Two TSP Funds Up More than 20% in 2019

2019 has been a good year for the TSP funds. One of the better performers may surprise you.

All of the funds in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) have provided investors with a positive return so far in 2019. All but one fund (that one fund is the I Fund) also have a positive return for the past 12 months.

Fund With Best Return in Past 12-Months

The fund with the best return over the past 12 months is the F Fund with a return of 8.14%. That is unusual, particularly in a period of low inflation, but stock and bond investments do not always rise or fall as expected.

In 2018, the F Fund returned 0.15%. But, back in 1995, the F Fund had a return of 18.31%—the highest annual return this fund has ever had.

Track Record for the G Fund

The fund with the lowest return over the past twelve months is the G Fund with a return of 2.75%. The G Fund is the most popular fund among TSP investors and often thought of as the safest fund in the TSP line-up.

For example, in 2018, the G Fund had a return of 2.91% while the underlying stock funds all had a negative return. The price to be paid though is that while it never has had a negative return, it is not unusual for the G Fund to lag behind the most volatile stock funds. Over a 10 year period from 2009 – 2018, the G Fund had the lowest compound return (2.30%) while the stock fund returns ranged from 6.48% (the I Fund) to 13.67% (the S Fund).

All TSP Fund Returns for Month, YTD and 12-Months

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

  G Fund F Fund C Fund S Fund I Fund
Month 0.18% 0.21% 1.44% 1.64% -2.09%
YTD 1.46% 6.34% 20.23% 21.43% 12.03%
12 Month 2.75% 8.14% 7.97% 2.11% -2.97%

  L Income L 2020 L 2030 L 2040 L 2050
Month 0.19% 0.21% 0.21% 0.22% 0.22%
YTD 4.91% 6.30% 11.27% 13.20% 14.86%
12 Month 3.46% 3.36% 3.77% 3.79% 3.74%

TSP Investor Fund Allocation

Here is how TSP investors have divided their investment money as of June 30, 2019. The G Fund, as usual, is the most popular with 32.1% of investments and the F Fund has the lowest allocation with 3.8%.

G Fund 32.1%
F Fund 3.8%
C Fund 28.7%
S Fund 10.1%
I Fund 4.3%
Lifecycle Funds 21%

Interfund Transfers in June

In June, stocks had their best June return since 1938. The C Fund had a return of 7.04% and the S Fund was up 6.08%.

Perhaps this return was a red flag for TSP investors. In June, investors transferred $489 million into the G Fund and $439 million into the F fund. Also in July, they transferred $325 million from the C Fund, $644 million from the S Fund and $39 million from the I Fund so they may have missed out on the better stock fund returns in June.

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