Making the decision between a Traditional TSP and Roth TSP can be difficult. Both options have their own set of advantages and disadvantages, which can make it hard to decide which is right for you.
In this guide, we will compare and contrast Traditional TSPs and Roth TSPs, so that you can make an informed decision about which option is best for your personal finances.
Traditional TSP Vs Roth TSP Table of Contents
What is a Traditional TSP?
A Traditional TSP is a retirement savings plan that is offered to federal employees and members of the military. This type of plan allows you to contribute pretax money from your paycheck, which can then grow tax-deferred. When you retire, you will pay taxes on the money that you withdraw from the account.
What is a Roth TSP?
A Roth TSP is a retirement savings plan that is funded with after-tax dollars. This means that you will not get a tax deduction for the money you contribute to a Roth TSP, but your withdrawals in retirement will be tax-free.
What is The Difference Between a Traditional TSP and a Roth TSP?
The main difference between a traditional TSP and Roth TSP is the way in which they are taxed.
With a traditional TSP, your contributions are made with pre-tax dollars and they grow tax-deferred. This means that you will not pay any taxes on your contributions or earnings until you withdraw them from the account (usually at retirement).
With a Roth TSP, your contributions are made with after-tax dollars and they grow tax-free. This means that you have already paid taxes on your contributions and earnings will not be taxed when you withdraw them from the account (usually at retirement).
The other main difference between these two types of accounts is the eligibility to contribute. With a traditional TSP, anyone can contribute as long as they are earning an income. With a Roth TSP, you must meet certain income requirements in order to be eligible to contribute.
What Are The Different Types of Traditional TSP?
There are three different types of traditional TSP: the government securities investment fund (G Fund), the common stock index investment fund (C Fund), and the bond index investment fund (F Fund).
The G Fund is made up of special-issue Treasury notes and bonds that are backed by the full faith and credit of the US government.
The C Fund consists of a portfolio of stocks that are publicly traded on US stock exchanges.
The F Fund invests in a portfolio of US Treasury bonds and other government-sponsored enterprise debt securities.
What Are The Different Types of Roth TSP?
There are two types of Roth TSP: the traditional Roth TSP and the designated Roth TSP.
Traditional Roth TSP
The traditional Roth TSP is an employer-sponsored retirement plan that allows employees to make after-tax contributions to a special account.
Designated Roth TSP
Designated Roth TSPs are similar to traditional 401(k)s in that they are also employer-sponsored retirement plans, but they allow employees to make after-tax contributions to a separate account.
What Are The Advantages of a Traditional TSP?
There are a few key advantages to choosing a Traditional TSP over a Roth TSP.
One of the biggest advantages is that you will not have to pay taxes on the money you contribute to your account. This can save you a significant amount of money in the long run, especially if you are in a high tax bracket.
Another advantage of a Traditional TSP is that the money in your account can grow tax-deferred. This means that you won’t have to pay taxes on any of the investment gains until you withdraw the money from your account.
Finally, if you are eligible for a government pension, your Traditional TSP can provide some income during retirement.
What Are The Advantages of a Roth TSP?
There are several advantages of a Roth TSP. First, your contributions are made with after-tax dollars, which means that you will not have to pay taxes on the money when you withdraw it in retirement.
Second, there is no required minimum distribution for a Roth TSP (unlike a traditional TSP), so you can leave your money in the account to grow tax-free for as long as you want.
Finally, if you withdraw your money before age 59½, you will only be subject to a ten percent penalty on the earnings, not the entire withdrawal.
What Are The Disadvantages of Traditional TSP?
The main disadvantage of the traditional TSP is that you will have to pay taxes on your withdrawals in retirement. This means that you could end up paying a higher tax rate on your withdrawals than you would have if you had opted for the Roth TSP.
Another downside of the traditional TSP is that you may not be able to access your funds as early as you would with a Roth TSP. With a traditional TSP, you will typically have to wait until you reach age 59½ before you can start making withdrawals without incurring a penalty.
