Author Topic: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?  (Read 15259 times)

CheapskateWife

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #100 on: May 05, 2017, 12:55:43 PM »
See, this is why the forums are freaking awesome!  You all just saved me an ugly surprise about my sick leave not counting if I defer my retirement.  I'm starting to think I'm coming down with something; every other Friday to be precise.

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #101 on: May 06, 2017, 04:44:23 AM »
See, this is why the forums are freaking awesome!  You all just saved me an ugly surprise about my sick leave not counting if I defer my retirement.  I'm starting to think I'm coming down with something; every other Friday to be precise.

Yeah, I did a quick calculation the other day and figured I've got about $62,000 worth of sick leave banked right now.  Unfortunately I tend to put in so much free time that even if I lay out every other Friday, I wouldn't be using much, if any, sick leave.
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rockeTree

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #102 on: May 06, 2017, 05:57:28 AM »
I figure at that point I just donate leave to the constant stream of folks in a bad way or with new babies. Beats it going to waste and can really help someone at a tough time. I already won if I haven't used up much of my sick leave at retirement. Wish I could make them pay it out at my rate so I could give that to the lower level folks who usually seem to be the ones in need!


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marion10

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #103 on: May 06, 2017, 06:26:25 AM »
You do donate annual leave- not sick

frugalecon

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #104 on: May 07, 2017, 05:17:59 AM »
Following,,,

I plan to retire sometime after MRA, though I wonder what the Congresscritters plan to do with Federal benefits after they are done with ACA. No guarantee current deal survives.

rockeTree

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #105 on: May 07, 2017, 06:27:56 AM »
You do donate annual leave- not sick
Oh right, forgot (when I was with a state gov we could donate sick I think, which was nice because it built up very fast unless you had nine kids to take to the dentist twice a year). Never mind!


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dude

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #106 on: May 09, 2017, 08:40:46 AM »
Following,,,

I plan to retire sometime after MRA, though I wonder what the Congresscritters plan to do with Federal benefits after they are done with ACA. No guarantee current deal survives.

Low probability they do anything with current, vested employees.  More likely they grandfather people.  The best guess as to what the "worst case scenario" would be is the Heritage Foundation's plan:

https://www.fedsmith.com/2016/07/16/worst-case-scenario-proposed-cuts-to-federal-pay-and-benefits/

I've got 25 years of service (FERS + military), so even in the worst-case scenario, it looks likely that I'd be grandfathered. I also doubt anything extreme could survive the Senate, but who knows?  Bottom line is, there have been literally scores of proposed changes to the fed retirement system over the past 20+ years, and the vast majority have simply gone nowhere.

dude

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #107 on: May 19, 2017, 09:11:32 AM »
Article on Feds and FIRE today:

http://www.govexec.com/pay-benefits/retirement-planning/2017/05/can-you-retire-45/137978/?oref=voices-module

Not much there, but she says she's going to get into it more in next article.  Predictably, there are commenters complaining that FIRE for Feds is unrealistic . . .

sol

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #108 on: May 19, 2017, 11:03:53 AM »
I agree that it's a little harder for feds, in some respects, but this author totally misses the point when her first bullet point is "earn lots of money".  The whole notion here is that the path to early retirement is about the ratio of your spending to your savings, and is totally independent of the amount of money you earn.  You don't need to be a GS-13 to retire early.  GS-5s can retire in less time than GS-13s can, if they have identical savings rates, because the 5 gets a ton of tax breaks and benefits the 13 doesn't.  It's just harder to hit those high savings rates as a 5.

But comparing (new) feds to equivalent private sector workers, it's a little harder for feds because they pay more of their salary towards a pension that will have little to no value for them.  Early retiring feds would be MUCH better off to just get those pension contributions as salary.  Effectively, the early federal retiree is forfeiting part of their retirement income to subsidize the late-in-life federal retiree, who gets a much better deal.

If you have military service, and a significant fraction of federal civilian employees to, things are a little easier because you at least get pension credit for your service time that got you the job.  I don't get any credit for all of the years I spent in graduate school to get the job, but on the other hand I'm pretty sure I had way more fun in graduate school than anyone ever has in the military.

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #109 on: May 21, 2017, 04:31:11 AM »
Following,,,

I plan to retire sometime after MRA, though I wonder what the Congresscritters plan to do with Federal benefits after they are done with ACA. No guarantee current deal survives.

Low probability they do anything with current, vested employees.  More likely they grandfather people.  The best guess as to what the "worst case scenario" would be is the Heritage Foundation's plan:

https://www.fedsmith.com/2016/07/16/worst-case-scenario-proposed-cuts-to-federal-pay-and-benefits/

I've got 25 years of service (FERS + military), so even in the worst-case scenario, it looks likely that I'd be grandfathered. I also doubt anything extreme could survive the Senate, but who knows?  Bottom line is, there have been literally scores of proposed changes to the fed retirement system over the past 20+ years, and the vast majority have simply gone nowhere.

