Stay on or get out?


Q: I have 40 years of service under CSRS as of June 28. I wanted to work toward 80 percent, which would be another two years. With no cost of living increase scheduled for 2012 and talk of computing retirement at high-5 rather than high-3, I am nervous about getting caught up in the process. Once I retire, I wanted to sign with a Contractor and return to my agency as a contract employee for two to three years. I don’t know, with all the uncertainty, if I should retire sooner (to be safe with high-3 computation); or gamble and take it day by day. Financially I would definitely want to work one more year if I knew what changes were coming.

A: Let me get this straight. If you retired today, your annuity would be 76.25 percent of your high-3; however, you want to max it out at 80 percent by working until you have 41 years and 11 months of service. Then you want to go back to work for your agency as a contractor so you can earn even more. Forgive me if I don’t share your anxiety about your financial situation. Since no one knows what the future holds, you have a choice. You can either retire or stay onboard and keep a close eye on what’s brewing in Congress.


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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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