It is recommended that one should begin planning for retirement at the very least a year ahead of the expected retirement day. However, a RIF or an early retirement offer can help you make a quick decision on matters regarding retirement. Either way, it is advised to use the time you have wisely to plan ahead.
If the agency you are working with offers a seminar on pre-retirement counseling, it may be best to take it seriously. If your agency doesn’t offer such seminars, do consider attending one offered by a firm in the private sector. Your agency may even pay for it in some cases.
To make sure that your official personnel documents cover all your federal employment, get in touch with your agency’s benefits counselor and go through your folder. Also, go through the effective dates of each pay adjustment, life insurance coverage, and your present health benefits. The two of you can straighten out anything that is inaccurate or missing.
Go ahead and verify when you’ll meet the age and service requirements to retire if your OPF is updated and accurate. Also, ensure that you meet the requirements needed to carry your life insurance coverage and health benefits into retirement.
Ask for an estimate of your annuity retirement; you’ll also need an estimate of your special retirement supplement (that is if you are a FERS employee). You need to find out how your annuity can be affected if you are currently receiving military retired pay. It’s a rule that you have to waive your military retired pay and make a deposit before retirement for that time to be included in the calculation for your civilian annuity. On rare occasions, you might receive both, but even then, a deposit needs to be made so as to get credit for that time. Filling out your retirement application is the last step, and if everything checks out you’ll be well on your way to retire on the day you have chosen!