Retirement of federal employees is below projections. We have not done any surveys of recent retirees (or those that are eligible to retire) to see what influenced their decision. But, for those potential retirees that are influenced by money and how their retirement will be impacted by how much money they have saved up, it is reasonable to assume that the continuing decline of the stock market for the past three years has had an impact. So, if you are thinking of retirement and may even be eligible to retire, did the past month get you any closer to your goal?
Probably not–at least in the short term.
Here is a quick summary of how the TSP stock funds did in February. The official figures will be released by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board later this week. The final figures may vary because of expenses or reinvestment of any dividends. Fedsmith.com will publish these results from the Board as soon as they are available. In the meantime, these preliminary results will give you a general idea of how your nest egg is doing.
For the International stock index fund (the I fund), your investment will be down another 2.47 percent for the month. It is down about 6.6 percent for the year so far.
The S fund didn’t do any better. It was down 2.54 percent for the month and is down about 4.6 percent for the year.
The C fund? It went down also but not as much. It was off about 2 percent for February.
What is most painful about all of these stock funds is that they have been down for more than three years in a row. The cumulative losses for investors in these (or many other stocks or funds outside of the TSP) is substantial. For example, the C fund was down about 22 percent in 2002, about 12 percent in 2001 and 9 percent in 2000. With the C fund down for the first two months of 2003, investors are obviously getting discouraged. The cumulative losses have certainly influenced some potential retirees to stay actively employed for a little longer in the hopes that their investments will go up before the higher paycheck goes away.