What is the Best Age for Federal Employees to Retire?

57, 60, and 62 are popular ages for federal employees to retire. What difference do these ages make to retirement benefits?

These are the golden retirement ages for federal employees: 57, 60, or 62. But what makes these ages so special? What age is the absolute best?

Let’s dive in. 

Magic Benefits

The magic of these ages is the fact that many of your federal retirement benefits are tied to these ages. 

Here are the main reasons people retire en masse at these different ages. 

Age 57 (or MRA)

Most people’s MRA (Minimum Retirement Age) is 57 or close to it. As the name suggests, this is the minimum age you can retire from the government and get a pension right away and keep your health insurance. 

Your MRA is based on your birth year: 

If you were bornYour MRA is
Before 194855
In 194855 and 2 months
In 194955 and 4 months
In 195055 and 6 months
In 195155 and 8 months
In 195255 and 10 months
In 1953-196456
In 196556 and 2 months
In 196656 and 4 months
In 196756 and 6 months
In 196856 and 8 mo
In 196956 and 10 mont
In 1970 and after57

When people are trying to leave the government ASAP, they often retire at their MRA. 

If you have 30+ years of service at your MRA then you’d get a full pension and qualify for the FERS Supplement. The FERS Supplement is simply an additional monthly payment that you receive from retirement until age 62. 

If you have less than 30 years at your MRA you can still retire and get a pension right away but your pension would be reduced and you won’t get the FERS Supplement. 

Age 57 Summary: The main reason people retire near 57 (or their MRA) is because that is often the earliest they can go and keep some of their key retirement benefits. 

Age 60

At age 60 you only need 20 years of service (instead of 30 like at your MRA) to get a full retirement, a pension right away, and be able to keep your health insurance. If you do have 20 years at age 60, then you’d qualify to receive the FERS Supplement from retirement until age 62. 

Age 60 Summary: You only need 20 years of service to get a full retirement at age 60. 

Age 62

The years of service requirement for a full retirement drops way down to only 5 years once you hit age 62. This is great for those that took a federal job later in their career, but if you have 20+ years at age 62+ then you also qualify for a 10% Bonus to your pension

Many people work until 62 (even if they were eligible to retire earlier) just to get the 10% pension increase, but because the FERS Supplement only pays out until 62, by definition, you can’t get the 10% bonus and the FERS Supplement. You either retire before 62 and get the supplement or you retire after 62 w/ 20 years and get the 10% bonus. 

Age 62 Summary: You only need 5 years of service to get a full retirement at age 62+. And if you have 20+ years then you also get the 10% bonus to your pension. 

What’s the Best Age For You? 

So what is the best age to retire? Out of ages 57, 60, and 62, age 62 would certainly give you the biggest pension. This is because of the 10% bonus and you have more years of service at that point as well. 

So does that mean age 62 is the best age to retire? Not exactly. 

The more years of service you have the bigger your pension gets, so technically working until age 85 would give you a much bigger pension than 62. 

Does that make age 85 better than 62? For most people, no! 

Working longer does mean more money in retirement but it also means a shorter retirement. It’s up to you to find the right balance of having enough retirement income without trading too many of your young/healthy retirement years. 

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.