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Whether you are covered by the FERS retirement system, by CSRS, or you are a member of the uniformed services, participating in the TSP can significantly increase your retirement income. As the chart below shows, the earlier you start making your own contributions, the more time your account has to increase in value through the compounding of earnings.

Chart detailing the earnings potential of your TSP account over 10, 20, 30, and 40 years broken down by contributions and earnings.
Information in this chart assumes an annual salary of $40,000, employee and agency contributions of 5% each, and a 6% average annual rate of return.