The TSP expenses are the costs of administering the TSP. The gross expenses include:

  • The management fees for each investment fund,
  • The costs of operating and maintaining the TSP's recordkeeping system,
  • The cost of providing participant services, and
  • The printing and mailing of notices, statements, and publications.

Expenses are offset by the forfeitures of Agency Automatic (1%) Contributions of FERS employees who leave Federal service before they are vested, other forfeitures, and loan fees. Because these amounts are not sufficient to cover all of the TSP's expenses, TSP participants share in the remainder of the costs.

The chart below illustrates the TSP average net expense ratios since 2000. Individual fund expense ratios may differ.

Bar chart: Thrift Savings Plan Average Net Expense Ratio 2000–2013

The net TSP expense ratio represents the amount that participants' investment returns were reduced by TSP administrative expenses.

Expense ratios may also be expressed in basis points. One basis point is 1/100th of one percent, or .01%. Therefore, the 2013 TSP net expense ratio of .029% is 2.9 basis points. Expressed either way, this means that expenses charged to each TSP account in 2013 were approximately 29 cents per $1,000 of investment.