Retiring from a government job this year? Here’s when you’ll get your first pension check

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One of the more popular provisions of the massive coronavirus relief packages passed by Congress this year allows Americans to . take an early payout from their 401(k)s without tax penalties. but economic experts are warning consumers not to reach for their retirement savings to make ends meet, not even in these desperate times. Despite gaining some immediate financial relief, many who dip into their retirement accounts ultimately find themselves on “an exit ramp to eternal financial sadness,” . according to Paul Ruedi, a retirement planner in Illinois, who spoke exclusively to CBS News. Ruedi emphasized that taking retirement money should always be an option of last resort, but if it was necessary, . that borrowing would be better than withdrawing because the money is paid back over time

If you’re retiring from working for the federal government, you may be wondering when you’ll receive your first check.

The answer will depend on when your claim is received by the United States Office of Personnel Management.

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Government Executive reported a retirement claim can be processed and finalized as soon as five or six weeks from when it is received, but that’s if you’re lucky. Otherwise, it’s likely to be four to six months before processing. It can take longer in some cases.

As you wait for your retirement check, it’s important to have cash on hand. Because the period between receiving your final paycheck and your first full retirement check can vary.

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While some people may opt to retire over the summer between school sessions, it’s also common for people to do so at the end of the year.

According to one expert, that can be a good thing.

Jason Silverberg, vice president of financial planning at Financial Advantage Associates in Rockville, Maryland, told GOBankingRates why retiring at the very end of the year or the very beginning of the year can be beneficial.

“This way, you’re not pulling a lot of money out of your retirement accounts during a year where you might be in a higher tax bracket with earned income,” he said.

Silverberg recommends having enough cash to cover three to five years of retirement expenses. He also says future retirees should be aware of their age before withdrawing money from retirement accounts.

“If you turn 59 1/2 years old at any point during [the year you’re planning to retire], then wait to take money from your retirement accounts until that time,” said Silverberg. “You will avoid a 10% early withdrawal penalty.”

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