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Investments swell in TSP Roth funds

Oct. 22, 2012 - 04:12PM   |  
By STEPHEN LOSEY   |   Comments

The number of Thrift Savings Plan participants with Roth accounts swelled to 51,354 in September, the board governing the plan said Monday.

That’s a 28 percent increase from the roughly 40,000 federal employees and Marines who had signed up for the new Roth option by the end of August, the option’s fourth month in existence. Those participants have so far deposited nearly $50 million in their Roth option, the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board said. That’s up 66 percent from nearly $30 million in Roth accounts in August.

The new Roth investment option, which was launched May 7, allows participants to invest after-tax earnings into funds that will grow without tax liability on future earnings. This differs from the standard TSP plan, where before-tax dollars are invested and taxed when they are withdrawn.

The Roth’s September population includes both civilian federal employees and Marines. More than 5,300 Marines had signed up for Roth by the end of September.

Army, Navy and Air Force service members gained access to Roth on Oct. 1. Steven Galing, the Defense Department’s representative on TSP’s Employee Thrift Advisory Council, said he expects those service members will quickly sign up for the Roth option.

Military reservists are now the only TSP participants still waiting on Roth. They are expected to get it in late fall 2013.

Civil Service Retirement System participants — who tend to be older than employees under the newer Federal Employees Retirement System — are depositing the most into Roth, on average. In September, the average CSRS Roth participant had a balance of $1,382, and the average FERS participant had a $716 balance. The average Marine had a $954 balance.

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