There are, of course, merits to a Thrift Savings Plan, including the cheaper fees. A proper IRA, however, provides the saver/investor the ability to add investment options to provide for a stronger long-term rate of return. The main point of an IRA is tax-deferred growth, so the ability to invest in options that provide possible future growth is most important. This justifies the higher costs of an IRA.
I believe that a traditional IRA is a better financial option than a Thrift Savings Plan. Thrift Savings Plans only offer two or three diversification options. While an IRA carries has a higher expense, you can also invest your money however you see fit. In this instance, you get what you pay for, so I believe that an IRAs investment options truly do outweigh any additional expenses incurred.
No pain, no gain. In IRA's case, no investment, no return.
IRA' s expense may be hefty. But it becomes light when comparing it to the investment return.
If you want to make investments and are interested in IRA's investment options, switching to IRA's plans is not a bad idea.
I believe that the higher expenses due to additional investment options with IRAs are not justified. For me, personally, the Thrift Savings Plan is the best option as it provides matching - to a certain extent - from the employer. Thus my retirement plan is increasing because of my money being put aside and a matching sum, provided by my employer. Additionally latest shaky economic environment demotivates investments in complex financial instruments..