Where to turn when the TSP tanks

Prevailing wisdom dictates that even when Wall Street is in an uproar, investors -- especially those with an eye on long-term gains -- should keep their cool. And that's the point the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board wants to drill home as Thrift Savings Plan funds continue to take hits.

In a steady stream of messages, the board reminds TSP participants that it's impossible to predict what the stock market will do next, so day-trading is unlikely to produce positive results. And since markets generally grow gradually, there's no reason to panic.

But if you have a hard time sitting still and watching your retirement savings dip, there are some outlets that offer a different perspective. We've highlighted a few below. Please note that this list is not comprehensive and Government Executive does not endorse any of these resources. We also suggest you visit the TSP's official Web site if you haven't already done so.

1. TSP Talk is a message board and resource aggregator run by a federal employee who has invested in the TSP since 1984. The site focuses on beating the market, and awards monthly prizes to members whose TSP accounts perform the best. When the TSP board instituted interfund transfer restrictions earlier in the year, it cited TSP Talk as evidence that some plan participants were making frequent trades to the detriment of other investors. More than 4,000 participants signed a TSP Talk petition opposing the restrictions. No matter what your approach is to investing, TSP Talk provides a lively conversation.

2. TSP Center was created by a TSP investor, and has a message board, investment calculator and -- like TSP Talk -- a leader board highlighting the site members whose investments have done well. It also features FantasyTSP, a tool that lets investors track their own performance and model different strategies.

3. TSPGO tracks the performance of Thrift Savings funds against the Standard & Poor 500 Index, and makes buy, hold or sell recommendations.

4. TSPMoney features an earnings calculator and a free desktop application to help you track your account's performance.

5. Thrift Trading, TSP Pilot and TSP Key are paid services that provide investment allocation advice.

6. The TSP Report and the The TSP Advisory are subscription-only publications that offer market analysis and investment models.

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