Roth vs. TSP for early retirement


Q. I am 55 with 13 years of service. My wife is three years younger than me and will work three additional years — until I am 65.

My Thrift Savings Plan balance is approximately $200,000, and I hope to retire at 62. My wife and I have other investments of approximately $300,000, totaling $500,000 (mostly 401(k), but approximately 20 percent Roth).

I understand that when I am retired and after we reach the “threshold,” I will pay one of every two dollars made. Is this true for dollars dispersed from Roth accounts? I understood them to be “tax-free.”

A. Distributions from a TSP account, Roth or traditional, whether or not they are taxable, do not count as earned income for purposes of offsetting Social Security benefits.


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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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