FAQ

TSP Watchdog is focused first and foremost on protecting your TSP account from major market declines. We believe that the #1 most important thing that you must do to earn superior returns in your TSP is to avoid losses. While smaller losses are unavoidable (daily and weekly ups and downs), larger losses that can occur when overall trends shift are avoidable. We aim to protect your principal by avoiding the major losses that can occur when trends turn negative. Our secondary objective with TSP Watchdog is to keep you invested when trends are positive – to keep people from jumping out of the market prematurely. An excellent example of this scenario occurred in October, 2013 when the government shutdown prompted many people to get out of the market. In fact, the shutdown turned out to be a non-event for the stock market, and people who got out missed a very strong rally. TSP Watchdog never signaled a trend change during this period, and subscribers who followed our advice remained invested and participated fully in the rally during the fourth quarter of 2013.

No, TSP Watchdog is not a market timing system – it is a trend following system. Market timing systems attempt to anticipate market moves to get into the market at the bottom and out at the top. Trend following systems respond to actual market movements to get out of the market early enough to avoid major problems, not right at the top, but early enough in the decline to avoid big trouble. On the flip side, trend following aims to get into the market early in a rally – again, not right at the bottom, but close enough to the bottom to allow you to participate in the bulk of a significant move. The key difference between market timing and trend following is that market timing relies on anticipating market moves while trend following responds to actual market movements.

TSP Watchdog publishes an update every week.

The analysis that we do can be done daily, weekly or monthly. Daily is a bit too much for most individual investors – and, actually, produces more “false signals” and lower returns. Monthly reports can seem too long between. Weekly reports provide a “goldilocks” balance between too much (daily) and not enough (monthly).

 Each week, our TSP Watchdog Commentary sheds light on the “why” of what is happening in the markets. We include insights that help you develop an understanding of market activity, and detail the current trend for each of the TSP funds: C fund, S fund, I fund and F fund. If you have requested it, we provide your personalized allocation recommendation updated to reflect any trend changes among the TSP funds.

Our weekly database update follows the trend of each TSP fund – C fund, S fund, I fund and F fund. When a fund is on a positive trend, we recommending holding it. When a fund is on a negative trend, we recommend selling it. It’s that simple: positive trend = buy/hold, negative trend = sell/avoid.

No, we do not have any authority or access to your account. You make all changes to your account.

No, we are not affiliated with any federal agency.

Not at all. The L Funds are not actively managed. They are always fully invested in a preset combination of C fund, S fund, I fund, F fund and G fund. TSP Watchdog, by comparison, may be fully invested, or fully in cash, or somewhere in between – depending on the trends of the underlying funds. This active management enables TSP Watchdog to participate in market advances while avoiding major declines.

Since our recommendations are based on trend changes, the timing of changes can be erratic. On average, we recommend 10-12 changes per year, across all the TSP funds. Practically, we can go months without any changes, and then have a flurry of changes in a few short months.

 You are allowed to make two changes to your TSP account each month – plus you can always move into the G fund regardless of how many changes you have already made that month.

 Click Here for the document needed to make changes to your TSP account

 Yes – as long as you have assets in your TSP account, you can use TSP Watchdog. Whether or not you should keep your funds in the TSP after retirement is another consideration.

Yes, you can use TSP Watchdog to help you manage the remaining assets in your TSP account. Since you cannot borrow more than 50% of your total TSP account value, there will always be assets in you TSP account to manage.

 Absolutely! You may not need TSP Watchdog if you take a distribution that completely empties your TSP account, but if you still have assets in your TSP account you can still use Watchdog to manage/protect those assets. Also, if you rollover TSP funds to an IRA account that we manage for you (using Watchdog investing, or course!) we will not charge you for your TSP Watchdog subscription.

Yes. The process that TSP Watchdog uses was actually created for the purposes of managing other investment accounts – IRA’s 401K’s, variable annuities, etc. It has been applied to TSP with great success, but it also works well on these other types of accounts.

The financial media has pushed the buy and hold approach to investing on people for the past few decades, but the simple fact is that there are disciplined approaches to the market that deliver better results than a simple buy and hold strategy. The trend following process that TSP Watchdog uses is one of those approaches. Ask yourself this question: in 2007-2009, would you have been better off getting out of the market early in that 57% decline, when the trends turned negative, and then getting back in once the trends had turned positive again or would you prefer to just ride the market all the way down through that gut-wrenching decline? Yes, by now you may have recovered most, if not all, of the decline that you suffered during the financial crisis, but obviously you would be much better off if you protected your principal by getting out of the market early in the decline (the trends turned negative in December, 2007 and stayed negative almost entirely until April and May, 2009) and then stepped back into the market once the “coast was clear” and the trends were positive again.

You can subscribe to TSP Watchdog with a single annual payment of $89.99 or you can pay-as-you-go with a monthly subscription of $9.75 per month. In the case of the annual subscription, you can cancel your subscription anytime, and we will refund the unused portion of your subscription. In the case of the monthly subscription, there are no refunds, but you can cancel anytime.

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