2024 Off to Flying Start for TSP Returns: One Fund Up Almost 10%

TSP returns are off to a strong start in 2024. One fund is up almost 10%.

2024 Has Largest TSP Roll-in Ever Recorded

Participants rolled in $241 million to the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) in February, the largest monthly dollar amount ever recorded. The first two months of 2024 are the first time the TSP has received more than 5,000 roll-ins per month.

  • Jan 2024—5,425 checks $240 million
  • Feb 2024—5,082 checks $241 million

TSP Returns Moving Up in Month and 2024

TSP investors are enjoying a great start to 2024 with their TSP returns. The C Fund is up 9.77% so far this year and up 2.49% as of March 25. The S Fund is up 5.05% for the year, and the I Fund is up 5.56%.

Here are the returns for all of the TSP Funds as of March 25, 2024.

G Fund0.30%0.98%
F Fund0.58%-1.03%
C Fund2.49%9.77%
S Fund1.52%5.05%
I Fund2.97%5.56%
L Income0.89%2.56%
L 20251.08%3.11%
L 20301.66%4.87%
L 20351.80%5.24%
L 20401.92%5.62%
L 20452.04%5.94%
L 20502.15%6.28%
L 20552.51%7.59%
L 20602.51%7.59%
L 20652.51%7.59%
Source: TSPDataCenter.com

TSP Investors React to Recent Returns

In 2022, TSP investors moved billions of dollars from the C Fund into the G Fund. In 2022, the C Fund declined 18.13% for the year. The chart below shows how TSP investments changed between December 2021 and December 2022 as stock market prices were declining.

Overall, TSP assets declined by almost $86 billion. Despite the decline in overall assets, the percentage of assets in the G Fund went up about 5% or about $30 billion. At the same time, the C Fund assets went from 33.1% to 28.9%—a decline of about $58.7 billion.

In other words, some TSP investors were transferring money from stock funds into the security of the G Fund during a bear market.

TSP Investor Reaction to a Bear Market

FundDec 2022
Per Fund

Dec 2022

Per Fund (billions)
Dec 2021
Per Fund

Dec 2021
Per Fund

That is what happened when stocks were declining. What happens when the stock market goes up? One might expect TSP investors to transfer assets from the G Fund into stock funds. That happened as the stock market has increased in recent months.

The C Fund increased 26.25% in 2023. As noted above, it is up another 9.77% so far in 2024. The G Fund was up 4.22% in 2023—a solid return but way behind the C Fund’s performance. How have investors reacted with their investment money during a bull market?

This chart shows how TSP investors have entrusted their money to the TSP while stock prices are going higher.

FundDec. 2022
Per Fund
Feb. 2024
Per Fund
Source: FRTIB

C Fund is Once Again the Largest TSP Fund

During a period of rising stock prices, investors switched to making the C Fund their investment fund of choice. As of February 2024, the C Fund is again the largest TSP Fund. It now has $293.5 billion in investments, while the G Fund has $234.3 billion in participant investments.

The TSP now has $877.2 billion in participant-allocated funds. The C Fund went from $210 billion in December 2022 to a total of $293.5 billion in February 2024—an increase of $83.5 billion. The G Fund went from $240.1 billion in December 2022 to $234.3 billion in February 2024—a decline of $5.8 billion when total TSP assets went from $725.9 billion to $877.2 billion.

TSP officials often point out that the money transferred between Funds during market volatility is a relatively small percentage of total funds. That is true. Still, the amount of money involved is hundreds of billions.

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