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Old 04-19-2021, 09:48 AM   #21
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I won't say I chose my career for a pension, but it certainly was an incentive.

I remember my Dad saying what a great benefit it was and how I would be a fool not to go after it, even though it meant moving 1,000 miles all by myself. He had paid into a union pension fund all his life, retired early for health reasons, and watched his non-COLA pension shrivel into irrelevancy during the 1970's inflation years. He ended up getting a job in his late 60's.

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DH and I retired last November. He worked for the state starting at 21yo. He could have retired as early as 50 with 90% of his pay. He stayed an extra 2 years because he loved his job. No extra earnings on pension just extra contributions. Lost all his sick time as service credits since he exceeded his 30 years of work.

Turns out no longer contributing to his pension makes the pension check bigger than his paycheck while working. We are down an income since I retired with him. We do have full medical dental and vision until Medicare . He’s 53 I am 54 life is good.

When anyone whines about his pension his response is “I chose well”. DH grew up poor . Ten people living in a 2 bed house. He slept on the floor beneath the pull out couch poor. He chose a career specifically for a pension. Turns out he loved the job and they loved him.
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Old 04-19-2021, 10:24 AM   #22
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I retired when my 22% pension + my planned withdrawal from my 457 + my dividends + my rents were double my monthly expenditures.

Working to earn more money seemed pointless.
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Old 04-19-2021, 11:01 AM   #23
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I retired from the feds when my job ended seven years ago, and I went out on a Discontinued Service Retirement ("DSR") at the age of 52. My pension is only 22ish percent of my final gross salary, but my TSP, which I moved to a rollover IRA, has doubled in the last 7 years.

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I retired when my 22% pension + my planned withdrawal from my 457 + my dividends + my rents were double my monthly expenditures.

Working to earn more money seemed pointless.

This is kinda spooky. My Megacorp pension is also right around 22% of my max salary. I wonder if there's some kind of hidden global "rule of 22" for early retirees?
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Old 04-19-2021, 11:08 AM   #24
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I retired as soon as I was eligible to do so, and waited until then so that I would get my FERS mini-pension and FEHB in retirement. I had contributed the max to the TSP and more than that to my taxable investment portfolio. With FERS you just don't get those huge pensions but they did match my TSP contributions and I get SS. But then you know all that.

I found the pre-retirement training offered by my agency to be extremely helpful so if any are offered for you, I'd recommend attending.
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Old 04-19-2021, 11:18 AM   #25
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I found the pre-retirement training offered by my agency to be extremely helpful so if any are offered for you, I'd recommend attending.
The helpfulness of the training depends on a few factors if you ask me. #1). Knowledge and understanding of the attendee prior to attendance. Knowledge and presentation of the actual training. Sometimes the presentor is just OK.

DW is 9 years into a FERS position after 21 in the USMC. She will jump in 2-5 years and will have to defer her FERS until age 63. From what I gather, the vast majority of folks do not defer. They work up until eligibilty of some sort. We don't need that because of our military pensions. Took a lot of digging and asking to get the specifics of quiting at 50-54 and defering until 63. Most responders were wondering why we were doing it that way. Same responses we would get when talking to people about 55 rule with 401k's. Most people just don't know.
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Old 04-19-2021, 11:26 AM   #26
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I found the pre-retirement training offered by my agency to be extremely helpful so if any are offered for you, I'd recommend attending.
The helpfulness of the training depends on a few factors if you ask me. #1). Knowledge and understanding of the attendee prior to attendance. Knowledge and presentation of the actual training. Sometimes the presentor is just OK.
I stand corrected! I guess that as usual, my agency just did things right (like finding a good pre-retirement training for us). I liked working for them.
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Old 04-19-2021, 11:35 AM   #27
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Gayl, I have read this paragraph 3 times, and still have no idea what it says. How do you convert a pension, and are you saying you paid extra money to do this? What was strange about the time?
Yes. I converted from Tier 2 pension (rank-and-file) to Tier 3 (mgmt) pension but because Tier 3 had a higher monthly contribution, my Tier 3 was underfunded by 66k and the 'contract' needed to resolved before retirement. I could have left myself in Tier 2 but that formula was YRS × FAS × 1%@55 + max 3% COLA whereas Tier 3 was YRS × FAS × 2%@55 + max 4% COLA. Didn't make it to 55 so left at 1.67%. That 66K was well worth it.

