up for you, and, yes, indeed, you continue paying for FEHB into retirement. Not a free meal. And OP should consider that, right?

BTW,
mrc wrote:
Dude2 wrote:I do not understand how this opportunity is viable based on the Trump-imposed federal hiring freeze.

Make more money and give it a pass.
The freeze was agency-specific, and purportedly lasted for 90 days. And has since been lifted. Moral: Things change a lot.

I can retire with affordable healthcare insurance, at age 58, only because of the FEHB eligibility.
also implies some mis-information... such as that by the time many agencies received funding for FQ3, many operated on a de facto freeze until the past 45 days.

The more you know! :sharebeer
Tragedy at 17 --> $$$ - mistakes + education (including Bogleheads) = a poster who still knows the least on this forum. Happy father, tepid lawyer.

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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by Helo80 » Sun Jul 09, 2017 6:20 pm

I'm in the Aetna HDHP with HSA, and I can say that I definitely pay, and it's roughly twice what my total OOP compared to when I was private sector for a comparable plan (still Aetna, still HDHP). Looking at BC/BS and other insurers rates for families, it's not cheap. Plus, the premiums are the same regardless of grade/step.

Google "FEHB OPM" and look at the published co-pays for each state and plan... that's exactly what I pay.
Last edited by Helo80 on Sun Jul 09, 2017 6:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by Helo80 » Sun Jul 09, 2017 6:22 pm

spammagnet wrote: There's an opportunity to work in a federal job that pays a max of $78K. She's highly qualified but I doubt they'd hire at the max. Whatever the case, it's a guaranteed pay cut. The federal job would be somewhat lower stress and more time off than her current position. She'd have to move fairly soon to qualify for DB benefits, as my understanding is there's a 5 year minimum to qualify. The annuity would be small, having accrued only 5 years' service, but it's (presently) adjusted for cost of living.
If this is normal federal employment timeline, you have a few months to think about it during the application process. The worst that can happen, is that you apply and never hear anything back (odds are, this will happen).
spammagnet wrote: Edit: she worked for the VA for about a year, many years ago. I believe that time can be considered in annuity calculations.
Yes, it will likely be creditable service.

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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by Helo80 » Sun Jul 09, 2017 6:30 pm

kjvmartin wrote: Also CPB requires Spanish proficiency to get in.

... and a polygraph that 2/3rd of applicants fail. Granted, the cartels are known to sponsor recruits to CBP, but not to the level of 2/3rd of applicants.

rgs92
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by rgs92 » Sun Jul 09, 2017 7:08 pm

In the private sector there may very well be long periods of unemployment. When you are older (40+), you may find yourself seriously unattractive to any employer in the corporate world. You may easily be jumping from one temp contractor position to another for rest of your life with interim periods of unemployment. You may easily be permanently out of the professional workforce in your early 50s.

Maybe the others posting here have not had that happen to them, and maybe they don't personally come into contact with others who suffer this, but it is an epidemic among middle aged professional in the private sector.

What do you think all these mass so-called voluntary retirement events (like the one at Fidelity last week with 1500 workers reported as mostly over 55) are about? What do you think happens in one of these big outsourcing deals?

Forget about dollars-and-cents compensation package comparisons.
And it's a luxury you probably can't afford to worry about work-life-atmosphere issues. Picture yourself as unwanted and begging for a job and being asked when you graduated over and over. Picture yourself as envious of anyone with a work badge and place to go in the morning.

It's ALL about job security when you are older. It looms larger and larger each year. If you don't think this is true, you are fooling yourself.
I would like to hear one poster here who had long-term unemployment from the corporate world here speak up and say that a gov't job may not be a good idea.

[I re-read the post and noticed she was 5 years away from retirement, so maybe it's not as serious to lose your job in that situation. But if she decides to work longer, gov't is the way to go. Good luck and sorry for the rant, but I'll leave it here for others who may have the opportunity for a gov't job who might be tuning in.]

autolycus
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by autolycus » Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:16 am

Make sure to factor in the employee contribution to FERS. 4.4% of her pay will be withheld as contributions to the FERS annuity. The total retirement savings picture will be 5% match vs. her current 8% and 4.4% coming out of her pay for the annuity. It will get her the annuity and the FEHB retirement benefit, assuming she meets the eligibility minimums.

RoadHouseFan
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by RoadHouseFan » Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:27 am

Take the government job. No stress, high pay, massive paid leave, etc. Government jobs are as good as it gets.

