Roth TSP to Roth IRA


Q. I started making Roth TSP contributions in late 2012. I will be 70 years old in May 2017. I would like to roll over my Roth TSP into a Roth IRA before having to make any Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) from my TSP account. I think I will meet the 5-year rule for the Roth TSP on January 1, 2017. The year 2017 is also the year I turn 70 1/2, which, means, I think, that I must take a RMD of TSP funds in 2017.

When should I do the rollover of the Roth TSP funds into a Roth IRA to avoid having to take a RMD on them? Can I wait until 2017?

Alternatively, would I be able to rollover the Roth TSP into a Roth IRA in late December 2016 without incurring a penalty?

I plan to be working as a Federal employee at that time (late 2016 – early 2017); will this affect my ability to do the rollover then?

A. The 5-year rule for Roth IRA accounts does not restrict your ability to roll a balance to another custodian, so that is not a factor in your decision. Your RMD is calculated based on the previous year’s closing account balance. As I understand the rules, if you want to avoid having to take the RMD on based on the Roth balance, you’ll need to remove the Roth money before the end of 2016, but you should consult a CPA for personal advice.


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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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