Are those buzzards circling your G fund stash?

What does the annual buzzards homecoming festival in Hinckley, Ohio have in common with the federal Thrift Savings Plan's G fund? Senior Correspondent Mike Caus...

Whoever said that April is the cruelest month definitely wasn’t a federal government employee. That bad boy title for feds goes to March. Maybe September too.

March is an interesting month for federal workers, retirees and military personnel, because …

Civil servants from Cleveland, Cincinnati, Dayton and other Ohio outposts flock to Hinckley, Ohio on March 15 to welcome the return of the buzzards. I went once in pre-selfie days, and people were posing for pictures beside the birds, which are not all that popular in other parts of the nation. Buzzards, to Hinckley, are like seagulls or pigeons in D.C. Only bigger with that red thing hanging from their necks. They are obviously an acquired taste. For more click here.

California, the state with the most federal civil servants, looks forward to March 19, which is when the swallows (assuming they got the memo) return to the mission at San Juan Capistrano. They hang around that beautiful part of the country until October, when they return to Argentina. Again, a great photo op. And a hit song for the Ink Spots back in the day.

Less popular is the eight-year-old annual debate — usually held in March and ongoing this year — on whether to mess with the Thrift Savings Plan’s G fund. The fund, made up of special, super-safe but low-return Treasury securities, is where active and retired federal and military personnel have 36 percent of their retirement nest egg money. Most of the people there are super-cautious financially. During the Great Recession, millions of investors shifted some or all of their TSP money into the G fund. Despite the record recovery of the C and S (stock funds), many have stayed in the fund. So naturally they are nervous with the annual congressional debate over raising the debt limit so our government can borrow even more money from China and other foreign friends. Tapping into the G fund temporarily is one of six options Congress must consider before March 19.

When and if anything is done to the G fund, experts say nobody will lose a nickel. The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board says that if anything is done to the G fund, it would be made whole once Congress increases the debt ceiling thanks to a 1987 hold-harmless law aimed to protect G fund investments.

But even though its G fund day has become a regular event, many nervous investors haven’t gotten used to it, don’t welcome it and wish politicians — most of whom are also big-time players in the TSP — would find another way. For the latest on the situation, click here.

Bottom line:

  1. They probably aren’t going to mess with the G fund, again.
  2. If they do, the folks in charge say you will be OK.
  3. If you are worried about having enough optional spending money in retirement and staying ahead of inflation, what are you doing being 100 percent invested in a “safe” fund that worries you all the time?

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Michael O’Connell

A buzzard’s main requirement for habitation is a tree that’s at least 20 feet tall where it can nest.

Source: Encyclopedia of Trivia

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