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Meaty
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by Meaty » Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:27 am

RoadHouseFan wrote:Take the government job. No stress, high pay, massive paid leave, etc. Government jobs are as good as it gets.
The question is - how does a mid career professional get one? I've applied to a number of posting I was well qualified for an never heard back
"Discipline equals Freedom" - Jocko Willink

RoadHouseFan
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by RoadHouseFan » Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:29 am

Meaty wrote:
RoadHouseFan wrote:Take the government job. No stress, high pay, massive paid leave, etc. Government jobs are as good as it gets.
The question is - how does a mid career professional get one? I've applied to a number of posting I was well qualified for an never heard back
Same here - would switch to a government job in a second.

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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by db1216 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:14 am

I want to point out something that keeps coming up: Not all federal positions are low stress. I've worked in an extremely high stress position (non-LEO fed). That office was staffed with extremely competent employees despite perhaps one or two stragglers. I keep seeing these two points being made fairly frequently and I just wanted to point out that neither of those items come to mind when reviewing my current working situation.

I would bet that she will work less hours than the private sector but don't think that she is guaranteed a low stress lifestyle. It's not always a cakewalk. Not saying it isn't going to be, but just be aware.

nova1968
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by nova1968 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 1:44 pm

I believe Stress often relates more how the Employee reacts to the work environment and the organizational culture. Some people are not phased about anything while others will stress out over the most trivial thing.
I worked in private industry for several years before getting on with the Feds and knowing you are unlikely to get laid off is much less stressful than what is common in Corporate America. Its quite common in private industry when there is a change of ownership, all the managers are laid off and they bring in their own people. I will gladly take a 10% cut in pay for job security, 5 weeks of vacation, sick days whenever I want, numerous Fed holidays, health insurance and a pension.

db1216
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by db1216 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 4:06 pm

nova1968 wrote:I believe Stress often relates more how the Employee reacts to the work environment and the organizational culture. Some people are not phased about anything while others will stress out over the most trivial thing.
I worked in private industry for several years before getting on with the Feds and knowing you are unlikely to get laid off is much less stressful than what is common in Corporate America. Its quite common in private industry when there is a change of ownership, all the managers are laid off and they bring in their own people. I will gladly take a 10% cut in pay for job security, 5 weeks of vacation, sick days whenever I want, numerous Fed holidays, health insurance and a pension.
I would agree with that. Each will deal with different conditions in their own way. I know for the majority at my office, the stress is dealt with poorly at best. I think my experiences are probably an exception rather than the rule.

spammagnet
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by spammagnet » Mon Jul 10, 2017 4:34 pm

db1216 wrote:I would bet that she will work less hours than the private sector but don't think that she is guaranteed a low stress lifestyle. It's not always a cakewalk. Not saying it isn't going to be, but just be aware.
OP here. There is no expectation nor particular desire that it would be. Although increased time off would be welcomed, slacking at work is not the goal. The intent of my question was financial, including the long term benefit (if any) of access to subsidized FEHB in retirement.

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dm200
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by dm200 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 4:58 pm

spammagnet wrote:
db1216 wrote:I would bet that she will work less hours than the private sector but don't think that she is guaranteed a low stress lifestyle. It's not always a cakewalk. Not saying it isn't going to be, but just be aware.
OP here. There is no expectation nor particular desire that it would be. Although increased time off would be welcomed, slacking at work is not the goal. The intent of my question was financial, including the long term benefit (if any) of access to subsidized FEHB in retirement.
What will be gained, even with a small defined benefit pension, is increased "diversification" of retirement income, as well as the health insurance benefits.

IFKC
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by IFKC » Mon Jul 10, 2017 5:22 pm

spammagnet wrote:
db1216 wrote:I would bet that she will work less hours than the private sector but don't think that she is guaranteed a low stress lifestyle. It's not always a cakewalk. Not saying it isn't going to be, but just be aware.
OP here. There is no expectation nor particular desire that it would be. Although increased time off would be welcomed, slacking at work is not the goal. The intent of my question was financial, including the long term benefit (if any) of access to subsidized FEHB in retirement.
OP, there a lot of good points (including the last from DM200, RGS92, etc.) as to why it's a good move. Some of the best reasons might be the access to FEHB and contributing to the TSP. But, contrary to some info posted in this forum, the first 3 years of credible service you get 4 hours of annual leave (jumping to 6 after 3 years). You always get 4 hours of sick leave per pay period. None of that is anything to sneeze at, but I'd encourage you to look at OPM.gov and get a complete picture of the benefits.

