I have been a Fed for about 20 years now and have been concerned about whether or not I was doing the right thing with my Thrift Savings Plan allocation for an equal amount of time. But I have been thinking about investing for a lot longer than that. I had a grandfather who made his money in the stock market, and while I was in elementary and middle school he sat me down and taught me about stocks and bonds, P/E ratios, dividends and yields, and all the basic bits of the financial system. He made it a game and got I hooked on the idea of putting money to work for me.
Prior to becoming a Fed, I had an educational background in history, economics and law (with a bit of AirLand Battle doctrine thrown in during my time in the military). Now I work for one of those three-letter agencies which prefers that its employees don’t have a public profile, and for that reason I have created this blog under a pen name.
I don’t give investment advice – to do that you have to be registered with regulatory authorities which I am most assuredly not. I am an investor just like you, although I probably put a little more time into it than most. I’m sharing what I am doing in the hope that it will encourage my friends and colleagues to start actively participating in their Thrift Savings Plan, and because writing is good for sorting things out in my brain. My hope is that we will generate a community of people who will share their ideas, concerns and experiences regarding TSP allocation so we can all learn together.
I am eager for any feedback you would like to share. Please don’t hesitate to comment on blog posts or email me through the Contact page. If you think your question or comment will be of interest to even a single other reader, please post it on the Message Board so we can start to build that community. I will try to respond to any questions or comments you have, although in many instances I will have to do some research and the answer may have to wait for a future blog post.
About the Thrift Savings Plan Allocation Guide Website
Creating this page has been an interesting project so far. For anyone interested, this is what I have done to date:
I am using the free and open source WordPress software to create this blog. I am currently using the WordPress Twenty Sixteen theme.
I was trying to do this an inexpensively as I could, so my website was hosted by BlueHost ($6.95/month for my own domain name, unlimited email addresses and lots of features including a very simple one-click install of WordPress.
That shared hosting worked fine initially, but as readership grew it was not able to keep up with the traffic. I consequently have switched to much faster (and more expensive) WordPress Optimized cloud hosting from BlueHost, which seems to be keeping up pretty well at the “Blogger” pricing tier. That service also comes with the CloudFlare content delivery network (CDN), which prepositions bits of the website all over the world so it is closer to you.
I have the following plugins installed: Akismet (spam protection), Google Analyticator (enables Google analytics), Google Doc Embedder (allows display of PDF files within a webpage), Jetpack (various tweaks and features), Social Media Widget (adds sharing buttons), WordFence Security (security software), bbPress (message board), and GD bbPress Tools (adds various extras to bbPress). I have also added a widget with code which imports my Twitter feed (which I am much more active on than the email list which I reserve for new substantive posts).
The only service I have added from outside WordPress is the mail list manager, MailChimp. I chose MailChimp because it is one of the two big, reputable, full featured mail list managers – and the one which offers a free version up to 2000 subscribers (which was great for the first few months until the list soared way beyond that limit).
After considerable internal debate, I enabled advertisements and affiliate links on the website. I don’t have any intention of making money with this project, and so I did not like the impression that ads might give to a visitor. But in the end, I decided this is a not-for-profit project, not a charity, and so I intend to apply any little bit of money which comes in to the expenses which I am incurring, including hosting, domain name and email service. As I put this site together, I won’t write about anything because it has an affiliate program, but if I am writing about a company or product I will check to see if they have an affiliate program. If so, I will sign up so this website will receive a small commission if you buy the product I link to. I won’t recommend anything that I don’t use and appreciate it if you will use the links on these pages if you do find something you are interested in.