TSP or Thrift Savings Plan comes under the 401k plan of the U.S. federal government. In terms of participant account and investment balance, TSP is the largest among all 401k-like plans. In this article, we are going to find out whether TSP is actually suitable for your portfolio or not. However, in order to determine this, we will need to dig deeper and find out the pros and cons of this savings plan while also finding out some strategies to include TSP in your portfolio.
TSP or Thrift Savings Plan
Under the retirement plans of US federal employees, TSP forms an important one besides Social Security and The Federal Employees Retirement System (pension). Both the military as well as the civilian employees of the federal government are eligible for this contribution plan. Both traditional as well as the Roth accounts are offered by TSP.
Benefits of Thrift Savings Plan
- Expense ratios are low
- The five L funds along with the other six core funds have an expense ratio of 0.029%, which is $2.90 on an investment of $10,000. Thus, TSP maintains the lowest expense ratios for the mutual funds.
- No hidden costs or fees – There are no hidden costs or fees for investing in TSP
- Wise selection of funds – Core funds of TSP include C fund, S fund, I fund, F fund and G fund which cover majority of the asset classes.
- Lifecycle funds – The five core funds are maintained in different percentages that matches the Lifecycle of Thrift Savings Plan.
- Covers your entire life – Even when you separate from the federal service, you can still keep the account active while including any retirement plans into TSP.
- Civilian receive an agency match – The civilians coming under the purview of FERS retirement system are entitled to receiving an agency match.
Downsides of Thrift Savings Plan
- Withdrawal Limits – You will be entitled to only a single partial withdrawal prior to giving you the opportunity to withdraw the entire fund. Thus, there are many people who move to the IRAs post retirement.
- No conversions within the plan – You are not allowed to convert any part of your traditional balances into Roth Balance.
- I fund is not that great – I fund is considered to be among the weakest of all the five core funds.
Thrift Savings Plan is great for the federal employees but is not considered great for others. Thus, if your financial planning includes TSP then you must weigh your options before putting in your money.