June 16, 2019

While average account balances continued an impressive rise over the past decade, the monthly averages appear to have remained fairly steady since early 2018.

As you can see in the charts below, average monthly balances fluctuated a bit at the end of 2018 and into early 2019, dipping from the mid-$140,000s to $132k and $141k for FERS and CSRS participants respectively. (Place your mouse over the bars to see the actual figures.) The dip was a bit more pronounced for FERS than for CSRS participants, which was probably due to FERS accounts being more heavily invested in the stock funds and later-maturing L Funds rather than the bond funds. (All CSRS participants are close to and certainly now eligible for retirement, so a larger proportion of participants probably has more invested in the bond funds.)

While FRTIB has only provided updated figures through February this year, the figures (and general market trends since then) indicate a steady, upwards rise…

…except in one case. An interesting trend in BRS average account balances appears in the bottom chart: average account balances for both regular and Roth accounts actually trended downward since the beginning of 2018.

This is probably due to two factors. Some longer-serving military participants probably elected to transition to BRS when it first accepted enrollees. They probably had relatively larger amounts that, when transferred to the new BRS accounts, skewed the averages higher at the outset.

But the explosive growth in BRS participation since January 2018 - from essentially zero to close to 600,000 now - means that the brand-new participants, with very low account holdings (and don’t worry, it will grow!), have most likely pushed the averages down steadily since then.

Here’s the break-out of the average month-over-month account balances since January 2018:

Average TSP account balances for FERS participants reached $141,576 in February, while average balances for CSRS participants reached $149,233.

Average Roth TSP account balances for FERS participants stood at $13,336 in February, while those for CSRS Roth TSP contributors reached $20,483.

Average TSP account balances for Uniformed Service Members reached $26,408 by February 2019, while new ‘Blended Retirement System’ (BRS) participants’ traditional accounts stood at $5,016. This is just over a year since the BRS became operational and began to accept contributions. Roth balances were $8,848 and $5,016, respectively.

Related topics: military-investing c-fund f-fund g-fund s-fund i-fund l-funds long-term-investing tsp-updates roth-tsp