May 6, 2019

What would your TSP account be worth if you had fully invested over the past 30 years?

The charts below represent the returns of each fund based on monthly investments of the maximum yearly TSP deferral limits*, from the date of each fund’s inception to the end of April 2019. Figures are approximate and will differ depending on actual investment dates and actual amounts invested. Remember: past fund performance does not predict future returns, but the below is a good illustration of what investors can do when investing through thick and thin over the long-term!


Returns on the G Fund, 1988-2019 Investing the maximum deferral limit on a monthly basis from 1988 through the end of April 2019 (approximately $403,763), the G Fund would be worth $689,184.


Returns on the F Fund, 1988-2019 Investing the maximum deferral limit on a monthly basis from 1988 through the end of April 2019 (approximately $403,763), the F Fund would be worth $852,030.


Returns on the C Fund, 1988-2019 Investing the maximum deferral limit on a monthly basis from 1988 through the end of April 2019 (approximately $403,763), the C Fund would be worth $1,876,966.


The below chart shows the growth of all three funds in one graphic:

Returns on the G, C, and F Funds, 1988-2019



S, I Funds

The S and I Funds were inaugurated in 2001, thus the following charts are based on returns from 2001 to April 2019:

Returns on the S Fund, 2001-2019 Investing the maximum deferral limit on a monthly basis from 2001 through the end of April 2019 (approximately $286,667), the S Fund would be worth $771,672.


Returns on the I Fund, 2001-2019 Investing the maximum deferral limit on a monthly basis from 2001 through the end of April 2019 (approximately $286,667), the I Fund would be worth $464,820.


For further return information based on an average salary, see this post. For information on returns over a 40-year period, see “What Does $1,000 a Year Matter?”.


*The deferral amounts used in the examples above can be reached either as a combination of individual and matching contributions (for civilian and military BRS participants), or solely from individual contributions (for uniformed service members who do not receive a government match). Thus a civilian government worker making $80,000 would reach the $18,500 deferral rate for 2019 used in the examples above by contributing $14,500 and receiving $4,000 in 5% government matching contributions, for $18,500 in total contributions for the year. Civilian government workers who receive matching contributions can defer up to the maximum deferral rate — $18,500 in 2019, plus catch-up deferrals for those over 50 — and still receive a match of 5% of their regular salary.

For a complete discussion of the methodology used and calculations, see this page.


Related topics: long-term-investing c-fund f-fund g-fund s-fund i-fund