How Military Can Benefit From a Roth IRA

How Military Can Benefit From a Roth IRA

Usually, Members of the US military who have served for 20 years are eligible to retire with a 50% pension plan. Members of the armed forces who serve longer will earn a higher percentage of the pension. Many military members cannot maintain their standard of living during their retirement on 50% of their pay. Often it is not enough, even though it is a good start.

Then there’s the fact that most current military personnel are unable to reach the 20 years of service required to qualify for benefits. For these reasons, military members need to be proactive about planning their retirement.

Contributing to your retirement accounts, including the Military Roth TSP, is the best way to do that since you can take them wherever you go without worry.

Roth IRAs are tax-advantaged retirement accounts that provide military members with significant tax advantages.

Related Article: The Complete Guide to Investments and Financial Planning for Veterans

What Is a Roth TSP?

Roth TSPs are taxed just like Roth IRAs and are named after Senator William Roth. Roth TSPs allow you to contribute money after you have paid taxes on it so that you can accrue more benefits. Your contributions grow tax-free for a lifetime. After you retire, you will also be allowed to withdraw the money without having to pay more taxes. There is no limit on contributions to the Roth TSP. Still, there is a contribution limit on the traditional TSP ($20,500 in 2022). However, it is still true that you cannot put $20,500 into your Roth TSP and then add another $20,500 into your Traditional TSP at the same time.

Even though Roth TSPs have government matching contributions, these contributions are still treated as contributions to the traditional TSP. Therefore, the matching contributions by the government will always be tax-deferred.

Benefits of a Roth TSP for Military Members

The TSP is a defined contribution plan. In other words, the income Soldiers receive from their TSP accounts is determined by the amount of money they contributed to the account as well as the earnings from those contributions. However, this is different from the Uniformed Services Retirement System. An individual’s retirement income is determined by the years of service and the rank held at the time of retirement.

Here is a list of Roth TSP military benefits:


Roth TSP contributions are tax-free, and earnings from them are tax-free as long as the Soldier is at least 591/2 years old (or disabled). However, the withdrawal must be made at least 5 years after the contribution year.

Combat Zone Contributions

A person puts typically tax-free pay into the TSP while serving in a combat zone. The advantage of this is that it not only means that you have the potential for compounding, but it also means that you have more money to add to your TSP account rather than contributing it to the US Treasury’s income-tax fund through withholdings and tax returns.

Military TSP Matching

As of Jan. 1, 2018, members of the military who joined on or after that date or opted into the BRS will automatically receive 1% of their basic pay as a contribution to the TSP even if they don’t contribute anything themselves. Those who choose to pay into the TSP will receive a matching contribution by the government, up to a maximum tsp contribution of 5% of their basic salaries.

No Income Limit

With the Roth TSP, there is no income limit imposed on you. However, you can choose to contribute after taxes to the Roth TSP. You can therefore have a regular TSP account as well as a Roth TSP account at the same time. There are no limits on the amount an individual can contribute during a year, except the IRS limitation.

Related Article: Best Financial Planners for Veterans

Roth TSP Contributions and Withdrawals

As part of the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), the Roth Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a savings account for federal employees. Assume that you belong to the federal government or you are in the military. There are several situations where you will automatically be enrolled in FERS in that case. In that case, 0.8% of your base salary will be deducted.

As a starting point, it is important to remember that the Roth TSP is similar to a Roth IRA. Both accounts fall into the category of Roth accounts, allowing users to take advantage of the same benefits.

Yearly Roth Maximum Contribution

It is possible to contribute up to a maximum amount, which may be adjusted each year. There is a maximum tax deduction of $19,500 for 2021, plus a maximum of $6,500 for those over 50. After that, the maximum deduction goes up by $1,000 to $20,500. If you have more than one TSP account, a Roth TSP, or a traditional TSP.

Catch-Up Contributions

The contribution amounts available to TSP members who are age 50 or older can also afford to make TSP Catch-up contributions if they will be turning 50 in the year 2022. There will be an annual limit of $6,500 under the IRS Catch-up Contributions program in 2022. The monthly TSP limit is $20,500; however, this amount is in addition to the standard TSP limit.

Rollover to TSP

You can transfer money from other eligible retirement plans to your existing TSP account, regardless of whether you’re a civilian employee, a uniformed service member, or a separated participant. TSP accounts cannot be opened through the transfer of money into them since this isn’t allowed.

Incentive Pay, Special Pay, and Bonus Pay

As a Roth TSP plan member, you can select a Roth TSP percentage for each of the following categories of pay: pay for performance, incentive pay, bonuses, and special pay. The employee’s responsibility is to select one percent (1%) of their basic pay from either a traditional or Roth TSP to make decisions about incentive pay, special pay, or bonus pay.

When You Can Withdraw From Your Roth TSP

To withdraw your Roth TSP funds, you must be at least 59½ years old. If you meet these criteria, you won’t have to pay taxes on Roth TSP withdrawals. If you are under the age of 59 ½, you incur a 10% penalty for early withdrawals. The traditional withdrawals from TSPs are subject to federal income tax and possibly state income tax. In contrast, Roth withdrawals from TSPs are not, as long as certain conditions are met.

Related Article: How to Invest Your VA Disability Money

How to Decide to Invest in a Roth TSP

The answer to this question requires some analysis. Through traditional TSP plans, participants can lower their adjusted gross income (AGI) and pay fewer taxes directly today because they lower their AGI. Roth IRA tax benefits are available when a Roth TSP participant takes distributions and receives tax-free income.

Roth TSPs are an excellent choice if you are expecting to earn a high income later in life or retirement. The Roth TSP may make sense even if you anticipate remaining in the same tax bracket in retirement.

How to Open a Roth TSP

Usually, the ROTH TSP is available to all service members. Either you can use Form TSP-60, to open your TSP account.

You can use the Form TSP-60, Request for a Transfer into the TSP, which permits you to transfer tax-deferred money from your tax-deferred account into the traditional balance in your TSP account. If you would like to transfer Roth money to the Roth balance of your TSP account, please use the TSP-60-R, Request for a Roth Transfer into the TSP. This form and others are available on

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