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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Tag Archives: Military TSP Participation

Feb


09

TSP Could Become a Lot More Popular in Coming Years

With close to 5 million participants, the Thrift Savings Plan is already pretty popular.  It could get a whole lot more popular if recent recommendations on military compensation are implemented. As expected, the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission recommended adding government TSP matches for active and reserve service members, to compensate for a reduced retirement annuity. With an authorized US military strength in 2015 of just over 1.3 million personnel in the four services, that could substantially increase the … more

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Jan


25

Will Coming Big Changes in Military Compensation Include a TSP Match?

The Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission is set to release its recommendations within the next week.  It will be interesting to see whether the Thrift Savings Plan will play an enhanced role in a modernized military retirement reform package. The commission has been studying compensation for over a year now, and their report is due by Feb 1. The outgoing defense secretary has been making the rounds the last few weeks, letting folks know that the commission’s report is … more

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Aug


31

Roth TSP Accounts One Year Later

The Roth TSP option is about one year old now, and the option has become a surprisingly popular one. While the Roth TSP became operational in May last year, participants were able to invest in Roth TSP accounts in stages last summer and into the fall based on their department or branch of service. From nothing in May 2012, total Roth TSP assets have grown to over $468.3 million one year later, at the end of June 2013. The total number … more

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Aug


07

Trading a Pension for an Increased TSP Match

The Postal Reform Bill introduced in the Senate last week includes some interesting proposals.  Of note, it includes language that “the bill would allow the Postal Service and postal unions to bargain over the extent of new postal employees’ participation in FERS and the Thrift Savings Program (TSP).” The Washington Post‘s Federal Diary added yesterday that: “A revised [benefit] system might repeal for [future] employees the defined benefit portion of federal retirement benefits, which pays a lifetime annuity based on … more

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Mar


28

Military Retirement and the TSP

It was around this time of year several decades ago that my father began a conversation with me about my future.  I was a high school junior, and like many high schoolers, I had vague plans about traveling, eventually getting through college, and then doing just whatever might come my way. That’s when he talked to me about joining the military.  He had been in the Army by that point almost twenty years.  As upperclassmen in high school, we were … more

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Nov


28

Social Security Taxes and the TSP

Were you given the “three-legged stool” metaphor by government recruiters prior to beginning a career with the government?  I was.  During the retirement benefits discussion, I was told that retirement from government would be supported by three legs, which represented a basic government pension, Social Security, and a defined contribution plan (the Thrift Savings Plan).  Military personnel receive essentially the same benefits, although in lieu of matching contributions to the TSP, military personnel receive a higher pension at a younger … more

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Oct


26

The TSP and Independence

When I was a reservist in the mid-1990s, I witnessed an unexpected event:  A fellow soldier in my unit was approaching his 12th year in the military – a stint on active duty followed by a few years in our reserve unit – and it was time to re-enlist.  The only thing was, he didn’t want to. He was an E-7, Sergeant First Class, in a critical skill (he was a linguist).  He was offered a nice bonus – not … more

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Aug


19

Military TSP Participation Inching Higher

The number of uniformed service personnel participating in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) this year recently reached a record-setting 727,786 as of the end of May.  This compares with approximately 712,000 participants at the beginning of the year. The number of activity-duty participants grew to over 587,000 personnel, representing a participation rate of 40.1%.  This is a new record, according to recent Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) figures. The number of contributing reservists reached 140,554 personnel, or 16.4% of … more

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Jul


08

DoD Civilians Eligible To Contribute To Roth TSP Accounts This Month

The Defense Finance Accounting Services (DFAS) is now processing requests to enroll in the Roth TSP.  The new enrollment is open primarily to civilian personnel covered by DFAS, and many DoD and service components began to inform their civilian employees of the enrollment eligibility in late June (a Navy notice can be accessed here, while an Air Force notice can be accessed here, for example).  Personnel serving in the Coast Guard were able to begin to enroll in the Roth … more

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Apr


19

Would DoD Ever Match Service Members’ TSP Contributions?

In February 2010, the Office of the Secretary of Defense issued a “Report to the Congress” titled Cost and Impact on Recruiting and Retention of Providing Thrift Savings Plan Matching Contributions.  The report was a little-noticed product of the June 2009 Thrift Savings Plan Enhancement Act, which empowered TSP administrators to establish a Roth TSP and separately called for the consideration of a TSP “mutual fund window”. A provision in the 2009 Act also included a “Sense of Congress” stating … more

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Apr


09

Who Contributes More to the TSP: Army, Air Force, Navy, or Marines?

The Thrift Savings Plan was opened to members of the uniformed services ten years ago.  Military personnel were allowed to participate in the TSP for the first time beginning in January 2002 with a 2001 amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000. Ten years later, which service has the highest participation rate? As of the end of December 2011, the numbers broke out this way:  Among active duty personnel, the Navy had the highest participation rate, … more

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