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Retiree wonders about leaving the government's Thrift Savings Plan

Posted by Cheryl Costa  August 27, 2008 09:04 AM

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I am a federal government retiree and 68 years old. I currently have $122,500 in my Thrift Savings Plan. I did not yet roll it into an IRA. What is a good company to roll the TSP into -- Vanguard? T Rowe Price? Fidelity? Which company might have the lowest fees?

All three of the companies you mentioned would be solid choices. However, I would probably put in a plug for keeping your money where it is. The government's Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is as close to perfect a plan as you will likely find.

There are only five fund choices available but those five include a government securities fund, a fixed income fund, a common stock fund, a small cap fund and an International stock fund. All five are index funds and all of them have a rock-bottom expense ratio of .015 percent or 1.5 basis points. That means the fees are only 15 cents for every $1,000 invested! You would be hard pressed to find lower expenses in many other places.

The plan also now offers 5 lifecycle plans, so if you are retired and want to put your retirement savings on "autopilot", you could choose one of the 5 target retirement funds. If you have an average risk tolerance, you would choose the lifecycle fund that most closely matches your year of retirement. If you wanted to be more aggressive, you could choose a lifecycle fund with a date later than your retirement date. This is a wonderful plan and you probably shouldn't be in a rush to leave it.

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