Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Topic Author
TresBelle65
Posts: 195
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2015 2:44 pm

Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by TresBelle65 » Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:20 am

I'm a fed planning to retire next year, with MRA + 10.

What actions did you take in your final year or months leading up to retirement?

for example - accelerate any dental or medical treatments?

accelerate leave for any reason?

how far in advance did you file your paperwork and let your management know you were leaving?

Thanks

bayview
Posts: 1884
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:05 pm
Location: WNC

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by bayview » Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:32 am

MRA (will be 64) + 10 (closer to 15 when I leave) EDIT: -- 62 + 5 for immediate retirement, no reduction in benefits. I can't fathom sticking it out for 20, no matter how beneficial it would be to my annuity...

I'm planning to retire at the end of the year, although I haven't told management yet. (Things could still change, although golly, I hope they don't.) I plan to tell them in October, at the start of the new fiscal year, as it easily takes 3 months to get a replacement on board and working.

A year and a half ago, I requested a "retirement estimate", although at that time I figured I'd be working another 5 years. Glad I did, because it turned up serious errors in my paperwork on my initial hire, incorrectly calculating my start date as 8 months later than it actually was, plus some more minor errors committed by the horrendously ill-trained and understaffed HR at my original station. An HR assistant at my newer station recalculated and documented the corrections. Now I'm at yet another station (ah, federal employment), and I am requesting another retirement estimate to see if everything "stuck."

I had planned to hang onto my sick leave to increase my FERS annuity, but I recently had to take off a week to care for my elderly mother, and I wouldn't be surprised if I used all the SL up before retiring. I won't have a ton of unused AL, but it will probably be worth $6-7k, and that can be handy while waiting for OPM to do its thing. (There's usually a longer wait for those retiring at the end of the calendar year.)

I'm carrying FEHB into retirement, along with dental and vision at least initially, so no plan to cram a lot of treatments in while still an employee.
Last edited by bayview on Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
The continuous execution of a sound strategy gives you the benefit of the strategy. That's what it's all about. --Rick Ferri

Topic Author
TresBelle65
Posts: 195
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2015 2:44 pm

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by TresBelle65 » Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:39 am

I've never heard of this ability to request a "retirement estimate". Wondering who I should ask at my agency? Payroll? hmmmm

I need to keep it quiet, they would be shocked to know I do not plan to stay any longer.

azanon
Posts: 2633
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:34 am

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by azanon » Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:41 am

TresBelle65 wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:20 am
I'm a fed planning to retire next year, with MRA + 10.
I'd avoid a MRA + 10 retirement like the plague, unless you're in a no choice scenario, and wait instead for a full retirement option which is going to be close if you qualify for MRA + 10. The reason being the 5/12 pecent/month penalty to the annuity for every month you're under the age of 62.

User avatar
Watty
Posts: 18154
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by Watty » Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:43 am

I am not a fed but be sure to understand the differences in the TSP inheritance rules. It really surprised me when I first heard about this.

See my post in this thread;

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=242466&p=3797840&hilit=tsp#p3797840

azanon
Posts: 2633
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:34 am

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by azanon » Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:43 am

bayview wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:32 am
MRA (will be 64) + 10 (closer to 15 when I leave)
Worst case MRA is 62, as long as you have 5 years of service. A "full" FERS retirement at 62yrs old and 5 yrs or more of service > MRA + 10.

MRA + 10 is a scam, its so bad. They hope you take that and not one of the full options.
Last edited by azanon on Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

stan1
Posts: 8052
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:35 pm

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by stan1 » Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:45 am

My agency offers a "retirement planning" training class that many people take. It covers pension, TSP, FEHB, and the full set of retiree benefits including the retirement process and timeline considerations. Personnel are encouraged to take the class about 5 years before retirement so it is definitely not viewed as imminent notice of retirement. There's also a version of the class offered for people with a longer timeframe.

Maybe your agency offers this also?

bayview
Posts: 1884
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:05 pm
Location: WNC

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by bayview » Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:46 am

TresBelle65 wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:39 am
I've never heard of this ability to request a "retirement estimate". Wondering who I should ask at my agency? Payroll? hmmmm

I need to keep it quiet, they would be shocked to know I do not plan to stay any longer.
I found out about it from a fellow employee who was about my age. :wink:

My retirement specialist worked at the VISN level (the VA lumps ~ 6-8 hospitals in a geographic area into a Veterans Integrated Service Network, or VISN), so I felt somewhat under the radar. Once I found the errors, I didn't worry about having local HR work on it. Now I'm trying to figure out who does this at my current station, and since I work virtually, I haven't got that handy network of fellow employees.

