Thanks to the it-had-to-happen-sometime downturn in the stock market, the number of Thrift Savings Plan millionaires dropped to 100,364 in March. That’s down from the federal 401(k) plans high-water mark at the end of 2021. At that time there were 112,880 current, former and/or retired feds with account balances in excess of $1,000,000. A number had built accounts exceeding $3 million.
With the exception of some wealthy politicians, political appointees or lawyers-turned-federal judges, most of the $1 million club members did it the old way. They invested at least enough to get the 5% government match. They put their money in the TSP’s higher-risk, higher-reward C and S stock funds. And let it ride. They continued to invest in the stock index funds, especially in hard times (like the 2008-9 recession) when stocks were on sale. After a spectacular and record long run of good returns, the market turned down this year for a variety of reasons, from the invasion of Ukraine to supply chain problems, shortage-induced inflation and higher prices for gas and oil.
On Wednesday’s Your Turn show, financial investor Arthur Stein talked about the market downturn. This column also provided readers with a series of charts showing how well (or not) the market has done over the past 15 years. Meantime, here’s a snapshot of the TSP today:
And here’s where it stood at the end of last year: