Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

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kaudrey
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Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by kaudrey » Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:59 am

argulator wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 6:29 pm
Also be aware of any applicable provisions in your labor agreement if you are in a bargaining unit. Ours provides for payout of 40% of the sick leave balance in lieu of adding it to time in service.
Thanks. I am not bargaining unit.

DrGoogle2017
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Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:16 am

Try to hang on to your health care insurance, it’s not just health care, it’s also dental care. You won’t be able to get good dental plan from ACA, no dental plan with Medicare either.

kaudrey
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Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by kaudrey » Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:39 am

DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:16 am
Try to hang on to your health care insurance, it’s not just health care, it’s also dental care. You won’t be able to get good dental plan from ACA, no dental plan with Medicare either.
But is that worth 5 extra years? I know I haven't provided details on our finances, so I understand your concern, but I'm thinking it's not. I used to think that way too, trust me, but now that I'm with someone who will have a larger pension than me and has as much as I do in retirement assets....I think our time together will be more important to me than dental bills. :)

DrGoogle2017
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Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:01 am

kaudrey wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:39 am
DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:16 am
Try to hang on to your health care insurance, it’s not just health care, it’s also dental care. You won’t be able to get good dental plan from ACA, no dental plan with Medicare either.
But is that worth 5 extra years? I know I haven't provided details on our finances, so I understand your concern, but I'm thinking it's not. I used to think that way too, trust me, but now that I'm with someone who will have a larger pension than me and has as much as I do in retirement assets....I think our time together will be more important to me than dental bills. :)
Are you going to be married? If not, is there any guarantee? I could be dating a billionaire but if the relationship is not going to be forever, I need to make sure, I’m covered. Will you regret your decision if this relationship does not last. Sorry to be a Debby downer.

Honestly, I’m surprised by a lot of people I know, in stable marriage for years, 3 kids together and divorced in retirement. In fact, my husband and I was shocked by some of the people we know.

kaudrey
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Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by kaudrey » Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:39 am

DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:01 am
Try to hang on to your health care insurance, it’s not just health care, it’s also dental care. You won’t be able to get good dental plan from ACA, no dental plan with Medicare either.
[/quote]
Are you going to be married? If not, is there any guarantee? I could be dating a billionaire but if the relationship is not going to be forever, I need to make sure, I’m covered. Will you regret your decision if this relationship does not last. Sorry to be a Debby downer.

Honestly, I’m surprised by a lot of people I know, in stable marriage for years, 3 kids together and divorced in retirement. In fact, my husband and I was shocked by some of the people we know.
[/quote]

We will be married, probably in 2019. He's terrible at keeping secrets, and I know he's already bought an engagement ring. There are no guarantees, of course. People were shocked by his divorce, after 28 years of marriage. The last 20 weren't happy, but of course most people never see that.

DrGoogle2017
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Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:46 am

kaudrey wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:39 am
DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:01 am
Try to hang on to your health care insurance, it’s not just health care, it’s also dental care. You won’t be able to get good dental plan from ACA, no dental plan with Medicare either.
Are you going to be married? If not, is there any guarantee? I could be dating a billionaire but if the relationship is not going to be forever, I need to make sure, I’m covered. Will you regret your decision if this relationship does not last. Sorry to be a Debby downer.

Honestly, I’m surprised by a lot of people I know, in stable marriage for years, 3 kids together and divorced in retirement. In fact, my husband and I was shocked by some of the people we know.

We will be married, probably in 2019. He's terrible at keeping secrets, and I know he's already bought an engagement ring. There are no guarantees, of course. People were shocked by his divorce, after 28 years of marriage. The last 20 weren't happy, but of course most people never see that.
If he has insurance with the Fed and you will be married, hence you could go on his insurance, I think you will be ok.
Last edited by DrGoogle2017 on Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

kaudrey
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Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by kaudrey » Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:48 am

DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:46 am
kaudrey wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:39 am
DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:01 am
Try to hang on to your health care insurance, it’s not just health care, it’s also dental care. You won’t be able to get good dental plan from ACA, no dental plan with Medicare either.
Are you going to be married? If not, is there any guarantee? I could be dating a billionaire but if the relationship is not going to be forever, I need to make sure, I’m covered. Will you regret your decision if this relationship does not last. Sorry to be a Debby downer.

