New TSP planning software debuts

Federal employees can calculate which Thrift Savings Plan options will best help them meet their retirement goals, thanks to new TSP planning software.

Robust Technical Resources (RTR), based in Leonardtown, Md., introduced its TspEstimator Monday. The software functions as a calculator that lets employees experiment with different investment plans and view the long-term results of any changes they make to their TSP accounts.

More than 2.4 million participants have more than $100 billion invested through the government's 401(k)-style retirement plan. Currently, federal employees have three investment options available through the TSP: the C Fund, which invests in stocks, the F Fund, which invests in bonds, and the G Fund, which invests in government securities.

RTR's software tabulates estimates of future TSP balances based on the user's personal information. Employees can calculate the amount of money they need to contribute to the plan to reap the most at retirement, the effect that transferring money to different funds will have on their balances, and the effects of withdrawing money or taking out loans from their TSP accounts.

The TSP is run by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board. Tom Trabucco, director of external affairs for the board, said the product was completely separate from the agency and that the government does not have a partnership with Robust Technical Resources.

The TSP Web site-www.tsp.gov-offers its own automated calculator designed to help employees estimate the growth of their accounts.

The board is currently working out the kinks in a new TSP computer system of its own that will support two new investment funds, the Small Capitalization Index Investment (S) Fund and the International Stock Index Investment (I) Fund. The new TSP system will also allow investors to check the value of their funds daily, and employees will be able to change the way their money is invested in the five funds at any time, instead of only during open season.

TSP participants will be able to begin investing in the S and I funds beginning in May 2001, whether or not the new recordkeeping system is ready, board officials announced in September.

For more information on the TspEstimator, go to www.TspEstimator.com.

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