I get enough general emails from the VA about the importance of starting the planning process 5 years out that my usual paranoia is a bit reduced.
The continuous execution of a sound strategy gives you the benefit of the strategy. That's what it's all about. --Rick Ferri

bayview
Posts: 1884
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:05 pm
Location: WNC

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by bayview » Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:48 am

azanon wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:43 am
bayview wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:32 am
MRA (will be 64) + 10 (closer to 15 when I leave)
Worst case MRA is 62, as long as you have 5 years of service. A "full" FERS retirement at 62yrs old and 5 yrs or more of service > MRA + 10.
Oh right, thank you; I knew that but I got the categories scrambled (again.) I'm eligible for full immediate retirement and for FEHB.

I don't know how it is in other Federal agencies, but after working for the VA, I have developed a massive case of acronymophobia!
Last edited by bayview on Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
The continuous execution of a sound strategy gives you the benefit of the strategy. That's what it's all about. --Rick Ferri

azanon
Posts: 2633
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:34 am

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by azanon » Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:51 am

Me? When I hit 50, I'll likely take a VERA/VISP if they ever offered it to me, otherwise I'll sit tight until I'm eligible for a full retirement at 57 (w/30 yrs of service). I wouldn't touch an MRA + 10 with a 10-foot pole, cause it's so bad, at least by comparison to a full or pro-rated full retirement (VERA)

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 22999
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by dm200 » Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:56 am

Not a federal employee/returee - but I suggest being fully aware of health insurance needs and options now and down the road. Will there be dependent(s) - such as spouse needing benefits? How and when will Medicare kick in? Might you want to switch providers in preparation for the transition? [such as younger doctors, or a group of physicians]. I think you muct be covered under the federal plan for at least 5 years to get benefits in retirement (a friend of ours was burned by this)

azanon
Posts: 2633
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:34 am

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by azanon » Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:59 am

dm200 wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:56 am
Not a federal employee/returee - but I suggest being fully aware of health insurance needs and options now and down the road. Will there be dependent(s) - such as spouse needing benefits? How and when will Medicare kick in? Might you want to switch providers in preparation for the transition? [such as younger doctors, or a group of physicians]. I think you muct be covered under the federal plan for at least 5 years to get benefits in retirement (a friend of ours was burned by this)
Most feds know they can continue their health plan until they die provided they take an appropriate retirement option that allows that, like MRA + 10 or full FERS retirement options. And we can choose plans that cover both spouses and children (up to age 26 i think). My agency supplements 75% of the premium, but I'm not sure if that's the same for all feds, and that supplement continues until death provided the policy is maintained.

The plan is so good (cause 75% of premium is paid), most generally keep it even once they qualify for Medicare.

Topic Author
TresBelle65
Posts: 195
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2015 2:44 pm

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by TresBelle65 » Sat Feb 24, 2018 12:05 pm

MRA + 10 works out well for me since I am already eligible for a pension from a previous employer, have 30X saved, Soc Sec coming down the line of course and the MRA+10 gives me health insurance I can carry 7 years until eligible for Medicare. In this scenario, working another 4 years until 62 just isn't worth enough to me.

Glomar
Posts: 65
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2014 1:27 pm

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by Glomar » Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:08 pm

I'm sure you have this one covered, but I try to keep in mind the eligibility rules for continuing FEHB health insurance into retirement:

Must have been continuously enrolled (or covered as a family member) in any FEHB Program plan (not necessarily the same plan) for the five years of service immediately preceding retirement, or if less than five years, for all service since your first opportunity to enroll


Lately, I have been enjoying the FedImpact podcast and they have a variety of topics:
https://www.myfederalretirement.com/pub ... odcast.cfm

They also have guidance about best days to retire:
https://www.myfederalretirement.com/pub ... 7-2018.cfm

DrGoogle2017
Posts: 2528
Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2017 12:31 pm

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:23 pm

You can do retirement estimate online, there is no need to call anybody.

Texgal17
Posts: 117
Joined: Sun Aug 13, 2017 12:51 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by Texgal17 » Sat Feb 24, 2018 5:55 pm

Check out Retirement Planning by Tammy Flanagan on GovExec.com. Lots of good info from her postings on all things
related to Federal retirement. I learned so much!
Texgal

delamer
Posts: 9492
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:13 pm

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by delamer » Sat Feb 24, 2018 6:07 pm

DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:23 pm
You can do retirement estimate online, there is no need to call anybody.
In my agency, it could be requested via our employee intranet. It took a few weeks to get, via e-mail.

Although, if your service has been pretty straightforward — all full-time with no interruptions in service — it is easy to do your own estimate.

