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68gto  
#1 Posted : Saturday, July 30, 2011 10:38:32 PM(UTC)
68gto

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I wonder if anyone else shares my concern.    I envisioned over the years how nice it will be when I finally retire. Time to do the things I've always wanted, time to relax, enjoy life, get away from the years of stress.

Now that the time has come I am really afraid to do it. I had planned for this past March, then 7/30  but decided not to.   With all the problems in getting annuity, length of time 8 months or more,  budget issues and talk about government defaults, no pension, etc. etc. I am too anxious. Maybe its safer to just keep working.  This is not how its supposed to be.

kcman  
#2 Posted : Saturday, July 30, 2011 11:09:43 PM(UTC)
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68gto,
     I retired about 18 months ago and it is great.  I had to wait about 2 months before receiving my first interim payment and about 6 months before being finalized and that was a bit frustrating at times but I made sure I had money set aside to handle this.  Many folks use their annual leave payment to do just that.  Three things to consider before retiring (1) do you have enough in savings to put me over the hump during the interim payment period (2) will the amount you receive in retirement be enough to enjoy what you want to do in retirement and (3) do you have things that will occupy your time during retirement and that could be golf, enjoying the grand kids, volunteer work etc. 

     As for me -- I am sure glad I pulled the plug when I did.  Life is too short and remember, every extra day working, is one less day you will have in retirement. 


<br />"The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money." - Margaret Thatcher<br />
getting close  
#3 Posted : Sunday, July 31, 2011 12:00:38 AM(UTC)
getting close

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68gto wrote:
I wonder if anyone else shares my concern.    I envisioned over the years how nice it will be when I finally retire. Time to do the things I've always wanted, time to relax, enjoy life, get away from the years of stress.Now that the time has come I am really afraid to do it. I had planned for this past March, then 7/30  but decided not to.   With all the problems in getting annuity, length of time 8 months or more,  budget issues and talk about government defaults, no pension, etc. etc. I am too anxious. Maybe its safer to just keep working.  This is not how its supposed to be.


68gto, I understand completely how you feel. I first thought seriously about retiring three years before I finally did. When I did retire, two months ago, I had the feeling the time was right. I realize, in retrospect, that I wasn't really ready when I first thought about it.

The issues are both financial and lifestyle. As noted above, you need to be sure you have enough saved to make it through the transition period. If you have accumulated annual leave to cash out, that will help. (Based on what I've seen of those who retired when I did, we generally got our interim payment by the beginning of the next month, generally around 80%.)

The other issue is lifestyle. Personally, I didn't have my retirement life scripted out but I had confidence that I would find interesting, challenging, and rewarding things to do, and I did. From what I read, others have done the same. Don't let uncertainty paralyze you. Of course, though I tend to be very organized, I still see the truth in the John Lennon lyric, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." Once I knew I was financially secure enough to retire, I decided to take the plunge and let life happen.

But, as I said, this came only after three years of thinking about it. So what you are experiencing is normal. Just think it through and trust that whatever you decide will be for the best.

Ed

Pjohnson  
#4 Posted : Sunday, July 31, 2011 11:19:11 AM(UTC)
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68gto,
I agree with kcman and Ed above, both are giving you wise advise.

You sound like you are paralyzed by fear right now and I can
totally understand that. When I started to think about retiring this
past October I would go through every worse case scenario I could think of. 
I just let that go on for awhile, just staring at the ceiling. I mean, this is serious stuff! Once you do it, you can't undo it.

After I obsessed about
all the negatives, I then started coming up with answers. I haunted this board
and read everything I could. I watched all the videos that the USPS provided, so
that I could totally understand all aspects of my retirement. ( I think I could
do retirement counseling at this point :) I figured out what I would be
receiving and I calculated how much it would cost me to live each month. I put
the amount of my projected annuity into my checking and easily lived on that,
which gave me great comfort. I changed my FEHB plan, after 25 years with the
same company, to a consumer driven plan that was more affordable. I socked every
cent I could into savings, and didn't take any leave so I would have a large
payout to help me during the interim period. I checked out books from the library about retirement and made lists of stuff to do when I retired, as I had a fear of boredom.

