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whyme

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  1. My roughly 75/25 portfolio is up 9.5% for the first quarter 2019.
  2. Good work so far! As to the asset allocation going forward, there's no objectively correct solution. You'll get endless opinions on how to handle that if you ask online. What you are suggesting sounds reasonable to me. A couple of things I would consider, though: what is the long-term plan for this money? Is it just about assuring the costs related to your uncle's long term care are covered or is part of the plan to build equity for heirs and/or charitable donations (in other words, how much is money that will be needed within the next few years versus long-term investment)? Also, bear in mind that having two utility stocks isn't a good proxy for stock market risk. If the answer to the question above is that a big chunk of the money won't be needed for a decade or more and you want to build additional equity for the future, then some broad-market (including international market) equity funds could actually add the benefit of diversification, though they would likely be more volatile in the short run than bonds, especially short term bonds. (I'm not sure what VAIPX is--did you mean VTAPX, the short term TIPS fund? Or VPAIX, Pennsylvania tax-exempt bonds?)
  3. Hat's off to you, Dan. Journalism needs financial support, and society needs journalism if it is to hold onto any hope for justice, freedom or honest government. I've abandoned the printed newspapers (though I subscribe to print editions of the New Yorker and The Atlantic, and I always enjoy a printed paper when I travel), but I subscribe to the digital NY Times, LA Times and Washington Post. Note that the NYT and WaPo offer discounted subscriptions to educators, and even without a discount the online-only subscriptions generally cost less than print delivery.
  4. All of that language that is already in the Ed code. The bill, I think, is trying to make that description part of a mandatory course, rather than something that the governing board "shall consider."
  5. Here's the bill, Steve. Authored by Jordan Cunningham, a republican from the San Luis Obispo area. https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200AB1087 Here's the section of the ed code that the bill wants to incorporate into a mandatory course, if I'm understanding it correctly: 51284. 5 Notwithstanding Section 51284, when the history-social science curriculum framework is revised after January 1, 2017, the Instructional Quality Commission shall consider including both of the following: (a) Age-appropriate information for grade spans, as listed in paragraphs (1) to (3), inclusive, of subdivision (b), on financial literacy that includes, but is not limited to, all of the following: (1) Fundamentals of banking for personal use, including, but not limited to, savings and checking. (2) Principles of budgeting and personal finance. (3) Employment and understanding factors that affect net income. (4) Uses and effects of credit, including the relation of debt and interest to credit. (5) Uses and costs of loans, including student loans. (6) Types and costs of insurance. (7) Forms of governmental taxation. (8) Principles of investing and building wealth. (9) Identity theft and security. (10) Planning and paying for postsecondary education. (11) Charitable giving.
  6. Fair enough, Steve, if you want to keep your focus squarely on 403b issues rather than investment policy. I'm not a fan of everything CalStrs does, but I think you are being a bit rough on their investment record... down 3.2% in 2018 is better than I did, and even your very conservative portfolio was down 2%, if I recall correctly. And January more-or-less erased those drops. They need market returns to fund pensions for decades or even centuries into the future (they plan based on an annual gain of 7%/year), so they need to have more exposure to market risk than an individual retiree with a much shorter time horizon. The state (led on this by Jerry Brown) has taken significant steps to keep the pensions funded and address that "liability gap," notably by increasing the participant contributions (I now pay 10.3% of gross pay, before tax) and district contributions (that is ramping up to something like 20% of salary, which is a big argument our district uses to cut health benefits and suppress pay raises, but I digress) and reducing the benefits a bit for newly hired folks (instead of getting the maximum "age factor" multiple at 63, new hires will have to work to 65). There are a couple of states with pension plans that are seriously underfunded and could flame out (Illinois is one, I think), but California looks pretty solid to me, though of course nothing is ever truly guaranteed.
  7. Steve, if you are curious about why and how Calstrs makes its investment decisions, this podcast features a long interview with the guy in charge of them: https://capitalallocatorspodcast.com/2019/02/10/ailman/
  8. Purely a guess on my part, but my application of Ockham's Razor would lead to the hypothesis that he just composed a bunch of emails to people he found on LinkedIn as a way of prospecting. It would have been interesting if he wanted to argue with you, but somebody who wants to think about those issues isn't long for that business.
