Eighty-six percent of federal employees say they are satisfied with the Thrift Savings Plan, according to the survey by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board of the more than 8,200 respondents.
The satisfaction rate was up five percentage points from the last survey of TSP participants in 2008. Since the last survey, FRTIB has offered enhanced services, such as a revamped website and automatic enrollment at 3 percent for new employees. In particular, results from automatic enrollment, which started August 2011, have been “very positive,” according to the survey.
“This [automatic enrollment] group also had slightly higher average savings rates, indicating this feature is contributing towards helping this group prepare for retirement,” the survey said.
The survey also found 92 percent of respondents rate the TSP as competitive or better compared with other employers’ savings plans.
Federal employees’ top reasons for contributing to the TSP were the tax benefit, the convenience of payroll deductions and the matching contributions. Agencies match up to 5 percent of TSP contributions. The median savings rate for respondents was about 10 percent.
Feds who do not contribute to the TSP cited the perception they could not afford to contribute or their contributions were suspended due to hardship withdrawal. Twenty percent said their agency did not offer matching contributions.
Feds who participate the TSP but not to the agency matching amount cited similar reasons, as well as making investments outside of TSP. Of these feds, 18 percent said they did not know about their agencies’ matching contributions.
The survey concluded that the board needs to continue providing information to TSP participants on the benefits of investing, especially by considering mobile applications and social media as younger feds start to participate in the plan.