How Did TSP Investors Prepare for the March Stock Market Rebound?

TSP investors withdrew money from the TSP stock funds in February, just in time for a significant rebound in these funds in March.

In March, the underlying TSP stock funds took a big jump up. The C fund was up 6.79%, the S fund was up 8.24% and the I fund was up 6.59%. What did TSP investors do in February?

They dumped their TSP stock funds.

$885 million went into the G fund and $608 million went into the F fund. $662 million was transferred out of the C fund. $652 million was transferred from the S fund and $185 million was transferred from the I fund.

At least some of these money transfers may have been due to the TSP stock funds going down in February.  For those TSP investors who were concerned about losing money in the TSP funds in March, and took action to move money into the TSP bond funds, they lost money by trying to outsmart the stock market.

The average balances in TSP funds were also down in March. Note that the number of retirements at the end of 2015 and early 2016 may have impacted these figures.

Average Total Invested in TSP: February 2016 Average Roth Balance Average Total Invested in TSP: Jan.2016 Average Roth Balance: Jan.2016
FERS Investors $112,146 $7,027 $112,264 $6,941
CSRS Investors $115,561 $11,331 $115,358 $11,182

The FERS participation rate increased to 89.1% in February from 88.9% in January.

The total invested in the Thrift Savings Plan at the end of February 2016 was $448,807 billion, up from $447,859 billion in January and down from $458.272 billion at the end of December 2015.

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