Which TSP Fund is on Top in 2018?

Which TSP fund has a return of more than 23% in the last 12 months? Which fund has the lowest return? Here is a summary.

Stock prices in the United States finished up in August. For the month, the Dow Jones Industrials (DJIA) went up 2.2% and the S&P 500 (the index on which the C fund is based) was up 3% for the month.

Biggest TSP Returns for August

The S fund came out on top of the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) funds for August with a return of 4.57%. The S fund is also leading all funds for the year-to-date (YTD) return coming in at 12.84% as well as the best twelve-month returns (23.34%).

The C fund comes in second with a YTD return of 9.91% and a 12-month return of 19.63%. The C fund was up 3.26% in August.

The C fund is the second most widely held fund in TSP. The G fund has the most assets of any TSP fund.

Safety of the G Fund Comes at a Price

The most widely held fund in the TSP is the G fund. It had a return of 0.26% for the month and is up 1.88% for the year. The 1.88% is the next to last rate of return for any of the TSP funds.

The F fund is at the bottom of the TSP return rates with a negative return of -0.86% so far in 2018.

Over the long term, the G Fund has consistently underperformed the TSP stock funds.

TSP Fund Returns for August 2018, Year-to-Date and Last 12 Months

Here are the latest performance data for all of the TSP funds.

For more historical information about the annual rate of return for each fund, visit TSPDataCenter.com. The rate of return for each fund by month for each year is also available at TSPDataCenter.com.

G Fund F Fund C Fund S Fund I Fund
Month 0.26% 0.67% 3.26% 4.57% -1.91%
YTD 1.88% -0.86% 9.91% 12.84% -1.95%
12 Month 2.66% -0.90% 19.63% 23.34% 4.79%
L Income L 2020 L 2030 L 2040 L 2050
Month 0.61% 0.80% 1.28% 1.47% 1.65%
YTD 2.74% 3.30% 4.71% 5.26% 5.77%
12 Month 4.99% 6.87% 10.30% 11.77% 13.14%

Average Balance for TSP Participants

Federal employees in the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) have the highest average balance in the Thrift Savings Plan. As of the end of July 2018, here is how TSP investors fare based on their retirement system status:

Total Participants Average Balance # of Roth Participants Average Roth Balance
FERS 3,332,206 $143,048 501,374 $12,778
CSRS 323,032 $148,247 9,937 $19,679
Uniformed Services 1,402,304 $25,021 544,991 $7,730

In conjunction with this data, the number of post-separation withdrawals has been steadily increasing. The TSP reports that the totals projected for 2018 are about 12% higher than 2017. This is consistent with a retirement report from OPM indicating an increasing number of TSP participants reaching retirement age.

TSP Transfers in July

TSP investors moved more than one billion dollars into the G fund in July. The S fund ($94 million) and the lifecycle funds ($104 million) also had an uptick in transfers in July.

TSP investors transferred $601 million out of the C fund, $567 million from the I fund and $79 million from the F fund.

There is currently about $568 billion in the TSP plan as of the end of July.

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