The art of speculation can be, for some, the end of the rainbow or the gates to Hell. A sub-industry within the investment world is called Day-Trading. This is where the ‘know it all’ will buy and sell investments on an hour to hour or daily basis, the idea is understanding the market, influences and reading the financial tea leaves and make lots of money. Much the same as a federal employee sticking to a fund, thinking that big gains will be found, because lots of money had been made in the past. I am not sure; the hopeful and the Day-Trader are any different. The success rate for the Day-Trader is less than 10%, meaning 90% plus fail. Collective thinking about Day-Traders say that it takes about 18 months to go broke.
If one has 20 years before retirement, and you have a burning desire to build through your skill and cunning, play the game with limited funds, or try to move into the TSP Mutual Fund Window with 5000 funds from which to choose. But, unless you are an investment genius, aware of the news influences on YOUR investments, and some employees I speak with are brilliant in this arena, the recommendation is to go conservative, manage your pennies, make your contributions with the government matching and you will find yourself, at retirement time, with a very happy TSP.