Improving the TSP [for current participants]

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HueyLD
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Re: Improving the TSP [for current participants]

Post by HueyLD » Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:40 am

Let me make sure I understand the spouse signature requirement.

As an example, Joseph has five ex-wives and one current wife. Do all six of them have to sign the withdrawal form? What a pain!!!!!!

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Blues
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Re: Improving the TSP [for current participants]

Post by Blues » Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:46 am

trueblueky wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:15 am
Please note that the requirement to have spouse sign the TSP withdrawal form applies to FERS and military accounts, but not to CSRS accounts. The signature requirement is part of the FERS law, so yes, it would take an act of Congress to change that.

CSRS spouses receive notification.
Well, that (selfishly) brightens my day. I have everything set up to go to my wife in any case, but less hoops, hurdles and obstacles is always welcomed. :beer
“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” - Sun Tzu | "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." - Mike Tyson

delamer
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Re: Improving the TSP [for current participants]

Post by delamer » Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:23 am

trueblueky wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:15 am
Please note that the requirement to have spouse sign the TSP withdrawal form applies to FERS and military accounts, but not to CSRS accounts. The signature requirement is part of the FERS law, so yes, it would take an act of Congress to change that.

CSRS spouses receive notification.
Could you provide a link to the information on TSP being handled differently for FERS v. CSRS retirees?

Is the distinction based on whether there are any employer matching funds in the TSP?

Thanks.

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HueyLD
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Re: Improving the TSP [for current participants]

Post by HueyLD » Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:34 am

See pages 7-8 of this TSP pub https://www.tsp.gov/PDF/formspubs/tspbk02.pdf

delamer
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Re: Improving the TSP [for current participants]

Post by delamer » Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:41 am

HueyLD wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:34 am
See pages 7-8 of this TSP pub https://www.tsp.gov/PDF/formspubs/tspbk02.pdf
Thank you.

My annuity is a combination of CSRS and FERS. The document doesn’t discuss that situation.

Probably safest to assume I’m covered by the more conservative FERS regulations.

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Blues
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Re: Improving the TSP [for current participants]

Post by Blues » Thu Oct 03, 2019 11:28 am

HueyLD wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:34 am
See pages 7-8 of this TSP pub https://www.tsp.gov/PDF/formspubs/tspbk02.pdf
Thanks, Huey.

Here's the relevant section for those who cannot access for one reason or another...
Spouses’ Rights

The Federal Employees’ Retirement System Act of 1986,
which created the TSP, provides certain rights to spouses
of participants. These rules do not apply to beneficiary
participants. If you are a married FERS, CSRS, or
uniformed services participant (even if you are separated
from your spouse), you are subject to certain spouses’
rights requirements, as explained below.

• If you are a married FERS or uniformed services
participant with a total TSP account balance
of more than $3,500, your spouse is entitled
by law to a prescribed survivor annuity. This is
a joint life annuity with a 50% survivor benefit,
level payments, and no cash refund feature. If you
choose any other annuity, any other withdrawal
option, or any combination of options, your
spouse must provide signed, notarized consent for
the withdrawal to be processed. This is also true if
you request a change in the amount or frequency
of installment payments since this could affect the
amount available for an annuity.

• If you are a married CSRS participant with a
total TSP account balance of more than $3,500,
we must notify your spouse of your withdrawal. This
is also true if you request a change in the amount or
frequency of installment payments since this could
affect the amount available for an annuity.

Exceptions. Under certain circumstances, exceptions
may be made to the TSP’s spouses’ rights requirements.
The conditions under which these exceptions are
granted are very strict. To obtain more information
on the requirements for an exception—or apply for
an exception—use Form TSP-16, Exception to Spousal
Requirements (TSP-U-16 for members of the uniformed
services).
“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” - Sun Tzu | "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." - Mike Tyson

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MichDad
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Re: Improving the TSP [for current participants]

Post by MichDad » Thu Oct 03, 2019 12:30 pm

trueblueky wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:15 am
Please note that the requirement to have spouse sign the TSP withdrawal form applies to FERS and military accounts, but not to CSRS accounts. The signature requirement is part of the FERS law, so yes, it would take an act of Congress to change that.

