TSP Tip: Pain is a sign you are doing something right!

Wednesday - 3/12/2014, 3:31am EDT

Monday was the fifth birthday of the U.S. bull (as in stock) market. After a major (and lingering) recession, the market is up triple digits from its low point. For many people, that was not an easy time.

Hundreds of thousands of federal and postal workers (and retirees) moved money out of the plummeting C, S and I Funds and into the super-safe G Fund. As it turns out, they bought high and sold low. Especially if they remained in the G Fund and didn't buy stocks which, as it turns out, were on sale.

Allan Roth, of CBS' MoneyWatch, says that the problem is that too many investors, in and outside of the TSP, let their emotions control their investment strategy. When stocks tanked, people panicked. Understandable but not, as it turned out, such a good idea.

Over the past five years Roth says that the S&P 500 (which the C Fund tracks) is up 177.6 percent. And that's only part of the full return, he writes, because the "indexes are only part of the market return, as they exclude dividends and leave out a majority of U.S. stocks," which are reflected in the TSP's S Fund.

People who bailed out of the C, S and I funds in 200 — the pit, so far — of the recession felt they had good reason. Roth said many predicted the next Great Depression and "feared for the future of capitalism." Though stocks were on sale, few were buying.

Prior to the recession many feds were demanding an R (for real-estate trust) fund because as Roth said, "The conventional wisdom was that real estate could never decline in value."

Roth believes that a "balanced portfolio" of stocks and bonds that rebalances regularly has "greater returns" than each of the components (U.S. and international stocks, and bonds). Does that sound like the TSP's Lifecycle funds?

So what next?

Today at 10 a.m., Roth will be our guest on our Your Turn radio show. He'll talk about emotional investing, how his 8-year-old son beat Wall Street (hint: money meant little to him!), and what he thinks is one of the most important lessons: "Neither good times nor bad times last forever."

Listen if you can (1500 AM or online), and if you have questions email them to me at mcausey@federalnewsradio.com or call in during the show at (202) 465-3080. The show will be archived here.

NEARLY USELESS FACTOID

Compiled by Jack Moore

The first known use of steel drums in a theatrical performance (outside of Trinidad and Tobago) was in the 1954 Broadway musical The House of Flowers, with music by Harold Arlen and lyrics by Truman Capote. It would be another dozen years or so before steel drums made their first appearance in a pop song — "Carrie Anne" by The Hollies — in 1967.

(Source: eHow)


MORE FROM FEDERAL NEWS RADIO

Nominations now open for 2014 Causey Awards
Federal News Radio's 5th Annual Causey Awards seek to recognize and honor the good works of people who challenged the status quo and changed, for the better, human capital management. Nominate someone today for his or her outstanding achievements and important human capital/human resources contributions. While we're looking for people who made a difference in the HR world, they don't necessarily have to work in an HR role. In the past, we've honored CIOs, a chief of staff, and an inspector general, in addition to human resources professionals, all for their contributions in the HR arena.

Tracking feds' morale, changes to General Schedule part of 2015 budget plan
The Obama administration is calling on agencies to get smarter about tracking employee morale and engagement. The administration plans to roll out an "engagement dashboard" this year that agency supervisors can use to track the mood of their workforces. It's just one part of a planned overhaul of federal management called for in President Barack Obama's fiscal 2015 budget blueprint. Other initiatives include a revamp of the General Schedule personnel system, real- time performance reviews of management efforts and enhanced training for senior executives.

Budget seeks largest increase in federal civilian workforce since 2009
After years of flat or even declining staffing levels at agencies across the federal government, the Obama administration wants most agencies to begin staffing up again. In fact, President Barack Obama's fiscal 2015 budget proposes the largest governmentwide staffing increase since 2009.