Is the long-awaited, much anticipated Trump impact on retirement here? Are federal workers (finally) voting with their feet by putting in their retirement papers in record numbers? So is it happening?
Maybe. Maybe not.
Despite predictions that feds would flee their jobs in the event of a Trump victory, the number of people putting in their retirement papers since last November has actually decreased from previous years’ totals. That changed in March of this year when 7,216 people retired compared to 5,741 in March 2016.
But in June 2017, the number of retirees jumped to 6,141 compared with 5,929 the year before.
In September the number of retirees was 8,810 compared to 6,946 for the same month in 2016. Not necessarily a trend, but maybe something …
For instance, could it be that many feds, fearful of cuts in their take-home pay and retirement benefits are getting out while they think the getting is good? There are a number of suggestions — not yet proposals or bills — that would make changes in the FERS retirement plans. They range from increasing employee contributions by 6 percent over 6 years, to elimination of the Social Security gap payment for people retiring under age 62 to the outright elimination of the defined benefit portion of FERS.
There are also suggestions in the budget savings assigned to various committees of jurisdiction to trim future Cost of Living Adjustments for CSRS retirees by 0.5 percent each January and to eliminate them altogether for FERS retirees.
While those are frightening, they are a long way from being officially proposed, then passed as part of some budget deal. Also, none of the proposals have an effective date.
When/if passed they could be effective immediately, effective for people hired or retiring at some future date or, in some cases, retroactively.
This means that people who are retiring now simply because they fear the changes could be leaving prematurely and for the wrong reasons. Still, some readers tell us they are poised to retire by Oct. 30.
The budget picture is so murky and unsure — like the proposed tax cuts they are linked to — that just about everybody is dancing in the dark. But most long-time fed-watchers say that retiring simply because of something Congress or the White House “might” do is usually a mistake.