By Mike Miles
May 6th, 2013 | Uncategorized
Q. Which account does my Thrift Savings Plan loan come out of? If I have enough in the G Fund, will TSP take the loan directly from the G Fund, or will it take the money out proportionally? For instance, I want to take a $35,000 loan, and I have enough in the G Fund to cover that loan, and I would prefer that the entire loan come out of the G Fund. But if the loan is taken out proportionally, does that mean 80 percent of the loan comes out of my stock funds, 5 percent out of the F Fund and 5 percent out of the G Fund if that is how my account is proportionally separated? If done proportionally, then am I better off shifting my entire account into the G Fund, taking the loan, and then buying back into the stock funds?
A. A loan reduces your invested balance without changing the existing asset allocation.
April 3rd, 2013 | Uncategorized
Q. I am being considered for disability retirement in the coming months. My application is pending consideration from the Office of Personnel Management. I am a GS-14 FERS employee, 54 years old, with about 32 years of service. I have approximately $250,000 in the Thrift Savings Plan, and my allocations are as follows: 15 percent C, 15 percent S and 70 percent I. I realize that is somewhat aggressive, but it has been like that for about seven years or so, and I have been hopeful of the international home run. Regrettably, this hasn’t necessarily come to fruition. I will likely shelter some of my remaining funds in G or F when I find out if my retirement is approved.
If I should retire, I plan to withdraw approximately $150,000 to pay off my mortgage. Therefore, should something happen to me or if the market fails, at least my home is paid for. I will have a reasonable annuity, and my wife draws $1,800 monthly as a service-connected disabled veteran. Combined, I feel we will have adequate income, especially when our mortgage of $1,000 per month is satisfied. Not rich, but with no real debt ($15,000 vehicle loan) consistent income and no mortgage. Sounds OK to me. Or am I off-base?
A. I think that what’s off-base is that, like too many investors, you are willing to gamble — without knowing the odds — with your life savings. If you’re not willing or able to prudently manage the money, then it’s probably your safest bet to use it to pay off your mortgage. At least you won’t lose it overnight. This might mean that later on, however, if you need the money to pay your bills, it won’t be available. There is no easy answer. That’s why I’m in business. If you’d like to discuss your options, you can contact me through www.variplan.com.
August 20th, 2012 | Uncategorized
Q. I am retiring from the Postal Service in 10 days. I have an outstanding loan for $6,500. I do not have the funds to pay off the loan now, and I need an immediate partial withdrawal for $30,000 when I retire. How do I get this done ASAP?
A. Use Form TSP-77 to request a partial withdrawal following separation from service.
June 19th, 2012 | Uncategorized
Q. I have a Thrift Savings Plan loan and I am retiring. I’m reading everywhere and understand that I must pay back the loan to avoid a taxable distribution. What is the time frame for that? Your reply to someone last year was, “Your loan balance will be automatically declared a taxable distribution if you fail to repay it after you retire.” But is there is time frame after I retire? Does it have to be paid by the day I separate, or can it be paid a few weeks after my official date of retirement?
A. You will have 90 days from the date that the TSP receives the separation code from your agency. You will receive a letter from the TSP advising you of the deadline.
June 7th, 2012 | Uncategorized
Q. I will be 59½ in August. I would like to make an in-service withdrawal from my Thrift Savings Plan. At this time, I have a loan out on my account. Do I need to repay this loan before I take an in-service withdrawal for the total amount in my account, and how much tax will I be charged for this withdrawal?
A. You do not need to repay the loan before taking an age-based in-service withdrawal. The automatic tax withholding rate on these withdrawals is 20 percent unless you transfer your payment to another retirement plan or account.
May 8th, 2012 | Uncategorized
Q. I am considering a Thrift Savings Plan loan of $40,000 to fully fund a Roth TSP for the next few years. I am in the Air Force and plan on staying in the service for at least six more years until retirement. I’m just not sure that the benefits of a fully funded Roth TSP will outweigh the tax I will pay on the loan payments, not to mention the tax I will pay on the interest from the $40,000 as it sits in the bank waiting to be deposited into my Roth TSP, and the gains that $40,000 would have made if it stayed in my traditional TSP?
A. You’ve identified the costs, which you will incur. I don’t see any mention of the benefit that would motivate you to do this. Without a benefit that is likely to outweigh the cost, you shouldn’t do it.
August 26th, 2011 | Uncategorized
Q. I did a hardship to take care of my mother who had become ill, taking a pay cut on the way, and leaving behind the house I bought in 2005. After a year and a half on the market, the house I used to live in has become a short sale. The bank wants $25,000 in cash, which I don’t have at the moment. The bank also wants to see my Thrift Savings Plan account. I know they cannot levy against it, but I assume they want me to, in order to make up some of the difference. I would like to retire in 3½ years, but I would have to delay that if I take out a loan. What should I do?
A. You should do everything you can to meet your obligations, including delaying your retirement.
August 2nd, 2011 | Uncategorized
Q. If I have an outstanding TSP loan balance at the time of retirement in December and it is declared a taxable distribution, will that unpaid loan preclude me from taking a one-time partial withdrawal from my TSP account the next year?
January 12th, 2010 | Uncategorized
Q: Do you know of any provisions in the Federal Erroneous Retirement Coverage Corrections Act that allows one to get a Thrift Savings Plan loan with agency matching funds in their TSP account? In April, while employed with the Department of the Army, the Army Benefit Center informed me that I was entitled to retirement plan corrective action under FERCCA. In July, I submitted my FERCCA election form to enroll me into Civil Service Retirement System Offset retirement coverage from the Federal Employees Retirement System. ABC sent letters to my previous employers notifying them of this change and informing them that they need to remove any agency matching funds and the automatic one percent from my TSP account. I understand this part of the process. However, recently I attempted to get a TSP loan and was told that I am not eligible for a loan because I have agency matching funds in my TSP account. The matching funds are there from when I was covered under FERS, and workers covered under CSRS are not eligible for agency matching funds. It’s been six months since my retirement plan changed and I still cannot borrow my own money.
A: I know of no such provisions. You should contact your employing agency and/or the TSP for further advice on how to have the excess employer contributions removed from your account.