The TSP by the Numbers

A snapshot of the $431 billion federal retirement investment plan.

This week, the Thrift Savings Plan held its quarterly meeting of personnel and payroll office representatives. This is when new and updated information is disseminated to agencies to share with their employees.

I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the latest numbers for the plan, as of the end of October.

The overall plan balance was $431 billion, divided as follows:

  • G Fund: 35 percent
  • C Fund: 28 percent
  • F Fund: 5 percent
  • S Fund: 10 percent
  • I Fund: 5 percent
  • L Funds: 17 percent

The average account balance for a Federal Employees Retirement System employee was $113,934 total and $5,463 for the Roth option. The average balance for a Civil Service Retirement System employee was $113,057 total and $8,947 for the Roth.

There are 4,677,445 total participants in the TSP. Some facts about them:

  • 302,000 FERS employees only receive agency contributions (equaling 1 percent of basic pay)
  • 113,000 CSRS employees contribute to the TSP (about 65 percent of the remaining CSRS employees in federal service)
  • 1,196,000 separated participants have left their money in the TSP
  • 274,000 active participants are not currently contributing, but still have accounts (such as CSRS employees and uniformed service members)
  • 703,000 uniformed services members have accounts

In 2013, there were more than 150,000 post-separation withdrawals from the TSP. More than half were cash payments. The remainder were single payments transferred to other retirement accounts. TSP officials expect the 2014 numbers to be even bigger.

In 2009, the TSP processed a little more than 100,000 post-separation withdrawals. In 2013, the total value of post-separation withdrawals was more than $8 billion. This year close to $10 billion will leave the TSP in cash payments and transfer requests.

On top of that, more than $2 billion came out of the TSP in 2014 in the form of age-based in-service withdrawals and more than $1 billion in hardship in-service withdrawals. On top of that, every year since 2009, there have been more than 250,000 TSP loan transactions, with more than $4 billion borrowed from accounts annually.

One reason people withdraw funds from their TSP accounts is to move the money to another retirement investment, such as an IRA. If your agency has arranged for training from the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, which runs the TSP, you will receive a scorecard that you can use to evaluate the option of moving your money out of the TSP after you separate from federal service.

(Image via wrangler/Shutterstock.com)