Number of TSP Millionaires Jumps 66% in Q2

By on July 6, 2020 2:14 PM in Retirement with 0 Comments
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Golden egg on top of a spread of cash with a $1 bill covering the top of it

The rebound in the stock market from its low point in March has had a positive net effect on the number of millionaires in the Thrift Savings Plan. In fact, the number of millionaires increased by 66% in the last three months.

According to data provided by the TSP, there are now 45,219 Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) participants with a balance in excess of $1 million.

At the end of the first quarter in 2020, there were only 27,212. That represented a sharp decline from the end of 2019 when there were 49,620 TSP millionaires.

Here are the latest data as provided by the TSP:

Account BalanceNumber of ParticipantsAverage Years of Contributions
<$50k3,540,7175.97
$50k-$249k1,505,87115.82
$250k-$499k483,16721.41
$500k-$749k170,99324.48
$750k-$999k71,63627.11
≥ $1 million45,21929.58
Total5,817,60310.81

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

The data on millionaires provide a compelling case for remaining invested for the long run regardless of the stock market’s ups and downs in the short term. In 2020 alone, we have seen the market go from an all time high to a bear market and back up to near positive territory again in just a few months.

These wild swings can leave federal employees feeling queasy if they spend too much time looking at their account balances each day or week. However, remember that over the course of a long federal career, staying invested in the stock funds will ultimately yield a prosperous retirement.

Indeed, the data from the TSP bear this out – note that the average years of contributions for the TSP participants with $1 million or more is almost 30 years. That means these individuals began using the TSP early in their federal careers and kept saving. We have had our readers who have reached this important milestone tell us this was exactly how they achieved it.

The S&P 500, the index on which the C Fund is based, has averaged approximately a 12% annual return over the last 30 years. Since its inception in 1926, it has averaged around 10% – 11%. But in order to take advantage of that long-term growth, one must stay invested over a period of many years; jumping in and out of the market in an effort to “time” the best possible returns nearly always leads to poor returns.

It’s a long and slow process, but as the TSP data on millionaires shows, achieving this milestone is a very real possibility.

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About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce.

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