The comparison of annual returns shows terrific returns for the Basic and Plus version compared to the individual Thrift Savings Plan funds (G, F, C, S & I). The chart shows the annual return from 2005 through 2014 and the compound annual return. Under each yearly return is the volatility expressed as the standard deviation of the monthly returns during that year.
The returns of the TSPinvestor Basic and Plus show the 10 year compound (2005-2014) rates of 12.1% and 19.2%, respectively. These are impressive rates by themselves – and certainly in comparison to the individual TSP fund returns, they are solid investment strategies.
When breaking down individual years, there are two years where the Basic and Plus out gained the other funds by large margins – 2008 and 2009. These two years contained a large depression and a moderate rebound. This shows that the Basic and Plus avoided the large losses in 2008. And they also took advantage of the rebound gains in 2009.
In 2013 when the market gains were large in the stock market, the Basic and Plus did not match the large gains, but were still respectable.
The volatility values for the Basic and Plus are significantly less that the C, S and I funds when comparing them year to year against the TSP funds. For example, in 2009, when the market was in a rebound, the stocks generally gained around 30% for the year, with a volatility of about 7%. So they gained an average of 2.5% per month and so 68% of the gains were between -5.5% and 9.5% – quite a spread of returns and a month-to-month basis. By contrast, the TSPinvestor Plus returned 57.9% for 2009, which means the monthly average was about 4.8%. The volatility was 4.4% – which means 68% of the monthly returns fell between 0.4% and 9.2%. So essentially the Plus had very little monthly losses while still getting the monthly gains. This assertion can be seen by looking at the monthly data.