Roth TSP vs Roth IRA

Roth TSP vs Roth IRA: How Do They Compare?

The federal and military service providers need to have a strong and right investment plan to secure their future. They have some beneficial options to choose from. Although military services do not pay too much, it provides great other facilities and opportunities. There are many savings and investment options specially made for military families. Moreover, one does not have to infuse much time or stress.

Two of the basic and most popular ways of investment for military and federal members are Thrift Savings Plan and Investment Retirement Account.

Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) All the uniform service providers can put their money into this plan and achieve a wealthy future. It is very similar to that of 401(k)s plan and lets the employees enjoy tax advantages.

There are two types of TSP, one the traditional and the other the Roth TSPs.

Comparing Roth TSP and Traditional TSP

The concept of TSP is to provide a way for federal employees to have a secure and comfortable retirement. It allows one to build a plan to invest and grow their money. When the capital matures, or the retirement comes, this money is utilised to live happy retired days.

The traditional TSP takes from the full paycheck. One does not have to pay taxes until retired or withdrawal the money. Till the time money is an investment in the plan, its principal and interest get taxed.

On the other hand, the Roth TSP calls for post-tax. The taxes are applicable on the owed income. But the advantage is that the withdrawal would be completely tax-free.

Some of the similarities of both TSPs are:

  • one can make up contribution to a maximum yearly limit that gets regulated annually. It is true both for Roth TSP or a traditional TSP or for some other combination account.
  • The employer makes a contribution of at least 1% or at most 5% to your account.
  • One gets the flexibility to choose the types and ways of investment and funds as per their convenience and needs.

Difference between Roth TSP and Traditional TSP

  • In traditional TSP, you will be unable to withdraw the money till it reaches the maturity period or the person reaches 55 years of age. In can, one does that, apart from withdrawal they will have to submit the penalty amount.
  • Roth TSP allows you to make money any time you want. Since the taxes are already paid, but this too calls for the penalty amount to be paid.
  • After reaching the age of 72, it becomes mandatory to withdraw some money from the traditional account every year. The same is not the case with the Roth account.

Investment Retirement Account: It lets one set aside some money every year in a special account that a bank or some financial organisation governs. Even if one reaches the maximum limit of the federal thrift savings plan, they can save their money in IRA. They provide both traditional TSP and Roth options. Although IRA provides a greater option of investments to choose from, it has a lower contribution rate. IRA allows the flexibility of military members in choosing the most convenient asset for themselves.

Roth TSP vs Roth IRA

Anyone earning income can both have a Roth TSP account and Roth IRA. The procedure and rules of these two are almost the same, and so is the contribution limit. With Roth TSP, one has to pay tax every year, while Roth IRA gives a break for now. The payments into these accounts are not deducted automatically from the paycheck. One can set this option from their bank account. There is no limitation on the salary or earned money and still contribute to a Roth TSP. But for Roth IRA, the private-sector employees earning above a certain amount are neglected out from the contributions.

The member of the military gets benefits of tax advantage due to Combat Zone Tax Exclusion. The amount earned while been in a combat zone is not applicable for the tax. It is valid both for Roth TSP and Roth IRA. Remember that withdrawals on the retirement from these two accounts are always tax-free.


  • After retirement, both accounts get tax free: The taxes have to be paid on the year of contribution. These contributions keep saving and growing and, after the maturity period, becomes tax-free.
  • The accounts are subject to the 5-year rule:The tax-free distributions can only be made when the investor reaches the age of least 59½ or have a permanent disability. The other way is to at least wait for five years since Jan. 1 of the year of the first contribution.


  • TSP is a payroll deduction: One can contribute directly with a Roth IRA, whereas Roth TSP contributions are made from payroll deductions.
  • TSP has no income limits: Roth IRA faces the limitation on the earned income, but the same is not the case with TSP.
  • TSP does not allow early withdrawal: Roth IRA allows the withdrawal of money anytime without any penalty. This option is not present with Roth TSP.
  • Minimum withdrawals should be made from Roth TSP: After reaching the age of 70, one must start making withdrawals every year from the Roth TSP account. This is not the case with Roth IRA.

Which Is better? : Final Verdict

Before deciding which is better, one must look if they are qualified for matching funds. A civilian should contribute at least up to the federal match first. Both Roth TSP and Roth IRA provides beneficial features for the military and federal members.

The Roth IRA account has some excellent tax benefits, and above all, it saves one from required minimum distributions on reaching a particular age. No RMDs means that your money will stay safe until and unless you need it. They will keep growing over the years without any tax compulsion. In case you are left with extra money, then you can surely invest in Roth TSP. Both these accounts are excellent choices for retirement purposes.





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