Surviving Spouse Corner: Thrift Savings Plan Considerations

Surviving Spouse Corner: Thrift Savings Plan Considerations
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The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a tax-deferred retirement savings and investment plan for members of the uniformed services. When your military spouse dies, you — as the surviving spouse — will need to make many decisions about the TSP’s future in your financial planning.


For spouse beneficiaries of deceased participants’ TSP accounts with a share of the balance of $200 or more, TSP will establish a beneficiary participant account (BPA) in your name.


Having a good financial planner, who is particularly familiar with the TSP, is the key. He or she can guide you to the best option for your new investment plan, known now to you as a BPA.


[RELATED: What You Need to Know About the Thrift Savings Plan]


According to, as the owner of a TSP BPA, benefits include:

  • a diversified choice of investment options, including individual funds; professionally designed Lifecycle (L) Funds, which mix the individual funds with an eye toward specific target dates; and an option for investing in mutual funds
  • tax-deferred earnings on traditional money
  • tax-free earnings on Roth money if qualified
  • low administrative and investment expenses
  • the ability to roll your beneficiary participant account over to an existing civilian or uniformed services TSP account if you have one
  • a variety of distribution options


Learn all that you can through hosts of various veteran financial planners’ podcasts, websites such as, and other social platforms. The most vital of all these is the TSP webpage, where you will find a plethora of resources for your perusal.


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About the Author

Capt. Kathy Thorp, USN (Ret)
Capt. Kathy Thorp, USN (Ret)

Capt. Kathy Thorp, USN (Ret), is a member of MOAA's Board of Directors as well as MOAA's Surviving Spouse Advisory Council.