TSP Stock Funds Score Solid Gains in October

All TSP funds had positive returns in October, and the C fund had its best single month return in four years.

All of the TSP funds were up in October. The fund with the largest gain was the C fund.

The S&P 500 (the index on which the C fund is based) gained 8.3% in October. This is the best monthly return for this index in four years. The C fund actually exceeded this index return rate with a gain of 8.45% for the month. The C fund is now up for the year by 2.76% and for the past twelve months by 5.28%.

The October return for the C fund was the biggest gain for this fund since October 2011. In that year, the C fund gained 10.93% in October that year.

Smaller stocks (the S fund) gained 5.61% in October but they are still down for the year. Smaller company funds are more sensitive to the domestic economy. Since our economy is growing very slowly, there is less room for revenue growth from these stocks which are lagging the C fund.

The I fund also did well in October. It was up 7.07% in October and it is up 2.43% for the year to date.

All of the Lifecycle funds also had positive returns in October. All of the Lifecycle funds have positive returns for the year to date as well.

Here are the results for all of the funds in the Thrift Savings Plan for the month, year to date and for the past 12 months:

G Fund F Fund C Fund S Fund I Fund
Month 0.17% 0.02% 8.45% 5.61% 7.07%
YTD 1.68% 1.46% 2.76% -0.71% 2.43%
12 Month 2.04% 2.42% 5.28% 1.61% -1.30%


L Income L 2020 L 2030 L 2040 L 2050
Month 1.64% 3.72% 4.88% 5.58% 6.31%
YTD 1.96% 2.12% 2.19% 2.13% 2.10%
12 Month 2.48% 2.66% 2.80% 2.80% 2.71%

TSP Facts and Actions by TSP Investors

The total plan balance for September was $446 billion, representing a $3.4 billion decrease from the previous month. This is the second consecutive month the total plan balance decreased due to market activity.

September was a month of poor returns for the stock market, but the market rebounded in October. How did TSP investors react?

More than $1.3 billion was transferred into the G fund in September. Investors apparently withdrew money from the TSP stock funds with transfers from the C fund totaling about $651 million. $215 million was withdrawn from the S fund; $205 million from the I fund and $240 million from the L funds. Unfortunately for these investors, they got out of the stock market just in time to miss the gains that came in October.

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