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View Diary: Paul Ryan: Budget negotiations are for cutting federal pensions, not corporate tax loopholes (81 comments)

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  •  Minor correction (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ZedMont, ColoTim

    FERS applies to federal hires beginning 1/1/1984. CSRS hires ended the day before but the Reagan administration, showing its contempt for the federal civil service, took three years to come up with a new system. So people who were hired during that three-year period had no idea what their retirement would look like.

    As for FERS, it sucks, plain and simple. I began my career with the civil service in 1977, when I was a mere sprout of not quite 26, and with luck I'll be leaving by the end of next year. When FERS was introduced every attempt was made to get CSRS employees to switch to it. I don't know how many did so and in truth there may have been a few people who'd have come out ahead by doing so, but for most of us--myself included--it made no sense at all.

    •  I switched from CSRS to FERS (1+ / 0-)
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      One of the auditors in my office showed me how I would be better off to change. I retired at the end of 2011.

      I'm actually getting more money from the combo of my pension, the supplement, and a little from my TSP account than I would be making if I were still working.

      •  I'm surprised (0+ / 0-)

        It made no sense for me at all. Then again I am not great when it comes to saving--better than I used to be but still not great--and it would have been a disaster for me.

        I feel for my younger colleagues, many of whom don't know when, or even IF, they'll ever be able to afford to retire.

        •  You have to contribute (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ColoTim, leevank

          The maximum amount you can to the TSP -- it hurts the first couple of paychecks, but after a while you don't notice it.

          It meant my income tax was lower as well. If you can't make yourself save, then staying with CSRS was the better choice.

          •  I eventually became much better at it (0+ / 0-)

            though I've never contributed the maximum. Then again, since I'm still CSRS, the incentives are fewer. There's enough in my TSP account to give me an adequate supplement to my pension, though it won't be anything lavish.

            It sounds as though you were not only well-disciplined but were able to do well within the TSP. Personally I still find the partial privatization of retirement income to be objectionable, just on principle.

            •  The discipline came after my divorce (0+ / 0-)

              Knowing that mine was the only income I could depend on, I didn't see that changing at retirement.

              I put what I felt I could risk (or lose) in the more aggressive funds, and the rest in government securities. It did pretty well.

              Six months before I retired, I moved everything to the G fund. Wouldn't you know, three days later the market went into a major thrash.

              It's all still in the G fund. If the Republicans stop trying to sink the economy, I'll move some of it into the L Income fund.

    •  I worked for Uncle Sam for a few years, then ... (0+ / 0-)

      after law school, I was in the private sector for more than a dozen years where I was covered by Social Security, and then went to work for DOJ until I retired 15 years later.  Although my prior federal service meant that I could have stayed under CSRS, I opted to switch to FERS so that if I didn't like it at DOJ, I could go back with a firm and not have missed time under Social Security.  I took early retirement with an age reduction (and so therefore wasn't eligible for the supplement to age 62).  I'm glad I did it though, because I wouldn't have had enough years of service under CSRS to retire when I did.

      CSRS was a better system for those who spent essentially their entire career in the federal government, but FERS is better (since you're also covered by Social Security) for those who split their career between the federal sector and the private sector, as more and more people are doing these days.  And if you become totally disabled early in your career, Social Security disability coverage is MUCH better than what you got under CSRS.

      But anybody who is covered by FERS had better be contributing the maximum (or close to it) to their TSP, because they'll never be able to retire on FERS alone.

      Bin Laden is dead. GM and Chrysler are alive.

      by leevank on Tue Oct 29, 2013 at 03:02:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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