Looks like there's a new worst-case scenario benchmark in the Great Cheeto's proposed 2018 budget:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/05/18/trumps-budget-calls-for-hits-on-federal-employee-retirement-programs/?utm_term=.ed4b31ff63d5

Quote
•Increase Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) contributions from workers by 1 percentage point each year until they equal the government’s contribution. This would take five to six years and would result in increased out-of-pocket payments of about 6 percent over that period. Out-of-pocket payments by federal law enforcement officers would increase by the same amount, but would not equal the greater contributions from law enforcement agencies.
•Base future retirement benefits on the average of the high five years of salary instead of the current high three
•Eliminate cost of living adjustments (COLA) for current and future FERS employees
•Cut the COLA for Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) employees by 0.5 percent from what the formula would allowed
•Eliminate supplement payments for FERS employees who retire beginning in 2018. The supplement approximates the value of Social Security benefits for those who retire before age 62.

The increased contribution would suck, but wouldn't be a huge deal for me since I'm not planning to be around much longer.  The high five would also suck, but still wouldn't be a major crimp in my FIRE plans.  And as a deferred annuitant, I wouldn't be getting the SS supplement anyway.  But the elimination of COLAs would really hurt.  Surely that won't pass.  Tell me it won't pass.  Time to join NARFE.
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frugalecon

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #110 on: May 21, 2017, 07:12:27 PM »
Following,,,

I plan to retire sometime after MRA, though I wonder what the Congresscritters plan to do with Federal benefits after they are done with ACA. No guarantee current deal survives.

Low probability they do anything with current, vested employees.  More likely they grandfather people.  The best guess as to what the "worst case scenario" would be is the Heritage Foundation's plan:

https://www.fedsmith.com/2016/07/16/worst-case-scenario-proposed-cuts-to-federal-pay-and-benefits/

I've got 25 years of service (FERS + military), so even in the worst-case scenario, it looks likely that I'd be grandfathered. I also doubt anything extreme could survive the Senate, but who knows?  Bottom line is, there have been literally scores of proposed changes to the fed retirement system over the past 20+ years, and the vast majority have simply gone nowhere.

Looks like there's a new worst-case scenario benchmark in the Great Cheeto's proposed 2018 budget:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/05/18/trumps-budget-calls-for-hits-on-federal-employee-retirement-programs/?utm_term=.ed4b31ff63d5

Quote
•Increase Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) contributions from workers by 1 percentage point each year until they equal the government’s contribution. This would take five to six years and would result in increased out-of-pocket payments of about 6 percent over that period. Out-of-pocket payments by federal law enforcement officers would increase by the same amount, but would not equal the greater contributions from law enforcement agencies.
•Base future retirement benefits on the average of the high five years of salary instead of the current high three
•Eliminate cost of living adjustments (COLA) for current and future FERS employees
•Cut the COLA for Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) employees by 0.5 percent from what the formula would allowed
•Eliminate supplement payments for FERS employees who retire beginning in 2018. The supplement approximates the value of Social Security benefits for those who retire before age 62.

The increased contribution would suck, but wouldn't be a huge deal for me since I'm not planning to be around much longer.  The high five would also suck, but still wouldn't be a major crimp in my FIRE plans.  And as a deferred annuitant, I wouldn't be getting the SS supplement anyway.  But the elimination of COLAs would really hurt.  Surely that won't pass.  Tell me it won't pass.  Time to join NARFE.

Elimination of COLAs would suck big time. Sounds like the plan is to pay a lot more for a lot less. There are some Republican Congress critters with a fair number of Feds in their districts...wonder what kind of heat they will feel. Hopefully habanero level.

Seems pretty evil to do this to people with < 5-10 years until retirement.


sol

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #111 on: May 21, 2017, 07:34:05 PM »
Seems pretty evil to do this to people with < 5-10 years until retirement.

In the past, such changes have only applied to new hires, to minimize the heat.  It's part of the long term trend to disincentivize people from joining the federal workforce.  If they just keep making it a shittier and shittier deal, pretty soon nobody will want to do it.

frugalecon

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #112 on: May 21, 2017, 07:45:13 PM »
Seems pretty evil to do this to people with < 5-10 years until retirement.

In the past, such changes have only applied to new hires, to minimize the heat.  It's part of the long term trend to disincentivize people from joining the federal workforce.  If they just keep making it a shittier and shittier deal, pretty soon nobody will want to do it.

I think it is more about trying to get current Feds to leave. If this started for retirees in, say, 2019, I would bet there would be a flood of people out the door before it went into effect.

For those of us left behind, it would just undermine morale.

sol

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #113 on: May 21, 2017, 07:58:44 PM »
For those of us left behind, it would just undermine morale.

I think everything about being a federal employee is designed to undermine morale.

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #114 on: May 22, 2017, 04:33:21 AM »
The article says the supplement elimination would apply to people who retire in 2018, but doesn't say whether that's fiscal '18 or calendar '18.  So it looks like there would be little, if any, chance for people to jump ship and lock in their supplement.

The article is vague on the application of the COLA elimination, but the wording leaves open the possibility that it would apply to people who are already retired.

And it appears that there would be no grandfathering of anything.  So, yes, the whole plan appears to be designed to discourage people from entering federal service and make folks already in it want to leave.  No need to pay VSIPs or offer early retirement; just make it suck so much that no one wants to hang around.
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frugalecon

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #115 on: May 22, 2017, 07:02:04 AM »
For those of us left behind, it would just undermine morale.