  9. Thanks for that, Ed. So I guess that is some staffer's (or volunteer's?) summary of the to-be-announced plan. There's much in the actual document that remains hazy to me in terms of actual policy, and I think I saw where AOC said she thought of the GND as a kind of "request for proposals" rather than a concrete statement of policy. As you said above, it's basically an assertion of ideals, not law making. The universal income discussion would quickly wander pretty far from 403b matters, but it is compelling. One aspect that is interesting to me is how that idea comes into and out of fashion (or "the Overton Window") in different periods. President Nixon (!) actually proposed some kind of basic income for the poorest households in the late 1960s, and a minimum income was part of McGovern's presidential campaign promise in 1972, I think. I don't know my history well enough to know about the depression era, but I think it's a safe bet universal incomes were part of the discussion then, too (the Works Progress Administration seems like a variation on that concept).
  10. Tony, I think you may have been bamboozled by Fox News or a similar partisan source. Best I'm able to decipher, something -- a now-deleted blog post or a "fact sheet," depending on the account -- was "posted" or "sent out" before the "Green" resolution went public, which contained the "unable or unwilling to work" line. It still isn't clear to me who wrote it or authorized it, but more to the point, if you read the actual "Green Deal," you saw no such language. The document was submitted to Congress and is easy to find and read online. https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-resolution/109/text There is plenty to criticize: naive idealism (maybe one could say grandiosity) in calling for "prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States," or the head-scratching demand to "upgrad[e] all existing buildings in the United States," but the antithesis of the American Dream? Seems to me that dreaming about what a just society or a good government ought to be is a characteristically American activity. As a teacher, I've known many a student whose exuberant idealism exceeded their grasp of practical reality; I hear echos of them in that document, a sign of great ambition, not shirking work.
  11. Kudos. If my experience rolling assets into Vanguard is any guide, the Vanguard folks will make it as easy as it can be--I seem to remember a phone call that was followed up by forms emailed to me with almost all of the information filled out, I basically just had to sign and submit. I wasn't dealing with a guardianship, though, no doubt that adds a significant layer of complication. Anyway, good work!
  12. I think Krow found some boilerplate language that probably doesn't apply beyond the fee description I copy-and-pasted above. I'd put nothing past Nationwide in terms of sneaky fees, but I suspect the state mandates fee transparency in such accounts. So I'd guess that that list covers it. If you are concerned and are considering this plan, you might want to also post over at the "Bogleheads" forum--there are a larger number of participants there, and you may find people who actually have accounts with the Maryland state supplemental retirement plan. (Especially given that that program also offers 401k accounts.) Again, if you can fight your way past the "advisors," Security Benefit DirectInvest looks like a great option. I read Ed's account of picking the DirectInvest option for his wife's plan (https://educatorsfightingforfairness.wordpress.com/our-story/)--it is harrowing! An advisor actually enrolled his wife in a different high-fee plan when she submitted the paperwork for DirectInvest. Wow, that is profoundly unethical. I hope you don't encounter such shenanigans. PS: I posted this before I saw Krow's post above. Bottom line, we both think that list of fees covers it.
  13. Krow, I was only able to find that fee page via the search box. The state must have mandated that. I have a Nationwide 457b (the only option in my district), and I'm still not sure I've sussed out all of their fees: they bury them, layer them and pretty much do everything possible to avoid transparency.
  14. PS: I just looked at Ed's file about Security Benefit DirectInvest. If I understand it correctly, they just charge a $35 annual fee, which is waived for account balances over $50,000. It looks like they have slightly higher-cost (non-institutional) versions of the same Vanguard funds that the Maryland plan has, but those are still very low cost funds. If I've got that right, the DirectInvest plan would probably be preferable over the long haul, because it doesn't have any fee tied to the size of your balance. Getting started, that .14% is small potatoes, but it will add up over the years as your balance grows. (Still, .14% is a lower fee than most 457 plans offer.) One thing I note in Ed's documentation of the plan--he said it was difficult to access (sounds like they have a sales force steering folks into higher-fee options, another argument for fiduciary regulations). I'm sure Ed will be a great resource if you do decide to open a DirectInvest account, Tricia.
  15. I'm baffled by what krow36 found--I can't replicate it. I clicked through the link and got a list of funds. I also went back and looked at 403b as opposed to 457 options, and at a glance both the fund choice and the fee statement appeared identical. I don't know anything about Security Benefit's options, but perhaps someone (Ed, you up for this?) will jump in with a comparison.
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