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 and view his blog at

Q: Would I be able to use the funds from my qualified 401(k) that I plan to roll over to make this payment into the Federal Employees Retirement System retirement without IRS penalty, losing 10 percent? For example, if the funds from the previous corporation’s 401(k) was $5,000 and the catch up I needed to make to FERS retirement was $5,500, could I pay that amount with the 401(k) funds and not get a penalty or pay early distribution fees? A: Unfortunately, you can’t roll your 401(k) or IRA funds into your FERS annuity account. If you separated from your…

Q: I have seen your recommended allocations for the Thrift Savings Plan. You mentioned using your lifetime expectancy, therefore placing you in the correct lifecycle fund. At that point, allocate the beginning percentages of that fund and rebalance annually until your life expectancy indicates a change to a different L Fund. This contribution allocation would have resulted in approximately a 30 percent to 35 percent loss in the account within the past two years. Utilizing this method, I would be contributing 15 percent combined to the G and F funds and 85 percent to the risky funds at the age…

Q: I am under the Federal Employees Retirement System with 10 years of frozen Civil Service Retirement System. I withdrew my CSRS and need to redeposit $30,000 to receive full benefits. At retirement, can I take money out of my Thrift Savings Plan to pay this redeposit? A: You are only permitted to take withdrawals from the TSP under the usual restrictions. There is not special exception for this purpose. — Mike Miles

Q: I’m retiring at end of year. I will collect my 33 percent and Social Security supplement. I am under law enforcement at federal prisons. I will be 52 with 20 years of service. I don’t want an annuity when I decide to collect from the Thrift Savings Plan. Can you explain why they will not penalize my other two, but they will penalize my TSP if I collect now? After all, this is part of my retirement just like the other two. Are there ways to avoid being penalized? A: Because you will be retiring under the special provision…

Q: I am receiving monthly withdrawals from my Thrift Savings Plan account. I would like to make a partial lump sum withdrawal and continue receiving my monthly amount for the next 30 years. Is this possible or do I need to withdraw the total amount? A: Use form TSP-77 to request a one-time partial withdrawal. — Mike Miles

Q: I intend to retire in July 2010. I would like to make maximum allowable contributions to my Thrift Savings Plan during that year. Is it legal/permissable to make the maximum yearly contribution allowed by IRS rules between January and July? Or must it be over a 12 month period? A: The annual limits are not pro-rated. You may contribute the entire annual limit during a partial year of employment. — Mike Miles

Q: Can I use my health spending account or flexible saving account to take CPR and First Aid classes or buy First Aid kits? A: Neither of these appears in the list of Qualified Medical Expenses appearing in IRS Publication 502. I can’t say whether or not someone has figured out a way qualify them for payment, however. — Mike Miles

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