There are some items about the TSP I do not like (limited investment choices), but the pluses of the TSP far outweigh the minuses. In fact, as long as I live, I swear I will NEVER pull 100% of my funds out of the TSP.
Why? Even if you leave Federal Service before your minimum retirement age (i.e. you resign or quit), you are still eligible for LIFE to retain the benefit of your TSP account (as long as you keep a minimum account balance of $200 in the TSP).
Here’s why you should NEVER completely exit your TSP:
At retirement, the TSP can be easily be converted to an annuity, with industry-leading low expenses.
If you are no longer working for Uncle Sam, you may roll money OUT out of the TSP at any time to an IRA or your current employer’s 401k (in tax jargon this is a “Trustee-to-Trustee transfer”, a non-taxable event). If this is your case, roll some money out of the TSP if you would like more flexibility in investment choices (IRA) or if you like the investment options and expenses of your current employer’s Qualified Plan (i.e. 401k).
The TSP will permit you to roll retirement funds back IN to the TSP at any time from an IRA or Qualified Plan.
TSP has the G fund, which is the best vehicle anywhere to park your short-term money. The G-fund gives you guaranteed returns equivalent to a 3-year CD combined with the liquidity of a money market fund. There’s no other financial product like it available.
Bottom line: even if you leave the employment of Uncle Sam, don’t leave the TSP.
2013 Health Premiums are on the rise, even for those of us Feds with a ‘Buick’ health plan.
In my case, our family’s premium for the popular Blue Cross/Blue Shied (BCBS) Basic FFS/PPO (code 112) goes up 5% from $131.73 to $138.32 per bi-weekly pay period.
Junior GubMints needs braces this year. His mouth full of metal could break the bank account when combined with the Obamacare 50% Medical FSA cut coming in 2013.
I was on the fence last year during Open Season in considering switching to an HSA… this may be the forceful shove I was waiting for.
It looks like the Aetna HDHP/HSA is a bargain, plus it covers 100% preventative dental care. We’ve been paying dental costs 100% out of pocket using DentalBenefitsPlus from Navy Federal Credit Union, since BCBS provides no coverage with the Basic Plan.
Stay Tuned for detailed analysis. Would love to hear feedback from fellow Feds with HSA’s!
The first Service Computation Date is your SCD Civilian. This date is very straightforward- it is the day you walked in to your department’s HR branch and commenced employment as a federal employee. This date will stay the same unless you have a break in employment in the federal civil service. SCD Civilian is used to calculate benefits such as your FERS life insurance payout formula, which is a gratis life insurance benefit (NOT FEGLI) provided to all FERS employees. I will cover this benefit in a future post.
The second Service Computation Date is the one you are used to seeing once every pay period in the upper right hand corner of your Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) if you work for the Department of Defense. This is SCD Leave, used to calculate your accrual of Annual Leave. Accrual rates for annual leave increase based on years of service calculated from SCD Leave. If you are former active military NOT drawing retired pay from active duty, SCD Leave will be ‘back dated’ based on the years and months of service shown on your DD-214. There are special cases where SCD Leave CAN ALSO be back dated for former active duty who ARE drawing retired pay, and I will cover these in a future post.
The third Service Computation Date is SCD RIF. This is the date you will be eligible for early retirement from the FERS system if you are offered an early retirement package like VERA (Voluntary Early Retirement Authority) for an agency-wide reduction or RIF (Reduction if Force) if your employing agency decides to cut your individual position. Under either of these, if you meet the time-in-service requirements you may retire early with full benefits (FEHB health care and a FERS immediate annuity). If you are a veteran who performed a FERS ‘military buyback’ credit for your active duty service, your SCD RIF and SCD Leave should match. It is critical that you verify these dates match after you make a ‘military buyback’ deposit.