Federal Government Employees Raking It In

Want to get happy?  Here's a lovely article highlighting that over the past 18 months, the percentage of Federal Government employees making over $100,000 jumped from 14% to 19%!

An even more astonishing fact is that 1,690 employees at the Department of Transportation now make over $170,000 vs. only one before the recession started.

My grand plan now is to build my retirement nut in the private sector for 20 years, and then live it up with a fat salary and pension from the public sector for the next 20 years!

I'm going to the local library today to learn all I can about being a great DOT employee.  I will be the best planner, analyst, treasurer, whatever there is, so I too can make $170,000 too.

Work For The Federal Government To Get Paid Big Bucks

Anybody else dreaming about joining the Federal Government to take advantage of all the benefits?  After reading Jane White's “Welcome To The Poorhouse” book, I was doubtful about my chances of making $174,000 in government because I'd have to be elected as a Congressman or Senator. 

Now I'm ecstatic to discover there are 10,000+ Federal Government positions which pay just as well!

As a government official, I promise to support tax hikes for all income classes no matter how horrible the economy is.  After all, tax hikes are important to keep our guaranteed annual pay increases going.

Remember, only the government is allowed to persecute others and tell them how to spend their money.  As long as they focus the public's attention on Wall St., maybe nobody will notice their ways.  “We'll spend your money however way we damn feel like it!”  Go USA!

Best Paying Government Jobs

Finally, the best paying government jobs also have incredible pensions. The value of your pension is a lot, especially in a low-interest rate environment. Appreciate it!

Readers, which public sector job do you dream of having?  Why would anybody ever want to join the private sector given all the insecurity, volatility, and pay differential? Federal government employees are raking it in.

Related Post:

“Fortunes, Fortunes, Everywhere”

The Highest Paid Government Jobs


Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money's Mysteries”

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31 thoughts on “Federal Government Employees Raking It In”

  1. Those $170K/yr DOT workers are surely 20+ year career sr. managers. I’ve held mid-level jobs in the private-sector and federal, state, & city governments. In 1990, I took a $5K pay cut to accept my first government job. After ten years in that federal job, my pay was comparable to what I would have been earning had I stayed in my reasonably secure private-sector job.

    After those ten years, I returned to the private-sector for a few years hoping to climb the corporate ladder with my freshly-minted MBA. After five years, that didn’t happen and I accepted an attractive position in state government at the same pay. Shortly thereafter, I moved to a city government in the same type role.

    Neither government work nor the private-sector have been financially lucrative for me – my annual salary in 2013 is exactly the same as it was in 1999, less than $70K. I am in a mid-level management role, and have two relevant, marketable, reputable masters degrees. My private-sector peers from 1990 are all earning over $100K today.

    Government work has offered more job security. Overall, benefits have been equivalent to the private sector.

    In 2016, at 52 years of age, I will have ten years’ federal service, ten years’ city service, and ten years’ private-sector service. At that point, I will be eligible for a $6K annual federal pension in the year 2026 and a $10K annual city pension in the year 2026. I’ve faithfully participated in a 457(b) (like a 401K, but no employer contribution).

    I do not consider my government earnings and benefits excessive or unreasonable. My brother earns $500K per year in the private sector, but begrudges me my future $16K annual pension (no COLA on that).

    There are many differences and factors that determine government compensation. Law enforcement and firefighters always have more generous pensions than general employees.

    Many state & city governments have been aggressively cutting back benefits; and defined benefit pension plans are becoming extinct or drastically reduced. The federal government, on the other hand, has not cut benefits, pay, or pensions.

  2. It’s amazing to me how over the past year elected officials have been up in arms over executive salaries and “overcompensation” at financial companies when the biggest waste of money is really coming from the government. Overcompensated employees who have no real reason to work hard because of annual raises and increases (even in a bad economy when other sectors are laying off or decreasing wages), and it’s hard to have any real faith in our government. I’m all for people being paid what the market will allow, but so many of these government jobs are not necessary and are just part of government bloat.
    .-= Peter´s last blog ..Blueprint For How To Make Money With A Blog: Advice From Successful Bloggers =-.

  3. I worked 3 years at a government agency (out of necessity, not choice) as both labor then management.

    Words like inefficiency, waste, mismanagement, even fraud don’t come anywhere close to what I saw happening on a daily basis!!

    And worse – no one lost their job over it!

    Even when someone was caught stealing cash from the safe (literally!) and admitted to it they STILL kept their job and pay!

    1. @ MasterPo – Wow, that’s nuts! If nobody ever gets fired, should more people seek to work FOR the government, since it’s so secure?

      I’m really looking into being a DOT employee, after 10 more years in the private sector. $174,000/yr and 40hr work weeks, and total job security sounds good to me!

