Best Dates to Retire 2022

The annual calendar showing optimal days to move on from government. 

Timing is everything when it comes to retirement planning. If you retire too early, you might find you’ll have to tighten your belt or start a second career. If you wait too long, you might miss out on some of the joys of being retired, like spending more time with family, traveling or pursuing hobbies. Deciding what time is right takes a combination of financial planning, tax analysis and soul searching. 

Download the Best Dates to Retire 2022 Calendar

Once the hard work is done, it’s time to choose a specific date. This downloadable calendar is designed to show you which dates are better than others in 2022. 

But let’s cut to the chase: Is there a universal magic date to retire in 2022? Not really. A lot depends on your individual circumstances. But there’s one date that hits a trifecta of factors. And that date is: Dec. 31, 2022.

By “trifecta,” I mean that this particular date is:

  • At the end of the month
  • At the end of the leave year
  • A paid holiday

A leave year ends on the day immediately before the first day of the first full biweekly pay period in the following calendar year. It’s rare that the leave year and the calendar year end on the same day, but that’s what happens at the end of 2022. The 2023 leave year begins for most federal employees on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. By comparison, the 2024 leave year won’t begin for most employees until Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024 and the 2025 leave year will start on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2025.

Getting paid for the annual leave you carry over to the new year isn’t bad, but consider the amount of the lump sum payment you could receive if you didn’t take vacation time for all of next year, or 26 pay periods.

Retiring at the end of December could add an additional 208 hours (26 x 8) at an eight-hour accrual rate. This means that saving 26 accruals in addition to carry-over leave of 240 hours would provide a lump sum payment of as much as 448 hours multiplied by your hourly pay rate. At an hourly rate of $40.38, the gross payment would be $18,090.

Saving up a full year of leave accruals might make you feel like you need a vacation, but isn’t retirement like a long vacation?

One more thing: Generally, a lump-sum payment will equal the pay an employee would have received had he or she remained employed until expiration of the period covered by the annual leave. This means if there is a general pay adjustment that takes effect on the first pay period of the new leave year, then the lump sum annual leave payment will reflect the new pay rate.

Suppose, for example, there’s an across-the-board pay increase of 3% next year. Now the hourly rate of reimbursement from the example above would increase to $41.59. And cashing out 448 hours of annual leave would provide a gross payment of $18,632, or $542 more than using the 2021 pay rate.

So if you’re financially and mentally prepared to move on, New Year’s Eve 2022 may be a great way to end one era and start another. 

Download the Best Dates to Retire 2022 Calendar

Correction: This article has been updated to correct information about the 2023 leave year.