As a spouse, you are not required to know anything about the TSP, aka the Thrift Savings Plan.
However, I highly recommend that you have at least a basic knowledge of what it is.
It is always a good practice to know where your money is and where it’s going.
(But without the weird jargon and confusing explanations!)
What is the TSP?
The TSP, aka Thrift Savings Plan, is a retirement plan.
If you’ve ever heard of a 401(k), the Thrift Savings Plan is similar, but made for Government employees and uniformed service personnel.
Where is the money coming from?
As a service member, 5% of their salary is automatically deducted from their paycheck and placed into their TSP account.
This is the default amount, but you can change the percentage at any time on the DFAS website.
If you wish to completely stop adding to the plan, you can choose to do so.
If you wish to start adding 6% instead of 5%, (or any different amount) you can do that as well.
On the website, it is recommended that you only change the amount after careful consideration, as these funds are a long-term investment.
Can we add our own money?
If you wish to add additional, non-salary money to the TSP account, I would check out this page for more information.
Does the military match our contribution?
If your service member began their service before January 1, 2018, they may not be eligible for contribution matching.
**Service members covered by the Blended Retirement System are eligible for contribution matching.**
How much money the military will match depends on the percentage of the service members salary that is put into their Thrift Savings Plan.
For the default 5%, the military will match your 5% contribution and add it to your TSP account automatically if you have the Blended System.
If you are choosing to add anything lower than 5%, they may not fully match your contribution.
(Ie. if you choose to add only 2% to the TSP, they will contribute 1% to your account)
How will we know how much to contribute?
This is completely up to you! Every situation is different.
Consult a trusted advisor, financial specialist, or other trusted friends and family.
Can I view the funds?
Your service member can view the funds that are already in their TSP by logging in.
*Please note: as a dependent, you cannot log in to view the account. Your service member must do that.*
Here is a guide on how they can create an account.
Can we access the funds?
The TSP is a retirement fund.
Basically, this means that the funds aren’t intended to be removed until retirement.
If you really need it, you can take out a TSP loan, but even the website recommends against it.
However, if you want to start, change, or stop contributions going to the TSP, your service member can control all of that through their DFAS, aka MyPay, account.
What if I have other questions?
They have information on what your investing in, how to make changes, taxable versus non-taxable income and funds, and more.
Money getting you down? Reach out to me and I’d be more than happy to help you find support!