The advantage of the online estimate is that you can make sure of your relevant information (like service beginning date) is correct.

delamer
Posts: 9492
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:13 pm

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by delamer » Sat Feb 24, 2018 6:20 pm

I didn’t see any reason to use up my leave. You do get a payout for unused annual leave.

Not sure why you’d accelerate medical treatments, unless you are concerned about paying your out-of-pockets costs once you are retired. You are continuing your FEHB in retirement?

I was told by our retirement specialist that all applications get put in a pile and those with the nearest requested retirement date are processed first. So about 8 weeks out was about the right time to submit. That is what I did and everthing went OK.

But do be prepared for a reduced pension check until your benefit is finalized by OPM. It took 9 months for mine to be finalized and to be made whole.

I told my manager months in advance, but that decision should vary depending on your office politics and your relationship with your boss.

bayview
Posts: 1884
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:05 pm
Location: WNC

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by bayview » Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:06 pm

delamer wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 6:07 pm
DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:23 pm
You can do retirement estimate online, there is no need to call anybody.
In my agency, it could be requested via our employee intranet. It took a few weeks to get, via e-mail.

Although, if your service has been pretty straightforward — all full-time with no interruptions in service — it is easy to do your own estimate.

The advantage of the online estimate is that you can make sure of your relevant information (like service beginning date) is correct.
Exactly. I had done my retirement estimate. It wasn't until I had someone with access to all the SF-50's that I never received back in the day that I found that there were errors, which would certainly have been a pain to correct once it was in OPM's hands.
The continuous execution of a sound strategy gives you the benefit of the strategy. That's what it's all about. --Rick Ferri

jminv
Posts: 1019
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:58 pm

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by jminv » Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:07 pm

Look into doing a post-56 military deposit, if eligible.

DrGoogle2017
Posts: 2528
Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2017 12:31 pm

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:30 pm

You want to fix all your teeth before retirement. My husband and I did, mostly my husband. Even now after 2 years of retirement, he has to upgrade his dental plan to the $30k limit plan because he has a few crowns to replace. They are at least 30 years old. Out of pocket cost could be in the thousands, it’s much easier if you still have income. Less pain, I guess, while you are still employed.

User avatar
TimeRunner
Posts: 1586
Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:23 pm

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by TimeRunner » Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:47 pm

I found it worthwhile to work my way thru CSRS FERS Handbook Chapter 51, here: https://www.opm.gov/retirement-services ... k/c050.pdf

It was written for the age of pen and paper. Quite amazingly, you can precisely calculate your retirement annuity simply using pen, paper, and the multiplication tables you learned in third or fourth grade. My estimate was to the penny.

Understanding how your retirement annuity is calculated is assuring and confirms any retirement estimates you may receive from your HR office.
One cannot enlighten the unconscious.

bonez182
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:17 am

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by bonez182 » Sun Feb 25, 2018 10:23 am

I retired last year from federal service and found Federal Soup forum's an invaluable resource. These forums are very useful for both pre- and post retirement from federal service.

Mr. Ed Zurndorfer moderates the "Federal Employees Benefits Q &A" forum. He is an expert on all federal benefits.
https://forum.federalsoup.com/default.aspx?g=topics&f=6

Other forums
"Federal Retirees"
https://forum.federalsoup.com/default.aspx?g=topics&f=9

"Retirement Planning"
https://forum.federalsoup.com/default.a ... opics&f=24

"Medicare and Health Care"
https://forum.federalsoup.com/default.a ... opics&f=14

Swansea
Posts: 796
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2016 5:16 am

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by Swansea » Sun Feb 25, 2018 10:48 am

Texgal17 wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 5:55 pm
Check out Retirement Planning by Tammy Flanagan on GovExec.com. Lots of good info from her postings on all things
related to Federal retirement. I learned so much!
Texgal
+1 on Tammy Flanagan. Our HR community always held her in high regard.
One technical comment on the government's cost share on FEHB...it varies from plan to plan or at least did when I worked for the Feds. The only difference for a retiring Fed is that the premium is monthly instead of biweekly. Govt contribution stays the same.
Check your SCD (service computation date) and keep a copy of your career conditional appointment and your conversion to career (you never know when you may want to be reinstated).

bayview
Posts: 1884
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:05 pm
Location: WNC

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by bayview » Sun Feb 25, 2018 1:54 pm

