Q: I am 58 and have been with the government for 37 years under CSRS. My high-3 salary was achieved Jan. 18. I have read the best dates to retire are: June 30, 2012 – which is the first date the pay period ends at the end of the month for annuity to start in July; Jan. 3, 2013; in which I will receive payment for annual leave over 240 hours; or June 29, 2013 – in which I would receive 75 percent of my salary. (My 39th anniversary with the government. By waiting, I am concerned about several things: the high-3 salary changing to high-5 salary; pay freeze; and what about buyouts? If you had narrowed down your retirement dates to the above three, which would you choose, and why?
A: Only you can chose a retirement date. And you can do that by selecting the one that best satisfies your financial and emotional needs. Just remember that since you are already eligible to retire, if it looks like the law is going to change or there are freezes or buyouts, you can retire at any time before your “optimal” date.