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Thread: Stoplight's Retirement Story (FERS, Gap in Service, Military Buy-Back)

  1. #25

    Default Re: Stoplight's Retirement Story (FERS, Gap in Service, Military Buy-Back)

    Pretty funny, Nasa ! Hopefully, we're learning from each other, AND passing along some advice for others, too...

    I'm going to go check out my beneficiaries on file. just because that's not something I thought too much about. I KNOW I don't have one on file with TSP

    Stoplight...
    "Too old to rock and roll...too young to die"... - I. Anderson

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  3. #26

    Default Re: Stoplight's Retirement Story (FERS, Gap in Service, Military Buy-Back)

    Stoplight, first of all congratulations on your retirement. Now you can put away that alarm clock and it's a great feeling. I'm going to enjoy reading about your retirement experiences since your are FERS.

    I retired FERS about the same time as my brother-in-law retired CSRS and it was interesting to me to see the differences. Seems like the main differences since our retirements are that I curse the Diet COLA and I pay a lot more attention to my TSP (now IRA) funds than he does.

    Good luck and I hope your paperwork goes without a hitch.
    "That's the problem with being scared to fail. You usually end up failing in the end by default." Life From Scratch, Melissa Ford

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  5. #27

    Default Re: Stoplight's Retirement Story (FERS, Gap in Service, Military Buy-Back)

    Quote Originally Posted by Steel_Magnolia View Post
    Stoplight, first of all congratulations on your retirement. Now you can put away that alarm clock and it's a great feeling. I'm going to enjoy reading about your retirement experiences since your are FERS.

    I retired FERS about the same time as my brother-in-law retired CSRS and it was interesting to me to see the differences. Seems like the main differences since our retirements are that I curse the Diet COLA and I pay a lot more attention to my TSP (now IRA) funds than he does.

    Good luck and I hope your paperwork goes without a hitch.
    Thanks, Miss Magnolia ! I appreciate you stopping by, and posting your note ! I'm SO looking forward to that day I can retire the alarm clock ! I told myself I wouldn't be like others that I've worked with, and slack off, and start counting down days, but I can't help it ! "The light at the end of the tunnel" is just too appealing !

    This thread has been interesting, and eye-opening for me! I expected it to be pretty much me spouting off on my experiences, but the questions and comments have made me stop and think, more than once...a good thing !

    My "benchmark", and one of my "Advisors" for FERS retirement, is my Big Brother...he retired from the Navy, too, effective the end of December, 2011. I'm comparing my FERS experience with his...so far, we've both dealt with many of the same people in the pipeline !

    My "benchmark" to compare against a CSRS retirement is Nasa1974...since we're going out at similar times, it's fascinating to me to see what HIS experience is, and how the systems differ !

    Thanks for stopping by !

    Stoplight...
    "Too old to rock and roll...too young to die"... - I. Anderson


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  7. #28

    Default Re: Stoplight's Retirement Story (FERS, Gap in Service, Military Buy-Back)

    Wife’s Contribution

    Perhaps this isn’t the right place to discuss my Wife’s contribution to our retirement plans, since it’s a web site for us TSP owners, and she was not a Fed. However, it doesn’t seem right to discuss MY retirement plans without including the “Big Picture” of her contribution...we’re a Team ! It may not be relevant to you all, but it is important to us and our decision-making ! I suspect, like many others, your Spouse also has a “career”, and has contributions to the finances, so any “retirement” discussion should include ALL the factors ! Anyway, my Wife has no interest in managing the investment portion of her retirement $$$, so she’s left that up to me, anyway.

    Since we both come from modest backgrounds, and we don’t have expensive tastes, our only retirement goal has always been : “We don’t want to retire like our Parents did, living from Social Security paycheck to paycheck.” That has lead us to stash money in our retirement accounts at a decent rate, but, perhaps unfortunately, made us VERY conservative in our investments to date. We HATE to lose a nickel ! At this point, with both of us about to be retired (me, age 57; her, age 60; in 2012), we’ll both have an old-fashioned pension check, and a combined retirement pot in the mid-six figure range. Once SS kicks in for her in 2 years (but that's a whole 'nother discussion, isn't it ?), we should be more than able to meet our current life style expenses, and do some traveling and other stuff we want to do !

    As I’ve noted before, my Wife retired after 34 years teaching with 3 different school districts, in 2 different States. Her first 10 years teaching (BM...”Before Me” !) got her vested in that State’s retirement system. Her remaining years were in a different State, but we didn’t “buy back” the 10 years...too expensive ! Thus, she gets a small pension from her 24 years, and an even smaller one from the 10 years...between the 2, it’s enough to pay the mortgage and the electric bill !

    After we were married, we opened her 403(b) account. The School Board changed providers, so we ended up with 2 accounts with 2 vendors. We’ve rolled her 2 accounts into a self-directed IRA with USAA so that we could manage the investment, and draw on it as needed, with a minimal amount of hassle. Her last chunk just hit the USAA account, so we have to figure out what to do with it !

    I suppose I should start a new topic in the “Investment Portfolio” thread to discuss the specifics of what we have done with her IRA so far, but right now, we have individual dividend-paying stocks and some mutual funds : SWK, MKC, BMY, PAYX, CMC, GE, MCD, IP, POM, and T. We have 3 USAA products, 2 bond and 1 stock funds : USISX, USAIX, and USIBX.

    The beauty of our Plan is...she’s eligible to withdraw from the IRA , without penalty, now ! When I retire in April, I’ll roll my TSP over to my USAA self-directed IRA, but I won’t be eligible to touch it without penalty for a couple of years....in the meantime, we can tap her IRA, as needed, to get us through the next 2 years !

