The TSP: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

By Kisha A. Taylor, Writer-Editor, Thrift Savings Plan

Although you may feel compelled to spend extra time and money on gifts for others during the holidays, don’t forget to include someone special—yourself! Here are a couple of ideas for your gift list:

The Gift of the TSP
Investing in your retirement is one of the best rewards you can give yourself. As a member of the uniformed services, you are eligible to contribute to the Thrift Savings Plan, the largest defined contribution retirement plan in the world. If you haven’t already signed up, what are you waiting for? It takes less than 5 minutes: Just log into myPay and click the special section called “Traditional TSP and Roth TSP.” Then, choose how much of your pay you’d like to save (10%, for example). Call us at 1-877-968-3778 or talk to your payroll office for help.

The Gift of Growth
Already contributing to the TSP? Now is a great time to increase your TSP contributions for the upcoming year. Thanks to compound earnings, even small changes can boost your retirement savings exponentially. Upping your savings by as little as 1% each year can mean significantly more money over time. Check out our “Paycheck Estimator” calculator to see how saving more might affect your take-home pay. To learn more about compound earnings, visit and watch our video “How Can Compound Earnings Work for Me?”

The Gift of Tax-Free Earnings
With Roth, you pay taxes on your contributions up front, so you won’t pay taxes on them when you retire. Your earnings can be tax-free if you meet certain IRS requirements.1 If you contribute tax-exempt pay earned in a combat zone to your Roth balance, your savings can really add up. Use our “Contribution Comparison Calculator” to determine whether Roth or traditional contributions are best for you.

The Gift of Knowledge
It’s always a great idea to stay up-to-date on your TSP knowledge. Check out our YouTube channel to view our informative videos and follow us on Twitter to get bite-sized savings tips. And don’t keep the TSP a secret: Tell your military friends about the TSP’s easy-to-understand investment options, Roth and traditional contributions, and the potential for exponential growth over time.  

Your savings are yours to keep whether you’re with the uniformed services for 2 years or 20. So this holiday season, don’t just make plans to spend time and money on gifts for others. Think about your future and the gift that keeps on giving: the TSP.


The earnings on your Roth contributions become “qualified,” and are therefore tax free, when 5 years have passed since January 1 of the year you made your first Roth TSP contribution AND you are at least age 59½ or are permanently disabled.

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