Monthly Archives: November, 2013

Roth and total TSP contribution limits

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Q. I understand that a federal civilian employee under FERS can make $52,000 a year to the Thrift Savings Plan. I know that the $17,500 regular contribution and the $5,500 catch-up contribution totaling $23,000 can be put into the Roth TSP. How much of the overall $52,000 limit can be put into the Roth TSP, and how would one contribute to the Roth TSP above the $17,500 and $5,500 limits? A. You misunderstand the limits. The $17,500 and $5,500 limits are the total deferral limits to either the regular or Roth TSP.

Lump-sum annual leave into TSP?

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Q. I am in FERS (age 57 with 30 years). I have been offered the buyout and will have to be off the roll Jan. 31.  How should I go about having a portion of my lump-sum annual leave payment go directly into my Thrift Savings Plan account? A. This is not allowed.

Test your retirement financial fitness

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Are you planning to retire soon? If so, you’ll need to figure out whether you’re financially able to make it work in the near and the distant future. Because there are few, if any, truly reliable financial guarantees, this can be a difficult thing to determine. The essential question is this: “Will I have the resources — usually cash — available when I need it to support my desired standard of living for the rest of my life?” If someone else is depending upon you for all or part of their financial support, your retirement decision will affect them, as…

Avoid these mistakes when planning to retire

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It’s easy to make mistakes when you are planning to retire. Some of the biggest mistakes apply to all employees; a few apply only to CSRS or FERS retirees. All can be costly. Here they are and what you can do to avoid them: Retiring on the spur of the moment. It can be disastrous, for two reasons. First, if you hand in your retirement application at the last minute, it may contain errors that delay processing or even cause it to be rejected. Second, decisions made in haste often come back to bite you. Once committed to a course…

TSP residential loan

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Q. I am a longtime CSRS employee with a pretty good Thrift Savings Plan balance. I plan to retire in two years and move to another city when I retire. My spouse is planning to retire in eight months, and we are planning to buy a house in the new city. We would like to buy the new house and begin the transition to the new city without selling our existing home until I retire. We are looking at a number of ways to finance the purchase of the new home and afford a mortgage payment on that house, a…

TSP allocation

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Q. I’m 32 years old, have been contributing to the Thrift Savings Plan since 2005. I have 40 percent in my C Fund, 30 percent in S and 30 percent in I. Is this a good contribution allocation? I want to be as aggressive as possible, but I am also looking at moving most of my gains to the G Fund due to the fact the market may be headed in the same direction as 2009. If I want to protect my gains with the means of buying back at a lower price, what would be your recommendation be on…

Maximizing TSP matching

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Q. I’m FERS and will be retiring in January as soon as we get 100 percent credit for sick leave. I anticipate two checks coming in. If I were to put as much as possible into my Thrift Savings Plan — let’s say I was able to put in $16,000 over the two pay periods — how does the government match this? Is it per pay period or the amount I contribute?  What is the consensus to get the most in a short period of time? If I put in all available funds, after deductions, and it is considered pretax, can I…

Fixed index annuity

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Q. My husband and I would like to participate in a fixed index annuity offered by a nongovernment company, but the information I gathered about Thrift Savings Plan transfers, withdrawals and annuities is confusing. It appears that if we want any type of annuity, we can only purchase if TSP does it for us, and the choices are extremely limited. Also, there seems to be no “non-hardship” type of distribution available before age 59½ that we can use to move our funds. Am I missing anything here, or are we just stuck with our limited options and no way to…

Tax withholding rate

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Q. I am a federal employee considering retiring at age 64. I want to withdraw my Thrift Savings Plan funds in one lump sum, which by then will be approximately $400,000. At what tax rate can I expect to be hit upon withdrawal? A. Your withdrawal will be subject to 20 percent federal tax withholding. Read the document at https://www.tsp.gov/PDF/formspubs/tsp-536.pdf for more information.

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