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

  1. #1

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

    All,

    Okay, so I've gotten so much useful information, and entertainment, from this Board...I figure it's time to give back a little, if I can... Now that I've decided to retire, I'm going to follow other smart people's lead, and post my experiences on this thread, in the hope that others might benefit from my experiences...we can share some good points and "gotcha's" with those coming up...

    While the "Great Unwashed Public" lumps all of us Feds into the same box, it strikes me how different each and every one of us is...so many variations on being a "Fed", and our personal situations ! I remember an incident, several years ago...a neighbor asked me if I knew a friend of hers...said she worked for Social Security. It didn't matter that I worked for DOT...in her mind, all us Feds know each other !

    To start off my "Voyage", here's the basics :

    - Retirement date 30 Apr 2012
    - FERS
    - 30 years credit a/o Nov 2011, with 4 years military (USAF) deposit in 2005
    - MRA is 56 ; Iíll turn 57 in April
    - A few different agencies as a civilian (Army, DOT, Navy)
    - A gap in service between 2007 and 2009 ; left the Feds in 2007, returned in 2009

    - Wife already retired ; public school Teacher with a pitiful pension, and a 403(b)

    So that's my "starting point"...will post my thoughts and experiences as I move through the pipeline !

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


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  3. #2

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

    Good luck Stoplight. You may be the first FERS person to post your retirement story here. With the different agencies involved and a gap in service this could be interesting.

    I get what you mean about lumping us all together. When I was on active duty people used to ask me why the Chief of Staff or any spokesperson on the news said what they did. After a while I just told them, "they never listen to me". Lot's of "do you know him/her?" questions too about anyone in uniform in the news.

    As a Fed civilian, I am often asked about why I allowed something to happen that is seen on the news. I also get asked if I know cabinet level people. Most of the "Great Unwashed Public" do not realize that congresscritters are also Feds. It never occurs to them that federal level elected/appointed officials are federal employees.

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  5. #3

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoplight View Post

    - Wife already retired ; public school Teacher with a pitiful pension, and a 403(b)

    Stoplight...
    I'm in a similar position, as my wife is a public school teacher. Although, I'm retire and she isn't. I wonder what you two think of all the teacher bashing going on. They made a big deal in Wisconsin about the great benefits including pensions that teachers get. My wife would like to be able to retire, mainly because of this stuff, but she is too young (50).

    Good luck to you.
    100% G fund
    RSI - Relative Strength Indicator DMA - day moving average

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  7. #4

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

    Stoplight, What did you do in the Air Force? My experience was minuteman missiles, stationed at F.E. Warren AFB in Cheyenne , Wyoming. 8/70 to 4/74. Basic training at Lakeland, 9 months at Chanute for tech school and then FEW. I was told by my HR rep at NSSC that OPM has added more personnel and the turn around times will be getting shorter. We can only hope. Good luck and congrats.
    May the force be with us.

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  9. #5

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

    Quote Originally Posted by PessOptimist View Post
    Good luck Stoplight. You may be the first FERS person to post your retirement story here. With the different agencies involved and a gap in service this could be interesting.
    Thanks, PessOptimist ! Although I don't WANT my retirement journey to be TOO interesting

    Actually, my experience does have some twists to it...that's why I thought I'd share !

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

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  11. #6

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

    Quote Originally Posted by clester View Post
    I wonder what you two think of all the teacher bashing going on.

    Oh man, clester...don't get us started on THAT ! That's a whole new thread

    Just like us Feds, there are "good" Teachers, and there are "bad" Teachers...my Wife was a "good" Teacher. It's the "bad" ones that cause us all to get tarred with the same brush.

    Some observations ? When my Wife started teaching, she could paddle a kid...didn't like to do it ; would come home and cry afterwards, but it was a tool in the toolbox. Now, you can't touch a kid, even to give them a hug that so many desperately need...times have changed...

    She taught public schools for 34 years...special ed, and elementary school grades 1 and 4. When she retired in 2009 at age 57, she was just burned out...the paperwork, the "structured" curriculum/standardized tests, the things she was expected to teach, that WE learned from our parents and family ! She just didn't have the energy to do it anymore...

    In her State, she made good money as a Teacher, but the pension isn't much...we understand, in other States, the take home pay ain't great, but the retirement pension is outstanding. I don't know where Wisconsin falls on that scale...

    I'll have more to say on our "Plans", and how we're managing them, in a future post about our experiences.

    Thanks for your post, and best of luck to you and your Wife as she moves closer to retirement !

