TSP withdrawals increase as Congress considers benefits cuts

Monday - 9/12/2011, 6:20pm EDT

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

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By Jolie Lee
Federal News Radio

As Congress considers cutting federal retirement benefits to reduce the deficit, are more federal employees making preparations for retirement before the changes become reality?

Federal Times reports organizers of federal retirement seminars are "seeing bigger audiences than ever."

And Thrift Savings Plan withdrawals have increased in the last year as well. Withdrawals increased from $3.6 billion in the first seven months of 2010 to $4.2 billion in first seven months of 2011.

However, the reason for this increase cannot be attributed only to increased threats to federal benefits on Capitol Hill. Tom Trabucco, director of External Affairs at the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, points out the number of TSP participants has also increased.

Also, the TSP is a "maturing program," and now is "normally about the time people would be retiring," he said.

One of the biggest threats on Capitol Hill is moving from a high-three to a high-five calculation for annuity. But these proposals have not been passed yet.

"Although there is fear, it's important to get the facts and to make your retirement decision on facts and not on fear," Trabucco said.

Check out a breakdown of TSP withdrawals by year.

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