“I am a GS-14 and will have about 40 years plus of government service when I retire in a few years. My agency is soon to decide if my position will be opened up to a GS-15. Will I really need to work another 3 more years after I get my 15 just to get the high-3 upon retirement, and will it be worth it?

Reg’s Response

I’ve know people who died while trying to maximize their high-3. So don’t make your decision based on that alone. Just remember that it takes 78 biweekly pay periods to do get the full effect of a raise. While every pay period you stay on the rolls will nudge your annuity up, your final decision should be based on more than that. Putting the money aside, do you want to retire or are you happy doing what you are - or will be - doing? If yes, stick around. If no, retire. Happiness is more important than a little more money in your annuity.

Got a question for the Federal Times expert? Send inquiries to: fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

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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