I think everything about being a federal employee is designed to undermine morale.

I think using some of the plentiful sick leave I have accumulated is the only way to improve my morale.

Bruizer

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #116 on: May 22, 2017, 07:26:35 AM »
The article says the supplement elimination would apply to people who retire in 2018, but doesn't say whether that's fiscal '18 or calendar '18.  So it looks like there would be little, if any, chance for people to jump ship and lock in their supplement.

The article is vague on the application of the COLA elimination, but the wording leaves open the possibility that it would apply to people who are already retired.

And it appears that there would be no grandfathering of anything.  So, yes, the whole plan appears to be designed to discourage people from entering federal service and make folks already in it want to leave.  No need to pay VSIPs or offer early retirement; just make it suck so much that no one wants to hang around.

Since it's for the 2018 federal budget, it'll likely be for fiscal year 2018.  If any of these proposals are accepted, you can expect a large number of federal employees retiring withing the next four months.


dude

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #117 on: May 22, 2017, 08:49:04 AM »
It's a long way from a White House budget proposal to actual implementation, so I'm not letting this get me riled up at this point.

frugalecon

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #118 on: May 22, 2017, 09:07:29 AM »
It's a long way from a White House budget proposal to actual implementation, so I'm not letting this get me riled up at this point.

True. There also is the issue that this would presumably eliminate the COLA for the Congresscritters' pension, and they may not go along with that idea.

sol

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #119 on: May 22, 2017, 09:50:16 AM »
Republicans have been suggesting this sort of thing every year since 1995, and 90% of it doesn't pass.  They might get some little pieces of it, but I don't see any reason to worry yet.

sparkytheop

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #120 on: May 22, 2017, 10:38:33 AM »
I've worked as a fed civilian for 16 years.  I've seen the government say they will do a ton of stuff (both good and bad), and have learned not to worry about any of it until it actually happens.  Hopefully if anything does pass, current employees are grandfathered in, but we shall see...

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #121 on: May 22, 2017, 06:55:23 PM »
I've worked as a fed civilian for 16 years.  I've seen the government say they will do a ton of stuff (both good and bad), and have learned not to worry about any of it until it actually happens.  Hopefully if anything does pass, current employees are grandfathered in, but we shall see...

Yes, I've seen similar things proposed many times in the past, and most of it never happened.  But sometimes things slip through because no one wants to be seen standing up for those lazy-ass government workers.  Federal employees that have been hired since 2014 are paying a pension contribution that is several times more than what the rest of us are paying.  That was passed while Obama was in the White House.  And I'm sure that back in the mid 80s, few federal employees thought that crazy FERS thing would actually pass.  If you wait until it has passed to worry about it, it's too late to do anything about it.
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vern

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #122 on: May 23, 2017, 01:55:28 PM »
  I don't get any credit for all of the years I spent in graduate school to get the job, but on the other hand I'm pretty sure I had way more fun in graduate school than anyone ever has in the military.

Sol, I'll put the two years I lived in Greece and traveled across Europe while I was in the Army up against your grad school time.
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sol

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #123 on: May 23, 2017, 03:35:49 PM »
  I don't get any credit for all of the years I spent in graduate school to get the job, but on the other hand I'm pretty sure I had way more fun in graduate school than anyone ever has in the military.

Sol, I'll put the two years I lived in Greece and traveled across Europe while I was in the Army up against your grad school time.

I'm fairly certain I would have gotten myself kicked out of the army for some of my grad school exploits.  I'm not proud.

But grad school is easy, in some respects.  Your odds of being shot at are notably lower.  Nobody tells when to get out of bed, or when to work.  You can drink too much, even at inappropriate times.  I spent years doing stupid unproductive stuff with weird and unpopular university clubs.  There are coeds literally everywhere and they are desperate for any man who isn't a frat boy rapist roofie bro.  On the downside, the opportunities to blow shit up are significantly less numerous.

I wouldn't trade any of it, though, with the possible exception of that one red headed disaster.  Grad school is an easy way to hide from grown up responsibilities well into your 20s or even your 30s, if you do it right (wrong).  Losing federal pension credit for those years, compared to my ex military co-workers, doesn't bother me at all.

crimwell

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #124 on: May 25, 2017, 07:36:53 AM »
if I make it to age 80 the difference in pension alone (based on my two official ways to retire early) I will collect between $180-360k more by staying to MRA. 

What do you mean 2 official ways to retire early? I'm aware of MRA - what's the other one? Just resigning the same way you would if a non-mustachian got another non-government job, except not getting another job?

Rosy

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #125 on: May 25, 2017, 01:54:17 PM »
Just a footnote from a different perspective, as a military wife/survivor-FERS/survivor. Regarding the medical insurance:

As an FERS annuant/survivor you have the option to continue on the government employee health insurance plan if you were already on the family plan. DH died in 1998 at 50 years old - the annuity pension is minimal, but oh boy has the health insurance coverage ever proved to be a financial life saver.
It was hard to pay the premiums those first two years until my life was back on track, but I knew if I dropped it, I would never be eligible to get back on the plan. So I just switched to the cheapest plan available for about three years, I was determined to hang onto this coverage and as soon as I could afford it, changed to a PPO plan.
 
