TSP Funds

There are currently 10 investment funds in the Thrift Savings Plan. Five are individual stock and bond funds, and the other five are target retirement date funds. The table below summarizes the historical performance and risk characteristics of the five primary TSP Investment Funds [1]. Click on any link in the table header to see performance charts and other details for that fund.

TSP Investment Funds
8/31/1990 - 11/26/2014
TSP
G Fund
TSP
F Fund
TSP
C Fund
TSP
S Fund
TSP
I Fund
Last Price (11/26/2014)14.588216.740327.300136.264725.3840
Change (1-Day)0.01%0.09%0.30%0.23%0.36%
YTD Return2.11%6.34%14.35%7.70%-0.71%
1-Year Return2.33%5.60%17.48%11.30%1.56%
3-Year Return1.88%3.26%24.13%24.43%15.74%
5-Year Return2.20%4.40%15.75%18.18%6.18%
10-Year Return3.21%4.92%8.06%9.88%5.51%
Annual Return Since 8/31/19905.0%6.6%10.3%11.4%6.0%
Annualized Standard Deviation [2]0.3%3.9%18.2%20.1%18.0%
Maximum Drawdown [3]--6.6%-55.2%-57.4%-60.9%
Sharpe Ratio [4]-0.430.360.390.14
Value of $1,000 invested on 8/31/1990$3,244$4,752$10,719$13,556$4,097

The Thrift Savings Plan also offers five Lifecycle Funds. The table below shows their historical performance since they became available for investment on 8/1/2005: [5]

TSP Lifecycle Funds
8/1/2005 - 11/26/2014
TSP
L Income
Fund
TSP
L 2020
Fund
TSP
L 2030
Fund
TSP
L 2040
Fund
TSP
L 2050
Fund
Last Price (11/26/2014)17.468823.061525.043126.668915.1588
Change (1-Day)0.07%0.16%0.21%0.24%0.26%
YTD Return3.88%5.81%6.75%7.39%7.79%
1-Year Return4.57%7.36%8.70%9.62%10.29%
3-Year Return5.86%12.44%15.26%17.35%19.27%
5-Year Return4.77%8.62%10.25%11.41%-
Annual Return Since 8/1/20054.5%6.1%6.7%7.1%11.5%
Annualized Standard Deviation 4.2%12.5%15.1%17.2%14.5%
Maximum Drawdown -11.0%-36.9%-43.3%-48.4%-19.8%
Sharpe Ratio 0.330.290.310.310.69
Value of $1,000 invested on 8/1/2005$1,505$1,740$1,836$1,901$1,516

Individual TSP Funds

  • The TSP G Fund (Government Securities Investment Fund) is invested in short-term U.S. Treasury securities.
  • The TSP F Fund (Fixed Income Index Investment Fund) is invested in U.S. investment-grade bonds, as tracked by the Barclays Capital Aggregate Bond Index.
  • The TSP C Fund (Common Stock Index Investment Fund) is invested in large capitalization U.S. stocks. It tracks the Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) Stock Index.
  • The TSP S Fund (Small Capitalization Stock Index Fund) is invested in the stocks of small and medium-sized U.S. companies. It tracks the Dow Jones U.S. Completion Total Stock Market Index.
  • The TSP I Fund (International Stock Index Investment Fund) is invested in international stocks from 21 developed countries. It tracks the Morgan Stanley Capital International EAFE (Europe, Australasia, Far East) Index.

TSP Lifecycle Funds

The five TSP Lifecycle Funds are target retirement date funds, invested in a professionally designed mix of domestic and international stocks, bonds and government securities. Each L Fund is invested in the five individual TSP funds (G, F, C, S, and I Fund). TSP investors choose a fund based on when they expect to retire and start making withdrawals:

  • The TSP L 2050 Fund is for participants who will need their money in the year 2045 or later.
  • The TSP L 2040 Fund is for participants who will need their money between 2035 and 2044.
  • The TSP L 2030 Fund is for participants who will need their money between 2025 and 2034.
  • The TSP L 2020 Fund is for participants who will need their money between 2015 and 2024.
  • The TSP L Income Fund is for participants who are already withdrawing their accounts in monthly payments, or who plan to need their money between now and 2014.

Notes

  1. The first TSP fund became available to investors in April 1987, and others followed in 1988 and 2001. TSP.gov has published monthly fund returns since inception, and daily fund price history since 2003. To allow for a longer performance comparison, we extended the available TSP fund price history for the C, G, F, I, and S funds with their underlying index data. For example, we extended the TSP C Fund with the S&P 500 Total Return index. The same was done for the other TSP funds and their underlying index. The indexes we use do not account for fund expenses, so earlier returns are slightly higher. However, in practice the difference is not significant: the TSP funds have extremely low expense ratios (0.027% per year as of this writing).
  2. Standard deviation, also known as historical volatility, is used by investors as a gauge for the amount of expected volatility. Volatile TSP funds like the C, S, and I fund have a high standard deviation, while the deviation of the G and F funds is lower. When comparing investments, a low standard deviation is preferable.
  3. Drawdown: the peak-to-trough decline in the TSP fund value, measured as a percentage between the peak and the trough. Perhaps best expressed in the historical drawdown charts for each fund, which show the magnitude and duration of each periodic decline. A good investment strategy aims to minimize drawdowns.
  4. The Sharpe Ratio measures risk-adjusted performance. It's calculated by subtracting the risk-free interest rate from the rate of return for a specific fund, and dividing the result by the standard deviation of the fund returns. Since we only track TSP funds on this website, we use the G fund returns as our risk-free investment. When comparing investments, a high Sharpe Ratio is preferable.
  5. There are 5 active TSP Lifecycle Funds, and one retired fund. The L Income, L 2010, L 2020, L 2030, and L 2040 funds were introduced on 8/1/2005. The new L 2050 fund opened up to investors on 1/31/2011. The L 2010 fund was retired on December 31, 2010, its assets folded into the L Income Fund.

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