Q. I have 19 years of federal service (counting the 10 years active duty I bought back). I am 51, and I fall under FERS. I don’t trust the government retirement system with what is going on in the economy and would like to invest in gold or silver, but I don’t trust it being in some IRA in another state, that if everything were to go south, I wouldn’t get anything anyway. Is there any way of withdrawing some or all of my funds without penalties to invest in hard assets?
A. Not until you reach age 50½ or have separated from service during or after the calendar year in which you reach age 55, if sooner. You could take a TSP loan, but you’d need to repay it over time.