My '5 yrs to retirement' session showed me the #s and was invaluable. I had already been a director for several years but did not know about the conversion.
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Old 04-19-2021, 11:35 AM   #28
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I retired from the fed. govt. (under CSRS) about 5 months before reaching age 55. I already had more than 30 years of service, and was just waiting until I reached 55 (for normal retirement eligibility), but they offered me an "early out" a few months early, so I took it. I have no idea what percentage of my regular salary my pension was, but like Donheff, I had carefully determined my expenses (and other sources of income), and pretty much knew that I would be okay.


I had a good career overall, but my last 18 months or so was not much fun. We got a new supervisor at our office during that period, whose main objective was to cut staff and make life miserable for everyone, which is a big reason why I took the "early out". No regrets.
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Old 04-19-2021, 11:40 AM   #29
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I found the pre-retirement training offered by my agency to be extremely helpful so if any are offered for you, I'd recommend attending.
I found the pre-retirement seminars helpful too. At the seminar I caught a comment from one of the presenters that was pure gold! Presenter asked if anyone has a disabled dependent since they are covered under the pension system too.

We have a disabled adult child (she’s deaf) and she qualifies for a portion of my pension ($2,800/month) PLUS healthcare for her lifespan as long as she remains single after both wife and I pass. Wouldn’t have known that if it weren’t covered at the seminar.
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Old 04-19-2021, 11:52 AM   #30
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I retired when I found out that if I took my pension a bit early, I could buy into a state medical insurance plan. There was no subsidy from the state, but the plan benefits were good and the state group rate was much better than any individual plan I could buy.

Pension? If I waited for it to exceed my take then home income, I would still be working today, and tomorrow, and probably well into the 2030's. It's big benefit was being able to get good health insurance at a more reasonable price. No Obamacare back them.

I sleep better knowing that my modest pension plan is 100% funded. Better a 100% funded brass and wood plan than a less than 80% funded Solid Gold Platinum Plated plan. (There are two much older SGPP plans, real stinkers, that pull the state down to 90%.) Now if I could only get the Feds to work on fixing SS again.
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Old 04-19-2021, 12:57 PM   #31
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My agency started offering retirement planning seminars at mid-career (15 years in). They were some of the most useful presentations I've ever attended. Eventually there was a tool on the internal web where you could put in age, years of service, and other factors, and compute your monthly benefits for whatever retirement date you chose. Sometimes, when I was really annoyed at work, I would run the numbers just for fun. "Ha, ha! Think you've got a hold on me? Just wait till I dance out the door and leave you flat." Not that I ever actually did such a thing!

Of course I attended real retirement seminars later on, too. And met with a retirement counselor the moment I had a date in mind. All extremely useful. They brought in former employees, now contractors, who were actually paid to explain all the important pro's and cons of a very complex retirement system.

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I found the pre-retirement training offered by my agency to be extremely helpful so if any are offered for you, I'd recommend attending.
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Old 04-19-2021, 01:19 PM   #32
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I was stationed at the Pentagon when I decided to retire, and I had the chance to attend retirement planning seminars aimed at active duty military, although I had to pay for it. IIRC it cost a couple hundred bucks for ten evening sessions of about three hours each in 1989.

Worth every penny, since I credit that experience with giving me the confidence to easily score exactly the kind of job I wanted for my second career, despite never having worked in that field before.
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Old 04-19-2021, 06:20 PM   #33
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The helpfulness of the training depends on a few factors if you ask me. #1). Knowledge and understanding of the attendee prior to attendance. Knowledge and presentation of the actual training. Sometimes the presentor is just OK.

DW is 9 years into a FERS position after 21 in the USMC. She will jump in 2-5 years and will have to defer her FERS until age 63. From what I gather, the vast majority of folks do not defer. They work up until eligibilty of some sort. We don't need that because of our military pensions. Took a lot of digging and asking to get the specifics of quiting at 50-54 and defering until 63. Most responders were wondering why we were doing it that way. Same responses we would get when talking to people about 55 rule with 401k's. Most people just don't know.
I also deferred my FERS retirement, left the feds at 53. The retirement training is geared towards those applying for an immediate retirement, I'm sure the vast majority fall in that category. The OPM web site has the information you need, by the time I went to the retirement training class I was well read up, found the class mostly useless for my needs but would be helpful for normal retirees. Tell your wife to be patient when it comes time to applying for her FERS pension, it seems deferred retires are placed at the end of the line, priority is given to immediate retirees. As directed I submitted my paperwork 3 months before I wanted to start my pension, after not hearing anything from OPM for a couple months I contacted them and was told it might be another 6 months before they could get to it. Not a big deal to me, I got what was coming, just took a little longer then expected.
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Old 04-19-2021, 06:46 PM   #34
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The helpfulness of the training depends on a few factors if you ask me. #1). Knowledge and understanding of the attendee prior to attendance. Knowledge and presentation of the actual training. Sometimes the presentor is just OK.