Honestly, I’m surprised by a lot of people I know, in stable marriage for years, 3 kids together and divorced in retirement. In fact, my husband and I was shocked by some of the people we know.
We will be married, probably in 2019. He's terrible at keeping secrets, and I know he's already bought an engagement ring. There are no guarantees, of course. People were shocked by his divorce, after 28 years of marriage. The last 20 weren't happy, but of course most people never see that.
[/quote]

If he has insurance with the Fed and you will be married, hence you could go on his insurance, I think you will be ok.
[/quote]

He's not a Fed. He's already on ACA. But in 4 years he'll have a pension that is double what my fed pension will be....

ExitStageLeft
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Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by ExitStageLeft » Wed Mar 07, 2018 1:30 pm

kaudrey wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:51 am
ExitStageLeft wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 6:10 pm
The Fed HR Navigator allows you to run retirement scenarios using information from your official personnel file. My understanding is if you have 30 years with FERS you can take an immediate full retirement and continue your FEHB coverage. I'm currently 55 years old and will have my 30 years in 2020. If I run a scenario using the first-eligible date it calculates pension, estimates TSP annuity, and subtracts out costs for FEHB or FEGLI.

You have to log in to Fed HR Navigator using your agency credential. Your HR office should be able to point you in the right direction.
That is not correct. You have to be at your MRA to get immediate annuity and keep FEHB. I'll look at Fed HR Navigator - thanks!
Thanks for correcting me. I should have looked it up instead of relying on memory. It works for me to go at 30 years but I see the dilemma it poses for you.

I'm becoming more and more used to the idea of taking a few risks and going out the door earlier rather than working longer to get greater certainty on our financial future. There's a life to be lived and I'm sure we can figure out how to enjoy it even if things don't go exactly as planned.

Edit to add: No chance of a VERA in the near future?

motorcyclesarecool
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Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by motorcyclesarecool » Wed Mar 07, 2018 2:55 pm

kaudrey wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:58 am
motorcyclesarecool wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:13 pm
kaudrey wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:03 am
1) I will not get the annuity supplement
2) I will be on my own for healthcare from 52 to 65
3) Pension will be deferred to start at my MRA
4) My SS will be less because I'll have 30 years of income, not 35.
Is there anything I am missing in my planning?
Re: 2, is that because you’ll start receiving Medicare at age 65? My understanding is that if you do a deferred annuity, you kiss FEHB goodbye. You’ve had one man in your life let you down in a significant way. What if Mr. Wonderful leaves? What if he dies without updating his will to include you? What if he updates his will but his ex / former or current heirs decide to get nasty? Are you ready to face retirement without FEHB on your own? If yes, then go for it. If no, then you need to change the equation in some way before taking the plunge.
Hi, Thanks for your questions/concerns. To try to answer them: Yes, it's because at 65 I'll get Medicare. Yes, you can't get FEHB if you do a deferred annuity. I've actually had two men let me down this way; I am twice divorced. Hopefully, I've figured it out with this one. At 52, I'll have enough money on my own to retire with or without his money. We will likely be married before I retire, and we've talked about a pre-nup. We are both finance people and have discussed things in great detail, especially because his ex has already been pretty nasty. She made out like a bandit in their divorce, so she's set for life. He's leaving his large IRA to his kids; they wouldn't expect anything else. If he dies, I'll get his taxable account and a $500K life insurance payout that he has already set up....

The health insurance is the biggest unknown, but I'm getting used to the idea of dealing with that as we run numbers and talk things through.
That life insurance is reassuring in the event of his death. No exes or heirs could mess with that, at least... Get the best big-city attorney you can afford to draw up the prenup. His ex may be set for life, but that won’t mean she can’t cause trouble.
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.

kaudrey
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Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by kaudrey » Wed Mar 07, 2018 2:59 pm

ExitStageLeft wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 1:30 pm
kaudrey wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:51 am
ExitStageLeft wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 6:10 pm
The Fed HR Navigator allows you to run retirement scenarios using information from your official personnel file. My understanding is if you have 30 years with FERS you can take an immediate full retirement and continue your FEHB coverage. I'm currently 55 years old and will have my 30 years in 2020. If I run a scenario using the first-eligible date it calculates pension, estimates TSP annuity, and subtracts out costs for FEHB or FEGLI.

You have to log in to Fed HR Navigator using your agency credential. Your HR office should be able to point you in the right direction.
That is not correct. You have to be at your MRA to get immediate annuity and keep FEHB. I'll look at Fed HR Navigator - thanks!
Thanks for correcting me. I should have looked it up instead of relying on memory. It works for me to go at 30 years but I see the dilemma it poses for you.

