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  1. 2014 went pretty well, +7.4% overall. AA is about 60/30/10 stock/FI/cash. Biggest single fund Wellesley but reducing that a bit to reduce bond holdings. International pulled things down, not sure if this is the time to buy international especially developing markets or just hold what I have. Portfolio performance since retiring in 2008: YEAR % 08-18.8% 09 18 10 11.2 11 3.8 12 11.7 13 14.82 14 7.4
  2. With Vanguard we get an annual letter identifying who is our designated beneficiary and that gives us a chance to make changes if we want. I do not get that from my employer 401k or my Wells fargo IRA but the annual note from our Vanguard account is enough to remind us of the issue. I think it is a common practice but maybe not a requirement that IRA custodians provide such a notice annually. I think this can be a serious issue as one ages with memory and mental capacity issues.
  3. Besides issues like current and forcast tax rates at retirement to determine the optimal Roth Vs 401k/403b there are other issues to consider: 1) I like having taxable, tax deferred and tax free funds to have tax choices after retirement to manage my tax rate 2) I expect taxes will go up so that might make the Roth a better option 3) I like that inheritance of a Roth is tax free to my kids. As wife & I are pretty much living off our pensions and regular IRAs we plan to leave the Roths to our kids as their inheritance (and its our emergency fund until then). They would have a lof of flexibility in using an inherited Roth and it would not impact their taxes if they receive a Roth during their peak earnings.
  4. Up 6.2% through end of June. It had looked better earlier in the year but a lot of my wife's IRA is in VG Wellesley Fund, and while it has done very well for her over the years, June was not a good month with its high bond holdings.
  5. Major writer for CNN Money tells a story that Steve (& some of us here) could have written: http://money.cnn.com....html?iid=HP_LN Save regularly, pay attention to costs, select a good asset allocation and chose decent funds, not a mystery but does require persistance and patiene.
  6. Good article, it shows, again, how important fees/costs are in investing. And it is good to hear that there is some official move to make 401k plans more efficient. A lot of people's eyes will glaze over when looking at information like this, what the brokers rely on for making their income from us.
  7. Even if he is still sharp you may want to get a power of attorney to manage your father's assets. Or put funds in a trust or something that stops or slows down an impulsive financial move. My wife prettty much manages her 86 year old mother's accounts. And I do her taxes. Fortunately/unfortunately her mother does not have the mental presence to manage her finances. So all we have to worry about is someone pitching investments to us, which is some small entertainment for us these days.
  8. 11.7% , portfolio=7% cash, 39% FI (bonds and stable value fund), 54% equities, fine by me. Retired March 2008, portfolio still going up. Life is good.
  9. These 403bs are the poster boys for the term 'the devil is in the details'. When my wife retired we rolled most of her 403b into a Vanguard account. They did the transfer paperwork. But it was not a simple transfer. We read all the details and talked to the rep (who was a decent fellow with an indecent product) and discovered we could roll most of the 403b over fee free because of the length of time contributions had been made and a provision that 10% of the portfolio could be transferred fee free each year. So there would have been a fee attached to the last few contributions which we held back and within a couple years transferred the residual amount over to Vanguard. Some policies allow a fee free transfer at a certain age (usually 55) some when a specific event occurs (retirement) or a certain % each year and funds held over a certain number of years (often 7). Learn the details and even if you end up with a proposed fee you can request a waiver and even if no waiver look at the cost of the transfer, it still may be worth it to pay the fees.
  10. There is an article in the Feb 2, 2012USA Today about evaluating costs in 403b plans: http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/retirement/story/2012-02-01/teachers-403b-retirement-plans/52908370/1 New tool to clearly disclose 403(b) fees Folks here probably are aware of the issues but I think its good to get out to the general public how inadequate a lot of 403b plans are.
  11. Hey, there is some logic here. If you eat the pizza and donuts and have an early cardiac demise then your financial resources don't have to last so long so it doesn't matter that you have been getting cr@ppy financial advice.
  12. While things are not looking great right now in my 401K & wife's IRA I think it would be a pretty good time for someone starting out. Stock prices have gone down and are likely to give better returns in the future. Not only 'bonds alone' will not get you to & through retirement but bonds can lose money for extended periods which is my prediction. I am pretty much equities and cash if I count my stable value fund and ibonds as cash. For folks like me who retired March 08 it will be interesting. But just starting out looks like a good time to invest.
  13. How does that work for you? Seem like if were bought early for a low price it shined during the recent volatility. But how does it fit in a portfolio? What % to hold, when to rebalance or sell?
  14. About 50% of my equities are in foreign stocks, all indexed or ETFs. I believe that US stocks are less than 50% of world cap value. Not sure what % but somewhere between 20% and 50% sounds right to me. I have been taking a loss on intl lately but there was a time when they were flying. I just keep them and US stocks and don't sell because they hit a bad stretch. Only from a financial perspective I wish I were working last couple years, nice to be buying at market bottom. But at least wife & I didn't began withdrawals until 2010 so while we didn't buy at the bottom at least we didn't sell at the bottom.
  15. OK, $43B short, what do you think can/will happen? The CalSTRS team can recommend raising taxes to meet future obligations but cannot force legislation. And the state is cutting everywhere already. Doesn't look good for anyone right now. Maybe no COLA increases for a while?
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