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TSP and Y2K: Is Your Nest Egg Safe?

National Guard Bureau

WASHINGTON, April 12, 1999 – Will the Year 2000 computer problem have your Thrift Savings Plan nest egg for lunch?

The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, which administers the TSP, and fund managers say no. The plan's current systems will recognize the year change correctly, officials said.

The Year 2000 problem, nicknamed "Y2K," refers to a past computer industry practice of writing years with just two digits -- 1999 would be "99." Because of this digital shorthand, some computer systems on Jan. 1, 2000, might treat "00" as "1900" or just shut down. Almost all systems are vulnerable and need to be checked and then, if necessary, fixed to handle the year change or replaced. A computer system that recognizes the year 2000 correctly is called "compliant."

The National Finance Center, which currently keeps TSP records, has certified that the existing system is Y2K-compliant.

A "windowing" technique was used to identify and modify all dates in the current system. All dates of birth were assumed to be 19xx. Because the system contains no transaction dates earlier than Jan. 1, 1984, all such dates from then through Dec. 31, 1999, are assumed to be "19xx." Transactions with two-digit year dates that seem earlier than 1984, such as "00," are assumed to be 20xx.

The investment board has contracted with American Management Systems Inc. to develop a new recordkeeping system for maintaining TSP accounts. One of the requirements is to ensure that dates in the year 2000 and beyond will be accommodated. When the new system is completed and online in mid-2000, it will only accept four-digit dates.

Neither the board nor fund managers anticipate any disruption of services under either the old or new systems. Look for Year 2000 updates in the semiannual TSP Highlights newsletter, in the Plan News on the ThriftLine (504-255-8777) and on the TSP Web site at www.tsp.gov.

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