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mindy

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About mindy

  • Birthday 04/04/1974

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    Portland, Oregon
  1. Yakers, just wanted to say I appreciated your amendment: "financially that is." You made me laugh! Sounds like something my dad would say, and as you might expect, he's pretty dear to my heart.
  2. I have read enough posts now that I think I noticed at least one not-so-good guy. Thanks! Bill Bernstein quoted that little British poem in his "Four Pillars." I'm a sucker for silly rhymes. Mindy
  3. Thanks, Tony. I can appreciate where you're coming from, as well as where Ira and Steve are coming from. I know that tech bubble period was devastating to a lot of investors. My dad was retiring right around that time, and while his own retirement savings were safe, he became extremely worried afterward (who didn't?) and had pretty much zero stocks for a spell. I do feel comfortable with 88% in stocks right now, considering my situation, but reading Bernstein's chapter on what he sees as a much more subdued future for stocks made me wonder if my allocation might be too aggressive. Plus I just like to check in and see what all of you bWise folks will say, because you are a sharp, thoughtful, responsive crowd. I feel lucky to have stumbled across this site a few months ago in my attempt to find information about the 403b for my husband. What a resource! It's downright inspiring.
  4. Thank you all for your opinions. I wasn't actually on the verge of changing my investment, just wondering how much I should take Bernstein's prediction into account when my husband and I design our long-term strategy, and wanting to hear how many of you agree with him. Obviously there are a diversity of opinions and perspectives, with risk tolerance being a major factor. Depending who you ask, Target Retirement Funds are either too aggressive or too conservative, so I remain a little unsure what to think. But all of your various arguments one way or the other are slowly helping me shape my own perspective (and many others' as well, I have no doubt), so I am grateful for all you have to say. I think that based on my age (34---no spring chicken but still 30 years from retirement age) and puny initial savings ($16k split between a traditional IRA and a Roth), I can afford to be heavily invested in stocks at least for the time being. I do wonder, however, how I will feel ten years from now (or a year from now even, after I'm more educated on the subject of investment strategy). As for Bernstein, I haven't even finished his book, but I wondered if you all agree that the math adds up to show that stocks and bonds will perform similarly in the long term. Apparently some do, some don't. Thanks again! Just for the record, my husband, the 38-year-old, is a teacher (a new teacher, in his second year, making less than $40k), but I am not. I'm currently making only about $15k, in my second year as a stay-at-home mom and halftime freelance book editor (prior to motherhood, I made about $36k as a fulltime editor, but probably won't be able to work fulltime for another few years).
  5. I'm a beginner/student, and have a stack of library books I'm working my way through. I just read "Coffeehouse Investor," very straightforward and therefore perfect for starters, and now I'm slowly making my way through Bill Bernstein's "Four Pillars of Investing." According to Bernstein, current high price and low dividend rate of stocks suggest that they will have much lower returns in the future than they have had in the past. Long-term returns for stocks and bonds will be similar (approx. 3.5% for stocks, 3% for bonds). Conclusion: "Even the most aggressive investors should not have more than 80% of their savings in stocks." I and my husband currently have about $16k in Vanguard Target Retirement 2040, which is more than 80% stocks. We are in our thirties (34, 38), and figure that we might change our allocation in a year, after taking the time to educate ourselves (thus the library books). I am just curious what you all might have to say about Bernstein's prediction about much lower returns long term for stocks. Any comments? For instance, the "Coffeehouse Investor" doesn't say anything about this. Mindy "Milk from the cows, eggs from the hens. A stock, by God, for its dividends!"
  6. Thanks very much, that is interesting information. In our case, we are just putting as much as we can afford into retirement savings right now---just a little more than $400/month between myself and my husband. We haven't yet sat down and tried to figure out a precise amount we think we'll need for retirement, but we know that at some point we will have to dramatically increase our monthly savings. It's just a matter of income. We're making half of what we were making prior to having a baby (husband took $5k paycut when he had to move school districts, and I work part-time from home now). Anyway, the info you and others are providing here is very helpful, although I can't make practical use of all of it just yet. Thanks again. Cheers, Mindy
  7. Thanks very much for your reply. We started up a Roth for my husband, and we funded it for 2007 (this was prior to April 15) and part of 2008 (a total of about $5200), plus set it up so that $400 goes in there automatically each month. Not enough income to open up a Roth for me, too, just yet, unfortunately. We also took $10k and put it into Vanguard Prime MM. And we're holding off on the 529, despite the state tax benefit, because we're so strapped for cash, and everyone seems to suggest focusing on retirement first, which makes sense to us now. Thanks for the tip about upromise.com---didn't know about that before. Mindy
