Background. The Thrift Saving Plan (TSP) is a retirement savings plan for current and retired federal civil service employees. The thrift savings plan is a defined-contribution plan designed to give federal employees the same retirement savings-related benefits that workers in the private sector enjoy with 401(k) plans.
Purpose. This Board contains market-timing commentary and discussion about the Government's Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) and the investment choices.
References. The TSP Web address for asset transfers and asset allocations is Home | The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)
G Fund The G Fund invests in short-term U.S. treasuries and functions as a money market account. The principal is guaranteed.
S Fund The S Fund - the Small cap is a bit of a misnomer for this Fund. It is all of the U.S. stocks that are not included in the S&P 500. There are some relatively large companies in this Fund. It is a compilation of mid-cap stocks and small-cap stocks. It tracks the Barclays Extended Market Index Fund, which tracks the Wilshire 4500 index. Investing in C and S funds is investing in every tradable U.S. company. The Vanguard Extended Market Index VIPERS (VXF) is a proxy for the S Fund.
F Fund The F Fund is invested in the Barclays U.S. Debt Index Fund, a bond index fund that holds a representative sample of the bonds in the Lehman Brothers U.S. Aggregate (LBA) index. Economic indicators and money supply affect interest rates. Interest rates influence the movement of this Fund. When yields move lower, bonds go up in price, and the F fund goes up in value. When yields increase, bonds go down in price, and the F fund decreases in value. The iShares Core Aggregate Bond ETF (AGG) is a proxy for the F Fund.
I Fund The I Fund - The International Fund follows the *EAFE index. This stands for Europe, Australia, and the Far East. The EAFE countries are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. If you surf through any of the financial networks on TV at night, you will see quotes on these exchanges, and those results affect the next day's I fund price. The I Fund also carries the risk of foreign currency fluctuations. The companies' stock prices in the EAFE index are expressed in the currency of each respective country and then converted to U.S. dollars to determine the value of the EAFE index. Thus, the value of the EAFE index will rise as the value of the U.S. dollar falls - and fall as the value of the U.S. dollar increases - about the currencies of countries with companies represented in the EAFE index. The iShares MSCI EAFE ETF (EFA) is a proxy for the I Fund.
* On some days, the change in the I Fund share price reported by the TSP does not match the change noted for the Morgan Stanley EAFE (Europe, Australasia, Far East) index, which the I Fund tracks. This happens when the Board's investment manager, Barclays Global Investors (BGI), reprices its EAFE Equity Index Fund, which the TSP invests, after closing the foreign markets. This process, known as "fair valuation," occurs when there are large U.S. market or currency movements between the time the foreign markets close and 4:00 p.m. when BGI's share prices are determined. Fair valuation ensures that traders cannot "market time" the I Fund by making investment decisions based on the "stale" prices, thus diluting the returns of other participants who invest in the I Fund. Because the EAFE uses the foreign market closing prices to calculate its values, its price change will differ from the TSP on those days.
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