For years, human capital experts have predicted the start of the long-dreaded “retirement tsunami,” as the federal workforce ages and more employees reach eligibility.
But years have passed without a “tsunami,” much less a retirement wave. The Government Accountability Office in 2017 estimated 31.6% of the federal workforce would be eligible for retirement by 2022, though those numbers vary significantly depending on the agency.
In 2020, a total of 92,088 federal employees filed for retirement, the fewest in at least 10 years.
The last time retirements dipped below 93,000 in a year was in 2010, when just 84,427 federal employees filed their paperwork with the Office of Personnel Management.
Since then, retirements have risen during the middle of the Obama administration, peaking in 2013 after three consecutive years of pay freezes, budget cuts due to sequestration and finally a 16-day government shutdown.
Financial planners have noticed a trend during the COVID-19 pandemic, as they’ve heard from some federal employees who have delayed retirement for a variety of reasons. Some employees who, for example, had grown tired of their long commutes to work and planned for retirement in 2020 changed their tune once they started teleworking on a near regular basis last March. They’ll stick it out longer now that they’re working from home.
Other retirement-eligible employees who must report to a work site and deal with health and safety protocols may be calling it quits during COVID-19.
And for others, the pandemic has changed their financial situation, and they’re adjusting their retirement plans accordingly.
Are you thinking differently about your retirement plans now that the pandemic has changed the way you work and live?
Are those post-retirement travel plans looking a little hazier now that the pandemic has stretched on for nearly a year?
Tell us about your retirement plans in this anonymous, online survey. The results will be used for editorial purposes on FederalNewsNetwork.com. We will share the results in the coming weeks.