Government Matching in TSP When You Are Over 50

By on May 13, 2014 in Q&A with 4 Comments

Q: In your article you state, “In 2013 you can contribute $17,500 to the TSP ($5,500 more if you are 50 or over). Employees early in their career are unlikely to be able to afford the full amount, but they should always contribute enough (5%) to get the government match.” Are you saying that if you are over 50, the max goes from $17,500 to $23,000? If that is the case and you have $884 ($23,000/26 payperiods) taken out each payperiod, will the government match you at the full 5%? I read somewhere that if you exceed your max amount before the end of the year, the government will stop matching your contributions.

A: No, you don’t have $884 per pay period taken out. Regular contributions ($674 per pay period i 2014) and “catch-up” contributions are separate. In addition, you must make a new “catch-up” contribution each year.

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About the Author

John Grobe is President of Federal Career Experts, a consulting firm that specializes in federal retirement and career transition issues. He is also affiliated with TSP Safety Net. John retired from federal service after 25 years of progressively more responsible human resources positions. He is the author of Understanding the Federal Retirement Systems and Career Transition: A Guide for Federal Employees, both published by the Federal Management Institute. Federal Career Experts provides pre-retirement seminars for a wide variety of federal agencies.

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