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off-grid organic farmer
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Pending retirement for my wife

My wife works for one of the alphabet Federal agencies. Federal employees have a goofy retirement system.

She just learned that she will qualify for 'early' retirement at the end of next month. This early pension is based on how many years she has been with the agency. It would be around $360/month.

Or she could continue working and in 5 years she will qualify for the 'full' pension. The full pension formula is based on how old a person is. When you become old enough to qualify for SS, then you can get their full pension. Her full pension would be around $470/month.

She wants to quit working there, as the supervisors are inept. She thinks that she can get a p/t job to stay busy.

We have two major projects left to be completed on the homestead. We are 80% done with shifting to off-grid power, and we want to build a Solar-Thermal array to cut how much firewood we consume.

After that, our homestead construction projects will be completed, our need to maintain our current level of cash flow will be over. We will have: shelter, food, water, power and heat all covered.

Her pension and SS will never equal my pension. My pension also provides our medical care.

I think that as soon as we complete the shift to off-grid and the Solar-Thermal system, then she can retire.

What are your opinions on this?
 

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Pending retirement for my wife

My wife works for one of the alphabet Federal agencies. Federal employees have a goofy retirement system.

She just learned that she will qualify for 'early' retirement at the end of next month. This early pension is based on how many years she has been with the agency. It would be around $360/month.

Or she could continue working and in 5 years she will qualify for the 'full' pension. The full pension formula is based on how old a person is. When you become old enough to qualify for SS, then you can get their full pension. Her full pension would be around $470/month.

She wants to quit working there, as the supervisors are inept. She thinks that she can get a p/t job to stay busy.

We have two major projects left to be completed on the homestead. We are 80% done with shifting to off-grid power, and we want to build a Solar-Thermal array to cut how much firewood we consume.

After that, our homestead construction projects will be completed, our need to maintain our current level of cash flow will be over. We will have: shelter, food, water, power and heat all covered.

Her pension and SS will never equal my pension. My pension also provides our medical care.

I think that as soon as we complete the shift to off-grid and the Solar-Thermal system, then she can retire.

What are your opinions on this?
Does she start collecting the early pension immediately or when she reaches a certain age? The pension is only $470 a month for full pension? That seems really low. The difference is $110 a month which is less than 15 hours a month at a part time job.

The biggest issue to me would be if a part time job and and the pension could match the salary for the next 5 years. If it can, then go for it.
 

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I can totally understand her wanting to get out of the Federal employment arena! I have to agree with her in her desire to retire and work part time somewhere else. Simply because she will probably be much happier. It is a tough decision to make weighing the pros & cons. Good Luck !!
 

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Live Secret, Live Happy
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16,265 Posts
Pending retirement for my wife

My wife works for one of the alphabet Federal agencies. Federal employees have a goofy retirement system.

She just learned that she will qualify for 'early' retirement at the end of next month. This early pension is based on how many years she has been with the agency. It would be around $360/month.

Or she could continue working and in 5 years she will qualify for the 'full' pension. The full pension formula is based on how old a person is. When you become old enough to qualify for SS, then you can get their full pension. Her full pension would be around $470/month.

She wants to quit working there, as the supervisors are inept. She thinks that she can get a p/t job to stay busy.

We have two major projects left to be completed on the homestead. We are 80% done with shifting to off-grid power, and we want to build a Solar-Thermal array to cut how much firewood we consume.

After that, our homestead construction projects will be completed, our need to maintain our current level of cash flow will be over. We will have: shelter, food, water, power and heat all covered.

Her pension and SS will never equal my pension. My pension also provides our medical care.

I think that as soon as we complete the shift to off-grid and the Solar-Thermal system, then she can retire.

What are your opinions on this?
If your wife wants to retire, then you should find a way to help her do this.

Many federal workers are covered by the not so new retirement system known as Fers. This system allows retirement at age 55, and pays you a social security offset for a few yrs till normal social security kicks in.

Often a Fers retiree will have a substantial tax deferred saving account known as TSP that they can tap into at age 59.5.

You are a candidate for having an retirement expert lay out the options and help you develop a plan.
 

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off-grid organic farmer
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Does she start collecting the early pension immediately or when she reaches a certain age?
It would start immediately.



... The pension is only $470 a month for full pension? That seems really low.
Yes.

The full pension kind of assumes that you would also be getting SS at that time. She only started at this agency after I retired. To have a decent SS policy you need to work fulltime for a continuous 35 year period of time. As a military family we bounced around a lot. So she never had a 35 year continuous stretch of solid employment. In her case, her SS will also be small.



