Q. I am a 55-year-old Veterans Affairs Department firefighter covered under CSRS with 35 years of service. I am planning on retirement next year. What are my options with my Thrift Savings Plan account when I retire? Can I withdraw funds for college without a penalty? Can I withdraw funds and transfer into a new IRA without penalty? Do I only have one time to decide what to do with these funds once I retire — withdraw all and reinvest or take a monthly annuity?
A. Since you are retiring during or after the calendar year in which you reached age 55, the early withdrawal penalty will not apply to your TSP account. There is no time limit on making the decision about what to do with your account, so take your time. Research the rules and options (which are fairly complex) by visiting www.tsp.gov, and then let us know if you have additional questions.