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I found this article interesting from the perspective of what similar funds to use for tracking purposes if you're running an on-line analysis of your total portfolio and want to include your TSP in the calculation.


The Do-It-Yourself Thrift Savings Plan
http://news.morningstar.com/articlenet/article.aspx?id=69604...

But investors who are attracted to the simplicity and low costs of the Thrift Savings Plan for U.S. government workers--but who don't happen to work for the U.S. government--can get pretty close to putting together a TSP-like plan on their own, whether in an IRA, taxable brokerage account, or via the brokerage window at their own company retirement plans. After all, the TSP funds are almost all index-based portfolios that are easily replicated in traditional mutual fund or exchange-traded fund format. While retail investors won't be able to match the TSP offerings' ultralow expense ratios of just 0.029%, competition among index-fund and ETF providers means they can get pretty close.

The missing link, alas, is the G fund, which has no analog for investors who are investing outside of the confines of a 401(k) or other retirement plan. While stable-value funds are the closest approximation, their risks, while small, are greater than the G fund, which guarantees principal stability. And stable-value funds can only be held inside of a company retirement plan--not inside an IRA or taxable brokerage account. While the G fund looks underwhelming on a near-term basis, its attractions are apt to be more apparent in a rising-interest-rate environment.

G fund aside, here are the key building blocks for a "build-your-own" TSP plan; TSP investors who would like to model out their portfolios' exposures using online portfolio tools like the ones found on Morningstar.com can also use the funds and ETFs listed below to stand in as proxies for their actual TSP holdings. To get as close to the TSP's skinny expense ratios as possible, I've highlighted some higher-minimum share classes, usually $10,000. Where appropriate, I've also included some worthwhile variations on the funds in the TSP lineup.
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