Rolling over TSP after leaving federal job


Q. I am in my early 20s and have just left a federal job. I am trying to decide what to do with my Thrift Savings Plan money. I’m leaning toward rolling it over to an IRA but do not understand where to start. Where do you get the forms to do this? Is it a good idea? (Cashing it out would have been my next option.)

A. The best thing you could do with it is to leave it in the TSP and manage it there for as long as possible. In fact, if you have IRA, 401(k) or 403(b) balances now, or in the future, you could and should consider moving them into the TSP because it’s the best retirement investment vehicle you’re likely to find.


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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. “(Cashing it out would have been my next option.)” It would be your worst option and a very bad idea. You’d be hit with taxes and penalties. Keeping it in TSP is likely your best option, moving to an IRA your distant second best option.

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