CSRS spouses receive notification.
The above is true. I want to add an important caveat. Some of the people who submitted public comments to the proposed rule on Additional Withdrawal Options urged the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board to modify the rule to give spouses the option to submit a general notarized consent to permit the TSP participant to withdraw assets; and allowing for the revocation of that general consent in writing any time. This would reduce the notary burden dramatically. The FRTIB rejected these comments without providing any rationale. If someone on this site can explain the reason this may not be feasible and a good idea, I'm all ears.

MichDad

ChrisC
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Re: Improving the TSP [for current participants]

Post by ChrisC » Thu Oct 03, 2019 3:02 pm

MichDad wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 12:30 pm
trueblueky wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:15 am
Please note that the requirement to have spouse sign the TSP withdrawal form applies to FERS and military accounts, but not to CSRS accounts. The signature requirement is part of the FERS law, so yes, it would take an act of Congress to change that.

CSRS spouses receive notification.
The above is true. I want to add an important caveat. Some of the people who submitted public comments to the proposed rule on Additional Withdrawal Options urged the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board to modify the rule to give spouses the option to submit a general notarized consent to permit the TSP participant to withdraw assets; and allowing for the revocation of that general consent in writing any time. This would reduce the notary burden dramatically. The FRTIB rejected these comments without providing any rationale. If someone on this site can explain the reason this may not be feasible and a good idea, I'm all ears.

MichDad
It’s been my prior experience, based on 35 years of administrative law practice, both from within and outside of several Federal agencies, that moving an agency to change the text of its proposed rules is not generally done, except for compelling circumstances. An agency in general is not required to address or respond to every comment made by the public, though it is good practice to address those that are substantive comments and impact stakeholders beyond inconveniences.

Most Federal employees in professional careers who have worked in Washington DC or HQ operations would generally have been exposed to agency rulemaking practices so it wouldn’t surprise us if public comments that are not very significant (or there are countervailing reasons to ignore them) are not addressed in the final regulation.

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Re: Improving the TSP [for current participants]

Post by texasdiver » Thu Oct 03, 2019 4:12 pm

ChrisC wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 3:02 pm
MichDad wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 12:30 pm
trueblueky wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:15 am
Please note that the requirement to have spouse sign the TSP withdrawal form applies to FERS and military accounts, but not to CSRS accounts. The signature requirement is part of the FERS law, so yes, it would take an act of Congress to change that.

CSRS spouses receive notification.
The above is true. I want to add an important caveat. Some of the people who submitted public comments to the proposed rule on Additional Withdrawal Options urged the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board to modify the rule to give spouses the option to submit a general notarized consent to permit the TSP participant to withdraw assets; and allowing for the revocation of that general consent in writing any time. This would reduce the notary burden dramatically. The FRTIB rejected these comments without providing any rationale. If someone on this site can explain the reason this may not be feasible and a good idea, I'm all ears.

MichDad
It’s been my prior experience, based on 35 years of administrative law practice, both from within and outside of several Federal agencies, that moving an agency to change the text of its proposed rules is not generally done, except for compelling circumstances. An agency in general is not required to address or respond to every comment made by the public, though it is good practice to address those that are substantive comments and impact stakeholders beyond inconveniences.

Most Federal employees in professional careers who have worked in Washington DC or HQ operations would generally have been exposed to agency rulemaking practices so it wouldn’t surprise us if public comments that are not very significant (or there are countervailing reasons to ignore them) are not addressed in the final regulation.
My experience as a former Federal regulations specialist (drafting environmental and fisheries regulations) is that even if the original agency regulation writers thought it was a good idea, the agency attorneys in the review chain probably vetoed the idea as being too vague and insufficiently precise.

I also suspect that their somewhat primitive paperwork systems probably wasn't set up for tracking blacket approvals and disapprovals as opposed to simply checking off whether a notarized form was attached to each request. Where would they file such a blanket notification and how would they check it each time a request came in?