I'm listing all of this to say that what you are feeling is perfectly
normal. You need to find out what it is that will make you feel okay about your
decision. Do you need to save up more money? Do you need to pay off your house
prior to retiring? Is it specific things or just general fears,( that are not
helped by the current political cat fight that is going on)? Have you discussed
this with your wife/husband (if you are married) and do they share these
concerns? The things that you mention in your opening post are all out of your
control, which is pretty frightening, so yes I understand the temptation to stay where you are, and maybe that's what you need to do right now.

One of the things that helped me, once I had done all
that I listed above, was talking to a friend of mine that I worked with. He
HATES his job, and he always thought he would retire the second he was eligible,
and has saved up tons of money towards that goal. However, it's been over a year and he's still
working. In my opinion, he is afraid to retire. When we discussed retiring, he
would tell me that maybe I can afford to live on my annuity now, but what about
ten years from now? What about 20 years from now? I realized that I did not want
to make decisions from a place of fear. I certainly don't believe in saying "hey
I'm eligible, I'm sure it will all work out", but once I ran all my numbers and
was realistic about my lifestyle costs, I decided to go for it. I retired on
June 3rd and I am SO HAPPY. I liked my job ( letter carrier for 28 years), but I like not going to my job even more.
Oh and as far as those lists of stuff to do, I haven't had time to get to
them yet. Too busy catching up on reading, grandkids, computer, movies,
friends...And once I've caught up, if I can't find something to do that's more
interesting then delivering mail, I've got issues that I need to deal with anyway :)

I would also suggest that you post this same question on the Federal
Retirees board, as I'm sure most everyone has gone through some form of the
questions that you are asking yourself and it always helps to have other input.
 Good luck and let us know what happens.
 Penny


Lodell  
#5 Posted : Tuesday, August 02, 2011 8:54:21 PM(UTC)
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You may want to check out the Early Retirement forum. 
 
Fonz4  
#6 Posted : Wednesday, August 03, 2011 4:00:54 AM(UTC)
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If your annuity and TSP and other income give you abt 70% of what you now make, you should be OK.  Things change as far as your lifestyle.  You eat less, workout more, and have a honey-do list longer than you have time.  there are plenty of senior deals out there to make your 70% go farther.  You can find part-time work to have something to do or you can volunteer.  If you play golf you can get a job at a golf course to be a starter or ranger and get the free golfing perks.  We are on every restaurant website and get discounts from them too.  Today was senior day at our local seafood restaraunt and got 25% off.  Its fun and a challenge to find all the discounts we can.  We retired to FL where there is no income tax.  Lots to do.  Enjoy.
elwood  
#7 Posted : Thursday, August 04, 2011 1:14:22 AM(UTC)
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Everyone's situation is different.  I wasn't even thinking retirement because I have 5 more years to reach 30 (FERS) or take a penalty on my annuity.  I was waiting for that, as my hubby is 6 years older, has had some health problems, and he planned to retire in the next year or so.
 
Now the shoe is on the other foot, and he will likely work for about a year after I retire.  USDA early out offer came and out of the blue, I started learning about the ins and outs.  We have tried to position ourselves finanancially based on his age, our daughter completing college, and house paid off.  We're pretty close on the latter 2, and with other savings, and the lump sum payout, I opted to retire early and will do so on 9/23/11.  Timing would have been better for me if it had been in/after May 2012 when I turn 56 and can collect the FERS special supplement until I am 62.  So, although it is a bit premature, I'm going for it.  I have not had the opportunity to be close enough into town to get to participate as I would have liked in various things, including my daughter's events at school.  I have LOTS of plans and don't want to wait any longer.  Maybe will have to make some sacrifices, but as I have seen several times on this board, another day spent working is one less day in retirement.
 
