Author Mike Miles

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.

Q. I would like to retire on May 31, 2018, and I would like to max out my TSP contribution for the year. My last working pay period (PP) would start on May 27, 2018. My last full working pay period would be from May 13 – 25 and the pay day for that PP wouldn’t be until June 1, 2018, the day after I will have retired. Will a TPS contribution be taken from my paycheck and put into my TSP account for the May 13 – 25 pay period on June 1, 2018 – and again for the…

Q. I’m 58 and considering retirement in the near future. I’ve got about $420,000 in my TSP and I’m leaning toward taking a TSP joint life annuity, since I’m retiring relatively early and might exhaust my TSP by taking regular monthly withdrawals. I know MetLife is a reputable and well-established company. Is there any federal protection or other kind of guarantee for annuitants in the event that MetLife becomes insolvent in the future?

Q. I am a 41-year-old active duty military member with 24 years of service, retiring in 15 months. I am debating whether or not to apply for a financial hardship withdrawal from my TSP. As all too common in the military, my family and I moved from our house in one location to our new duty station. The home in the first location did not sell, so we rented. When we had issues with two separate tenants, we had to pay our mortgage and our rent. This double payment quickly depleted our savings. When we moved back to the home,…

Q. I retired as CSRS in 2015 and have a TSP account. I’ve recently decided to hire a financial planner and he recommends to “link” my accounts (savings, IRA, TSP) to a financial management tool that consolidates & updates your investments in order to get a total view of your accounts in one location for analysis. This necessitates providing my user IDs and passwords via secure encryption. The tool does not “store” the user ID or passwords. These tools seem rather common in the financial planning profession. I still have hesitation in providing my info via a tool. Would you…

Q. I am CSRS Offset. I withdrew my retirement funds years ago, and need to make a redeposit. I want to move money from my individual 401(k) to the Office of Personnel Management to make the redeposit. Will OPM report it to the IRS as a rollover, or will it be taxed as if I never re-deposited it?

Q. Is the TSP technically a 401(k)?  I know all the same rules apply and, for example, when the contribution max or catch-up max goes up for 401(k)s, the TSP max also goes up, but I’ve never actually seen it referred to as a 401(k). If Congress changes the rules for 401(k)s as they are apparently considering, would the TSP rules also change, or would Congress have to address those separately?

Q. I owe for service credit when I withdrew my CSRS retirement in 2000. I did return to the government in 2003 and I’m now CSRS Offset. With interest I owe about $78,000. I have recently started making payment so I can receive the credit. I’m 56 and I hope to work until I’m 60. Since the interest continues to accumulate and I don’t have funds to make very large payments, I’m wondering if it would be wise to take out a TSP loan to pay down some of what I owe? If I do retire at 60 would any…

Q. Theoretical case: If a retiree has a $10,000 per year SRS benefit then works part-time earning $40,000 per year, can the retiree place all or most of post retirement earnings into employers tax-deferred account, therefore not impacting SRS earnings test? The desired result would be to not have any earnings or insignificant earnings, thereby retaining $10,000 per year SRS benefit while also generating $40,000 tax-deferred account. I think the IRS annual deferral limit is approximately $54,000. Thoughts?

Q. I retired three years ago and put my TSP funds in the L fund. I will be 70 years old in November.  Should I move my money into the L 2020 fund, since I noticed that the rate of return is significantly higher and I will not be needing to take money from the TSP until I am 70 ½ years old?

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