TSP contribution limits for 2011 explained

Tuesday - 10/26/2010, 5:47pm EDT

Tom Trabucco, director of external affairs, Federal Retirement Thrift Investments Board

Click to hear the interview.

Download mp3

Contribution limits to your Thrift Savings Plan account will most likely stay the same in 2011, said Tom Trabucco, the director of external affairs at the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, in an interview with the DorobekINSIDER.

Contribution limits are calculated every year by the Internal Revenue Service. IRS has not yet set the limits for 2011, but limits are usually tied to increases in social security or civil service retirement benefits. Since neither have increased, the TSP contribution limits are unlikely to increase as well, Trabucco said.

"I would be very surprised if there were an increase in the IRS limits this year, which means they would stay right where they are," Trabucco said.

The contribution limit for 2010 was $16,500, and 5,500 in catch-up contributions. The catch-up allows people who did not contribute the maximum to their TSP or 401k accounts earlier in their career to put in a little more after they reach age 50.

Trabucco said the catch-up is a "hurry-up offense on your way to get to that complete retirement benefit."

The new automatic enrollment program may make catch-up obsolete in the future. Started in August, feds are automatically enrolled to contribute three percent to the G Fund.

2011 budget identical to 2010 budget

FTIB passed its annual budget at its October meeting. The budget for 2011 is at the same level as the 2010 budget of $131 million, Trabucco said.

Last year FTIB was underbudget, spending $119 million.

"We weren't happy about that," Trabucco said. "We planned on accomplishing more."

The board will revisit the budget in May, he said.