TSP withdrawal penalties


Q. I am retiring at age 50 as a federal law enforcement official at the end of the year. I would like to make penalty-free withdrawals from my TSP starting next year. Can I make monthly withdrawals from my TSP account in the amount of my choosing without incurring the 10% early withdrawal penalty? I would not change the amount of the TSP monthly distributions until sometime after age 59. The TSP computed payments based on my life expectancy were too low of a figure. 

A. No, but you may use one of two other methods for computing a series of Substantially Equal Periodic Payments that will avoid the early withdrawal penalty if done in accordance with IRC Section 72t, and which should produce substantially larger monthly payments than the life expectancy method. Search online for a reputable 72t distribution calculator to compare the allowable computation methods and then consult a CPA for guidance before taking any action.


About Author

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 fedexperts@federaltimes.com and view his blog at money.federaltimes.com.

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