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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… 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-

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