Ask Terry Questions best Federal retirement date for FERS employee

best Federal retirement date for FERS employee

By Terry Savage on July 02, 2018 | Financial Planning / Retirement

What is the best date or time of month and year to retire, for a FERS federal civilian employee, in order to optimize initial receipt of first pension payment. Thank you so much. I read you religiously in the Tampa Bay, ne., St. Petersburg Times.

Terry Says

Thanks for your note. Well, let’s start with the basics, which you have probably already seen on the FERS website:
As a regular FERS employee, you can retire on an immediate unreduced annuity with one of the following age and service combinations: age 62 with 5 years of service, age 60 with 20 or at your minimum retirement age (MRA) with 30. (MRAs range between 55 and 57, depending on your year of birth.)

So you definitely want to wait until you meet those minimum standards. No sense wasting 5 percent of your pension by retiring a few months early!

To get the details, here is a link to the specific page at the government website at

But remember, FERS retirement (for those who joined in 1984 or later) consists of a bit of SocialSecurity, the actual pension plan, and the TSP (thrift savings plan) sort of a government 40l(k)plan. Each of those combines to create your FERS benefit.

To learn more about this aspect of FERS retirement, here’s a link to the Social Security provisions. (And note that if you paid into SS because of other employment, it may slightly diminish your FERS payout!)

Finally, it’s important to know about YOUR personal situation because of the two different calculations for benefits — depending on whether you started your employment pre-1984 ( CSRS/CSRS Offset: employee may retire at age 62 with five years of service, 60 with 20, or 55 with 30) or whether you subsequently moved into the FERS program! Yes, it’s complicated.

So for specifics, I suggest you contact the HR department of your division or go directly to FERS — OR use the services of this private financial planner who specializes in retirement advice for federal employees at

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