  8. Thanks, Joe. I did take a look at the M* forum after a Diehards member mentioned it to me. I wish that wanting to discuss politics didn't necessarily invite overheated or mean-spirited talk, but it does seem to go with the territory pretty frequently. I will vote for the candidate I think will be the best president, and I will respect my friends, family members, and members of this forum no matter who they vote for. Heck, I even respected my much-loved stepdad's decision to vote for Bush twice, because he was willing to explain his reasoning to me even though he knew I saw things from a completely different perspective. I just like the idea of people talking to each other, in general, rather than sitting around making assumptions about each other. I think you're right about that, and I think our country's collective cynicism is the main obstacle Obama's campaign needs to overcome.
  9. Joel, I'm so glad you asked this question---not because I have a tidy answer, but because I don’t really have an answer at all. The Social Security mess is something I (and a lot of others, I suspect) have difficulty understanding. Obviously it’s tremendously important, so I’m glad to be asked about it directly because it motivates me to think about it more critically. For starters I’ve just hopped over to "Social Security debate (United States)" in Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Securi...nited_States%29. Again I admit to feeling a little smothered by all the options on the table. Social Security is social insurance aimed at protecting Americans from conditions such as poverty in old age. It is most needed by, not surprisingly, the neediest Americans. I agree that it seems unfair that the wage base is the same for someone earning $100,000 as someone earning $1,000,000. However, if you increase the "cap" and require a $1,000,000 earner to pay 6.2%, would you expect that his/her benefits should be based on the same number? Does it seem unfair to ask this person to pay 6.2% on $1,000,000 but receive a benefit based on $100,000? It’s true that this would affect only 6% of taxpayers, and that wealthy individuals could afford a tax increase more easily than lower-income individuals, but I’m not sure whether it’s the right way to go. It could be one good option, but I’m unsure. Back to my original comment regarding John Bogle, I'm so happy to know that someone like Bogle, patron saint of investors, who feels a responsibility toward his fellow citizens, is voting Obama. It seems to me that, in their work, Bogle and Obama both act out of the idea that we are our brother's and sister's keeper. Bogle's version is financial in nature, but it's no less idealistic and grand: he insists a respectable profit is a profit made without stabbing one's fellow American in the back. We need more good people like this speaking up in this country, encouraging us to think like a nation. That's why these two guys have so many followers. Go, Obama! Go, Bogle! Thanks for the lively discussion, all. Glad to know it's okay in this forum! Mindy
  10. Thank YOU for being so helpful! I am completely new to this forum stuff and feel really grateful for the help. One day, when I'm much more educated on these topics, I'd like to return the favor by helping other beginners, the way you all do here. Thanks. Mindy
  11. I feel a little embarrassed---just posted the same thing on the diehards forum, not realizing it's against the rules to bring up politics, and received a swift warning from a moderator to stop or I could be tossed on my ear. My apologies to anyone who may have been offended or made uncomfortable here, too---not at all my intention! I just come from a family who talk politics alongside the weather and what's for dinner, without it being a big deal. To be safe and to avoid starting any tense discussions, I won't bring politics up again. (But thanks for your reply, Steve.)
  12. I don't know if politics are off limits in this forum, but if not, here's a quote from today's LA Times: "John Bogle, founder of Vanguard Group mutual fund, said on CNBC that he switched parties to vote for Obama in Pennsylvania's primary this morning." Mindy
  13. Thanks, Tony. I am starting to appreciate this John Bogle guy quite a lot, although I admit I had never heard of him until a few months ago. I watched a clip the other day from his interview with Bill Moyers. I never heard anyone make capitalism sound so reasonable and respectable---he was talking about the OLD capitalism, when apparently making as big a profit as possible as quickly as possible without providing the public any useful services wasn't the way it worked. (I can hardly imagine.) Yes, my confidence is already increasing, and my anxiety decreasing, even though I'm just getting started. Corny as it is to say, knowledge really is power. My husband and I are planning on spreading the word among our friends and colleagues, too. Anyway, many thanks for all the articles you post! Mindy
  14. Thanks, that makes sense. There are an awful lot of contradictory opinions out there.
  15. Thank you. We decided on Vanguard Prime MM.
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