The following is a question submitted by a Federal Times readers about retirement and other issues facing the federal workforce. It is answered by Reg Jones, a charter member of the senior executive service and a Federal Times columnist.

“Do you see a disadvantage in choosing November 30th instead of December 29th, 2023, as a best date to retire? Initially, I wanted December 29th, 2023, to avoid extra taxes from payouts from 400 plus hours of A/L. But then again, considering how heck it is in December month and with holidays and possibly, OPM personnel getting overwhelmed with applications, I have giving thoughts to move my retirement to November 30th. The only concern I have is that after serving 3 years as GS 11, step 9, I should be scheduled for a step 10 in pay on or about mid-October and not see this new annual pay increased as part of my high three for pay purpose on my estimate.”

Reg’s Response

While setting a month earlier date might - and I mean only might - shave a few days off the processing of your retirement application, it wouldn’t have that much effect on you annuity. That’s because your annuity will be based on your high-3, and your high-3 is based on the average on your Basic pay over 78 consecutive pay periods. You can do the math to see what that difference would be, and then pick the date that seems best for you.

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Reg Jones, a charter member of the senior executive service, is the resident expert on retirement and the federal government at Federal Times. From 1979 until 1995, he served as an assistant director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management handling recruiting and examining, white and blue collar pay, retirement, insurance and other issues. Opinions expressed are his own.

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