208 TSP Millionaires Enjoy a Big Return in January

By on February 2, 2012 in Current Events with 55 Comments

The stock market tends to do much better for the entire year if it gets a good head start with positive returns in January. As one would expect, some TSP investors have done better than others. The so-called “January Barometer” has been right more than it has been wrong. When the stock market has a positive return in January, stocks have finished up for the entire year (with three exceptions) since 1950. One exception was in 2001. January was a good month but the 9/11 attacks resulted in a significant loss in stocks for the year.

With that having been said, the stock market did well in January 2012. The C fund was up 4.4% in January. It finished behind the S fund which returned 7.59% and also behind the I fund which returned 5.36%. (See the current and most recent monthly returns for all TSP funds.)

The stock market and the Thrift Savings Plan are confusing to many readers. 85.4% of federal employees in the FERS retirement program participate in the TSP. That means that about 15% are giving away money they would have by starting to save for their retirement. Perhaps these folks plan on retiring until they die or plan on winning the lottery but their retirement future is not very bright since the TSP is an essential part of a future retirement for federal employees. Not investing in the Thrift Savings Plan is giving up on one of your biggest benefits of being a federal employee. As one financial writer commented: “The federal government has established the platinum standard for 401(k) plans. It’s called the Thrift Savings Plan, and it is available to all federal employees….Nothing measures up against the Thrift Savings Plan.”

Some federal employees have done very well. Perhaps their success will help others who would prefer to see a windfall come their way rather than gradually building up assets for future financial security.

The 208 TSP Millionaires

Some TSP investors will make much more than others as a result of the TSP returns in January.

A person who has, for example, two million dollars in the TSP will have a lot more money after a month in which the market is up more than 4% than a person who has only $50,000 invested. To highlight: a return of 4% on two million dollars is $80,000. An additional $80,000 in one month will make a difference in your future retirement. The person with $50,000 in the TSP will see an additional $2000. Obviously, once a person is able to amass one or two million in the TSP, the potential financial rewards are much greater. The trick is having the discipline to keep investing as much as you can invest each pay period without worrying about the latest stock market returns (sometimes called “dollar cost averaging” as a way of investing). (Also see Are You a Millionaire Yet? for how many Americans amass at least one million dollars)

No doubt, there are naysayers who will argue that federal employees won’t get rich and no one has over a million dollars in their Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). But, for those who may be curious, there were 208 TSP investors who now have over $1,000,000 in their TSP accounts. (Our thanks to Thomas Trabucco, Director of External Affairs for the agency that managers your TSP funds, for providing this information on the TSP.)

In fact, there is one TSP investor who had $4,041,671.71 in in a TSP account as of January 18, 2012. No doubt, that figure is up considerably since then as all TSP funds were up for the month of January.

These TSP millionaires may have participated in their TSP longer than others, they probably put in more money over time, and they have invested wisely and often and watched their investment grow over time. No doubt, some of them probably became a federal employee later in their careers and transferred at least some of their earlier investments into the TSP funds since it is a good way to invest money with low expenses.

How do these TSP success stories invest their money? Their investments vary. 11 of the TSP millionaires are invested solely in lifecycle funds. 122 are invested solely in the TSP core funds (G, F, S, C and I funds). 75 of them are invested in both the core funds and the lifecycle funds. (See Lifecycle Funds: Making A “Model Retirement Program” Even Better)

The Average TSP Investor 

Obviously, the average TSP investor has amassed considerably less than the TSP investors with the largest balances. The average TSP investor has been in the program for 9.6 years. As of last month, the average TSP balance was $64,671.71. For the year, the average employee contribution was $4900.07 (this average does not include current employees with no contributions to their TSP).

This average for TSP investors is about the same as it is for private sector employees investing in a 401(k) plan. The median 401(k) total is about $60,000. Only 2% of those investing in a 401(k) plan have over $1 million dollars amassed. The primary difference between those that have over a million dollars and those that do not: “The one characteristic that differentiates the winners from the non-winners here is contribution rate — a high percentage of those million-dollar savers had constant participation and high contribution rates.”

The average balance of TSP accounts has actually gone down. In 2009, the average TSP account had $68,790. In part, this is due to more senior employees retiring and younger employees replacing them and more new federal employees joining the workforce. Also, some of the decline is probably due to the recession, and TSP participants (both active employees and retirees) withdrawing money from their accounts for a variety of reasons such as rolling money over into an annuity.

