65,494 TSP Millionaires in September—42% Drop Since 2021

The lackluster stock market in 2022 has taken a toll on the number of TSP millionaires.

As the stock market goes up, one would expect the number of TSP millionaires to go up, and the number of them in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) has gone up significantly over the years. When the market goes down, the number can drop significantly. That is what is happening so far in 2022.

As of the end of December 2021, there were 112,880 TSP investors who were members of the TSP millionaires club. That was a new high number in this elite group of TSP investors. At that time, a big contributor to the growing number of millionaires was the annual return for the C Fund and S Fund.

In 2021, the C Fund had a return of 28.68% while the F Fund had a return of 12.45%. That return was on top of an 18.31% C Fund return in 2020 and an S Fund return of 31.85%.

The latest report from the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) displays a significant decline in the number of TSP millionaires as of September 30, 2022.

There are now “only” 65,494 TSP millionaires—a drop of about 42% in the total number.

At the end of September, here is how the TSP core funds were performing for the year:

FundYear-to-Date Return at 
end of September
G Fund1.94%
C Fund-23.87%
S Fund-29.85%
I Fund-27.25%
F Fund-14.30%

TSP Investor with $6.5 Million

While there were still 65,494 millionaires in the TSP at the end of September, one investor had a considerably larger investment in the program.

The top TSP investor had $6,499,519.61 in an account at that time. While that is a great deal of money, it is a decline of $456,419 since the end of June. And, even worse, if we assume that this is the same TSP investor, it is a decline of $4,476,007 since the end of December 2021.

Welcome to the stock market in 2022.

How Many TSP Millionaires Have Been in the TSP Over Time?

January 2012208
December 20169,599
December 201723,962
December 201821,432
December 201949,620
December 202075,420
June 202198,879
September 202198,523
December 2021112,880
March 2022100,364
June 202272,241
September 202265,494

How Does Your TSP Balance Compare?

Here is how many TSP investors there are in several breakpoints of TSP account balances.

TSP Account Balances

Account BalanceNumber of Participants
June 30, 2022
Number of Participants
September 30, 2022
Averages Years of Contributions
< $50,0004,160,5584,209,9126.05
$50k – $249k1,621,1531,629,01015.96
$1 million72,24165,49429.83
Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board

How to Become a TSP Millionaire

It is not a surprise that those with the largest TSP balances have usually been contributing to the TSP for many more years than those with TSP balances under $1,000,000.

Over time, the greatest returns are usually found with investors who continue investing in the TSP stock funds instead of socking away their future retirement dollars into the G Fund. The returns over time are much larger from stock funds. The most successful investors usually keep investing during a market downturn. In the long run, stock prices are less expensive when the market is going down.

Of course, in a year like 2022, the only TSP Fund with a positive return at the end of September was the G Fund, so the decline in a stock portfolio in the G Fund has lost less money. Most experienced investors would likely say that this makes it more difficult to continue investing in the stock funds when the market is down—even though buying into a stock fund at a lower price will usually provide a better long-term return.

We wish all FedSmith readers the best of luck in meeting their financial goals and in being added to the list of TSP millionaires in future years.

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