  4. Don@MoneyReasons


    Yep, once you get in a public position like that, you’re there for life. I bet the DOT’s attrition rate is phenomenally low…

    Oh well, maybe in my next life, I’ll get a job like that!
    .-= Don@MoneyReasons´s last blog ..How I Have Lost Over Half A Million Dollars Having Kids, So Far! =-.

  5. Yes, me too! We just recently learned that one of our esteemed public servants (not the elected types – they make less) working for the provincial government was pulling in a cool mil! Justification? To be able to compete with the private sector & be able to attract talent to the public sector workforce!!! Evidently this rare bird started with a mere half mil but was being head hunted so ……….double up the pay to keep him!

    Yup … get on the public payroll. You’re right.

    .-= Valentina´s last blog ..Forced Continuity Programs – Convenience or Nuisance? =-.

  6. 170 big smackers! Huh! That’s chump change compared to what some of our public sector servants make!!!! and that is not just the Feds, but the Provincials (like your States) and Municipal .. yes, I am in Canada. At one time the trade off was security over income, looks like they now have both in spades … and longer holidays too! OK… there must be something that still makes the private sector more attractive? Yes??? Oh tell me it is so!

    .-= Valentina´s last blog ..Forced Continuity Programs – Convenience or Nuisance? =-.

    1. Valentina – I sure would LOVE to earn 170 big smackers of “chump change” like the DOT employees due when I’m out of the private sector! That would rock!

      Private sector? Nah. It’s all about public sector jobs for life!

  7. JOhn DeFlumeri Jr

    They don’t have a totally easy job. They just stayed in the system for a long time.

    John DeFlumeri Jr
    .-= JOhn DeFlumeri Jr´s last blog ..Podcast*Resolution Headstart and Heart-Smart! =-.

  8. kenyantykoon

    i once wanted to be the president until i came to the stark realisation that there are powers that be who funded the presidential campaign and those powers are in the private sector. So because i dont want to be in anybody’s pockets, i prefer to be in the private sector but in a way that i am free like my own business or something what will give me power.
    .-= kenyantykoon´s last blog ..HOW A BEGINNER ANALYSES A STOCK =-.

  9. I’ve been thinking about the ‘benefits’ of public sector for some time now. Someone else mentioned something about hedging our bets and investing in public sector companies. I am thinking of hedging my bets with one of us (me or the wife) working for the fed govt. This way, one bread earner is secure and gets pre-determined and set raises regardless of recession or not; while the other person is in the volatile private sector. If he/she is unemployed for a while they makes up for it (hopefully) when times are good. Think of it like the model for stock price evolution with a +ve drift term (fed govt job) and a diffusion term (volatile private sector job).
    Moreover don’t forget the excellent health benefits, retirement benefits, perks, vacations…that come with the fed govt job.

    Sickening, true. But it’s still going to happen.

  10. Also chew on this:

    Average Federal worker makes $71,026.
    Average Private Employee makes $40,331.


  11. @CJ Bowker
    I had NO IDEA so many people made so much. You’re right about the health perks for when we are older. Them alone could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Makes sense!

  12. You’re not the first one I’ve heard with the plan to work for the government for the perks. I think you only need 10 years and you get your pension and lifetime health coverage. The health coverage could be worth more in the later years. I never considered a government job but all the perks make me think I need to start looking.
    .-= CJ Bowker´s last blog ..3 Takeaways From the Snowman =-.

  13. kosmo @ The Casual Observer

    You may be thinking of the IOC, which is in charge of Olympic planning. I’d merely want to be in charge of the US contingent. I wouldn’t need any swag, though – the job would just be cool.
    .-= kosmo @ The Casual Observer´s last blog ..Bull =-.

  14. Wow that is shocking. I never would have thought that they would have increased salaries in the last 18 months esp. over creating more jobs, unless they did that too. I’m not sure I’d want to work for the government. Maybe it’d be great, I just imagine it being very political, inflexible, and slow to change. But if that’s not the case, somebody please tell me and I’d love it if that wasn’t true. I imagine things probably vary greatly by sector too. In any case, great post!

  15. @David
    I was thinking David, shouldn’t we ALL try and hedge ourselves by having some in with the government? We should try and either invest in companies who make money from the government, or simply be a consultant/contractor so we too can drink from the magic money waterfall yeah?

  16. Yes I read this also and was POed. Private sector salary’s have DECREASED during this time. It’s one thing for the government to add employees to ‘help’ ease this recession, it’s a completely different issue that the employees got an INCREASE in salary! Where is my pitchfork?
    .-= Investor Junkie´s last blog ..Weekend Reading for December 12, 2009 =-.

  17. That’s sick, if not evil. Boooo!!!! The same situation has happened in New Zealand over the past decade. The size of government as increased a lot taking a unusually high percentage of our GDP. :(
    .-= Gordie´s last blog ..Why Deadlines Are For Deadbeats. =-.

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