Ask The Experts: Money Matters

By Mike Miles

Wait for TSP withdrawal

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Q. If I’m still working at 70-1/2, do I have to start drawing my TSP, or can I wait until I retire at 72 or 73?

A. You may wait until you retire. Your first RMD payment is due by April 1 of the year following the calendar year in which you reach age 70-1/2 or retire, whichever is later.

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TSP withdrawal

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Q. I was told I can’t take money out of my thrift savings while I’m out of work on disability. Why not?

A. If you are still a federal employee, you are subject to the rules governing in-service withdrawals.

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One-time withdrawal

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Q. I retire in less than a month under FERS. As soon as I retire, I plan to use the option to withdraw my TSP in monthly increments that I decide every year (I am not using the life expectancy or annuity options). I also want to do a partial withdrawal (not much of it, just enough so I have a good savings account to fall back on). I know I can only do it once. I assumed, or read, that the one time had to be immediately upon separation. I do not really need the partial-withdraw funds right away, but do not want to miss the opportunity to do it. Can you do your once-in-a-lifetime partial withdraw any time after you retire? Read the rest of this entry »

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TSP beneficiary designation

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Q. After filling out many beneficiary forms, I have found the standard beneficiary line to be Spouse, and then equal shares to offspring. This was my desired process anyhow. Does TSP have a similar beneficiary plan assuming no prior beneficiary designation? Read the rest of this entry »

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TSP lump sum

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Q. I am a FERS employee and plan to retire at age 56. Can I take a lump-sum withdrawal from my TSP to pay off my home?

A. Yes, once you retire.

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TSP after separation

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Q. If I separate from government service after 10 years at age 35, can I withdraw a chunk of my TSP and ask for annuity payments of 10 years or more to avoid the withdrawal penalties?

A. In order to withdraw without penalty, you must meet 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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Monthly withdraw

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Q. I would like to take $3,000 monthly from my TSP when I retire for the first few years, then I start collecting Social Security can I reduce my monthly payment? Then later on change the monthly amount again? I thought I read I can change my TSP payment once a year, but have been hearing from others who have retired you only have a choice of lump sum, annuity, partial lump sum and the rest in monthly payments of your choice, but it stays the same for life. Read the rest of this entry »

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Early withdrawal

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Q. I have been working under federal Law enforcement for seven years. I started when I was 21. So at age 46, I will have 25 years of law enforcement. If I retire at 46, can I have access to my TSP, and what are my choices for withdrawals or the penalties to take out?

A. You’ll have access to the usual partial (Form TSP-77) and full (Form TSP-70) withdrawal options as soon as you retire. Unless you meet one of the exceptions listed on Page 7 of the notice at https://www.tsp.gov/PDF/formspubs/tsp-536.pdf, your TSP withdrawals will be subject to the early withdrawal penalty until you reach age 59-1/2.

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TSP withdrawals for firefighters

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Q. I read an article that says law enforcement and firefighters have to pay a 10 percent penalty if withdrawing prior to age 59-1/2. In 2019, I will have 25 years of federal firefighter service, so I was caught off guard. Can you site a regulation that says federal firefighters do not have to pay the 10 percent penalty and can begin withdrawing immediately upon retiring with years and/or age requirements met?

A. Under current law, your service time and status is irrelevant. Unless you retire during or after the year in which you reach age 55, or qualify for one of the other exceptions listed on Page 7 of the notice at https://www.tsp.gov/PDF/formspubs/tsp-536.pdf, you will be subject to the early withdrawal penalty until you reach age 59-1/2.

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TSP withdrawal

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Q. If I retire in December under MRA +10 and I’m 59 years old, how long do I have to wait to request a full withdrawal with monthly payments? Also, can I request the same day to take a partial lump-sum withdrawal, or do I have to do them separate? Read the rest of this entry »

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