The TSP Fund with Best Monthly (3.46%), 12-Month (61.7%), YTD (15.47%) Returns

One TSP Fund is ahead of all others in June, in 2020, in 2021, and the past 12-months. Only 12.3% of TSP investor assets are in this Fund.

The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) has been very good to investors in 2021. In fact, the Thrift Savings Plan has generally been very good to investors hoping and planning to have a substantial retirement income after leaving federal service for a number of years.

The underlying TSP Funds have been providing positive returns for investors in 2019, 2020 and so far in 2021. The last year with negative returns was in 2018 and the losses that year were relatively minor in-between years of positive returns in the stock market.

S Fund Provides Highest TSP Return in June

For June, the Thrift Savings Plan had another good month with all but one TSP Fund coming in higher for the month. The S Fund came in with the best monthly return at 3.46%. The C Fund finished up at 2.33%. The F Fund, which had negative returns in the first three months of the year, finished higher with a gain of 0.74%.

The I Fund was the only TSP Fund with a negative return in June. It was off -1.14%.

S Fund Also Has Best 12-Month Return

The S Fund not only had the best return in June, it also has the highest return over the past 12-months with a gain of 61.70%. The C Fund (40.77%) and the I Fund (32.58%) also have excellent returns over the past 12-months.

The only TSP Fund with a negative return over the past 12 months is the F Fund with a small loss of -0.18%.

S Fund Has Highest Return in 2021

Based on the monthly and 12-month returns, it is not a surprise that the S Fund also has the highest return of any TSP Fund so far in 2021.

With a gain of 15.47%, the S Fund edged out the second-place C Fund (15.24%) to come out on top so far this year.

The S Fund has been on a tear. It topped all other TSP Funds for all of 2020 with an annual return of 31.85%. In 2019, the S Fund “only” returned 27.97% to come in second place behind the C Fund (31.45%).

The last year with negative annual returns for the S Fund was in 2018 when it went down -9.26%. In 2018, all of the core TSP stock funds were down while the G Fund was up 2.91% and the F Fund went up 0.15%.

S Fund investors are undoubtedly very happy with how this fund has been performing. Small company funds are the main component in the S Fund so this fund is often more volatile than funds focusing on larger companies.

Annual, monthly, and daily TSP returns are always available to readers at

12.3% of TSP Investments in the S Fund

Investments in the S Fund are 12.3% of TSP allocations compared to 30.5% of TSP investments in the C Fund and 27.4% in the G Fund. No doubt, this volatility is the reason for the relatively small percentage of investor funds in the S Fund.

When the stock market drops significantly, and it always does at some point, the S Fund can (and sometimes does) lose more than other funds. In 2008, for example, the S Fund went down -38.32% while the G Fund was up (3.75%) and the F Fund also went up (5.45%).

12-Month Returns for New Lifecycle Funds Now Available

June is the first month that returns are available for the new lifecycle funds in the Thrift Savings Plan.

The Thrift Savings Plan launched new Lifecycle funds (L Funds) on July 1, 2020. The new funds are labeled in this way:

  • L 2025
  • L 2035
  • L 2045
  • L 2055
  • L 2065

Which of these new funds has had the best return so far in its short existence?

The Lifecycle funds with the most aggressive portfolios have done better as the stock market is setting new records. The L 2065, L 2060, and L 2055 Funds all have 12-month returns of 40.26%.

The L 2060 Fund and beyond started “glide paths” with 99% of stock investments instead of the former allocation of 90%. When stocks are going up, funds with more stock investments often do better than funds with a higher percentage of bond investments. As a result, the more aggressive Lifecycle Funds have done well when stocks are booming and setting new records for high prices.

TSP Returns for All Funds

G FundF FundC FundS FundI Fund
12 Month1.02%-0.18%40.77%61.70%32.58%
L IncomeL 2025L 2030L 2035L 2040
12 Month8.86%18.62%23.52%25.67%28.43%
L 2045L 2050L 2055L 2060L 2065
12 Month30.31%32.85%40.26%40.26%40.26%

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