How is My High-3 Calculated?

View this article online at and visit to sign up for free news updates
By on February 25, 2015 in Q&A, Retirement with 0 Comments

Q: I was promoted to a GS-14 position in September of 2012. I plan to retire in September 2015. Will my “High 3” be calculated from September 2015 – September 2015 or from calendar year January 2012 – January 2015?

A: “The ‘high-3 average pay’ is the largest annual rate resulting from averaging an employee’s rates of basic pay in effect over any period of 3 consecutive years of creditable civilian service, with each rate weighted by the length of time it was in effect.”  The preceding sentence is OPM’s definition on high three.

If you retire on September 30, 2015, your high three would begin on October 1, 2012.  This assumes that, like most retirees, your high three is your last three.

Agencies can request to have John Grobe, or another of Federal Career Experts' qualified instructors, deliver a retirement or transition seminar to their employees. FCE instructors are not financial advisers and will not sell or recommend financial products to class participants. Agency Benefits Officers can contact John Grobe at [email protected] to discuss schedules and costs.

© 2020 John Grobe. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from John Grobe.


About the Author

John Grobe is President of Federal Career Experts, a firm that provides pre-retirement training and seminars to a wide variety of federal agencies. FCE’s instructors are all retired federal retirement specialists who educate class participants on the ins and outs of federal retirement and benefits; there is never an attempt to influence participants to invest a certain way, or to purchase any financial products. John and FCE specialize in retirement for special category employees, such as law enforcement officers.