Retirement planning is an integral part of the career of a professional. The sooner it starts, the better results you will reap. Fortunately, the United States government has a relevant provision in the form of the TSP or Thrift Savings Plan, which is available for the United States civil service employees and the members of the uniformed services.
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What is Liteblue TSP?
TSP or thrift savings plan is a retirement plan orchestrated by the government for federal employees and people from uniformed services. It is a form of defined contribution plan, which means that the employer and employee contribute a specific amount of money at regular intervals.
A major purpose for curating the scheme is to ensure long-term savings and investment for the employees. Therefore, the sooner you start investing in the scheme, the more savings you will likely make for your retirement.
Liteblue, on the other hand, is the online portal that has been launched by the United States Postal Services or USPS. The USPS is one of the oldest and certainly the biggest postal department in the United States. Liteblue is a comprehensive online portal that is available in the form of an application. The app manages the personal accounts of all USPS employees with the utmost efficiency and renders several benefits to the employees.
Eligibility for investing in the TSP
If you are interested in putting your money in the scheme, you should check for the eligibility criteria to avoid hassles at the eleventh hour. Any person is eligible to invest in the scheme whose retirement system matches any one of the following-
- The person must be a federal employee covered by the FERS or the Federal Employees Retirement Scheme.
- The person can be a federal worker covered by the CSRS or the Civil Services Retirement System.
- If the person is a civilian, they must be serving under federal service, which includes a position in congress or as justice in the judiciary.
- Any member of the uniformed services
How to Set up a TSP account?
- A TSP account is set up from when the person makes the first contribution to the TSP.
- This contribution includes the contribution of the concerned employee as well as the agency’s contribution.
- If you are a hired or rehired FERS or CSRS employee after July 31, 2010, you have automatically been enrolled in a TSP contribution, which deducts 3% from your basic pay at regular intervals.
Login To TSP.GOV
Whether you’re a USPS employee or any other Federal Government employee, you can access the Thrift Saving Plan account by following the below steps.
- Visit the www.tsp.gov webpage on your mobile or Desktop.
- You can sign in to the TSP account using two different methods.
- The first one uses your direct Thrift Savings Plan account number, and the other is using your TSP user ID and password.
- If you forgot your TSP password, you could reset your TSP password using this link.
Investment Options under TSP
TSP allows you to invest in six different ways. Every employee gets to choose from a list of six funds to continue with his investment. The funds available for the employee are-
- Government securities investment fund- also known as the G Fund, is made in the U.S. treasuries. It is a short-term investment and can help you earn a decent interest with the least risk. What works in favor of the investor is that despite the fund being a short-term investment, interest rates are very similar to those in long-term investments.
If you are someone who is too hesitant to invest thinking that it might sink with the market conditions, well, here is excellent news for you.
The government of the United States guarantees the payment of principal amount along with interest. This ensures that you have nothing to worry about the risk factor.
- Fixed income index investment fund- the F fund is invested in the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index (Agg). In a true sense, the employee invests in a bond index fund responsible for tracking the Agg. It is a long-term investment plan. If you are interested in earning high-interest rates than the prevailing ones, you can invest in this fund even under declining market conditions.
- Common stock index investment fund- if equity gets you excited for investment, it might be suitable to invest in the C fund. The fund is invested in the S&P index, which encompasses 500 medium to large scale u.s firms. The returns on investments are high as compared to those in the usual equity investments.
- Small-capitalization stock index investment fund- the S fund allows you to invest in a stock index fund that tracks the TSM index. The TSM index basically encompasses all the medium and large-scale u.s companies that are not a part of the S&P index. Therefore, an investment opportunity in this fund gives you a chance to earn higher returns than the regular “small-cap” investment schemes. However, you must always conduct a thorough risk assessment because the volatility of the S fund is much higher than the C fund.
