Tuesday, March 30, 2004
End of the Road
I attended the retirement party of a coworker today who has been working for the government for more than 35 years. He’s 62 years old and he will receive full benefits. I am not eligible for social security until I’m 67, and this age goes up every year for those entering the work force. If I retire when I’m 67, I will have about 40 years of government service. I suppose I can take comfort in the fact that my expected lifespan is at least 5 years more than my coworker’s. But the real difference between people retiring from the government now and people my age is the way we receive our benefits. Those retiring now started under a program that will give them a set percentage of their highest 3 years of pay for the rest of their life. My program allows me to place money into a stock-based retirement fund (similar to a 401K) and hope that I earn enough to retire when I’m eligible. This program seemed like a bright idea when stocks were headed up in the 1980s and 1990s. Who says the government isn’t finding ways to save money? The good news is that I’ve got at least 30 years to worry about it.
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