TSP isn't cheap in retirement?

Managing your TSP and alternate investment options after retirement or separation from service.

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Scarfinger
Posts: 616
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:00 am

TSP isn't cheap in retirement?

Post by Scarfinger »

https://www.missionpointplan.com/the-tsp-is-not-cheap/

This is a great article explaining one of the major downfalls of the TSP after you retire.

Basically you can't make withdrawals from your most conservative funds in a down market. Forcing you to sell more shares to make up the difference which cost you more, much more in the long run.

From my research. Most advisors recommended having 1 to 2 years in cash/money market funds and another 3 to 4 years of money in conservative funds. This way you can live through a few down market years and avoid selling "low" when the market is down. This is not possible in the TSP and it is explained very well in this article.

Also RMD's will be taking proportionally according to how you have your TSP allocated. Ok in an "up" year and bad in a "down" year.

I know that there are a few people that keep singing the same song about leaving the TSP once you retire... I will be joining that choir one day.
I am just an average Joe. I have no clue to what the market will do.
TimboSlice wrote: "People really need to stop overthinking this."
Following Daily Seasonal # 139921 as a general guideline.

Bubba823
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:16 am

Re: TSP isn't cheap in retirement?

Post by Bubba823 »

Federal retirees can augment their TSP account with an outside IRA and use the bucket system. One bucket for INCOME (TSP G-fund), and the other bucket for GROWTH (IRA).


So why would you do that? Well, a shortcoming of the TSP is the inability to withdraw from only the G-fund. Your withdrawals will come out of your TSP account proportionately to where your funds are allocated. And does anyone believe it would have been a good idea to withdraw from their TSP account allocated in equities (C, S & I) right after COVID hit in 2020? Of course not. But many people depend on regular, monthly TSP withdrawals for income and cannot wait for their accounts to recover. That’s why you see so many questions about moving to the G-fund close to or after retirement. Many others recommend a split between stocks/bonds/G-fund. But that still doesn’t solve the shortcoming mentioned above.


NOTE: (Modify the $ and % amounts below to fit your own situation.)


Now consider this. Let’s say when you retire you have about $900,000 in your Traditional TSP account. You also have an outside Traditional IRA account. You could roll over about $700,000 of that TSP amount into your IRA and still have $200,000 in your TSP account which you would keep in the ultra-safe G-Fund. That $200,000 in your TSP G-fund is now your INCOME bucket. Now you can set up regular monthly withdrawals of about $3,000 from TSP and it will last you for about 5 years. During those same 5 years, you invest the $700,000 in your IRA into something like the *Vanguard Growth Index Fund Admiral Shares (VIGAX). This is your GROWTH bucket. If you use a conservative growth rate of only 7%, that bucket grows to $900,000 in 5 years. The actual growth of VIGAX over the last 5 years is over 19%. You can do the math on that rate if you want.


The TSP has a little-known rule that can be your friend in retirement years. As long as a TSP account has $200 or more in the account, you may transfer money back into the TSP.


So after 5 years of withdrawals from your TSP G-fund, you can roll another $200,000 from your IRA back into your TSP account G-fund for 5 more years of income.


By the way, *fees the Vanguard Growth Index Fund Admiral Shares (VIGAX) referenced above are $5 for every $10,000 invested. That’s no higher than TSP funds expenses. And there are many more funds out there with similar expense ratios and returns.


Additionally, if you also have a Roth IRA, you then have the ability to convert portions of your Traditional IRA to your Roth IRA. That’s something you cannot do in the TSP. Just don’t convert any more than you can pay in taxes in any one year. Again, your IRAs constitute your GROWTH component, so it’s important NOT to react to short-term market fluctuations. Resist the urge to buy and sell. Another great thing about a Roth IRA is there are no RMDs…..ever! And, there is no income tax on Roth IRA funds inherited by your beneficiaries.


Just keep in mind that you have to be at least 59½ years old to make penalty-free withdrawals from a Traditional IRA. However, you can withdraw your Roth IRA contributions at any age for any reason, penalty-free.


https://www.tsp.gov/account-basics/move-money-into-tsp/


Also.....IRAs and TSP accounts generally become subject to IRS Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) at age 70½ and beyond. A great way to hedge against the subsequent tax hit as well as significantly improving your long-term tax planning strategy is to convert a portion of your traditional IRA into a Roth IRA before age 70½. You CAN’T convert your traditional TSP money to Roth within your TSP account.

Keep in mind that traditional IRA funds converted to a Roth IRA are taxed as income within that tax year, so you need to calculate the amount of tax you will owe. Keeping the conversion to 10% or less of the total balance is a good rule of thumb. If you invest the Roth IRA in the same fund in which the traditional IRA was invested, brokerage firms typically do not charge a fee for the conversion. Also, note that Roth balances provide tax-free growth when held for 5 years or more, although you should anticipate that your Roth balances will be invested and growing for many more years beyond 5. Roth IRA balances are exempt from IRS RMD. (BUT ROTH TSP IS NOT!). In addition, Roth IRAs are not taxed as income to beneficiaries so they become extremely useful tools in estate planning.

