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Ready to retire — are you sure?

Went to a bachelor party a few years ago. The guest of honor was a 60 something guy who was getting married. For the seventh time! He joked that his bride-to-be had told him this was to be his last marriage! We all laughed heartily. Most of us left earlier than planned.

But the oft-married guy is a good example of important, life-altering decisions. At least as important as who you marry. Or not!

One of those decisions, for many, is when to retire. And it’s a critical pick for federal and postal workers.

Retiring is a big deal. Many just do it once. And it’s sometimes a no-brainer. Your health is good. You’ve got a plan. Your spouse (at least the current one) agrees. The debts are more or less settled and you can afford to do it without going on a lifetime diet of cat food and crackers.

The decision for feds is tougher, but that’s a good thing. Picking the best date — day and month, not just year — is tougher. But much, much more rewarding. Picking the right month and date can sometimes mean tens of thousands of extra dollars in the form of unused annual leave, speeding up your first retirement check and a lower tax bill in the following year. If your timing is correct. And there is lots of good advice out there if you know where to look. In January, My Federal Retirement ran a detailed piece about the best dates to retire over the next few years.

Benefits expert Edward Zurndorfer pointed out that the best dates come throughout the year. And the official starting date of retirement is different for those retiring under the old Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) than for the majority under the newer Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). For one thing, a CSRS employee retiring in the first three days of the month will have their annuity check dated the first day of the next month. People retiring under the FERS system often pick the last day of the month because their retirement will be effective on the first of the following month.

With the backlog in processing retirement claims, the earlier effective date can make a difference when you get your first annuity payment.

If you want immediate feedback today, checkout the Best Dates To Retire webinar today at 2 p.m. ET sponsored by the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association. Benefits expert Tammy Flanagan will talk about the impact of your retirement dates on Medicare, your Thrift Savings Plan and why retiring at the end of the leave year is a money-maker. For more information, click here.

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Alazar Moges

The reason that space is black is because sunlight shines on air making the brightness that we are familiar too, but because there is no air in space, the light has nothing to bounce off and thus the darkness.

Source: NASA

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