Return percentage


Q. Is 9.45 percent a good return? I received my Thrift Savings Plan fourth-quarter statement, and my last 12-month return is 9.45 percent. What is the best distribution as of today for a better return?

A. Whether 9.45 percent is good or bad entirely depends upon what you need to achieve your goals. If you only needed 9 percent, then I guess it’s good. If you needed 10 percent, then it’s not so good. If you don’t know what you needed, then you’re feeling your way around in the dark. Guessing which asset allocation will produce a better return starting today is equivalent to trying to pick a winning lottery number, and I don’t do that.


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 and view his blog at


  1. I think the answer is a little flip and not exactly accurate. Knowing what level of return is desired without also knowing the level of risk the individual is willing to take on to achieve that return is also like playing the lottery.

  2. 9.45% in today’s economy is freaking marvelous regardless of what you “need.” Try to get more anywhere else for less risk, unless you have up to a million or more to invest.

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