As an organization that has served the military community for more than 140 years, Navy Mutual urges service members to save early and often through the Thrift Savings Plan.
“Investing in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is an excellent way to set your tomorrow-self up for success,” said Navy Mutual’s Accredited Financial Counselor and Early Affinity Liaison Adrienne Taylor. “The sooner one begins to invest, the less you will have to invest to reach your financial goals due to compound interest and time.”
Since 1986, federal government employees and uniformed service members – including the Ready Reserve – have been able to take advantage of the Thrift Savings Plan. By doing so, they can enjoy the same savings and tax benefits that many private corporations offer under 401(k) plans.
“Being an educated investor allows you to make wiser investing decisions,” Taylor said. “Wiser investing decisions set you up for financial success in your later years, which in turn can help alleviate the financial stress so many people experience.”
As an accredited financial counselor, Taylor said her goal – and the goal of Navy Mutual’s team of educators – is to bring peace of mind and financial security into reach for the military community.
“We want to ensure that although we are discussing the importance of investing education, we also discuss the importance of financial wellness overall, such as setting your today-self up for success by having a realistic spending plan so that you can also meet your money goals for today.”
Taylor has worked with military personnel in a variety of capacities since 2013.
“Prior to joining Navy Mutual, I served as a personal finance manager for Naval Air Station Jacksonville, where I provided personal counseling sessions for service members and their families and facilitated command financial specialist (CFS) and Million Dollar Sailor training events,” she explained.
Then, after moving to Houston, Texas, she was encouraged by a mentor to research positions with Navy Mutual. The work allows her to “remain true to my personal values while enhancing Navy Mutual’s commitment to give back through educating the military and uniformed service community on matters of financial security.”
Today, she’s an early affinity liaison for Navy Mutual and finds particular enjoyment in helping others find resources to make the most of their TSP accounts.
“TSP provides excellent forms and a resource page via their website,” Taylor said.
TSP also provides a retirement income modeler calculator, and Investor.gov offers a compound interest calculator to help predict future balances based upon historical rates of return. Additionally, Navy Mutual’s education team has accredited financial counselors, like Taylor, who can provide educational presentations and answer questions that military families may have about TSP and personal finance.
“I often hear that TSP does not have diverse fund options,” Taylor said, “(but) the reality is the C and S funds encompass over 90% of the companies in the United States stock market. With the new mutual fund index within TSP there are additional investment options available to those who have a qualifying balance in their accounts.”
Another benefit of TSP accounts, Taylor points out, are low fees.
“TSP is one the least expensive employer-sponsored retirement accounts,” she said.
“Following military or federal employment, TSP account holders can still log in to TSP.gov twice monthly to move their funds around,” Taylor said. “They can also contribute to their TSP account indirectly through a Traditional IRA and inactive 401(k).”
The most important thing to understand when it comes to TSP accounts, Taylor stresses, is how life-changing proper financial planning can be.
“Being satisfied with the work that my team does is an understatement,” Taylor said. “I go to bed grateful, knowing we are making a difference one life at a time.”