The final disadvantage of the traditional TSP is that your beneficiaries will not be able to take advantage of the tax-free status of the account. If you die before you start making withdrawals, your beneficiaries will have to pay taxes on the money they receive from the account.
What Are The Disadvantages of Roth TSP?
The biggest disadvantage of Roth TSP is that you are taxed on the money you contribute. This means that you will have to pay taxes on the money when you withdraw it in retirement. The other disadvantage of Roth TSP is that you cannot deduct your contributions from your taxes. This can make it difficult to save for retirement if you are in a high tax bracket.
So, Which One Should You Use?
There is no easy answer when it comes to choosing between a traditional TSP and Roth TSP. It really depends on your individual circumstances and what you are looking to achieve with your savings.
If you think you will be in a higher tax bracket when you retire, then the traditional TSP could be a better option for you. This is because you will be able to deduct your contributions from your taxable income, meaning you will pay less in taxes overall.
However, if you think you will be in a lower tax bracket when you retire, the Roth TSP could be a better choice. This is because your withdrawals will be tax-free, so you won’t have to pay anything in taxes on the money you’ve saved.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which option is best for you. You should speak to a financial advisor if you’re unsure about which one to choose. They will be able to help you assess your individual circumstances and make the best decision for your needs.
What Are Some Alternatives to Using a Traditional TSP or a Roth TSP?
There are a few alternatives to using a Traditional TSP or Roth TSP. One is to use a 401k. Another is to use an IRA. And finally, you could just invest in stocks and mutual funds on your own. Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
A 401k is an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan. The main advantage of a 401k is that your employer may match a portion of your contributions. For example, if you contribute $100 to your 401k, your employer may contribute $50. This is free money that can help you reach your retirement goals faster.
An IRA is an individual retirement account that you open and fund on your own. The main advantage of an IRA is that you are not limited in how much you can contribute each year. For 2019, the contribution limit is $6000. If you are 50 years old or older, you can contribute an additional $1000 “catch-up” contribution.
The main disadvantage of an IRA is that you may not be able to deduct your contributions from your taxes. This depends on your income and whether or not you are already participating in a retirement plan at work.
Stocks and Mutual Funds
If you decide to invest in stocks and mutual funds on your own, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you will need to open a brokerage account. Second, you will need to pay attention to the fees associated with buying and selling stocks and mutual funds. And finally, you will need to do your own research to find the best investments for your goals.
Each option has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. It’s important to do your own research to determine which option is best for you.
What Are Some Tips For Using a Traditional TSP?
Here are some tips for using a traditional TSP:
- Save as much as you can. The more money you can save, the more money you’ll have to invest and the sooner you can retire.
- Start early. The sooner you start saving, the longer your money has to grow and the more you’ll have when you retire.
- Invest regularly. Investing a set amount of money each month will help you build up your savings more quickly.
- Consider using dollar-cost averaging. This technique can help reduce the risk of investing all your money at once and seeing it lose value in a down market.
- Consider using a target date fund. These funds automatically adjust their asset mix as you get closer to retirement, making them a good choice for hands-off investors.
What Are Some Tips For Using a Roth TSP?
Here are some tips to use a Roth TSP:
- Save as much money as possible: The more money you save, the more you can grow your account. Try to contribute the maximum amount each year.
- Start early: The sooner you start saving, the longer your money has to grow. Time is one of the most important factors in compound growth.
- Invest for the long term: Roth TSPs are best used as a long-term investment. The longer you can leave your money in the account, the better chance it has to grow.
- Use dollar-cost averaging: Dollar-cost averaging is an investing strategy where you invest a fixed amount of money into an asset at fixed intervals. This can help to smooth out the ups and downs of the market and reduce your overall risk.
- Diversify your investments: Diversification is key in investing. Try to spread your money across different assets and sectors to reduce your risk.
- Stay disciplined: It can be tempting to cash out of your Roth TSP when the market is doing well. However, it’s important to stay disciplined and stick to your long-term investment plan.