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Old 04-22-2021, 07:17 AM   #61
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The other side of that coin is as a Local Gov Employee... We have learned to manage on less money
Yup, I earned very little for the first half of my career...and just enough the last half. However, that did force me to develop DIY skills.
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Old 04-22-2021, 07:53 AM   #62
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Planning 47 this year with 23 years Fed. ... Seems like most GovFIRE folks retire "early" at 57 .... How many other career civilians broke the Golden Handcuffs walking away without an immediate annuity or FEHB?
Left county at just over 50, sister left on her 50th bd. But we did work PT for a few years (1 day a week & she did max 20 hrs). Fully retired in 2017 and she does today. I walked out on a substantial amount by not leaving at 55 but don't regret it at all. Let me do my play job without breaking up arguments all day long and she worked in JV with the big boys [aka: felonies charges waiting for trail] which was basically the same thing but mine were verbal --- hers were physical
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Old 04-22-2021, 08:00 AM   #63
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Most government employees I knew (and that was most people I knew) are quite frugal. Even those who move up the ladder, and marry others who end up on high rungs, retain many frugal habits, although they spend more on home, vacations, and kids' education and lessons (things seen as "added value.")

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The other side of that coin is as a Local Gov Employee... We have learned to manage on less money
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Old 04-22-2021, 04:05 PM   #64
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Most government employees I knew (and that was most people I knew) are quite frugal. Even those who move up the ladder, and marry others who end up on high rungs, retain many frugal habits, although they spend more on home, vacations, and kids' education and lessons (things seen as "added value.")
Definitely how I understood the proposition. Having a limited and fixed (but somewhat secure) income works well with LBYM. There was no social drive to upscale residence, car, vacations etc. Advancing strategies include diligent work, advanced degree, relocation, second job/teaching/RE investments and marrying well.
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Old 04-22-2021, 05:02 PM   #65
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Our stateís retirement is lousy and after 19 years I got about a third of what I made monthly. But my fabulous boss retired and I didnít think I wanted to spend my last several years training another one. I worked more for entertainment and insurance than for money anyway. And my really weird cow-orkers provided loads of great entertainment. Way better than TV.
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Old 04-22-2021, 09:48 PM   #66
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Planning 47 this year with 23 years Fed. Figure the deferred pension will be worth about 7-12K in today's dollars depending how the next 13 years play out - not enough to make much difference but a bit of a cushion if 2021 turns out to be a new historical worse time to retire. Hard to walk away from the golden handcuffs but 10 more years suffering the bureaucracy and incompetence to die rich seems like a bad deal. Back of envelope, I'd have 2-4X what I have now (savings and pension value) if I waited till 57 at which time FERS would cover all/nearly all of my projected expenses. Maybe my 57 year old self will wish for that money but I'm hoping he'll be happier that he got a decade of freedom and better mental and physical health before he turned 57.


Seems like most GovFIRE folks retire "early" at 57 or have benefits from prior military service (also seems everyone where I work is counting down to that magic birthday even though many have the military pension/Tricare). How many other career civilians broke the Golden Handcuffs walking away without an immediate annuity or FEHB?
I very well could be one of those people in the future. I have to work until age 43 just to get 10 years in in the government. Is the FEHB *THAT* Much better than ACA, and subsequently Medigap? it probably is, but is it worth working the extra decade or two to avoid the alternatives? Probably not.

The longer I work, the bigger my FERS and SS gets. i could work 20 years at GS-12 and I still probably not be above the 2nd SS bend point.

I'm not financially in a place where I can comfortably retire, so, I figure i might as well work for the government. Private sector isn't going to pay me more. Having teleworked for the past year, if I can find something that is 100% remote in the government, I probably would gut it out for a couple decades. Or take a permanent seasonal position so that I have lots of time off every year.

If it is somehow easier to find remote work in the private sector, I would definitely consider that, I'm only 2 years into FERS service so them handcuffs are practically paperweights at this point.

The good news is if you or I were to go back at 57, we could retire pretty quickly and restart that lifelong FEHB with an immediate annuity even with a 10-15 year gap.
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Old 04-22-2021, 10:28 PM   #67
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Iíve been a local government employee for 35 years. Iíve worked for 3 different counties in California in CalPERs.

I am planning on retiring at age 63-this September -as my pension is maximized at 63.
Not much of a return on my investment of time after that.
I will get 85% of my current pay.

SSA will be reduced due to WEP as one county did not participate in SSA. That gets me to 94.5% of current pay so I will be bringing home more than I am right now.
Iím looking forward to that!

These last 2 years have been a slog but I had to get some things taken care of and I have one issue left that really needs to get resolved because I canít take much more.
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Old 04-23-2021, 05:16 AM   #68
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I very well could be one of those people in the future. I have to work until age 43 just to get 10 years in in the government. Is the FEHB *THAT* Much better than ACA, and subsequently Medigap? it probably is, but is it worth working the extra decade or two to avoid the alternatives? Probably not.