We do know that the total amount of money in the TSP continues to grow. In large part, this is because of employee contributions to their accounts. In addition to employee contributions, the federal government added another $62,491,853 in the last fiscal year.

Your Financial Future

Investment guru Dave Ramsey (my term, not his) in his book The Total Money Makeover writes: “The stock market has averaged just below a 12 percent return on investment throughout its history….97 percent of the five year periods and 100 percent of the fifteen-year period in the stock market’s history have made money.”

Most of us have etched in our memories the horrible returns from the C fund from 2000 – 2002 and the roughly 37% loss in the value of the C fund in 2008. The C fund is an index fund and tracks a broad range of stocks. How can one make money with losses like those that occurred in some years?

Here is another statistic that may surprise some. The average annual return of the C fund from 1988 – 2011, including several horrible years due to both internal and external factors impacting the stock market: about 11%. (See our annual TSP fund return charts.)

The G fund, the TSP fund that never loses money, did not have a single losing year from 1988 – 2011. During this time, we have had some of the highest returns on bonds we have had in over a century. We have also had extremely low interest rates due, at least in part, to intervention in the markets by the federal government. Throughout this time, the average annual return for the G fund: about 6%.

So, during financial meltdowns, wars, social disruption, nasty election campaigns, political and social scandals, and concern about global warming, TSP investors have made money over time and have been able to accumulate substantial assets before retiring after a federal career.

Our congratulations to those that now have over a million dollars in the TSP accounts. We hope it will encourage others, especially younger federal employees, to take advantage of this federal benefit, the financial value of which is probably underestimated by many.

Best of luck in making your financial decisions and investing in the TSP!

© 2016 Ralph R. Smith. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Ralph R. Smith.

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About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources.

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  1. Rikker59 says:

    Without seeing the civil service grades of these 208 folks, their contribution history, other sources of income, etc. the story is just a “gee-wiz” statistic. Now, if they can show a GS-7 or even a GS-13 with dependents at the millionaire level using solely their federal income, then I’d be impressed.

    • Howdy says:

      GS -13 here in TX with dependents. I have been contributing for 16 years, zero balance first years, starting with $5k per year as a GS -7 and increasing to the IRS max by 2008. I have 500k, solely in C and S funds. I am very hopeful that in the remaining 10-14 years I will have amassed well over 1M. Save as much as you can as soon as you can, max as soon as you can, and don’t chase the market.

  2. saver says:

    I like what you have to say. I have been in the program since 1988 and have done very well. In general alot of workers do not fund TSP enough. Todays reality is based on what you did yesterday. If you want to have something in retirement, plan ahead. Living beyond your means today will cost you way more tomorrow, in your retirement funds.

  3. oldguy says:

    Well…this is actually a very misleading article.  First of all,the FERS system started officially for those hired after January 1, 1984.  Secondly, federal employees didn’t start payroll contributions into TSP until July 1987 for USDA employees.

    So, for a federal employee to have amassed $1,000,000.00 in TSP, …. there was more that was deposited than the 12% or 15% (changed) maximum deduction allowed.  It wasn’t until not too long ago, a person could deposit up to$15,000 in addition to their % contribution.  Now, what GS 13 or below employee could afford to deposit the extra money and continue to contribute 15% allowed to eventually accummulate $1,000,000.00?  I’ve been employeed since 1984 and I’m not even close to that amount, but I feel fortunate to have what I have.

    I totally agree about the level of training we received regarding how to make this work or for those that had to decide to transfer from CRES to FERS. Very poor training.  Some transferred into FERS and it was a big mistake and very costly.

    • HRGuy71 says:

      Perhaps you should read the article apparently posted yesterday that shows the number of millionaires in the TSP has more than doubled in the past year. There are also comments from some employees who have accumulated the million dollars in their account as well as at least one employee quoted in the article itself that has accomplished what you say is impossible to do.
      http://www.fedsmith.com/2013/0

      As the newer article notes, the average length of time these people have been employed by the government is almost 25 years…consistent with your comment about the TSP having been available for a full year beginning in 1988. I doubt most of these people transferred a huge amount of money into the TSP and then worked under FERS for another 25 years. Most of them have probably been feds for their entire careers…but have put in the maximum amount allowed, taken advantage of the match from the government, and invested in stock funds rather than just using the G fund.

  4. DeathWatch says:

    What will become of those that are not saving adequately for their retirements?  We will be funding them via one program or another. 