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MichDad
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Re: Improving the TSP [for current participants]

Post by MichDad » Thu Oct 03, 2019 4:43 pm

texasdiver wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 4:12 pm
ChrisC wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 3:02 pm
MichDad wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 12:30 pm
trueblueky wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:15 am
Please note that the requirement to have spouse sign the TSP withdrawal form applies to FERS and military accounts, but not to CSRS accounts. The signature requirement is part of the FERS law, so yes, it would take an act of Congress to change that.

CSRS spouses receive notification.
The above is true. I want to add an important caveat. Some of the people who submitted public comments to the proposed rule on Additional Withdrawal Options urged the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board to modify the rule to give spouses the option to submit a general notarized consent to permit the TSP participant to withdraw assets; and allowing for the revocation of that general consent in writing any time. This would reduce the notary burden dramatically. The FRTIB rejected these comments without providing any rationale. If someone on this site can explain the reason this may not be feasible and a good idea, I'm all ears.

MichDad
It’s been my prior experience, based on 35 years of administrative law practice, both from within and outside of several Federal agencies, that moving an agency to change the text of its proposed rules is not generally done, except for compelling circumstances. An agency in general is not required to address or respond to every comment made by the public, though it is good practice to address those that are substantive comments and impact stakeholders beyond inconveniences.

Most Federal employees in professional careers who have worked in Washington DC or HQ operations would generally have been exposed to agency rulemaking practices so it wouldn’t surprise us if public comments that are not very significant (or there are countervailing reasons to ignore them) are not addressed in the final regulation.
My experience as a former Federal regulations specialist (drafting environmental and fisheries regulations) is that even if the original agency regulation writers thought it was a good idea, the agency attorneys in the review chain probably vetoed the idea as being too vague and insufficiently precise.

I also suspect that their somewhat primitive paperwork systems probably wasn't set up for tracking blacket approvals and disapprovals as opposed to simply checking off whether a notarized form was attached to each request. Where would they file such a blanket notification and how would they check it each time a request came in?
I wonder how Vanguard, Fidelity, Schwab, TD Ameritrade, Merrill Edge and others track their general notarized power of attorney documents?

The TSP is able to track primary and contingent beneficiaries. Those are set until changed by the participant. What I and others are suggesting isn’t much different.

MichDad

texasdiver
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Re: Improving the TSP [for current participants]

Post by texasdiver » Thu Oct 03, 2019 6:29 pm

MichDad wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 4:43 pm
texasdiver wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 4:12 pm
ChrisC wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 3:02 pm
MichDad wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 12:30 pm
trueblueky wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:15 am
Please note that the requirement to have spouse sign the TSP withdrawal form applies to FERS and military accounts, but not to CSRS accounts. The signature requirement is part of the FERS law, so yes, it would take an act of Congress to change that.

CSRS spouses receive notification.
The above is true. I want to add an important caveat. Some of the people who submitted public comments to the proposed rule on Additional Withdrawal Options urged the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board to modify the rule to give spouses the option to submit a general notarized consent to permit the TSP participant to withdraw assets; and allowing for the revocation of that general consent in writing any time. This would reduce the notary burden dramatically. The FRTIB rejected these comments without providing any rationale. If someone on this site can explain the reason this may not be feasible and a good idea, I'm all ears.

MichDad
It’s been my prior experience, based on 35 years of administrative law practice, both from within and outside of several Federal agencies, that moving an agency to change the text of its proposed rules is not generally done, except for compelling circumstances. An agency in general is not required to address or respond to every comment made by the public, though it is good practice to address those that are substantive comments and impact stakeholders beyond inconveniences.

Most Federal employees in professional careers who have worked in Washington DC or HQ operations would generally have been exposed to agency rulemaking practices so it wouldn’t surprise us if public comments that are not very significant (or there are countervailing reasons to ignore them) are not addressed in the final regulation.
My experience as a former Federal regulations specialist (drafting environmental and fisheries regulations) is that even if the original agency regulation writers thought it was a good idea, the agency attorneys in the review chain probably vetoed the idea as being too vague and insufficiently precise.

