All TSP Funds Up Again in September

Good news for investors: All of the TSP funds had a positive return again in September but investors were cashing out of stock funds and moving into the safety of bonds at the end of the last reporting period.

For the second month in a row, all of the funds in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) had a positive return for investors.

Those investors with most of their money in the G fund paid for their security with a monthly return of only 0.10% (up 1.12% for the year) while the I fund returned 2.96% for September (it is up 10.42% for the year to date). The fund with the highest return to investors so far in 2012 is the C fund which is up 16.54% so far in 2012 and was up 2.57% in September.

Here are the returns for the underlying funds for September. As you will see with both sets of funds, the returns for the stock market have been higher than bonds despite the uncertainty surrounding these investments.

Fund Return
G Fund 0.10%
F Fund 0.15%
C Fund 2.57%
S Fund 2.51%
I Fund 2.96%

For the lifecycle funds, the L2050 fund returned 2.38% for September (up 13.22% for the year to date) while, at the other end of the returns list, the L Income fund returned 0.62% for the month and is up 4.04% for the year. Here are the returns for all of the L Funds for September:

Fund Return
L Income 0.62%
L 2020 1.52%
L 2030 1.87%
L 2040 2.12%
L 2050 2.38%

You can check out all of the current and the historical monthly returns for each of the TSP funds in the monthly rates section at The daily rates and the yearly rates for each fund are also available.

Putting the Stock Market Rally into Perspective

The stock market is up substantially so far in 2012 despite skepticism from investors, decelerating earnings growth and very anemic economic growth. The Standard and Poor’s stock index (the index on which the C fund is based), is up more than 14% for the year (as noted above, the C fund is up more than 16% for the year). The reason is probably largely because of the Federal Reserve rather than underlying economic conditions. The Federal Reserve (the Fed) has been pumping money into the financial system.

Much of the stock market growth has been from foreign investors concerned about the major problems in Europe. Also, some investors who rely on income are not getting much income from bonds and they have moved money into dividend paying stocks. But, while it may be difficult for the market to continue its upward momentum with uncertainty about the “fiscal cliff” facing the country and political uncertainty, it has been a good year for stock investors as of September 30.

TSP Investors

TSP investors are obviously aware of the risks in the stock market. 43% of TSP funds are invested in the G fund as of the end of August. 24% is in the C fund. Another 8% is in the F fund; 8% is in the S fund and 5% is in the I fund.

Despite having higher returns than the G fund (4.04% for the L Income fund and 1.12% year to date for the G fund), only 2% of TSP investors are invested in the L Income fund. 5% of investors are in the L2020 fund; 4% in the L2030 fund; 3% in the L2040 fund and less than 1% in the L2050 fund.

Also, in August, TSP investors transferred just under $600 million out of the S fund and most of that money went into the G fund. The F fund also received about $250 million while investors also transferred funds from the C and I funds.

As a free service for FedSmith readers, you can track the performance of your TSP investments with the TSP Portfolio Tracker™ at Using all of the services in the new program requires a user to register in order to preserve the security of your data. After registering, users can enter their purchases and sales of all of the TSP funds including setting up an automatic recurring investment in the funds you designate to receive the money each pay period. After you have a portfolio set up, you can view your investment results over a number of different time periods or even set up an alternative portfolio to see how you would have fared if you had allocated your money into different funds. is not connected with your account in any way. The only information in your portfolios in the new program is the investment data that each user personally enters.

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. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47