Fedweek

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The total value of TSP accounts increased by some $100 billion during calendar year 2021, from $709.6 billion to $811.7 billion, according to data presented at the January TSP board meeting.

Meanwhile the average account balance for FERS investors rose during 2021, in round numbers, from $164,000 to $181,000 and the average for CSRS investors from $175,000 to $195,000.

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The figures are as of December 31 and do not reflect the drop in stock markets since then. The S&P500, which the C Fund tracks, for example, was down 10% year to date as of Jan 25. The 2021 gains were mostly due to investment results — the TSP experiences a net monthly inflow of only about $1 billion — and an increase in the number of account holders. The latter rose from just under 6.2 million to just above 6.5 million, including current federal employees and military personnel as well as those who have kept accounts open after separating for retirement or other reasons.

The percentage of FERS employees who are making personal investments rose from 93.1 to 94 percent as a continuing impact of automatic enrollment of newly hired employees, while the percentage of CSRS employees who invest slipped from just above to just below 74 percent. Participation rates of CSRS employees always have been lower because unlike FERS employees they receive no government contributions toward their accounts; less than 5 percent of current employees are under CSRS.

Of the total account balance as of year-end 2021, $35.7 billion was in “Roth” status—invested after-tax but tax-free on withdrawal so long as certain conditions are met—and the rest in “traditional” status—invested pre-tax but taxable on withdrawal. Of the nearly 3.8 million accounts of current or former FERS employees, 800,000 have some money in Roth status, while that is the case with just 10,000 of the 275,000 current of former CSRS employees with accounts.

Percentage allocations among the investment funds broke down at year-end 2021 as: common stock C fund, 33.1; government securities G fund 26; lifecycle L funds collectively 22.8; small company stock S fund, 11.2; international stock I fund, 3.8; bond F fund, 3.1. Including the amounts invested in the basic funds through the L funds, the percentages were: C, 40.3; G, 33.3; S, 13.2; I, 8.7; F, 4.6.

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