Pay & Benefits Watch Pay & Benefits WatchPay & Benefits Watch
Key developments in the world of federal employee benefits: health, pay, and much more.

TSP time

The next Thrift Savings Plan open season isn't until May 15, but now's the time to start thinking about your investments. Beginning in May, federal employees under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) can elect to contribute more of their basic pay, up to 11 percent, to their TSP accounts. Employees under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) may contribute up to 6 percent. Changes employees make to their accounts will take effect in July.

Under IRS rules, employees may contribute to TSP accounts up to a limit of $10,500 this year. Government matching contributions do not count toward the limit.

Should you take advantage of the new benefit and contribute more to your plan, or should you consider other savings vehicles, such as individual retirement accounts? Each employee's case is different, but Peter R. Lynn, Chief Executive Officer of Government Retirement and Benefits, Inc., advises his clients to max out their TSP contributions before putting money in other savings accounts.

"It's common sense," Lynn said, since agency matching contributions allow FERS employees to receive a 100 percent rate of return right away. And even though CSRS employees don't get matching contributions to their TSP accounts, the deferral of taxes on TSP investments is enough reason to max out your TSP contributions, he said.

Final Results for 2000

In case you missed it, the year-end numbers for the Thrift Savings Plan's three funds were released in early January. Here's a look at how the funds fared:

C Fund

F Fund

G Fund

Last 12 months (Jan.-Dec. 2000)




This is the first time in five years that the C fund has suffered an annual loss. The fund gained 20.95 percent over the course of 1999. But this year's loss was no surprise, considering that C fund returns were negative for 8 of the 12 months in 2000.

TSP and DoD

The fiscal 2001 Defense authorization bill, H.R. 4205, which became law in early November, allows service members to participate in the TSP. Previously, the plan was only open to civilian federal employees. A similar provision was included in fiscal 2000, but with a catch: The Defense Department could only begin allowing service members to contribute money to the TSP if the department found a way to offset lost tax revenue.

According to a Pentagon spokesperson, that's not the case this time. There is no offsetting legislation, and service members are expected to be enrolled in the TSP by October 2001.

New Records

The new TSP recordkeeping system, which will provide employees with daily valuations of their accounts and allow them to check their TSP balances and transfer money between funds daily, has fallen off schedule by between two and three weeks, the TSP Board announced in December. Each month the board provides an update on the new system, which is now being tested for computer bugs. As of December 15, approximately 9,400 bugs had been discovered, more than the contractor building the new system had predicted. The board has delayed implementation of the new system indefinitely, but will introduce two new funds, the S and I funds, in May using the current system. The S Fund will track the Wilshire 4500 stock index, which covers about 6,500 stocks of small U.S. companies. The I Fund will track the Morgan Stanley EAFE fund of stocks in 20 countries in Europe, Australia and Asia.


An earlier version of this article stated that the new TSP recordkeeping system is expected to be ready by May. That is incorrect; the TSP board has delayed implementation of the new recordkeeping system indefinitely.

Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.