Picking a date to retire is an essential step in the process, and as such, should not be overlooked. While you are free to retire on any day of the year (even Christmas Day, if you wanted) or even in the middle of a pay period, depending on if you are retiring under FERS or CSRS will put certain stipulations on the “when” part of your retirement plan.
When it comes to FERS, here is the scoop: If you’ve worked for at least five years, the earliest you can retire is age 62. If you have worked for over 20 years, you can retire earlier than that, at age 60. And if you have worked over 30 years under FERS, you can retire as soon as you qualify for the Minimum Age Requirement which can be as early as age 55. You also have the option of the MRA+10 which allows you to retire under 60 but with a penalty of 5 percent reduction for every year leading up to that age.
When it comes to collecting your annuity, you have to retire before the month is up to begin collecting on the next month. If you want to start collecting in April, let’s say, then you’re retirement would have been no later than March 31st. If you wait until the 1st of April your annuities wouldn’t begin until May begins.
CSRS has slightly different parameters, and here they are: If you worked for at least five years, the earliest you can retire is age 62. If you have worked for 20 years, you can retire at age 60. And if you have worked for 30 years, you can retire at age 55. The monthly cutoff for collecting annuity on that month has a little more leeway, and you have three days past the 1st to do it still. So if you retire on April 3rd, you’d still be able to collect annuities in April, but with a slight reduction for the three days, you missed.
That is a basic overview of those two retirement plans and the provisions as to “when” you can retire under each of them.