Swansea wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 10:48 am
Texgal17 wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 5:55 pm
Check out Retirement Planning by Tammy Flanagan on GovExec.com. Lots of good info from her postings on all things
related to Federal retirement. I learned so much!
Texgal
+1 on Tammy Flanagan. Our HR community always held her in high regard.
One technical comment on the government's cost share on FEHB...it varies from plan to plan or at least did when I worked for the Feds. The only difference for a retiring Fed is that the premium is monthly instead of biweekly. Govt contribution stays the same.
Check your SCD (service computation date) and keep a copy of your career conditional appointment and your conversion to career (you never know when you may want to be reinstated).
Be aware that your displayed SCD date might not be the same one that is credited for retirement. This discrepancy is what I had to get corrected after getting my estimate.
The continuous execution of a sound strategy gives you the benefit of the strategy. That's what it's all about. --Rick Ferri

Topic Author
TresBelle65
Posts: 195
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2015 2:44 pm

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by TresBelle65 » Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:34 pm

A lot of valuable references and information here, thank you so much.

$30K annual limit on dental expenses? I feel pain just thinking about that much dental work in one year.

Speaking of that, I am now in a HCOL area and am considering having the same work done by competent dental professionals outside of the HCOL cities on the east and west coasts of the US. There have to be other places in or outside of the US where quality work costs less.

Thanks again.

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 22999
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by dm200 » Sun Feb 25, 2018 4:39 pm

I don't know how much of a problem this is now, but a few years ago I knew several federal retirees where it took several months for them to begin to receive the monthly retirement payments. I suggest being prepared with sufficient cash on hand for such a possible delay.

pahkcah
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Dec 15, 2015 10:50 pm

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by pahkcah » Sun Feb 25, 2018 5:20 pm

Please be aware that as a Federal retiree, health care premiums will no longer be pre-tax once you retire.

From OPM: "Premiums are paid on a pre-tax basis (premium conversion) if you are an active employee and your salary is sufficient to make the premium withholding. Pre-tax premiums are not available to annuitants, survivor annuitants or compensationers."

hale2
Posts: 231
Joined: Sat Feb 15, 2014 5:54 pm

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by hale2 » Sun Feb 25, 2018 5:45 pm

Join fersguide.com. The guy running it is a retired fed and is very knowledgeable. You get access to his presentations as well as his guide. In addition, as a member you can email him questions about your specific situation. It's only $15/yr. Just joining for 1 year as you transition would probably be sufficient.

trueblueky
Posts: 1659
Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 3:50 pm

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by trueblueky » Sun Feb 25, 2018 7:29 pm

Go through your leave and earnings statement line by line. Mark each one:
This item will continue with no change. (Example, FEHB)
This item will stop. (Example, FICA, Retrement contributions)
This item will change. (Example, federal income tax)

I did that about a year out. It helped me see that the old "you need 80%" in retirement was wrong.x

Sign up for Tammy Flanagan's free newsletter from Government Executive. Look at viewing her videos, archived on NARFE.org. First one costs, then you're a NARFE member and the others are free.

Gray
Posts: 696
Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2011 5:33 am

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by Gray » Sun Feb 25, 2018 7:41 pm

I hope to have around 2,772 hours of sick leave by the time I retire. I stopped using sick leave some time ago. So I’ll retire with 40+ years, but only 38.x from working.

My wife and I both have FERS and she can retire a year earlier than me with 40 years. This is far, far off in the future but it helps to think ahead. Take care of your body, mind, and teeth!

bhinvestor234817
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Aug 30, 2015 8:48 pm

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by bhinvestor234817 » Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:53 pm

Don't know if this applies for you/your agency, but I retired from an Army GS position in 2016. Felt I was well informed and for me the process was just as advertised/expected. On only one point did I come up short. In my agency we were able to accumulate credit time (up to a max of 24 hours). It turned out that those hours translated 1-to-1 into pay! I used 16 hours of credit time in my last pay period, leaving me with a balance of 8 hours and this reduced my last take home amount by more than $800.
So, if credit time is part of your Federal work environment, max it! And best wishes for a super retirement.

User avatar
SquawkIdent
Posts: 528
Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2008 7:14 pm
Location: Planet Earth

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by SquawkIdent » Sun Feb 25, 2018 10:06 pm

hale2 wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 5:45 pm
Join fersguide.com. The guy running it is a retired fed and is very knowledgeable. You get access to his presentations as well as his guide. In addition, as a member you can email him questions about your specific situation. It's only $15/yr. Just joining for 1 year as you transition would probably be sufficient.
I agree with this 100%.

Topic Author
TresBelle65
Posts: 195
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2015 2:44 pm

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by TresBelle65 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 2:38 am


Please be aware that as a Federal retiree, health care premiums will no longer be pre-tax once you retire.

From OPM: "Premiums are paid on a pre-tax basis (premium conversion) if you are an active employee and your salary is sufficient to make the premium withholding. Pre-tax premiums are not available to annuitants, survivor annuitants or compensationers."


