Overall satisfaction with the TSP has remained about the same over the last decade but the most recent survey shows that participants would like the TSP to offer more investment and withdrawal choices—even after the recent broadening of the latter—and more help in understanding the program.
The survey found that among federal employees under FERS—CSRS employees were not included because there are so few in the federal workforce—overall satisfaction was 90 percent, the same as in the prior survey in 2017 and up from 87 percent in 2011 and 88 percent in 2013. Within that 90 percent, the major change was an increase from 35 percent to 40 percent who called themselves “extremely” satisfied vs. satisfied.
Overall satisfaction by all account holders, including military personnel fell from 89 to 87 percent since the 2017 survey, returning it to the levels of the previous two.
The survey conducted in March-May showed an increase in satisfaction of withdrawal choices from 62 to 66 percent, following the addition of new options last fall; 88 percent were satisfied with those options, including 50 percent “extremely” satisfied.
However, among respondents planning to transfer their money out of the TSP after separating from service, 62 percent still cited the desire for more flexible withdrawal options as a reason. Similarly, of that group 75 percent cited the desire for better/more investment choices.
The TSP has had authority for years to offer an investment “window” through which part of an account could be invested in outside mutual funds, but that is not projected to be available until 2022 at the earliest.
Among all respondents, when asked to name one thing the TSP could do to better meet their retirement needs, “better instructions/information/tutorials” was cited by 18 percent, followed by “provide investment advice,” 10 percent. Eight and seven percent cited more investment options and more withdrawal options.
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