Ask The Experts: Money Matters

By Mike Miles

More control over savings

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Q. I’ve been retired for several years and have been taking the good advice you’ve been suggesting in your “Ask the Experts” articles. Since I know very little about how to invest, I’ve put all my TSP savings in the L-2030 fund. Since I don’t need to withdraw any money at the present time, I plan on leaving the money there until it’s time for the RMD in about four years and I’ve named several beneficiaries for my account. You stated in one of your articles that if I didn’t need the money from the RMD, I can just move it to a similar investment in a taxable discount brokerage account. Does your company “Variplan” handle such accounts?

A. Yes, I provide comprehensive financial decision support for feds, including analysis and advice covering investments and other assets outside the TSP. Visit for more information.

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TSP allocation

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Q. I have $115,000 in my TSP account. I’m retiring in August, and I plan on using the entire amount to get me through until age 60 when I draw my military retirement. Does it make sense to move my entire account into the G fund now? I’m going to draw the account down to nothing in 54 months, and I need to ensure I have the money during that time.

 Currently I’m 70 percent S fund, 20 percent I fund and 10 percent F fund.

A. Yes. Your current allocation has lost 50 percent of its value twice during the past 15 years.


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TSP withdrawal penalty

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Q. When I first opened my TSP savings account back in the late 1990s, no one ever briefed me that there would be a specific retirement age attached to my account. I will be retiring in a year. I will have a total of 28 years of active federal military service. I will be 48 years of age at retirement. Will I have to pay a penalty to withdraw all of my money from the TSP? If I have to pay a penalty, what is it? Read the rest of this entry »

Transferring spouse’s 401K funds

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Q. I am a federal employee with TSP and I am still working. My wife is retired and on disability. Can she transfer/rollover her employer-sponsored 401K funds to my TSP? If so, what are the restrictions/conditions?

A. No.

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Q. I have 36 years of federal service. Can I take out my TSP?

A. Yes, if you are at least age 59 1/2 or have separated from federal service.



Minimum age for TSP withdrawal

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Q. What is the minimum age I can begin taking withdrawals from my TSP account? And what is the tax/penalty I will incur? I intend to retire from Department of The Air Force with MRA +10 (15 years civil service).

A. While you are employed, you may take a TSP loan or a financial hardship withdrawal at any age, or an age-based withdrawal after you reach age 59 1/2. Once you separate from service, you may withdraw your TSP money at any age, although the 10 percent early withdrawal penalty may apply if you don’t meet one of the exceptions listed on page 7 of the notice at

TSP withdrawal

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Q. I am an Air Reserve Technician and 53 years old. I have lost my military requirement at no fault of my own, and now I am being made to retire from the civilian side (FERS). I have a total of 20 years. Can I withdraw all of my TSP from the civilian TSP and if so, what is the early withdrawal penalty and taxes associated with doing so? I am looking at paying off 50 percent of my debt. My TSP is around 75,000.

A. Since you are separating from TSP covered service before the calendar year in which you reach age 55, you will be subject to the 10% early withdrawal penalty unless you meet one of the other exceptions listed on Page 7 of the notice posted at


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TSP distribution requirements

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Q. I am 73 years old and still working for a VA Medical Center. Are there any changes in the rules regarding my TSP account? I was recently reading something about receiving minimum distributions from my TSP account. Does this pertain to me since I am still working?

A. The distribution requirements will not apply to your TSP account until you have separated from federal service. See the notice at

TSP deposits

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Q. I am scheduled to retire in November. I am firefighter with 32 years, 6 months of service. I am covered under FERS. I plan to elect the TSP option that will provide me a monthly payment until my death. Do you know if the monthly direct deposit will combine all three (annuity, annuity supplement and TSP) as one payment, or should I expect three separate payments?

A. At least the TSP will come as a separate deposit.

Roll over IRA to TSP

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Q. Prior to the TSP coming into existence, I was doing a yearly IRA deposit. I can retire at anytime with over 80 percent of my high three. So, would it be prudent of me to roll this IRA into my TSP account?

A. Yes.