Rolling Roth into TSP?


Q. On March 11, you wrote a response to a gentleman who was retiring from the Postal Service and had a question about moving his Thrift Savings Program to a civilian account. In your response you wrote, “You are not required to roll over your TSP account and may continue it for life. You should do everything you can to keep your money in the TSP for as long as possible, since it is superior to any other investment account you will find. Your TSP should be the last account you tap for retirement income.”

That response raised a few questions for me: If someone intends to purchase a life annuity with their TSP upon retirement but also has a non-TSP Roth IRA, do you recommend that they use up all of the Roth prior to purchasing an annuity? Or would you instead suggest that they roll their private Roth into a Roth TSP? And if they do roll it into a Roth TSP, how does the purchase of an annuity work, since some of the contributions were pretax and some were post-tax?

A. You can’t transfer or roll a Roth IRA into the TSP. Which account you use to buy a life annuity will depend entirely on your circumstances and expectations for the future.


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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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