What will trigger your retirement?

The number one retirement trigger for most federal and postal workers is:

  • Fear and loathing of the Trump administration.
  • Climate change.
  • Uncertainty in the stock market.
  • Concern over a nuclear exchange with North Korea.
  • Congressional assaults on your retirement package.
  • A desire to spend 5,000 plus more hours each year with your significant other.
  • Your kids are out of school and on their own … up to a point.
  • Some of the above.
  • None of the above.

And the answer is, we don’t know either.

For the past 19 years, give or take a few months, experts — real and self-designated — have predicted that the government was facing an immediate brain drain. A “retirement tsunami” that would leave Uncle Sam without institutional memory and operating without the help of long-time experts and specialists. The numbers were there. Since the late 1990s, the number of retirement-age feds has been large. And growing.

But the tsunami hasn’t happened.

With the election of Donald Trump many “experts” predicted that tens of thousands of angry or frightened civil servants would bail out in frustration. Some have. But some of the higher profile people who have “resigned” in protest also have 30-plus years of service, which also, technically in government terms, means they retired. They aren’t giving up a biweekly paycheck. They are trading it for a monthly guaranteed annuity for life. A meaningful distinction when it comes to paying the bills.

Federal News Radio has been tracking the outflow of government workers on a monthly basis.  And the numbers are interesting and surprising to lots of tsunami predictors:

Following the November 2016 election and the Inauguration — both of which were supposed to trigger a mass exodus of feds — the number of retiring feds actually dropped most months compared to previous years. It was less, not more, than in the past even though 31 percent of the workforce could leave today and 45 percent of the federal workforce will never see age 50 again.

While more feds filed for retirement in 2017 than in 2016, the larger retirement surges —100,000 plus per year — took place in 2011 through 2014 when the government was undergoing shutdowns, furloughs without pay and three years without the regular statutory January pay raise.

Those numbers clearly mean something. The question is what? Federal News Radio reporter Nicole Ogrysko has been tracking the tsunami. She’ll be our guest today at 10 a.m. EST on our Your Turn Radio show. Listen live at Federal News Radio or 1500 AM if you can. Or check us out later by clicking here.

If you have questions or comments — like why are you still working — send them to me before showtime at: mcausey@federalnewsradio.com.

P.S. Whatever is keeping you here, we’re glad you are around.

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Michael O’Connell

Golden Cloud was the original name of Roy Rogers’ horse Trigger.

Source: Wikipedia