We had the good luck to deal with a wonderful lady who helped us prepare and sort out (benefits dept?) everything just in time before he passed away - Agent Orange 100% - a long and difficult road. In the end he developed a rare, aggressive lung cancer seen almost exclusively in Agent Orange victims.  Afterward, she helped me with the supplemental as well, I would have never known about it on my own. I can't tell you how grateful I was, because Lord knows dealing with paperwork when you are paralyzed by grief and depression is difficult.
 
I sent her a lovely flower arrangement when I received my first payment - it became her center piece in her own retirement party the next day:)

Having access to good medical insurance into my own retirement years is priceless. Even though over the years the initial $371 benefit plus medical insurance eroded down to now only $157 - due to the cost of rising premiums.
I never expected that this one benefit and my handling of it - it was for a time a choice of eat or pay the premium, would ultimately become a significant factor in my own retirement.
My estimate is that in 10 years or less, the benefit will be zero (or rather it will all go toward medical premiums), which means I will then start paying medical premiums out of pocket - I'll be 78 then. Based on family genetics I suppose I might live to be 90 which would mean I will have to plan to pay extra for health insurance premiums for about 12 plus/minus years.

Isn't retirement planning fun?:)

dude

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #126 on: May 26, 2017, 06:29:49 AM »
Just a footnote from a different perspective, as a military wife/survivor-FERS/survivor. Regarding the medical insurance:

As an FERS annuant/survivor you have the option to continue on the government employee health insurance plan if you were already on the family plan. DH died in 1998 at 50 years old - the annuity pension is minimal, but oh boy has the health insurance coverage ever proved to be a financial life saver.
It was hard to pay the premiums those first two years until my life was back on track, but I knew if I dropped it, I would never be eligible to get back on the plan. So I just switched to the cheapest plan available for about three years, I was determined to hang onto this coverage and as soon as I could afford it, changed to a PPO plan.
 
We had the good luck to deal with a wonderful lady who helped us prepare and sort out (benefits dept?) everything just in time before he passed away - Agent Orange 100% - a long and difficult road. In the end he developed a rare, aggressive lung cancer seen almost exclusively in Agent Orange victims.  Afterward, she helped me with the supplemental as well, I would have never known about it on my own. I can't tell you how grateful I was, because Lord knows dealing with paperwork when you are paralyzed by grief and depression is difficult.
 
I sent her a lovely flower arrangement when I received my first payment - it became her center piece in her own retirement party the next day:)

Having access to good medical insurance into my own retirement years is priceless. Even though over the years the initial $371 benefit plus medical insurance eroded down to now only $157 - due to the cost of rising premiums.
I never expected that this one benefit and my handling of it - it was for a time a choice of eat or pay the premium, would ultimately become a significant factor in my own retirement.
My estimate is that in 10 years or less, the benefit will be zero (or rather it will all go toward medical premiums), which means I will then start paying medical premiums out of pocket - I'll be 78 then. Based on family genetics I suppose I might live to be 90 which would mean I will have to plan to pay extra for health insurance premiums for about 12 plus/minus years.

Isn't retirement planning fun?:)

Did the survivor annuity receive annual COLA increases? Very sorry to hear about your husband.  That's terrible.  A neighbor of mine is a Vietnam Marine vet who developed Parkinson's @ 61 years old, which was linked to his exposure to Agent Orange. He got a 100% disability rating.

dude

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #127 on: May 26, 2017, 06:37:13 AM »
Follow up article to the last one I posted. Nothing earth-shattering.

http://www.govexec.com/pay-benefits/retirement-planning/2017/05/perils-and-pitfalls-retiring-really-early/138163/?oref=retirement_planning_nl

She fails to mention two things.  First, a deferred annuity receives no COLA adjustments between the time you leave federal service and the time you begin collecting.  This can erode the value of the FERS annuity considerably. Second, while you can take the deferred annuity as early as your MRA, you lose 5% for each year prior to 62, so at 57 for example, you'd take a 25% reduction.  Couple that with the inflation-eroded annuity, and you've got a real punch in the tights.

sparkytheop

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #128 on: May 26, 2017, 07:28:38 AM »
If you have 25, oops, 30 years in when you hit your MRA (I'll have 36), there won't be any deduction on your pension, and you can withdraw from TSP immediately.  However, you do still lose out on COLA since those don't kick in until age 62.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2017, 07:42:02 AM by sparkytheop »

Bruizer

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #129 on: May 26, 2017, 07:36:21 AM »
If you have 25 years in when you hit your MRA (I'll have 36), there won't be any deduction on your pension, and you can withdraw from TSP immediately.  However, you do still lose out on COLA since those don't kick in until age 62.

That's only if you're retiring under VERA.  For a regular retirement, you'll need 30 years at MRA, 20 years at 60, or 5 years at 62.  When I hit my MRA last year, I was just short of 30 years.  I could have taken a reduced pension, but it was worth it to wait a few more months to get to 30 years.


sparkytheop

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #130 on: May 26, 2017, 07:41:31 AM »
If you have 25 years in when you hit your MRA (I'll have 36), there won't be any deduction on your pension, and you can withdraw from TSP immediately.  However, you do still lose out on COLA since those don't kick in until age 62.

