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Best Dates to Retire 2024

Looking forward to moving on next year? Here’s a calendar showing optimal dates.

Download the Best Dates to Retire 2024 Calendar

If you’re planning to retire next year, it’s not too early to start thinking about the best date to move on to optimize your retirement benefit and payout for unused annual leave. Let’s look at why some dates are better than others, and then you can download a calendar showing the best dates. 

Under the Civil Service Retirement System, CSRS Offset and the Federal Employees Retirement System, annuities commence the first day of the month after you separate from service and meet age and service requirements. So you really can’t go wrong with the last day of the month.

The end of each month is seldom at the end of the week, or the end of a leave period for that matter, but regardless of which day of the week the last day of the month falls on, you will get credit for each day through close of business of the day you make your retirement effective (even if it’s a holiday).

Voluntary retirement annuities start the first day of the month after an employee separates from service and meets the age and service requirements. But the annuities of CSRS and CSRS Offset employees who stay in their jobs for three days or fewer in the month they retire start on the day after separation or the day after pay ceases. If the first and second day of the month are weekend days or other days that would not result in a salary payment, then retiring on the third day of the month will reduce the employee’s retirement benefit by 3/30 of the first payment, while only increasing the last paycheck by one day of salary payment. In this case, it might be more advantageous to retire on the last day of the month, rather than the third day of the following month.

If the third day of the month falls on a Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, this can be a great day for CSRS or CSRS Offset employees to retire. If Friday is also the end of a two-week leave period, it’s even better.

The best dates calendar also shows the year’s leave periods. Under both CSRS and FERS, completing 80 hours (or your scheduled tour of duty) of work by the end of a two-week leave period will allow you to be paid your full salary for your final two weeks at work and earn your final accrual for annual and sick leave.

Retiring before completing your work for your final leave period will result in no leave accrual. Leave is not prorated if you work fewer than the number of hours in your tour of duty. May 31, June 29 and Nov. 30 are dates at or near the end of the month in 2024 which are also the end of a two-week leave period. 

Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2024 would be a good date for FERS employees to retire if they are trying to maximize their lump sum annual leave payment. They would have 25 accruals for 2024 plus carryover hours from 2023. If they waited until Jan. 11, 2025, they would earn an additional leave accrual plus eight more days of salary. But they’d forfeit their January retirement benefit. 

Got it? Download the calendar for a visual representation of the best dates.