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Old 12-08-2013, 07:57 AM   #21
Recycles dryer sheets
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 182
I think Walt34 has some good practical advice. It would also be nice to know what grade level and subject matter you would be teaching. I taught many labs in college and graduate school and tutored science and math from high school up and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Have never been a teacher full time, so I don't have the depth of understanding, but I'm somewhat surprised at the negative comments regarding teaching; is it really that bad? The teachers I know (3 kids, so I've interacted with quite a few) seem to be pretty happy. I'll also say that my decision to go to college (first one in my immediate family) was due to an influential chemistry teacher in HS. I'm interested to know what you decide, so please keep us posted. Thanks.

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Old 12-12-2013, 09:28 AM   #22
Recycles dryer sheets
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 81
Originally Posted by Kaufmanrider View Post
Congrats. I retire Jan 11, 2014, 25 years as a LEO, only 49. Time for a change of scenery. You mention minimum withdrawals from TSP. I believe at age 55, you only pay Fed/State Tax on TSP withdrawals, no more 10% penalty. Therefore, I believe you can tell TSP to give you what you want each month, i.e., monthly dollar amount withdrawal rather than Life Expectancy.

If you're interested, PM me as I am not sure if I am allowed to put external links on this message board and I'll send you a link to a free FERS LEO retirement booklet, updated annually, written by a now retired Fed LEO, Series 1811, that is probably the best booklet there is. He also does a non-leo Fed booklet for you regular Feds. :-)
A Federal LEO/Firefighter/Air Traffic Controller retiring early can start taking "life expectancy" withdrawals from the TSP at any age without the 10% penalty but cannot change that option once selected until age 59.5 at which time a one-time final change of withdrawal method can be made. Federal/State tax does apply to those withdrawals but not FICA. (If one doesn't need the money though, it's probably best to let it ride & grow in the TSP)

As to the OP inquiry about teaching ... I hate to be a Negative Nelly, but I wouldn't be doing it for the money. My wife was a public school teacher for a few years and found it's not so much the kids being the problem as it was the school administration, politics, and all of the after-hours work required. Has the OP thought about teaching college classes as an adjunct? I have an ex-FedLEO friend who did that a few years & was very happy with it. Personally, I tried a couple of contract investigative jobs before deciding I just really didn't want to work anymore ... so now I don't ... at all ... and I love it! (word of warning --- don't take one of those contract OPM background investigation gigs ... you will regret it unless you are just a real Type-A and don't care what your effective per hour rate of pay is) I hear a lot of the retirees who go down to FLETC to teach are happy ... might want to look into that?

Also, retiring early you will become subject to the Social Security earnings limit at age 55 for purposes of your FERS Supplement which will be reduced per a formula according to how much you make over the limit. I was never able to find a good calculator for the FERS Supplement and it's a pretty complicated formula - even many of the agancy HR office retirement coordinators can't seem to figure it out .... the reality ballpark figure for most is 1k to 1.2k per month. OPM will let you know for sure only when you finally pull the plug. (the Supplement goes away at age 62, btw and you are expected to then apply for early SS ... or just wait)

And once retired ---- don't forget to take that Public Safety Officer tax deduction for your retiree health insurance premiums ---- a little known perk some Congressperson threw into the tax code for us! (could that be because Congresspersons get the Law Enforcement retirement as well instead of regular FERS or CSRS? Not sure why, but they do.)

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