Jmk
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:24 am

Re: TSP isn't cheap in retirement?

Post by Jmk »

Lots of good information Bubba, just one correction and one snag I've encountered with the bucket system. The law concerning when you must take RMDs has been changed to 72.

As to the bucket system, just be aware that when you leave money in the traditional TSP G (or any) fund and begin taking monthly withdrawals, TSP calculates how long that money will last to determine at what rate to withhold taxes. If the payments will not deplete the balance in 10 years, TSP withholds taxes at the married with three dependents rate. If, however, your monthly payments would deplete your balance in less than 10 years (possible earnings are not considered), the IRS requires TSP to withhold at 20%. Even if this is more than what you would owe. Admittedly, you would get a refund once you filed, but that's quite a large loan to Uncle Sam for the year.

idaho1
Posts: 51
Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2016 1:08 pm

Re: TSP isn't cheap in retirement?

Post by idaho1 »

Thanks for sharing - very helpful

Scarfinger
Posts: 616
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:00 am

Re: TSP isn't cheap in retirement?

Post by Scarfinger »

Bubba823 wrote: Fri Apr 02, 2021 3:17 pm Federal retirees can augment their TSP account with an outside IRA and use the bucket system. One bucket for INCOME (TSP G-fund), and the other bucket for GROWTH (IRA).
I wasn't thinking about the "G" fund. But you bring up a good option for keeping some money in the TSP.

Thanks Bubba
I am just an average Joe. I have no clue to what the market will do.
TimboSlice wrote: "People really need to stop overthinking this."
Following Daily Seasonal # 139921 as a general guideline.

omoade
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2015 10:13 am

Re: TSP isn't cheap in retirement?

Post by omoade »

Do you have to leave anything in your TSP account? What do you lose if you roll the whole balance over to an IRA (not TSP)?

Scarfinger
Posts: 616
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:00 am

Re: TSP isn't cheap in retirement?

Post by Scarfinger »

You don’t. You would gain diversity and flexibility.

I don’t know all the particulars but there may be tax implications if you have both traditional and Roth tsp and roll over everything at once.

You may have to roll over the Tsp Roth one year and then the Tsp traditional the next year. I may be wrong and you should talk to a tax professional before you rollover.
I am just an average Joe. I have no clue to what the market will do.
TimboSlice wrote: "People really need to stop overthinking this."
Following Daily Seasonal # 139921 as a general guideline.

searight
Posts: 81
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:56 am

Re: TSP isn't cheap in retirement?

Post by searight »

I have been in the TSP for 30 years and have a large balance in the traditional side only. Since I live in Maryland, I have to pay 10% state taxes to put money into ROTH so I don't. Should I create a small ROTH TSP, so that I have the possibility to move ROTH fund into it during retirement if I need to?

Also, to the OP's question, you could keep $200K in G fund and then rebalance the day you are paid to keep it at $200K if equities are doing well or decrease the G when equities are on the slide. So the end result will be what I think you want.

Scarfinger
Posts: 616
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:00 am

Re: TSP isn't cheap in retirement?

Post by Scarfinger »

searight wrote: Fri Apr 16, 2021 2:36 pm I have been in the TSP for 30 years and have a large balance in the traditional side only. Since I live in Maryland, I have to pay 10% state taxes to put money into ROTH so I don't. Should I create a small ROTH TSP, so that I have the possibility to move ROTH fund into it during retirement if I need to?

Also, to the OP's question, you could keep $200K in G fund and then rebalance the day you are paid to keep it at $200K if equities are doing well or decrease the G when equities are on the slide. So the end result will be what I think you want.
Yes I am still considering keeping some in the "G" fund. My first rollover would be the Roth portion of my TSP to a Roth IRA

I think it depends on your situation and the reasons why you want to put money in a Roth account. For me it would be for a "Legacy" account. Something to leave to relatives that would be tax free.

For you... you could do a TSP Traditional to Roth IRA conversion to fill out your tax bracket. For legacy purposes or maybe tax advantages if they apply. From what I have been reading, RMD's can't be used for a conversion so be careful when RMD's are involved. Talk to a professional, which isn't me.

If you are asking if you can convert your TSP traditional to TSP Roth... I honest have no idea. But the main reason for me to get out of the TSP is because TSP Roth is still required to have RMD's taken out of it Pro-Rata. Roth IRA's are not subject to RMD's.
I am just an average Joe. I have no clue to what the market will do.
TimboSlice wrote: "People really need to stop overthinking this."
Following Daily Seasonal # 139921 as a general guideline.

Bubba823
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:16 am

Re: TSP isn't cheap in retirement?

Post by Bubba823 »

searight wrote: Fri Apr 16, 2021 2:36 pm I have been in the TSP for 30 years and have a large balance in the traditional side only. Since I live in Maryland, I have to pay 10% state taxes to put money into ROTH so I don't. Should I create a small ROTH TSP, so that I have the possibility to move ROTH fund into it during retirement if I need to?

Also, to the OP's question, you could keep $200K in G fund and then rebalance the day you are paid to keep it at $200K if equities are doing well or decrease the G when equities are on the slide. So the end result will be what I think you want.
If you're saying rebalance after a withdrawal, that doesn't meet the OP goal because you're still selling and buying. The solution is the bucket system.

