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Old 06-24-2009, 08:17 PM   #21
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Ah. OK. But I suppose the key point in this link is here:



So yeah, you can legally participate in both TSP and a 401K, but you can't double-dip in that you're still limited to the $16,500/$22,000 *combined* limit.
Not sure I understand what you mean by "double-dipping." Someone in OCC under the FERS retirement system gets the benefits of two matching plans, so to that extent there's a "double" match, subject to the annual limit for contributions to deferred plans of $16500/22000. In other words, the employee can contribute to both plans and receive matching contributions from the agency up to 5% for each plan, effectively getting a 10 percent employer match of salary, subject to the annual deferral limit. TSP does not contribute a match beyond 5%, so the added 401K plan might be attractive to many.
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Old 06-24-2009, 08:42 PM   #22
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I have to strongly disagree with the comment concerning thinking long and hard about not providing a survivor annuity. If John is married (and I am assuming he is as he has a daughter who is a freshman in college and he speaks as if he is part of a complete family unit), then not taking the federal survivor annuity would be a really, really bad idea - unless his wife has a defined benefit pension, has health insurance on her own, or is going to be inheriting a LOT of money from somewhere else.

If John passes away and does not provide a survivor benefit, his wife will no longer have federal health insurance for life. She may have other life insurance, but the federal survivors annuity is indexed annually to inflation (same as social security). He does not have to take a full survivor annuity for her to keep the health insurance, but it has to be enough to cover the monthly premium.

I have not seen anyone, except insurance salemen, ever advise a retiring fed to skip the survivor annuity. It's even more important for someone with a high pension. If his is $110K a year, she will get 55% of that, about $60.5K a year, indexed to inflation for life. He, in turn, will pay about $11K annually for that protection (an amount which is not taxed at any level).

I am aware of far too many retirees who opted to get the extra bucks now and then passed away a few years after retiring, leaving their wives with no health insurance and no survivors annuity. John may have high expenses, but he also has a high pension and good assets to draw on. This is not a place for him to start cutting.

Now, if you have a very small pension and the survivors benefit would be 55% of that small number, it would still be a bad idea, unless your spouse has her own health coverage.
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Old 06-24-2009, 09:59 PM   #23
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Restonham, that is why I said "think long and hard"... unless there are circumstances not disclosed, not leaving a survivor annuity is foolish. A spouse must approve anything other than the standard survivor annuity. In this case, barring unusual circumstances, that would be grounds for divorce IMHO.
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Old 06-24-2009, 11:22 PM   #24
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JDW fire, I'm not taking home much more than I would with my pension, but the $4000 extra in annual pension for every additional year worked has a present value that is over $70,000. That is the main financial reason I have for staying.

Grumpy, I can't come back after retirement as a contractor unfortunately, but could get another job once the labor market improves. Brat, the pension amount mentioned is after the survivor benefit adjustment. I agree that budgeting will be important.

Being able to retire does give me a much more positive attitude about work. There is less to worry about, since I know there is something else to fall back on if necessary.
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Old 06-25-2009, 10:05 AM   #25
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Not sure I understand what you mean by "double-dipping."
What I mean is that you don't get two separate $16,500 limits.
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Old 07-05-2009, 04:55 PM   #26
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You sound like me (5 years ago) -- good Fed job, good pay, lets of stress. I was planning on staying a couple of years longer but when I hit 56 with 30 years and became eligible the BS/stress factor seemed to suddenly weigh more heavily than before. I gave my notice in September and left at the end of the year. Never regretted that decision.
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Old 09-22-2009, 11:00 PM   #27
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Gave Notice Today

Thanks for the comments. After thinking about this for several months and observing the increasing frequency of stressful events after some organizational changes, I gave notice today and will retire in mid-October. It will be a big change but the decision was made easier after reading about the experiences of other people on this board. Given the circumstances I don't feel any doubt that this was the right decision -- yet.

I'm looking forward to having the time to do the things I really want to do.
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Old 09-23-2009, 03:05 AM   #28
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Congratulations, John1954!!
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Old 09-23-2009, 06:35 AM   #29
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John1954, way to go! I hope you continue to post here and that you have a long and happy retirement!
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Old 09-23-2009, 08:08 AM   #30
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Good for you John. Don't start second guessing yourself, start living your new life.
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Old 09-23-2009, 08:22 AM   #31
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Thanks for the comments. After thinking about this for several months and observing the increasing frequency of stressful events after some organizational changes, I gave notice today and will retire in mid-October. It will be a big change but the decision was made easier after reading about the experiences of other people on this board. Given the circumstances I don't feel any doubt that this was the right decision -- yet.

I'm looking forward to having the time to do the things I really want to do.
Congrats!
You're gonna love your new life.

If I had to point to 1 single event that made my fed career go rapidly downhill, it was a reassignment during one of those "marble shaking" reorganization exercises. Marble shaking means putting people into a "box" like marbles and shaking it around to sort out and/or reblend them, without any regard for the outcome as far as decision validity and w*rker satisfaction. Par for the course...
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Old 09-23-2009, 12:19 PM   #32
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If I had to point to 1 single event that made my fed career go rapidly downhill, it was a reassignment during one of those "marble shaking" reorganization exercises. Marble shaking means putting people into a "box" like marbles and shaking it around to sort out and/or reblend them, without any regard for the outcome as far as decision validity and w*rker satisfaction. Par for the course...
Heh. I refer to this as the anthill school of management. Every once in a while management decides to poke the anthill with a stick. The ants surge out and run about madly trying to fix things. The manager observes the increased visible activity, interprets it as increased productivity, and awards himself a bonus.

It's a powerful ER incentive.
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Old 09-23-2009, 12:58 PM   #33
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After thinking about this for several months and observing the increasing frequency of stressful events after some organizational changes, I gave notice today and will retire in mid-October. It will be a big change but the decision was made easier after reading about the experiences of other people on this board. Given the circumstances I don't feel any doubt that this was the right decision -- yet.

I'm looking forward to having the time to do the things I really want to do.
Sometimes we all need to have a sounding board to help sort through a decision, and I got the impression that this thread was yours.

The lure of the golden handcuffs is powerful stuff to a lot of people; as is the "one more year" syndrome, but I do believe that for most people, if they pay attention, something lets you know when the time is right to say Adios!

In my case, I worked 31 years for a major MegaCorp in what many would consider a dream job, but left following a bad management shakeup. Convinced that I wasn't ready to fully retire, I spent the next five years heading up a major non-profit organization -- and had more stress than I thought possible. Finally, at the end of 2006, at the age of 55, I had enough...and I haven't looked back or regretted my decision even one minute!

Welcome to the rest of -- and hopefully, the best of -- your life!
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Old 09-23-2009, 01:02 PM   #34
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Heh. I refer to this as the anthill school of management. Every once in a while management decides to poke the anthill with a stick. The ants surge out and run about madly trying to fix things. The manager observes the increased visible activity, interprets it as increased productivity, and awards himself a bonus.

It's a powerful ER incentive.
We called it "seagull management". Management flies in, dumps on everybody, then flies out.
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Old 09-23-2009, 07:18 PM   #35
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Congratulations John!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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