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TSP Funds End Volatile Year With Meager Yearly Returns

Which TSP funds performed the best in 2015 and which ones lost money for the year? Here is a summary.

Image of cracked ground under 2015 cubes

2015 was not a stellar year for investors. The volatility and tumult in the markets is reflected in the returns for the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) funds.

The biggest loser for the year: The S fund with a return of -2.92%. Foreign stocks also did not make investors happy with a yearly return of -0.51%.

With the exception of the G fund, all of the TSP funds were also down in December. The G fund provided a monthly return of 0.18. It also had the best returns for 2015 with a positive return of 2.04%.

Overall, U.S. stocks had their worst annual performance since 2008. The S&P 500 index fell 0.7%. Despite this, the C fund, the TSP fund based on the S&P 500 index, finished the year in the black with a return of 1.46%, at least in part because dividends are added back into the fund. The result is that the C fund finished 2015 with seven straight years of gains. 2015 had the lowest gain for this fund since 2008, the year in which the C fund lost almost 37% of its value.

Here are the results for all of the funds in the Thrift Savings Plan for December and the yearly return for 2015.

G Fund F Fund C Fund S Fund I Fund
Month 0.18% -0.30% -1.57% -3.91% -2.03%
YTD 2.04% 0.91% 1.46% -2.92% -0.51%
12 Month 2.04% 0.91% 1.46% -2.92% -0.51%


L Income L 2020 L 2030 L 2040 L 2050
Month -0.28% -0.92% -1.32% -1.61% -1.85%
YTD 1.85% 1.35% 1.04% 0.73% 0.45%
12 Month 1.85% 1.35% 1.04% 0.73% 0.45%

Some TSP investors will look back to 2008, which was a disastrous year for the stock market, for guidance on how to prepare for 2016. In 2009 there was a large bounce back that was largely unexpected. The C fund, for example, made a big come come back and went up almost 29% in 2009 after losing almost 37% in 2008, followed by another six years of positive returns. Many analysts do not see a similar result for stocks in 2016.

Here is how an article summarizing expectations for 2016 stock returns from the

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