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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Category: Fund-Related News

Mar


26

The TSP Tweaks the L Funds

The L Funds are about to be tweaked. According to an announcement posted on TSP.gov: Updated Lifecycle fund allocations — (March 26, 2014) As a result of changes in long-term capital market assumptions and a review of the Lifecycle fund asset allocations, the TSP has revised the target asset allocations of the Lifecycle funds. The announcement then directs users to the L Fund page to see the “current asset allocations” for each of the funds. When I checked the fund … more

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Jan


29

Will BlackRock Continue to Manage the S Fund?

TSP administrators floated a request for proposals to manage the Small Cap Stock Index Investment Fund — the S Fund — earlier this month. This is the third major RFP to manage individual TSP funds in the past 18 months. BlackRock was re-awarded the contract to run the I Fund early last fall, three months after the RFP was first released in June last year.  The contract award was made in half the time originally anticipated, with the final award expected … more

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Nov


04

Michael Kors Leaves Project Runway To Join…the TSP?

You might know of Michael Kors from one of a couple sources. You’re into high fashion, in which case you’ll know all about the designer and his fashion lines through the years. You have watched “Project Runway” up to last season, in which case you know his caustic humor.  (He departed the reality fashion design show late last year to concentrate on running his fast-expanding business.) You shop on Apple.com, in which case you’ve seen lots of Michael Kors-designed high-end … more

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Sep


30

Blackrock Selected as I Fund Manager

Blackrock will continue to manage the I Fund, the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board announced on September 16th. I suppose the only surprise is that the announcement came so soon.  As noted in early August, TSP administrators expected to make a decision by the end of the year.  This must mean there were very few – if any – fund management companies that submitted a proposal to manage the I Fund besides Blackrock.

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Jul


31

Where Are the G Fund Earnings Coming From?

Ok, I admit it.  I read the June TSP announcement on the debt ceiling with too jaundiced of an eye. Back in early June, the Executive Director posted this message, which reads in part: “…On May 31, the U.S. Treasury notified me that it is unable to fully invest securities in the G Fund at this time. However, this will not directly impact the accounts of G Fund investors.  G Fund earnings are fully guaranteed by the Federal Government, and … more

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Jul


08

Caught in the Middle, In More Ways Than One

We are almost two months removed from when the United States hit its debt limit in May (again).  In a tiringly familiar ritual, the Treasury Secretary issued a letter to Congress describing the steps it was taking to put off default on U.S. debt. TSP participants know that among the options, “Treasury may…suspend the daily reinvestment of the Treasury securities held by the Government Securities Investment Fund (G Fund) of the Federal Employees’ Retirement System Thrift Savings Plan,” as described … more

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Jun


21

TSP’s F Fund Manager Warns ‘Bond Funds…May Not Be So Safe Anymore’

BlackRock, which serves as the investment manager for the F Fund (as well as the three stock funds), has placed ads in U.S. papers over the past month warning about possible future losses of bond funds in the future. The most recent ad, appearing on page A15 of the June 18th Wall Street Journal, reads: “Once safe.  Now risky.  Rethink your bonds.” It continues by declaring: “The traditional bond funds you once considered safe investments may not be so safe … more

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Jun


13

It’s Official: Greece is No Longer Part of the I Fund

What was unofficial before has become official now: Greece is now considered an “emerging market” country and is no longer included in the MSCI Developed Markets index funds.  As a result it is officially no longer a part of the I Fund.  MSCI made the announcement late on June 11th as part of its “annual reclassification review” of its indices. The I Fund seeks to match the performance of the MSCI “EAFE (Europe, Australasia, Far East) Index,” which is one of MSCI’s … more

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Apr


08

Sell Low, Buy Higher?

The monthly interfund transfer stats for January were just posted on Friday, and based on the numbers, TSP participants appear to have regained their confidence in the stock markets and the TSP stock funds big-time. In January this year, TSP participants transferred a record amount out of the G and F Funds, while they transferred a record amount into the C and S Funds since the beginning of 2007 (when the current transfer data begins).  The I fund experienced a … more

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Mar


18

FINRA Investor Alert and the F Fund

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) issued an “investor alert” last month discussing the risk of bonds in a potential rising interest rate environment, particularly long-term bonds. As TSP investors know, the F Fund is based on the “Barclays Capital U.S. Aggregate Index,” which is a total U.S. bond market index fund.  Thus, FINRA’s investor alert relates directly to F Fund investors. Perhaps the most important paragraph of the alert was the following: “Currently, interest rates are hovering near historic … more

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Mar


11

The Wisdom of TSP Crowds

When it comes to asset allocation among the TSP funds, it is interesting to take a look at where others are putting their money in aggregate. According to official statistics, the TSP reached $330 billion in total assets at the end of 2012, which was 10% higher than in January when the TSP first surpassed $300 billion in assets.  This growth includes additional contributions through the year (participants contributed a net total of around $12 billion in 2012), and the … more

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Jan


24

Suspension? What Suspension?

As most TSP participants have heard, the Treasury Secretary announced in late December that one of the steps the Treasury Department “may” take as the country hit the debt ceiling was the suspension of interest payments to the TSP’s government securities G Fund: “Treasury may…suspend the daily reinvestment of the Treasury securities held by the Government Securities Investment Fund (G Fund),” he stated in his notification to Congress.  Payments are to be made whole after the debt ceiling has been … more

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Dec


19

F Fund Developments

In perhaps the most underwhelming news of the month, it was recently announced that BlackRock would continue to manage the Fixed Income Index Investment Fund – the F Fund.  (Management of the fund was recompeted this summer.) BlackRock won a one-year contract with four one-year options for renewal.  BlackRock had managed the fund since it acquired Barclay’s Global Investors – the former manager of the fund – in 2009. This likely bodes well for BlackRock in continuing to manage the … more

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Oct


23

Greece Effectively Dropped from I Fund

Given all the troubles in Europe – and particularly in Greece – one of the more frequent questions that comes into this site is how much of the I Fund is invested in companies located in that country. The TSP’s I Fund seeks “to match the performance of the Morgan Stanley Capital International EAFE (Europe, Australasia, Far East) Index.”  According to MSCI’s definition of the EAFE index, the index currently invests in 22 countries, including Greece. While the TSP does … more

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Aug


28

The Most Popular TSP Funds

Ever wonder where your fellow TSP investors are placing their money?   While it is impossible to know in which funds individual TSP investors place their money, it is possible to find the aggregate amounts going into each fund for all investors as a whole.  These statistics are also broken down by category, for example by FERS, CSRS, and members of the uniformed services.  All of this is provided courtesy of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB). It may not … more

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