Managing withdrawals


Q. I’ve been reading that the TSP is terrific for accumulating funds for retirement, but not so good when it comes time for withdrawal options when the time comes to tap my account. Do you agree with this? And would I be better off rolling over a portion of my TSP into a private IRA-type account so that I can more easily manage my account and withdrawals, for example, where the monthly distributions come from (because of the TSP proportional distribution rule, for example)?

A. I agree that it would be easier to manage withdrawals for income if the TSP would relax their rules. It is reasonable to consider using an IRA as a “conduit” to facilitate more flexibility in accessing your money. My goal is usually to use a combination of lump-sum withdrawals, monthly payments and an IRA account at a bank or credit union to establish and maintain a cash reserve fund to support my clients’ liquidity needs. Ultimately, the goal is to maintain your TSP account for life, if possible.


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

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