Roth TSP or second Roth IRA?


Q. I’m active-duty military, maxing out one Roth IRA. I was interested in opening a Roth TSP, as well, but a financial adviser at my bank recommended opening a second Roth IRA in my wife’s name and maxing it out first before contributing anything to a Thrift Savings Plan. This struck me as odd because it would leave my retirement money spread over three separate accounts. I couldn’t max out the TSP but could probably contribute more than $5,000. Is my financial adviser (free service from the bank) right or just trying to get me to open another IRA at the bank he works for?

A. Let’s see. He makes money if you give your money to his bank. He makes no money if you give your money to the TSP. Get the picture? You’re not getting advice intended to further your interests, you’re getting advice designed to further your banker’s interests. Are you really concerned about being charitable to your banker? Or broker? Or insurance agent? They’ll look out for you like a fox will look after your chickens. I’m not trying to pick on you. What you’ve described here is the biggest problem there is for individual investors.


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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

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