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 currently a retired veteran receiving both retirement and disability concurrently. I just recently became a federal employee. When I finish 20 years as a federal employee, will I be able to collect FERS, retirement, disability and my TSP?

Q. I would like your opinion about borrowing from the TSP. This is my financial situation: Second house mortgage, $33,000, at 8 percent interest. First mortgage, $179,000, an ARM at 4 percent interest. Student loan, $19,000, at 7 percent. I am thinking about taking a $50,000 loan from the TSP and paying the second mortgage and the student loan. Another option is refinancing the mortgages at 4.5 percent fixed and just continue paying the student loan at the current rate. I am afraid of borrowing from the TSP and lose on potential future earnings, but I don’t want to continue paying so…

Q. OPM approved my disability retirement case in 2015 (after 31 years of service with the federal government), and I “officially” retired on disability at age 54 of that year. I was denied Social Security disability benefits. I am now receiving the 40 percent disability retirement annuity and am having a difficult time making financial ends meet each month. Therefore, I am looking at the possibility of withdrawing fixed monthly payments from my TSP account to provide additional income until I turn 62, when my disability retirement annuity is converted to a regular retirement annuity. I currently have $323,000 in…

Q. I’m a current CSRS employee considering retirement after 34 years of service. With a $300,000 balance in my TSP account. I’m currently risk adverse and for the past two years have been in the L Income Fund. I have read many of the questions about investing and found a familiar reply below: “I suggest that you invest your TSP balance in the L Fund that most closely corresponds to your life expectancy”. I am 61 years of age and hopefully will be alive until my early 80s. Isn’t the L2030 fund too risky for someone of my age? What…

Q. I understand the lump-sum annual leave payment at retirement cannot be put into the TSP for deferred tax or matching purposes. However, can you elect to defer to receive the lump-sum payment until the following calendar year, such that it counts as earned income in that following year rather than the year you retire? If nothing else, it would at least count as earned income on the basis of which I can make another year’s worth of contributions to my brokerage Roths.

Q. Although we are not there yet, it seems the expense ratio gap between the Thrift Savings Plan and Vanguard is continuing to narrow. Vanguard recently lowered its expense ratios considerably on many of its funds. Admiral Share-class expense ratios on some funds are within a whisker of being the same as TSP. Do you think that a firm like Vanguard can now offer advantages to individuals who want to roll over their TSP balances to them? At the very least, it should serve as a wake-up call to BlackRock and TSP management that they need to not let the…

Q. I am a retired federal employee and want to start taking my TSP annuity. I can choose from either a TSP annuity or one through MetLife. Which do most retirees choose? Should I split the amount in my account equally between a TSP annuity and a MetLife annuity? Do most retirees do that, or do they just choose the TSP annuity? What are the benefits and risks of either option?

1 2 3 4 5 249