UPDATE: How to pick smarter investments in your U.S. Thrift Savings Plan
By Paul A. Merriman, MarketWatch
Make the government retirement plan work harder for you
Nearly five million people have some or all of their retirement savings in the U.S. government's Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), and many of them probably aren't managing it to its full potential benefit.
The TSP is the government's equivalent of a 401(k) plan. Money is contributed automatically every pay period and invested in one or more of three basic investment options.
For more than 15 years I've been recommending combinations of TSP investment choices (http://paulmerriman.com/tsp/) for conservative, moderate and aggressive investors.
Unlike most 401(k) and similar plans, the TSP is simple, with a very limited range of investment choices. This eliminates many opportunities for mistakes. But it also eliminates a few important asset classes that can add a lot of long-term value to people who are saving for retirement.
If you're participating in the TSP and want to maximize your long-term return, read on.
The TSP offers target-retirement date funds for those who want the simplicity of choices already made for them and an automatic evolution toward a more conservative stance as an investor ages.