Author Topic: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?  (Read 2651 times)

frugalecon

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How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« on: June 03, 2019, 03:47:14 AM »
Retiring at MRA in the Federal system probably is contrary to the “RE” aspect of FIRE, but I am curious how many Feds are shooting for it anyway. The health care benefits in particular are a draw. I just hit 100 weeks to go to my MRA, so it has been on my mind.

Peachtea

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2019, 07:15:56 AM »
No way, but I’m also a long ways from MRA and hope to be FIRE many years before then. Less than 2 years out would be tempting for the health benefit, although I feel that they are very expensive plans. But obviously whether they are expensive depends on the other options in your location.

ospreyjp

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2019, 07:58:51 AM »
I am just about the same place as you in my countdown to MRA+10 retirement from Federal Service.  56 years old may not be super early, but is still better than grinding it out until 65 or even 70 like some of the folks I work with.  FEHB is definitely a big draw for me as I will have a family to insure in addition to myself. 




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ospreyjp

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How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2019, 08:03:06 AM »
No way, but I’m also a long ways from MRA and hope to be FIRE many years before then. Less than 2 years out would be tempting for the health benefit, although I feel that they are very expensive plans. But obviously whether they are expensive depends on the other options in your location.
Actually, the FEHB plans can be pretty affordable.  Certainly better for those at mid to higher tax brackets with the ACA plans and definitely a lot better than the private market.  I can relate to it not being worth it to work for quite a few years, but in the OP’s case (and mine) it is not long at all.  It also gives a chance to sock away as much as possible in TSP.


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« Last Edit: June 03, 2019, 08:04:51 AM by ospreyjp »

sol

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2019, 08:19:01 AM »
Actually, the FEHB plans can be pretty affordable.

"Affordable" is kind of a loaded term.  The "Affordable" Care Act makes health insurance affordable for people at every income level by subsidizing it based on income, with the assumption that people who are very very rich can "afford" to pay full freight for expensive private health insurance.

It also makes health insurance very affordable for lower income folks.  So affordable, in fact, that it costs less than FEHB for former-feds.

I'm a former fed, who retired more than a decade before my MRA and never even considered giving away that many more years of my life just so I could get subsidized health insurance.  I can already get subsidized health insurance through the ACA.

ospreyjp

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2019, 09:08:25 AM »
Having Uncle Sam continue to kick in 2/3 of the premiums while I am responsible only for the same amount I currently pay is worth it in my case.  FEHB, together with Medicare (once I hit 65), will provide me with good coverage.  Others' situations obviously vary. 

The OP stated that he has only 100 weeks (less than 2 years) to go.  In my case, I have about 112 weeks to go.  Unless one is truly miserable, 2 years to hang in there for a pretty decent deal on insurance would make sense for many.  .  A decade, not so much...
« Last Edit: June 03, 2019, 09:30:55 AM by ospreyjp »

Peachtea

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2019, 07:26:31 PM »
No way, but I’m also a long ways from MRA and hope to be FIRE many years before then. Less than 2 years out would be tempting for the health benefit, although I feel that they are very expensive plans. But obviously whether they are expensive depends on the other options in your location.
Actually, the FEHB plans can be pretty affordable.  Certainly better for those at mid to higher tax brackets with the ACA plans and definitely a lot better than the private market.  I can relate to it not being worth it to work for quite a few years, but in the OP’s case (and mine) it is not long at all.  It also gives a chance to sock away as much as possible in TSP.


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I could see it being worth a 2 year wait, especially because premiums are more for 50+ folks in private market and ACA plans. I’m comparing fed premiums to my husbands plans/other friends in the area and our potential ACA outlook rather than private plans. Odds seem low we’d ever be shopping for private (vs employer provided) or not get ACA credit if/when we FIRE. At least if ACA stays similar or next program is anywhere close to what it is now.

We get insurance with my husbands employer plan now because the premiums are almost half the cheapest fed plan available and is more than half the cheapest fed plan that actually has providers near where we live. That’s not even counting the HSA contribution his firm puts into our HSA. It’s basically, in my mind, free because the monthly employer HSA contribution is more than the monthly premiums. The premiums drop by half and HSA contribution goes up $50/month if we have kids vs fed plans just get more expensive. And it was mind boggling at a get together how many friends/ friend of friends had zero premiums and no deductible or zero premiums and full reimbursement for deductible plans at work. They ran the gambit of marketing jobs to interior design. I was green with envy for the person with no premiums AND a 15% 401k match. Gah.

