What Federal Employees Must Do Right Now If Retiring Within 5 Years

These are five things federal employees should take into consideration if they plan to retire within the next five years.

It is crunch time. If you are within 5 years of retirement it is time to get serious. 

There is no longer “plenty of time” to fix things later. It is now or never to make sure you are on track for your dream retirement.

Here are the 5 most important things to do/check right now. 

1. Are You Eligible to Retire?

As a federal employee, one of the most important things for you to do is to make sure you can retire from the government and keep your best benefits, and this only happens if you are eligible. 

Because this topic is so crucial for a successful retirement, this article walks you through if you are on track to being eligible. 

2. Do You Have the TSP In Order?

Once you are close to retirement you no longer have a bunch of extra time to figure out your Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). 

Again, it is crunch time to dial things in, and how you should be investing in the TSP does start to change significantly as you approach retirement.

While most people should start investing more conservatively as they approach retirement, I see all the time how most people way overdo it which leaves them vulnerable to running out of money early. These are some investing basics to make sure your TSP is prepared to last for your entire retirement. 

3. Are Your Service Records Squared Away?

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how many years of federal service you’ve worked unless there are records proving you worked that time, and you’d be surprised to know how often career records are missing or incomplete. 

Five years out from retirement is a great time to review all your records (like your SF-50s, pay stubs, etc.) to make sure you have records for your entire career. It is much easier getting these fixed now than trying to fix things right before retirement. 

4. Can You Keep Your Insurance?

Not all federal employees can keep their insurance into retirement. Again, you have to meet the eligibility requirements. 

Each type of insurance has different rules which are summarized here:


These are the main two requirements to keep health insurance (FEHB) in retirement: 

  • You must retire with an immediate retirement
  • You must be covered under FEHB for the 5 years before retirement


To keep life insurance (FEGLI) into retirement Here are the main two requirements to keep life insurance (FEGLI) in retirement:

  • You must retire with an immediate retirement
  • You must be covered under FEHB for the 5 years before retirement


This is the one main requirement to keep dental and/or vision (FEDVIP) in retirement:

  • You must retire with an immediate retirement

But for dental/vision you don’t need to be covered for 5 years before retirement. 

5. Can I Afford to Retire?

This is one of the most important questions to know the answer to, and unfortunately, there is no way for me to summarize it in a paragraph. It comes down to truly understanding exactly how much income you’ll have in retirement and if that will be sufficient to fund a great retirement. 

Federal employees enjoy at least 3 sources of retirement income (Pension, TSP, and Social Security), but you ultimately have to determine exactly what the income from each of those will be for you.

About the Author

Dallen Haws is a Financial Advisor who is dedicated to helping federal employees live their best life and plan an incredible retirement. He hosts a podcast and YouTube channel all about federal benefits and retirement. You can learn more about him at Haws Federal Advisors.