High-three calculations


Q: I work in the San Francisco Bay Area where the general service pay is at its highest. I plan to work through my 42nd year to achieve my goal of 80 percent of my high-three. I have more than one year of sick leave on the books. My question is, if I decided to transfer from the Bay Area (say back to Phoenix or Savannah, Ga.), would I still be able to claim my last high-three (Bay Area), and if so at what point would I need to retire to claim my high three?

A: Your highest three consecutive years of average salary will always be your high-3, without regard to when they occur in your career.


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  1. Dont’t forget your high-3 is not your high three year average, its your highest 78 payperiods average, it might be a slight difference but it is how its done. Now, why wait to get 80% when your working for 20% of your pay, check your takehome pay and without deductions you might already be at 100% of your take home pay. If your working for less than 1 or 2 hundered per month, you might look to see what you can do in retirement that will pay that much, like being an employee at a park with a lake or for a charity. If you don’t need the money … what you save from it can easly replace the lost lifetime income without you having to delay your retirement. At the end of a career, hanging in for the max lifetime income might not make to much sence when you look at the numbers and see the difference between 76% and 80% and how it relates to your current take home pay. BUT HEY WHAT DO I KNOW, I’M ON FERS AND STILL HAVE 7 YEARS TO GO FOR 30 YEARS AND 33% (BUT WE DO GET SS AND INCOME FROM OUR THRIFT SAVINGS [WITH MATCHING DEPOSITS]) SO WHEN SAVING THE MAX MY %s ARE HIGHER WHEN IT COMES TO TAKE HOME PAY (I LOOK TO GET ABOUT 100% DUE TO MAX SAVINGS).

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