ACA estimates with a income 10k over what we are actually planning for FIRE is $1 for bronze (which I’m okay with) or $225 gold both at a very good hospital system or $0 bronze and like $2 or some ridiculous low amount for gold same income but with kids.

I guess maybe a good theoretical question is how many years away before it becomes not worth the wait? My gut says more than 5 years wait is not worth it. It would depend a lot on the administration, for me anyways.

sparkytheop

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2019, 10:32:51 PM »
Depending on how things go, I'll hang out until my MRA.  However, if certain benefits ever go away, that's off.

I have 19 years in at age 40, so I still have a long way to go.  I'll be eligible for an early out at age 46 though, so I'll be putting in for it every year and hope I get accepted eventually.

Fortunately, my job is not miserable.  The work itself isn't that bad (although stress can go from 0 to 100 in a matter of seconds).  There is a lot of down time to pursue hobbies, cook meals, go through my budget/statements, etc.  I also get a lot of time off due to the 12 hour rotating shifts (for just 16 hours of leave, I can get 16 days off in a row, five times a year).  As long as we don't get a jerk boss, it's not a bad gig at all.

Sadly, I know first hand how a job environment can turn toxic in no time, so I still set myself up to be able to escape before my MRA if I ever needed to.

frugalecon

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2019, 08:35:02 AM »
I am just about the same place as you in my countdown to MRA+10 retirement from Federal Service.  56 years old may not be super early, but is still better than grinding it out until 65 or even 70 like some of the folks I work with.  FEHB is definitely a big draw for me as I will have a family to insure in addition to myself. 


Sounds like we are twins, @ospreyjp . It will be interesting to see how I feel at MRA. I could see OMY syndrome setting in, but on the other hand maybe I will be ready to transition to the next phase. At this point I just want to lock in the FEHB option. We are already FI now, though that would require location to a lower-cost-of-living place. I constantly weigh the tradeoff of that vs. our life in the HCOL place we live, which I do like.

six-car-habit

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2019, 08:36:46 AM »
 7.1 yrs left till MRA.  Started saving $$ late in life. I'll still get out of there before several co-workers with 2 retirement checks Already coming in [military and military disability/ concurrent receipt - these folks are in no way disabled, they just worked the system ] .
  FEHB is a big draw. Also the supplemental annuity. Still having a mortgage and a young child are big factors in not taking a defered retirement + wife has no health insurance option thru her work.
  I am rooting for a RIF but its not likely. I'm in a position where the odd hours are a big reason to stay put. Gave up a semi-supervisory position, to have less stress, and not bring work problems home -  on 'cruise control' now.

fattest_foot

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2019, 09:05:21 AM »
Nope, that'd require about an extra 20 years for me to hit. Planning on being long gone before hitting MRA. We'd also have about 9-10x more money than we actually need by that point.

Sugaree

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2019, 09:17:12 AM »
Ehh....I'm a long way from MRA.  But I'm a long way from FI too.  My ultimate goal at this point is to be able to pull the trigger if VERA/VSIP comes along (actually not unlikely given my field).  I've seen too many people who are unable to take it due to not being able to afford it.  The FEHB is a big deal.  My husband has health issues that are likely to get worse.  I don't have faith that the ACA will be around forever and I doubt we'll see Medicare for All in my lifetime.  I also want to move overseas, so I need a plan that will work OCONUS.  I hit 10 years with the gov't in a couple of months, so if things change for the better, I can always defer a retirement if I want to.

NorthernBlitz

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2019, 10:01:32 AM »
Having Uncle Sam continue to kick in 2/3 of the premiums while I am responsible only for the same amount I currently pay is worth it in my case.  FEHB, together with Medicare (once I hit 65), will provide me with good coverage.  Others' situations obviously vary. 

The OP stated that he has only 100 weeks (less than 2 years) to go.  In my case, I have about 112 weeks to go.  Unless one is truly miserable, 2 years to hang in there for a pretty decent deal on insurance would make sense for many.  .  A decade, not so much...

It's probably also harder to change the benefit for former Fed workers vs. changing policies available through the ACA.

If you get good market returns, that extra 2 years might also mean a significant bump in spending when you do retire or a legacy gift at end of life if that's something you're interested in.