For me, I don't think so.. as long as ACA and my local market hold steady. The plan I intend to purchase I priced with my current age and my age up to medicare and it is affordable based on my projections. It has a more limited network (both my current doctors participate and have for years!) but is similar to my current plan with a slightly higher deductible and max OOP and is HSA eligible so as long as it is managed well and I don't have administrative headaches I think I'll be just as happy with it. The cost is less than the full cost of my FEHB plan before gov't subsidy. I budgeted for the full cost but expect a decent subsidy when I RE that will reduce my cost =< what I currently pay.



At 47 years old I have a long horizon and expect some single payer scheme to be passed eventually so I'd have some baseline coverage regardless.
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Old 04-23-2021, 05:24 AM   #69
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Most government employees I knew (and that was most people I knew) are quite frugal. Even those who move up the ladder, and marry others who end up on high rungs, retain many frugal habits, although they spend more on home, vacations, and kids' education and lessons (things seen as "added value.")

My reference group is different. There is a lot of grade inflation where I am so people are paid well above what their productivity would suggest... Including me, I feel as if I am being compensated for my capacity but not my productivity... why I can't last another 10 years with my brain turning to mush. Most people are not particularly happy and are counting the days to MRA yet they continually buy boats, bigger/waterfront houses, higher-end luxury cars, dine out constantly, etc. Many openly talk and almost all of this is debt spending. I could "coast fire" now and spend my entire paycheck but the only thing I am missing is time to enjoy what I already have and I can't earn more time by working till I have "too much."
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Old 04-23-2021, 09:49 AM   #70
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That's interesting - maybe they are influenced by a local culture of spending and showing off?

I would be curious as to what type of government employee you are (state?), although I realize you may not want to put that out there.

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. Most people are not particularly happy and are counting the days to MRA yet they continually buy boats, bigger/waterfront houses, higher-end luxury cars, dine out constantly, etc. Many openly talk and almost all of this is debt spending.
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Old 04-23-2021, 10:51 AM   #71
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That's interesting - maybe they are influenced by a local culture of spending and showing off?

I would be curious as to what type of government employee you are (state?), although I realize you may not want to put that out there.

Federal Government. I know some feel trapped, others I think just like spending money but even then few stay past MRA.
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Old 04-23-2021, 11:44 AM   #72
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I very well could be one of those people in the future. I have to work until age 43 just to get 10 years in in the government. Is the FEHB *THAT* Much better than ACA, and subsequently Medigap? it probably is, but is it worth working the extra decade or two to avoid the alternatives? Probably not.
I left federal service at 53 and ACA was passed a few months later so have been on ACA almost the entire time I've been retired. The first year after retirement I purchased private insurance and the premium cost ($160/mo) was more than FEHB but reasonable. Today a similar HDHP HSA plan through ACA cost $1023/mo unsubsidized. After the first year of being retired I switched to ACA and premiums quickly increased for the first few years but the subsidy kept my cost low, most years lower than what I would have paid for a similar plan through FEHB. Overall I paid less for insurance with ACA compared to FEHB but that was with a decent subsidy, without it I hate to think about what it would have cost me. No question luck and good timing played a big part of it.
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Old 04-23-2021, 04:24 PM   #73
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Govt Retirees

I retired after 30 years of service and when I became fully eligible for my pension. My pension is less than 1/2 of my take home pay so I supplement with investment dividends. I was too young to draw from my IRAís without incurring a %10 penalty.
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Old 04-23-2021, 04:51 PM   #74
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When did you decide to retire? I retired/ left govt service when my pension = my take home. Another poster has me wondering if this scenario is common.

I'll be a dbl dipper in a few years. Not bc I want to. Bc the IRS says so

Retired on the first day I was qualified to retire. My wife, who is older than me waited six months to retire after she was qualified - we wanted to retire together. If you got enough $, why stick around - unless you like the job. We were in extremely stressful jobs, so it wasn't worth sticking around for a higher percentage. Been retired almost nine years now, and wouldn't have done it any different.


You only have so much time. Be happy.
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Old 04-23-2021, 05:09 PM   #75
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When did you decide to retire? I retired/ left govt service when my pension = my take home. Another poster has me wondering if this scenario is common.

I'll be a dbl dipper in a few years. Not bc I want to. Bc the IRS says so
Your title about Gov Retirees got my attention as a possible future gov employee. Will you provide a tiny bit of help with the gov retirement plan that I am currently learning about via OPM?

As a serious hypothetical: If a 38 year old joins feds as GS-11 Step 1 on 1/1 and takes advantage of TSA and other benefits and has enough to FIRE at 50 years old on 12/31 (possible GS-13 or GS-14 Step 8 or 9; think by time that is where it would get) how much would I (this person) be able to get in retirement once hitting the Minimum Retirement Age (MRA)?

