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information is available on this site. Active federal employee's pay may
increase 3% in 2015 if administration's request is accepted by Congress.
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||The following timeline is excerpted from Dennis Damp's personal
journal and outlines what you must do to prepare for your retirement starting a year
in advance of your departure date.
This section follows Dennis through all of the
steps he took to ensure he had everything under control before
completing his retirement papers.
Complete information follows:
I retired December 31, 2004 and my first journal entry was August 17th, about 4
months before I retired. This article outlines the steps you need to take
before you retire based on my personal experience. You will find excerpts from
my journal entries for key events. If you know of
anyone that is anticipating retirement forward this information to them.
One Year Before Retiring
- Contact your personnel office and
obtain annuity estimates for several tentative
- Estimates should include your federal service record, agencies
worked for with dates, and other relevant information and retirement
coverage. Check this information for accuracy and
let HR know if there are any discrepancies.
You can use copies of your Personnel Records SF-50 copies, Military
forms, Deposit Credit Records and Earnings and Leave Statements that you
retained throughout your career to validate needed corrections.
Review and confirm the following information:
- Civilian and military service records and dates
- Civilian deposits
- Look for summer, temporary, and or seasonal appointments
that retirement contributions were not withheld from. This
should also include the amount of redeposites with interest
needed to obtain credit for prior service after a break in
service. Your personnel office may not have a record of
redeposites made directly to OPM so check your estimate
carefully, OPM will pick this up when they process your
retirement. If you want credit for periods of service that were
refunded to you, this is the time to pay it back before you
retire. This can't be done after your retirement paperwork is
- Military deposits
- Survivor benefits
CSRS and FERS
- Sick leave and credits
- High three computations
- Service that is not considered creditable for civil service
- Active duty retired military service
- Civilian service after 1988 without FERS retirement
- Leave without pay in excess of 6 months
- Other issues that may be a factor
- Part-time pro-rated service
NOTE: If you find many discrepancies or feel the information
provided is incorrect you can review your Official Personnel
File (OPF) or eOPF. Request a review through your immediate supervisor.
They will arrange electronic access or have the hard copy file
overnighted to your office for your review. Many agencies
have converted their personnel files to eOPFs, easily accessible
- Review your finances and benefits,
and compile a survivor's binder
(Journal Entry) Four months before I retired
Time does fly, or at least it seems to. Here I am 55 years old - could have
retired May 19th of this year - and I'm still working. Even after two years of
research I'm just getting things wrapped up so that I can leave knowing I'll
have a sufficient annuity and other income to live comfortably. I also worked to
reduce debts and towards completing, signing, and funding our wills and trusts.
Still not quite there yet but will be soon.
Note: I used
Quicken WillMaker Plus software and the book
Plan Your Estate to draft our estate plans, wills, and trusts
before leaving. You can review these resources to quick start your plans.
You can also use a comprehensive
set of FREE tools for estimating and analyzing federal employees
benefits, Thrift Savings Plan, social security, FERS & CSRS sick leave
conversion, military credits and more.
- Set your retirement date and complete your forms.
Complete your forms at least 6 months in advance and send them in 2 to three
months before your planned retirement date. There is considerably more
retirement activity these days with VERAs and
VSIP offers plus many baby
boomers are now retiring. The earlier you get this information into your HR
office the more time you will have for review and submit corrections if needed.
September 20 (Journal Entry)
This week I set my retirement date for November 30, 2004… I also reviewed my
paperwork to make sure I had all of the
forms filled out properly. All I have to do is put the date on the forms and
mail them to personnel in New York. I intend to do this in Mid October so they
will have them about 6 weeks before I actually leave.
(Note: I changed my retirement date to 12/31/04 several weeks later.)
- Are you emotionally and physically prepared for retirement?
October 22 (Journal Entry)
Well, time continues to fly by and I just got back from the doctor's office. I
went in for a colonoscopy. I mentioned in an earlier journal entry that I
scheduled a physical this year and that I was dreading going in for this check.
My doctor tried to get me to do this at 50, again at 53 and when he suggested it
earlier this year when I turned 55 and I reluctantly agreed. It wasn't half as
bad as I had thought it would be and it is an excellent preventative check for
detecting colon cancer. If you have been putting this check off, don't. The
worse part was the prep the evening before and it was tolerable. I now have a
clean bill of health - and for that matter a very clean colon at least for the
October 26 (Journal Entry)
Well, I sent my retirement paperwork in to personnel today and feel relieved
that I finally put a date down on paper. Not the date I originally mentioned
earlier in my journal but a new slightly later date, December 31, 2004....