For example:
If you were using the 4% rule, had a salary of $100k, worked an extra 2 years and got an 8% return after inflation from your portfolio.
- You go from retiring with $1,250,000 to retiring with $1,562,000.
- At 4%, your annual spending can increase from $50k to $62,480.
- Or, if you still spent $50k and lived in a case where you died after a 40 year retirement averaging 4% returns, you'd end up with an extra ~ $1.5M you could donate to your favorite cause / children.

I'm sure that's not worth it for some. But for others that might not be a bad trade off.

kendallf

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2019, 10:27:18 AM »
I'm about 3.5 years out, as I've mentioned elsewhere here.  I was a late adopter as far as the frugality/FIRE movement goes; I didn't really start to optimize my finances until perhaps 2012 or so.  I could leave now and be "OK" but I don't hate my job (at least currently) and staying until MRA makes a substantial difference in what I can do after retiring.  I have some interests and family concerns that are hard to satisfy with a minimalist/MMM style FIRE also.  I'm partially supporting my mother, and I like to make and build stuff; I'd like more options for building/renovating another house or two, and a big shop for building cars. 

There are multiple carrots to stay:

Continued FEHB coverage (my wife will continue to work so no ACA subsidies for us)

Immediate pension start without reduction; I hit 30 years next year at which point the extra 2 years to MRA doesn't seem like much.

Supplemental pension until age 62 (this is a substantial benefit for 6 years)

Immediate access to TSP funds without ROTH ladders/SEPP

A few more years to pad the TSP account

 

JoSo

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2019, 04:57:48 PM »
I’m definitely not hanging on for MRA.  There’s absolutely no way I could do this 15 more years.  However, I can get health insurance through my part time job, and I definitely understand that that’s a big deal.  If that wasn’t the case, I’d suck it up and hang on.

Kierun

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #15 on: June 06, 2019, 05:01:11 PM »
I'm still undecided as it is quite a few years away, plan is to reassess at FI status.

Buffalo Chip

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #16 on: June 06, 2019, 07:46:37 PM »
In response to the OP, I don’t see that hanging around for a few years to build your stash is non Mustachian.  These “golden handcuffs” retirement plans offer great incentive to stay put for a few years. Particularly if you like, or at least don’t hate, what you’re doing.

GHG7F0

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #17 on: June 06, 2019, 10:53:37 PM »
I’m hanging on until MRA which is Feb 1, 2024. As much as I’m ready a change I think it’s the smart move for me.

frugalecon

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #18 on: June 07, 2019, 09:08:48 AM »
In response to the OP, I don’t see that hanging around for a few years to build your stash is non Mustachian.  These “golden handcuffs” retirement plans offer great incentive to stay put for a few years. Particularly if you like, or at least don’t hate, what you’re doing.

Oh, I just meant that the strategy of staying in the W-2 world until age 56 or 57 was a little out of sync with the "RE" part of "FIRE."


DeniseNJ

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #19 on: June 07, 2019, 09:55:51 AM »
There are multiple carrots to stay:

Continued FEHB coverage (my wife will continue to work so no ACA subsidies for us)

Immediate pension start without reduction; I hit 30 years next year at which point the extra 2 years to MRA doesn't seem like much.

Supplemental pension until age 62 (this is a substantial benefit for 6 years)

Immediate access to TSP funds without ROTH ladders/SEPP

A few more years to pad the TSP account
 

This exactly.  The biggest issue for me is the retirement annuity and the SS supplement.  I have 9 yrs left but I'm not FI yet.  In 9 yrs I should have $1 to 1.5 mil and my annuity, and SS supplement, kids out of college, house paid, and ready to retire.  I also really like my job, but not enough to do it a day after MRA.  But if I was FI now then I wouldn't wait another 9 years.  I justed started MMM journey 7 or so months ago so I have a way to go.

Henrysmom1

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #20 on: June 07, 2019, 11:47:28 AM »
Fed retiree here. Waited to 57 to retire primarily due to health benefits. I have two teens at home, one who is disabled so I needed to be sure we could have good insurance for him at a reasonable cost. I only had 15 years i, so after my healthcare cost I only get $700 a month. I live on that plus a small amount monthly from my TSP. Haven’t had to touch investments out of TSP yet. I never thought I’d be able to retire until I was 70, so getting out at 57 was heaven. It made me sad to see how many of my coworkers were still working in their 70s because they couldn’t afford to retire. Many of them had never saved at all into the TSP, not even for the match. When I left they were in awe that I could afford to, but all those years I drove beaters and ate lunch at my desk paid off nicely with earlier retirement and 7 figures in the bank...

