Welcome to TSP Strategies

Welcome to TSPstrategies.com! This Web site is dedicated to exploring the benefits of saving and investing in the Thrift Savings Plan.

The companion book, TSP Investing Strategies: Building Wealth While Working for Uncle Sam, lays out a simple set of strategies for long-term, buy-and-hold investors to consider while investing in the TSP. This Web site and accompanying blog will build on those concepts, while focusing on new investing options and developments related to the TSP.

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Monthly Archives: May 2012

May


30

How Much Apple Do You Own?

With the incredible success in recent years of the iPhone, iPad, MacBook computers, iTunes, etc. etc., Apple has grown to become the largest company in the world.  The price of Apple’s stock has more than doubled over the past two years, from around $250 in mid-2010 to about $580 today.  At one point in early April, it reached an all-time high of $644.  The company is worth $541 billion, compared to the second-largest U.S. company, Exxon, which is worth $373 … more

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May


25

How “International” is the I Fund?

The I Fund “invests in a stock index fund that fully replicates the Morgan Stanley Capital International EAFE (Europe, Australasia, Far East) Index,” according to the TSP website.  Nevertheless, there are some glaring omissions in the index as it is currently constituted. According to the MSCI fact sheet on the EAFE index as of the end of April, stocks of companies listed in the United Kingdom make up the single largest percentage in the index, at 23.2%, followed by Japan … more

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May


23

Dividend Yields and the TSP Funds

The total number of companies in the S&P 500 index – which is the C Fund’s underlying index – paying cash dividends has steadily increased this year.  Of the 500 large U.S. companies included in the index, 401 pay out a cash dividend as of mid-May.  According to Standard and Poor’s, which decides what companies are included in the S&P 500 index, this is the highest number of dividend-paying companies since 2000.  The dividend yield as of May 15 was … more

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May


21

Would You Halt TSP Contributions To Pay Off Debt?

Most civilian government workers receive a government match on their TSP contributions of up to 5% of their salary.  While uniformed service personnel do not receive a match, they can still take advantage of the lowest-cost index funds available in the industry and the tax-deferred nature of the Thrift Savings Plan funds. But would you forgo these benefits – particularly the government match – to pay off tens of thousands of dollars in debt instead?  That is effectively what one … more

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May


19

Taking Advantage of ‘Sell in May’ Effect

The TSP large-cap stock funds – the C and I Funds – have dropped for 11 of the past 13 trading days, while the small-cap stock fund, the S Fund, has dropped for 10 of the past 13 trading days.  While the C Fund is down about 8.5% from its April 2 high of $17.62, the S Fund is down over 10% from its March 26 high of $23.79, and the I Fund is down almost 13% from its high … more

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May


09

Say Good-Bye to the TSP-50

In a sign of how far the TSP website has come over the past ten years, TSP administrators on May 7th announced the discontinuation of the TSP-50 “Investment Allocation” form.  Many long-time investors probably remember that for many years, this was the main form used to change one’s contributions and request an interfund transfer.  Now that these functions are easily accessible on the TSP.gov website, this form has become obsolete. Here is the most recent version of the form TSP-50:

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May


08

TSP Now Allows Roth TSP Contributions…for Some

Many federal government agencies began taking requests from employees to switch their future contributions to Roth TSP accounts this week. Unfortunately, some TSP participants – especially those in defense-related work – have to wait until as late as October to begin Roth TSP.  The Defense Finance and Accounting Service announced on April 13 that Defense employees would have to wait until October in some cases to switch their personal contributions to the Roth TSP.  The DFAS announcement came a day … more

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May


04

DRIPs and the TSP

There are of course a variety of investment vehicles outside of the Thrift Savings Plan.  One seemingly simple option is investing in individual companies through what are called “Dividend Reinvestment Plans,” or DRIPs.  As the name implies, a large majority of companies that offer this investment option pay out dividends periodically, which are then automatically reinvested through the plan into more stock of that company.  An investor can find the company or companies he or she likes through services such as … more

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