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Projecting Your Account Balance

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The size of your account balance depends on how much you contribute to your account and how your account grows as a result of earnings on your investments.  To get an idea of what your TSP account could be in the future, look at the following projections.

Assume that you earn $26,000 each year, and for simplicity in this example, that you receive no future salary increases.  You choose to save 7 percent of basic pay each pay period.  The growth projections below are for three assumed annual rates of return on your investments — 4 percent, 7 percent, and 10 percent.


Projected Account Balance of a Member
Who Contributes 7% of $26,000 Annual Basic Pay

Account Balance at Assumed Annual    
Rates of Return (Compounded Monthly)   

Balance After:

4%     7%     10%    
5 Years $10,140  $10,920  $11,700
10 Years  22,360   26,260    30,940
15 Years  37,440  48,100    62,920
20 Years 55,640 79,040   115,180
25 Years 78,000 122,980   201,240
30 Years 105,300 185,120   342,940
35 Years 138,580 273,260    575,900
40 Years 179,140 398,060 959,140

You should be aware that future inflation may erode the purchasing power of your projected account balance, and taxes must be paid when you receive the (tax-deferred) money.  However, higher rates of inflation are often accompanied by higher pay increases and higher rates of investment return.  The growth projections in these discussions do not represent predictions or estimates of inflation or TSP investment results.  See "Your Investment Options" for a discussion of TSP investment options and their advantages, risks, and historical results.

Does it make a difference when I start contributing? 

Yes.  It is important to invest in your TSP account early in your career.  This is because the longer contributions stay in your account, the more time your account has to grow.  Your money makes money in the form of earnings, and those earnings in turn make money, and so on.  This is what is known as the "miracle of compounding."  As money grows in your account over time, the proportion resulting from earnings will become larger than the proportion resulting from contributions.

In the example below, earnings are about 30 percent of a service member's account after 10 years (assuming a salary of $26,000, member contributions of 7 percent of basic pay, and a 7 percent annual rate of return).  However, after 40 years, earnings account for about 80 percent of this member's TSP account.


How can I estimate my future TSP account balance? 

The amount of your future TSP account depends on how much is in your account now and how much you contribute from this point on.  You can estimate your future account balance using the interactive calculator on this Web site.  Click on the button below:

Projecting Account Balance


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