Is the TSP a 401(k)?


Q. Is the TSP technically a 401(k)?  I know all the same rules apply and, for example, when the contribution max or catch-up max goes up for 401(k)s, the TSP max also goes up, but I’ve never actually seen it referred to as a 401(k). If Congress changes the rules for 401(k)s as they are apparently considering, would the TSP rules also change, or would Congress have to address those separately?

A. The TSP is not a 401(k) plan. Based on history, I expect the TSP’s contribution limits and most other rules to follow those for 401(k) plans, however.


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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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