Buffalo Chip

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #21 on: June 10, 2019, 09:39:15 AM »
In response to the OP, I don’t see that hanging around for a few years to build your stash is non Mustachian.  These “golden handcuffs” retirement plans offer great incentive to stay put for a few years. Particularly if you like, or at least don’t hate, what you’re doing.

Oh, I just meant that the strategy of staying in the W-2 world until age 56 or 57 was a little out of sync with the "RE" part of "FIRE."

Yes, it does seem rather counterintuitive. Early retirement is really based on perspective. If your plan or financial reality was you would work till full SS retirement at 67 and then you figure out a way to retire at 60, did you retire early? Also, how are we defining retirement? By never working again for money? If so, there are a heck of a lot of FIREd folks who don’t meet that test.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2019, 09:47:51 AM by Buffalo Chip »

sparkytheop

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #22 on: June 10, 2019, 02:58:09 PM »
In response to the OP, I don’t see that hanging around for a few years to build your stash is non Mustachian.  These “golden handcuffs” retirement plans offer great incentive to stay put for a few years. Particularly if you like, or at least don’t hate, what you’re doing.

Oh, I just meant that the strategy of staying in the W-2 world until age 56 or 57 was a little out of sync with the "RE" part of "FIRE."

Yes, it does seem rather counterintuitive. Early retirement is really based on perspective. If your plan or financial reality was you would work till full SS retirement at 67 and then you figure out a way to retire at 60, did you retire early? Also, how are we defining retirement? By never working again for money? If so, there are a heck of a lot of FIREd folks who don’t meet that test.

Yeah... My age of retiring at 57 (unless I can get the early out with full benefits, which I'm eligible to apply for at age 46) is not in-line with what most here consider "early retirement", but is considered early for most of my coworkers (who, due to spending habits "can't afford" to retire at their MRA, or take advantage of an early out, even though they have the years in).

On the other hand, when I retire, I'm done.  I've shown up for a job since I was in the fifth grade, and retirement to me means never working a job again.  Not a "fun job", not a "side gig", not a "hustle".  I want to relax at home, work on hobbies, and go on lots of trips.  If I need money from some kind of work, then I don't feel like that's an actual retirement, just going to part time, so may as well stay doing what I'm doing until I can make "real retirement" happen.

Buffalo Chip

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #23 on: June 16, 2019, 07:18:42 AM »
In response to the OP, I don’t see that hanging around for a few years to build your stash is non Mustachian.  These “golden handcuffs” retirement plans offer great incentive to stay put for a few years. Particularly if you like, or at least don’t hate, what you’re doing.

Oh, I just meant that the strategy of staying in the W-2 world until age 56 or 57 was a little out of sync with the "RE" part of "FIRE."

Yes, it does seem rather counterintuitive. Early retirement is really based on perspective. If your plan or financial reality was you would work till full SS retirement at 67 and then you figure out a way to retire at 60, did you retire early? Also, how are we defining retirement? By never working again for money? If so, there are a heck of a lot of FIREd folks who don’t meet that test.

Yeah... My age of retiring at 57 (unless I can get the early out with full benefits, which I'm eligible to apply for at age 46) is not in-line with what most here consider "early retirement", but is considered early for most of my coworkers (who, due to spending habits "can't afford" to retire at their MRA, or take advantage of an early out, even though they have the years in).

On the other hand, when I retire, I'm done.  I've shown up for a job since I was in the fifth grade, and retirement to me means never working a job again.  Not a "fun job", not a "side gig", not a "hustle".  I want to relax at home, work on hobbies, and go on lots of trips.  If I need money from some kind of work, then I don't feel like that's an actual retirement, just going to part time, so may as well stay doing what I'm doing until I can make "real retirement" happen.

I like your perspective. If what you want is never to do a side gig, hustle, fun job or other euphemism for work, then whatever you have stashed, including pensions, has got to last you for the rest of your life.

Speaking for myself, I like working so it wouldn’t be out of character for me to continue working full time well beyond when I would need to for economic reasons. But at that point of FI,  “fun” becomes a a yuuuuge part of working. All work and no fun makes BC a dull and unhappy boy. And at FI, one with the ability to pull the plug at short notice.

elysianfields

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #24 on: June 21, 2019, 12:07:20 AM »
Actually, the FEHB plans can be pretty affordable.

