Monthly Archives: November, 2012

Buyback, Social Security, high-3 and TSP

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Q. I have 33 years in and am under CSRS. I will be 60 years old in May. I served less than two years in the Army in my 20s. I am a WG-8 making almost $25 an hour. I receive correspondence statements from Social Security that if I retire at age 62, I would be eligible for approximately $300 based on a second job 12 years ago and jobs before joining the government in the 1980s. 1. Should I buy back the time I have in the Army? 2. Will the buyback help increase my Social Security? Or will…

Which L Fund?

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Q. Since I won’t be forced to take the required minimum distribution until six years from now, I’m going to take your advice and transfer my money from the G Fund to one of the L funds. I can’t put money into the Thrift Savings Plan anymore, since I’m retired. How do I determine which L Fund to put my money in? A. If I were you, I’d put my money into the L Fund that most closely corresponds to my life expectancy.

Which TSP plan?

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Q. I have six years in the Navy. I understand I can pay back/down those years for maximum retirement benefit. I’m 48 years old, have no savings and started this job to get on with planning for the future. I am a GS-7, step 1. I’m planning on contributing at least 5 percent a month of my pay, and I understand the Veterans Affairs Department will match 4 percent. I’d like to retire at 62ish. Here is a copy of my latest leave and earnings statement: ———————————————————————- Pay Period: 12-22                       Name: ALLEN, TROY J Gross Pay                   1,586.40 Federal Tax Amt Withheld                179.76…

72(t)

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Q. For about 10 years, I have been taking money out of my IRA using the Rule 72(t) with no issues. I am 58 years old and am planning to continue doing this well past when I turn 59½. Our daughter has some very high college expenses. I understand you can take funds out of an IRA to help pay for eligible college expenses (tuition, fees and books) along with room and board if the student is enrolled at least 12 credit hours.  Can I take money out of my IRA for educational purposes while still taking money out using Rule…

Two ways to diversify and reduce investment risk

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Diversification. It’s a concept every investor responsible for managing a portfolio for retirement income must understand and use to his advantage. Over the past 15 years, there have been calls from participants to add all manner of specialized investment funds to the Thrift Savings Plan — Internet, real estate, energy, gold, health care or any other market that has been hot — in the name of diversification. Ironically, these calls for more ability to diversify wouldn’t really provide that to any appreciable extent. Instead, adding these kinds of funds will, more than anything, allow participants to concentrate their portfolios in…

Avoiding the early withdrawal penalty

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Q. I am a firefighter with a county fire department in Florida. As such, I am part of the Florida Retirement System in the special risk class. I started my career early and will be eligible for retirement with full benefits and no FRS penalties by age 48. (This is 25 years of service.) However, because of the Internal Revenue Service penalty for retiring before age 50, I would receive a 10 percent tax penalty in addition to the normal taxes I will pay on my retirement income. I understand that I will receive the penalty of 10 percent. However,…

Military buyback and 401(k) rollover

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Q. My husband has 10 years of Air Force service and is in the process of negotiating to take a federal position. Is it possible to use a 401(k) rollover to buy back his service? I am thinking not, since a rollover is only allowable to an IRA or other “qualified plan.” We certainly can take a direct taxable distribution of a portion of that 401(k) plan and use that money to buy back, but he wondered if it can be done with the rollover. A. No.

TSP withdrawal penalty?

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Q. I involuntary separated from federal employment due to a reduction in force at age 53. I receive a small FERS monthly annuity. I am now 59½, and I would like to withdraw $25,000 from my Thrift Savings Plan, which I have never touched. I will have to pay taxes, but will this withdrawal be subject to the 10 percent penalty at my age? A. No.

Military service and Roth TSP

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Q. I am 25 and now have the option to contribute to a Roth TSP. I have four years left on my military contract before I have the opportunity to get out. Seeing that my future with the military is somewhat questionable, would the Roth TSP still be a favorable option? A. Except for tax-free pay earned in a combat zone, I don’t see any reason to expect that contributions to the Roth TSP are somehow better than contributions to the traditional TSP. In fact, I recommend that you favor the traditional TSP over the Roth TSP unless your circumstances…

TSP goals

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Q. You state that we should invest in the Thrift Savings Program based on goals for retirement. My goal is to have $1 million in my TSP account by the time I retire; $1.5 million to $2 million would be even better. My TSP account has about $350,000. What can I do to grow my TSP to $1.5M to $2M over the next 10 to 15 years, given that I will max out the contributions (TSP $17,500 and TSP catch-up $5,500) every year until then? A. There is no way to answer this since you’ve provided a very wide range…

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