The TSP and Fossil Fuels

The question is, what should the government be doing with the massive balance of 578 billion dollars currently sitting in the federal retirement fund, the TSP, or Thrift Savings Plan?

Many government workers would like to see their TSP funds in waiting invested in different avenues that could positively affect the environment or society in general. Other workers think that this could be potentially harmful, as the idea is to invest the TSP fund specifically in safe ways so that it continues to turn a high yield for when they retire.

The TSP, in general, does not really come into question with partisan politics, because the TSP board has always put the money into low-cost index funds, essentially playing it safe. That is why the TSP is known as one of the best retirement plans in the entire nation.

But that doesn’t mean it can’t, or hasn’t already, been improved upon, and investing the TSP in funds that are in favor of positive social change has a precedent. Those instances include pushing for employers to hire from a gender and racially more diverse pool, making sure that there are no terrorist ties to any international options, empowered companies run by minorities or females by using managed funds instead of index funds, and the Federal Employee Socially Responsible Investment Act.

The newest proposed bill to create a more socially aware TSP is Oregon’s Senator Democrat Jeff Merkley’s RISE Act of 2019.

The Retirement Investments for a Sustainable Economy (the RISE part of The Rise Act of 2019) should give, according to Merkley. The idea being that there will be more investment options in the TSP focused on reducing climate change.

Merkley contends that giving people the option of fossil-fuel-free investments would let people express their value systems with their money, and get them more actively involved in their own retirement funds, thus making them aware of any potential risks involved while doing something potentially good for the planet.

Stocks in fossil fuels had once been a safe bet, but over time have not returned the yields they once did and have become an increasingly more perilous option. The RISE Act of 2019 should help mitigate those risks, and help pensioners against the “carbon bubble” that is ripe to pop.

The RISE Act of 2019 proposed that there should be a Climate Choice Stock Index Fund for investors, which would be there to make sure that money is put into stocks that have no negative record when it comes to climate change or fossil fuels.

This is the second time Merkley has attempted to pass a bill like the, citing last years attempt that too offered a Climate Choice Stock Index Fund, but it did not make it to the floor, getting stymied by Homeland Security before it was put up for vote.

TSP Thrift Savings Plan Fossil Fuels Climate Change Stocks