Combat pay, TSP and 401(k)


Q. I am retiring from active duty in about six months. Almost one-third of my Thrift Savings Plan balance is from combat-zone tax-exempt contributions. I am looking to possibly roll my TSP into my next employer’s 401(k). What happens to the CZTE amount? How do I keep this amount tax exempt, and what are my options for this amount at retirement?

A. Given that the TSP is the best retirement investment environment you will find, I urge you to consider maintaining your TSP account and maximizing its use for as long as possible. Unless there are some extraordinary circumstances, you will probably be better off maintaining your TSP account and then transferring your 401(k) balance into it later, after you’ve left your private-sector job.


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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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