Q. I am a 58-year-old retired Army officer (1977-1997) with 20 years of active service and have collected monthly retirement pay since 1997. I then worked 16 years in the civilian sector, paying into Social security. I have recently been selected as a foreign service officer and expect to start federal service again this year. I will face mandatory retirement at age 65 (2020). What is the best option for me as far as retirement planning goes? Should I convert my military pension? Do I forfeit my retirement pay while I work for State Department?
A. You can continue to receive your military retired pay while a federal employee. However, if you wish to combine your active-duty service with your civilian service, you’d have to make a deposit to the civilian retirement system and, when you retire, waive your military retired pay.
Whether that would make sense is something you’ll have to decide after you’ve put pen to paper and calculated the financial outcomes.