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Pension funds - moving form police to NCIS

NCIS - Tony was a cop at 3 different precincts before he joined up with Gibbs at NCIS.  What happened to his pension fund he had at the police? Was that 'transferred' from precinct to precinct or was it paid out to him as he transferred in that each time he started with a new pension? If he kept it, was it when he moved from Balitmore to NCIS transferred  to NCIS or is that not allowed due to the fact that NCIS is a federal institution?

Also, if you then work for an institution like NCIS or FBI are you allowed to take your pension away from the government pension to reinvest it somewhere else?

Hope there's someone who can help with this, please. 

Thanking everyone in advance for any possible assistance.

Leonie 

When you leave a job that has a retirement option -- you usually have a couple of options since he was moving around a lot I would think he would've rolled that money into a 401k but honestly, at two years a pop he wouldn't have had a great deal of money in any of those retirement accounts upon leaving since he wouldn't have been "vested".

You could play with it a little -- roll that money into an investment fund but he wouldn't have been restricted by NCIS or the government on what he did with that money as all of it would remain private funds.

There are different rules for federal and state jobs so he wouldn't have rolled that money into his federal pension fund. IF he moved from NCIS to say the FBI (or any other federal agency), I'm pretty certain he would keep his retirement intact and not have to roll it out into a 401k.

You're always eligible to rollover any of your own contributions to an IRA when you leave–he'd be taking a lump sum disbursement. FBI is on the FERS system and pretty sure NCIS is as well, so he'd be rolling it into an IRA. I don't think you can roll past money into FERS the way you can a company 401k.

As for pension... most police departments have a vesting period on state-funded pension. It's usually around 5 years to begin vesting, but some have it less. If he leaves before he vests, he gets nothing except his own contributions.

If he did vest in some portion of the pension, I believe he'd have to collect it from each institution where he earned the pension. I don't think they roll together. If you make a contribution to PERS or FERS before your vesting date, you can withdraw your contributions as a lump sum and put it in an IRA. If you vested (for FERS this is 5 years), you can request deferred retirement, keep your account, and you'd get a pension payment after 65. Conceivably, someone could rack up 5 years of service in multiple places and have multiple pension payments. As far as I know, only federal agencies play well together on this front.

Considering Tony's work history, he probably didn't vest in any state-funded pension so lost that money when he moved. He would have pulled his contributions out and stuck it in an IRA (probably). Once he joined NCIS, he'd have been in FERS and there are two types of accounts he'd be contributing to. He'd be eligible for the pension after 5 years.

Anyway, if he'd been paying attention to retirement, he'd likely have an IRA and be putting contributions into FERS once he started at NCIS.

I'm not 100% sure on how city/state/federal pension plans play together, but I'm pretty sure they don't.

Thank you to both Keira and Jilly for your help! 

I have some knowledge of the retirement plan that Tony and the real NCIS uses - FERS and specifically  Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) that GS/GG/GL federal employees pay into (or should!).  You can rollover all vested funds from any eligible retirement accounts into  TSP, btw.  So long as it's a Roth IRA, 401K or 403(b) or 457(b) and those funds have been tax deferred  there's no issue.  

In the past  I made some best guesstimates as to what  Tony's pay schedule would have been based on OPM guidelines and used that to try to figure out  his annual contributions to TSP, including agency matching funds,  and then likely fund assignment he would have been contributing to and its growth since he's had an account.   I'd be happy to dig up my notes if you want/need that kind of info.   

Regarding his TSP fund at the time of he leaves NCIS, he'd have three options:  1.) He withdraws it lump sum. He'd have to pay taxes on that, though at about 28%...ouch!  2.) He can choose to receive his balance in an annuity. TSP would purchase one for him with his account balance and then pay out to him every month.  This would also be taxed as income, of course. He might make about $750-$1,000 after taxes.   3.) He lets it sit and TSP manages the balance and it continues to  make about 5% annually, on average.    What he can't do is roll it over to another retirement fund, nor can he contribute to it unless his new employer is in the FERS system. If he rejoins federal service and he chose options 1.) or 2.)  he would have to start  a new TSP account all over, I think.  

Wow! Thank you, Easygoer89 for the information. I don't need much detail now, but I'll remember this post and will knock on your door the moment I need more.

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