One TSP Fund Up Over 56% in 12 Months

One TSP Fund has provided investors with a return of more than 56% over the past 12 months. That should help provide financial security in retirement!

In February, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 3.2% while the S&P 500 index (the index on which the C Fund is based) gained 2.6% for the month. The return in the C Fund of the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) matches the S&P 500 index with a return of 2.76%.

S Fund Up 56.07%

The best performing TSP Fund for the month was the S Fund. Moreover, over the past 12 months, the S Fund has provided investors with a return of 56.07%. No other fund comes close.

The C Fund is in second place for the month with a monthly return of 2.76%, and for the preceding 12 months, this widely held fund is up 31.20%. The I Fund comes in third among the core TSP funds with a monthly return of 2.26% and a 12-month return of 21.91%.

G Fund Performance

The G Fund is the most widely held fund among TSP investors. It was up 0.08% in February and is up 0.82% for the preceding 12 months. Only the F Fund came in below the G Fund in monthly returns. The F Fund was down -1.45% in February but is up slightly with a return of 1.37% for the past 12 months.

Among the Lifecycle Funds, the L 2040 Fund has had a 12-month return of 22.55%. It was up 2.03% during February. The reason this fund came out on top for the Lifecycle Funds is that it has a higher percentage of stocks and a smaller percentage of bonds in its portfolio mix.

Results for All TSP Funds

G FundF FundC FundS FundI Fund
Month0.08%-1.45%2.76%5.21%2.26%
12 Month0.82%1.37%31.20%56.07%21.91%
YTD0.15%-2.15%1.72%8.21%1.15%
L IncomeL 2025L 2030L 2035L 2040
Month0.63%1.35%1.70%1.86%2.03%
12 Month7.33%n/a18.82%n/a22.55%
YTD0.53%1.10%1.38%1.50%1.65%
L 2045L 2050L 2055L 2060L 2065
Month2.17%2.32%2.93%2.93%2.93%
12 Monthn/a25.86%n/an/an/a
YTD1.77%1.90%2.48%2.48%2.47%

TSPDataCenter Provides Historical Data

For readers seeking daily, monthly or annual returns for each fund in the Thrift Savings Plan line-up, check out TSPDataCenter.com. There is also a compilation of the latest news impacting the TSP beneath the latest monthly returns listing.

Impact of Recent Events on Stocks

The amount of spending by the Federal Government and the aggressive monetary policy of the Federal Reserve have propped up the stock market in a year with a national pandemic and a hotly contested presidential election.

The government’s spending binge and monetary policy are now leading to a fear of inflation resurging which has led to a selloff of bonds. A low return on bonds can drive investors to buy stocks and has pushed stock prices up to new record levels. With bond yields now rising, stocks seem more expensive and often less attractive to investors.

As is often the case, stock market investors may be in for a number of surprises this year—both positive and negative. The rollout of the COVID vaccine will help in alleviating the impact of the virus. That may lead to better returns for American companies as consumer spending increases. A rise in the rate of inflation can lead to fear of inflation outpacing stock market returns as bond prices go up. As noted, the American economy may also be poised for a strong recovery as there is a great deal of money to some investors who have saved money and curtailed their spending during the COVID scare.

Of course, no one can accurately predict which market forces will dominate or what “black swan” events may occur. 2020 provided plenty of surprises and a very volatile stock market. Ultimately, investors in the Thrift Savings Plan realized strong returns if they stayed in the market. The C Fund was up 18.31% in 2020, the S Fund provided a return of 31.85%, and the I Fund had a return of 8.17%.

From today’s perspective, gains of that magnitude seem unlikely. Gains of that magnitude also seemed unlikely early in 2020. With any luck, another pleasant surprise will come to investors in 2021.

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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