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Search Tags: Renee Wilder
Thanks to a roaring stock market in February, total assets in the Thrift Savings Plan have climbed to the highest level in the plan's history. All told, assets in the TSP exceeded $400 billion at the end of last month. At the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board's monthly meeting Thursday, board members heard another recommendation to revamp the Lifecycle Funds.
The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board is eyeing another potential tweak to the Thrift Savings Plan's Lifecycle Funds — their name. Lifecycle Funds, also known as L Funds or target-date funds, are made up of a mix of the five core TSP funds that shifts over time. But board members are concerned the "fund" label may be confusing to TSP participants. In its place, the board is considering changing the name to "Lifecycle strategies."
Returns for nearly all of the funds in the Thrift Savings Plan trended downward in January following a rocky month on Wall Street. The largest declines came in the stock funds. The large-cap C Fund fell by 3.45 percent, the small-cap S Fund inched down 1.91 percent and the I Fund, made up of international stocks, plunged by more than 4 percent, according to new data from the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.
More Thrift Savings Plan participants withdrew money from their accounts early in 2013 than in any other year over the past decade. The board processed a total of 291,000 loans and about 138,000 hardship withdrawals last year, according to statistics presented at the board's monthly meeting Monday. More than 14,000 of the hardship withdrawals taken last year came during the month of October, when partisan gridlock led to a 16-day government shutdown and financial uncertainty and delayed paychecks for thousands of federal employees.
Federal employees could soon be seeing a lot less of the G Fund in their Thrift Savings plan accounts. Instead of being automatically enrolled solely in government securities, new plan participants would be shifted to an age-appropriate Lifecycle, or L, Fund as their default investing option under a proposal approved by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board Monday. The proposal ultimately requires action by Congress.
During the 16-day government shutdown last month, more than 14,000 Thrift Savings Plan participants withdrew money from their accounts, the highest number of hardship withdrawals in a single month ever. This may have helped participants weather the financial uncertainty of the shutdown. But, under TSP rules, it also means they'll be unable to contribute to their 401(k)-style retirement accounts for the next six months. Now, the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, which oversees the TSP, is concerned that not all those participants will take the initiative to restart their contributions when the penalty period expires next spring.
The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board kicked off this week a multimillion-dollar plan to revamp the Thrift Savings Plan. The $2.3 million initiative, which was approved by board members last month, calls for TSP officials to broadly survey participants on the services and offerings they desire as well as how the TSP stacks up against other plans, including those in the private sector.
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