TSP vs. self-directed IRA


Q. Why would you recommended keeping money in TSP, when, with the possible exception of the G Fund, you can replicate the S, I and C via the use of low-cost exchange-traded funds.  The IRA provides much more flexibility regarding withdrawal of funds and many more investment choices — stocks, ETFs, MLPs, real estate investment trusts, to name a few.

A. To reap the benefits of the strategic use of the G Fund and the much lower costs. I know the benefit of these. You haven’t specified the benefit of the securities you mention. There may be times when you must leave the TSP to meet your income needs, but this can often be avoided with some good planning. I manage lots of retirement plans for federal clients and rarely do they need to abandon the TSP.


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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 fedexperts@federaltimes.com and view his blog at money.federaltimes.com.

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