Survey: Thrift Savings Plan Participants Still Want Greater Flexibility

Nearly 90 percent of feds are satisfied with the 401(k)-style retirement savings program.

Officials with the federal government’s 401(k)-style retirement savings program said a new poll shows that 89 percent of participants are happy with the Thrift Savings Plan, although they still largely want greater flexibility in handling their investments.

At a meeting of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board Monday, project manager Lorraine Terry said that while the vast majority of people enrolled in the TSP are happy with the service, 30 percent of active participants said they plan to transfer their money out of the program when they retire.

Of those respondents, 74 percent cited the TSP’s strict rules surrounding withdrawals as a key factor in that decision. Similarly, 35 percent of TSP participants who have already left government said they plan to withdraw from the program when they retire, of which 85 percent want more flexible withdrawal options.

TSP officials are lobbying Congress to loosen the restrictions on withdrawals. Earlier this month, the House approved the TSP Modernization Act (H.R.3031) by voice vote. The bill would allow federal employees and retirees to make multiple age-based withdrawals from their TSP accounts and remain eligible for partial withdrawals after they leave government as well.

TSP spokeswoman Kim Weaver said she has been in contact with Senate staffers and is hopeful the bill will be advanced quickly in that chamber.

Those who have left government would be able to make multiple partial post-separation withdrawals. And the bill also would allow those receiving monthly payments to change the amount and frequency of their annuity at any time, instead of only once per year.

Currently, feds who wish to make age-based withdrawals can only do so once while employed by the government, and they cannot make a partial withdrawal after they leave their job. Those who have already left federal service can make one partial post-separation withdrawal, but then move to full withdrawal options.

FRTIB partnered with Gallup to conduct the poll, its first poll of participants since 2013. Of the 39,000 sampled, the agency received a 17 percent response rate, up from 11 percent in 2013.

Terry said 86 percent of participants are happy with their annual statement, and around 30 percent of respondents said they changed which funds they invested in or increased their investment amount based on the contents of the statement.

According to the survey, 78 percent of participants invest at least 5 percent of their income into the TSP, while 7 percent contribute no money at all. And a majority of respondents said they would appreciate a tool that shows them a consolidated picture of their retirement savings, including TSP investments, defined benefit retirement programs and Social Security.

Mike Jerue, a TSP statistician, noted that Uniformed Services participants are less satisfied with TSP offerings than their civilian counterparts, an issue that could become more important after the launch of the new Blended Retirement System, which opens the employer contribution to TSP for members of the military, in 2018.

“Addressing their needs may be necessary as we go forward,” Jerue said. “They rated lower on the flexible withdrawal options, and I know some changes may be possible going forward. They also registered lower scores about access to the My Account [feature], and to the TSP website in general.”

An outsized proportion of Uniformed Service participants said they considered mobile transaction capabilities to be a key feature in the future—29 percent, compared to 15 percent for Federal Employees Retirement System enrollees and 7 percent for participants in the Civil Service Retirement System. Jerue said that request held true among service members regardless of age group.

Gallup offered a number of recommendations for TSP to improve its service for participants, and granting more flexibility around withdrawals was top among them. Additionally, the polling organization suggested including a “retirement income requirement” based on a participant’s age and years of service in enrollees’ annual statements.

To address the concerns about Uniformed Service participants’ level of satisfaction, Gallup recommended expanding the hours for the ThriftLine customer service program, as well as conducting targeted outreach to educate them on TSP’s current mobile capabilities.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.