I'm becoming more and more used to the idea of taking a few risks and going out the door earlier rather than working longer to get greater certainty on our financial future. There's a life to be lived and I'm sure we can figure out how to enjoy it even if things don't go exactly as planned.

Edit to add: No chance of a VERA in the near future?
I work for a small agency; it's unlikely....would be nice!

FrogPerson
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Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by FrogPerson » Sat Oct 27, 2018 3:00 pm

MnD wrote:
Sat Mar 03, 2018 9:49 am
I'll be retiring later this year with 2450 hours of unused sick leave which will add 1 year 2 months to my service which equates to almost 3.5% increase in my pension for life including joint-life survivors pension benefits. It has served as a substitute for a short-term disability policy for decades (more like short to medium term disability benefit towards the end of my career). That is especially important given that feds don't have an employer benefit option for short-term disability coverage. I used it when I was sick and am thrilled I didn't have to use much of it and appreciate the benefit for the unused balance.

I know feds with 2 digit sick leave balances after decades of service and I don't have much respect for that aspect of their career decision making. Managers know _exactly_ who on their staff "burn" sick leave as additional PTO and which ones don't. The distribution is quite binary. It can't help but negatively bias their opinion about those individuals that abuse the benefit. So the cost of burning sick leave can be much higher than employees might think in terms of being passed over for promotions, advancement and awards.
Perhaps you have never had a major medical issue: pregnancy complications requiring total bedrest to prevent miscarriage, childbirth and recovery: 8 weeks for a c-section (and the Feds have no paid maternity or paternity leave), serious surgery, care for a child or spouse who has a serious medical issue. etc. As a 28 year federal employee who has had many serious medical challenges I am one of those with double digit sick leave balances and in no means disrespected by my supervisors and coworkers based on those numbers. In fact, I have been appreciated for the excellent work I do despite these challenges - attend a meeting the day my spouse was intubated and on total life support in critical condition? Check. participate in a national teleconference when my son was in an 8-hour surgery? Check. Work all night on a critical deadline project with my spouse finally home and needing daytime care? Check. Don't assume all low SL balance feds are slackers. Some of us have just had bad luck and despite all challenges are are-working productive and dedicated employees.

Swansea
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Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by Swansea » Sun Oct 28, 2018 5:37 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
Tammy Flanagan is an excellent resource.

MnD
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Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by MnD » Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:51 am

FrogPerson wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 3:00 pm
MnD wrote:
Sat Mar 03, 2018 9:49 am
I'll be retiring later this year with 2450 hours of unused sick leave which will add 1 year 2 months to my service which equates to almost 3.5% increase in my pension for life including joint-life survivors pension benefits. It has served as a substitute for a short-term disability policy for decades (more like short to medium term disability benefit towards the end of my career). That is especially important given that feds don't have an employer benefit option for short-term disability coverage. I used it when I was sick and am thrilled I didn't have to use much of it and appreciate the benefit for the unused balance.

I know feds with 2 digit sick leave balances after decades of service and I don't have much respect for that aspect of their career decision making. Managers know _exactly_ who on their staff "burn" sick leave as additional PTO and which ones don't. The distribution is quite binary. It can't help but negatively bias their opinion about those individuals that abuse the benefit. So the cost of burning sick leave can be much higher than employees might think in terms of being passed over for promotions, advancement and awards.
Perhaps you have never had a major medical issue: pregnancy complications requiring total bedrest to prevent miscarriage, childbirth and recovery: 8 weeks for a c-section (and the Feds have no paid maternity or paternity leave), serious surgery, care for a child or spouse who has a serious medical issue. etc. As a 28 year federal employee who has had many serious medical challenges I am one of those with double digit sick leave balances and in no means disrespected by my supervisors and coworkers based on those numbers. In fact, I have been appreciated for the excellent work I do despite these challenges - attend a meeting the day my spouse was intubated and on total life support in critical condition? Check. participate in a national teleconference when my son was in an 8-hour surgery? Check. Work all night on a critical deadline project with my spouse finally home and needing daytime care? Check. Don't assume all low SL balance feds are slackers. Some of us have just had bad luck and despite all challenges are are-working productive and dedicated employees.
Upthread there were discussions of "accelerating" leave use prior to retirement, "enjoying" unused sick leave versus the benefit of having it applied to your years of service for annuity calculation etc. That discussion is what I was responding to. Obviously a small percentage of federal employee households have multiple health issues that would result in low SL balances even over an entire career and you gave a personal example. But unfortunately it is not uncommon for a percentage of federal employees to treat SL as additional paid time off, ensuring that they always maintain SL in 2-digit balances as though it was burning a hole in their pocket. It's very obvious which individuals in a work group do this and abusing the privilege of having separate SL that carries over (which is a huge benefit in the case of major medical issues) does cost them career-wise.
70/30 AA, Global market cap equity. Rebalance if FI <25% or >35%. Weighted ER< .10%. 5% of annual portfolio balance SWR, Proportional (to AA) withdrawals.

