When to retire? Breaking up is hard to do

Leaving Uncle Sam, especially after a lengthy career at a good salary, can be very rewarding and sometimes a bit tricky, too.

If you can’t stand your boss, have nothing in common with your coworkers or hate your commute or your job, it’s a no-brainer — leave ASAP. But if you are like most people, the best time to retire is worth checking out, especially when you figure you might be retired for decades — maybe longer longer than you worked.

After deciding which year you are going to retire the next question is when are the best dates: Dec. 31 and Jan. 1-3 are most popular, but why?

Picking a late December or early January retirement date can put extra cash in your pocket, lower your next year’s tax bill and allow you to carry over and cash in thousands of dollars of annual leave. That’s one reason many people don’t take any vacation time in their last year on the job. One date is better for Federal Employees Retirement System employees, while another works best for those retiring under the Civil Service Retirement System.

If there is a January pay raise, which there may be in 2019, it will be reflected in most if not all of the annual leave you carry over and get paid for.

If you were hired in the 1980s you may still be kicking yourself for picking or being put into FERS, the “wrong” retirement plan, rather than CSRS with its more generous annuity. On the other hand, those of you in FERS qualify for and pay into Social Security, and there is that 5 percent government match to your Thrift Savings Plan.

So which is best, FERS or CSRS?

Today on Your Turn we’ll be talking with popular benefits expert Tammy Flanagan about the best dates to retire, and why they are the best. She’ll take a look at the pros and cons of CSRS versus FERS, and how to make the most of your plan.

Tammy will also look at Medicare, and whether everybody should consider enrollment at age 65. What if you are still working, and how do federal health plans work with Medicare? Or do they?

She will also talk about the upcoming open season for health plans and other programs. How do you know which plan or plans are best for you? Is the higher premium plan always better or, sometimes, a waste of money?

Listen at 10 a.m. EDT on www.federalnewsnetwork.com or 1500 AM in the D.C. area. Shows are archived on our website so you, friends and coworkers can listen anytime.

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Amelia Brust

The cork wedge heel for women’s shoes was invented by Italian designer Salvatore Ferragamo in the 1940s. Sanctions on Italy led to a shortage of steel imports from Germany, which Ferragamo used to construct the arch support in high heels. He experimented with a filled-in Sardinian cork heel and arch and within weeks it was his most popular style.

Source: Museo Salvatore Ferragamo

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Your Turn with Mike Causey


Learn about everything from pay, benefits and retirement, to buyouts, COLAs and pay freezes. Call the show live Wednesdays from 10-11 a.m. at 202-465-3080 with your questions. Dial 605-562-0264 to listen live from any phone. Follow Mike on Twitter and send him an email with your questions and comments. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Podcast One.

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Sep 24, 2021 Close Change YTD*
L Income 23.2215 -0.0094 4.43%
L 2025 12.0371 -0.0091 8.33%
L 2030 42.6114 -0.0422 10.54%
L 2035 12.8142 -0.0141 11.50%
L 2040 48.5542 -0.0585 12.46%
L 2045 13.3168 -0.0175 13.28%
L 2050 29.2066 -0.0408 14.12%
L 2055 14.4012 -0.0223 17.18%
L 2060 14.4012 -0.0222 17.18%
L 2065 14.4012 -0.0222 17.18%
G Fund 16.6687 0.0006 0.88%
F Fund 20.9835 -0.0368 -0.55%
C Fund 67.0131 0.0988 21.56%
S Fund 85.4976 -0.3354 16.31%
I Fund 39.3441 -0.193 11.70%
Closing price updated at approx 6pm ET each business day. More at tsp.gov
* YTD data is updated on the last day of the month.