Best time to retire


Q. I am a FERS employee who is trying to figure out the best possible time to retire. I have 30 years of service but am only 59. I want to take full advantage of my accrued sick leave of over 2,000 hours. I was considering January 2014, but I’m not sure that is the smart thing to do, when I could also wait until I reach age 62 in April 2015.

A. Only you can answer your question. And you have already thought of some of the things to consider that can help you do that. For example, you’ve figured out that by retiring after Dec. 31, 2013, you’d get full credit for your unused sick leave in the computation of your annuity. As for the age at which you retire, if you did so before reaching age 62, you’d receive the special retirement supplement, which approximates the Social Security benefit you earned while a FERS employee. If you did so at age 62, you could immediately apply for a Social Security benefit.

Not included in your email are other factors that might influence your decision. For example, the longer you were employed, the more salary you’d receive and, when you retire, the larger your annuity would be. As someone who has at least 20 years of service and retires at age 62 or later, your annuity would be computed using the enhanced multiplier: 1.1 percent instead of 1 percent.


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Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

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