"Affordable" is kind of a loaded term.  The "Affordable" Care Act makes health insurance affordable for people at every income level by subsidizing it based on income, with the assumption that people who are very very rich can "afford" to pay full freight for expensive private health insurance.

It also makes health insurance very affordable for lower income folks.  So affordable, in fact, that it costs less than FEHB for former-feds.

I'm a former fed, who retired more than a decade before my MRA and never even considered giving away that many more years of my life just so I could get subsidized health insurance.  I can already get subsidized health insurance through the ACA.

Interesting perspective, @sol, I hadn't considered that aspect.  We don't plan to work after we retire, but we'll probably spend significant time overseas, so I'm not sure whether the ACA would provide sufficient coverage.

Quote from: kendallf
I'm about 3.5 years out, as I've mentioned elsewhere here.  I was a late adopter as far as the frugality/FIRE movement goes; I didn't really start to optimize my finances until perhaps 2012 or so.  I could leave now and be "OK" but I don't hate my job (at least currently) and staying until MRA makes a substantial difference in what I can do after retiring.  I have some interests and family concerns that are hard to satisfy with a minimalist/MMM style FIRE also.  I'm partially supporting my mother, and I like to make and build stuff; I'd like more options for building/renovating another house or two, and a big shop for building cars. 

There are multiple carrots to stay:

Continued FEHB coverage (my wife will continue to work so no ACA subsidies for us)

Immediate pension start without reduction; I hit 30 years next year at which point the extra 2 years to MRA doesn't seem like much.

Supplemental pension until age 62 (this is a substantial benefit for 6 years)

Immediate access to TSP funds without ROTH ladders/SEPP

A few more years to pad the TSP account

In my case, I have 6+ years to go.  If I don't retire right away (at the end of the month in which I qualify), while I'd still receive my salary, I'd forego the supplemental pension.  Wait, you want to pay me extra to retire sooner?  Yes, please.

On top of the items you list, @kendallf, we have college tuition to pay for four more years.  I can certainly hang on for another two to reach MRA & FEHB nirvana thereafter.

-EF

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #25 on: June 21, 2019, 05:08:16 AM »
I'm a SCE Fed, yes I'm planning RE'ing later than I need to in order to keep Health Insurance.  (6 years 1 month I'll still be retired early by most everyone's standards at 47.)

ETA:  Also honestly I'm at a minimal FI point right now but without the buffer I'd want and as spankytheop mentioned if I'd need a side gig/part time work etc to add to my preferred lifestyle I'd rather just keep working my day job.  Most of my co-workers talk about a "retirement job," and even tell me what jobs would be good for me, I have no desire to work a job at all although I will likely have a regular volunteer gig or two in retirement. 
« Last Edit: June 21, 2019, 05:28:01 AM by Fomerly known as something »

dude

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #26 on: June 21, 2019, 07:59:28 AM »
Recently retired Fed here (at age 53). My MRA was only 50 because I was in the special category (LEO). I ended up doing 21.5 years, but I also bought 6 years of prior military time, so I went out with 42% of my High-3. I consider it a fantastic bargain that I only had to trade 21.5 years of my life (the 6 years of prior military never seemed like work; more like an adventure -- I was stationed in SoCal, traveled the world, did lots of cool shit) for a lifetime of income and health care security.

sparkytheop

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #27 on: June 21, 2019, 10:25:39 AM »
I'm a SCE Fed, yes I'm planning RE'ing later than I need to in order to keep Health Insurance.  (6 years 1 month I'll still be retired early by most everyone's standards at 47.)

ETA:  Also honestly I'm at a minimal FI point right now but without the buffer I'd want and as spankytheop mentioned if I'd need a side gig/part time work etc to add to my preferred lifestyle I'd rather just keep working my day job.  Most of my co-workers talk about a "retirement job," and even tell me what jobs would be good for me, I have no desire to work a job at all although I will likely have a regular volunteer gig or two in retirement.

The typo made me laugh...

When I worked as an electrician, we had a couple guys who were going to "retire early" (usually their MRA) and then go start their own business.  I don't know a single one who did, but know a few worked well past their MRA even though they were eligible to retire.  I think they realized, politics aside, that our fairly cush, paid-by-the-hour maintenance job was a hell of a lot easier than busting ass on the outside, handling books and everything else, stressing about all kinds of things, and likely bringing home less money.  It's something I just never understood.

erutio

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #28 on: June 21, 2019, 10:45:00 AM »
Wow, for those who have put in the time, congratulations. 
Myself, I'm so far away that I don't think (or hope that) MRA or any of the other federal retirement thresholds will ever apply to me.  Thus I've never really paid attention to it. But this thread prompted me to jump onto the OPM website and read up on it.