That's only if you're retiring under VERA.  For a regular retirement, you'll need 30 years at MRA, 20 years at 60, or 5 years at 62.  When I hit my MRA last year, I was just short of 30 years.  I could have taken a reduced pension, but it was worth it to wait a few more months to get to 30 years.

Oops... yeah, 30 years.  I'll edit my post, guess I've had my hopes up for VERA for too long ;)

rockeTree

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #131 on: May 26, 2017, 08:11:35 AM »
So under the proposals in the wapo article it seems like the annuity value of FERS is being reduced and the cost of participating is being increased. A new employee paying ten percent of their gross or so in gets a no-COLA no-supplement annuity that's a percentage of their consecutive-high-five. At that point is it a good price for an annuity given say 20 years averaging 3% raises? Or would that hypothetical employee be better of taking their accumulated contributions and investing at that point? (Sub-queries - do folks choosing return of contributions get a nominal interest rate or anything for such? Again when I was with state gov that's how the pension worked but I don't think it does for Federal service. Also of course if hanging on to a low value annuity gives you access to otherwise extraordinarily costly health insurance once you have your five in to vest you hang on for dear life... but if I understand correctly to retain access to the healthcare requires you to stay until your MRA, right? Does the strange only-at-exactly-55 exit path keep health care access? Do you have to stay in FERS for that?)

evanc

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #132 on: May 26, 2017, 09:51:00 AM »
For those of us left behind, it would just undermine morale.

I think everything about being a federal employee is designed to undermine morale.

I have nothing substantive to add to this discussion. Just had to mention, sol, you crack me up :D

sparkytheop

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #133 on: May 26, 2017, 05:10:42 PM »
So under the proposals in the wapo article it seems like the annuity value of FERS is being reduced and the cost of participating is being increased. A new employee paying ten percent of their gross or so in gets a no-COLA no-supplement annuity that's a percentage of their consecutive-high-five. At that point is it a good price for an annuity given say 20 years averaging 3% raises? Or would that hypothetical employee be better of taking their accumulated contributions and investing at that point? (Sub-queries - do folks choosing return of contributions get a nominal interest rate or anything for such? Again when I was with state gov that's how the pension worked but I don't think it does for Federal service. Also of course if hanging on to a low value annuity gives you access to otherwise extraordinarily costly health insurance once you have your five in to vest you hang on for dear life... but if I understand correctly to retain access to the healthcare requires you to stay until your MRA, right? Does the strange only-at-exactly-55 exit path keep health care access? Do you have to stay in FERS for that?)

The way I'm reading it is that it won't just be new employees, but current employees as well.  In the past, they have changed the rules for new hires, but the people who had been in a while stayed on the old plan.  It looks like even current, long time feds will not get to keep their existing deal, which would be a pretty crappy thing to pull.  But, yes.  No COLA (ever, not just until age 62 like it is now), no supplement, based on high five.

As for the sub-query, I'm not awake enough to figure that out yet.  You can buy an annuity or keep your money in TSP, or move it out, or a combination.  In my case, it's best for me to keep it in TSP so that I can pass the leftover balance to my son when I die.  If all goes well (based on firecalc and others), I should have a lot to pass down.  The TSP and annuity option are different than the FERS pension.

You can only keep health care if you retire at your MRA, or get an official early out option (like VERA).  MRA is based on the year you were born.  The earliest is 55 then it goes up a month, kind of, for every year younger you are until you hit a point where the MRA is 57 (there is a chart that's easy to look up, just search FERS MRA chart).  I think the "only at exactly 55" thing is "at least exactly 55" because you need to have your MRA to keep health care, and again, for younger people that is over age 55.

"Do you have to stay in FERS"...  You have to retire as a FERS employee, at MRA or later, to get the health care.  Leaving FERS, to my knowledge, is not really a thing--I mean, you leave it if you change jobs, and lose some benefits if you retire before MRA, defer retirement, etc.  I don't believe you have to option to have someone else run the pension, or cash it out*, which is what I'm guessing "staying in FERS" means.  You completely have the option to move your TSP money to something else and that would not affect your health benefits.

*you can cash out your contributions to FERS, but since it is only your 1% contribution (first version FERS employees), definitely not worth it.  Even if it goes to 5%, I don't see how it would be worth it to cash it out.  Unless maybe you're retiring so early that you don't have many years of service, would be penalized until there was nothing left, etc.

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #134 on: May 26, 2017, 07:08:15 PM »
The way I'm reading it is that it won't just be new employees, but current employees as well.  In the past, they have changed the rules for new hires, but the people who had been in a while stayed on the old plan.  It looks like even current, long time feds will not get to keep their existing deal, which would be a pretty crappy thing to pull.  But, yes.  No COLA (ever, not just until age 62 like it is now), no supplement, based on high five.

According to NARFE's website, the elimination of the COLA would apply to people who are already retired.  As in, they've already been getting COLAs for how ever many years they've been retired, and starting in 2018, they would not get COLAs any more for the rest of their lives.  Talk about a raw deal.  I can't believe that will pass, but given the crazy-land nature of where this proposal is starting, I suspect they will get some of it through.
"Take this job and shove it" - David Allan Coe

Rosy

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #135 on: May 26, 2017, 08:18:06 PM »
@dude
Quote
Did the survivor annuity receive annual COLA increases? Very sorry to hear about your husband.  That's terrible.  A neighbor of mine is a Vietnam Marine vet who developed Parkinson's @ 61 years old, which was linked to his exposure to Agent Orange. He got a 100% disability rating.