Thank you for the reminder of this. In a twist of irony, this is one of those good problems to have when you consider the alternatives.

Since I am retiring under MRA+10, my immediate annuity will not look like much compared to many longtime feds.

The rest of my income will come from dipping into personal account withdrawals...

In other words, my income tax rate is not a serious concern until I start collecting Soc Sec and later, RMDs.

motorcyclesarecool
Posts: 809
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2014 7:39 am

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by motorcyclesarecool » Mon Feb 26, 2018 5:34 am

Take a hard look at going out at MRA+10, POSTPONING (not deferring) your annuity until age 62, at which point you’d get an unreduced annuity and you may resume FEHB if you were eligible when you separated. Spend the intervening years making aggressive Roth conversions.
Understand that choosing an HDHP is very much a "red pill" approach. Most would rather pay higher premiums for a $20 copay per visit. They will think you weird for choosing an HSA.

2cents2
Posts: 406
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 11:31 am

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by 2cents2 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:25 am

TresBelle65 wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:20 am
I'm a fed planning to retire next year, with MRA + 10.

What actions did you take in your final year or months leading up to retirement?

for example - accelerate any dental or medical treatments?

accelerate leave for any reason?

how far in advance did you file your paperwork and let your management know you were leaving?

Thanks
One big thing that you can do for yourself is to attend a retirement class. My employer set one up at our facility and got as many into the class as possible. Personally, I think folks should attend a retirement class at the beginning of their career and have a refresher mid career and another one about 5 years before retirement--5 years because there are some "gotcha's" that come into play starting at the 5 year prior to retirement point.

In the retirement class they will cover these topics and much, much more:

1. Ask for a pension estimate. Review your personnel file and make sure it is correct. Make a copy of your personnel file.

2. Do your own pension calculation. https://www.opm.gov/retirement-services ... mputation/

3. Select a retirement date that is right for you. I'm guessing you are FERS and you have to retire on the last day of the month. I'm a little rusty at this--but, if your pay calendar lines up with this one https://www.gsa.gov/cdnstatic/GSA_Payro ... r_2018.pdf , it looks like Mar31st, Aug 31 and Sep 30th would allow you to work the entire pay period and still retire on the last day of the month. (If you retire mid pay period, you don't receive leave for the entire pay period. )
On the other hand, maybe your goal is to optimize your annual leave for when you retire. You carry over as much AL as you can and then you don't take any AL for the entire year. Retire on 31 Dec. Your annual leave payment would be paid in the next tax year.

4. Sick leave conversion. Unused sick leave gets counted towards your retirement. It doesn't count for eligibility, but it does towards the annuity computation. Only full months are used (days are converted to months and years on the basis of a 2087 hour work year.) If you have a few odd days left over, you lose them. So, if you have some upcoming stuff for which you would normally use SL, use those odd days up. (On the other hand, you don't want to cut it too close and inadvertently lose a month! :oops: )

5. Save up! You might have to wait a while to receive your first annuity payment and it may take a while to get finalized. OPM will give you interim payments, but their goal is to pay you less than your final amount so that they don't overpay you and have to get any money back. Your interim payment will reflect this.

6. Make a careful budget.

7. Live on what you anticipate your income will be after you retire.

8. Submit your paperwork in a timely manner--60 day is the general guideline. Ask your personnel specialist how much lead time they would like to have (this will be the same person that does the pension estimate). I have had personnel specialists say that they are not that impressed by folks who submit their retirement package on their last day of work. :happy They get to it when they get to it. Meanwhile, it might take a while for the interim payments to start...

Some more links for you
https://www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/sf3107.pdf (Application for Immediate Retirement Federal Employees Retirement System)

https://www.opm.gov/retirement-services ... #url=Apply (CSRS & FERS Information Planning and Applying)

https://www.opm.gov/retirement-services ... sf3113.pdf (Applying for Immediate Retirement Under the Federal Employees Retirement System )

https://www.opm.gov/retirement-services ... -applying/ (CSRS & FERS Information Planning and Applying)

https://www.opm.gov/retirement-services ... hin-Months (Within Months of Retirement)

MichDad
Posts: 489
Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:50 pm

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by MichDad » Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:57 pm

I'll be retiring on March 31, 2018 as a FERS annuitant with over 35 years of service, over age 62, with well over a year of unused sick leave. I accelerated my TSP contributions so that I'll contribute $24,500 to my Roth TSP in the eight pay periods my agency has between January 2nd and March 31st.

