It’s understandable if new federal employees are confused by the bewildering array of options for Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) funds and investments. Not to mention all the rules and regulations regarding contributions and penalties limiting your ability to initiate a full or partial TSP withdrawal at any time you want, and start over with a clean slate.
It’s a qualified retirement benefits plan, so you can’t just put in and take out money whenever you feel like it, unlike other investment portfolios that you can fiddle with all the time. Under such circumstances, it’s all that much more important that you get it right the first time.
The good news is that you have a whole bunch of TSP calculators on the TSP.gov website’s planning and tools section for this, including calculators to help you decide on how much to contribute and save, a contribution comparison calculator, a paycheck estimator, a retirement income calculator, monthly payment calculator, etc.
TSP Calculators For Savings, Earnings, Withdrawal and Retirement Income
If you need to find out how much you need to save, use the Federal Employees Ballpark Estimate calculator. It will help you calculate how much you need to save each year from now until retirement based on your estimates of retirement income and existing savings.
Another earnings calculator helps you find out how much your savings will grow, factoring in your future contributions and/or the growth of the money already in your account. You simply select your retirement benefits system (FERS, CSRS, uniformed services, etc.) and choose whether you want to find out the growth of your existing account balance or only your future contributions, or both. Enter in the details, and it will give you a clear idea of how much money you will have at a specific point of time in the future when you want to make a TSP withdrawal.
There’s also a Contribution Comparison Calculator that will help you assess the impact of the tax treatment choice of TSP contributions on your paycheck. This will help you decide if a Roth TSP is feasible for you.
The retirement income and monthly payment calculators will help you determine the amount and duration of payments you can get through a TSP withdrawal.