October 28

How Do I Build A Million Dollar TSP Account?

Mike Causey’s Federal Report

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Invest the maximum amount you are allowed (so you get the 5 percent government match) in the Thrift Savings Plan.
  2. Pick the right fund (or combination of funds). Stick with them, except when you need to change.
  3. Stir occassionaly for 20 to 30 years and wham, bam, you are a millionaire.

It’s been done. Seventy five current feds have TSP accounts worth a million or more, although most did it via the rollover route. .

So is the road to riches the stock market-index funds? It can be a bumpy ride taking you up and down depending on war, weather, economic conditions, the price of oil and even volcanoes in Iceland. Throw in the occasional asteroid strike to make it interesting.

Or do you get rich by playing it safe and sticking with the G-fund which invested in special U.S. Treasury securities that are not available to people outside the TSP? Its payoff is never heart-pounding exciting, but it has never had a loss.

Mike, an employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs takes the slow-but-sure approach. “Becoming a TSP millionaire can be done with zero risk strictly through investing in the G fund,” he says. “There is no need to invest in the risky C, S, and I funds. Just contribute the max each year (currently $16,500) and over a 30 year career you will exceed a million.”

Over the last 10 years the G-fund and the much-neglected F-fund (bonds) have outperformed the stock-index C, S and I funds. But when the CSIs have a good year (like 30 percent returns) it can be avery good year.

October 25

Have You Joined the TSP Millionaire Club?

Federal TSP millionaire tells how to join the club

Click here or on tittle for Audio: How to become a Millionaire

By Mike Causey

One of the easiest ways to become wealthy is to write a book with tips on how to become wealthy in the stock market. Even if you have failed in every other way, it can be your ticket to big bucks.

The secret of success is often not in the tips themselves — buy low, sell high, dollar-cost-average, yadda yada yadda — but on publicity. Catch the eye of Oprah or Dr. Oz, or get the gang on The Talk on afternoon TV to chat it up. Bingo, you are an instant celebrity. Then possibly very rich. Or…

You can do it the old-fashioned way. If you are a federal or postal worker you can join the TSP, max your contributions, take advantage of the 5 percent government match for FERS employees and settle in for the long haul.

Wednesday’s column noted that there are currently 929 federal workers with TSP accounts worth $1 million or more. As noted, some of them were rich when they came into government. They transferred their 401(k) plan funds into the TSP.

Top hat w gloves


Some of the TSP millionaires are members of Congress or lawyers-turned- federal judges. They either did well in the private sector or married well. They had the good fortune to fall in love with someone who happened to have the good fortune to have a fortune. But a few did it the hard way. Here’s one who tells how it can be done:

“…I am one of the 929 TSP millionaires mentioned in your column. Not born with a silver spoon in my mouth either, for growing up, my family never even had a car. I’m 58 years old and have over $1 million in the TSP, beginning with contributions 25 years ago. Attached is a plot showing how it happened, by putting the maximum amount available (although past 50, due to other financial obligations I did not even add the catch-up available for 50+). I did make sound investments with timing, for I made double-digit growth extraordinaire during the booms, and was fortunate to avoid the busts by moving it temporarily to the G fund. I have some advice that I think you should offer the young bloods out there joining the federal government and that they must contribute their maximum amount to the TSP. That is rule #1.”Here is rule #2: No one right now should have money in the F Fund. I am hoping that perhaps the TSP board will actually

develop separate F Funds for short/moderate term bonds (less than 5-7 years) and another separate one for long term bonds. That is because more than half of the holdings in the F fund are for more than five years’ duration. It is a mathematical fact that for every 1 percent increase in interest rates (and interest rates must go up at some point, since they are basically zero and cannot go lower), there is a 7 percent reduction in the value of the bond fund. So, Mike Causey of Federal News Radio fame, you should get on your soapbox and save all the federal employees who have money in the F fund and tell them to move it out. It is ridiculous to have a fund like the F fund, where half the money will guaranteed lose money and the other half will gain. All it takes is for the TSP board to create two separate funds and really help the federal employees. It is a shame.


“One more thing for those federal employees who had other jobs. They should undoubtedly move their other IRAs into the TSP using form TSP-30. They should do this electronically and never, ever touch the money themselves. Tax consequences would incur if for some reason they did not move the money within 60 days of taking it out of the IRA. Only do a rollover IRA from one institution to another.” — One of the 929