TSP Releases 2011 Participant Survey Results

The TSP recently released the results of its participant survey conducted in October of 2011.

The Thrift Savings Plan recently released the results of its participant survey conducted in October of 2011. The survey analyzed plan participants’ satisfaction with TSP features, services, and communications as well as considering factors such as participants’ retirement readiness.

According to the TSP, participants were selected at random, responses were kept confidential, and more than 8,200 participants completed the survey.

The survey results are highlighted among the following categories:

  • Satisfaction with the TSP
  • TSP communications
  • Retirement confidence and preparedness
  • Participant demographics

The survey results generally showed high satisfaction with the TSP with 86% of respondents reporting being satisfied or very satisfied with the program. Respondents stated that the top five reasons for contributing to the TSP were:

  • Tax benefits
  • Convenience of payroll deduction
  • Matching contributions
  • Low administrative costs
  • Recommended by a financial advisor

A majority (59%) of respondents said they feel comfortable choosing TSP investments to meet their savings goals, however 14% either disagreed or strongly disagreed that they were comfortable doing this. Also, 75% of respondents indicated that they believe the TSP will be in their top five sources of income in retirement.

Most respondents were contributing between 5% and 10% of their pay per pay period. When selecting funds in which to invest, some of the top answers as to why respondents chose the funds that they did were economic factors, the funds’ risk levels, and expectation of future fund performance.

As to demographics of the survey participants, the majority of respondents were in FERS and CSRS, were aged 50-69, and had at least 16 years of service. Among the length of service category, the largest majority (42%) was more than 25 years of service.

The survey results included some figures as to how respondents had broken out their TSP portfolios by fund and age group as illustrated in the table below:

Age Group G Fund One other asset class (F,C,S,I) L Fund
Under 30 35% 30% 35%
30-39 21% 51% 28%
40-49 28% 53% 19%
50-59 43% 43% 14%
60-69 48% 40% 11%
70+ 54% 38% 8%

The study findings showed that participants under 30 have a large portion of their holdings in the G fund as a group (35%) and the study findings noted that more education about the need for investment diversification might be in order for these participants. The same could be said about the low use of L funds for older participants.

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Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce.