TSP investing, withdrawal patterns, getting 5% full match

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The latest survey of TSP participants sheds light on some aspects of investment and participant behavior, including the issue of FERS investors who do not benefit from all of the government’s matching contributions by not investing at least 5% of their salary.

The most common reason again was “currently can’t afford to save that much” cited by 43%, although this is down from 47% last year and 53% in 2017. Without surprise, it was related to income level — 60% of them. with annual salaries below $ 60,000 cited this reason, compared with 40 percent among those above that level.

Inertia – “never changed since initial listing” – was the second most cited, by 31%, while other reasons included using other investments outside of the PST, lack of knowledge about the matching formula and the difficulty of the process of changing investment levels.

Other findings include that while 78 percent of current employees and those who have separated but have not yet started making withdrawals say they are likely to take them as recurring payments, in practice only 54 percent do. For one form of these withdrawals, those based on life expectancy, the numbers are 58 and 15 percent. For the purchase of an annuity, they are 35 and 4%.

Of those who say they are likely to move their TSP balance to an IRA or other retirement plan. The most frequently cited reasons were “better / more investment choices”, to consolidate retirement savings, the potential for higher returns elsewhere, and greater flexibility in withdrawal options.

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