TWO UPDATE NOTES: 1. The contribution allocations are different with the Roth TSP option. 2. This article is intended for military service members. Civilian government employees should contact their finance offices for instructions to change their TSP contributions.
I had a question today, and I thought it was a good one: How do I change my Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) contribution? Easy, peasy! Just log in to your MyPay account. On the main menu, one of the options is Thrift Savings Plan. Click on that, and it will take you to a form to make adjustments to your TSP contributions. This is also the place to change the address associated with your TSP account.
There are four types of pay that can go into TSP: basic pay, special pay, incentive pay, and bonuses *see below for a list of which pay falls into which category*. You can select a percentage of each type of pay to be put into TSP. Consider your situation and figure out how to put lots into TSP. For example, my husband contributes 12% of his basic pay (we increase it a percentage with each pay raise) and he also contributes 100% of his special pays. This means when he goes somewhere that entitles him to special pay, like out on the ship, all that money gets funneled straight to TSP. That little extra bit really adds up.
However, be sure to keep under the IRS allowable limits. For 2012, you may contribute up to $17,000 tax deferred and up to $50,000 tax exempt and tax deferred during years in which you are in a tax exempt combat zone.
Be sure to hit the SAVE button at the bottom. The website will automatically generate the effective date of your change so you know when the change will show up in your pay. Please, don't stop contributing. If something really dramatic has happened, as a default just drop down to 1% of your base pay. However, I strongly suggest you don't do that, because it is really hard to remind yourself to start increasing it again. Trust me, I've done it and I wish I hadn't. Stick with it as much as possible, you'll be glad when your time in the service is over.
Which pays are which?
Aviation Career Incentive Pay Career Enlisted Flyer Pay Hazardous Duty Incentive Pays Hazardous Duty Incentive Pay for Flying Submarine DutySpecial Pay
Additional Special Pay (Dental) Additional Special Pay (Medical) Board Certified Pay (Dental) Board Certified Pay (Medical) Board Certified Pay for Non-Physician Health Care Providers Career Sea Pay Career Sea Pay Premium Continuation Pay for Nuclear-Qualified Officers Extending Period of Active Service Designated Unit Pay Diplomate Pay for Psychologists Diplomate Pay for Veterinarians Diving Duty Engineering and Scientific Career Continuation Pay Foreign Language Proficiency Pay Hardship Duty Pay Hostile Fire and Imminent Danger Pay Incentive Special Pay (Medical) Incentive Special Pay for Nurse Anesthetists Judge Advocate Continuation Pay Regular Special Pay (Optometrists) Reserve Dental Officers Special Pay Retention Special Pay (Optometrists) Special Duty Assignment Pay for Enlisted Members Special Duty Assignment Pay (Guard and Reserve) Special Pay for Enlisted Members Extending Duty at Designated Locations Overseas Special Pay for Officers Holding Position of Unusual Responsibility and of Critical Nature Special Pay for Pharmacy Officers Special Pay for Reserve Health Care Professionals in Critically Short Wartime Specialties Special Pay for Reserve Medical Officers Special Pay for Veterinarians Surface Warfare Officer Continuation Pay Variable Special Pay (Medical) Variable Special Pay (Dental)Bonuses
Accession Bonus (Dental) Accession Bonus (Pharmacy) Accession Bonus For Registered Nurses Aviator Retention Bonus (Aviator Continuation Pay) Bonus for Nuclear-Trained and Qualified Enlisted Members Bonus for Reenlistment, Enlistment, or Voluntary Extension (Ready Reserve) Career Status Bonus Critical Acquisition Position Bonus Enlistment Bonus Enlistment Bonus (Army) Enlistment Bonus (Selected Reserve) Enlistment Bonus (Ready Reserve) Multiyear Retention Bonus (Dental) Multiyear Retention Bonus (Medical) Nuclear Career Accession Bonus Nuclear Career Annual Incentive Bonus
Prior Service Enlistment Bonus
Reenlistment Bonus Reenlistment Bonus (Selected Reserve) Reserve Affiliation Bonus Retention Bonus for Members Qualified in a Critical Military Skill Special Pay for Enlisted Members Extending Duty at Designated Locations Overseas Special Warfare Officer Retention Bonus