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Steps to Build Plan
  Step 1 - Define goal
  Step 2 - Gather data
  Step 3 - Get educated
  Step 4 - Assess situation
  Step 5 - Develop plan
  Step 6 - Make changes
  Step 7 - Get help
Tools
  Retirement Calculator (Html)
  Life Expectancy Calculator (Html)
  CNNMoney's Asset Allocation Wizard
Investment Plans
  Employer Plans
  Pensions
  401(k)
  403(b)
  Roth 401(k)/403(b)
  457(b)
  Keogh
  Simple IRA
  SARSEP-IRA
  SEP-IRA
  Federal Plans
  Military Retirement
  CSRS/FERS Plans
  TSP
  Other Investments
  Personal IRA
  Annuities
  Stocks
  Bonds
  Mutual Funds
Government retirement

The first retirement program for Federal civilian workers was enacted in 1920. The program covered about 330,000 persons and provided benefits to those who retired because of age or disability after at least 15 years of service. In September of 1996, 2.6 million Federal workers were covered. This figure included workers covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and those under the more recently established Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS).

In general, employees hired before January 1, 1984, are covered by CSRS and those hired on or after that date are covered under FERS. Several separate retirement systems cover special classes of employees, such as those in the Foreign Service or the Central Intelligence Agency.

Generally speaking, the CSRS is a defined benefit plan, financed through joint employer-employee contributions, that provides annuities in the event of the retirement, disability, or death of a covered worker. Under the CSRS, workers and their employing agencies each contribute 7% of the worker's salary.

FERS is a three-tiered system including Social Security, a Federal pension, and a tax-deferred savings plan. All workers enrolled in FERS are covered by Social Security. They contribute to it at the current tax rate (7.65%) and are eligible for the same benefits as all other workers covered by the program. In addition, a worker who meets the full age and service requirements for an annuity under FERS, but at an age when Social Security benefits are not yet payable, may receive a Special Retirement Supplement until he or she attains age 62. This benefit approximates the Social Security benefit earned during Federal service, and stops when the retiree begins to receive the Social Security benefit. The second tier is a small pension, financed by contributions of 0.8% to the pension fund from the worker and the government. The third and final tier of FERS is a tax-deferred savings plan known as the Thrift Savings Plan. Under this plan, workers may contribute up to 10% of their salaries to the plan, with the Government matching up to 5% of the salary. Contributions and interest earnings are not taxable until they are withdrawn, usually at retirement. You can learn more by downloading this FERS Word document.

In addition, all Federal civilian workers are covered by the
Hospital Insurance program (Part A of Medicare), and contribute
1.45% of their salaries to that program.

Federal pension qualifications and the amount of annuity are based on age and years of service, as outlined in the table below:
Type of pension
Qualifications
Amount of annuity
CSRS
Retirement Age 55 with 30 years of service 1.5% of high-three average earnings* for each of the first 5 years of service,1.75 for each of the next 5, and 2% thereafter
  Age 60 with 20 years of service 1.5% of high-three average earnings* for each of the first 5 years of service,1.75 for each of the next 5, and 2% thereafter
  Age 62 with 5 years of service 1.5% of high-three average earnings* for each of the first 5 years of service,1.75 for each of the next 5, and 2% thereafter
Disability Any age with 5 years of service The lesser of 40% of high-three average earnings* or the projection of service to age 62
Survivorship Death of an employee 55% of disability guarantee
  Death of an annuitant 55% of benefit amount
FERS
Retirement Age 55 with 30 years of service 1.1% of high-three average earnings* for each year of service for those retiring at age 62 with at least 20 years of service; 1% for all others
  Age 60 with 20 years of service 1.1% of high-three average earnings* for each year of service for those retiring at age 62 with at least 20 years of service; 1% for all others
  Age 62 with 5 years of service 1% of high-three average earnings* for each year of service
Disability Any age with 18 months of service 60% of high-three average earnings the first year, and 40% thereafter
Survivorship Death of an employee with 18 months to 10 years of service 50% of projected annuity in a lump-sum payment
  Death of an employee with 10 or more years of service 50% of projected annuity
  Death of an annuitant 50% of benefit amount
* The average of a worker's basic pay (including locality pay) for the three highest-salaried years (actually 78 consecutive pay periods), normally the last three before retirement.

Don't forget that your retirement pay will be reduced by the costs of survivors benefit, health and life insurance, and federal and state taxes.

If you would like to learn more about your benefits under these programs, visit the USA.Gov website. If you would like to estimate your retirement pay (FERS/CSRS, Social Security, and TSP), the FirstGov website provides a link to calculators on the USGS website and the TSP website has a number of calculators. They are a good starting point, but they are not integrated to provide a true retirement solution.

Get Answers
  FAQ about TSP
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