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’ll be turning 70½ in 2018 and will start withdrawing my required minimum distribution. My plan is to leave my funds with TSP, then receive the minimum monthly payment and the rest at the end of each year. I’m going to invest a small amount in a balance account. The rest of the money I would like to save for my family. Should I put it in a regular savings account to be safe, or would you suggest something different?

Q. I will be retiring from the U.S. Postal Service in September after 30 years. I started Roth deposits in my TSP in 2014. I know if I withdraw before five years (Jan. 1, 2019), the interest portion from the Roth part will be taxable along with the conventional part. If I withdraw monthly before Jan. 1, 2019, will the interest in the Roth portion become tax-exempt after Jan. 1, 2019, or do I have to wait until Jan. 1, 2019, to start withdrawals to keep the Roth portion tax-exempt later on?

Q. I am having difficulty finding the definition of substantial earnings. My Social Security statement shows “Your Taxed Social Security Earnings.” Is that the same as substantial earnings? If not, how do I find out what my substantial earnings are? I have the chart listing the substantial earnings for each year.

Q. I joined federal service in July 1985, at which time I was placed under FERS. Between July 1985 and January 1987, the official start-up date of FERS, I was not able to contribute to the TSP.  Since January 1987 I have contributed the maximum 10 percent to TSP.  As I get closer to retirement I’m curious if the government recognizes the lost opportunity of not being able to make TSP contributions between July 1985 and January 1987. Is there any way to make-up for lost TSP contributions and lost government matching?

Q. I am a full-time federal technician in the Air National Guard. I am 54 years old with 33-plus years of military time and 27-plus years as a federal technician (under FERS). I have recently been involuntarily separated from the Air National Guard. This means I am losing both my full-time technician position as well as my part-time military position. I understand that I will be able to draw my FERS retirement (based on my total federal time) along with the Federal Retirement Supplement. Based on my involuntary separation, am I able to start drawing from my TSP without penalty?

Q. How many years must one work to be entitled to matching funds for retirement? I am a FERS employee with 11 years of service at the Department of Veterans Affairs. I’ve been told one has to have a minimum of 20 years of service to receive matching funds from your TSP. Is this true?

With another potential collision between the U.S. government’s need to borrow money and the limit currently imposed on its ability to do so, I am receiving frequent questions from TSP participants about whether the G Fund is safe from the threat of the federal debt ceiling. The answer is your investment in the G Fund is at least as safe as any investment you’ll find. Whether or not the debt ceiling is raised, the law states that the government must make good on its obligation to G Fund investors. Here is how the TSP explains the debt limit’s impact on…

Q. I retired from the federal government in 2013 (before age 70½) and left my TSP account intact. I will be 70½ this year, but continue to work full time as a college professor. Will I still be required to make a mandatory withdrawal from my TSP account even though I continue to work full time, or is that option only available to those who continue to work for the federal government after age 70½?

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