Posted on Monday, 9th July 2012 by

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There are many issues to consider when setting your retirement date; some personal and others financial. There isn’t a stock answer for when you should retire and whatever date you choose will impact your benefits one way or the other.

For the most part, voluntary CSRS retirements are best the first three days of the month and your annuity will start on the next day. If you retire on the 3rd of the month you will get paid through the 3rd and your annuity will start on the following day. Your first annuity check will be for a partial month, less the three days you worked. However, if you choose to leave on the 4th or later your annuity won’t start until the first of the following month. The end of the month works best for FERS employees in many cases. Under the FERS system your retirement begins on the first day of the following month. This is also allowed for non-voluntary CSRS retirements.

You also need to consider your annual leave accrual and when your 80 hour work week ends. You could end up with additional annual leave that Uncle Sam buys back shortly after you leave. Then mix in your sick leave to determine how many months of additional time will count towards your total annuity calculation. I turned in 2090 hours, a few hours over a full year that added a year to my annuity calculation. FERS employees will only receive a 50% annual leave credit if they retire before January 1, 2014 and the full conversion rate after that date.

If you intend to leave at the end of 2012, the leave year ends January 12, 2013. You can retire as late as January 12, 2013 and still carry over your maximum amount of accrued annual leave. However, if you select this date to retire you won’t receive an annuity payment for January 2013. To maximize annual leave balances and still receive a retirement payment for January 2013, FERS employees should consider retiring on December 31 and CSRS employees January 3, 2013. Review OPM’s Use or Lose Annual Leave Scheduling Date Chart to determine when you must schedule your excess leave.

If you are retiring at the end of 2013, FERS employees will find December 31, 2013 or Jan. 10, 2014 good dates to consider.  CSRS employees can retire as late as January 3, 2014 and still receive a partial January annuity payment. The 2013 leave year ends January 11, 2014.

We just completed the update for our FREE 2013 Excel Pay Calendar that you can use to track your leave and ensure that you have sufficient balances when you retire.  Download it now and keep it on your desktop to help with your retirement planning. Share this free leave chart with others in your organization.

FREE 2013 Excel Leave Chart

Any date is a good date to retire if that is the date you choose after considering the impact on your annuity and benefits.  Awareness is the key and if you do your due diligence before you leave you will know what to expect when the first check arrives in the mail.

Forward this article to anyone in your organization contemplating retirement. For more information about retirement date benefits impact read Linda Sherman’s Best Date to Retire article. Print out copies of these articles and keep them in your retirement planning file.

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The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, and financial information is subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact your benefits coordinator and ask them to review your official personnel file and circumstances concerning this issue. Retirees can contact the OPM retirement center. Our article is not intended nor should it be considered investment advice. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic economic factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change.

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    Posted in ANNUITIES / ELIGIBILITY, BENEFITS / INSURANCE, RETIREMENT CONCERNS, SOCIAL SECURITY / MEDICARE | Comments (1)


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    One Response to “Best Dates to Retire 2012 and 2013”

    1. Steve Says:

      How does retiring on Jan 3, 2012 impact my COLA in 2014? Do I get credit for Jan? Retireing Dec 31, 2012 gets me 11/12 COLA in 2014. Do I get 11/12 or 10/12 by retiring on Jan 3?