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More feds doing life sentences
Old 10-06-2011, 11:04 PM   #1
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More feds doing life sentences

For years it was thought that retirement of massive numbers of federal employee baby boomers would create a shortage of federal workers at some point. Apparently that hasn't happened, and annual numbers of retirees has stayed relatively steady. Recent economic difficulties may be playing a part in this, according to the article.

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The number of retirement-eligible feds (people with more than enough time in government) may be at an all-time high. Congress keeps threatening to make federal employment less enjoyable and lucrative.

But the bottom line is that the "retirement tsunami" first predicted in 1999 still hasn't hit. And even if agencies open the door by offering $25,000 buyouts, there is no indication that hordes of people will flee the government for retirement or unemployment. Retirements have held steady (in the 60,000 range) year after year, and the quit rate is actually down. That's probably a reflection of the miserable nonfederal job market.
More feds doing life sentences - FederalNewsRadio.com
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Old 10-07-2011, 12:01 AM   #2
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For years it was thought that retirement of massive numbers of federal employee baby boomers would create a shortage of federal workers at some point. Apparently that hasn't happened, and annual numbers of retirees has stayed relatively steady. Recent economic difficulties may be playing a part in this, according to the article.
I am puzzled as to why the economy would stop someone under CSRS from retiring, but I've heard coworkers use that as a reason.
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Old 10-07-2011, 12:21 AM   #3
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For years it was thought that retirement of massive numbers of federal employee baby boomers would create a shortage of federal workers at some point.
This reminds me of the paranoia about "What if the Boomers all retire and sell their stocks and the S&P500 goes to zero?!?"
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Old 10-07-2011, 12:41 AM   #4
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this reminds me of the paranoia about "what if the boomers all retire and want to sell their stocks houses and the s&p500 housing market goes to zero in the toilet?!?"
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Old 10-07-2011, 08:09 AM   #5
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This reminds me of the paranoia about "What if the Boomers all retire and sell their stocks and the S&P500 goes to zero?!?"
That one is still alive and well though it is likely baseless.

Today's worry is just getting shellshocked investors back into the market so they can sell.
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Old 10-07-2011, 08:42 AM   #6
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I suspect it has to do with the lack of savings outside the federal pension, combined with FUD. Many, if not most, federal employees are what I would consider to be conservative financially, and just don't want to lose a good job during a time where they feel uncomfortable about the future of federal pensions. Even if everyone tells them their benefits are safe, they may not accept it at gut level.
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Old 10-07-2011, 10:56 AM   #7
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I suspect it has to do with the lack of savings outside the federal pension, combined with FUD. Many, if not most, federal employees are what I would consider to be conservative financially, and just don't want to lose a good job during a time where they feel uncomfortable about the future of federal pensions. Even if everyone tells them their benefits are safe, they may not accept it at gut level.
Yes, that is a good point. Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) is a reasonable attitude when federal pensions are on the line. Also, by now the great majority of federal employees are in the FERS system (not the older CSRS system with the larger pensions), and FERS relies on having a significant TSP balance upon which to rely. As you point out, few seem to be accumulating enough savings either inside or outside the TSP to retire on. At least, that was the case among those I knew.
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Old 10-07-2011, 12:30 PM   #8
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There are plenty of CSRS employees here that are retirement eligible and are not retiring. I don't know why! I talked to a guy recently and helped him figure out what his pension would be. Turns out the guy would make more being retired after we took out the CSRS contributions, TSP, some $ for commuting expenses, taxes, etc.

Most of the old timers here may be making 10% more by working. Heck, I'd retire with that spread any day!
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Old 10-07-2011, 12:41 PM   #9
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There are plenty of CSRS employees here that are retirement eligible and are not retiring. I don't know why! I talked to a guy recently and helped him figure out what his pension would be. Turns out the guy would make more being retired after we took out the CSRS contributions, TSP, some $ for commuting expenses, taxes, etc.
Admittedly from my non-fed point of view, it boggles my mind. For anyone with enough service to be in CSRS, unless they lived horribly beyond their means, I can't imagine financial constraints being the reason. Maybe they fear they may get bored and have second thoughts about retirement, and fear they won't be able to find another j*b (fed or otherwise) if they do want to go back to w*rk? That's all I can come up with.

