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IF the government had a contribution matching program then TSP would be worthwhile in my opinion

It does for civilian FERS employees.

Even if you don't get the match, the TSP might be worthwhile if you save a lot because you can put money in the TSP each year ($18,000) in addition to your IRA contributions ($5,500) for tax deferral purposes.

If you did just want to invest in the indexes (which is an excellent choice for the vast majority of feds who haven't discovered the Fool), the TSP funds have much lower fees than any other funds in America. Plus we've got the G Fund, which you can't get an equivalent to anywhere else (until congress messes it up, as they have threatened recently).

But you're right that in general, someone following the Motley Fool advice in an IRA should be able to beat the TSP funds over the long run. But if you want to save more than $5500/year for retirement, why not diversify and do both?

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