What is amusing is how freaked all my colleagues are.  My management even attempted to request a delay in separation (I was agreeable), which it appeared was possible w/o losing the VERA benefit and no penalty.  It was categorically denied--no extensions, no exceptions.  I got that news day before yesterday, and that ended my limbo of my preferred date or the later one.  After having felt somewhat underappreciated by management at times because I don't have a PhD (just 2 masters), suddenly all those other things that I have just done for many years that were taken for granted, in addition to my job assignments, have taken on a new meaning and high priority.  I will do everything to help in this transition to make it successful, but I'm ready to be in retirement and won't regret this decision. Party
Pjohnson  
#8 Posted : Thursday, August 04, 2011 1:40:09 AM(UTC)
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elwood-
Hooray for you! Since I retired on June 3rd, I have been able to do all the things with my grandkids  that I could never do with my kids. The Post Office doesn't let you off work to go to school recitals, etc.
You know as far as your supplement, you aren't going to be without it that long. You don't receive it when you are in interim anyway, so if you are finalized in 4 to 5 months, you only have that difference of time until your birthday, to be without it. Of course you won't get it as part of your lump sum.
You do  realize that if you retire on the 23rd and not the last day of the month, you will lose that month of annuity? I just wanted to point it out although I'm sure you have done your homework.
Anyway, good luck, I'm sure you are excited!
Penny

The HalfBreed  
#9 Posted : Thursday, August 04, 2011 11:04:33 AM(UTC)
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Everyone must do what he/she feels is best for them. Being CSRS w/over 37 yrs, it's a different mindset somewhat....however, the "One extra day working = 1 day less in retirement" sounds GR8.
I ask some of my "newer" co-workers if they remember "Bill, Jean, Joe, Will, etc" and they say, " NO, never heard of them". 
The reason they never heard of Bill, Jean, Joe and Will is because they retired 5-15 years ago.
Many of the new people were either in Jr High, High School or the Military/college.

That will be ME one day....no one will remember me...except for the friends and family that I spend my last days with. THEY are the important ones. If you've ever seen the movie with Jack Nicholson, "About Schmidt"....it's a movie that's near and dear to me. It Says A LOT about retirement and what life is really about.


RETIRED 12/19/2012 !!! Good Bye Tension !!! Hello Pension !!!
Pjohnson  
#10 Posted : Thursday, August 04, 2011 12:28:16 PM(UTC)
Pjohnson

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The HalfBreed wrote:
Everyone must do what he/she feels is best for them. Being CSRS w/over 37 yrs, it's a different mindset somewhat....however, the "One extra day working = 1 day less in retirement" sounds GR8.
I ask some of my "newer" co-workers if they remember "Bill, Jean, Joe, Will, etc" and they say, " NO, never heard of them". 
The reason they never heard of Bill, Jean, Joe and Will is because they retired 5-15 years ago.
Many of the new people were either in Jr High, High School or the Military/college.

That will be ME one day....no one will remember me...except for the friends and family that I spend my last days with. THEY are the important ones. If you've ever seen the movie with Jack Nicholson, "About Schmidt"....it's a movie that's near and dear to me. It Says A LOT about retirement and what life is really about.


I know what you mean-I retired on June 3rd after 28 years at the same post office. The "new" people not only don't know the old retirees, but they weren't even born when I started!

The Post Office has changed so much, it's just a different world. Not just the way they manage, count routes etc, but as a reflection of society.  I remember when the old guys (and they were mostly guys when I was hired) had little ashtrays clipped to their cases. They would case, take a drag, flick their cigarette, case, etc.
Penny
crs1  
#11 Posted : Thursday, August 04, 2011 1:14:05 PM(UTC)
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68gto wrote:
I wonder if anyone else shares my concern.    I envisioned over the years how nice it will be when I finally retire. Time to do the things I've always wanted, time to relax, enjoy life, get away from the years of stress.

Now that the time has come I am really afraid to do it. I had planned for this past March, then 7/30  but decided not to.   With all the problems in getting annuity, length of time 8 months or more,  budget issues and talk about government defaults, no pension, etc. etc. I am too anxious. Maybe its safer to just keep working.  This is not how its supposed to be.
 
