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Government Retirees
Old 04-23-2021, 07:57 PM   #81
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Government Retirees

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Originally Posted by Music Lover View Post
Another good thing about being a govt retiree...when the topic of "how much is enough" comes up, most of us have an entirely different answer. "Enough" was the day I was eligible to retire with an unpenalized pension. OMY syndrome was never a factor.
I absolutely agree! Retiring after 30 years of service with an unpenalized pension was to me the finish line. Tomorrow is not promised and I have seen too many colleagues wait until a certain age and die suddenly just a few months short of that goal. I don’t have to be wealthy to be happy just healthy enough to enjoy life!
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Old 04-24-2021, 10:40 AM   #82
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Originally Posted by zinger1457 View Post
Going from GS11 step 1 to GS14 step 9 in 12 years may be wishful thinking .

I agree. GS11 is entry level for professional occupations. GS12 is senior level. GS13 is supervisor level. GS14 is mid manager level. For very specialized areas such as a Nuclear or Medical, the grades may be one step up. In any case....GS14 is difficult to acquire unless you are the upper 5% compared to everyone else.
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Old 04-24-2021, 10:43 AM   #83
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I retired at age 55 after 34 years under CSRS and then I double dipped for 10 years as a county government employee .
No chance for Double Dipping for me.... I can work limited Part time, But I cant work for any entity thats required to contribute to the State Retirement system.
County State , school,,, ECT. I could cross state lines but.... NAW.... I'm not retiring to get another job...
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Old 04-24-2021, 10:49 AM   #84
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Our state’s retirement is lousy and after 19 years I got about a third of what I made monthly.

I was lucky to get 2% per year under CSRS for 34 years and 2.7% under Cal Pers for 10 more years.

Looks like you got about 1.8% per year or 1.8% x 19 years = 34%. That is indeed lousy compared to other government pensions.
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Old 04-24-2021, 11:14 AM   #85
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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.

Starting at age 38 and retiring at age 50 is a stretch because that is only 12 years. If your retirement pension plan is 2% per year. then 2% x 12 years = 24% of your regular pay which is not very much.

I do not believe that the government will let you retire until 55 with the exception of a reduction in force or when the agency is laying off people which you cannot count on. You also cannot count on a 2% retirement plan since that will vary from agency to agency. You also cannot depend on a promotion to GS13 or 14 which are management level grades.

My advice? Do your homework.

Here is a funny story on how the government works: My agency had a reduction in force and I wanted an early retirement but the agency would not give it to me because I was a hard worker. Instead, they gave the early retirements to the lousy workers because they wanted to get rid of them.
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Old 04-24-2021, 01:55 PM   #86
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GS13-15 can also be achieved for sustained technical excellence and innovation. (My own career path was unusual, in that I took on technical and management challenges at different times).

As I mentioned, a lot depends on OP's knowledge domain, the agency or department OP plans to join, and the current climate at said agency. Presumably, OP has already factored in his/her best guess about all those things.

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Originally Posted by vchan2177 View Post
I agree. GS11 is entry level for professional occupations. GS12 is senior level. GS13 is supervisor level. GS14 is mid manager level. For very specialized areas such as a Nuclear or Medical, the grades may be one step up. In any case....GS14 is difficult to acquire unless you are the upper 5% compared to everyone else.
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Old 04-24-2021, 02:16 PM   #87
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I'm 6 years from retiring under FERS. I could go now, but the health care is what I need. We saved as if we would never get the pension or social security, so its a little difficult putting in the time every day. I'm hoping for an early out, but I'm in a high demand position, so the early out may come for the wife before me.
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Old 04-24-2021, 02:55 PM   #88
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GS13-15 can also be achieved for sustained technical excellence and innovation. (My own career path was unusual, in that I took on technical and management challenges at different times).

As I mentioned, a lot depends on OP's knowledge domain, the agency or department OP plans to join, and the current climate at said agency. Presumably, OP has already factored in his/her best guess about all those things.
I guess what I am saying: promotion to GS13-15 is NOT automatic. GS11 to GS12 can be achieved on technical skills alone..or "what" you know.

