Author Mike Miles

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.

Q. I am considering taking a loan from my TSP to buy a car. I understand that if I retire before repaying the loan, the remaining amount will be declared a taxable distribution. I am old enough that when I retire I will have to take a minimum required distribution from my TSP each year. If the loan balance is declared a taxable distribution, will that amount count toward my minimum taxable distribution for that year?

Q. I am permanently, totally disabled from my doctor after neck surgery. I am FERS, starting in 1990. I retired from the U.S. Postal Service on disability retirement on 1-1-2017. I am thinking of withdrawing $1,000 a month from my TSP on a full payout. Will this affect my Social Security I am receiving, or affect my pension? Do TSP withdrawals affect disability retirement pay in any way?

Q. If I take the VERA at age 55, can I roll my Fidelity IRA into my TSP and take monthly payments for all of it starting at 55 without the 10 percent penalty? Also, what is the time lag typically from retirement to get your first FERS annuity payment and TSP monthly payment? In other words, how long would I be out of pocket when I retire until those payments kick in?

Q. I am in the FERS retirement plan with 30-plus years of service and a plan to retire at age 63 with 42 years of service. I have most of my TSP money in the traditional TSP, but have recently began putting all of my contributions and catch up contributions into ROTH TSP only. I would like to avoid required minimum distributions on my ROTH TSP funds when I retire by transferring this money out of the TSP system into a brokerage account. Is this possible?

Q. I began federal civil service 10/22/1983 and retired from the U.S. Department of Agriculture 5/13/2013 on an “early out” offer. For my nearly 30 years of service, I never left CSRS, paid Social Security, and qualified fully for CSRS Benefits at my retirement. I did, however, participate in the employee-only [no match from my agency] paid deduction that was an “option” for CSRS to build a THRIFT Saving Program that currently has an approximate current value of $235,000. I retired early and have been receiving monthly retirement benefits since 5/13/2013 [and thus a substantially reduced monthly benefit, but at my…

Q. Do you know what the federal withholding tax percentage is these days? I’ve heard it used to be 25 percent, but with the tax cuts in 2018 is it now lower? I’m retiring on 12/31/18 and trying to guesstimate how much will be taken out of my annual leave lump sum payment, which will be for 388 hours of leave. Is the withholding percentage determined independently by each federal agency?

Q. I am 59 and retired in 2015 at 57 from a federal law enforcement position. I started a consulting LLC in Texas in 2018 and do not take regular draws from the company account. I am currently receiving Social Security supplement along with my pension. Do the gross earnings of my LLC count toward the earnings test even when I do not take a draw equal to or greater than the earnings limit set for the current year 2018? Or, if I take a draw and maintain that amount under the limit, would any remaining funds in the LLC…

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