The Free Thrift Savings Plan Business Cycle Strategy Guide

The vast majority of my investments outside the Thrift Savings Plan are in index mutual funds or ETFs which I select based on the current phase of the business cycle. I almost exclusively use Vanguard funds and ETFs because of their very low costs and fees.

The TSP S Fund tracks the Dow Jones U.S. Completion Total Stock Market Index, which is a mouthful but basically means all US stocks excluding the S&P 500. Although there are about 3200 stocks in this index, it is weighted by market capitalization (they buy shares in proportion to how large the companies are) so it is dominated by mid-cap stocks.

When the business cycle indicators tell me I want to be in small caps, I generally dont really want a mid-cap blend like the funds above, so I substitute the Russell 2000 (which is the most commonly used small cap index) or other small cap funds such as:

The TSP F Fund tracks the Barclays Capital U.S. Aggregate Bond Index.

The TSP G Fund invests in a very short-term U.S. Treasury security which is specially issued only to the Thrift Savings Plan and provides interest rates similar to those of long-term Government securities, but without risk of loss of value and the ability to trade on a daily basis.

No equivalent investment available the TSP G Fund is a one-of-a-kind security issued only to federal employees through the Thrift Savings Plan.

hi there, do you have similar conversions for FIDELITY as well. Many thanks! Also I am going to move my interfund transfers on Monday, would your recommend the 85C fund and 15I fund that you have posted or are you going to make a change soon. I noticed this was in JULY. Thanks!!!

also where do you show your rate of returns for the last few years? thanks again

I have not gone through and tried to figure out which Fidelity funds are TSP find equivalents. Might be a good topic for the message board perhaps someone has already made that effort. If you do sort them out, let me know and I will add those to this page.

I cant make recommendations for you. Within mine, I expect I will move to 100% C Fund in the very near future (I have just been having a hard time making that move when the I Fund has been so strong).

Now that the page has been around for a few years I am definitely due to create a returns page. On the to-do list.

Ive never looked at those before, but very quick look at their website makes me think these are close:

TSP S Fund: Extended Equity Market Index Fund (PEXMX)

TSP I Fund: International Equity Index (PIEQX)

TSP F Fund: U.S. Bond Enhanced Index Fund (PBDIX)

Thanks for another great page of information. With no G Fund equivalent what do you do when the business cycle suggests you move assets to cash? Do you move the money into the Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund? Thanks again for your time and help.

There really isnt a G Fund equivalent because any bond fund has the potential to lose value when interest rates rise, whereas the G Fund keeps plugging along no matter what. If I sll an ETF or mutual fund during a period when I think the market is going to fall dramatically (which is the only time I am out of stocks), I will go into a bond fund like BND which will benefit from the Fed pushing interest rates lower in an effort to jumpstart the economy.

What do you recommend for a person ready to retire in less than a month? Leave money in TSP and take out monthlyproportionately from funds invested in OR leave money needed for monthly income in the G fund (enough for approx. 10 years) and transfer remainder to IRA to be invested in stock market.

Love your site. I use Vanguard for my Roth TSP, and will be changing my allocation as I have been in VTIVX- a mutul fund that appears similar to our Lifecycle funds. I now know those are not great investments. My question is you suggest Vanguard ETFs and Mutual Funds as potential investment opportunities. Whats the difference? Do Mutual Funds have more fees? Pros/Cons? Thanks.

Nevermind. I think I figured it out I qualified for admiral shares so the mutual fund has much lower fees than the previous one I was in!

Current Thrift Savings Plan Allocation and Underlying Business Cycle Phase October 2013

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