The vast majority of my investments outside the Thrift Savings Plan are in index mutual funds or ETFs which I select based on the current phase of the business cycle. I almost exclusively use Vanguard funds and ETFs because of their very low costs and fees.
TSP C Fund:
The C Fund tracks the S&P 500 Index
- Mutual Fund: Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
- ETF: Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO)
TSP S Fund:
The S Fund tracks the Dow Jones U.S. Completion Total Stock Market Index, which is a mouthful but basically means all US stocks excluding the S&P 500. Although there are about 3200 stocks in this index, it is weighted by market capitalization (they buy shares in proportion to how large the companies are) so it is dominated by mid-cap stocks.
- Mutual Fund: Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
- ETF: Vanguard Extended Market ETF (VXF)
When the business cycle indicators tell me I want to be in small caps, I generally don’t really want a mid-cap blend like the funds above, so I substitute the Russell 2000 (which is the most commonly used small cap index) or other small cap funds such as:
- Mutual Fund: Vanguard Small-Cap Index Fund (NAESX)
- ETF: Vanguard Small-Cap ETF (VB)
TSP I Fund:
The I Fund tracks the MSCI EAFE Index.
- Mutual Fund: Vanguard Developed Markets Index (VDMIX)
- ETF: Vanguard MSCI EAFE Index (VEA)
TSP F Fund:
The F Fund tracks the Barclays Capital U.S. Aggregate Bond Index.
- Mutual Fund: Vanguard Total Bond Market Index (VBMFX)
- ETF: Vanguard Total Bond Market Index ETF (BND)
TSP G Fund:
The G Fund invests in a very short-term U.S. Treasury security which is specially issued only to the Thrift Savings Plan and provides interest rates similar to those of long-term Government securities, but without risk of loss of value and the ability to trade on a daily basis.
- No equivalent investment available – the G Fund is a one-of-a-kind security issued only to federal employees through the Thrift Savings Plan.