Is your TSP account suffering pre-recession blues?

According to the experts December is on target to have its worst month since 1931. The erratic, some would say more normal performance of the market this year has made lots of investors nervous — particularly those trying to build nest eggs that will last them through a retirement, potentially 20 or 30 years.

Today’s guest on our Your Turn radio show at 10 a.m. EST is financial planner Arthur Stein. Many of his clients are active or retired feds. Several of them are Thrift Savings Plan millionaires. To introduce today’s show he writes:

“This year’s TSP C and F returns remind me of Shakespeare describing life in ‘Macbeth:’ “It is a tale … full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

After a volatile year for the C fund (S&P 500 stocks) and a mainly negative year for the F fund (intermediate term bond index), not much has changed. As of Dec. 13, the C fund is up less than 1 percent and the F fund is down less than 1 percent. If you weren’t paying attention during the year, it would look rather boring.

The S (stocks of small and medium sized US companies) and I (international stocks) funds had more dramatic results, and not good results. Year to date, the S fund is down 4.2 percent and I fund is down 10.8 percent.

The G fund has returned 2.8 percent, making it the star performer for this time period.

Should you be worried? It depends upon your financial situation. For example, if you are 62 years old, recently retired and already withdrawing funds from the TSP to supplement Social Security and your annuity, then perhaps you should worry. If you are 10 or more years from retirement, then perhaps you shouldn’t.

On today’s show I’ll be talking about recent TSP performance and how your financial situation should affect your TSP investment strategy. Please email questions to

And yes, Shakespeare scholars, I know the full Macbeth quote. I left that out so the Bard won’t look like a mean guy for calling me an “idiot” without even knowing me.

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Amelia Brust

Chinese Checkers was actually invented in Germany in 1892, as a modified version of the American game “Halma,” and its name was developed by an American company in 1928.

Source: Wikipedia

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