68gto,
 
I understand and, while only getting close to eligible, I have similar inclinations. I also think those inclinations are wrong.  If you think you can make it with your annuity, then consider:
 
When I joined my Federal workplace, I was the youngest there. I'd say 80% of the organization was eligible or within a few years of retirement eligible when I arrived. Of 50 employees or so at the time, I think there are only 4 of us left, all others have retired. What makes me think is the large number I know of who have passed away. Life is way too short.
 
I think the financial security portion of our mind assumes we will be around forever. That is just not true. Do it if you can and don't let anxiety over it shorten or prevent you from enjoying a well deserved retirement. I'm just an internet reader and have no idea about your financial preparedness. But I'm guessing you are there.
 
Best!

Angel1955  
#12 Posted : Thursday, August 04, 2011 2:42:46 PM(UTC)
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I was planning on retiring at 41 years 11 months to draw 80% - however a reoccurence of a p/e problem has made it necessary to retire at 41 years  - I have used up all leave from my first episode - well at least it stops me from debating - I am living off of savings - and was told by retired friends it would be better for me to retire - and at least I could expect something - I am suppose to relax and take it easy - so important to my health Dr said - I can fully understand why one wouldn't retire because of just the process - - We only have one person in our HR office - always open to advice - 
getting close  
#13 Posted : Thursday, August 04, 2011 5:46:32 PM(UTC)
getting close

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Everybody's situation is different. Job satisfaction is a key. It seems like many of those advocating retirement at the first opportunity were not particularly happy in their jobs. I was fortunate, and enjoyed my job and the people I worked with until the day I retired. So I was in no hurry to retire.

Now, having retired, am I happy I did? Absolutely! Do I regret not retiring earlier? No. I'm content with the choices I made.

68gto, you need to really think this through from both a financial and lifestyle standpoint, as others have said above. But fear of the unknown is not a good reason to keep working. I wish you the best in whatever you decide.

Ed
getting close  
#14 Posted : Thursday, August 04, 2011 5:57:32 PM(UTC)
getting close

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By the way, one thing that should be obvious but I haven't seen mentioned here yet. If you are married, you need to explore these issues thoroughly and openly with your spouse. If you intend to spend a lot of time with grandkids, make sure you know how their parents feel about it. When you retire, it inevitably changes the lives of those closest to you as well, and they deserve input to the decision making process.

elwood  
#15 Posted : Thursday, August 04, 2011 10:32:05 PM(UTC)
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Penny,

Thanks for pointing out about the 23rd.  I selected that because it was the end of a payperiod, now really thinking of the repurcussions.  But, heck.  What's one more week, if it means I'll get a little more moola!
 
Leeda
Pjohnson  
#16 Posted : Friday, August 05, 2011 1:42:04 AM(UTC)
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elwood wrote:

Penny,

Thanks for pointing out about the 23rd.  I selected that because it was the end of a payperiod, now really thinking of the repurcussions.  But, heck.  What's one more week, if it means I'll get a little more moola!
 
Leeda

Hi Leeda,
Actually I'm wrong about that, I'm sorry. I usually check before I post, but I goofed this time. I'm CSRS, so I don't have the FERS info ingrained, and just knew that the last of the month was the optimal time.
From best dates to retire 2011 (http://www.myfederalretirement.com/public/563.cfm):
"For employees who are covered by FERS or who are "Trans"FERS*, no matter

which day of the month an employee retires, retirement takes effect on
the first
day of the following month with the first annuity check dated on the
first day of the following month.
For example, a FERS employee retires on Jan 1,
2010.
Retirement takes effect on Feb. 1, 2010 and the first annuity check will
be
dated Mar. 1, 2010. If, however, the employee retires Dec. 31, 2009,
then
retirement takes effect on Jan. 1, 2010 and the first annuity check will
be
dated Feb. 1, 2010. In other words, in this example retiring one day
earlier at
the end of December results in the first annuity check being issued one
month earlier."