I'm 39 now, started being a federal worker in 2017 at age 37. 

[Typing this out for myself really]
My MRA will be age 57, 18 years away, at which time I'll have 20 years service.  Retiring then, I can take a reduced pension, and keep my FEHB, but forgo supplemental pension.

If I go to age 60, I'll have 20+ years service, and could then take a full pension, keep FEHB, get a supplemental pension until age 62.

It seems there will be zero additional retirement benefits for me to work past age 60 (beside tiny bumps in pension).

My FIRE date is currently between late 2022 to 2026.  I would have to work between 11 to 15 more years to reach the first MRA threshold.
 
Thanks for those who brought up this topic.  Made me really go research the federal benefits and do this little exercise for myself.  This is reaffirms my decision that I should bear down and reach FIRE within the next five years, rather than let up a little and coast into retirement at my MRA.


mrigney

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #29 on: June 21, 2019, 02:36:27 PM »
@erutio In a similar boat to you. Did a year w/the feds in 2011/2012, left. Came back 4 years ago. So I'm 34, have 5 years of service. I can't imagine staying until MRA. Assuming i just keep putting in what I'm putting in now (and then start throwing in my mortgage when it's paid off in 10 years) and get 8% return, I'll have somewhere around $3.6M in my TSP at MRA. Throw on top of that the FERS annuity, which at that point would be ~$40k/yr....that just seems like way more than I need. At a 4% withdrawal rate, that gives me $185k/yr in income. A little much given my current spending (w/3 kids at home) is ~$36k/yr if you take out my mortgage. So we'll see how long I stay. I like my job decently well. But I like a lot of other things, too:-)

Monkey Uncle

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #30 on: June 22, 2019, 04:26:36 AM »
I had 15 years of service with about 7 years to go to reach MRA when I pulled the plug.  I had a modest cushion beyond minimal FI, so there was no way I was going to hang around for 7 more years just to get more cushion that I don't really need.  Sure, I could have had a more lavish retirement (eventually) if I had stayed, but I didn't want to piss away another 7 years when I could be enjoying life instead.  I guess I just don't understand the golden handcuffs mentality.

sol

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #31 on: June 22, 2019, 08:21:53 AM »
I could have had a more lavish retirement (eventually) if I had stayed, but I didn't want to piss away another 7 years when I could be enjoying life instead.

This is the problem everyone here faces, succinctly stated.  Would you rather have more money for fewer years of retirement, or more years?

Once you cross a certain amount of money, "more" isn't necessarily notable better.  That amount is subjective, but I suspect everyone here would prefer fifty years of retirement with fifty million dollars to one year of retirement with fifty one.

MoolahLula

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #32 on: June 22, 2019, 01:21:31 PM »
I am retiring at my MRA in 2027 when I will turn 50.  100 weeks away—that will fly by.  Congratulations.


Retiring at MRA in the Federal system probably is contrary to the “RE” aspect of FIRE, but I am curious how many Feds are shooting for it anyway. The health care benefits in particular are a draw. I just hit 100 weeks to go to my MRA, so it has been on my mind.

frugalecon

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #33 on: June 22, 2019, 02:19:22 PM »
I am retiring at my MRA in 2027 when I will turn 50.  100 weeks away—that will fly by.  Congratulations.


Retiring at MRA in the Federal system probably is contrary to the “RE” aspect of FIRE, but I am curious how many Feds are shooting for it anyway. The health care benefits in particular are a draw. I just hit 100 weeks to go to my MRA, so it has been on my mind.

Thanks! Weeks do seem to go by pretty quickly.

It has been interesting to see the range of views. It seems apparent that some people relatively value security more, and others relatively value freedom more. I am in a constant state of re-evaluation.

sparkytheop

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #34 on: June 22, 2019, 03:15:35 PM »
Because of my 12 hour shifts (plus one stupid 8/pay period), I figure I have to show up 42% of the year (if I only work half the holidays, take 4 sick days, and split my leave up between 12s and 8s to get 20 full days off).  (ETA: this also assumes I don't work any OT.  But, there is some really gravy OT and right now I'm just not turning that down.)

