Am I Ready For Retirement?

5 Important Questions Federal Employees Should Ask

By: Vanessa Craddock, Federal Benefits Specialist

Published:  November 20, 2018


  1. Will I have enough money to live on?
    General rule of thumb is that you’ll need approximately 80% of your pre-retirement income to live comfortably in retirement.  FERS, if you work 30 years, you’ll have at least 30% of your high-three average salary, so you’re well on your way.  Save consistently in TSP, claim Social Security at full retirement age and you should be fine.  CSRS, if you work 41 years, 11 months you’ll have the entire 80% without TSP, IRA’s or any other retirement savings! 
  2. Will my Federal insurances be enough in retirement?
    Federal retirees can have the same insurances in the same amounts that they had prior.  Remember, you will need to be enrolled for the five years prior to retirement to keep FEHB and FEGLI. However, you can enroll in FEDVIP any open season, and FLTCIP whenever you decide, providing you qualify for the long term care.  Medicare may be elected to enhance your health insurance coverage, but you will decide that at age 65.
  3. Will my retirement benefits be affected if I retire young, say at minimum age?
    Yes. FERS employees should know if they wait until age 62 and have at least 20 years or more in Federal service, the more advantageous 1.1% formula will be used.  CSRS should remember, 2% more of the high-3 average salary is added for each additional year of service. Additionally, TSP and Social Security contributions continue until retirement, increasing those benefits as well.
  4. Does working after retirement affect my retirement benefits?
    Yes, if you’re FERS. The FERS Annuity Supplement will be reduced if you work and earn over the annual earnings limit set by Social Security, currently $17,040 a year.  The Social Security benefit can also be reduced if you’re collecting it under full retirement age and working.
  5. What benefits can I pass on to my survivors in retirement?
    You may pass on FERS/CSRS and Social Security survivor benefits to eligible spouses and children.  You will pass on TSP and FEGLI to designated beneficiaries.  You will pass on Federal health insurance to eligible family members as long as you had family enrollment at the time of your death.

You may already have all that you need to enjoy a long, productive retirement. What are you waiting for?

Vanessa Craddock is retired from OPM; her last position was a Senior Federal Benefits Specialist. Ms. Craddock designed, developed and instructed a variety of courses: CSRS and FERS Employee Benefits, technical training for health benefits and life insurance, disability retirement and worker’s compensation. She has been a presenter for NITP since 2000.