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TSP Funds End Nearly Year-Long Run of Growth

A volatile February left everything but government securities in the red.

After months of sustained gains, the federal government’s 401(k)-style retirement savings program lost ground in February, following a month of volatility in the stock market.

Only the Thrift Savings Plan’s government securities (G) fund grew in February, by 0.21 percent. So far this year it has increased 0.41 percent.

The common stocks in the C Fund lost 0.96 percent last month, bringing its 2018 growth down to 1.82 percent. The I Fund, which is made up of international stocks and outpaced all other portfolios last year, plummeted by 5.07 percent in February. It has dropped 0.32 percent so far this year.

Small businesses in the S Fund fell 3.79 percent in February, placing the fund 0.58 percent into the red for 2018. And the fixed income bonds in the F Fund dropped 0.96 percent, expanding losses this year to 2.09 percent.

The TSP’s lifecycle (L) funds, which shift investments toward more stable portfolios as people get closer to retirement, also all shrank in February. The L Income Fund, designed for people who have already begun receiving annuities, lost 0.70 percent. L 2020 dropped 1.34 percent; L 2030, 2.48 percent; L 2040, 2.98 percent; and L 2050, 3.41 percent.

Despite these losses, each fund remained in the black for 2018. The L Income Fund has grown 0.40 percent on the year; L 2020, 0.47 percent; L 2030, 0.56 percent; L 2040, 0.57 percent; and L 2050, 0.59 percent.

Earlier this month, shortly after the stock market dropped more than 600 points in one day, TSP officials highlighted an online fact sheet, entitled Stick to Your Plan, which reminds participants not to make hasty investment decisions based on instances of short term volatility.