How Do Your TSP Returns Compare? S Fund Up 16% in 2021

Where have the highest TSP returns appeared in 2021? What is the new favorite fund for TSP investors?

S Fund Leads TSP Returns in 2021

As of the close of the stock market on Monday, June 28, the S Fund has the best return for the year-to-date (YTD) with a return of 16%. The C Fund is a close second with a return of 15.04%.

Here are the YTD returns for the underlying TSP Funds:

G Fund$16.61400.64%
F Fund$20.8499-1.63%
C Fund$64.321315.04%
S Fund$86.072116.00%
I Fund$38.965910.11%
Go to for all Daily, Monthly and Annual Fund Returns

While the S Fund has had excellent returns for some time, 10.3% of participant funds are invested in the S Fund. In 2020, the S Fund has a return of 31.85% and in 2019 it had a return of 27.97%.

C Fund Becomes Primary Fund for TSP Investors

There has been a substantial change in participant allocation of their funds. As recently as November 2018, the highest percentage of participation by TSP investors was in the G Fund (31.4%). The C Fund had a participation rate of 29.2%.

In the most recent month, this allocation has changed. At the end of May, 27.4% of TSP investors’ assets were in the G Fund. 30.5% were in the C Fund. The first time this occurred was in March 2021. No doubt, the continuing higher returns of the stock market has led to more investment in stocks.

When the stock market does drop significantly, many investors will undoubtedly sell some of their stock funds and move back into the G Fund. That is not a good approach to managing investments for future retirement income but, based on past experience, this always happens as investors (not just TSP investors) quickly panic in a significant downturn of the stock market and sell stocks when prices fall.

For those who think they may engage in this type of selling action when the market falls, selling some of the stock funds when prices are high may be a good move. For those who use an investment advisor, check with your advisor for advice based on your specific financial situation and emotional temperament that rises to the fore when market volatility heads down—as it always does.

Records for Highest Rate of Participation in TSP

The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) reports that there is now a FERS participation rate of 94.6% in the TSP. The Uniformed Services active participation rate is 78.1%. Both of these are the highest levels of participation in plan history. The auto enrollment system has obviously played a major role in increasing these participation rates.

TSP Fiduciary Security Act Status

In the latest public meeting of the FRTIB, Kim Weaver, Director of External Affairs for the FRTIB, discussed the TSP Fiduciary Security Act (S. 1993) introduced by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL). This bill would:

  • Prevent the use of the FRTIB’s fiduciary duty to justify investments that harm national security by incorporating a duty to not harm U.S. national security.
  • Define as a presumptive breach of fiduciary duty:
    • Investments in Communist Chinese military companies.
    • Investment in companies on the entity list.
    • Proxy votes in favor of transactions that would breach contracts with the federal government, significantly reduce capital expenditures in critical technologies, or outsource critical technologies to China or other countries of national security concerns.
    • Proxy votes in favor of nominees to the board of directors who are employed by any entity to which investment in would be a breach of fiduciary duty, or who propose actions for the company they are nominated to that would cause investment in the company to cause a breach of fiduciary duty. 

Ms. Weaver noted that altering the fiduciary responsibility of the TSP as the bill would require would impose requirements on the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) not applicable to other funds. In a press release, Senator Rubio stated:

It was incredibly shortsighted and dangerous for the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board to attempt to invest American civil servants’ retirement savings in companies that are tools of the Chinese Communist Party. But it was also revealing of a serious problem: the Board and their friends on Wall Street will get away with using American servicemembers’ own savings to fund threats to U.S. national security if the fiduciary duties binding these money managers only focus on short-term financial value.

There are not any co-sponsors of the Rubio bill and Ms. Weaver noted that the bill does not appear to be gaining traction in the Senate. GovTrack currently gives the bill a 2% chance of passing.

Check back with for the latest monthly, year-to-date and 12-month returns on July 1, 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