- International stock index investment fund- for people wanting to dive into international markets and earn profits that needs to go through the money exchange, investment in the I fund is a great opportunity. The I fund tracks the MCSI EAFE index, which covers Europe, Australasia, and the Far East. The market is ripe with opportunities and combines stocks of successful companies in 22 developed countries. So if you are looking for an opportunity to enhance your investment portfolio, investing in the I fund is the right decision to make.
The first four are actually index funds managed by BlackRock Institutional Trust Company, bound by a contract with the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB). It is an independent agency that is liable to act in the participants’ interest and beneficiaries while managing the TSP.
- To know more about these plans, contact Liteblue Human Resources Department.
Incorporating Liteblue in your investment
TSP is a reliable investment opportunity that has a plethora of options for different types of investors. However, you must be wondering where Liteblue comes into the picture and how it can invest in the TSP. So, Liteblue is an e-payroll alternative that is gaining widespread popularity and is the official portal of USPS. With the help of the web portal, you can sign in to your TSP account and keep track of your savings and investments.
With the world going cashless and digital with each passing day, it only makes sense that USPS has made an effort to incorporate saving and investment opportunities to bring it right on your gadgets. Every employee has a separate account of Liteblue, which can be accessed only by him. The account contains all the information regarding the investment plans and schemes available to make a calculated decision.
If you are new to USPS, you will have to create an account on Liteblue. The web portal gives all required information about the TSP funds right on your device. What more? Any changes in the investment can be made directly from your account, so there is no need to stand in long queues and file paperwork.
Working on the Liteblue web portal has multiple perks. First, the app keeps you updated with the latest events and helps you keep pace with your investments.
- Marking your calendar- TSP requires you to make investments at regular intervals. Whatever amount is contributed by the employee, a proportionate amount is contributed by the organization as well. This requires you to keep track of the important dates, for instance, parole date, overtime, sick leave and leave of absence, etc. this shall allow you to keep track of the salary credited to your account, which shall allow you to adjust your investments accordingly.
- The portal lets you have your own account, which contains all of your work records. So, you can officially bid farewell to all those folders and binders that you have collected over these years. The personal account of the employer shall contain all the necessary information about your parole, TSP, investment schemes, etc., in addition to this. It shall also help you keep track of the changes in the market conditions and their effect on your investment, thus helping you to plan your savings well.
- Confidential and classified- the portal’s security is the top priority since it manages the professional and financial details of more than 600,000 employees. Only the USPS workers can access the portal, where they are required to enter a unique id and password. This ensures that anyone who is not eligible or not a member of USPS cannot access the portal. The app is a major upgrade from the tedious paperwork.
Perks of TSPs
Being a retirement scheme, TSPs are essential for every federal employee. Investing in one of the available funds shall allow you to secure your future and help you stay financially independent.
- Pre-tax and post-tax contributions- when it comes to contributing the TSP funds, the pre-tax or traditional contributions are deducted from the basic pay before tax deduction. The after-tax contribution or Roth contributions are the ones that are calculated from pay after accounting for the tax and therefore are tax-free. Moreover, earnings from investments are tax-deferred. If you go with the Roth contribution, the earnings are tax-free if certain guidelines laid down by IRS are met.
- Estimated expenses- being a federal worker, you get to pay very minimal expenses for investment and related administrative costs. Moreover, if you agree, the deductions can be made automatically from payroll, and this shall be reflected in your Liteblue account.
- Choose more than one- the employee benefits from choosing more than one type of fund for investment. The scheme also has special provisions for people who are above 50 years of age. Any person above that age can contribute an amount that exceeds the limit decided.
- Loans and mortgages- a federal employee can mortgage his investment for a certain sum of money, but this transaction is subject to certain terms and conditions. Similarly, withdrawals during service tenure are also subject to certain circumstances and provisions.
Thus, the Thrift Savings Plan has been designed keeping in mind the 401k investment option which is quite prevalent in the United States. If you are a USPS employee, you can take advantage of the scheme through your Liteblue account. Create your account and ease through the process of tedious paperwork, timely contributions, and updates regarding the market conditions.