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Recently I went to work for the feds and have access to a plan that is sort of like a 401, called a Thrift Savings Plan, but my only fund choices are all index funds.

1)I'm allowed to contribute 14% ($5762) this year and 15% ($6174) in 2005 to the TSP. 2006 is limited to IRS annual limits. I know the limits vary between 401/403/457 plans, but I cannot find anything for the limits for TSP?

2)My agency will match up to 5% of my salary into the TSP. Does the matching contribution count toward the IRS limits?

3)My wife contributes 13% ($6630) to a 403(b) and is matched by 7% by her employer. What is the max she can contribute? We're happy with her funds and are not wanting to make any changes here.

4)If I contribute the max allowed into TSP, can I still contribute to a traditional IRA and get the tax benefits? The literature I got from the TSP is a little vague.

I became increasingly fed up with the poor results and high fees of the mutual funds that my previous employer allowed me access to in our plan and I am not particularly thrilled with placing my entire retirement into index funds, especially in light of this commentary about index funds… http://www.fool.com/news/commentary/2004/commentary04072001.htm. I'm contributing to the TSP to get my free money, but I would like to maximize my contributions into a traditional or Roth where I have more control and selection.

Basically, I'll be contributing 5% per year (the $$ amount will go up with raises) + 5% match. My wife will continue to contribute 13% + the 7% per year (also increasing with raises). How do we get the balance of what I want to contribute ($7000 per year) into a traditional or Roth IRA thru some combination of accounts in my name and/or hers?

Stay safe-

Talbot
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