DW is 9 years into a FERS position after 21 in the USMC. She will jump in 2-5 years and will have to defer her FERS until age 63. From what I gather, the vast majority of folks do not defer. They work up until eligibilty of some sort. We don't need that because of our military pensions. Took a lot of digging and asking to get the specifics of quiting at 50-54 and defering until 63. Most responders were wondering why we were doing it that way. Same responses we would get when talking to people about 55 rule with 401k's. Most people just don't know.
There is nothing to be gained by waiting until 63. She would defer to 62 for her full pension.
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Old 04-19-2021, 06:48 PM   #35
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Government Retirees

I think a lot of folks that drool over Gov’t pension payouts don’t take into account the cost to employees which can be significant. OTOH I didn’t have to contribute to my Megacorp pension but it had an optional contribution feature that added slight bump up for a tiny cost. Of course they kept reducing the payout but it ended up around 40% of final salary. The 401k + match started near the beginning of my career and they maintained the DB pension in addition rather than dropping it and offering 401k only as many employers did.

I recall vividly when FERS came about all my Fed friends and family thought it was no longer an attractive place to hire into.
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Old 04-19-2021, 07:00 PM   #36
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I recall vividly when FERS came about all my Fed friends and family thought it was no longer an attractive place to hire into.
If someone was hired before 2013, it was a lot more attractive than it is now. I pay 4.4% for my pensions, people hired before 2013 only pay 0.8% fro the same pension.


I suppose less of my pension will be taxable, at least.
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Old 04-19-2021, 08:52 PM   #37
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I worked 15 years for the state. I started my career later going to undergrad and graduate school once my 3 kids were in school. My pension when I retired was a third of my yearly income. I took a 4K cut to have my husband as beneficiary. Now divorced I was able to start receiving it and I also get small raises. I didn’t realize when hired that the state didn’t pay into SS which hurts. For people with 30 years in the SS cut doesn’t really matter.
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Old 04-20-2021, 06:38 AM   #38
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My CSRS pension contribution was 7%, slightly more than the FICA contribution of 6.5%, which I did not have to make.

After being on the ER forum, I wondered what I might have done with that 7%, and if I could have accumulated more than the NPV of my pension, which of course goes down with age. But that's the bargain you make: I know I'll get the pension, if I stay in long enough. I don't know for sure what I could do for myself. Either way, I am pretty sure I will get a larger monthly payout than SS would have provided.

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I think a lot of folks that drool over Gov’t pension payouts don’t take into account the cost to employees which can be significant. .
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Old 04-20-2021, 07:16 AM   #39
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My CSRS pension contribution was 7%, slightly more than the FICA contribution of 6.5%, which I did not have to make.

After being on the ER forum, I wondered what I might have done with that 7%, and if I could have accumulated more than the NPV of my pension, which of course goes down with age. But that's the bargain you make: I know I'll get the pension, if I stay in long enough. I don't know for sure what I could do for myself. Either way, I am pretty sure I will get a larger monthly payout than SS would have provided.
The FERS SS contribution was never meant to match the CSRS pension by itself, you also need to add in the smaller FERS pension and the 5% company matching TSP contribution which could add up to a significant amount over a long career if invested wisely (a big IF for many FERS employees).
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Old 04-20-2021, 07:26 AM   #40
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I think a lot of folks that drool over Gov’t pension payouts don’t take into account the cost to employees which can be significant.
Sure, but considering how many people there are that have no savings, having a govt pension is probably the best that they can do. This site is different...there are a lot of high achievers on this site that had the means to save $2, $3, $5 million for retirement.

But not everyone has that opportunity. I know several people who couldn't save a dime but were able to retire only because of their govt pension. I never made a lot of money yet was the first one of all my friends to retire, and many of them made a lot more than me.
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