Retire or expire: What's your plan?

Thursday - 2/6/2014, 2:00am EST



When you started working, there were probably lots of things that were more important than when you would retire. That's one reason many people put little or nothing into retirement savings when they are younger. Lack of money is another.

But time marches on. Have you looked in the mirror lately?

Do you have a target date (or dates) for retirement? Or, are you like an apparently growing number of American workers for whom retirement is either not an issue — or not an option? You can test yourself by answering the following questions:

  • Will your retirement date be decided when people in the office take your pulse or put a mirror under your nose and decide you won't be in the next day?

  • Have your colleagues at work, out of affection or despair, drawn straws to see which of them will give you the kiss of life — when and if necessary?

  • Has a combination of the recession, three years of a pay freeze and your own spending/savings habits given you no choice but to work until you drop?

  • Do you truly enjoy what you do, and the people you do it with, to the point where working is actually fun?
Currently about one in every three federal workers is eligible to retire right now. They have enough age and service credit to leave tomorrow. So when are they going to leave? And what will government look like when they (you) are gone?

The dreaded retirement tsunami, the federal tidal wave of retirement, first predicted in 1999 — and spotted every year since — still hasn't happened. Apparently many people don't retire as soon as they can, just because they can.

Some workers say the three-year federal pay freeze coupled with the lousy nonfederal job market prompted them to stay. Many more saw their Thrift Savings Plan accounts shrink even as they continued to put money into them. Those who stayed the course — who stayed in C, S and I stock market funds — and continued to buy have seen many happy returns in the last two years. But for many, the jolt of the recession, continued high unemployment and the kinds of (lower-wage) jobs that are being created makes them feel they must stand fast.

Some people may be waiting for OPM to set up the phased-retirement programs. Others, under the FERS system, may have waited until this year when, for the first time, they can get full credit for unused sick leave applied to their service time. Either — and especially the combination of both — could jump-start retirements this year. Or not. The question is what's going on?

So what's your status? What are friends, neighbors and coworkers in government saying about retirement? Have you (or they) put off the date, stopped talking about it or, as some have told us, plan to simply keep going to work until you drop?

Let us know. We'll keep you anonymous if you don't want others in on your plans. Regardless of whether you are retirement age or a newcomer with decades to go, tell us what you are thinking. What you are hearing from others about plans to pull the plug or keep on keeping on. We will use your comments but they can be confidential if you like. Direct to me at mcausey@federalnewsradio.com


NEARLY USELESS FACTOID

Compiled by Jack Moore

The "artist" icon in the iPhone music app is actually silhouette of Bono, the lead singer of the band U2.

(Source: OMG Facts)


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