If it was the utopia some claimed it to be, you'd have 100% retention, right? Why retire if you make tons of money, take all the time off you want, there are no expectations and have no stress? But that just ain't the case, and it's worth asking why (and to preempt other nonsense, no you don't get lifetime salaries, free healthcare, etc.).

Again, none of this is to say it's not the right move. Just look at the facts (and who knows, maybe even patriotism is ok to accept as a motivator) and not rely on some distorted fantasy suggested by those (not) in the know.
Tragedy at 17 --> $$$ - mistakes + education (including Bogleheads) = a poster who still knows the least on this forum. Happy father, tepid lawyer.

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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by Helo80 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 7:44 pm

IFKC wrote:If it was the utopia some claimed it to be, you'd have 100% retention, right? Why retire if you make tons of money, take all the time off you want, there are no expectations and have no stress? But that just ain't the case, and it's worth asking why (and to preempt other nonsense, no you don't get lifetime salaries, free healthcare, etc.).

This....

Federal government work is not some utopia where people show up, do nothing, go home, and after 20-25 years, collect their salary for the rest of their life. We all know there are deadweights in local/state/federal government, but I'd include the private sector as well. What's true is that in government, it becomes more difficult to fire because of strong labor laws slanted for employee protections.

CSRS was the old retirement system that I think got you 75-80% of your high-3 years of salary after 30 years of federal service (or 55 years old). That ended in 1982. Also, it was about 7-8% of your gross pay. You did not pay into SS nor were you eligible to collect from SS.

FERS was the revised system that also introduced the TSP (401k-ish). FERS is about 1% of your high-3 salary for every years of service, plus, TSP that matches up to 5% of your gross salary. If the markets do well, and you do the boglehead strategy of maxing out your TSP, I think you'd have the potential to do better than CSRS. Plus, FERS employees pay into SS and hence collect SS. (Plus, there is a long laundry list of exclusions for qualifying high-3 salary calculations like OT pay not being eligible for the calculation so nobody games the system and works a ton of OT their last three years)

AFAIK --- the federal government has never been 100% (or close) to your final salary for the rest of your life. Something like 5% of feds right now participate in CSRS since it died a long time ago.

I think CALPERS and being LEO under CALPERS allows one to get like 3% of their salary per year of creditable service.

chinto
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by chinto » Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:06 am

I know a plethora of decade plus Federal contractors who converted to Govies and cannot believe how much better life is on the Govie side. Most are shocked by the health care provision for retirement. I can think of 17 people who converted in the last 3 years and are lovin' on their Govie status. They are all in IT.

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dual
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by dual » Tue Jul 11, 2017 1:37 am

IFKC wrote: If it was the utopia some claimed it to be, you'd have 100% retention, right? Just look at the facts (and who knows, maybe even patriotism is ok to accept as a motivator) and not rely on some distorted fantasy suggested by those (not) in the know.
Rates of separation of government employees (i.e. fraction of employees who leave job every year) are dramatically lower (one half to one third) those of private sector employees.
https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/jolts.pdf

Slacker
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Re: Switch to federal job?

Post by Slacker » Tue Jul 11, 2017 3:03 am

I've seen several engineers with 10-20 yrs under their belts and MS degrees from prestigious schools collapse under the stress of my fed job and getting fired during the probationary period... I'm not sure where these low stress, kick your feet up jobs are but I'll try to remember how easy I have it the next time I'm sorting through a 300page appeal brief on 500 claims...all due in 8hrs of work time.

Feds pay 25% of the cost for health benefits. My old private sector job required I pay 5%.

You get 2wks and 3days of vacation per year until you have 3yrs of service which results in 4wks and finally at 15yrs service you get 5weeks and 1day of vacation. Just a couple days more than my old job at the top end and fewer in the beginning.

I believe you typically have 11 holidays per year (never the Fri after Thanksgiving). We often get an extra 2hrs early dismissal the day before the biggest holidays or when a holiday is in the middle of the week.

You also get 2wks and 3days per yr sick time (identical to my old job).

I changed fields and have a higher salary than my old job, but the private sector version of my current job pays roughly double my GS 14 salary.

Biggest benefits for me:
Don't have to work on a team
Know exactly how to get promoted from GS7 through GS 14 with everyone able to get to GS14 if they put in the work
Work from home anywhere in the CONUS
Pension
Credit of military years (I had 4wks of vacation from the start which is exactly the level I had reached at my old job).

When you retire, you pay 100% of the FEHB cost. I believe you need to retire at an age where you are eligible to take the pension immediately to get stay in FEHB (info should be verified).

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