The thrift savings plan is a defined-contribution plan designed to give federal employees the same retirement savings related benefits that workers in the private sector enjoy with 401(k) plans.
The contributions in a TSP made by an employee are done through automatic deductions, with pre-tax dollars, and for those in the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) the federal government will match up to 5% of an employee’s income as an additional contribution.
This match is not available in the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS).
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Read more: Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) Definition