Ask The Experts: Money Matters

By Mike Miles

Consider options before rolling over TSP

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Q. I am a CSRS employee (34 years) anticipating retirement within the next few months. I will be receiving a healthy CSRS annuity and also have substantial funds in a TSP account. My debts are paid off, my needs are simple, and frankly I can easily meet my monthly expenses with the CSRS annuity alone. I don’t need the additional annuity from the TSP when I turn 70 and a half, but I suppose I will have to take it anyway. I would like to have the flexibility to use the my money in the TSP as an emergency fund if I should need it, and I recognize that these funds would be subject to tax if I were to make an emergency withdrawal. However, my understanding is that with the TSP, I can only make one post-retirement withdrawal. So I am considering rolling the TSP over to a private sector IRA that would allow me to make emergency withdrawals if necessary. Do you have any thoughts on my situation?

A. You may take only one lump-sum partial withdrawal, but may then take a full withdrawal as a series of monthly payments. I recommend that you exhaust your TPS withdrawal options before you resort to leaving it for an IRA. It’s probably not an all-or-nothing choice.

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