TSP Investors Happy With Program Overall

TSP account holders overall are happy with the program, with 90 percent saying they are satisfied or extremely satisfied with it, a survey has found, but they would like more help in managing their accounts and more flexibility in how they can withdraw their money after separation.

The results largely mirrored those of similar prior surveys that for example spurred the TSP to propose a change in law, now close to final approval in Congress, to widen withdrawal options. Only 62 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with the flexibility of withdrawal options, the lowest-rated of the seven specific features polled; the highest-rated was the annual account statement, with an 89 percent satisfaction score.

Of those near retirement age, 35 percent said they plan to withdraw their accounts immediately upon retirement, with 85 percent of those citing the limited withdrawal choices as a main reason. A similar share of that group, 84 percent, cited desire for a wider range of investment choices. (Among all investors, though, 77 percent were satisfied with their investment options.)

The TSP has committed to making available more investment options through a “window” but has no timeframe for that change, which it can make without further action from Congress.

Other improvements that investors most want to see, even if it involved an additional fee, include consolidated reports of all their federal benefits–including FERS, CSRS and Social Security–calculator tools including models for how much money they will need for retirement; and online financial advice.

There also was some difference in preferences by age. Older participants showed a stronger desire for consolidated statements, for example, while younger ones more strongly desired mobile transaction capabilities and the ability to download account information and use it with other financial software or applications.