  5. Philmazz says:

    Hey Ralph,
     Given the bull market of 2012 and its continuance into 2013, it may be time to update the number of TSP millionaires. I’m thinking it may have doubled since the last data was reported.
    Best regards!

  6. b1313536 says:

    >Here is another statistic that may surprise some. The average annual
    return of the
    >C fund from 1988 – 2011, including several horrible years
    due to both internal and
    >external factors impacting the stock market:
    about 11%.

    Sorry folks, the stock market is a mirage.

    Central banks have been supporting share prices
    http://www.economist.com/node/

  7. Gomer says:

    Discipline folks, it takes Discipline with a capital D. Most people live for the here and now and never think the future is gonna come for them. Retired after 31 years federal service and ended up with 4 times my salary after retiring and never gonna look back at what I did or did’nt have at the time I was working. Is it worth it? YES! Many times over. DISCIPLINE!

  8. soylentcorp says:

    I’m from ‘the other side’ of the TSP army. Recent participant (2 years), E5 enlisted reservist with over 10 years service and 2
    deployments, but among the few doing full 100% contribution
    because I finally make enough money on the civilian side to not rely on reserve pay. I’m VP of Web Ops, holding dual
    bachelors from a high-ranked traditional university, hold informal meetings with E7 & Officers all the time, so I’m a rare bird. I’ve already hit $30,000 and still going, and using my example to get my buddies on-board asap.

  9. FarmBoy says:

    I have little patience for people who claim ignorance about how to accumulate wealth.  Some of the comments here make it sound like they are victims.  Really?  In the age of the internet?  My opinion only: for many people I know, it’s not ignorance of what to do.  It has more to do with instant gratification, frequent turnover of new cars or buying other feel good items, and denial (retirement is so far out, I can’t worry about it now).  For most of us, the answers are obvious:  save every time you get paid, even when you “can’t afford” to; invest broadly and readjust as necessary; and don’t spend money on new cars and other high-end discretionary items until you have $4M in the TSP.

  10. Scott N says:

    “Throughout this time, the average annual return for the G fund: about 6%.”
    Those days are gone forever.

  11. Vantukian says:

    Sure would love to meet one of those TSP Millionaires.  After BUSTING my butt and contributing anywhere from 7-10% for almost 25 yrs I am FAR from a Million.

  12. no more brass says:

    Top Brass?  Double pay for the ones who can dump in TSP? Tell us who they are.  Congress?  Medical Officers making 175 to 400 thousand every year?

  13. Stoutboy says:

    My guess is well over 90% of these TSP millionaires moved the bulk of that money into TSP from their private sector 401ks upon entering federal service. The TSP just hasn’t been around long enough for most career fed employees to max out the contributions needed for that kind of balance.

  14. J.T. says:

    Every one of these 208 millionaires is no doubt a congressman or politician, they are the only federal employess who make enough money too have amassed that amount and truly the ones who get paid too much for doing nothing.

  15. Petersal1 says:

    Good positive article! Thanks for the improvement news.

  16. eBunker says:

    Uh oh, when Obama hears about this he will re-distribute so everyone has the same amount.

    • Will work for food lol! says:

      That sounds fair – I’m usually on the losing end.  I finally get into the federal gov’t and they want to take away everything good about it. 

    • Animosity4u says:

       Are you sure your name isn’t  Archie Bunker? People like you are what is wrong with this country.  You’re the kind that call Obama a socialist and then support big business outsourcing to Communist countries and fail to grasp that Communist is far worse than socialist any day. I am amazed people like you can actually operate a computer

    • Guest says:

      There’s always one Troll who wants to turn a serious conversation about retirement into a political rant. 

  17. Skeptical says:

    To Sad:  too bad there is no truth meter here.  People don’t understand the stress and concern they cause alot of other employees when they make claims like” I made over 50% last year”.  I am heavily involved in the financial sector and I don’t know of any professional investor who is making claims of 50% for last year.  Not saying it was impossible, but highly improbable.  As for the millionaires, and especially the individual with over 4 million,  additonal disclosure would show, beyond any doubt, that he or she rolled over a substantial amount from another account.  To amass that kind of wealth in the TSP, you would have had to start as a GS 15 with full contributions for the past 30 years, and hit every move of the market almost perfectly.  Keep in mind, you are limited to only two IFTs per month.  I’m happy for him or her, but it didn’t all come from a gov salary and investment.   

