Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)
The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a Federal Government-sponsored retirement savings and investment plan. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001 extended participation in the TSP, which was originally only for Federal civilian employees, to members of the uniformed services, and members began enrolling on October 9, 2001. The TSP offers the same type of savings and tax benefits that many private corporations offer their employees under so-called "401(k)" plans. The retirement income that you receive from your TSP account will depend on how much you have contributed to your account during your working years and the earnings on those contributions. For more information on the TSP, visit the official TSP website at www.tsp.gov.
But, it's important to remember the TSP is for long-term retirement savings. There are penalties for early withdrawals. So if you're looking short-term savings, consider U.S. Savings Bonds. They are a convenient way to help save for homes, education, automobiles, or vacations.
U.S. Savings Bonds earn competitive interest rates and are safe because they are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. The interest earned on Bonds is exempt from state or local income taxes, and Federal tax can be deferred until a Bond is cashed or reaches the end of its interest-bearing life (30 years). See the Savings Bonds website, www.savingsbonds.gov.