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Changes are coming to your Thrift Savings Plan Here's what you need to know

Posted in Saving, Investing & Retiring on July 25, 2019

You’ll soon have more options with your Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) account. Whether you’re counting down the days to retirement or plan to work for several more years, it’s important to know you’ll have flexibility when you need your money.

You’ll have that flexibility beginning September 15, 2019. With new withdrawal rules, you’ll be able to request up to four age-based in-service withdrawals each year after you reach age 59½. After you retire, you’ll be able to start, stop, or change any installment payments and make additional partial withdrawals whenever you need to. Best of all, you’ll continue to benefit from our low fees through retirement as long as you have at least $200 in your TSP account. (And you can still transfer in money from eligible plans.)

Take a look at some details about the upcoming changes and consider how they might affect your financial planning. As always, you will want to consult a qualified tax advisor before making your withdrawal decisions.

Flexible withdrawals begin September 2019

Any in-service withdrawals you make have no effect on the number of post-separation partial withdrawals you can make. You'll be able to make partial withdrawals even if you receive installment payments.

You never have to make a full withdrawal election. When you need to make IRS-mandated required minimum distributions (RMDs) at age 70½ and after, we'll automatically send you the right amount if you don't withdraw enough during the year.

You can choose to withdraw traditional money only, Roth money only, or a proportional amount of both.

You’ll request withdrawals easily using fast and secure online tools by logging into My Account on

You can customize your installment payments and change your payment frequency at any time as your needs change. You can choose among monthly, quarterly, and annual installment options.

Rules prior to September 2019

Only one age-based in-service withdrawal or one post-separation partial withdrawal allowed in a lifetime. Then a full withdrawal election is required.

A full withdrawal election is required the year you are separated and 70½ or older, or your account becomes abandoned.

All withdrawals include both traditional and Roth funds as a pro rata (i.e., proportional) distribution.

Paper forms must be submitted by mail or fax to make or change a withdrawal election.

Requests to change monthly installment amounts can only be made once each year during a designated open season.

Please be aware that you’re receiving this information before the TSP changes take place, so most content on still reflects current plan rules. The website will be updated in September 2019 when these changes go into effect. If you want to learn more, check the website and social media channels throughout the rest of 2019 for opportunities to ask questions and get additional info.

Meanwhile, this is a great time to visit and take stock of your investments. Logging into My Account gives you access to manage your portfolio, send secure messages to TSP representatives, and complete certain transactions.

Next time you log into My Account, consider taking these actions:

Validate your contact information and add new login security features.

Choose a Lifecycle (L) Fund or an asset allocation appropriate for your situation.

Become familiar with the online tools that are always available to you.

You asked for changes to your withdrawal options, and you were heard. Thank you for your patience and for continuing to be a valued TSP participant.

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