TSP investing

TSP Interfund Transfers (IFT)

I understand that we are allowed 2 Interfund transfers (IFT) per month but I’m confused on whether or not that includes IFTs into the G Fund? Can you please explain?

What is an Interfund Transfer (IFT)?

If you have contributed to your TSP account then you have invested in one or more of the following accounts:

  • G Fund
  • F Fund
  • C Fund
  • S Fund
  • I Fund
  • L Funds

If you want to redistribute your allocations among those funds then you need to do what’s called an Interfund Transfer, better known as an IFT. Keep in mind an IFT does not change your monthly contributions for future deposits into your TSP account.

For Example: You are having a conversation in the break room with a couple colleagues and you discover that the invasion of Ukraine has resulted in sanctions being placed on Russia and therefore the I Fund will most likely lose value over the next 12 months. You decide to log into your TSP account and make an IFT. This IFT will be 100% into the C Fund because that is where you feel your money will prosper over the next 12 months.

How To Make An IFT

You can make an interfund transfer two different ways:

Online – Simply log into your account and on the left hand side you’ll see a menu with the heading “Online Transactions.” Under that subsection you will see a link for “Interfund Transfers”

By Phone – Call the Thrift Line and they will provide all the instructions you need to have someone help you conduct your IFT. https://www.tsp.gov/participantsupport/contact/contactTSP.shtml

Keep in mind IFTs made through the TSP website or on the phone before noon are typically processed that business day. Any IFTs requested after noon are made the following business day.

How Many IFTs Can I Make?

The Thrift Savings Plan has been crystal clear in their policy on interfund transfers:

The first two IFTs of the calendar month can be allocated to any TSP Funds in your account that you choose, this includes a move into the G Fund if you feel it is necessary. After the first two IFTs you make the only other IFT you can make in a calendar month is into the G Fund. Please keep in mind the IFT counts for the month that it is processed, not the month it is requested.

Example: On the 5th of the month you decide to move 100% of your allocations from the I Fund to the S Fund. Then on the 16th you reevaluate your investment thesis and decide you want to move 100% of your allocation into the C fund. Unfortunately on the 26th you watch an episode of Jim Cramer where he states we’re headed for a bear market and you want to move your money to safety right away. You know you’ve already used your two IFTs for the month but the Thrift Savings Plan allows you to make more than two IFTs if the allocations are being transferred into the G Fund.

Recap

An Interfund Transfer (IFT) allows you to transfer your fund allocation to another fund twice a month. However, after two IFTs you are allowed to transfer your funds to the G Fund only.

12 Comments

  • Earl

    Reply Reply December 10, 2015

    What if I transfer my funds to the S then back to the G? Is that counted as my 2 moves?

    • Admin

      Reply Reply December 11, 2015

      Yes. The first two moves always count as transfers but remember you can always transfer your funds into the G fund.

  • STEFAN FUMA

    Reply Reply April 18, 2016

    PLEASE PLEASE ADVISE:

    Assume 0ne million dollars in my TSP.
    divided currently 900 thousand in G (90%) and 100 thousand
    in C fund (10%)
    I want to transfer thousand dollars from G fund to C.

    How can I do it?

    current Interface forces me to choose whole percentages (89% and 11%).. This forces a ten thousand dollar transfer. How can I transfer only one thousand. Not ten times as much. Please please help.

    • Marvin

      Reply Reply April 19, 2016

      Unfortunately Stefan this is one of the flaws we take issue with regarding the Thrift Savings Plan. I don’t think you can simply transfer $1,000 based on the current system, but you’re best bet would be to contact the Thrift Savings Plan Service Rep:

      https://www.tsp.gov/ParticipantSupport/Content/contact/index.html

      Please let us know if they are able to assist you.

  • Michael

    Reply Reply May 1, 2016

    I have 3 questions.

    (1) I have everything in the G fund. I want to reallocate to a diversified portfolio which includes various percentages in the C, S, I, F and G. Can this be done as a single IFT action or does it require multiple moves out of the G over at least 2 months?

    (2) When I retire (it will be after age 71) I will immediately need to begin taking the IRS required minimum distribution. Can I get the TSP to rebalance my allocations after the distribution?

    (3) I recently read that charitable contributions can be made directly from 401k’s to the charity or charities and there is a tax advantage for this approach when taking required minimum distributions vs taking the money yourself and then making the charitable contribution as a follow on action. How does this work–assuming the TSP works like a 401k?

    • Marvin

      Reply Reply May 4, 2016

      Thanks for stopping by!

      1. Yes, this can be done in a single IFT.
      2. Yes, you will need to take the RMD. You can certainly rebalance your allocations but we have found the TSP to be very convoluted for retirees. The minute we retire we plan to simply roll over our TSP into an IRA. This question is more suited for a TSP rep.
      3. We have heard of this also but again this question is more suited for a TSP representative. We have included their contact information below.

      https://www.tsp.gov/ParticipantSupport/Content/contact/index.html

  • Claudemir Tavares

    Reply Reply May 4, 2016

    I”m retired and I have a TSP account. Do you send allocations changes more than once a month?

    • Marvin

      Reply Reply May 5, 2016

      We publish our monthly newsletter which contains our current TSP allocation. At this time we do not change our portfolio positions during the month.

  • Monique

    Reply Reply October 13, 2016

    Hello- If I changed my allocations, do I need to transfer the funds that I had in there to the new buys or can I leave it as it since, I’m still allocating too them as well? I’m assuming I can, just want to be sure since this is all sort of new to me- Thanks!

    • Marvin

      Reply Reply November 3, 2016

      Good morning Monique

      We are not the official Thrift Savings plan site but we would love to help you in anyway we can.

      You do not need to transfer funds in order to change allocations. For example, if you have all of your funds in the C Fund but would like to change your current allocations from C Fund to G Fund, then your funds would stay in the C Fund while all future contributions would be allocated to the G Fund.

      Does this help?

  • Jerry Lindsay

    Reply Reply October 24, 2016

    Need clarification, if I do an IFT before 12:00 do I get the fund price for that day or the day before? If I do an IFT after 12:00 do I get the fund price at close of business they day I request the IFT or at the end of the next business day?

    • Marvin

      Reply Reply November 3, 2016

      Good morning Jerry

      This is a tough question because the guidance we receive from the official Thrift Savings website uses this exact verbiage…

      “IFTs made on this website or the ThriftLine before 12 noon Eastern time ARE GENERALLY processed as of that business day. Requests made after 12 noon Eastern time ARE GENERALLY processed the next business day.”

      The verbiage leads us to believe your initial assumption is correct, when making an IFT before noon you purchase the fund for the price that day. When making an IFT after noon you purchase the fund for the following day price. But there are no guarantees.

      In the grand scheme of things we do not believe you should focus your energy over a one day price difference. Typically this will be meaningless once you factor in compounding your returns over the course of 10 or 20 years.

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