Can TSP Be Rolled Over to an IRA?

There are two methods available to you when rolling over TSP funds into an IRA: direct and indirect. With direct rollover, TSP will send the funds directly into your new account; for indirect rollover, TSP will mail you a check with 60 days to deposit it into an eligible pre-tax contribution account, such as Roth employer-sponsored plans or an IRA.


The TSP offers two investing options for its members: traditional and Roth. A traditional account deposits pre-tax funds that accumulate tax-deferred until withdrawal; however, any early withdrawal may incur ordinary income taxes as well as a 10% penalty fee. Meanwhile, Roth accounts provide more flexibility as withdrawals are tax-free as long as certain criteria are met.

If you decide to convert your TSP into an IRA, there are a few key points you should keep in mind. First and foremost is understanding the rules and benefits associated with direct and indirect rollovers as detailed below:

Direct rollovers are the preferred method for moving money from TSP to an IRA, as TSP will deliver it directly. By choosing this option, TSP will transfer your savings directly into your new employer plan or IRA without you needing to manage distributions yourself. Indirect rollovers require you to withhold 20% for federal income taxes within 60 days or face additional taxes and penalties due.


If you’re considering rolling over your TSP into an IRA, it is crucial that you understand all associated fees. Fees can add up quickly and could negatively affect long-term returns. Furthermore, be mindful of any hidden charges attached to funds within your portfolio.

When investing in index funds, the administration fees may be much lower than with managed IRAs; however, when invested in actively managed funds the costs can quickly skyrocket.

If you decide to roll over your TSP, it’s essential not to forget replacing any funds withheld for taxes – otherwise they will be taxed as income when withdrawn and penalized 10% if under age 59 1/2.

Investment options

Interested in Converting Your TSP to an IRA? Before doing so, it is wise to carefully assess its fees and investment options. TSP funds typically offer some of the lowest fees in the market which could make a big difference when investing for retirement. Before considering such an action it would be prudent to speak to an investing professional in order to determine if this move makes sense or not.

Your TSP investment election (previously known as contribution allocation) allows you to allocate any new contributions or loan payments coming into your TSP account with new money from contributions or loan payments into investment funds already held within TSP. Or you can reallocate what’s already there between funds. Using direct rollover, the administrator writes a check directly to your new account with information regarding where it should go; this method is more tax efficient than traditional withdrawal methods but must withhold 20% for taxes when taking this approach.


IRA rollovers can be an efficient and rewarding way of saving for retirement, yet they come with their own set of complications and risks. Rules must be strictly observed or extra taxes and penalties may result. A financial professional can assist TSP holders navigate these potential traps and maximize the benefits of their rollovers.

Investment in an IRA allows you to benefit from professional money management that may reduce fees and potentially boost returns, yet these services incur significant fees, typically up to one percent of assets under management. Unfortunately, this could reduce returns significantly if invested in high-fee funds such as C.

If your TSP meets your investment options and has low fees, it may be worthwhile leaving it alone. Otherwise, consider moving it to a new employer’s plan or an IRA instead. Cashing out is generally not recommended because it would be taxed as income with potential penalties of 10% attached.

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