federal dinosaur
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Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by federal dinosaur » Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:36 am

Sick Leave balance/time is calculated in defining the FERS pension monthly benefit - - - > which results in a monetary value/per month for the remaining lifetime of the retired fed employee. Ask any boglehead about small, incremental savings over a remaining lifetime time period and whether that can make a difference.

I was lucky to be a federal gov't employee with a great job for my entire career, so my knowledge of the varied use/practice of Sick Leave policy in private industry & practice is very limited. I will bet that the definition of Sick Leave is loosely defined in some companies and tightly defined in others. The guidance for federal employees is available for all to view & interpret. I followed the written guidance & rules.

I fully support utilizing Sick Leave in accordance with the established written guidelines or labor agreement. I do note however, that each employee's internal guidance regarding work ethic and honor can vary widely. This applies to both feds & non-feds.

UpperNwGuy
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Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by UpperNwGuy » Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:59 am

I retired 5 years ago after 39 years of Federal service. I understood the potential contribution that unused sick leave could make to the size of my annuity after retirement, so I tended to use annual leave when I was sick and sometimes even for surgery. When I finally retired with over 3000 hours of sick leave, I reaped the benefits. (And, of course, the high sick leave balance was a de facto insurance policy in the unlikely event I needed to be out for weeks or months due to some serious accident or disease).

About a year before retiring, however, I did some quick calculations and realized that the lump sum payment of my unused annual leave had a greater benefit than adding additional unused sick leave. I took no vacation days at all during my final year of working, and I ran my annual leave balance up to the max. When I needed a hernia operation, I took sick leave instead of following my usual practice of using annual leave. (My very astute timekeeper quickly picked up on that and quietly asked me when they should organize my farewell party.) When I retired, I had over 400 hours of annual leave on the books, so the lump sum payment helped me survive the transition period while OPM slowly adjudicated my annuity.

By the way, as a Federal manager, I usually knew which members of my organization were abusing sick leave, and, yes, it did shape my opinion of their work. I overheard the water cooler conversations about "mental health days," and I observed the sick days that often seemed to happen the day before three day weekends, etc.

MnD
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Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by MnD » Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:07 am

federal dinosaur wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:36 am
Sick Leave balance/time is calculated in defining the FERS pension monthly benefit - - - > which results in a monetary value/per month for the remaining lifetime of the retired fed employee. Ask any boglehead about small, incremental savings over a remaining lifetime time period and whether that can make a difference.
Unutilized SL will increase my annuity by 3.4%.
Over 34.67 years I used almost exactly 1/3 of my SL earned - an average of 4.3 days per year which included being sick/injured, caring for ill family members and doctor/dentist appts.
70/30 AA, Global market cap equity. Rebalance if FI <25% or >35%. Weighted ER< .10%. 5% of annual portfolio balance SWR, Proportional (to AA) withdrawals.

ChrisC
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Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by ChrisC » Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:30 am

UpperNwGuy wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:59 am
By the way, as a Federal manager, I usually knew which members of my organization were abusing sick leave, and, yes, it did shape my opinion of their work. I overheard the water cooler conversations about "mental health days," and I observed the sick days that often seemed to happen the day before three day weekends, etc.
I was a Federal manager as well. I suspected "slick leave" on many occasions, especially from workers under the FERS retirement system before they changed the rules for those workers to have sick leave to be eligible as creditable service for annuity purposes, as was the case for CSRS workers. Slick leave also appeared to exist for workers who were not vested in long term career prospects in the Federal service. None of this shaped my opinion of their value as workers. In many cases, I thought sick leave was appropriate for mental health days and that, in some cases, sick leave should be used to reach situations where there was an apparent gap and harshness in treatment of my staff -- this was before they permitted more liberal use of sick leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.

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wander
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Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Post by wander » Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:49 pm

DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:16 am
Try to hang on to your health care insurance, it’s not just health care, it’s also dental care. You won’t be able to get good dental plan from ACA, no dental plan with Medicare either.
This is a good advice. You want to continue paying low cost insurance in your retirement.

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