Promotion to GS-13-15 are management positions so office politics is partially a factor and it really depends more on "Who" you know. Normally there is a promotion board of managers who interview the GS12 candidates for the vacant GS13-15 position to give every GS12 candidate an opportunity.

When I went to Afghanistan as a Civilian, promotions were relatively easy simply because it was a combat zone so it was difficult to get Civilians to volunteer to go to Afghanistan and therefore less competition. However, back in the states, he may have a dozen GS-12 candidates applying for a single GS-13 vacant position. Unless OP is REALLY good he has to convince the board members that he is the most qualified candidate.

In your case, you were savvy enough to get the GS13-15 position. However, OP may have not the skills that you have. On the other hand, if OP is very knowledgeable and competitive, then that is his determination.

Remember that he want to reach that level in less than 12 years so he must be management material to begin with. This means public speaking skills, ability to talk intelligently to upper management, ability to supervise lower GS personnel, making things happen quickly, meeting schedule deadlines, looking good during a management meeting and looking good during a public meeting with the news media attending that public meeting.
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Old 04-24-2021, 05:30 PM   #89
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Don't I know it ;^> Politics features in everything and promotions are no exception. And that's true of 11s and 12s, too.

Somehow, I don't see OP as ignorant of this fact. If he expects he can reach 14 in 12 years, with enough time in grade to make step 9, then I'm going with that. His question was mainly about how to calculate potential benefits. Online calculators exist.

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Originally Posted by vchan2177 View Post
I guess what I am saying: promotion to GS13-15 is NOT automatic. GS11 to GS12 can be achieved on technical skills alone..or "what" you know.

Promotion to GS-13-15 are management positions so office politics is partially a factor and it really depends more on "Who" you know. .
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Old 04-24-2021, 09:06 PM   #90
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Originally Posted by vchan2177 View Post
Starting at age 38 and retiring at age 50 is a stretch because that is only 12 years. If your retirement pension plan is 2% per year. then 2% x 12 years = 24% of your regular pay which is not very much.

I do not believe that the government will let you retire until 55 with the exception of a reduction in force or when the agency is laying off people which you cannot count on. You also cannot count on a 2% retirement plan since that will vary from agency to agency. You also cannot depend on a promotion to GS13 or 14 which are management level grades.

My advice? Do your homework.

Here is a funny story on how the government works: My agency had a reduction in force and I wanted an early retirement but the agency would not give it to me because I was a hard worker. Instead, they gave the early retirements to the lousy workers because they wanted to get rid of them.
FERS is 1% per year, not 2% per year.
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Old 04-24-2021, 09:18 PM   #91
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Originally Posted by vchan2177 View Post
Starting at age 38 and retiring at age 50 is a stretch because that is only 12 years. If your retirement pension plan is 2% per year. then 2% x 12 years = 24% of your regular pay which is not very much. .... My advice? Do your homework.
Left county @ 22 yrs where you only have to be at least 50. Plus I had to put 2k month towards converting Tier 2 to Tier 3 which cut my take home. Learned to live on less. (FAS = 66K - 24k to cover conversion - 12k regular pension contribution)

Started as a ward clerk, left as the county ombudsman, picked up my MS along the way. Many of the nurses went from CNA -> LVN -> RN -> BSN. Might not be do-able with feds but it is with counties
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Old 04-25-2021, 06:48 AM   #92
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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.
My apologies, yes, TSP is what I was referring to. Thank you for the correction.

It might make sense to save money and wait til 62 to start taking the pension. I'll have to do the math on it but, first things first, I have to complete another certification, apply, and join a GS position.

Excuse me for not replying to other responses. This was read from phone before walking with DW and puppy.
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Old 07-13-2021, 06:36 PM   #93
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"Enough" was the day I was eligible to retire with an unpenalized pension. OMY syndrome was never a factor.
Absolutely! As described here, DW and I are FI and wish to RE now but can't before she reaches MRA in March 2023 in order to retain FEHB. Can you elaborate on how you used LWOP to essentially postpone until your MRA without forfeiting benefits? Sounds great!

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I am 53 with 33 years of service. There is a 5% penalty for each year you leave before 55. My options are:

Retire now with 33 years of service: 59.4%
Retire @ 54 with 34 years: 64.6%
Retire @ 55 with 35 years: 70% (max)
Take 1 year leave without pay at 54, but continue to pay both portions of the superannuation premium, and then "officially retire" at 55: 70%.