Note: Don’t confuse your
“Retirement Date” with your “Date of Final Separation” that you list in
block 2, Section B on your SF-2801 CSRS or the SF-3107 FERS Retirement
I called personnel today to advise them that my paperwork is on the way. I also
sent in a SF 2808 Beneficiary election form that personnel will certify and
return to me for my records. I sent in the following forms and paperwork:
Note: FERS employees must submit a SF-3107 instead of the SF-2801. Visit
select the forms menu selection to download forms.
- Receipt of your Personnel Office Acknowledgement Letter
November 3 (Journal Entry)
I received an acknowledgement letter today from our personnel office advising
me that my retirement package was received and is being processed. They listed
the personnel specialist that was assigned to process my package and directed me
to call them if I had any questions. The personnel office suggests that you send
in your paperwork at least two months before your retirement date. This gives
them sufficient time to process and check the paperwork so that your first
interim annuity check will arrive on time.
I reviewed my sick and annual leave balances this week and I checked my FAA
issued personal property in preparation for turning it in when I leave. I can
use my year of unused sick leave towards my annuity and I intend to sell back
448 hours of annual leave. The one year of sick leave takes me to 36 years and
seven months total service and increases my annuity by 2% of my high three
I met with my reporting office management team this week to discuss transition
plans for when my assistant and I leave on December 31st. We discussed who would
be assigned to backfill my position and when he or she would be coming over for
briefings and general familiarization before my departure.
- Review Your TSP Account Withdrawal Options
December 6 (Journal Entry)
I replied to a visitor’s questions on TSP accounts.
The key is whether or not you need the funds to live on. I'm retiring from the
Federal Aviation Administration at the end of December and I'm leaving my TSP
intact for the time being… I can tell you that the TSP is one of the safest investments you can have
considering that you have NO market risk with the G-Fund. The G-Fund won't
decrease in value. Private sector mutual funds that offer government bond funds
can fluctuate in price and most, if not all, charge much higher management fees
than the TSP. You do have to be cautious of the fund mix though….
December 16 (Journal Entry)
My retirement luncheon was yesterday and I have to say it caught me off guard.
Even though I’m looking forward to leaving, it was humbling to see the turnout
and to be on the receiving side of so many kind words…
One thing that I wanted to say was that retirement for me is similar to
publishing a new edition of one of my books. When I update a title I often add a
new chapter or appendix, and revise outdated data as necessary throughout the
book. I’m just adding a new chapter to my life. I can’t change or edit the
earlier chapters — if we only could — but I do have control, to some degree,
over what goes forward from this point on. I'm really looking forward to this
new chapter in my life, however. It is always difficult leaving good friends and
that’s why it was difficult addressing the people that I respect and have worked
with for all these many years…
I suggest that when your retirement luncheon or dinner is planned write down the
names of the key people to thank and key events in your life that you want to
talk about. Emotions run high for the retiree during these events and the best
way to remain in control and to stay calm is to be prepared…
- Departure Date
- You will need to fill out your agency’s
Employee Clearance Record and
Security Termination Statement. On your last day you have to take your signed
clearance record to your office and turn in any personal items such as computer,
cell phone, pager, credit cards, IDs, keys, etc. If you neglect to do this your
lump sum leave payment and first estimated annuity check will be withheld until
this is done.
December 29 (Journal Entry)
I’m between Christmas and New Years and so close to retirement that I can taste
it. This morning I called our division office because I still didn’t receive a
copy of my Voluntary Retirement SF-50 personnel action form or my SF 2801-1,
Certified Summary of Federal Service. Typically you receive this
information 4 to 6 weeks after you submit your paperwork along with OPM contact
information that you will need to follow-up on the status of your annuity and
benefits. The person I contacted went to the personnel office and verified that
my package had been sent out Monday and she faxed me a copy of my SF-50.
The SF 50 listed my retirement date, salary, current benefits, and in the
remarks column it stated that I elected to continue health benefits coverage. It
also stated that a SF-8 was issued to the employee. I’m not sure what that is
yet since I still don’t have my package. Hopefully it will be in the mail today
or tomorrow at the latest.
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