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  1. sschullo

    403(b) lawsuits hit a wall.

    Of course, these lawsuits hit a wall! They are attacking a nonexistent problem. Higher education 403(b) plans are plans we dream about in our k12 world. We all know here that the REAL problem is 403(b)s in public k12 school districts! If the plaintiffs care to look, they will find massive and in-your-face conflicts of interest, extremely high costs, and aggressive sales practices right into the teacher's classroom during recess. The only thing that the sales force care about is a signature. That signature gets them a $1000 to a $4000 commission and then move on to the next classroom before recess is over. These annuity products are so complex that attorneys are hard-pressed to understand them, and finally, they produce the most pathetic returns ever recorded by the financial industry. https://www.investmentnews.com/article/20190109/FREE/190109944/have-403-b-lawsuits-hit-a-wall-fifth-university-wins-dismissal
  2. sschullo

    2018 was suboptimal.

    Hi Moe, What you are talking about is annuitizing. No. this is not annuitizing, or purchasing an annuity so that I can get a fixed amount for the rest of my life. I don't need another annuity as my pension plan is like an annuity. TIAA sells great annuities. But the one I have was not bought. It was invested, just like a mutual fund. NO surrender fees, NO commissions, NO ongoing costs, but it has 3.0% fixed return and principal protection AND I CAN MOVE IT ANYTIME. TIAA annuities are more like mutual funds than the hideous annuities sold by all of the other large insurance carriers in the U.S.
  3. sschullo

    2018 was suboptimal.

    Pushing this up. I think it's important to keep in mind that some years our portfolios will decline because the markets decline. This should not be a surprise. But it can be for some. Some believe that just because their portfolio is diversified and balanced appropriately, that they are protected against declines. We know that is not how it works. My portfolio is not any different than the majority of Bogleheads. As you can read in this thread, most have lost anywhere from -1.0% to -5.0% (not counting real estate or investments outside of the stock and bond markets): https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=145610&p=4297509#p4297509
  4. And that year's return (2000) was an astronomical 6.18%!
  5. Hi Anthony, Happy New year. Ed wrote an article that should answer your question. https://educatorsfightingforfairness.wordpress.com/security-benefits-nea-directinvest/ I have never signed up for NEA direct, and it from what I have read by the discussions that it appears to be time-consuming and difficult because NEA and security benefit will not only NOT help you but deny that this option even exists! However, I have also read that once you get it the documentation in place, it's a terrific low-cost plan. Your friends may need assistance with the paperwork. Steve
  6. sschullo

    2018 was suboptimal.

    All of us regulars here have the same investing philosophy that I have read here and on Bogleheads since the late 1990s. That's the key. Invest in extremely low-cost ETFs or index funds that are worldwide diversified and a balance between stocks and bonds. This philosophy came straight from Bogle, and its been tweaked slightly depending on individual needs. For example, I tilt slightly to small and mid-cap stocks with my Extended Market Index holding and my international stocks and bond investments. Bogle (and others) have said that you don't need international stocks, and bonds. Rebalancing comes in different flavors. When I was contributing during my working years, I would contribute to the asset class that was down. Now I transfer from the high asset to the low asset. For example, just last October, I transferred 2% of my stock holdings into my Total Bond Market when stocks were through the roof, and my stock allocation approached 35% so I reduced it down to 32%. I only rebalance when needed. The last time I made a significant move was when I transferred $250,000 to TIAA Traditional Annuity two years ago (3.0% with no surrender, no ongoing costs, and completely liquid with principal protection). BTW, all of the above I have learned through experiencing massive losses during the tech bubble, finding out my risk tolerance, and reading the posts of the good people at Bogleheads and reading about 50 investment books over the years. None of what I post here is original from me. What is original is what actually happens when an ordinary do-it-yourselfer (DIY) uses real money and applies a low-cost portfolio that is fully diversified, stays the course, and rebalances when needed and shares two of the most important facts in investing: diversification plan and COSTS. For 25 years I have read, and read again not just from Bogle and the Bogleheads, but from others too, that high costs (1.0% or more) put a significant drain on one's long term earnings.
  7. sschullo

    2018 was suboptimal.

    Pushing this up in case some people missed this. What is your 2018 return, and how is your portfolio balanced between stocks and bonds?
  8. sschullo

    2018 was suboptimal.

    30/70 2018 -1.97%. Worse showing and first loss since 2008. Interestingly, all of the volatility and negative returns occurred in Q4. But my portfolio is doing what its designed--follow the markets. At the bottom of this post are the returns from all of the major benchmarks both foreign and domestic. In the international stock markets, only Brazil and India were positive in 2018. What in the world happened to the world economies? The international sector has not kept up with the domestic stock markets in recent years. But take a look at my international bond index, up at 2.97%! And my total bond market index was supposed to a shellacking because of increasing interest rates, but it only lost -.05%. That's minuscule. Most of the public would pay an astronomical $20,000 for a fee-only financial adviser with an AUM fee of 1.0%, plus the costs of the investments. And $20,000 fee is conservative. For those who want to know what their financial adviser is doing ask them two questions (and DON'T get distracted by some hyperactive financial advisers): 1. What is my return for 2018? my portfolio return -1.97%. 2. What are my costs, your costs and the costs of each investment? My cost is 6.4 basis points (each bsp is one hundred of 1.0%. 10 basis points is equivalent to .10%, or 90 basis points is equivalent to .90% cost). Dollar figure: $1,024.00 for a seven-figure portfolio. This low cost allowed me to do the things I love to do in retirement, give to worthy causes (cancer research) and needy relatives, travel, concerts, dance lessons (individual lessons are not cheap), maintain and write my blog, give away my two books about finances and my 20 year experience with the hideous 403(b) system, and earn an Associate Producer role supporting a documentary about the financial independence movement, Playing with FIRE. Below I created tables and the data from my portfolio which is straight from Morningstar.com. Below are data for the major asset classes and the foreign countries' returns.
  9. When I first read this 20 years ago, I laughed. Every 403(b) investor liked low-cost mutual funds a lot... But the Grinch, Who served as benefits director, Did NOT! But it isn't funny anymore.
  10. This guy is complaining about his deflated ego because he has no competition, work stimulation and comradery, ETC., because of FIRE, WELL GO BACK TO WORK! He is not ready. FIRE experience is not for wimps. One has to be ready to be flexible, independent, experiential, and courageous. Fighting the borrow and spend culture and letting go of the work status and recognition is difficult for some.
  11. sschullo

    Vanguard lowering er on target date funds

    Great news once again from the one and only Vanguard.
  12. I read this book a long time ago. I thought the last chapters of this book when they talk to their 3 children about money was good: https://www.amazon.com/Average-Familys-Guide-Financial-Freedom/dp/0471416274/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8 The book is 20 years old now but it is inspiring as these folks cover a lot of ground. They were able to save $450,000 over 8 years making $65,000 a year with 3 children and one was disabled.
  13. sschullo

    Potential crash?

    We have all planned for growth and downturns. Stick with your plan no matter what.
  14. Hi krow36 Couldn't find the thread where you asked me about Mr. Simon's terrific articles. Here they are: https://www.morningstar.com/articles/902822/scott-simon-article-archive.html Steve
  15. sschullo

    Fire Savers Race To Retirement

    They are hoping for a January or February release.