Unexpectedly Intriguing!
May 6, 2005

As Will Franklin notes, "Thursdays are good days for reform, because they fall between Wednesdays and Fridays."

This past Thursday, Will looked at the 10 year track record of the government's Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) from 1994 through 2004, and it occurred to me that it might be useful to work out the rates of return for the various investments using the Investing: Rate of Return calculator here at Political Calculations(TM). This period of time is interesting since in contains the stock market boom years of the mid-to-late 1990s, as well as the bust years following the bursting of the Internet bubble in 2000 and the fallout from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Here are the tabulated rates of return for each of the TSP funds:

TSP Funds Rates of Return: 1994-2004
TSP Fund Raw Rate of Return (%) Real Rate of Return (%)
Fund C 10.46% 8.00%
Fund F 6.86% 4.40%
Fund G 5.75% 3.29%
Fund I 5.45% 2.99%
Fund S 11.84% 9.38%

During the period from 1994 through 2004, the rate of inflation averaged 2.46% annually, which was determined using the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Inflation Calculator (another cool tool!), and the Investing: Rate of Return calculator again. The "Real Rate of Return" data has been adjusted by subtracting this inflation rate of the period from the raw rate of return data presented above.

Attention TSP Investors

Political Calculations has another tool that can help you forecast the future value of your investments in the Thrift Savings Plan. Your Investment Portfolio has been set up to track as many as five different investments with different rates of return and compounding periods. Try it out today!

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