A Fed Times reader asks:

“I have begun an application process to the United States Secret Service. I am currently 23 and am an individual who aspires to be an entrepreneur in my mid to late 30′s with the goal of being extremely financially well off, for lack of better words.

With this being the case, I’d like to know what kind of timeline I’m getting myself into with the Secret Service specifically based around retirement. I’ve heard many claims of being able to retire by the time your 40 or late 30′s after serving for the agency, however I’m skeptical to say the least.

That being said, I have a couple questions. What are the different retirement options within the Secret Service? At what point in the time line of service does the loss of lifestyle become worth it (monetarily)? Is this kind of service going to completely inhibit my long term goals listed above?”

Reg’s Response

If you work to age 50 in either a covered or noncovered position, you will be able to retire and receive the enhanced annuity benefit for 20 years of service and the standard benefit for all remaining years of service. If you decide to leave government with 20 years of covered service and don’t return, you’ll be entitled to an annuity at your minimum retirement age, which will be computed using the enhanced formula.

If you leave before having 20 years of service and later return to government service in a noncovered position, when you retire your annuity would be computed at the standard rate. If you leave with at least 5 years of service but fewer than 20 and don’t ask for a refund of your retirement contributions, you could apply for a regular annuity at age 62.

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 our resident expert on retirement and the federal government. From 1979 to '95, he served as an assistant director of the 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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