Roth TSP advice for a 22-year-old


Q. Our 22-year-old son is in the Navy. He is an E-5, so his earnings are fairly good. He is not married and has very few bills besides an apartment, vehicle and cellphone. He is contributing to the Thrift Savings Plan, but soon he will have option to contribute to the Roth TSP. I would like to know what your investment advice would be for him.

A. He shouldn’t be as concerned about where he saves his money, as he is about how much he saves. The TSP, traditional or Roth, should be his first choice for retirement savings. If he doesn’t know how to allocate his money once it’s in the TSP, he can use the L Fund that corresponds to his life expectancy.


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Mike Miles is a Certified Financial Planner licensee and principal adviser for Variplan LLC, an independent fiduciary in Vienna, Virginia. Email your financial questions to and view his blog at

1 Comment

  1. Any tax free earned combat pay should be directed to his Roth TSP account. After that his primary concern it to max out his TSP account to $17,000 – traditional TSP verses Roth TSP is a secondary concern. He should also consider a Roth IRA.

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