... The biggest issue to me would be if a part time job and and the pension could match the salary for the next 5 years. If it can, then go for it.
We know a lot of people in this area, working multiple part-time seasonal jobs. Full-time employment is kind of rare. Any part-time job she got, plus the pension will always be less then her current salary.

The average household income in our town is in the $20k to $25k range. Two people making Minimum-Wage full time here would be earning more than most families here.
 

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off-grid organic farmer
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
If your wife wants to retire, then you should find a way to help her do this.

Many federal workers are covered by the not so new retirement system known as Fers. This system allows retirement at age 55, and pays you a social security offset for a few yrs till normal social security kicks in.

Often a Fers retiree will have a substantial tax deferred saving account known as TSP that they can tap into at age 59.5.

You are a candidate for having an retirement expert lay out the options and help you develop a plan.
Thanks.

They have restructured their retirement system during her employment.

They also restructured the pay-scale. She is a GS-5, and under the current pay-scale GS-5s are paid much less. But she was grandfathered in according to the previous pay-scale, and she is at the highest step. 2 years ago she was slated to become a 'manager', in the negotiation they would give her the 'manager' title and bump her to GS-6, but to be a GS-6 would have meant a drop in pay. To keep her at the same level of pay, they would have needed to bump her to a GS-7 under the current pay-scale. They decided to not give her that.

Nobody in-house here can find their arse with both hands. It took nearly a year for the admin office here, to find out exactly when her earliest retirement date would be.

A guy from the agency Headquarters in Va, called her today here at home. I forwarded the info to her. I hope this guy is the 'retirement expert', so she can learn about her options.

On the other hand, they have 2 OSHA investigations on-going, and at least a dozen EEO / harassment investigations on-going. Today's call may have been one of those investigators.

:)
 

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off-grid organic farmer
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It appears that neither her current income nor her pension is necessary as a fall back position.
Her current income is needed for us to complete our current projects.

But once we are operating on off-grid power, and our home becomes self-heating. Then we should be fine without her current income.
 

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Take it. An early retirement option only comes when an agency is getting ready to drastically reduce workforce or reclassify employee pay grades.

https://www.opm.gov/retirement-services/fers-information/types-of-retirement/#url=Early-Retirement

OPM said:
If your agency undergoes a major reorganization, reduction in force, or transfer of function, and a significant percentage of the employees will be separated, or will be reduced in pay, the head of your agency can ask the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to permit early optional retirement for eligible employees. If your agency gets approval to permit early optional retirements, eligible employees will be notified of the opportunity to retire voluntarily.
Get out while the getting is good.
 

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One thing I haven't seen you mention is her financial situation after you (statistically speaking) die first.

JMHO but that would be weighed much higher than the other considerations which sound like "either will work"
 

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The Cynical Girl
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You could both get part time jobs (or one part time, one full time) and have the pensions too. Pay for all your stuff you need even faster without your wife having to endure a job she wants to leave
 

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Prepared
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Only $110/month difference for 5 more years of work? I'd quit in a heartbeat if it were me. Through junking, scrapping and antiques I could easily make that in a day. But I understand rural parts of Maine (been there several times), tougher to find stuff. Many places have their own local opportunity to scrap some money. If you can find a way to make $110/month to cover the difference, then I'd say go for it. 5 more years is a long time to put into a job unless you like it alot.
 

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Fertilizer Producer
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I dont believe its just the $100/month pension, but the income consideration for 5 more years.
This is the only reason that I would contemplate working five more years. $100 a month is hilariously insufficient.

What I see as the best course of action is this: do the math to determine how much longer her income is required to complete the remaining homestead projects, and then work with the agency to see if her retirement date can be at that point in time. Best of both worlds if they allow it.
 

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off-grid organic farmer
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·

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off-grid organic farmer
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
One thing I haven't seen you mention is her financial situation after you (statistically speaking) die first.

JMHO but that would be weighed much higher than the other considerations which sound like "either will work"
My pension ends when I die.

There is a program [Survivor Benefit Program] where we could turn-down a percentage of my pension and after I die then she would get that percentage. Like if I took 90% of my pension then after I died she could get 10%, or if I took 50% of my pension then she could get 50%, etc. I could refuse the pension entirely, and when I died then she would get 100% of my pension. But we are not doing that, I am taking 100% of my pension while I am alive.

She has gone through 5 heart attacks, she is far more likely to die before I do.
 
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