Eligibility URL: https://www.opm.gov/retirement-servi...on/eligibility
Time-in each grade URL: https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-over...rade-increases

If this is not-in-line for this post please let me know and I'll kindly remove it and start a new forum post.
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Old 04-23-2021, 05:16 PM   #76
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When did you decide to retire? I retired/ left govt service when my pension = my take home. Another poster has me wondering if this scenario is common.

I'll be a dbl dipper in a few years. Not bc I want to. Bc the IRS says so

I retired at age 55 after 34 years under CSRS and then I double dipped for 10 years as a county government employee which has even better retirement benefits than CSRS. My retirement pay consisted of (1) a CSRS pension of 34 years, (2) Cal Pers pension of 10 years and (3) SS. Combining all three = 1.25X my former take home pay while working. I did not retire early since I had great jobs with great people and supervisors.
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Old 04-23-2021, 05:22 PM   #77
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It's a perfectly good post for this forum. The title of the post is very general, so it's up to the OP to decide if you're OK but I see nothing wrong.

Have you tried this calculator, provided by OPM (the office which would pay your benefits)?
https://www.opm.gov/retirement-servi...ark-estimator/

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Originally Posted by FIREarly View Post
Your title about Gov Retirees got my attention as a possible future gov employee. Will you provide a tiny bit of help with the gov retirement plan that I am currently learning about via OPM?

As a serious hypothetical: If a 38 year old joins feds as GS-11 Step 1 on 1/1 and takes advantage of TSA and other benefits and has enough to FIRE at 50 years old on 12/31 (possible GS-13 or GS-14 Step 8 or 9; think by time that is where it would get) how much would I (this person) be able to get in retirement once hitting the Minimum Retirement Age (MRA)?

Eligibility URL: https://www.opm.gov/retirement-servi...on/eligibility
Time-in each grade URL: https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-over...rade-increases

If this is not-in-line for this post please let me know and I'll kindly remove it and start a new forum post.
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Old 04-23-2021, 05:37 PM   #78
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As a serious hypothetical: If a 38 year old joins feds as GS-11 Step 1 on 1/1 and takes advantage of TSA and other benefits and has enough to FIRE at 50 years old on 12/31 (possible GS-13 or GS-14 Step 8 or 9; think by time that is where it would get) how much would I (this person) be able to get in retirement once hitting the Minimum Retirement Age (MRA)?
Going from GS11 step 1 to GS14 step 9 in 12 years may be wishful thinking but it's pretty easy to estimate the standard FERS pension, it's 1% of your high 3 salary times the number of years worked. A ballpark estimate based on a current GS14 step 9 salary (~$119K*.01*12) works out to ~$14K/yr pension at 62. If you take it early (MRA) you would lose 5% for every year under 62, and you receive no COLA until you reach 62. This is for standard FERS, not sure if TSA falls under a special category.
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Old 04-23-2021, 06:59 PM   #79
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Promotion rate depends on so many factors, many of them subjective or having to do with the culture at the agency he's joining. Also, various special pay scales exist. But all the scales and locality additions can be found online.

$119K is the base rate for a 14 step 9. Locality pay can boost that much higher.

Last but not least - I'm sure OP is aware that FERS retirement is a 3-legged stool: modest pension, Thrift Savings Plan including matching, and SS.

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Going from GS11 step 1 to GS14 step 9 in 12 years may be wishful thinking but it's pretty easy to estimate the standard FERS pension, it's 1% of your high 3 salary times the number of years worked. A ballpark estimate based on a current GS14 step 9 salary (~$119K*.01*12) works out to ~$14K/yr pension at 62. If you take it early (MRA) you would lose 5% for every year under 62, and you receive no COLA until you reach 62. This is for standard FERS, not sure if TSA falls under a special category.
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Old 04-23-2021, 07:36 PM   #80
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Your title about Gov Retirees got my attention as a possible future gov employee. Will you provide a tiny bit of help with the gov retirement plan that I am currently learning about via OPM?

As a serious hypothetical: If a 38 year old joins feds as GS-11 Step 1 on 1/1 and takes advantage of TSA and other benefits and has enough to FIRE at 50 years old on 12/31 (possible GS-13 or GS-14 Step 8 or 9; think by time that is where it would get) how much would I (this person) be able to get in retirement once hitting the Minimum Retirement Age (MRA)?

Eligibility URL: https://www.opm.gov/retirement-servi...on/eligibility
Time-in each grade URL: https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-over...rade-increases

If this is not-in-line for this post please let me know and I'll kindly remove it and start a new forum post.
What does TSA have to do with anything? Did you mean the TSP?. Anyways, if you work from 38 to 50, you'll get 12% of your High 3. If you want to take the pension at MRA, it'll be a 25% reduction vs taking it at 62.
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