Thrift Savings Plan

The Thrift Savings Plan is a defined-contribution retirement savings plan similar in many ways to corporate 401(k) plans.

If you're enrolled in FERS, you receive an Agency Automatic Contribution to your TSP account that's equal to 1 percent of your pay. All new hires automatically have 3 percent of their basic pay contributed to the TSP. Plus, you're eligible for additional Agency Matching Contributions of up to 4 percent based on the amount you designate to be withheld from your pay and deposited to your TSP.*

If you're enrolled in CSRS, you may contribute to a TSP account, but you receive no matching contributions.

Contributions to your TSP account may be made in any amount up to the Internal Revenue Code annual limit — for 2015, $18,000 or if you're age 50 or older, $24,000 under the “catch-up” provision. And you can allocate the investment funds in your TSP among several choices to help you pursue your financial goals in the time frame you specify.

There are two account types in the TSP: traditional and Roth. With the traditional account, contributions are made pre-tax, earnings compound on a tax-deferred basis and withdrawals are taxed as ordinary income. Conversely, with the Roth account, contributions are made after-tax, therefore earnings compound on an after-tax basis, and withdrawals are not taxed (provided minimum eligibility requirements are met). Contributions may be made to the traditional account, the Roth account or a combination of the two.

When considering the part a Thrift Savings Plan account may play in supplying your retirement income, some essential questions to ask include:

  • How much should I contribute to my TSP account to fund my retirement?
  • To which investments, and in what proportions, should I allocate my contributions?
  • Do the investment funds in my TSP complement any other investments I may have so that my entire portfolio is diversified appropriately for my investment strategy and financial goals?

We're ready to help you determine the answers to these questions and integrate your TSP account into a comprehensive financial plan to help you pursue your financial goals. To learn more, contact a trusted First Command Financial Advisor today.

*Contributions are matched dollar-for-dollar on the first 3% of pay you contribute each pay period and 50 cents on the dollar for the next 2% of pay.

This description is provided for informational purposes only. First Command Financial Services, Inc. and its related entities are not affiliated with, authorized to sell or represent on behalf of, or otherwise endorsed by the federal employee benefits programs referenced on this web site or by the U.S. Government or U.S. Armed Forces.

Prior to requesting a rollover from your Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) account to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), you should consider whether the rollover is suitable for you. There may be important differences in features, costs, services, withdrawal options and other important aspects between your TSP account and IRA.

TSP accounts have very low administrative and investment expenses. Expenses can have a significant impact on your investment returns over time.

TSP offers various withdrawal options, including in-service, partial and full withdrawal options. You should consider the effect that a withdrawal from your TSP account may have on your ability to make future contributions or withdrawals. TSP permits only one in-service or partial lump-sum withdrawal; therefore, if a second lump-sum withdrawal is needed, you must elect a full withdrawal option (i.e., lump sum, monthly payments, and/or life annuity). You may also want to consider maintaining at least a minimal TSP account balance because, in the event you want to transfer or rollover qualified assets to your TSP account in the future, you must have an open TSP account with a balance when your request is received by the TSP.

For additional information regarding TSP, visit


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