    Based on my calcs, this should work !

    Stoplight...
    "Too old to rock and roll...too young to die"... - I. Anderson

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  9. #29

    Join Date
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    Default Re: Stoplight's Retirement Story (FERS, Gap in Service, Military Buy-Back)

    Stoplight at least you have put some thought into it and have a plan. Good luck and looking forward to sharing information.
    May the force be with us.

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  11. #30

    Default Re: Stoplight's Retirement Story (FERS, Gap in Service, Military Buy-Back)

    Nasa,

    I'm getting kind of jealous...you've heard from your retirement folks a couple of times, but since I sent in my copy of my marriage license and military buy-back LES, I haven't heard a thing...not even an offer to join the long-term care program like you got from OPM ! I guess I don't have any overdue library books, either Oh well...I'm going with the "no news is good news" theory

    For me, it's been "business as usual", stomping out the daily brush fires, fighting with my Contractors, and trying to get out a few contract mods...no time to clean up my paperwork, or organize my email...that's going to have to happen soon, or my successors will be hurting...

    BTW...invested the last of the Wife's IRA balance today on individual stocks and 1 fund ...bought CAG, KO, STX, and shares of USAA's Gold and Precious Metals fund (USAGX). I'm not crazy about how the USAGX is performing lately, but I put a small chunk there in the name of "diversification".


    Stoplight...
    "Too old to rock and roll...too young to die"... - I. Anderson

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  13. #31

    Default Re: Stoplight's Retirement Story (FERS, Gap in Service, Military Buy-Back)

    Stoplight, if you don't hear something relatively soon, call your Senator's or Representative's Office and ask them to look into it. Believe me, a letter of Congressional Inquiry will get some forward momentum happening!
    Official Retirement Date: 06-31-2014!

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  15. #32

    Join Date
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    Default Re: Stoplight's Retirement Story (FERS, Gap in Service, Military Buy-Back)

    Stoplight, I haven't heard from my NSSC contact since she called and said I had to resend the FEGLI form. The latest E-mail was from our local HR contacts informing me on what steps I need to take here at Glenn. I would contact your local HR if you have one and contact the person you sent your retirement forms to just to make sure everything is in order. I know I'm not telling you something you don't plan to do. I know that we are all dedicated to our job but you need to take an hour or two every day for the next week and start going through your files and E-mails. I'm still going through my computer files and I've been at it on and off for the last 3 weeks. My hard copies I cleaned up right away. The other option is the delete button and the shredder on your last day or you could just forward all you computer files and E-mails to your supervisor and just leave your hard copies in the file cabinet. Someone will figure it out. Good luck and stay positive, we are retiring.
    May the force be with us.

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  17. #33

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    Default Re: Stoplight's Retirement Story (FERS, Gap in Service, Military Buy-Back)

    Stoplight,

    First of all congrats on the retirement.

    If you are retiring at the end of next month and your bosses haven't assigned someone to shadow you and/or take over your contracts, shame on them.

    If you are not taking time to get your affairs in order, shame on you.

    I realize none of us want to be thought of as a "ROADy" but sounds to me as if your managers are being a little short sited.

    I like Nasa's suggestions but lean toward reminding the supervisor of what you are working on and when you are leaving and then forwarding all the stuff on the last day.

    Just my opinion but we have all seen it happen over and over and I anticipate being in the same situation in about 1024 work days.

    Best of luck.

    PO

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  19. #34

    Join Date
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    Default Re: Stoplight's Retirement Story (FERS, Gap in Service, Military Buy-Back)

    When my previous High Voltage Systems Manager retired he forwarded almost 2,000 E-mails to my current Systems Manager. It wasn't as punishment but he felt they were important. It has been almost a year and he is still going through those E-mails.

    Stoplight, just something to think about.
    May the force be with us.

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  21. #35

    Default Re: Stoplight's Retirement Story (FERS, Gap in Service, Military Buy-Back)

    Thanks, Sky, PO, and Nasa for your observations and advice...it is much appreciated ! I tend to be a "glass-is-half-full" guy, but like you all, I've seen enough screw-ups during my career to realize I need to follow your advice, and check in with the HR Folks to confirm all is well...

    As far as a shadow or replacement goes...although I work for DOD, I'm at a very small installation. Because I'm involved in construction oversight, "management" rightly looks at the long term "picture"...why hire a new person, only to have to RIF them or relocate them in the next year or two when my current construction contracts have wound down, and they can't justify the position anymore ? It appears the thought is to "borrow" support from a near-by installation, as needed, OR to possibly entice me to come back as a "contract employee", with no benefits or such. That's a non-starter in my mind...I don't want to be full-time, and if I'm going to hang around another year, I want the retirement credit and another year of TSP contributions ! DUH !

    I AM frustrated, though, in my attempts to get management attention to the fact that I have 18 work days left...I suspect I'll keep plugging away to get what I can done, but then end up forwarding 2,000 emails, as per Nasa's story...I really don't want to go out that way...

    Stoplight...
    "Too old to rock and roll...too young to die"... - I. Anderson

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  23. #36

    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    8,294

    Default Re: Stoplight's Retirement Story (FERS, Gap in Service, Military Buy-Back)

    I've been telling my supervisor for a year that I was going to retire in 2012. They have no one to take my place yet. Right now there is no one with high voltage experience from the government side so that leaves about 3 contractors that are interested but the cost is to high. My supervisor says that our Center Director is hesitant to take a contractor and make him a federally. So I will be leaving with out passing along any information. I will do my job up to a day or to before I leave. That's all I can do and the center will function without me. So be it.
    May the force be with us.


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