***image1***The key word is retirement, and the word can be misleading.
One of the easiest ways for military members to start their own retirement account is using the Military Thrift Savings Plan.
To be effective, retirement savings should be started as soon as possible. Simply put, the formula for making money is the amount of time money contributed can compound.
Compounding is the ability for money to earn money over time. When people invest, they loan money to others at a cost. The cost is usually referred to as rate of return or interest earned. Over time, their retirement account earns interest and eventually the interest that is earned also earns interest.
For example, a 23-year-old Airman decides to begin saving for retirement at age 65. The Airman starts a retirement account and contributes $100 per month. Multiply $100 by 12 months and then multiply that sum by 42 years. This equals a grand total of $50,400 that was contributed into the Airman’s retirement account. If his retirement account is invested in the stock market until he or she reaches the official retirement age of 65, the rate of return on contributions is 10 percent. The total amount of money the Airman will earn from the investment is $709,681.
Imagine a $50,400 retirement contribution making a profit of $659,281 – that is the power of compounding over time.
“You may only contribute to TSP as an active member of the uniformed services. Starting an account can only be done during an open season after 60 days of military service,” said Dia Washington, a financial technician at the Ramstein Family Support Center. “The KMC is in the middle of an open season right now. Open seasons fall two times a year: April 15 to June 30, and Oct. 15 to Dec. 31.”
TSP is a tax deferred savings account. All contributions are deducted prior to assessing taxes on base pay, which means paying fewer taxes now. By deferring payment on taxes, people can delay payment to a time when they’re in a lower tax bracket. For those who have signed up and have an active TSP account before they deploy, all contributions to their account in a tax free zone will always be tax-free.
To start, click on MyPay at https://mypay.dfas.mil/mypay.aspx and follow the Military TSP link instructions – it is that easy.
“MyPay is self explanatory and I found it very user friendly,” said Staff Sgt. Verdelle Holloway, 723rd Air Mobility Squadron.
People who start their account should expect to receive a letter in the mail from TSP. This letter is very important, because it will contain their Personal Identification Number. It’s also important to note that once they receive their PINs, they can access their TSP accounts by going to www.tsp.gov and select how they want to invest their money. This is called allocating funds. Choose between five funds and the percentage of contributions going into each fund. People must visit the Website to make allocation choices or all contributions will go into the “G” Fund and stay there.
The “G” Fund is one of two bond market funds and is considered the safest fund. It is also the fund with the lowest rate of return.
Contact the Ramstein Family Support Center at 480-5100/5900 or 06371 47 5100/5900 or visit www.tsp.gov for more information.
Need more TSP info?
More information about the Thrift Sav-ings Plan can be found in the booklet “Summary of the Thrift Savings Plan” on the TSP home page at www.tsp.gov.
For general questions, call the Air Force contact center at (800) 616-3775.