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. My understanding is that the TSP lifecycle funds do not change allocation percentages based on projected market trends and changes in risk. For example, a lifecycle fund would not increase the percent in G funds if they thought a bear market was nearing. So, if Forbes is right and a bear market looms, what is the best way to minimize loss in one’s TSP lifecycle fund? Should we drop back from lifetime expectancy L fund selection to actual expected retirement timeframe for our L fund? When is the recommended time to do this? A. Market timing is pretty simple,…

Q. In your May 7, 2018, “Money Matters” blog you provided information concerning the rollover of CSRS Voluntary Contribution Program (VCP) funds into a Roth IRA. Can the contribution portion of such funds (non-interest, after tax portion) be rolled over into the Roth TSP? Form RI 38-124, referenced in your earlier column, suggests not, but the most current version of that form predates the creation of the Roth TSP. Such a rollover would be particularly attractive in light of the ability to designate TSP withdrawals as traditional, Roth or a proportional amount of each, with the new withdrawal flexibilities coming to…

Q. My husband is a CSRS retiree. His Social Security benefit was reduced due to his receiving a pension. I am at full retirement age and plan to apply for Social Security based on his earnings since I do not have my quarters met. Will my Social Security be based on his benefit before the reduction or will mine be based on his reduced amount? A. This is a question for a Social Security rep, but it is my understanding that your spousal benefit will be calculated based on your husband’s windfall elimination provision-reduced benefit amount.

Q. I understand how and why the L funds such as the 2020, 2030 and 2040 adjust themselves as you get closer the target date. I don’t understand why the L Income Fund adjusts itself, since isn’t it the consistency of the Income Fund that retirees are after? A. The stated goal of the L Income Fund is “to achieve a low level of growth with a high emphasis on preservation of assets.” I can’t tell you why they decided to use this method to achieve this goal, since it isn’t necessary, but that’s the way it is. Remember that…

Q. I retired from my dual-status job on Dec. 31, 2018, at the age of 53 in Mississippi, which is below my minimum retirement age. Am I able to collect from my TSP plan without paying a penalty since I am under my MRA? What are the laws that govern this for my CPA to use at tax time? A. If you receive a TSP distribution before you reach age 59 ½, in addition to the regular income tax, you may have to pay an early withdrawal penalty tax equal to 10 percent of any taxable portion of the distribution not…

Q. If I retire from civil service (under FERS) and I return to work as a civil servant at a later date, I know that my annuity will be subtracted from my pay. However, will I be able to contribute to TSP again? If so, can I contribute to my original TSP account or would I have to start over with another account? A. You will allowed to contribute to the TSP for during any period of eligible employment under TSP’s rules: https://www.tsp.gov/PlanParticipation/EligibilityAndContributions/index.html. A new TSP account will be opened for you when your are eligibly employed.

Q. I currently make the maximum and catch-up contributions to my TSP account and plan on retiring after 20 years of service as a law enforcement officer. I have a traditional IRA and also make the maximum yearly contribution with the idea of rolling this into my TSP post-retirement. Can I continue contributing to the IRA after I separate from government service, if I continue to earn income, then roll it into my TSP anytime post-retirement? A. Yes, although transfers of post-tax IRA money (from non-deductible contributions, usually) into the TSP is not allowed.

Q. I am 47 years old with 23 years in federal law enforcement. I will be eligible for retirement in two years at 49 years old, in the year I turn 50, so I will be eligible to draw from my TSP without penalty immediately. I have over $500,000 in my TSP. My decision to draw will be based on possible employment opportunities and income post-retirement. But if possible, I would like to minimize my impact on the balance. I know you have previously advised placing money in the L Fund closest to your life expectancy if you are unsure…

Q. I work for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and am currently 65 years old. I started working for the federal government on July 4, 2010. The plan is to continue working as long as I can, past 70. When I retire it will be under FERS (born Sept. 12, 1953). Do I start taking Social Security at age 70 if I’m still working? Also, can I continue putting money into my TSP after age 70 and 1/2 (the required minimum distribution age)? Are there any other things I should be aware of if I retire after age…

Q. I am 52 years old and I am currently a government employee. I have approximately $38,000 in my TPS, all in the G Fund and I plan to retire in 10 years. I also have money coming in from an active-duty military retirement. I was thinking of transferring the entire balance to the L2030 to try and maximize growth over time. Is this a good decision? A. It’s impossible to say from the information you’ve provided here. If you don’t know what to do, I think you allocate your TSP money into the L Fund that most closely corresponds to your…

1 2 3 284