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Vanguard Has Accepted Me!!

April 26th, 2012 at 08:57 pm

I sent in new paperwork on Monday, and this afternoon I received an e-mail with a confirmation link to register for the small business site. I am now the plan administrator and company contact of my own Simple IRA! Whoo-hoo!!

I logged off the small business site and logged on to the personal investor site, and my Simple shows up on my page there, too! Smile Now to send some money.

Yay!! I feel like this is such a huge boost to my bottom line! No more front end loads and no more high on-going expense ratios should help me keep more of my dollars.

Vanguard Has Rejected Me :(

April 21st, 2012 at 08:10 pm

I received my check from Card Pool on Thursday, and have already turned it into a mortgage chip.

Bad news with my Simple IRA transfer. Frown I received a letter from Vanguard asking me to call. I did so and was told that I need to supply the SSN of the retirement plan contact person at my company. That would be my boss, and he has declined to provide his SSN. So...I cannot move to Vanguard. Frown I'm very disappointed.

I am checking with Wells Fargo. I know that they offer Simple IRAs, but don't know if they will accept orphaned Simple IRAs, and also don't know if I can set it up as a brokerage account and get the same deal as I have on my plain vanilla traditional IRA (100 commission free trades per year). Heck, if they'd just let me share my free trades between the two, that would be more than sufficient.

As a last resort, I will start a new account at the new company (our old Edward Jones guy recently started) with my two bosses, then roll the money currently in my Simple at Edward Jones to my traditional IRA. My fear is the commissions and fees at the new company will be even worse than they were at Edward Jones. After all, it is a new company with lots of start up costs.

Safe Withdrawal Rates

August 23rd, 2011 at 06:51 pm

I saw this blog post today and found it interesting. This particular blogger has a PhD in Economics from Princeton, so he knows a little bit about wherof he speaks. Wink

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What do those pretty rainbow lines mean? Well, it may be safe to withdraw as much as 5% of your nest egg per year if you have a conservative stock allocation. That is great news for people like me, who expect to have a modest nest egg. (Especially since I sunk a lot of my capital into a house which promptly lost half of its value. But I whined about that yesterday, so I don't want to whine about it two days in a row.)

He ran monte carlo simulations for single men and same age couples, but I wish he had run them for single women too. And he used mortality rate tables, not a ballpark guess as to how long your retirement might last.

I have never seen this idea laid out quite this way. A 5% withdrawal rate is only slightly more risky than a 4% withdrawal rate! Yay. Still, I doubt I will start with more than 4%. If I am lucky enough to have good returns the first 2 or 3 years of retirement, I may seriously consider a bump up to 4.5% or 5%.

I can't help but notice that his simulation showed a 100% stock portfolio with a 8% annual withdrawal rate (the very scenario recommended by the very popular Dave Ramsey) has a 40% failure rate for men, 50% failure rate for couples. Failure being defined as completely exhausting your nest egg while you are still alive. This is precisely why I view his investment advice as so terrible. Being flat broke in my 80s is just not my goal. I wish he (Dave Ramsey) would just stick to what he is great at (motivating people to get out of debt and get their finances on track) and not give subpar investing advice.

Edit: I had originally written that DR recommends a 10% withdrawal rate. That was incorrect, he recommends an 8% withdrawal rate.

Five Cent Nickel

August 17th, 2011 at 08:13 pm

There is an awesome blog post today over at Five Cent Nickel. It eloquently sums up why investing costs matter.

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Asset Allocation Changes

August 16th, 2011 at 02:38 am

I decided to make a minor adjustment in my asset allocation plan. While using Morningstar portfolio tools, I was noticing that my target retirement funds are holding more foreign stock and less small cap stocks. Therefore, I decided I would compensate a bit for this by adjusting the holdings in my traditional IRA. My traditional IRA is the only place I don't use target retirement funds.

This is my new asset allocation:

35% Total Stock Market
10% Small Cap Value

25% International

20% Total Bond Market
10% Tips

I like the idea of more small value anyway. It holds a lot of reits, so it is a way to get more reits into my mix without buying them directly. Small value is a good diversifier to a total market fund, behaves similarly to reits, but a small value fund holds reits as well as other sectors, so is less concentrated. I like that. Smile

Morningstar Investing Classroom

July 20th, 2011 at 12:13 am

This is a blatant plug for Morningstar's Investing Classroom. Some remarks I read today got me to wondering....people know about this fabulous, free resource, right?

Morningstar is an independent company which rates stocks, bonds, mutual funds, investing companies, etc. Morningstar's star-rating is often quoted in other financial publications and many products with high star ratings will include that honor in their advertising. Morningstar has a number of highly regarded financial writers on staff, with a wealth of archived articles available.

Anyone can have a basic Morningstar membership, though registration is required. There is also a premium membership available requiring a fee. Your basic membership gives you access to a wealth of information, including the highly regarded Investing Classroom. Each "class" is a short article followed by a couple of multiple choice questions. There are very basic topics covered, as well as some more "meaty" topics. I personally found it very, very helpful and beneficial when I was first learning about investing.

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Opened a Betterment Account

June 5th, 2011 at 05:34 pm

Have you heard about Betterment? It is a newish company, they offer taxable investment accounts with very low minimums. They have two investment funds, both made of ETFs, one is treasury bonds and the other is stocks. You choose your allocation between the funds in increments of 10%, anywhere from 100% stocks / 0% bonds to 0% stocks / 100% bonds. The minimum to open an account is $10. There are no fees other than the underlying fund expense ratio of .9%.

InBox Dollars has an offer for Betterment. InBox Dollars will pay you $1 to open an account, Betterment will pay you a bonus of $20 to open an account. Yesterday, I opened an account with $10.

I don't have any specific plans for the account at this moment, I just wanted my free $21. I think I will just keep the account open awhile and think about it.

Extra Income Allocation

February 1st, 2011 at 10:49 pm

So, after setting aside money for my car insurance, I will have just over 2k in extra income from my income tax refunds. I have tweaked my extra income allocation and plan to do the following:

30% - Emergency Fund
20% - Credit Card Debt
20% - Egypt Fund
20% - Roth
10% - Mortgage

In about 2.5 months, I will have 4 - 5k or so extra income, and will do the same with that.

My Nest Egg

December 5th, 2010 at 06:54 pm

My retirement nest egg is in three different accounts: a traditional IRA, a Simple IRA (employer's plan), and a Roth IRA.

My plan is to eventually use my tax-deferred monies for regular monthly income, and to use my Roth for big-ticket items such as a new roof or vehicle replacement.

Here is my current situation:

Traditional IRA (held at Wells Fargo):
Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF $38,257.36
Vanguard Small Value ETF $7,955.75
Vanguard All World Ex US ETF $29,988.00
Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF $20,150.00
iShares Tips Bond Fund ETF $9,985.68
cash $78.58
Total: $106,415.37

Simple IRA:
American Funds Target Ret 2030 $9,625.80

Roth IRA (held at Vanguard):
Vanguard Target Ret 2025 $7,663.43