The TSP’s fast-growing self-made millionaires club

Thanks to the booming stock market the number of federal-postal workers with $1 million or more Thrift Savings Plan accounts jumped to 49,620 at the end of 2019. That’s up from 21,432 in December 2018. In June 2018 there were 37,612 members of the TSP, which is Uncle Sam’s equivalent of an employer-backed 401(k) plan. The largest account balance is $7.3 million.

When the TSP was setup as part of the then new Federal Employees Retirement System there were only a handful of millionaires. All of them were either top-echelon lawyers who became federal judges, or members of Congress. Many political appointees also moved their former 401(k) plans into the TSP making them instant millionaires. But things have changed over time.

Now the vast majority of millionaires are career civil servants to did it the old-fashioned way. They invested in the TSP’s higher-risk, higher-reward C, S and I funds which track large companies, small caps and international stocks. Most continued to by the C, S and I funds on a regular basis during the Great Recession when stocks were down 40% and the shares were in effect on sale. And they also invested for the long haul.

The chart below from the Federal Thrift Investment Board shows the population of the TSP by account balances:

Number of TSP Millionaires (as of Dec. 31, 2019) including FERS, CSRS and the Uniformed Services

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Amelia Brust

A researcher at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette used Cheetos to study nesting behaviors of corvid species, i.e. crows, ravens and magpies. The bright orange dust made it easy to track the birds who picked them up or stole them from others.

Source: Science Daily

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THRIFT SAVINGS PLAN TICKER

Sep 16, 2021 Close Change YTD*
L Income 23.2492 -0.0094 4.43%
L 2025 12.0658 -0.0087 8.33%
L 2030 42.7474 -0.0399 10.54%
L 2035 12.8596 -0.0131 11.50%
L 2040 48.7414 -0.0535 12.46%
L 2045 13.3719 -0.0155 13.28%
L 2050 29.3347 -0.0357 14.12%
L 2055 14.4724 -0.019 17.18%
L 2060 14.4724 -0.0191 17.18%
L 2065 14.4725 -0.019 17.18%
G Fund 16.6638 0.0007 0.88%
F Fund 21.0964 -0.0376 -0.55%
C Fund 67.2804 -0.102 21.56%
S Fund 85.1655 0.1991 16.31%
I Fund 39.7475 -0.1041 11.70%
Closing price updated at approx 6pm ET each business day. More at tsp.gov
* YTD data is updated on the last day of the month.