Monthly Archives: February, 2012

TSP contribution

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Q. I’m in FERS with about 15 years until I’m eligible for retirement.  When I increase my TSP contribution, my taxable income is reduced and the amount of federal tax withheld is obviously reduced as well. How would I go about calculating the “sweet spot” in my TSP contribution amount to get the most benefit in reference to the amount of taxes being withheld.  Is there a law of diminishing returns here or is more always going to be better? A. Sorry, but I’m not at all sure what you mean by “most benefit in reference to the amount of…

Roth IRA

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Q. I am a CSRS employee with more than 36 years of service. I have also been contributing to a TSP account. I plan to retire in June 2013. Should I start contributing to a Roth IRA or continue contributing to my TSP? A. “Should I…” is not a question that I can answer through this forum. Whoever is responsible for managing your investment portfolio and delivering the results you expect should be the one to decide.

Reporting TSP contributions on tax forms

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Q: When I am filing my simple taxes, do I need to include my 5 percent Thrift Savings Plan contributions as an investment anywhere in my return? I did not receive any IRS Form 1099s from the TSP, but want to ensure I do the right thing. A: Your TSP contributions do not need to be reported as an investment. The contributions are reported to you on your W-2.

Alternatives to managing your own retirement funds

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Q: I’m tired of moving funds all over the place trying to maximize my money in the Thrift Savings Plan. I have done so-so — retired federal law enforcement, 30 years of service, now 51 years old. I am going to start withdrawing funds at 59 1/2. I want to maximize my value in eight or nine years. I know it is hard to have the best of both worlds (safety of funds vs. maximized rate of return) — what are your thoughts? A: I can’t possibly give you reliable investment advice through this forum, without the appropriate understanding, research…

Figuring out required minimum distributions

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Q: I have a question concerning the following paragraph from your Feb. 20 column in Federal Times: I find it disappointing that it appears that you will not be able to manage, or withdraw, money selectively between the two options. Your contribution allocation and any interfund transfers you direct will apply to both options. Any withdrawals will be taken, pro rata, from both options. You may, however, split a rollover distribution between traditional and Roth IRA accounts. Specifically, I am puzzled by the statement in the second sentence. As I understand the general concept with “tax deferred” individual retirement accounts…

Ready to cash out my TSP: How do I do it?

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Q: I have looked all over the Thrift Savings Plan website and cannot find the button to push that says I am retiring and want to start collecting my money. I am almost 62 and intend to retire in 191 days. I have figured out that I want to begin receiving my money on a monthly basis and can only change that election once a year. The online calculator tells me that amount is good for 60 years and four months. It does not tell me how far off the minimum distribution I am. But where is the button? A:…

TSP and Roth

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Q: I have two Roth questions. First, I max out my TSP contributions and would contribute more if allowed. Am I right to view Roth contributions as a good means of essentially increasing my retirement contributions by pre-paying the taxes I’ll pay in retirement?  Second, after I retire, will I be allowed to transfer the Roth balance of my TSP account to an existing Roth IRA and leave my non-Roth balance in the TSP? A: “Yes” to the first question and “It appears so” to the second.

No rollover

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Q: I work for the postal service. If there is an early out I would jump at the chance. I would like to use the funds in my TSP to pay off our house and all our other bills. I am 53, my husband is 57. If I transfer the funds to an IRA in his name, when could they be withdrawn without paying a 10-percent penalty. Is this even possible? A: You can’t transfer or roll over your TSP funds to another person’s IRA.

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