The I Fund's investment objective is to match the performance of the MSCI EAFE (Europe, Australasia, Far East) Index.
The I Fund invests in a stock index fund that fully replicates the MSCI EAFE (Europe, Australasia, Far East) Index. The earnings consist of gains (or losses) in the price of stocks, dividend income, and change in the relative value of currencies.
The I Fund uses an indexing approach to investing. In other words, it is a passively managed fund that remains invested according to its investment strategy regardless of stock market movements or general economic conditions.
Your investment in the I Fund is subject to market risk because the MSCI EAFE Index returns will move up and down in response to overall economic conditions.
Because of its exposure to currency risk, the EAFE Index (and the I Fund returns) will rise or fall as the value of the U.S. dollar decreases or increases relative to the value of the currencies of the countries represented in the EAFE index.
By investing in the I Fund, you are also exposed to inflation risk, meaning your I Fund investment may not grow enough to offset the reduction in purchasing power that results from inflation.
While investment in the I Fund carries risk, it also offers the opportunity to experience gains from equity ownership of non-U.S. companies. Because it represents the stocks of companies in many developed countries (excluding the U.S.), it is an excellent way to diversify the stock portion of your TSP allocation.
How can I use the I Fund in my TSP account?
The I Fund can be useful in a portfolio that also contains stock funds that track other indexes such as the C Fund (which tracks an index of large U.S. company stocks) and the S Fund (which tracks an index of small U.S. company stocks). The C, S, and I Funds track different segments of the overall stock market without overlapping. This is important because the prices of stocks in each market segment don't always move in the same direction or by the same amount at the same time. By investing in all segments of the stock market (as opposed to just one), you reduce your exposure to market risk.
The I Fund can also be useful in a portfolio that contains bonds. Again, it is because the prices of stocks and bonds don't always move in the same direction or by the same amount at the same time. So a retirement portfolio that contains a bond fund like the F Fund, along with other stock funds, like the C and S Funds, will tend to be less volatile than one that contains stock funds alone.
Need More Info?
For more detailed information about the I Fund, refer to the I Fund Information Sheet.