Yes, the survivor annuity receives annual COLA increases - some years it has made up for the increase of premiums for medical insurance. Lately, it has not been enough to offset med ins prem increases.
Then there was the year when congress allowed for zero COLA..., but the medical insurance premium went up anyway:)

sparkytheop

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #136 on: May 26, 2017, 08:28:44 PM »
The way I'm reading it is that it won't just be new employees, but current employees as well.  In the past, they have changed the rules for new hires, but the people who had been in a while stayed on the old plan.  It looks like even current, long time feds will not get to keep their existing deal, which would be a pretty crappy thing to pull.  But, yes.  No COLA (ever, not just until age 62 like it is now), no supplement, based on high five.

According to NARFE's website, the elimination of the COLA would apply to people who are already retired.  As in, they've already been getting COLAs for how ever many years they've been retired, and starting in 2018, they would not get COLAs any more for the rest of their lives.  Talk about a raw deal.  I can't believe that will pass, but given the crazy-land nature of where this proposal is starting, I suspect they will get some of it through.

Yes, retirees as well, even CSRS! (the reduction part)  That's going to bite even long-time retirees. 

I've had the federal government play games with my pay, go back on my hiring contract, participate in illegal hiring practices, nepotism, retaliation for reporting/proving sexual harassment, etc, so I know "they" have no problems doing it, but this is a large scale f*ck over of nearly all employees.  Hopefully it won't be allowed to be "retro-active" to current employees and retirees, but be limited to new-hires.  However, I don't trust it, no matter who is sitting as president (the only time I've had a pay freeze was under Obama, so party doesn't matter).  Like I said earlier, I'll worry about it if/when it happens, but my MO has always been "hope for the best, prepare for the worst", and make sure I'm making good money choices outside of TSP.  I've had the chance to leave for better pay, but already having 15 years into the pension, etc, kept me where I am.  If it happens, it's time to reevaluate that decision.  If it does happen, it's another dick move by the government. Fucking bastards.

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #137 on: May 27, 2017, 04:39:52 AM »
The way I'm reading it is that it won't just be new employees, but current employees as well.  In the past, they have changed the rules for new hires, but the people who had been in a while stayed on the old plan.  It looks like even current, long time feds will not get to keep their existing deal, which would be a pretty crappy thing to pull.  But, yes.  No COLA (ever, not just until age 62 like it is now), no supplement, based on high five.

According to NARFE's website, the elimination of the COLA would apply to people who are already retired.  As in, they've already been getting COLAs for how ever many years they've been retired, and starting in 2018, they would not get COLAs any more for the rest of their lives.  Talk about a raw deal.  I can't believe that will pass, but given the crazy-land nature of where this proposal is starting, I suspect they will get some of it through.

Yes, retirees as well, even CSRS! (the reduction part)  That's going to bite even long-time retirees. 

I've had the federal government play games with my pay, go back on my hiring contract, participate in illegal hiring practices, nepotism, retaliation for reporting/proving sexual harassment, etc, so I know "they" have no problems doing it, but this is a large scale f*ck over of nearly all employees.  Hopefully it won't be allowed to be "retro-active" to current employees and retirees, but be limited to new-hires.  However, I don't trust it, no matter who is sitting as president (the only time I've had a pay freeze was under Obama, so party doesn't matter).  Like I said earlier, I'll worry about it if/when it happens, but my MO has always been "hope for the best, prepare for the worst", and make sure I'm making good money choices outside of TSP.  I've had the chance to leave for better pay, but already having 15 years into the pension, etc, kept me where I am.  If it happens, it's time to reevaluate that decision.  If it does happen, it's another dick move by the government. Fucking bastards.

Don't blame the generic "government."  Neither OPM nor your agency leadership want to do this to us.  It's the cocksucking rabid right-wing republicans who run OMB and the Freedom Caucus in the House who want to do this to us.  And it's nothing more than a mean-spirited desire for political retribution, totally driven by blind hatred of the generic "government," of which we are the easiest representatives to fuck over.
"Take this job and shove it" - David Allan Coe

rockeTree

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Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #138 on: May 27, 2017, 05:45:18 AM »
Ugh.

Sorry I was unclear about the annuity - I was using it as shorthand for figuring out the value of the stream of payments associated with the FERS pension for an imaginary new employee who works 20 years.

So if I start at 60k, average 4% raises every year, on separation I can take a pension. If I'm a stashing saver and under MRA there may be a delay but abstracting from that I can under the proposed system either take back my $186k  of basic benefit contributions over the years, or get 20% of high five average every year, which is $23k likely declining in real value, forever.

A new employee today paying 4.4% sees the option as withdraw 79k or accept payment of $24k a year plus COLA forever.

Can't say the new system would just be forced savings but it's a lot closer to take the money and run depending on your life expectancy, risk tolerance, inflation expectations. For 78k the pension is a pretty good deal even if I forgoe COLA until MRA. $186 is still only going to throw off 8 or 9 grand a year inflation adjusted forever in a portfolio but it's a considerably more flexible asset...