Bubba823
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:16 am

Re: TSP isn't cheap in retirement?

Post by Bubba823 »

Scarfinger wrote: Fri Apr 16, 2021 4:24 pm

If you are asking if you can convert your TSP traditional to TSP Roth... I honest have no idea. But the main reason for me to get out of the TSP is because TSP Roth is still required to have RMD's taken out of it Pro-Rata. Roth IRA's are not subject to RMD's.
You cannot convert Traditional to Roth within a TSP account.

Bubba
Posts: 166
Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2020 3:40 am

Re: TSP isn't cheap in retirement?

Post by Bubba »

Jmk wrote: Fri Apr 02, 2021 6:48 pm Lots of good information Bubba, just one correction and one snag I've encountered with the bucket system. The law concerning when you must take RMDs has been changed to 72.

As to the bucket system, just be aware that when you leave money in the traditional TSP G (or any) fund and begin taking monthly withdrawals, TSP calculates how long that money will last to determine at what rate to withhold taxes. If the payments will not deplete the balance in 10 years, TSP withholds taxes at the married with three dependents rate. If, however, your monthly payments would deplete your balance in less than 10 years (possible earnings are not considered), the IRS requires TSP to withhold at 20%. Even if this is more than what you would owe. Admittedly, you would get a refund once you filed, but that's quite a large loan to Uncle Sam for the year.
I would add that there is one major advantage to the G fund. Congress signed a deal that you cannot lose money in the G Fund. Technically, you could lose in a money market fund AND the interest rate in the G is more than likely higher than a money market fund. So, the bucket plan isn't bad...even if you stole my name.

-real Bubba

TSPBuilder
Posts: 256
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:14 pm

Re: TSP isn't cheap in retirement?

Post by TSPBuilder »

Scarfinger wrote: Wed Mar 31, 2021 10:23 pm https://www.missionpointplan.com/the-tsp-is-not-cheap/

This is a great article explaining one of the major downfalls of the TSP after you retire.

Basically you can't make withdrawals from your most conservative funds in a down market. Forcing you to sell more shares to make up the difference which cost you more, much more in the long run.

From my research. Most advisors recommended having 1 to 2 years in cash/money market funds and another 3 to 4 years of money in conservative funds. This way you can live through a few down market years and avoid selling "low" when the market is down. This is not possible in the TSP and it is explained very well in this article.

Also RMD's will be taking proportionally according to how you have your TSP allocated. Ok in an "up" year and bad in a "down" year.

I know that there are a few people that keep singing the same song about leaving the TSP once you retire... I will be joining that choir one day.
Scarfinger,

The Articles biggest concern seems to be drawing money out of conservative funds or the G fund during a market downturn. I don't think the particle has much weight if one uses the seasonal strategies (85660 in my case doesn't have one year that is less then 20% return in the 2004 to present set of data) within the tsp or outside brokerages since they pretty much eliminate down years.

Scarfinger
Posts: 616
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:00 am

Re: TSP isn't cheap in retirement?

Post by Scarfinger »

TSPBuilder wrote: Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:06 am
Scarfinger,

The Articles biggest concern seems to be drawing money out of conservative funds or the G fund during a market downturn. I don't think the particle has much weight if one uses the seasonal strategies (85660 in my case doesn't have one year that is less then 20% return in the 2004 to present set of data) within the tsp or outside brokerages since they pretty much eliminate down years.
As my thought process is right now, I don't want to use a daily strategy. I want to use more of a long term approach. Most likely rebalancing and or withdrawaling funds in December.

And... past returns are not guaranteed future returns, but 85660 looks to good to be true. I understand what your saying but I can't seem to follow a daily strategy 100% of the time. So I am planning on a long term strategy with greater diversification using Fidelity funds once I retire. Potentially leaving some money in the "G" fund for the conservative part of my portfolio.


Thanks for the input.
I am just an average Joe. I have no clue to what the market will do.
TimboSlice wrote: "People really need to stop overthinking this."
Following Daily Seasonal # 139921 as a general guideline.

TSPBuilder
Posts: 256
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:14 pm

Re: TSP isn't cheap in retirement?

Post by TSPBuilder »

Scarfinger,

Your strategy is a good solid one based on what I've been reading the past week. Live long and prosper, T

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Fund Prices2021-04-19

FundPriceDayYTD
G $16.57 0.01% 0.35%
F $20.64 -0.09% -2.61%
C $62.24 -0.53% 11.32%
S $82.24 -1.25% 10.83%
I $38.35 0.41% 8.36%
L2065 $13.67 -0.31% 10.15%
L2060 $13.67 -0.31% 10.15%
L2055 $13.67 -0.31% 10.15%
L2050 $27.92 -0.26% 8.17%
L2045 $12.76 -0.24% 7.66%
L2040 $46.61 -0.22% 7.18%
L2035 $12.33 -0.20% 6.61%
L2030 $41.12 -0.18% 6.05%
L2025 $11.69 -0.14% 4.79%
Linc $22.81 -0.06% 2.38%

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