I also suspect that their somewhat primitive paperwork systems probably wasn't set up for tracking blacket approvals and disapprovals as opposed to simply checking off whether a notarized form was attached to each request. Where would they file such a blanket notification and how would they check it each time a request came in?
I wonder how Vanguard, Fidelity, Schwab, TD Ameritrade, Merrill Edge and others track their general notarized power of attorney documents?

The TSP is able to track primary and contingent beneficiaries. Those are set until changed by the participant. What I and others are suggesting isn’t much different.

MichDad
It was just a guess on my part. The TSP is WAY behind commercial financial institutions like Vanguard because their mandate is to keep costs as low as possible in lieu of a super sophisticated customer service program.

If it is anything like other government database programs that I have worked with, they probably set up a proprietary software system a long time ago to track accounts and something as simple as adding a new data field for something like this is expensive and complicated and not judged worth the effort for the minimal gain in convenience.

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Re: Improving the TSP [for current participants]

Post by ChrisC » Thu Oct 03, 2019 7:59 pm

texasdiver wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 6:29 pm
It was just a guess on my part. The TSP is WAY behind commercial financial institutions like Vanguard because their mandate is to keep costs as low as possible in lieu of a super sophisticated customer service program.

If it is anything like other government database programs that I have worked with, they probably set up a proprietary software system a long time ago to track accounts and something as simple as adding a new data field for something like this is expensive and complicated and not judged worth the effort for the minimal gain in convenience.
Right, there's so much we don't know about what's behind the curtain. It could be, as someone who has practiced as a regulatory and government contracts lawyer in the past for several Federal agencies, that TSP used a contractor to design most of the apparatus behind the customer service aspects of the account data base, such that even minor revisions or tweaks to the proprietary software the contractor used might result in substantial added change orders to the contract.

Many people, and it seems former Federal employees as well, frequently rail against Government decisions that appear irrational or imbecilic (and some of them are, quite frankly) but really aren't because there are behind the scenes issues that make the decisions quite reasonable. At this point, the persistent claim that the TSP appears to be inhabitated by a bunch of unresponsive officials out of step with customer oriented, profit-making financial institutions like Vanguard, strikes me as a "whine." I would have expected more understanding from a crowd of Federal retirees.

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Jerry55
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Re: Improving the TSP [for current participants]

Post by Jerry55 » Thu Oct 03, 2019 8:04 pm

ChrisC wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 7:59 pm
I would have expected more understanding from a crowd of Federal retirees.
Well, I for one applaud the TSP folks. I'm not looking for magic, and their options are just fine with me. Now, as well as before.
I'm with you, and maybe they're looking for something I'm not. That's why we have choices.
Retired CSRS on 12/19/2012 @ age 57 w/39 years | Good Bye Tension, Hello Pension !!!

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tadamsmar
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Re: Improving the TSP [for current participants]

Post by tadamsmar » Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:30 pm

vineviz wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:43 pm
tadamsmar wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:59 am
The L fund an example of how to allocate to G and F:

https://www.tsp.gov/InvestmentFunds/Fun ... L2050.html

That the best quantitative info I know of. But it's not exactly clear how to use it with some other allocation that include EM or REITS

The L fund efficient frontier analysis implies that one should hold more G than F, but one should hold some F. It is fuzzy math, but I see no good reason to reject these recommendations.
I wouldn't assume that the L Fund allocations are chosen to be optimally efficient in any quantitative sense: the heavy G Fund allocations could just as well reflect the popularity of that fund among TSP participants, though it may also partly reflect the absence of an actual Treasury bond fund in the plan.

Outside of the TSP, virtually no target date funds for young accumulators include an allocation to cash, money market funds, or short-term bond funds.

And right now, the savings account at my credit union is paying an APR of 1.88% which is 25 bps higher than the rate on the G Fund.