But as with everything in US planning right now how it affects health care is the zillion dollar issue for many.

sparkytheop

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #139 on: May 27, 2017, 06:03:55 AM »


Don't blame the generic "government."  Neither OPM nor your agency leadership want to do this to us.  It's the cocksucking rabid right-wing republicans who run OMB and the Freedom Caucus in the House who want to do this to us.  And it's nothing more than a mean-spirited desire for political retribution, totally driven by blind hatred of the generic "government," of which we are the easiest representatives to fuck over.

That's the thing though, "generic government" is just messed up. My leadership does not care who they screw over. They've told us we are overpaid and have used it as an excuse to hold up raised, break contacts, etc.  Sure, they don't like it if it affects them, but that's what "secret perks" are for, to try to make up for it for themselves.
I'm here for my paycheck. And I can hope that my current supervisor continues to ignore the good ol' boy system and treats us ok. But there is no loyalty or trust that anyone in any position above peon will ever do the right thing.

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #140 on: May 27, 2017, 09:16:28 AM »


Don't blame the generic "government."  Neither OPM nor your agency leadership want to do this to us.  It's the cocksucking rabid right-wing republicans who run OMB and the Freedom Caucus in the House who want to do this to us.  And it's nothing more than a mean-spirited desire for political retribution, totally driven by blind hatred of the generic "government," of which we are the easiest representatives to fuck over.

That's the thing though, "generic government" is just messed up. My leadership does not care who they screw over. They've told us we are overpaid and have used it as an excuse to hold up raised, break contacts, etc.  Sure, they don't like it if it affects them, but that's what "secret perks" are for, to try to make up for it for themselves.
I'm here for my paycheck. And I can hope that my current supervisor continues to ignore the good ol' boy system and treats us ok. But there is no loyalty or trust that anyone in any position above peon will ever do the right thing.

Wow, it sounds like your agency really sucks.  I'm glad mine isn't like that (yet).
"Take this job and shove it" - David Allan Coe

elysianfields

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #141 on: May 30, 2017, 02:38:50 AM »
Here's a TSP millionaire's story, in which he hints at mustachian tendencies:

https://www.fedsmith.com/2017/05/21/becoming-tsp-millionaire-one-federal-employees-story/

ETA: some of the comments on this story got me laughing - many of the usual "it's impossible" or "you missed out on life" rants.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2017, 04:00:08 AM by elysianfields »

simonsez

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #142 on: June 05, 2017, 09:51:37 AM »


Don't blame the generic "government."  Neither OPM nor your agency leadership want to do this to us.  It's the cocksucking rabid right-wing republicans who run OMB and the Freedom Caucus in the House who want to do this to us.  And it's nothing more than a mean-spirited desire for political retribution, totally driven by blind hatred of the generic "government," of which we are the easiest representatives to fuck over.

That's the thing though, "generic government" is just messed up. My leadership does not care who they screw over. They've told us we are overpaid and have used it as an excuse to hold up raised, break contacts, etc.  Sure, they don't like it if it affects them, but that's what "secret perks" are for, to try to make up for it for themselves.
I'm here for my paycheck. And I can hope that my current supervisor continues to ignore the good ol' boy system and treats us ok. But there is no loyalty or trust that anyone in any position above peon will ever do the right thing.

Wow, it sounds like your agency really sucks.  I'm glad mine isn't like that (yet).

+1

If my agency was like that, that would really affect my day to day job (which I love).  Ouch, hang in there!  Or leave!  (whatever optimizes your long-term utility)

dude

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #143 on: June 06, 2017, 06:23:45 AM »
The way I'm reading it is that it won't just be new employees, but current employees as well.  In the past, they have changed the rules for new hires, but the people who had been in a while stayed on the old plan.  It looks like even current, long time feds will not get to keep their existing deal, which would be a pretty crappy thing to pull.  But, yes.  No COLA (ever, not just until age 62 like it is now), no supplement, based on high five.

According to NARFE's website, the elimination of the COLA would apply to people who are already retired.  As in, they've already been getting COLAs for how ever many years they've been retired, and starting in 2018, they would not get COLAs any more for the rest of their lives.  Talk about a raw deal.  I can't believe that will pass, but given the crazy-land nature of where this proposal is starting, I suspect they will get some of it through.

Yes, retirees as well, even CSRS! (the reduction part)  That's going to bite even long-time retirees. 

I've had the federal government play games with my pay, go back on my hiring contract, participate in illegal hiring practices, nepotism, retaliation for reporting/proving sexual harassment, etc, so I know "they" have no problems doing it, but this is a large scale f*ck over of nearly all employees.  Hopefully it won't be allowed to be "retro-active" to current employees and retirees, but be limited to new-hires.  However, I don't trust it, no matter who is sitting as president (the only time I've had a pay freeze was under Obama, so party doesn't matter).  Like I said earlier, I'll worry about it if/when it happens, but my MO has always been "hope for the best, prepare for the worst", and make sure I'm making good money choices outside of TSP.  I've had the chance to leave for better pay, but already having 15 years into the pension, etc, kept me where I am.  If it happens, it's time to reevaluate that decision.  If it does happen, it's another dick move by the government. Fucking bastards.

