TSP Expense Ratios ; image: dollars falling in front of USA flag

The expense ratios for the core TSP funds have seen a significant bump since the beginning of this decade. While from 2010 to 2019, the percentages hovered around 30 to 40 basis points, there was a dramatic 30% increase back in 2020 and it doesn’t appear that the administrative and investment costs for the TSP funds are going back down any time soon.

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These expenses are standard in the investment industry, and the TSP has always been touted for its low costs. However, as the fees continue to stay around the current levels and even increase, this appealing aspect of the retirement plan is diminishing.

The total expense ratio for the TSP hit 7.6 basis points (or, 0.076% of the invested amount that the account holder pays for managing the investments) in 2021, and from what information is available, seems to have dipped to 0.069% the next year, but this is still considerably higher than the 0.058% charged back in 2020. For funds such as G, C, and S – the ratios are still climbing higher.

The S fund’s cost escalated from 6.8 basis points in 2020 to 9 basis points in 2022– an increase of 32.4%. The C fund went from 0.051% to 0.059%, going up 15.6%. And the G-fund has gone from 49 basis points to 57 in the same timeframe, which means it has been raised 16.3%. When the expenses were first increased, the reason given was that it was to cover the costs of the modernization efforts undertaken from 2020 to 2022 (think the new website and mutual fund window), but with those “improvements” now implemented, there is little evidence that suggests the cost of the TSP funds will fall back to pre-2020 levels.

All being said, the expense ratios of the TSP funds are still competitive with similar investments even if they are no longer the absolute lowest like around 2018 or so. But if these costs continue to rise, the TSP will start to lose its grip on a reputation for having low costs.


Until Next Time,

Benefits Ben, STWS

**Written by Benjamin Derge, Financial Planner, ChFEBC℠ The information has been obtained from sources considered reliable but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Benjamin Derge and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. Links are being provided for information purposes only. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize, or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors.

***The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a retirement savings and investment plan for Federal employees and members of the uniformed services, including the Ready Reserve. The TSP is a defined contribution plan, meaning that the retirement income you receive from your TSP account will depend on how much you (and your agency or service, if you're eligible to receive agency or service contributions) put into your account during your working years and the earnings accumulated over that time. The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) administers the TSP.***

TSP Expense Ratios ; image: dollars falling in front of USA flag

TSP Expense Ratios