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: Thrift Savings Plan Updates

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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Jul


15

Say-on-Pay and the TSP

What do you get paid?  Are you paid fairly for the work you do?  How much do you think you should get paid? How about the leadership in your agency or command?  Are they paid fairly? I’ve heard the debate many times over the years.  We don’t get paid enough.  We’re over-paid.  We could make more in the private sector.  We already do.   Etc. etc. Now, what does the leadership of the TSP deserve to be paid, managing as they … more

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Jun


30

Owe Taxes? You Might Soon Pay Out of Your TSP Account

TSP administrators two years ago established a process to deduct funds from TSP accounts of participants who were declared by a court to be late in paying child support. Now administrators are proposing to do the same for TSP participants who owe back taxes. According to statistics in mid-2013, 3.3% of federal employees owed back taxes for a total of $3.3 billion. While that’s an eye-popping number, the IRS noted that this is less than half the general population, with … more

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Apr


16

‘You’ve Got (TSP) Mail’…

Soon TSP administrators will be communicating directly with participants via email, phone, and possibly text messages as well. Administrators recently proposed plans to add participants’ email addresses and phone numbers to their master records system called FRTIB-1.  TSP is now taking comments on this proposal, and assuming there are no negative comments that convince administrators otherwise, the records system will be updated to accept email and phone contact information as of May 15. The announcement also proposes changing the FRTIB-1 … more

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Feb


24

TSP Disallows Links to Website?

I came across a curious policy on TSP.gov, one that I had not seen on an openly available, U.S. government website before. It reads in part: Unless you are a .mil or .gov site, you must have a written agreement in effect with the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) in order to link to the TSP website from another website…Once a written agreement is in effect, hypertext links to the TSP website are permitted only if: – The link … 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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Jan


27

The TSP’s ‘No-Name Nor’easter’…

One of the primary competitive advantages of the Thrift Savings Plan is the rock-bottom costs (expense ratios) we pay to keep our money invested in the stock and bond market funds. At around .02% of each fund, this amounts to about $2 in fees for every $10,000 invested in the TSP funds.  The average expense ratio of all other mutual funds was just over .9% in 2012, according to Morningstar.  This would cost the investor $90 for every $10,000 he … 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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Oct


30

Apps? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Apps!

TSP administrators announced last week that they have deployed a new version of tsp.gov that allows users to log on to their accounts using a browser on their smart phone. Instead of developing and deploying a specific app for the iOS and Android (KitKat et al) operating systems – not to mention Microsoft Mobile and Blackberry OS – users can access the TSP site using their mobile browser to get a version of the site that is optimized for the … more

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Sep


05

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Sequestration

A funny thing has taken place since February this year. As sequestration – and associated furloughs – became reality in the spring, the total number of TSP participants dropped by 5,000 participants through May.  And the number of participants remained stagnant again through June. At the end of December last year, there were just over 4.614 million participants.  That rose to 4,619,546 TSP participants at the end of February.  The number of participants then dropped to 4,614,553 in May, and … 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


21

Average TSP Account Balances Nearing Six Figures

According to the latest stats, the average account balance for FERS employees has reached $97,075, while CSRS participants come in a fraction lower with an average account balance of $96,712.  These are actually down by a few hundred dollars from average account balances in May. Uniformed service members have an average account balance of $15,191.  The lower balance is due to their later participation eligibility – service members have been able to contribute to the TSP for just over ten … more

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Jul


30

August Annuity Rate Highest in Two Years

TSP annuity rates have climbed slowly since March, from the historically low 1.75% to 2.625% in August.  Here is the trend over the past twenty-four years: The 2.625% is still very low, to be sure, but it is a positive trend.  It could be a slow-moving one since the Fed wants to keep rates at “exceptionally low” rates until unemployment drops below 6.5% into 2014. The annuity rate is still lower than many mainstream dividend-paying investment funds, which could serve … 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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