    • Mike S says:

      Skeptical:  I’d be more than happy to show you the account statements.  I started out last year (round numbers) with $55K spread between 3 different ROTH IRA accounts.  At the end of 2011, the total for the three accounts was about $55K.  At the end of 2011 the total was about $83K.  That’s a little over 50% by my math.  It’s easily possible if you educate yourself, develop some rules, stick to the rules and treat it all like a 2nd job.  I have done this investing in options, which most financial advisors will tell you is very risky, probably because they 1) don’t make money from it and 2) don’t understand it.  I have found it to be far less risky and more rewarding for me than any ETF, mutual fund, or stock I’ve ever been involved with; far better than the TSP.  It would (or should) work for anyone that’s serious about managing their own money; nobody will look out for you better than you will but you have to absolutely be dedicated to learning.  If you go into it thinking it’s some “get rich quick” deal, you’d almost certainly loose big time.  BTW, I agree with what you say about the TSP millionaires; it’s possible but not likely.  The TSP is far to limiting in investment choices.

      • Mike S says:

        Sorry….that sentence that says ” At the end of 2011, the total for the three accounts was about $55K. “ should be deleted; I thought I had deleted it.   I’m getting too old to multitask effectively :).

      • Guest says:

        Did you deduct out your contribution & gain/loss that your contributions had for the year from your ending balance?  i.e. it should only be the increase/decrease of the begining balance, not simply your begining and ending balance. 

    • guest says:

      Yep,

      No doubt the 4 million account was a large 401k rollover as there is no way since FERS started in 1987 that anyone even if they had perfect timing and maxed out what they could into their account could possibly have that much money in their TSP.  It’s possible a few could have a million in their accounts if they kept their money in the C Fund since 1987 and were maxing out there contributions each year based on my calculations.  However these people would have had to have an average salary around to 100,000 a year to do that which means to me most of the 208 are probably congressman. 

      • TSP4Life says:

        I started contributing as a GS-7 in June 1987, and have been contributing the maximum ever since.  I rose slowly thru the ranks, adding education, experience, and job moves along the way, eventually reaching GS-14 a few years ago.  Currently it’s all invested in Lifecycle funds, about $950K, with no rollover contributions – just slow and steady.  I realize I am one of a few in a million that actually did what they advised us to.  Of course, I remember the CSRS->FERS switch brochures that said that if you did this you would end up with several million $ at 8% a year.  Not exactly.

    • Marky9267 says:

      I’m one of the 208 who has a little over $1,000,000.00 in my TSP account after contributing to the TSP since it’s inception. I don’t consider myself an investment guru just someone who took advantage of the match and increasing my contributions when I became able to contribute more after age, 50. I retired several years ago and I’m looking forward to contributing or rolling over my ROTH account in the TSP ROTH once it gets up and going. Yes, it can be done but you can’t just invest and forget but restructure your TSP fund periodically according to the financial times we are living in…

    • ExoticWaves says:

      The IFT limitation is a recent revelation…it wasn’t there 5 years ago, much less 30.  With that being said, I tend to agree that the person with $4M+ likely rolled that over into the TSP.  Whoever they are, kudos to them.  One interesting thing is tho, when the market collapsed in 2008/09, I wonder if that the $4M investor panicked and sold…(i.e. did they have $8M that dropped down to $4M. Just saying…)

      • Mike S says:

        And with  your comment about 2008/2009 in mind, what about folks that were planning on retiring during that time?  Probably hard to do during a down year.  That’s my biggest problem with “buy and hold”; you put yourself at the mercy of things you can’t control.  What Marky9267 says about rebalancing is spot on, but I don’t think most people do that.

    • Linda5105 says:

      You can make 12 IFT transfers per year.Thay changed that rule a few years ago.

  18. John D Gaulin says:

    I am 36 and active duty military (enlisted). I started investing in the TSP when I promoted back in 2004… although I was limited as to the amount I could afford to invest at the beginning, I was able to work my way to fully funding the contributions within a few yrs. As of now, I now have $152K in the account and that’s with no matching contributions and less than stellar decade of returns. I also fully fund my Roth IRA every yr, which has about $50+K invested. It’s not easy to do sometimes, but I made it a point to pay myself first every month and try to stay out of debt. All in all, I’ll certainly be one of the future TSP millionaires and if all goes according to plan, my Roth IRA will join that catagory too.

    • MAJ K. Korra says:

      John – You’ve done a good job investing for your future… Not many people can afford maxing out TSP & IRA contributions every year, especially on an enlisted salary. It takes drive and discipline to do what you’re doing. Keep it up!! You will certainly be on the other side of the fence when its all said and done my friend. FYI- You may want to consider switching to the Roth TSP later this year… looks like you’ll be in a much higher bracket when you retire, and you could use the same tax exemption you Roth IRA will provide you down the road.

