(c) 1999 20th Century Fox

Post Update 2/26/2013: TSP Funds made Whole by the Treasury Dept-  ‘G’ Fund ‘raid’ is over (for now).

(c) 1999 20th Century Fox
‘Whassup, G?’

Recently the TSP Director issued a statement reassuring TSP members that their investments in the G Fund are safe, and that any short term borrowing performed by the Treasury as a part of its ‘extraordinary measures‘ in dealing with the debt ceiling will not affect TSP participants.

He referenced the recent GAO report reviewing the recent raid on the G Fund.

For those who do not wish to read all 39 pages of the GAO report, the key findings are:

  • G Fund investors during the previous ‘raid’ were made whole, and that the Treasury Department borrowing against the G Fund is legal as “required by subsection 8438(g) of title 5, United States Code” (page 19).
  • Treasury Yield spreads drop during the ‘raid’ periods (page 22).

When yield spreads drop, it gets more expensive for the Treasury to borrow.   So while the effect on the TSP G Fund investor is negligible, the overall effect on the U.S. Taxpayer is increased cost.

 

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Two riders in The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (the Fiscal Cliff Deal) apply directly to Federal Employee Benefits.  They are:

1) Increasing the Transportation Incentive Program (TIP), a program to incentivize federal employees to use mass transport or vanpools, to a monthly stipend of $240.  The language in the bill restores parity between commuter expenses for parking (currently $240/month) vs. mass transport (was $125).  They are now both set at $240, retroactive to 01 January 2013.

2) Ability to convert money in your employer-sponsored 401k account to the employer-sponsored Roth 401k account (if offered by the employer).

Just like the creation of the Roth TSP, It will probably take the TSP 12-18 months to catch up with this provision, but my prediction is that it will happen.  This provision in the Fiscal Cliff Deal was put there as revenue grab to get income taxes now (immediately upon 401k conversion to Roth 401k)  vs in the future (eventual withdrawals from 401k).  My take on the conversion is that it is probably a bad idea to convert a Traditional IRA/401k to a Roth IRA/401k right now unless you are absolutely certain you will be in a higher marginal bracket when you retire.

As an aside, “The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012”?  If my recollection is correct, this was created and passed by both houses of congress on January 02, 2013…