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  1. Hal


    Frenchteacher, I agree with you that all wage earnings above the 87,900 should also be taxed. Have you seen any studies that show how much that would help to ensure the solvency of SS? I'm not so sure about exempting the first $30k. Seems to me that everyone earning money should pay something in to save SS, whether they are 'poor', 'rich' or somewhere in between. In any case, the problem is really greater than my little understanding of economics. Am mainly approaching this from a view of what seems fair to me. Hal
  2. Don't know how many here frequent the Vanguard Diehards forum on morningstar.com, but there is a very funny post illustrating how people can disagree and yet refrain from taking themselves too seriously. For those interested, it is the very first post in thread #34716. Hal
  3. Dan, It will be very interesting to see how all thes funds do over the next few decades. If I'm fortunate to live long enough, I may have the 'pleasure' of looking back and telling myself I was a fool for not jumping into those funds. Yes, you are right, civil discourse is grand. Hal
  4. Hal


    Joel, Whenever I hear ideas proposing the privatization of S.S. I wonder what will happen to those millions of people who are unfortunate enough to suffer through a large stock market drop within one or two years after they retire. How would they be able to manage with a 20 or 30 percent immediate loss to their life savings? Funding of SS in the future does appear to be a real serious problem and I for one don't know what the answer (or answers) is. However, it would take a lot more evidence and persuasion to move me over to the privatization camp. Also, I wonder how a massive influx of new investors would affect the market? Would it initially drive up prices so high that one could only reasonably expect very low returns in the following decades? Hal
  5. Bill, I think you make an excellent point. It is hard for me to see why someone would want to be a do it yourselfer and then just put all their money into a target fund because it makes their choices simpler. (However, if they think it is a wise investment, that is another thing.) As you say, if one isn't willing to put in the work to make knowledgeable choices he would probably be wiser letting a professional help him out. Of course, I would add the caveat that having a professional advisor is not necessarily going to result in higher returns. :-) Hal
  6. I'm beginning to come to the realization that not losing money can be even more important than beating the market. Especially, as you point out, when stocks are priced so high. I know that asset allocation, risk assesment, etc. are very important, but I am finding it hard to convince myself to throw too much money into stocks given their relatively high prices. It probably sounds terrible to some, but I've been praying that the market will drop substantially so that I can get some good stock cheap. It is, I believe, the only way that I will have a chance for making some decent returns on my investments because I am starting so late in lilfe. As to bonds. I haven't given much thought to bond funds, but I have been putting money into I and EE bonds which can easily be bought over the internet at treasurydirect.com. Also, their rates have just increased. Hal
  7. That's too pessimistic. This board hasn't been shut down. Nor do I think it will. If you've ever been involved in on-line groups for anytime, you'd know that some of the personal snipping that has occured lately always happens sooner or later. If you are concerned about the health of this board start a new topic and make some informative posts. That's all it takes to get things back on track.
  8. I would be very interested in learning who those financial managers are who have performed well 'cycle after cycle.' Hal
  9. Haven't seen Joel, or anybody else for that matter, claim to be an expert. There have been a lot of opinions expressed here. I think that is for the good. Though I disagree with the position you have taken (i.e. the linkage of good returns with the fees paid into a plan) I appreciate hearing your views on these matters. As I've expressed, I still have a lot to learn when it comes to investing. But I don't understand why you have to start getting personal when somenoe disagrees with you and accuse them of 'dodging' or not being completely upfront. And insisting that they divulge personal information which they may not wish to on this public forum. It does little to advance your position. By the way, congratulations on the good returns you've received from your investment plan. I hope I am as fortunate. Hal
  10. [quote=jphillips,May 6 2004, 11:57 PM Now that I have divulged the inner workings of my investment, how about coming clean on yours? Jim ----------------------------------------------- As I think others have already pointed out, it is not required or expected that any person here post their personal investments. Of course, if you choose to do so that is your right. Hal
  11. If one had invested in Vanguard Energy Fund Investor Shares (VGENX) for the last 5 years, they would have seen an average annual return exceeding 13%. That fund has an ER of only 0.37%. As to TIAA, doesn't really matter whether or not their funds do better than others. The big advantage to having them as a 403(b) provider is that you can do a 90-24 transfer with them and not worry about draconian surrender fees. In other words, if you only had TIAA at your school or hospital, you could freely take your money and move it into a custodial account like Vanguard's which could potentially give you a much greater return. Most other 403(b) providers would charge you 5 to 7 percent surrender fees. Does this mean that investors should not be given the choice to invest their money into a 403(b) VA? Of course not. Some people want that security they think they are getting by having a 'professional' manage their money. Some, also, are just simply incapable of understanding basic principles of investing and need all the extra help they can get. And some just don't want to spend any of their precious time trying to understand investing. Seems to me that most of the people who come to this site don't fit into those categories listed in the above paragraph. They do want to participate actively in investing. They want to learn more about it and find ways that will increase their investment returns. They don't believe that investing is such an arcane field of knowledge that only 'professionals' can understand it I consider myself a neophyte in the field of investing. But I do believe strongly that no one knows for sure how well their future investments will do. But one does know ( or can find out) what a particular investment can cost. Given the choice of investing in two similar plans, it would be foolish to go for the one that is known to cost more. Hal
  12. Bill Mahoney wrote: " I was not talking about using a variable annuity. I was discussing using a good low expense load fund like the American Funds. Where depending on the funds being used the load for the first $50,000 would average roughly 5%. " Bill, Thanks for the clarification. Hal
  13. Bill, You've lost me. Is that $20 a month, $20 a year, or what? I would think that someone investing $400 a month in a variable annuity would be paying much more than $20 in additonal fees (M&E fees, etc.) over the lifetime of their investment. Hal
  14. When I sat down to talk to the Valic rep, he said that one of the main reasons for using his product was that Valic really wanted to make it easy for investors to have access to their money and be able to transfer it to other vendors. That Valic "only" would charge me a 5% surrender fee! Of course I could always transfer a whole 10% annually with no charge. I had trouble keeping a straight face. Hal
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