New features coming to the TSP – here’s what you need to know

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Federal employees and retirees may want to keep an eye on the savings plan over the coming year.

The agency that manages the plan is in the early stages of a massive modernization effort, one that will overhaul the systems that manage and secure the TSP on the back-end.

But the initiative will also bring new features and benefits to TSP participants. The project is known as “Converge” for employees and contractors who master the technical aspects.

But attendees will know it as the project that eventually brings them a new TSP mobile app, a mutual fund window, new security features, and a few additional features that most consumers might recognize from the online banking world.

Many of these changes, especially the technical aspects of the back end, have been going on for years. But the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board said participant comments inform the direction it is taking with some of these new features.

In a recent survey of its participants, 57% of those under 40 said they wanted a mobile app to access TSP. About 24% of participants over 40 agreed.

Participants will still be able to access their accounts and communicate with the TSP through their online accounts, email, and customer service hotline. But from next summer, they will also have access to a new TSP mobile app, as well as a chat function and a virtual assistant powered by artificial intelligence.

“This will be available to our participants 24/7, so every time they log into the website they will have access to this virtual assistant,” said Tanner Nohe, TSP’s program manager for the project, to the board of directors at its last monthly meeting. the week. “It’s basically a tutorial of questions participants might ask themselves. “

Live TSP customer service representatives will perform the chat function and have the option to transfer participants to other people who can answer more specific questions or concerns over the phone.

The TSP will also add more features that should make it easier for participants to manage their money and interact with the plan – think more online forms and more electronic signatures.

Participants will also have the ability to digitally scan checks into the TSP, much like the functionality offered by most banking institutions.

Nohe said the TSP will also offer a “concierge” service to help plan members invest money in the plan, a popular topic that often prompts questions from federal employees and retirees.

Plus, there’s an upcoming mutual fund window, which is also slated to open next summer, the TSP said. Participants will have access to thousands of funds that are not typically available to them through the top five funds in the plan.

The plan is still in the process of designing the mutual fund window. But it will offer a search tool so participants can filter funds and review their options based on criteria that are important to them, Nohe said. The plan will also set up a dedicated contact center for participants who have questions about the mutual funds window.

There will be no limit on trades once participants enter the window, although some specific funds may have theirs, Nohe said.

There is a lot of interest in the mutual fund window from attendees and members of Congress. Seek more information from the TSP in the coming months.

Beyond the mobile app and mutual fund window, attendees will also see new security protocols next year.

Participants may see more prompts for a one-time password, for example, to conduct high-risk transactions online. The plan adds more fraud detection and prevention tools to the online experience. Participants will also be able to use their biometric data, such as facial recognition or a fingerprint, to access their TSP accounts.

The FRTIB said attendees would start seeing these changes over the next summer. In the meantime, the TSP will begin communicating with its participants next year to prepare them for the changes.

And yes, participants will need to actively prepare.

Most importantly, participants will need to set up new login credentials to access their online accounts. This means that they will need to set up a new username, password, and multi-factor authentication to access their accounts.

Those with multiple TSP accounts, such as a military and civilian retirement account, will only have to create a new ID to access everything, Nohe said.

Before the big launch, there will be a brief blackout window where participants might temporarily not be able to access their accounts or complete certain transactions for a short period of time.

Again, the TSP is still working on all the details. But in the meantime, keep an eye out for more information on the plan itself starting next January or February. And of course, we’ll do our best to keep you updated here with what you need to know.

Almost useless factoid

By Amélie Brust

The idea that humans typically only use about 10% of their brains is a myth but pervasive. In reality, most of the brain is continuously active and the majority of its energy is consumed for higher cognitive functions. The rest of its energy goes into unconscious activities, such as heart rate, or conscious activities, such as driving a car. However, these regions of the brain do not always fire simultaneously, like any muscle, the brain has periods of rest. The myth generally dates back to the 1907 book by American psychologist and author William James “The Energies of Men”, which said, “We are only using a small portion of our possible mental and physical resources.”

Source: American scientist


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