So if you retire on the 23rd, you will lose any pay from the 23rd to the end of the month, but not a whole month. You won't be paid by your office, nor will you get any annuity for that period. Since you were already prepared to not receive pay from your office you are already aware of that amount. So now,  if you divide your expected monthly annuity by 30 and multiply by 7 (since you are "paid" for all 30 days, even the weekend), that tells you what you would lose by leaving on the 23rd. On the other hand, by retiring at the end of a pay period you will earn your annual for that pay period, so you could calculate that out too and figure the difference.

I just did the calculations for myself (out of curiosity) and the difference for me would have been around $390. That's pure gross and doesn't take into account taxes, so the difference is actually smaller.
I hope that I've explained my error and again, I apologize. I'm actually surprised a FERS person hasn't corrected meSmile
This forum plus the Federal Retirees forum, really helped me to prepare. I had assumed the Federal Retirees forum would be more about issues after you retire and not as pertinent to my planning, but a lot of the threads actually tie into retirement planning, as they talk about what to expect as far as timelines, interim payments etc. so I found them as important as this forum.
Take care,
Penny
Pjohnson2011-08-05 18:18:19
Angel1955  
#17 Posted : Friday, August 05, 2011 3:48:00 AM(UTC)
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I wonder when would be the best date for me to retire - especially emergency health  retirements like mine with  41 years and almost 75 years old.  I have used up all sick and annual leave last time round  most of my research is in a notebook at work - haven't been there in almost a month - I am sure I am not the only one that this has happened to in the past  but not sure where to go to, we only have one person in our HR office.  OPM did give me a Navy counselor - on line - - 

Pjohnson  
#18 Posted : Friday, August 05, 2011 4:36:57 AM(UTC)
Pjohnson

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Angel1955 wrote:
I wonder when would be the best date for me to retire - especially emergency health  retirements like mine with  41 years and almost 75 years old.  I have used up all sick and annual leave last time round  most of my research is in a notebook at work - haven't been there in almost a month - I am sure I am not the only one that this has happened to in the past  but not sure where to go to, we only have one person in our HR office.  OPM did give me a Navy counselor - on line - - 

Hi,
I don't think in your situation the best date to retire is what you are looking for. When people talk about that they are talking about the optimal time to retire to collect the most money (from AL) and have the least gap between their retirement and the beginning of their annuity.

I don't know the rules for disability retirement so I think it would be a good idea for you to post in their forum to see if you qualify for that, as I would have no idea. That might at least give you a start.

I don't know if you need an HR person as much as you need someone to help you figure out your finances. Do you know someone who you trust who can help you figure out what you will be getting at retirement, versus now? Not a company who is trying to sell you something, but someone familiar with the fed pension? There are a lot of calculators online, but I don't know if you would be comfortable using them.
Good luck,
Penny

68gto  
#19 Posted : Friday, August 05, 2011 10:01:13 PM(UTC)
68gto

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My original post was centered more around our current (governmental) financial situation. The possibility of default down the road, pensions not being paid, etc.  Read the latest on what's going on in the EC and how that might boil over.   I've been hearing from just as many that say to retire and enjoy it --- as those that say keep your job as long as you can, things are going to get bad.

As for a personal financial situation --- most of the responses seem to indicate CSRS --- apples to oranges when comparing to a FERS retirement.  I'll get 30% of my high 3 and the supplement will be an equivalent of 10%.   No matter what I do, my retirement will not be more than 40% of my current pay.  Yes, there is TSP -- but taking a large portion out of that (unless you have a million) and it won't last 20 years.  I'm not  complaining about my situation or whether I can afford it --- I'm worried more about the Governments ability to pay in the future.   My estimated retirement income is what it is and won't change now.      

I appreciate the different viewpoints on this subject.


postalvet  
#20 Posted : Saturday, August 06, 2011 1:25:08 AM(UTC)
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If the government can't pay us then the whole county is screwed.  I do not know the exact numbers of federal retirees but it is in the millions.
Retired postal worker of 38 years who is willing to help even though some do not want to hear the truth.
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