I'm going with the 4th option.
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My retirement age without penalty was 55...long enough but still early enough for me. I actually left 15 months prior to 55 and held off collecting my pension until the non-penalty phase was reached. I never would have made it to 60, I would have left and taken the penalty.
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Old 07-13-2021, 06:47 PM   #94
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I worked for the feds also. Retired at age 54 1/2 under an early-out (Voluntary Early Retirement Authority). So I took a very minor cut to my pension, as I was eligible for a full pension at age 55.


Regarding the "option" of taking a year of leave without pay (LWOP) prior to retirement - that is not something my agency would have approved. Perhaps some agencies allow that, but I know for a fact that mine would not (a few co-workers asked, and got a firm no). In that case, the position would be essentially vacant, but the agency would not be able to fill the position until the incumbent was officially off the payroll. That means there would be no one there to handle that person's workload for the year, which wouldn't work very well. But hey, if your agency lets you do that, that's great.
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Old 07-13-2021, 07:21 PM   #95
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Absolutely! As described here, DW and I are FI and wish to RE now but can't before she reaches MRA in March 2023 in order to retain FEHB. Can you elaborate on how you used LWOP to essentially postpone until your MRA without forfeiting benefits? Sounds great!
I worked for the fed govt in Canada. The rules in the US may be different. I took leave without pay for my last 15 months (the max allowed) and was able to make it pensionable by paying both my share and the employer's share of superannuation. I officially came off leave the day I turned 55 and immediately retired.
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Old 07-14-2021, 03:16 AM   #96
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I will be able to retire with full pension benefits at 55. I am now 50 and counting down the days. I could retire now with a reduced pension and be able to survive but not live life happy. Even at 55 my pension will be half of my current year income which has been elevated from overtime because of covid. I will get a reduced SS check because of WEP. I am maxing out my 457 and ira and hsa accts the past 3 years and will continue for the next 7 years to make up what i call a shortfall. My wife will quit work when i turn 55 she will be 51. So we will have to survive on my pension until she is able to pull money from her 401k at 59 1/2.
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Old 07-14-2021, 05:03 AM   #97
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Terminal LWOP is not available as a voluntary option in the US Federal government. It could be achieved through duplicity if the retiree came up with a good "temporary" excuse for LWOP and then "changed" their mind and bailed after it ended. I would strongly advise someone trying that scam to return to work before "changing" their mind. It is also legitimately available to someone who has applied for disability retirement and has not yet been approved.
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Old 07-14-2021, 05:54 AM   #98
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Here is a great explanation of Federal retirement in layman's terms. It's written by a newer employee, so focus is on FERS.

https://www.governmentworkerfi.com/h...tirement-work/

and one on early retirement:
https://www.governmentworkerfi.com/e...ral-employees/

and one on deferred retirement:
https://www.governmentworkerfi.com/f...ed-retirement/
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Old 07-14-2021, 07:22 AM   #99
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Terminal LWOP is not available as a voluntary option in the US Federal government. It could be achieved through duplicity if the retiree came up with a good "temporary" excuse for LWOP and then "changed" their mind and bailed after it ended. I would strongly advise someone trying that scam to return to work before "changing" their mind. It is also legitimately available to someone who has applied for disability retirement and has not yet been approved.
Why is it a scam to take leave without pay?

FYI...I told my manager exactly what I wanted to do and received full approval. She knew that I would not be returning to the office...once I turned 55 I went back on strength (I had saved 1 vacation day) and immediately retired. I also had to send an email to my manager officially requesting the time off and also complete a form that outlined the guidelines and expectations. At the appropriate time I met my supervisor one day for lunch to sign retirement papers.
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Old 07-14-2021, 02:52 PM   #100
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Can someone please explain why the U.S. Government does not allow an employee with 30+ years of Federal service to defer retirement and resume FEHB? Being unable to do so fosters a situation where FI employees "retire in place" and "do time" to reach their MRA rather than RE and free up resources that agencies can use to recruit and retain fresh talent... truly a lose - lose from where I sit.
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