Fed CSRS - Voluntary Retirement Account Question

colorcrazyJanuary 19, 2010

Would like some feedback -

I am considering retiring from the Fed government, mostly because I now have an idiot for a supervisor.

I had 29 years as of Sept 2009. In October, I found out about the Voluntary Retirement Account - CSRS employees can deposit up to 10% of their lifetime Fed earnings into this VRA and then on retirement, roll it over to a Roth IRA.

My problem is the lack of advance notice. I sold an annuity which gave me 70% of what I need, but will have a hard time coming up with the total before June (my target retirement date if I don't find another job).

Do you think the VRA is a good enough deal that it would be worth it for me to stay longer and save the entire amount needed to max out? What would you do in my shoes? Thanks!

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Hi crazed by colour,

Might there be a possibility of transferring to a different section, department, etc?

Surely the Federal supervisory system isn't polluted with idiots??

Good wishes for finding a useful way through.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 5:50AM
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Thanks, Ole Joyful. Not many openings in my field right now, but I am applying when I see one. That's the problem with most of the government - the higher you go, the more specialized you become and the harder it is to find a similar position (so you can qualify for the job). I am just not the type to apply for everything and ummm verbally broaden my skills/experience to cover whatever is required by each job.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 5:14PM
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I retired under FERS but I would suggest that you request an official estimate of your retirement benefits. You may have to pay for any time you were not eligible for the retirement program. For most this is the first year that you worked. You may find that you will need to work a bit longer. Sorry I did not hear anything about the program that you are refering to and in my area most were in the same program you are.

You do know that you can deposit up to 5% in the Thrift Savings Fund which can be rolled over to an IRA. The problem is that when you reach 70 you have to take a minimum of 10% out of your IRA's unless the law is changed in the future. Depending on your age putting money in an IRA may not be worth it.

You are correct about finding a similar position. For most in my agency you must have direct experience in specific position to qualify for a more than basic position.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 1:07AM
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Hi, Maifleur
Thanks for the response. I am under CSRS, not FERS. The VRA is not an option for FERS employees. I was "covered" for the whole time of my employment. VRA a separate option.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 9:33PM
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I'm retired under CSRS, and what I can tell you is that no one can answer your question with the info you've provided. You need some planning time with a retirement counselor or a private investment planner. When you retire, what will your expenses be, and what will your income be...over the long term? In my case, my annuity is sufficient that I have not had to drawdown my TSP or any of my other investments, and I doubt that I will ever have to. I made that determination before I put in my retirement papers. Maybe that will be your case, or maybe you'll have to work another 20 years. You won't know until you: 1) do a serious budget, 2) have a reliable estimate of your annuity, and 3) have an assessment of what you can expect from other investments, as well as the VRA...if you do it. And if you have the money to fund a VRA, you have money to do other things with it that may be just as good. Investing in a VRA might be a good idea, but it won't make the difference between being able to retire now or not.

The one thing I can say with certainty is that, until you have a financial plan and it shows that you can retire and stay retired without having to take a job as a Wal-Mart greeter when you're 85, you'd best hold on to your job.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 6:13AM
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LOL, Kudzu! I can retire any time. We've already done all of the savings and analysis. The only new wrinkle was the VRA option.

We have been living "beneath our means" since we married in '92. I will have 30 years in CSRS in June. When I retire, I will have more "take home" than now if I stop squirreling so much away. No kids and no debt.

Financial freedom is bliss. Thanks, Kudzu, for the reminder.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 8:09PM
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I'm CSRS as well. I just turned 55 this past Monday and have 34 years in. If I were as unhappy with my job as you sound, I would go ahead and retire now. You don't have to max out the VRA. I don't think it would be worth sticking around to do so. I plan to start drawing on my TSP immediately, I don't plan to postpone it - that's why I contributed to it all these years. I have a long term care policy in case I need that at some point. So I can't think of any reason not to draw the TSP. Since you don't have any children, what is your reasoning to keep building it? Right now I'm happy with my job and I have the best boss I've ever had. But you know as well as I that in the federal gov't, that could change tomorrow. And if things change, I'm prepared to leave at any time. Good luck and enjoy your retirement.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2010 at 7:57PM
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Thanks, Jeane. Lucky you to have started in the Fed govt so early. I was 32 when I started. You are exactly right - I used to have the best boss I ever had. From 2004 to this past October. We worked so well together, I loved going to work.
Was snowed in all week and went to the office today. I found that staying home was not as boring as I expected.

Enjoy your boss/job and when you decide to leave, enjoy your retirement, too.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2010 at 8:01PM
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