So, working full time, I still get 58% of my days for myself (travel, hang at home, do errands, whatever).  Every 10 weeks, that time can come as one full week off (for 8 hours of leave) and/or 16 days off (for 16 hours of leave).  If there is a specific time that I could use a week off that does not fall into those specific weeks, I can see if one of my coworkers will trade me a pay period or two.

Because of my job (think "fireman"-- I'm not a fireman, but I'm there to cover emergencies with some daily duties that don't take long, along with some other random work here and there), I also have a lot of downtime at work.  Downtime where I can do some hobbies (one of my jobs involves sitting in a shack waiting to hit a button every now and then, so I often bring my knitting with me) as long as I can drop said hobby and jump into the fire (an emergency, or "check this when you get a moment" thing where you have to physically check something out).

And, since I get paid for what I can do in that emergency (something I have the specific knowledge required to handle), not for what I actually do during my shift (outside of mandatory rounds and documentation), I get paid pretty well.

So, my golden handcuffs are currently quite comfortable.  They might feel tight every now and then, and there might come a time when I feel like I just have to cut them off because I can't do it anymore, but for now, they're just kind of pretty and not a burden.  I'm setting myself up to leave early as I want, but for now I am also ok with just wearing them until they magically unlock with all the benefits at age 56 and 364 days.

If I had to spend this time in a cubicle (or even an office-- I am not made for desk/office work!), with 8 hour shifts, I'd be gnawing and clawing my way out, chewing off a hand if I needed to.  So, for me, a lot depends on the job, shift, and work itself.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2019, 03:17:42 PM by sparkytheop »

Buffalo Chip

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #35 on: June 22, 2019, 04:04:31 PM »
I am retiring at my MRA in 2027 when I will turn 50.  100 weeks away—that will fly by.  Congratulations.


Retiring at MRA in the Federal system probably is contrary to the “RE” aspect of FIRE, but I am curious how many Feds are shooting for it anyway. The health care benefits in particular are a draw. I just hit 100 weeks to go to my MRA, so it has been on my mind.

Thanks! Weeks do seem to go by pretty quickly.

It has been interesting to see the range of views. It seems apparent that some people relatively value security more, and others relatively value freedom more. I am in a constant state of re-evaluation.

We’re in a similar boat. I haven’t bothered to count the weeks but it’s less than 100 until the golden handcuffs drop off.  If you asked me a year ago, I’d say I’d retire soon after. Now, I’m not so sure. I’m enjoying work more than I have in awhile. Change in management, change in outlook. I’m determined to enjoy what time I have left at work and oddly enough, it seems to be working.  In the end I think it’s going to be what I want to do outside of work with family and outside activities that’ll be the deciding factor. Not enough time in the day to do it all.

erutio

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #36 on: June 22, 2019, 10:46:05 PM »
I am retiring at my MRA in 2027 when I will turn 50.  100 weeks away—that will fly by.  Congratulations.


Retiring at MRA in the Federal system probably is contrary to the “RE” aspect of FIRE, but I am curious how many Feds are shooting for it anyway. The health care benefits in particular are a draw. I just hit 100 weeks to go to my MRA, so it has been on my mind.

Thanks! Weeks do seem to go by pretty quickly.

It has been interesting to see the range of views. It seems apparent that some people relatively value security more, and others relatively value freedom more. I am in a constant state of re-evaluation.

We’re in a similar boat. I haven’t bothered to count the weeks but it’s less than 100 until the golden handcuffs drop off.  If you asked me a year ago, I’d say I’d retire soon after. Now, I’m not so sure. I’m enjoying work more than I have in awhile. Change in management, change in outlook. I’m determined to enjoy what time I have left at work and oddly enough, it seems to be working.  In the end I think it’s going to be what I want to do outside of work with family and outside activities that’ll be the deciding factor. Not enough time in the day to do it all.

Help me understand your reasoning for wanting to stay past MRA.  I think you're the only one expressing that plan here. Most people are debating whether to retire early or stick it out a little longer until MRA for the benefits.   No one has talked about staying past MRA.  There is no benefit to staying past MRA (beside tiny bumps in pension) as far as I can tell. 

frugalecon

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #37 on: June 23, 2019, 04:14:36 AM »
I am retiring at my MRA in 2027 when I will turn 50.  100 weeks away—that will fly by.  Congratulations.


Retiring at MRA in the Federal system probably is contrary to the “RE” aspect of FIRE, but I am curious how many Feds are shooting for it anyway. The health care benefits in particular are a draw. I just hit 100 weeks to go to my MRA, so it has been on my mind.

