Retirement: Dec. 31 vs. Jan. 1


Q: I plan to retire at the end of this calendar year under the Civil Service Retirement System. My tour of duty is 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday thought Friday. Everything I read says the optimum date to retire is Dec. 31. Human resources says I can only retire on the first, second or third of the month, and they want me to retire Jan. 1. It is my understanding that there is no advantage to retiring after Dec. 31 because the weekend days aren’t paydays and if I retire Jan. 1, I will lose one day of my January annuity. How can I convince HR that Dec. 31 is the correct date?

A: You can retire on any day, including at the close of business on Friday, Dec. 31. No one else has a say in that. However, your assertion that there’s no advantage to retiring after that date is incorrect. Because the leave year ends on Jan. 1, you could retire on that day and still get paid for any unused annual leave that exceeds the carryover limit. The minor downside is that you’d lose 1/30th of your first month’s annuity.


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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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