I'll retire with my 240 hours of unused annual leave, plus a few weeks of restored leave for leave I forfeited in 2017 because of the press of public business, plus my accrued annual leave for this year, plus 24 credit hours. I'll also qualify for an unexpected (but welcome) $25,000 buyout from my agency. The buyout accelerated my departure by one month. These leave payments and the buyout should be more than enough to tide me over for the reduced FERS pension payments until that gets straightened out.

2018 will be my 35th year of maximum or almost maximum Social Security earnings. It looks like the stars have aligned for me to retire. I haven't announced this to my colleagues or supervisors yet. My wife doesn't believe I'll go through with it.

MichDad

ColoRetiredGirl
Posts: 169
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:40 pm
Location: Colorado

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by ColoRetiredGirl » Mon Feb 26, 2018 2:07 pm

bayview wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:32 am
MRA (will be 64) + 10 (closer to 15 when I leave) EDIT: -- 62 + 5 for immediate retirement, no reduction in benefits. I can't fathom sticking it out for 20, no matter how beneficial it would be to my annuity...

I'm planning to retire at the end of the year, although I haven't told management yet. (Things could still change, although golly, I hope they don't.) I plan to tell them in October, at the start of the new fiscal year, as it easily takes 3 months to get a replacement on board and working.

A year and a half ago, I requested a "retirement estimate", although at that time I figured I'd be working another 5 years. Glad I did, because it turned up serious errors in my paperwork on my initial hire, incorrectly calculating my start date as 8 months later than it actually was, plus some more minor errors committed by the horrendously ill-trained and understaffed HR at my original station. An HR assistant at my newer station recalculated and documented the corrections. Now I'm at yet another station (ah, federal employment), and I am requesting another retirement estimate to see if everything "stuck."

I had planned to hang onto my sick leave to increase my FERS annuity, but I recently had to take off a week to care for my elderly mother, and I wouldn't be surprised if I used all the SL up before retiring. I won't have a ton of unused AL, but it will probably be worth $6-7k, and that can be handy while waiting for OPM to do its thing. (There's usually a longer wait for those retiring at the end of the calendar year.)

I'm carrying FEHB into retirement, along with dental and vision at least initially, so no plan to cram a lot of treatments in while still an employee. I hope this helps.
I retired as a Federal employee on Sep 30, 2017. As a FERS employee be sure to retire before the end of the month rather than the first days into the new year. You will get your pension sooner that way. Also, take care of any medical visits before you leave under your current health insurance. Check to see if your employer pays for any will preparation. If so, get your will done before you retire. Ask your HR person what other freebies they offer as a current employee and get those out of the way. My HR person was willing to run my numbers anytime I asked for them. Finally, of concern is you are looking at year end. Please subscribe to FedSmith to keep abreast of any fiscal 2019 changes in employee benefits. You may be very disappointed in your final pension results if Trump passes his plan to go from high 3s to high 5s in 2019 along with other disadvantages to benefits. However, he may grandfather you into existing benefits.

mrc
Posts: 1407
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 6:39 am

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by mrc » Mon Feb 26, 2018 2:25 pm

MichDad wrote:
Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:57 pm
I'll be retiring on March 31, 2018 as a FERS annuitant with over 35 years of service, over age 62, with well over a year of unused sick leave. I accelerated my TSP contributions so that I'll contribute $24,500 to my Roth TSP in the eight pay periods my agency has between January 2nd and March 31st.

I'll retire with my 240 hours of unused annual leave, plus a few weeks of restored leave for leave I forfeited in 2017 because of the press of public business, plus my accrued annual leave for this year, plus 24 credit hours. I'll also qualify for an unexpected (but welcome) $25,000 buyout from my agency. The buyout accelerated my departure by one month. These leave payments and the buyout should be more than enough to tide me over for the reduced FERS pension payments until that gets straightened out.

2018 will be my 35th year of maximum or almost maximum Social Security earnings. It looks like the stars have aligned for me to retire. I haven't announced this to my colleagues or supervisors yet. My wife doesn't believe I'll go through with it.

MichDad
Congratulations MichDad! #GoBlue
Macs are for those who don’t want to know why their computer works | Linux is for those who do | DOS is for those who want to know why their computer doesn’t work | Windows is for those who don’t

trueblueky
Posts: 1659
Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 3:50 pm

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by trueblueky » Mon Feb 26, 2018 6:41 pm

Also review all your beneficiary forms:
* Beneficiary for pension
* Beneficiary for FEGLI
* Beneficiary for TSP
* Beneficiary for other (I think I signed five forms)

Golf maniac
Posts: 339
Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2017 2:02 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by Golf maniac » Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:35 pm

One thing I did wrong when I retired is I retired on 10/31. Then they paid my unused annual leave in the same tax year. Boom, big hit from taxes. I would of been much better off waiting until 1/31 the next year. Then a lot lower tax bracket. Lots of good advice above.

nova1968
Posts: 227
Joined: Wed May 18, 2016 12:00 pm

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by nova1968 » Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:25 am

Gray wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 7:41 pm
I hope to have around 2,772 hours of sick leave by the time I retire. I stopped using sick leave some time ago. So I’ll retire with 40+ years, but only 38.x from working.