  19. RetiredFed says:

    How about full disclosure here? Federal employees are squarely in the crosshairs of Congress – yet another pay freeze – and this aricle can be misused to further enrage the public about Federal emplyees. I’d like to see a story that reflects the sad truth – most Americans, both public and private sector – have woefully UNDERFUNDED their 401 K funds and will likely suffer in retirement. The 401 K program was a fine idea but they forgot to adequately educate people so most folks underfund. Please print a story about how much people should save so they can have a reasonable standard of living in retirement. It will shoch many people but also be a real service.

    • Dose of reality says:

      Exactly ‘RetiredFed’.  I’m a 35 yo Fed employee with a law degree and prior private sector experience.  I’m not an investment expert but my skills are above average.  Combining my 7% TSP employee contribution rate, FERS, SS (the three legged stool) a Roth and Traditional IRA I should be able to retire at 65 with 80% of my income for 25 years assuming an 8% stock market return.  Decent but not fantastic.  What are many of my peers going to do who do not have a 401k, or money to fund one, let alone the FERS!?!?  We are in a world of hurt and it’s only going to get worse for most people.

      • lazycs says:

        That’s the biggest reason why CS pay and benefits need to be frozen since the avg taxpayer has only 1 of the 3 legged stool

        • Nrroldo says:

          The “average” tax payer has at least 2 legs of the stool.  A 401K and SS.  They have the same opportunity as every other tax payer to fund their own Roth or traditional IRA.  If they choose not to contribute to one leg that’s not the fault of CS employees.  They have no choice but to fund the other leg, just like the Feds. 

        • dk7245 says:

          lazycs, you are the biggest whinner I have ever read.  You must be one unhappy person to constantly complain about CS workers.  It’s apparent you never worked as a Fed, but just a troll who likes to bitch about life on a Fed Employee’s webpage.  It’s not anyone fault but the average taxpayer who only has the one legged stool.  Heck, there are CS workers who aren’t able to contribute to TSP, because they just don’t have the extra funds.  Don’t think the Fed worker has it so great, you sound like the dimwit lawmakers we have up in Washington, who by the way are a majority of millionaires the try to put the money problems on the backs of the federal employees.  Get a life, drink a glass of orange juice and go sit outside in the sun!

      • Fed Peasant says:

        The words “poor house” & “poor farm” will return to the modern US vocabulary.  Things last seen, in the 1950s, & before, will come back!!

    • Mike S says:

      We do a TERRIBLE job of educating people about personal finance.  Should start no later than early high school.

  20. Mike S says:

    The TSP is an OK investment, but hardly the best place for your money because your investment options are too limited.  In my opinion, it is a mistake to put more money in the TSP than what the government will match.  I think the best plan is to put that amount in the TSP and then fully fund a privte ROTH IRA and traditional IRA because you have a LOT more investment flexibility.  I’m a few years from retirement, so I have all my money in the G fund which doesn’t make much.  The money I have invested in my private ROTH IRA made over 50% in 2011 (tax free because it’s a ROTH IRA) and I expect at least that for 2012.  As soon as I reach 591/2, I plan to take most of my money out of the TSP and put it in a private IRA where I have more investment options.  The premise of “buy and hold” works fine as long as the market is up the year you need to get the money, but if you need it in a down year then you have a problem.  Look at the S&P 500 for 2011 (C fund); just about flat.  I can do a lot better than that on my own and don’t have all the silly restrictions of the TSP.

    • sad says:

      I would love to find out where you made 50% on your Roth IRA in 2011.  I have consistently invested the maximum PLUS 50 catchup since I was eligible (CSRS).  I’m a mid-tier staff employee, so don’t have the salary of DC folks.  I try to invest in Roth when I can, but those funds are doing anything either.  I invest fairly heavily in C,S,I and have made an astonishing -3.4% cummulative.  I think my piggy bank would make more–maybe I could sell it on Ebay and at least make a profit. My only hope at this point late in my career is that I’ll live to 90 when the stock market (and housing market) recovers and I can get a really fancy wheel chair and caviar in my pablum.

