Retirement calculation


Q. With no pay raises, assuming one is eligible, at what point does the take home pay in CSRS retirement (after all of the necessary adjustments) pretty much equal the take-home pay while working? It seems to fall around 35 or 36 years, or 68 percent to 70 percent? I know you can do a retirement calculator, but that gives you an estimate of gross.

A. All I can give you is a gross answer. Assuming that you don’t owe any deposits or redeposits to the retirement system, as a CSRS employee, you will receive an annuity equal to 80 percent of your high-3 when you have 41 years and 11 months of service. Unused sick leave, which isn’t subject to the 80 percent limit, can increase that amount. And if you work for longer than 41 years and 11 months, you’ll receive a refund of your excess contributions and be able buy additional annuity, which also isn’t subject to the 80 percent limit.


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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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