Q. I am planning on retiring at age 56½. I am a CSRS employee. If I take my Thrift Savings Plan balance and roll it over to an IRA, can I start withdrawing it immediately, or do I have to wait until I am 59½ years old?
A. The rules are different for IRAs than they are for the TSP. Under the scenario you propose, you will be exempt from the early withdrawal penalty for distributions taken from your TSP account because you retired during or after the year in which you will reach age 55. There is no similar exemption available for distributions from an IRA.