My wife and I both have FERS and she can retire a year earlier than me with 40 years. This is far, far off in the future but it helps to think ahead. Take care of your body, mind, and teeth!
I believe you only get an additional 1% added to your annuity for the sick leave unlike unused annual leave where you are compensated for the entire amount. Not sure what your retirement rank is but hypothetically speaking suppose your pension is 50K annually, at 1% that's an year an extra $500 a year. For 30 years that's $15,000 ( $15,000/2772) is $5.41 an hour, I would rather use the sick leave. I retire 9/30/2018 with only 40 hours on the books which I intend to use.

User avatar
TimeRunner
Posts: 1586
Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:23 pm

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by TimeRunner » Tue Feb 27, 2018 11:58 am

nova1968 wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:25 am
I believe you only get an additional 1% added to your annuity for the sick leave unlike unused annual leave where you are compensated for the entire amount. Not sure what your retirement rank is but hypothetically speaking suppose your pension is 50K annually, at 1% that's an year an extra $500 a year. For 30 years that's $15,000 ( $15,000/2772) is $5.41 an hour, I would rather use the sick leave. I retire 9/30/2018 with only 40 hours on the books which I intend to use.
Fortunately, that is not correct. See handbook I mentioned upthread which is the authoritative source for this info, page 9: https://www.opm.gov/retirement-services ... k/c050.pdf
Example: 2,000 hours S/L becomes 11 months 15 days of service which is added to the number of years and months of federal service for annuity computation purposes. There is no percentage cap.
I retired with almost two years of sick leave. It added thousands of dollars a year to my annuity. Quiz: If one works for thirty years and then adds two more based on unused sick leave, what percentage increase in service time is that? :)
One cannot enlighten the unconscious.

trueblueky
Posts: 1659
Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 3:50 pm

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by trueblueky » Tue Feb 27, 2018 4:44 pm

TimeRunner wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 11:58 am
nova1968 wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:25 am
I believe you only get an additional 1% added to your annuity for the sick leave unlike unused annual leave where you are compensated for the entire amount. Not sure what your retirement rank is but hypothetically speaking suppose your pension is 50K annually, at 1% that's an year an extra $500 a year. For 30 years that's $15,000 ( $15,000/2772) is $5.41 an hour, I would rather use the sick leave. I retire 9/30/2018 with only 40 hours on the books which I intend to use.
Fortunately, that is not correct. See handbook I mentioned upthread which is the authoritative source for this info, page 9: https://www.opm.gov/retirement-services ... k/c050.pdf
Example: 2,000 hours S/L becomes 11 months 15 days of service which is added to the number of years and months of federal service for annuity computation purposes. There is no percentage cap.
I retired with almost two years of sick leave. It added thousands of dollars a year to my annuity. Quiz: If one works for thirty years and then adds two more based on unused sick leave, what percentage increase in service time is that? :)
In FERS, it's 2/30 or 6.67%.
In CSRS, it's 4/55 or 7.27℅.
The difference is that the first ten years of CSRS are worth less than the later ones while all FERS years are the same.

But, the amount of sick leave is 5% of your time. 4 hours/pay period = 4/80 = 5%.

User avatar
TimeRunner
Posts: 1586
Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:23 pm

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by TimeRunner » Tue Feb 27, 2018 5:39 pm

trueblueky wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 4:44 pm
TimeRunner wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 11:58 am
nova1968 wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:25 am
I believe you only get an additional 1% added to your annuity for the sick leave unlike unused annual leave where you are compensated for the entire amount. Not sure what your retirement rank is but hypothetically speaking suppose your pension is 50K annually, at 1% that's an year an extra $500 a year. For 30 years that's $15,000 ( $15,000/2772) is $5.41 an hour, I would rather use the sick leave. I retire 9/30/2018 with only 40 hours on the books which I intend to use.
Fortunately, that is not correct. See handbook I mentioned upthread which is the authoritative source for this info, page 9: https://www.opm.gov/retirement-services ... k/c050.pdf
Example: 2,000 hours S/L becomes 11 months 15 days of service which is added to the number of years and months of federal service for annuity computation purposes. There is no percentage cap.
I retired with almost two years of sick leave. It added thousands of dollars a year to my annuity. Quiz: If one works for thirty years and then adds two more based on unused sick leave, what percentage increase in service time is that? :)
In FERS, it's 2/30 or 6.67%.
In CSRS, it's 4/55 or 7.27℅.
The difference is that the first ten years of CSRS are worth less than the later ones while all FERS years are the same.

