All TSP Funds Post Positive Returns in April

All TSP funds had positive returns in April. Several funds are still have negative returns for the past twelve months.

While the returns for the most successful TSP funds in April did not match the returns in March, TSP investors still saw their investments yielding a positive return.

In March, for example, the C fund advanced 6.79% and the S fund was up 8.24% In April, the C fund was up 0.39% and the S fund was up 1.73%. Both funds are up for the year although the S fund is down 5.53% for the past 12 months.

The fund with the best return over the past twelve months is the F fund—a fund that gained 0.91% in 2015.

Here are the returns for all of the TSP funds for April, the year-to-date and the past 12 months.

G Fund F Fund C Fund S Fund I Fund
Month 0.14% 0.41% 0.39% 1.73% 1.89%
YTD 0.63% 3.55% 1.77% 1.02% -0.39%
12 Month 2.05% 3.05% 1.29% -5.53% -9.94%


L Income L 2020 L 2030 L 2040 L 2050
Month 0.34% 0.58% 0.75% 0.85% 0.95%
YTD 0.96% 1.05% 1.14% 1.15% 1.10%
12 Month 1.40% -0.31% -1.10% -1.73% -2.49%

Some readers occasionally tout their philosophy of selling their stock funds in May to avoid a summer slump in the stock market. That philosophy sometimes works and it did in 2015 as the C fund was down in the months of June, August and September before bouncing back with a return of 8.45% in October.

As usual with trying to time the stock market, the practice is, at best, a tricky concept and often leads to more losses than gains. In 2014, missing out on the summer months would have lead to losing out on an overall gain in the summer months. In 2012, the C fund was up substantially in June – September before registering a loss of 1.86% in October.

Since 1970, according to the Wall Street Journal, the S&P 500 (the index on which the C fund tracks) has gained 1% on average in the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Stocks rose during 30 of those summers by an average of 5.6%. The declines averaged 8% in the 15 years stocks declined between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Will the summer months provide a gain or a loss in 2016? No one really knows. If you think your talent in predicting the short term movements of the market are very good, and not just a fantasy in your own mind, perhaps the “sell in May and go away” philosophy will work.

Actions by TSP Investors in March

In March, TSP investors moved about $197 million out of the G fund and $213 million out of the C fund; $4 million out of the S fund and $80 million out of the I fund. $119 million was transferred into the F fund and $376 million was transferred into L funds.

Also, new highs were reached for FERS TSP investors with 89.1% now investing in the TSP. Military personnel also reach a new high in their participation rate at 43.1%.

We wish all of our readers positive returns in their TSP investments!

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