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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TSP Fund Returns

The charts below represent the returns of each fund based on monthly investments of the maximum yearly TSP deferral limits*, from the date of each fund’s inception to the end of June 2018. Figures are approximate and will differ depending on actual investment dates (ie, bi-weekly versus monthly) and actual amounts invested.  Remember: past fund performance does not necessarily predict future returns, but the below is a good illustration of what investors can do when investing through thick and thin over the long-term!

Click on images to enlarge:

Return on the G Fund Through 2018

Investing the maximum deferral limit on a monthly basis from 1988 through the end of June 2018 (approximately $388,346), the G Fund would be worth $657,614.

Return on the F Fund Through 2018

Investing the maximum deferral limit on a monthly basis from 1988 through the end of June 2018 (approximately $388,346), the F Fund would be worth $797,827.

Return on the C Fund Through 2018

Investing the maximum deferral limit on a monthly basis from 1988 through the end of June 2018 (approximately $388,346), the C Fund would be worth $1,688,976.

The S and I Funds were inaugurated in 2001, thus the following charts are based on returns from 2001 to June 2018:

Return on the S Fund Through 2018Investing the maximum deferral limit on a monthly basis from 2001 through the end of June 2018 (approximately $271,250), the S Fund would be worth $734,887.

Return on the I Fund Through 2018

Investing the maximum deferral limit on a monthly basis from 2001 through the end of June 2018 (approximately $271,250), the I Fund would be worth $446,346.

 

Below are the yearly returns for the TSP G, F, and C funds, from their inception in 1988 to 2000.

G Fund F Fund C Fund

1988

8.81%

3.63%

11.84%

1989

8.81%

13.89%

31.03%

1990

8.9%

8%

-3.15%

1991

8.15%

15.75%

30.77%

1992

7.23%

7.2%

7.7%

1993

6.14%

9.52%

10.13%

1994

7.22%

-2.96%

1.33%

1995

7.03%

18.31%

37.41%

1996

6.76%

3.66%

22.85%

1997

6.77%

9.6%

33.17%

1998

5.74%

8.7%

28.44%

1999

5.99%

-0.85%

20.95%

2000

6.42%

11.67%

-9.14%

 

The yearly returns for the G, F, and C funds are continued below, from 2001 to 2011. The S and I funds were established in 2001, and their yearly returns are displayed through 2011.

G Fund F Fund C Fund S Fund I Fund

2001

5.39%

8.61%

-11.94%

-9.04%

-21.94%

2002

5.00%

10.27%

-22.05%

-18.14%

-15.98%

2003

4.11%

4.11%

28.54%

42.92%

37.94%

2004

4.30%

4.30%

10.82%

18.03%

20.00%

2005

4.49%

2.40%

4.96%

10.45%

13.63%

2006

4.93%

4.40%

15.79%

15.30%

26.32%

2007

4.87%

7.09%

5.54%

5.49%

11.43%

2008

3.75%

5.45%

-36.99%

-38.32%

-42.43%

2009

2.97%

5.99%

26.68%

34.85%

30.04%

2010

2.81%

6.71%

15.06%

29.06%

7.94%

2011

2.45%

7.89%

2.11%

-3.38%

-11.81%

 

The L or “Lifestyle” funds were established in 2005, and their yearly returns are listed below.  (Note: The L 2050 fund was established in early 2011.)

L Income L 2020 L 2030 L 2040 L 2050

2005

2.15%

3.40%

3.59%

3.92%

2006

7.59%

13.72%

15.00%

16.53%

2007

5.56%

6.87%

7.14%

7.36%

2008

-5.09%

-22.77%

-27.50%

-31.53%

2009

8.57%

19.14%

22.48%

25.19%

2010

5.74%

10.59%

12.48%

13.89%

2011

2.23%

0.41%

-0.31%

-0.96%

For further return information based on an average salary, see this post. For information on returns over a 40-year period, see “What Does $1,000 a Year Matter?.

*The deferral amounts used in the examples above can be reached either as a combination of individual and matching contributions (for civilian participants), or solely from individual contributions (for uniformed service members who do not receive a government match).  Thus a civilian government worker making $60,000 would reach the $17,500 deferral rate for 2013 used in the examples above by contributing $14,500 and receiving $3,000 in 5% government matching contributions, for $17,500 in total contributions for the year.  Civilian government workers who receive matching contributions can defer up to the maximum deferral rate — $17,500 in 2013, plus catch-up deferrals for those over 50 — and still receive a match of 5% of their regular salary.  Thus the civilian worker in the previous example could contribute the full $17,500 from his or her salary to reach a combined total of $20,500 in contributions for the year.  The examples above use the maximum yearly deferral rates for ease of calculation.