Number of Federal Employee Millionaires Up Dramatically

October 5, 2020 6:37 PM
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With the rising value of the stock market since the end of March, the number of millionaires in the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) has surged.

As of March 31st, there were 27,212 millionaires in the TSP. Keep in mind, this number had been reduced by the mandated economic depression as a result of the COVID-19 virus. By comparison, the number of millionaires at the end of December was 49,620.

More Millionaires than Before the Pandemic

In effect, with the stock market going back up since March, the number of TSP millionaires has actually gone up, so there are now more of these individuals than there were before the pandemic.

There are also a few thousand more millionaires in the TSP now than there were at the end of December 2019.

Despite the disappointing returns in September, the stock market still had an excellent third quarter for investors. The C Fund gained 8.9% in value from the end of June through the end of September.

For the year-to-date, the F Fund was ahead of all other funds at the end of the third quarter this year. The F Fund was up 6.75% so far in 2020 at the end of the third quarter. For the same time period, the C Fund was up 5.5% and the S Fund was up 3.45%. The worst-performing fund in this time period has been the I Fund with a return of -6.83%.

Largest TSP Account Balance

The person with the largest TSP balance had $7,395,476.29 on December 31st. On March 31st, the largest account balance was $6,375,795—a decrease in value of almost 14%. The highest account balance in the TSP is now up about 23.8% since the end of March. We do not know if the same person had the highest account in these instances.

Changing Number of TSP Millionaires

To put the current number of millionaires in perspective, in January 2012 there were just over 200 TSP millionaires. A dramatic increase in stock market prices raised that number to 512 in March 2013 and zoomed up to 4,617 in February 2015. At the end of 2016, there were 9,599 TSP millionaires.

The current number of TSP millionaires is the highest figure we have seen in the TSP. This is obviously due to the increasing value of the underlying stock funds in the TSP. The C Fund was up 21.82% in 2017, lost 4.41% in 2018, and up 31.45% in 2019. So far in 2020, the C Fund is up about 5.5% despite the pandemic.

Here is a breakdown of the amount in TSP accounts from the lowest account balances to the highest:

BalanceNumber of ParticipantsAverage Years of Contributions
<$50,0003,567,1985.97
$50,000-$249,0001,505,51215.67
$250,000-$499,000492,98621.20
$500,000-$749,000180,41724.17
$750,000-$999,00077,67326.73
>$1,000,00055,18329.33
Total5,878,96910.81

While we do not know what the rest of the year holds for TSP investors, we do know that those that did not panic and did not withdraw their money from the stock funds in March have done well after that dramatic drop.

Our congratulations to all of the successful investors in the TSP and, of course, a special congratulations to the more than 55,000 that have accumulated more than $1,000,000 in their TSP accounts!

© 2020 Ralph R. Smith. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Ralph R. Smith.

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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

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