S Fund Gives TSP Investors 1.75% Return in November

December 2, 2015 10:57 AM
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Stock market returns so far in 2015 have disappointed many investors who may have gotten used to the returns the C fund enjoyed over the past three years. So far in 2015, the C fund has had a 3.08% return. That isn’t a bad return, but is paltry compared to returns of 13.78% in 2014; 32.45% in 2013; and 16.07% in 2012.

The good news is that in November, most of the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) stock funds showed positive returns. The exceptions were the F fund (-0.24%) and the I fund (-0.86%). The fund with the best results in November was the S fund which was up 1.75%.

Here are the results for all of the TSP funds for the month, year to date and the past 12 months:

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% -0.24% 0.31% 1.75% -0.86%
YTD 1.86% 1.21% 3.08% 1.03% 1.55%
12 Month 2.05% 1.42% 2.83% 2.03% -2.64%


L Income L 2020 L 2030 L 2040 L 2050
Month 0.17% 0.17% 0.20% 0.24% 0.24%
YTD 2.13% 2.29% 2.39% 2.37% 2.34%
12 Month 2.09% 1.78% 1.70% 1.60% 1.38%

What will December bring for TSP investors? December is usually a strong month for stocks. From 1950 – 2014, the S&P 500 index (the index on which the C fund is based) has had an average December return of 1.59%. Since recovering in October from this summer’s market volatility, the S&P 500 largely returned last month to the narrow trading range which was fairly typical for much of 2015. As a result, some analysts are skeptical about about any significant gains in the rest of 2015.

In October, some TSP investors decided to head for safety. $210 million was transferred into the G fund in October and another $81 million went into the F fund. $265 million was transferred into the L funds. At the same time, $270 million was transferred out of the C fund and another $240 million out of the S fund during the month.

TSP Facts

The average TSP balance for FERS employees is now $116,687 with a Roth balance of $7000. For CSRS employees, the average balance is $118,512 with a Roth balance of $11,344. For military personnel, the average balance is $18,720 with a Roth balance of $3.819. There are now 341,437 military personnel with Roth balances and 305,233 civilians with Roth balances.

The number of TSP participants with Roth accounts is going up in excess of 2% each month. Total Roth assets now total about $3.5 billion dollars in the TSP.

36% of TSP assets are now in the G fund and 27% in the C fund. The I and F fund both have 5% of TSP investments; 10% of investments are in the S fund and 17% in the lifecycle funds.

The TSP investments balance in October was up to almost $462 billion.

In short, TSP investors are likely to be a little disappointed in their stock market investments for 2015 largely because of higher expectations from their recent investing results. As noted above, the yearly return rate for the C fund was noteworthy for the past several years. It now looks like there is likely to be a positive return for all of the TSP funds in 2015 but at a much lower rate.

Most investors realize there is a great chance of better returns in stocks than in bond funds (such as the G and I funds). And, with greater potential for higher returns, there is also more risk and volatility in short term stock market investments. Check out the monthly rate of return for the TSP stock funds in 2015. With monthly returns of the C fund varying from a loss of more than 6% to a positive monthly return of more than 8%, those who watch the market returns may have experienced some sleepless nights. Of course, the volatility in the S and I funds are often greater than the C fund which is the more conservative TSP stock market fund.

We wish our readers good fortune in making their investment choices.

© 2020 Ralph R. Smith. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Ralph R. Smith.


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