Ask The Experts: Money Matters

By Mike Miles

Partial TSP withdrawal

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Q. I have 36 years of FERS service with retirement at MRA 56 and four months. If I wanted to take a partial withdrawal of TSP at retirement (early withdrawal, before 59.5), do I have to elect to do this immediately when I retire or could I wait a year and request this?

A. You may wait as long as you like.

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L fund inquiry

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Q. I’m a 40-year old mailman with 17 years service. I plan on leaving the post office when I hit 52 (30 years service). I understand I need to leave my TSP alone until 55 without penalty. My house will be paid off before I’m 51. I plan to work part-time with less stress after 52. I have $91,000 in traditional TSP now ($15,000 in L2030), the rest in G fund. I just switched from 10 percent to 15 percent payroll withdrawal. Should I change my contribution to 100 percent going into L fund, or remain with my current 70/30 split in favor of the G fund? Read the rest of this entry »

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Withdrawal after retirement

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Q. I am an operations manager for the FAA covered under CSRS. I plan to retire Dec. 31, 2016, at the age of 55 with 34 years of service under the controller bill. Can I make a total withdrawal from my TSP in 2017 without paying the 10 percent early withdrawal penalty?

A. Yes.

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Early withdrawal penalty

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Q. I am a retired law enforcement officer with 25 years of service. I retired from the Bureau of Prisons in December 2009 at age 48. I am receiving my pension and the supplemental annuity. I have $300,000 in my TSP account and want to start withdrawing it. What are my options to begin receiving money from the TSP without buying an annuity and not having to pay the 10 percent early withdrawal penalty? Can I take a one-time distribution of say $100,000 without penalty? Can I withdraw the whole amount without penalty? Can I take $2,400 per month out which will last for at least 10 years or do I have to use the IRS life expectancy formula? Am I exempt from this penalty as a qualified public safety employee or special category employee? Read the rest of this entry »

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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 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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Tax question

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Q. I’m a federal employee aged 58 retiring with 30 years’ service, and I would like to take 109,000 from my non-Roth TSP to pay off mortgage. Besides federal tax, would I also have to pay a 10 percent penalty because I am not 59 1/2 years old? Would the federal government withhold 20 percent penalty or taxes or would it be more?

A. There will be mandatory withholding of 20 percent, but the early withdrawal penalty will not be assessed. Details are available at

https://www.tsp.gov/PDF/formspubs/tsp-536.pdf.

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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 https://www.tsp.gov/PDF/formspubs/tsp-536.pdf.

 

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IRS penalty on partial TSP withdrawal

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Q. I am a FERS employee (6c law enforcement coverage) planning to retire in January 2015 after 31 years in federal law enforcement. I plan to build my retirement home soon after and have need of a partial withdrawal from my Thrift Savings Plan at retirement. Is this partial withdrawal subject to the 10 percent IRS tax under the one time withdrawal provision, and if so, do I have any option to avoid that penalty while still accessing about a third of my account?

A: If you retire during or after the year in which you reach age 55, you will be exempt from the early withdrawal penalty on any kind of withdrawal. If you retire before that point, you’ll be subject to the penalty until you reach age 59 1/2 unless you qualify for one of the exceptions listed on page 7 of the notice at: https://www.tsp.gov/PDF/formspubs/tsp-536.pdf.

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TSP early withdrawal penalties

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Q. I just turned 57 in January and am planning on retiring on June 1, 2014. I am CSRS and currently working with the U.S. Postal Service. I was hired by the Postal Service in March 1982 and have met my minimum retirement age and time in service. I also have 4 years prior military service in the Navy from 1976 to 1980 on active duty. Will I be penalized if I make a TSP withdrawal prior to turning age 59 1/2 years of age?

A. No. You will have retired after the calendar year in which you reached age 55 and, therefore, qualify for one of the exceptions to the early withdrawal penalty.

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