Ask The Experts: Money Matters

By Mike Miles

Withdrawal plan

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Q. I am a 57-year-old FERS employee with over 38 years of federal service (including seven years of military service which I bought back). I have approximately $470,000 in my TSP account and plan to retire in January 2015. Can I take an immediate one-time-only partial withdrawal when I retire and elect to receive a specific dollar amount of monthly distributions immediately thereafter and, in a few years, halt the monthly distributions and roll over my remaining TSP balance to an outside IRA?

A. Yes

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Lump sum and monthly benefit

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Q. I want a lump sum for a certain amount and monthly withdrawals (not full withdrawal) for 25 years. Can I do both in the same year?

A. The TSP considers monthly payments to be a form of full withdrawal.

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Taxation on TSP

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Q. How much is the TSP taxed upon retirement if pulled out all at once, and how does that affect you’re end-of-year taxes at the end of that year?

A. Your withdrawal will be subject to a 20 percent mandatory federal tax withholding and the amount of your withdrawal will be added to your tax return for the year as ordinary income. The withholding is considered a deposit against your federal tax liability for the year.

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TSP to IRA

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Q. Can I take my money out of the TSP and pay the penalty? Is there any way to get all my money out without having to retire or quit? If so, can I then move it into another self-directed IRA?

A. The only ways to remove money from your TSP account before reaching age 59-1/2 while you are still a federal employee are: a loan and/or an in-service financial-hardship withdrawal. Neither of these may be rolled into an IRA account.

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TSP early withdrawal

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Q. I am interested in buying a franchise. I am 61 and plan to retire in 2014. Can I withdraw my money without it being taxed for this type of investment?

A. No.

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FERS account taxes

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Q. I will retire in two years. If I leave my money in the TSP, what happens when I reach 70-1/2 and I  am forced to pay a certain percentage of my savings out every year due to my age. Does that mean I would have to pull all my TSP money out (pay taxes on it) to transfer it to another account in anticipation of the yearly deduction?

A. If you begin monthly distributions using form TSP-70 during or before the year you reach age 70-1/2, the TSP will automatically distribute the required amount each year. There is no need to leave the TSP while you are still alive.

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TSP payouts

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Q. Will TSP only pay out over a 30-year period? If so, then what happens to the money if I happen to pass away at 70? Can a beneficiary be set up so the rest of the money in the TSP will be paid out??

A. The TSP does not limit monthly payments to 30 years. If you pass away at any time, your account balance will be paid to your beneficiaries. I suggest that you review the information available at www.tsp.gov and then ask a specific question that is not answered by the literature.

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TSP withdrawal

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Q. I’m trying to decide how to withdraw my TSP. I really do not need the income at this time. I’m 60 years old with no dependents or heirs. I have about $240,000 in my TSP. Is it possible to buy a life annuity with half now and take monthly payments later? I was also considering a life annuity with increasing payments and 10-year certain. Or would it be better to do monthly payments? From what I understand, I can adjust the payment once a year. Read the rest of this entry »

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TSP withdrawal

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Q. I’m 26 and I’m planning to get out of the Army next year. If i withdraw all the money and stop my TSP account after leaving the military, would I be charged for anything? If yes, what would it be ?

A. You will be subject to income tax and the 10 percent early withdrawal penalty unless you qualify for one of the exceptions on Page 7 of the notice at https://www.tsp.gov/PDF/formspubs/tsp-536.pdf.

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Beneficiary in TSP

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Q. I have reviewed information at the TSP website. I have been unable to locate information regarding survivor benefits in the case of a nonannuity, monthly distribution without 10-year certain enabled. What are the rules in this most simple TSP account distribution plan?

A. If you die while receiving automatic monthly payments from your TSP account, the payments will end and the remaining balance in the account will be distributed to your beneficiaries.

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