The FERS people, though, yeah I can see that. There is a considerable need for personal savings through TSP and otherwise for most FERS employees, and they may well share the same angst as I and others do about my 401K (namely that it won't grow enough in future years or through their retirement). And not many people feel secure about the size or direction of their "defined contribution" retirement plans, be it TSP or a 401K or an IRA or whatever.

The larger the "unknown" component of your retirement, the more tendency there may be to fall victim to "one more year syndrome."
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Old 10-07-2011, 12:51 PM   #10
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There are plenty of CSRS employees here that are retirement eligible and are not retiring. I don't know why! I talked to a guy recently and helped him figure out what his pension would be. Turns out the guy would make more being retired after we took out the CSRS contributions, TSP, some $ for commuting expenses, taxes, etc.

Most of the old timers here may be making 10% more by working. Heck, I'd retire with that spread any day!
This happens more than you think, though I wasn't nearly as noble, I know many teachers who would have more take home pay, not working than working, yet they continue. They cite various reasons with none of them being true. What they should say is the truth, which is they love their job and wouldn't know what to do without it. There is nothing wrong with that, but I believe they are too embarrassed to admit it for some reason. Some won't even acknowledge how many years they have worked as their coworkers will question why they won't retire.
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Old 10-07-2011, 01:02 PM   #11
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It's not a one-size-fits-all deal. Think about a GS-5 or GS-7 secretary who's retirement eligible. Even under CSRS, they're not gonna have an exactly lucrative pension coming in. Say somebody's hi-three under CSRS with 30 yrs is 40,000. I think at age 55 & 30 yrs, the multiplication factor is something like 56.25% of hi-three. If that's not exactly right, it's very close. What's that work out to.....$22,500 per year? And...because this person was working under CSRS all those years, likely may not have any Social Security earned so that's out. Not exactly a lucrative retirement...is it? That person may very well realize they don't have much of a retirement to look forward to if they check out when first eligible, so decide to keep working. To simply say they should have saved up a big pile of money over the years does not consider all the things that can happen in the average person's life....death of a spouse and loss of their income, nasty divorces that can wipe people out financially, family disasters that do the same.....major illnesses, just plain poor financial decisions, deals gone bad...etc. Not everybody has the mindset or resources to put much away. Sometimes, life just gets in the way...kid issues, relative issues. So a 55 yr old person reaches retirement eligibility age at 55, looking at a pension of $22500 before taxes, before health insurance, life insurance...maybe survivor benefits....I can see why people keep on working. There are MANY more feds working at the GS-5,7,9 grades than you might suspect. MANY of them will retire at those grades. Not even nearly everybody can move up to higher grades. A GS-5 sales checker working at the commissary is very likely to have started as a GS-3, and also very likely to be a GS-5 when she retires. Not a failure on their parts, just that not everybody is cut out to move up the ladder. Those are the people that the talking heads forget about when they're denigrating and trashing the federal employee and looking to find a scapegoat for Washington's failed financial policies. Let's just put it on the backs of federal workers. They forget or don't care to find out about the hundreds of thousands of feds who do the less visible and lower paying work. Those are the ones who really will get screwed.
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Old 10-07-2011, 01:09 PM   #12
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It's not a one-size-fits-all deal. Think about a GS-5 or GS-7 secretary who's retirement eligible. Even under CSRS, they're not gonna have an exactly lucrative pension coming in. Say somebody's hi-three under CSRS with 30 yrs is 40,000. I think at age 55 & 30 yrs, the multiplication factor is something like 56.25% of hi-three. If that's not exactly right, it's very close. What's that work out to.....$22,500 per year? And...because this person was working under CSRS all those years, likely may not have any Social Security earned so that's out. Not exactly a lucrative retirement...is it? That person may very well realize they don't have much of a retirement to look forward to if they check out when first eligible, so decide to keep working. To simply say they should have saved up a big pile of money over the years does not consider all the things that can happen in the average person's life....death of a spouse and loss of their income, nasty divorces that can wipe people out financially, family disasters that do the same.....major illnesses, just plain poor financial decisions, deals gone bad...etc. Not everybody has the mindset or resources to put much away. Sometimes, life just gets in the way...kid issues, relative issues. So a 55 yr old person reaches retirement eligibility age at 55, looking at a pension of $22500 before taxes, before health insurance, life insurance...maybe survivor benefits....I can see why people keep on working. There are MANY more feds working at the GS-5,7,9 grades than you might suspect. MANY of them will retire at those grades. Not even nearly everybody can move up to higher grades. A GS-5 sales checker working at the commissary is very likely to have started as a GS-3, and also very likely to be a GS-5 when she retires. Not a failure on their parts, just that not everybody is cut out to move up the ladder. Those are the people that the talking heads forget about when they're denigrating and trashing the federal employee and looking to find a scapegoat for Washington's failed financial policies. Let's just put it on the backs of federal workers. They forget or don't care to find out about the hundreds of thousands of feds who do the less visible and lower paying work. Those are the ones who really will get screwed.
Very well said! There are many very hard working feds in those grade levels. I was one of them. Started at a GS-3 and ended at a GS-9. I'm very grateful that I was given the opportunity to get my 9.
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Old 10-07-2011, 01:14 PM   #13
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I can't find the figures, but it seems to me that I read somewhere that about 85% of federal employees are now FERS instead of CSRS. That may have been a few years ago.