Please don't think I have a low opinion of the G Fund. It's a great money-market alternative, IMHO, especially in normal conditions when the yield curve is steeper than it is now. It's great for what it is, but it isn't a bond fund.
The L fund is based on quantitative analysis, not on popularity. It’s documented as an efficient frontier calculation.

The G fund is not a money market or short term bond fund. It has the yield of a longer bond and it never loses money. It’s only available to federal employees.

The G fund is the reason that this looks so different from all other target-date funds.

The G fund is currently %1.75 with no risk of loss and the 10-year T-bill rate is %1.522. How does your saving account rate do versus the 10-year T-bill rate over a long period?


Here is precisely how the G fund yield is related to bond fund yields:
The G Fund interest rate is based on the weighted average yields of all Treasury notes and bonds of 4 years or higher, and in practice tends to closely match the popular 10-year yield due to its high weighting in the G Fund’s interest rate calculation.
https://www.fedweek.com/tsp/interest-ra ... he-g-fund/

In normal times in the past with no inverted yield curve, the G Fund is a very good deal. Therefore gets a big allocation in the efficient frontier calculation.

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vineviz
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Re: Improving the TSP [for current participants]

Post by vineviz » Sun Oct 06, 2019 11:04 pm

tadamsmar wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:30 pm
The L fund is based on quantitative analysis, not on popularity. It’s documented as an efficient frontier calculation.
If so, the calculation is clearly faulty. I'd love to see the assumptions the consultant is using to justify these allocations, because they've got to be wildly creative. The actual efficient frontier for the L2050 fund, for instance, would have the G Fund at less than 1% instead of the absurd 10%+ that the current allocation uses.

I shared an efficient frontier analysis earlier, and you can clearly see that portfolios with the F Fund dominate portfolios with the G Fund all but the most ridiculously conservative allocations.
tadamsmar wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:30 pm
The G fund is not a money market or short term bond fund. It has the yield of a longer bond and it never loses money. It’s only available to federal employees.
It's true that it's not a short-term bond fund, because it's not a bond fund at all. The yield has historically been better than most money market funds, but that doesn't change its classification. The fact that it invests in cash instruments (which is how it "never loses money") should provide some clue to its nature.

It may very well be a great cash vehicle, yielding more than most in normal economic environments. But it's not a bond fund, and doesn't benefit the portfolio in the same way that a bond fund would.
"Far more money has been lost by investors preparing for corrections than has been lost in corrections themselves." ~~ Peter Lynch

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tadamsmar
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Re: Improving the TSP [for current participants]

Post by tadamsmar » Mon Oct 07, 2019 7:59 am

vineviz wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 11:04 pm
tadamsmar wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:30 pm
The L fund is based on quantitative analysis, not on popularity. It’s documented as an efficient frontier calculation.
If so, the calculation is clearly faulty. I'd love to see the assumptions the consultant is using to justify these allocations, because they've got to be wildly creative. The actual efficient frontier for the L2050 fund, for instance, would have the G Fund at less than 1% instead of the absurd 10%+ that the current allocation uses.

I shared an efficient frontier analysis earlier, and you can clearly see that portfolios with the F Fund dominate portfolios with the G Fund all but the most ridiculously conservative allocations.
tadamsmar wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:30 pm
The G fund is not a money market or short term bond fund. It has the yield of a longer bond and it never loses money. It’s only available to federal employees.
It's true that it's not a short-term bond fund, because it's not a bond fund at all. The yield has historically been better than most money market funds, but that doesn't change its classification. The fact that it invests in cash instruments (which is how it "never loses money") should provide some clue to its nature.

It may very well be a great cash vehicle, yielding more than most in normal economic environments. But it's not a bond fund, and doesn't benefit the portfolio in the same way that a bond fund would.
Here is precisely how the G fund yield is related to bond fund yields:
The G Fund interest rate is based on the weighted average yields of all Treasury notes and bonds of 4 years or higher, and in practice tends to closely match the popular 10-year yield due to its high weighting in the G Fund’s interest rate calculation.
https://www.fedweek.com/tsp/interest-ra ... he-g-fund/

And, unlike a bond fund, it never loses money in nominal dollars (it can lose money to inflation if the inflation rate is higher than the interest rate).