Don't blame the generic "government."  Neither OPM nor your agency leadership want to do this to us.  It's the cocksucking rabid right-wing republicans who run OMB and the Freedom Caucus in the House who want to do this to us.  And it's nothing more than a mean-spirited desire for political retribution, totally driven by blind hatred of the generic "government," of which we are the easiest representatives to fuck over.

Absolutely 100% correct.  And if you're a Fed and voted for the orange asshat or any of the GOP (esp. Tea Party) minions, then you deserve every punch in the nuts you get and I wish you a thousand more (and fuck you for sharing your self-inflicted pain with the rest of us).

dude

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #144 on: June 06, 2017, 06:42:16 AM »
Here's a TSP millionaire's story, in which he hints at mustachian tendencies:

https://www.fedsmith.com/2017/05/21/becoming-tsp-millionaire-one-federal-employees-story/

ETA: some of the comments on this story got me laughing - many of the usual "it's impossible" or "you missed out on life" rants.

I love stories like this. I've got 19.5 years in and my TSP balance is $652k.  There's no doubt I'd hit the $1mil mark (and likely surpass it by a lot) if I stuck around for 32 years like the author of that story -- in fact, I just plugged in the numbers, and at 6% ROI, I'd be over $2mil.  As it is, I'm hoping to come in around $750-$800k at the end of the next two years.  Only need 3-4% to do that, so it's possible (though I have a strong feeling we'll see a large drop between now and then). At any rate, this guy hit the nail square on the head -- a little discipline, a long-term outlook, and patience is all it takes.

Tovin

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #145 on: July 03, 2017, 09:45:33 PM »
I'm fairly new here, so sorry if this is considered necroing a post. I just SO wanted to join in with people in our same position!

Our current plan is for my husband to quit with 30 years in at age 52, defer his annuity and stay on my insurance. Obviously the grail would be them offering a VSIP/VERA, which they would never offer for my position. This would be 2033.

I'll work til 57 (unless he gets the grail),5 years after he quits, when I'll have 26 years in and take an immediate annuity to keep our health insurance. Yeah, we take a hit, but we're going to have more than enough to cover. We're incredibly risk averse or we'd both retire when he's 45-48ish and just pay for medical out of pocket.

I've had quite a few medical problems throughout my life, so we're not pretending. It's very possible I won't be able to go out and do the things at 57 I can barely do now. This plan gives us a lot of play money to do what we want now while we're both semi-healthy ish.

(These are last year's numbers, I haven't looked this year yet) He's 36, with 215k in TSP. I'm 39 and only have 55k. He gets his 8 hours (15 years in) next June. He intends to be off a lot of Fridays and he works where that won't be a problem. We work a compressed work schedule so we're already off every other Friday (3 day weekends FTW!).

We're both pumping the max into our TSPs right now, and another 30ishk a year into Vanguard accounts, but this year we intend to look at putting less into mine and putting that in more available options to use between me retiring and him getting his annuity.

doggyfizzle

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #146 on: July 04, 2017, 07:28:47 PM »
Our current plan is for my husband to quit with 30 years in at age 52, defer his annuity and stay on my insurance. Obviously the grail would be them offering a VSIP/VERA, which they would never offer for my position. This would be 2033.

A VSIP at 50 would be my dream come true as well.  I'll have 23 years of service by then so I'd just barely qualify.  Keeping the medical insurance really is the main thing that prevents me from really going for FIRE, and also were I to leave my job early I doubt I'd be able to find anything as cool as what I'm doing in my present location.

neverrun

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #147 on: July 14, 2017, 12:42:48 PM »


Don't blame the generic "government."  Neither OPM nor your agency leadership want to do this to us.  It's the cocksucking rabid right-wing republicans who run OMB and the Freedom Caucus in the House who want to do this to us.  And it's nothing more than a mean-spirited desire for political retribution, totally driven by blind hatred of the generic "government," of which we are the easiest representatives to fuck over.

That's the thing though, "generic government" is just messed up. My leadership does not care who they screw over. They've told us we are overpaid and have used it as an excuse to hold up raised, break contacts, etc.  Sure, they don't like it if it affects them, but that's what "secret perks" are for, to try to make up for it for themselves.
I'm here for my paycheck. And I can hope that my current supervisor continues to ignore the good ol' boy system and treats us ok. But there is no loyalty or trust that anyone in any position above peon will ever do the right thing.

Wow, it sounds like your agency really sucks.  I'm glad mine isn't like that (yet).

Sparky are you down the hall from me?

ETA:  Why I don't leave, the mission.  I once heard a great lecture once on successful organizations and how you can have a successful organization with bad leadership if the mission is seen as essential.  I though of how yup that describes work to a T.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2017, 02:54:21 PM by neverrun »

SquirrelStache

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Re: Any FERS + TSP FIRE folks out there?
« Reply #148 on: July 16, 2017, 08:55:26 AM »
Posting to follow. The plan is to have hubby RE and I'll keep working for a while. He's 51 and aiming for MRA with 10 years.

We're still noobs on RE and how that works with TSP/FERS etc., so I'm just here to soak up the knowledge :-)