But, the amount of sick leave is 5% of your time. 4 hours/pay period = 4/80 = 5%.
Trueblueky nailed it. I'll just add that if you were a CSRS employee who elected to transfer to FERS in 1987, all your accumulated unused sick leave hours are treated as FERS hours even if some were earned under CSRS.
One cannot enlighten the unconscious.

nova1968
Posts: 227
Joined: Wed May 18, 2016 12:00 pm

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by nova1968 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:21 am

I believe more FERS retirees would save sick leave if they were compensated for it the same as annual leave. For example if one retires at 100K per year which would round out to $50 an hour with 2772 hours on the books (50hr* 2772) is a $138,600 pay out at retirement. Definitely an incentive to save sick leave hours. Retiring at 100K a year after 40 years for an extra 2K a year for 30 years of retirement is (30K *2) is 60k (60K/2772hrs) is$21.64 an hour. I know its common for Fed employees with several hundred sick leave hours on the books to use sick leave leave a few months prior to the retirement date.
Last edited by nova1968 on Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:34 am, edited 3 times in total.

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 22999
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by dm200 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:52 am

nova1968 wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:21 am
I believe more FERS retirees would save sick leave if they were compensated for it the same as annual leave. For example if one retires at 100K per year which would round out to $50 an hour with 2772 hours on the books (50hr* 2772) is a $138,600 pay out at retirement. Definitely an incentive to save sick leave hours. Retiring at 100K a year after 40 years for an extra 2K a year for 30 years of retirement is (30K *2) is 60k (60K/2772hrs) is$21.64 an hour. I would rather enjoy the sick leave while I am young. Its common for Fed employees with several hundred sick leave hours on the books to use sick leave leave a few months prior to the retirement date.
"enjoy" sick leave? Sounds like abuse to me.

As a taxpayer, I regard using hundreds of hours of sick leave in the few months prior to retirement as abuse or even fraud. Sick leave is for being sick.

trueblueky
Posts: 1659
Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 3:50 pm

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by trueblueky » Wed Feb 28, 2018 4:20 pm

If you save half your sick leave for forty years, that's equivalent to another year of work in either system.
If you save it all, that's equivalent to two more years.

When I was a pup, people kept talking about Old Mr Harris, the comptroller. I never saw him, so I eventually asked. They said, "Oh, he had a stroke and is in a nursing home. When his sick leave runs out, he'll retire." That insurance aspect of sick leave stuck with me. I never took an hour.

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 22999
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by dm200 » Thu Mar 01, 2018 3:18 pm

trueblueky wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 4:20 pm
If you save half your sick leave for forty years, that's equivalent to another year of work in either system.
If you save it all, that's equivalent to two more years.
When I was a pup, people kept talking about Old Mr Harris, the comptroller. I never saw him, so I eventually asked. They said, "Oh, he had a stroke and is in a nursing home. When his sick leave runs out, he'll retire." That insurance aspect of sick leave stuck with me. I never took an hour.
Sick leave should only be used when you are actually sick. Having a stroke sounds like being sick.

In my opinion, taking sick leave when not sick should be enforced and prohibited - and those who ause it should be fired.

mrc
Posts: 1407
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 6:39 am

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by mrc » Thu Mar 01, 2018 3:34 pm

dm200 wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 3:18 pm
trueblueky wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 4:20 pm
If you save half your sick leave for forty years, that's equivalent to another year of work in either system.
If you save it all, that's equivalent to two more years.
When I was a pup, people kept talking about Old Mr Harris, the comptroller. I never saw him, so I eventually asked. They said, "Oh, he had a stroke and is in a nursing home. When his sick leave runs out, he'll retire." That insurance aspect of sick leave stuck with me. I never took an hour.
Sick leave should only be used when you are actually sick. Having a stroke sounds like being sick.

In my opinion, taking sick leave when not sick should be enforced and prohibited - and those who ause it should be fired.
That's why some employers lump all leave together and call it PTO personal time off. Sometimes, you just need a mental health day. Not sure I would appreciate HR stopping by the house with a thermometer. :annoyed
Macs are for those who don’t want to know why their computer works | Linux is for those who do | DOS is for those who want to know why their computer doesn’t work | Windows is for those who don’t

Post Reply