I feel Google-impaired.

And yes, happy2bretired, there are a lot of hard working feds in those grade levels, so true. Going from a GS-3 to GS-9 was not easy to do in my agency, either; quite an accomplishment.
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Old 10-08-2011, 03:27 PM   #14
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Wow talk about a tale of two worlds. I read the first few posts and kept going. Sour grapes on my part but I know I could make retirement work with these gov't plans. I look at people retiring from my company after the pension disappeared, benfits went away, and realize that was 20 years ago. Most of us adapted and are still positioned for retirement.
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Old 10-08-2011, 04:26 PM   #15
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...FERS employees (85%?) are not in the same position as those in the old CSRS system and must save to fund their own retirement. When I was working, most of my co-workers were in the FERS system and despite "retirement training" seminars frankly it seemed to me that the majority of them were not saving enough for retirement.
I also found this to be true where I w*rked. New cars and "latest and greatest" technology consumer purchases seemed to be the main priority.

I entered fed service in 1988 as a GS-11 and immediately signed up for the TSP at the 5% contribution level with the 5% match. I increased my contributions to 10% a few years later. A few more years later, every time the contribution rate was increased (11-15% annually), I pushed it right up there while earning a GS-12, then a GS-13 salary. I maxed it up to approx 19% for the last 2 years I was there for that extra "before I say " boost. I needed the tax deferral as well as the pre-exit boost.
After 18 years 3 months of fed service, and using a standard 60/40 AA for my TSP, I had a sizable nest egg.
Most of my co-w*rkers (of similar grade) were astounded at the amount I had squirreled away. I would usually respond by pointing to my faithful 1992 Honda Accord with rust developing on the back quarter panels and chuckle.
Some laughed right along with me, some got a confused look on their faces.
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Old 10-08-2011, 04:39 PM   #16
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I know only a couple of people with fed jobs, one with USDA and one retired AF (is that considered a fed?). We never get any coverage in Chicago that I can remember about federal employees retirement benefits so I am clueless about them just as you feds would be about private sector stuff.

Both of my parents worked for the gummint but did not live long enough to take much $$ from retirement benefits (mom none, dad maybe 2 years?).
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Old 10-08-2011, 05:37 PM   #17
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Last I heard, my EX was still employed (CSRS 40 years GM-13)
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Old 10-08-2011, 07:03 PM   #18
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Khan...Your EX will retire with about 80 to 82 percent of salary. Adding sick leave will push the retirement above 80 percent. That's pretty good...a 13...step 10...makes around $106,000.
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Old 10-08-2011, 09:16 PM   #19
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I'm amazed at the number of CSRS employees who never put a cent into the TSP. I've brought up the topic of TSP to several coworkers and had them respond, "I don't contribute, I'm CSRS".

I've also read the Fedsoup forum and other federal employee websites. I can't believe the amount of stressing people do about having to wait several months post retirement before their pension kicks in. It sounds to me like many of them have no money put aside, or at least not enough to cover their expenses for several months.
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Old 10-08-2011, 09:17 PM   #20
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My boss is a GS-13, almost 41 yrs and is finally retiring this December. I thought he never would....
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