Thanks! Weeks do seem to go by pretty quickly.

It has been interesting to see the range of views. It seems apparent that some people relatively value security more, and others relatively value freedom more. I am in a constant state of re-evaluation.

We’re in a similar boat. I haven’t bothered to count the weeks but it’s less than 100 until the golden handcuffs drop off.  If you asked me a year ago, I’d say I’d retire soon after. Now, I’m not so sure. I’m enjoying work more than I have in awhile. Change in management, change in outlook. I’m determined to enjoy what time I have left at work and oddly enough, it seems to be working.  In the end I think it’s going to be what I want to do outside of work with family and outside activities that’ll be the deciding factor. Not enough time in the day to do it all.

Help me understand your reasoning for wanting to stay past MRA.  I think you're the only one expressing that plan here. Most people are debating whether to retire early or stick it out a little longer until MRA for the benefits.   No one has talked about staying past MRA.  There is no benefit to staying past MRA (beside tiny bumps in pension) as far as I can tell.

I think you directed this at @Buffalo Chip , but I will take a stab. It seems like BC isn’t too miserable at work, and so will want to weigh the extra money against the value of more freedom to do what he/she wants. It seems to me that the pension actually goes up quite a bit between MRA, if one has less than 30 years, and is retiring under MRA+10.

It is hard for me to anticipate how I will feel at that time. Maybe there will be a great sense of freedom from having a pension plus FEHB locked down? No need to accept BS? We will see.

Buffalo Chip

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #38 on: June 23, 2019, 08:55:58 PM »
I am retiring at my MRA in 2027 when I will turn 50.  100 weeks away—that will fly by.  Congratulations.


Retiring at MRA in the Federal system probably is contrary to the “RE” aspect of FIRE, but I am curious how many Feds are shooting for it anyway. The health care benefits in particular are a draw. I just hit 100 weeks to go to my MRA, so it has been on my mind.

Thanks! Weeks do seem to go by pretty quickly.

It has been interesting to see the range of views. It seems apparent that some people relatively value security more, and others relatively value freedom more. I am in a constant state of re-evaluation.

We’re in a similar boat. I haven’t bothered to count the weeks but it’s less than 100 until the golden handcuffs drop off.  If you asked me a year ago, I’d say I’d retire soon after. Now, I’m not so sure. I’m enjoying work more than I have in awhile. Change in management, change in outlook. I’m determined to enjoy what time I have left at work and oddly enough, it seems to be working.  In the end I think it’s going to be what I want to do outside of work with family and outside activities that’ll be the deciding factor. Not enough time in the day to do it all.

Help me understand your reasoning for wanting to stay past MRA.  I think you're the only one expressing that plan here. Most people are debating whether to retire early or stick it out a little longer until MRA for the benefits.   No one has talked about staying past MRA.  There is no benefit to staying past MRA (beside tiny bumps in pension) as far as I can tell.

From a pension perspective, there is very little incentive to stay beyond MRA 30. What you get is peanuts basically. If your objective is to optimize your pension, then sticking around past your MRA just doesn’t make much sense.

The pension optimization isn’t the only factor I’m considering when it comes to making a retirement decision. I would probably stay on several more years but for the desire to spend more time with the fam and a long and growing list of cool things to do outside of my job while I’m still able to.
« Last Edit: Today at 02:30:41 AM by Buffalo Chip »

fattest_foot

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Re: How many Feds here hanging on for MRA?
« Reply #39 on: Today at 09:33:31 AM »
Thanks! Weeks do seem to go by pretty quickly.

It has been interesting to see the range of views. It seems apparent that some people relatively value security more, and others relatively value freedom more. I am in a constant state of re-evaluation.

Part of it depends on how much of your career has been with the Federal government though.

For me, personally, all but 2 years of my 17 year working career have been Fed (military and now civilian). I've still got another 22 years til MRA.

Assuming we keep investing as we have been since we found MMM, we'd end up with something like a 0.4% withdrawal rate before even considering the pension part (~$10M assets with a $40k withdrawal). I don't know what the actual pension would look like by then, but I imagine it'd drop it down to 0.2% or even 0.1%.

We could probably do a coast FI (stop contributing to any investment accounts) til MRA, but even then we'd be at about $4M. That gives us a 1% SWR before considering the pension.

As you can see, there's almost zero reason for me to stick around for MRA. Every scenario leads to working decades longer than necessary.