Coming soon to YouTube -- Videos about TSP accounts

Wednesday - 8/29/2012, 7:34am EDT

Kim Weaver, director of external affairs, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board

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The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board is looking at YouTube as a potential destination for answering feds' questions about their Thrift Savings Plan accounts.

"We're dipping our toe into a new technology," said Kim Weaver, the board's director of external affairs. "Obviously, we're always trying to find ways to reach out to our participants."

According to Weaver, 67 percent of 18 to 34-year olds and 59 percent of 35 to 49-year olds are on YouTube, making it an ideal platform for the board to reach its customers.

She told In Depth with Francis Rose Tuesday the board has already developed a video explaining interfund transfers and contribution allocations.

"Social media is a wonderful thing and it's a great way to reach out to people," Weaver said. "But it requires monitoring and staffing. And so, we're trying to see what we needed to do if we wanted to go into that full up."

What "full up" means for the board is still being hashed out. "That'll be part of the budget discussion of, 'When do we think that we should roll out? How much staffing would we need if we thought we were going to go that way? And what is the timing on that?'"

On Monday, the board previewed a second video it had produced describing the Roth option.

"We had a Roth video directed specifically at the military," Weaver said. "We're in the middle of developing another one that's targeted right as civilians."

The board is also in the process of developing a video to explain the lengthy TSP 70 withdrawal form.

"It is a form that takes a lot of reading and a lot of following along," Weaver said. "So that would be the type of thing we think might be perfect for a video or two, so that people can sort of watch and play along at home before they start filling out the form."

Participation in the Roth TSP has been slow and steady, Weaver said, as expected.

"We now have about 20,000 participants who have Roth balances, and we have about $13 million in Roth accounts," she said. "We never expected that Roth would be the overwhelming choice for our participants. In the private sector, it tends to be just shy of 10 percent. We see ourselves moving slowly, but surely toward that 10 percent over the next 10 years."

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