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TSP Program :
(Military Retirement page HERE)

The Thrift Savings Plan, previously available only to DoD civilians, expands eligibility to include military members (Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Reserves and Coast Guard).

This is one of the most exciting changes in military compensation in decades. Don't let this opportunity pass without understanding how it could help you prepare for a comfortable retirement.

For example, if you are 23 years of age now and begin contributing $50 each pay period it would grow to $446,387 by the time you are 65. This calculation is based on an 8 percent average annual return and contributions to age 65. A one-year delay lowers that figure by $70,912.

TSP will allow you to set aside pre-tax dollars from your regular pay to put into a retirement account that will be managed by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.

This lowers your current taxable income. Contributions and earnings will be taxed when you begin withdrawing the money. You can invest your TSP contributions in five different investment funds: Government Securities Investment (G) Fund; Fixed Income Index Investment (F) Fund; Common Stock Index Investment (C) Fund; Small Capitalization Stock Index Investment (S) Fund and International Stock Index Investment (I) Fund.

The G and F funds are fixed income funds and the C, I and S are stock funds.

It's critical that you review and understand each fund's risk. Also evaluate your tolerance for risk and the length of time you'll have to contribute to the account.

In-depth information on each fund can be found online at http://www.tsp.gov/features/chapter08.html

You can contribute up to 7 percent of basic pay you earn each month.

Additionally, each year the Internal Revenue Service sets limits on total contribution amounts. The IRS limit for the year 2001 is $10,500. Each year this figure is recalculated.

In order for you to contribute money into your TSP account from special pay, incentive pay or bonuses, you must already be contributing money from basic pay.

There is a special 60-day enrollment period from Oct. 9 to Jan. 31. Contributions will begin the first week of January 2002.

Subsequently there will be only two periods each year (Open Season) when you can enroll thereafter. Open seasons are currently May 15 through July 31 and Nov. 15 through Jan. 31. When you separate or retire from the military, you can transfer the money to an Individual Retirement Account or a civilian 401(k) plan.

Additionally, you can opt to leave the money with TSP where it may continue to accrue earnings.

You can begin to withdraw money from your TSP account without penalty when you are 59.5 years old.

Early withdrawals are subject to a 10 percent penalty fee and will also be counted as ordinary taxable income.

(Military Retirement page HERE)

 

 

 

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