Retirement date


Q. I am a federal employee with the Department of Justice in Oklahoma City. I am planning on retiring the end of this year, after 21 years and seven months. I contacted human resources in Washington, D.C., and asked for an estimate of my pension. I also asked for the best date to retire, and was told Dec. 28, as it is the end of the 26th pay period. This year, there are 27 pay periods and I just wondered if the date I was given was the best, as I have heard that it’s best to retire at the end of the month. So I thought it would be Dec. 31. Can you please give me your opinion of the best retirement date?

A. In 2012, the last pay period in December for most employees ends on Saturday, Dec. 29. However, you can retire at close of business on Friday, Dec. 28. Either way, you’d receive two weeks’ pay and get credit for any sick and annual leave you earned during that pay period. As a FERS employee, it’s always best to retire no later than the last day of a month. If you do, you’ll be on the annuity roll in the following month. With that in mind, you could retire at the close of business on Monday, Dec. 31. If you did, you’d earn one more day’s pay.


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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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