Another Weak Month for TSP Stock Funds

By on March 1, 2016 in Retirement with 24 Comments

Depressed businessman leaning head below bad stock market chart in office

The weak stock market continued down during February. After losing almost 5% in January, the C fund dropped again in the latest month with a loss of 0.12%.

For the past 12 months, the C fund is down 6.11%, the S fund down 14.45% and the I Fund is the biggest loser with -14.91% for the past 12 months.

The lifecycle funds, made up of the underlying Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) funds, are also down across the board for the year-to-date and for the past 12 months. The L2050 is down over the past 12 months with a loss of 8.46%. The L Income fund is the best performing lifecycle fund over this period with a loss of 0.17%.

The biggest gainer for the year to date is the F fund which is up 2.18% so far in 2016 and up 1.89% for the past 12 months.

And, as a side note, the average participation rate for FERS employees hit a new high in January with a rate of 88.9%. By comparison, in January 2015, a new high of 88% was achieved.

Here are the results for all of the TSP funds:

G Fund F Fund C Fund S Fund I Fund
Month 0.15% 0.68% -0.12% -0.50% -2.82%
12 Month 2.08% 1.89% -6.11% -14.45% -14.91%
YTD 0.34% 2.18% -5.07% -8.26% -8.28%
L Income L 2020 L 2030 L 2040 L 2050
Month -0.01% -0.24% -0.41% -0.51% -0.63%
12 Month -0.17% -3.74% -5.74% -7.09% -8.46%
YTD -0.90% -2.79% -3.97% -4.70% -5.46%
Seeking Safety in Bonds?

Perhaps as a result of the market conditions in January, TSP investors pulled money out of all of the TSP funds except for the G and F funds. Here is a table displaying interfund transfers in January in the Thrift Savings Plan.

Fund Deposits (Withdrawals)
F Fund $311 million
I Fund ($383 million)
C Fund (> $1 billion)
S Fund (<$1.4 billion)
G Fund > $3.2 billion
L Funds ($810 million)

At the end of January, 38% of TSP investors funds were in the G fund and 26% in the C fund. That represents a 2% increase in G fund assets and a 1% decrease in C fund assets from the end of December 2015.

Average Balance is Down

The average balance in the TSP has decreased for civilian employees since the end of January 2015.

Here is a comparison in fund balances between the end of January 2015 and the end of January 2016.

2015 Avg 2015 Roth 2016 Avg 2016 Roth
FERS $114,001 $5,719 $112,264 $6,941
CSRS $113,717 $9,231 $115,358 $11,182
Military $18,207 $3,211 $17,937 $3,852

TSP investors who like to track their future retirement investments in the TSP can do so with the free TSP Portfolio Tracker at TSPDataCenter.com and creating your own portfolio of TSP investments. Monthly rates of return are also available.

Those who wish to follow their investments on a daily basis can subscribe to the free TSP Daily Rates Summary to have an email with the results of the TSP funds for the day sent directly to your inbox.

© 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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