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

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  13. #7

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

    Quote Originally Posted by nasa1974 View Post
    Stoplight, What did you do in the Air Force? My experience was minuteman missiles, stationed at F.E. Warren AFB in Cheyenne , Wyoming. 8/70 to 4/74. Basic training at Lakeland, 9 months at Chanute for tech school and then FEW. I was told by my HR rep at NSSC that OPM has added more personnel and the turn around times will be getting shorter. We can only hope. Good luck and congrats.
    Thanks, Nasa...I was a non-rated Civil Engineer Guy...not a "Pocket Rocket" Guy like you Let's just hope OPM gets their "stuff" together !

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

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  15. #8

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

    So why did I decide to retire now ?

    Well, for various reasons, many of which you all have noted on this Board, and have concerned me, too ! But for me, it boils down to the following :

    - Because I recently learned that I can ! This involves my gap in service, but Iíll discuss that in a post by itself...a critical issue for me...

    - The Wife and I have looked at our situation, and crunched the numbers, and it looks like we can survive

    - In my current Navy job, Iím involved in the construction side of the house. Right now, I donít see a lot of new projects in the pipeline for the next 3 years, with budget cuts, etc. Theyíre saying no RIFs or ďearly outsĒ, but possibly reassignments...

    - I took a downgrade to come back to the Feds and this job ; thus, I earned my ďhigh-3" a while ago, and the potential to go to a ďhigh-5" would screw me. Again...Iíll address this whole issue in more detail by itself later...another critical issue !

    We based our decision to go now on the above...more to follow !

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

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  17. #9

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

    So, why the 30 April date ?

    Well, for us FERS Folks, you gotta go by the end of the month, IF you want the pension to begin 1 June ! Since itís mid-pay period, I wonít get credit for that last 8 hours annual leave, because I wonít retire at the end of the full pay period to get credit. However, the 30th is a Monday, and the previous Friday is my RDO under our ďAlternative Work ScheduleĒ, so Iíll take the 30th as annual leave, and technically, my last work day will be Thursday, the 26th.

    That Friday, my RDO, is also our pay day...that should put my final (shortened) paycheck on 11 May. If I donít get my annual leave lump sum then, itís supposed to come on the 25 May pay date. In either case, Iíll have a little income hitting the bank in May ! Iíll have ~ 200 hours of a/l to sell back...

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


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  19. #10

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

    Congrats on your upcoming retirement, Stop! I am also FERS, having switched from CSRS back when FERS came out! I am eligible Nov 12, and will be 58 then. So I will be following your thread closely! I may not go in Nov, altho.....we are still Young!! What will you do in retirement? Are you thinking about starting another career? I was thinking about teaching as a second career, but your wife's story makes me think twice!!

    Enjoy your retirement!

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  21. #11

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoplight View Post
    That Friday, my RDO, is also our pay day...that should put my final (shortened) paycheck on 11 May. If I donít get my annual leave lump sum then, itís supposed to come on the 25 May pay date. In either case, Iíll have a little income hitting the bank in May ! Iíll have ~ 200 hours of a/l to sell back...

    Stoplight...
    Stoplight, Sure hope you're correct on the AL lump sum. I was told it could take up to 3 pay periods to get the check. I'm not sure if they meant 3 two week periods or 3 retirement periods. I guess I should ask again. I should be selling back about 300 hours. Keeping a close eye on my SL as well. I don't want to give to many days back.
    May the force be with us.

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  23. #12

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

    Quote Originally Posted by uscfanhawaii View Post
    What will you do in retirement? Are you thinking about starting another career? I was thinking about teaching as a second career, but your wife's story makes me think twice!!

    Enjoy your retirement!
    Many thanks for the well-wishes, USC Fan !

    The post-retirement work question is a whole 'nother "issue", isn't it ? I've started a list of things I'd like to do (not a "Bucket List", but I have one of them started, too !) Rather, I'm looking at what I like to do now, and what I liked to do in my previous life ! I have some thoughts on what might work for me, and I've started exploring those options, but you have to balance the income you might receive from those activities, against the limitations that exist before you start losing the annuity supplement, which I'll qualify for, initially. I'm an facilities engineer with Federal Acquisition experience (DAWIA Level II, for you Acquisition Folks !), and my sense is that there's a lot of companies out there that would love/need some "advice" on securing Government jobs...times are tough, and I might have some knowledge that would be helpful...

    The Wife has chosen to pursue volunteer work with the USO...she's loving her new "role" !

    I look forward to any questions you or others might have of my "Retirement Voyage"...we're all in this together !

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

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