The government's new millionaires

  • 7 May 2019
  • NormanL

As the U.S. economy continues to expand, the stock market has followed suit, providing sizable returns for holders of 401(k) and IRA accounts. But those gains have done something else...they have created, on paper at least, a large new cohort of millionaires inside the federal government:

...9,540 additional federal and postal workers became Thrift Savings Plan millionaires between March 2018 and the end of March this year. That’s despite ups and downs in the now decade-long bull market, and a major drop Christmas eve 2018. The April figures for the TSP’s stock index funds have been impressive, meaning even more feds joined the ranks of the self-made-millionaires club.

At the end of March, the number of both active and retired federal workers with $1 million plus accounts stood at 32,638, up from 23,098 in March 2018.

A couple of lessons: if you have a retirement plan available to you, take full advantage of it. And ignore the daily moves in the stock markets -- that's little more than background noise over the long term. There's also this:

The vast majority of TSP millionaires are rank and file workers who’ve been investing an average of 30 years.

We do not begrudge federal workers who participated in the retirement plans available to them and as such, have reached milionaire status (on paper). They did it right. But we can also wonder how government service as changed, and become, in many ways, more lucrative than the private sector.