The efficient frontier calculation is not clearly faulty. It just uses different assumptions than you did. The may use trailing returns for a longer period and they may use future-oriented assumptions based on current economic conditions. The key thing is that the inputs to an efficient frontier calculation may vary and lead to different results.
The asset allocations are based on Mercer assumptions regarding future investment returns, inflation, economic growth, and interest rates. The TSP will review these assumptions at least annually and determine whether changes to the allocations are warranted.
https://sharmansite.com/federal-employe ... und-facts/

The G Fund functions similar to a very high risk-free rate in the efficient frontier calculation. That is why the efficient frontier of the L Funds is so flat. The G Fund is safer than a savings account in that there is no $250,000 limit on the federal guarantee.

If all you used were available trailing G Fund returns, then that is biased by the fact that interest rates have basically been overall trending down for that whole period. Better modeling would not have that bias. That downward trend biases your results in favor of the F Fund.

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MichDad
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Re: Improving the TSP [for current participants]

Post by MichDad » Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:20 am

delamer wrote:
Tue Oct 01, 2019 4:42 pm
MichDad wrote:
Tue Oct 01, 2019 3:40 pm
delamer wrote:
Tue Oct 01, 2019 1:31 pm
MichDad wrote:
Tue Oct 01, 2019 12:24 pm
delamer wrote:
Tue Oct 01, 2019 9:53 am


Is there some reason that you couldn’t have had the documents needed later notarized now? Could you not generate them within the TSP system?
I cannot calculate precisely the amount of money I'll withdraw as a lump sum in about six weeks. Our G Fund balance is increasing over time. So, we cannot sign and notarize that form now. With respect to my later form to withdraw a set sum every month, I'm not sure. I suppose we could but the dates of our signatures would look odd if we don't submit that form for another twelve weeks or so.

MichDad
I don’t know much about notarizing. I wonder if the time lag would be a problem at the TSP end?

You might want to find out if you could take care of both forms in 6 weeks.
I already have the answer to that last point. I was told yesterday by a TSP customer service representative that participants may only submit one withdrawal form every thirty days. The three withdrawals I'm in the process of making each require separate withdrawal forms. Could you imagine Vanguard, Fidelity, Schwab, TD Ameritrade, or Merrill Edge doing business like this?

MichDad
You misunderstood me.

I meant you should find out if you can get a form notarized 6 weeks before you submit it to TSP, so you don’t have to make a 3rd trip to the notary.

It also seems that you’d be better off moving your assets to one of the other financial institutions that you mentioned. Obviously, you are unhappy with the TSP so why continue to be aggravated?
Delamer,

Once a TSP participant has a pending withdrawal request, he or she cannot open the wizard to start the process to print out another withdrawal form. I know this because I’ve tried to do it. So, my wife and I will have to visit a notary three times over about four months so I may make three different types of withdrawals. I’ve confirmed this with a TSP customer service representative.

MichDad

rkhusky
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Re: Improving the TSP [for current participants]

Post by rkhusky » Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:47 am

vineviz wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 11:04 pm
I shared an efficient frontier analysis earlier, and you can clearly see that portfolios with the F Fund dominate portfolios with the G Fund all but the most ridiculously conservative allocations.
As we all know, the TSP is very conservative. They are not going to change the L Fund allocations willy-nilly based on a few months change in interest rates. I doubt they are incorporating 2019 numbers in their calculations, yet. And, do participants really want the L Fund allocations to change every year?

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Re: Improving the TSP [for current participants]

Post by LadyGeek » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:36 pm

I split a discussion regarding fund compositions and comparisions into a new thread. See: [Thrift Savings Plan - Fund composition and comparisons]

Use this thread to discuss the plan itself.
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

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