      • Mike S says:

        Actually, I only used half the money in my ROTH for investing last year, in case I “goofed up” and had to start over;  if I separated out the part I never invested from the part I did, my return was closer to 90 or 100%.  I spent the last couple of years getting educated in how to trade options because I was tired of following the “buy and hold” advice that had never worked well for me or anyone I personally knew.  From my experience, if you ask your typical investment advisor about that, they will tell you that it’s risky.  I think most of them say that because they don’t understand options trading; it’s very different than stocks, mutial funds, or EFTs.  Investing in the TSP only makes money if the share prices go up.  Trading options, I can make money if the market goes up, down, or “sideways” like it did in Dec, 2011;  I made over 10% that month with the money I invested in options.  In my opinion, it’s not nearly as risky as buying selling stocks, mutual fund shares, or ETFs outright IF you educate yourself on how options work and then make a set of rules for your investing strategy, stick to that, and not get greedy.  I’m fairly cautious, so I enter into trades that have at least an 85% chance (prefer 90%+) of success but no single trade makes a windfall; slow and sure wins the race.  None of them last more than a month and I would prefer a single trade to last no more than a week or two.  I made one yesterday that if it goes as planned will make about 8% (About $400 profit on a $5K investment) by Friday.  There was a 93% chance of success when I entered the trade and so far, so good. There is a LOT of hype out there about options trading (positive and negative) and people selling newsletters and such that (in my opinion) don’t deliver what they promise, but I assure you that it is possible to make decent returns; much better than the overall market but you have  to treat it almost like a 2nd job.

        • Guest says:

          Good conclusion. It’s the  last sentence that you said that matters. It’s like a second job, and not everyone can find the time to do all this and that’s why advisors do not recommend any type of trading for an average investor.

          • Mike S says:

            Education is the real key.  From that, and experience trading in a paper money account for practice, should lead a lot of folks to a level of trading they can manage.  It might take a few years; it did for me.  My goal is to make a few thousand extra a month from a ROTH IRA when I retire which is very achievable.

        • grey1234 says:

          So basically you have been a “day trader” for years to increase your investments.  Perhaps most people are unable to spend the same amount of time you have spent.

          • Mike S says:

            No, it’s mostly not day trading at all but occassionally I do open and close a trade on the same day.  I have a friend that day trades exclusively and he is literally a slave to his computer on the days he trades (while his trades are open).  I make something like 4-5 trades a month (sometimes more or less) and the only thing I have to watch are market numbers since usually only trade market indexes rather than on individual stocks.  I have found stocks and mutual funds too easily to artifically manipulate for my taste.  I can setup up alerts to be sent to my cell phone for targets so I know if a trade needs attention.  They are so conservative that usually does not happen.  I know people that have 20+ trades like mine going at once and that is far more than I can (or want) to handle.  Here is a real example:  I invested $5K in a trade Wednesday and as long as the S&P doesn’t hit 1350 by the market close today (very unlikely) I’ll make $400 (actually, the credit is already in my account; I just get to keep it).  If it gets close to that level, I can adjust the trade pretty easily (and I still keep the $400).  This is a simplistic explanation, but accurate.  But it takes effort to learn; two or three years ago it was a greek to me.  It is a totally different mindset than just buying / selling stocks, mutual funds, or ETFs. If I had more free time available, I could have learned more quickly.

        • grey1234 says:

          Forgot to add that you can only move funds twice a month in TSP so perhaps you are preaching to the wrong choir and should be on some other blog

          • Mike S says:

            Right.  The only thing I would add is that I think you can move them into the G fund anytime.  Ridiculous rule.  Plus it can take a couple of days for the move to occur. 

      • Tntnicks says:

        Well if he’s telling the truth. He was very lucky. If he had a $1000000 and did that I would be impressed…$500,000 return. It’s easy to take risks with small balances. He probably picked a good stock and let it ride. I used to trade stocks and let me tell you. If you take big risks you will lose eventually. I stay invested in the s fund…$151,000 and I still trade a little in my Roth Ira …$120k but I have lost a lot being too risky…..

    • USPS Letter Carrier says:

      “it is a mistake to put more money in the TSP than what the government will match. I think the best plan is to put that amount in the TSP and then fully fund a privte ROTH IRA and traditional IRA … a LOT more investment flexibility.”

      At $50k salary 5% is only $2,500. IRA is only $5,000. Your best plan is to only invest $7,500? No financial advisor would suggest that anyone could retire on 5% and that it would be a mistake not to take full advantage of one’s 401k or TSP account. A better plan would be to max out one’s TSP and (Roth) IRA every year. Sure flexibility is great but only $5k in an IRA limits what you can do. It’s downright silly to only invest 5% of salary.

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