Ask The Experts: Money Matters

By Mike Miles

Annual Leave payout

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Q. I am a federal employee and will retire Jan. 3. I will have about 400 hours of Annual Leave for a cash payout. Am I allowed to request that this monetary amount be directly rolled into an eligible 401K plan and not have any taxes taken out? If I take the cash payout, can I predetermine the tax percentage based on my calculations or does the government tax at the maximum rate?

A. You may not direct the payout into an IRA or 401k plan. Taxes will be withheld according to the W-4 you have on file with your payroll office.

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TSP and health insurance

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Q. When I retire, I plan to roll over the balance of my TSP to my IRA in a brokerage account. Can I keep my FEHBP health insurance without having an annuity?

A. Your TSP account has nothing to do with your FEHBP coverage.

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TSP and Roth TSP

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Q. Upon retirement I want to transfer my Roth TSP out so I have more flexibility with taxes. Currently, I have all of my TSP money invested into the Roth TSP. Once retired, I want to transfer all but $1 to another firm into both a regular IRA rollover and Roth IRA rollover so that the two  types of TSP accounts are no longer co-mingled. I then want to transfer my regular IRA back into the TSP in order to keep the two types of accounts separate (regular TSP at the TSP and Roth TSP with outside brokerage firm in a Roth IRA rollover). Is this feasible? The TSP doesn’t allow you to have distributions from one or the other, only both. This way I could set up my distributions separately for tax advantages. Read the rest of this entry »

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TSP withdrawal options

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Q. I am under FERS and contribute the maximum amount into TSP. When I am eligible to retire (57-1/2), do I have to immediately start collecting out of my TSP once retired, or can I roll it over into another bank or institution into a 401K without penalty? And how does one receive payments if I can’t roll it over? Read the rest of this entry »

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Withdrawal penalty?

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Q. I recently retired under CSRS. I am 57. I would like to take a partial withdrawal from my TSP. What penalties and taxes will I have to pay on the amount I withdraw.

A. As long as you retired during or after the year in which you reached age 55, there will be no early withdrawal penalty due. There will be 20 percent mandatory withholding taken from your payment, however, unless you roll the money over directly to an IRA.

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TSP rollover

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Q. At age 57, can I pull all my TSP out and roll it over into a primary house without paying tax?

A. No.

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Rollover limit

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Q. I know partial withdrawals are limited to one in retirement under TSP. Does this apply to rollovers as well? I want to top off my marginal federal tax bracket each year until I hit 70-½ by doing a TSP rollover of a varying amount to my existing external Roth account. If I have to use the monthly payment option to do it, it’s just too much trouble.

A. Only one lump-sum TSP withdrawal or rollover is allowed per lifetime.

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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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Roth IRA

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Q. Can you roll an existing Roth IRA into you Roth TSP fund?

A. No.

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TSP rollover

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Q. I am almost 57-1/2 years old, and I have more than 30 years with the Defense Department. Can I roll my TSP into a self-directed IRA now without retiring or quitting? I want control over where it is and how it grows, and I am concerned about the government taking it to pay its debts before I can remove it normally at 59-1/2.

A. No.

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