2020’s Bull Market Leads to More Federal Employee Millionaires

2020’s bull market has been good to the federal employees who have consistently invested in the TSP.

The number of federal employees who have become millionaires by consistently investing in the Thrift Savings Plan has continued to increase sharply thanks to the surging stock market in 2020.

As of December 31, 2020, there are now 75,420 TSP participants with balances in excess of $1 million. The largest account balance is now a whopping $8,804,030.

To put this in perspective, at the end of September 2020, there were 55,183 TSP millionaires. At the end of 2019, there were 49,620. In January 2012 there were just over 200 TSP millionaires. The number of TSP millionaires has increased 37% in the last quarter and over 36,000% since January 2012.

The table below includes the breakdown of the distribution of account balances among current TSP participants and how long they have been contributing:

Account BalanceNumber of ParticipantsAverage Years of Contributions
< $50k3,591,8605.86
≥ $1 million75,42028.74

The figures include FERS, CSRS, and Uniformed Services participants.

Clearly, those with the highest balances have been participating in the TSP for the longest amount of time on average. One crucial takeaway from 2020 is that nobody can predict what is going to happen in the future and that patience will be rewarded for those who stay the course as these TSP millionaires have obviously done.

When 2020 began, the economy was strong and the future looked bright. Suddenly, word of a new virus caused fear to spread about as fast as the virus and the stock market fell almost 34% in less than a month. Yet when the year came to an end, the S&P 500 index, which the C Fund tracks, was up about 16%. Exiting the TSP stock funds during the selloff in March would not have been a good move.

Congratulations to all of the successful TSP participants and those who have reached the $1 million milestone!

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.