Government Contractor vs Government Employee?

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by Nolan_Knight

So I have an opportunity to convert from a federal government contractor to a federal government civilian employee. My issue is that I’ll have to take a pay cut in order to do so. Here’s some of the key details:

Edit: Current salary is about $105K. The max I can start at as a gov’t employee would be a GS-12 Step 10, which is $97K w/ locality pay, but there’s no guarantee I would be starting at that pay and on top of that it would require a promotion to GS-13 to move past that point.

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For starters, I am 34 and currently max out my 401K, Roth IRA & contribute to taxable investments.

Cons / Pros to going goverment employee:

  • Pension in retirement and job security.
  • 4.4 % per pay check deducted to pay into pension plan (please correct me if this is incorrect)
  • 15 days full pay for military reserve leave
  • TSP match, 100% up to 5%

Cons / props to remaining a government contractor:

  • Additional funds to invest into taxable investments and to spend on traveling, etc
  • More salary growth potential, but without the job security. This has been a long term contract thus far, but that doesn’t necessarily tell what would happen in the future.
  • 10 days differential pay for military reserve leave.
  • 401K match, 100% up to 4%, 50% up to 6%
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Are there any other factors I should be taking into consideration? What option would you all recommend taking in this situation? At the moment, I’m leaning towards remaining a contractor.


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