Fed up with being a fed?

Retirement expert John Grobe, himself a former fed, said the length and uncertainty of the recent shutdown has a lot more people thinking about retirement, or j...

While there are a few people who would probably like being entombed at the office, the majority of folks are likely looking forward to retirement, or leaving government.

For a variety of reasons — maybe it’s political, maybe it’s traffic or maybe it’s because of your spouse? Or maybe it’s the last government shutdown, which goes into the history books at the longest one —  until the next one. Maybe it would be better to get a guaranteed-for-deposit monthly annuity rather than a long-deferred paycheck for anywhere from one to almost five weeks?

Retirement expert John Grobe, himself a former fed, said the length and uncertainty of the recent shutdown has a lot more people thinking about retirement, or just leaving government for greener pastures. He was my guest on yesterday’s Your Turn show and he had a lot of good advice whether you are just starting out, at mid-career or seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. In today’s column he talks about what you should consider and be doing to decide whether you are good to go, or if you would be “leaping from the proverbial frying pan into the fire.”

Why should I stay?

  1. Job security — Yes, it’s not as secure as it used to be, but it’s still way more secure than most private sector jobs. In a private sector layoff, even if you are recalled to work, you won’t get paid for the time of the layoff.
  2. More family friendly — Many private sector jobs have an “up or out” policy where, if you do not get promoted, you get let go. This causes those workers caught in the race to work long hours. Remember, if you win the rat race you’re still a rat.
  3. Retirement benefits — Not many private sector firms have pensions like the Federal Employees Retirement System for their employees. In addition, the match we receive in the Thrift Savings Plan is more generous than what the vast majority of similar plans in the private sector offer.
  4. Leave — The federal government’s annual and sick leave plans compare favorably with those offered by most private sector companies. Plus, if you moved to a new job in the private sector, you would be earning leave at the rate of an entry level employee.

Why should I leave?

  1. Increasing uncertainty in federal employment — It is true that federal employment is no longer as secure as it once was. Maybe you can find something better, or maybe you could become your own boss?
  2. A change — Maybe you’re stuck in a rut and a change will do you good in more ways than just financial?
  3. Greener pastures — Advancement for outstanding employees is quicker in the private sector than it is in federal employment. If you’re that outstanding employee, your promotion will not be limited by federal regulations. You’ll have to take an extra risk, but you might get a worthwhile reward for it.
  4. More money — For many occupations, the pay is higher for similar work in the private sector. This is not the case, however, for all occupations. Investigate salaries paid in the private sector and see if it’s true for you.
  5. Buyout — Voluntary Separation Incentive Payments are often offered to induce federal employees to leave during reorganizations. A VSIP would be the lesser of $25,000 or the severance pay to which you were entitled ($40,000 or severance in the Defense Department).
  6. To take advantage of additional benefits — Some private sector firms offer benefits that the federal government does not. Of course, some offer fewer benefits than Uncle Sam. You might find benefits such as subsidized child care; on-site, free fitness facilities; discounts on company products; and contests or prizes. For some jobs and at some of the higher levels, you might find benefits like company cars and club memberships.

If you are thinking of leaving federal service, take time to consider all of the pros and cons. It’s not wise to let your frustration with the recent shutdown make you take steps you might regret later.

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Amelia Brust

Some residents of the Mexican city of Chipilo, in the state of Puebla, speak a dialect of Venetian Italian because the city was founded by Venetian immigrants in 1882. The newcomers were escaping poverty in Veneto, Italy, at the time and Chipilo became famous for its dairy products as a result.

Source: Thrillist

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