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  1. This is standard response to day traders and gamblers: Not so smart "investor" Dad: “If you just match the benchmark, you are getting an average return. Why would you ever want to be average?” he asked. And I like the genuinely smart son's answer which is also decades old: Smart Investor Son: “Well, Dad, that still would put me ahead of most active investors.” Nothing ever wrong with the "average" return over many years. The fact is that the average return from the stock market since the 1870s according to Morgan Housel: United States capitalistic system produces about 6.8% return minus inflation since the 1870s (3.1% average inflation generates a total return of 9.9%). Has anybody else read Housels book, the Psychology of Money? Here is my 4 star review on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R30TAIVAFIZBC8/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B084HJSJJ2
  2. Thanks guys, Here is another chart I created to show how fees eat into your investments in DOLLARS. Many times when we say to our colleagues that 2% is way over the top in costs, some people think that 2% is very low! I have posted this chart before but I think it's worth posting again. For the record I pay a miniscule $1132.00 in 2020 for my entire portfolio! And that $1132 is calculated by the value of my portfolio at the end of the year. Vanguard as with most companies get their costs by the quarter. The value of my portfolio is about 10% lower at the end of Q1 last year because of the pandemic correction. But its too much work calculating my costs every quarter when the primary point is clear enough that my costs are extremely low. That's the point. If I paid 1.0% AUM for a financial adviser, for example, instead my current cost of $1132.00, I would be paying over $17,000! Oven ten years, that's $170,000 lost to fees and that's just 1.0%! ONE PERCENT FOLKS! Jack Bogle said it a long time ago and kept saying it until he died two years ago at age 89 on January 16, "FEES MATTER!"
  3. Just when we thought 2020 was over and a new better year would begin in earnest, all hell breaks loose in DC. For what it's worth, there are three things I am pleased: 1. my wife and I are healthy, 2. a new administration in one week, and 3. my portfolio's performance for 2020--9.34% What is incredible is that I am not taking a lot of risk and yet, I am compensated well above the risk I am taking. I know the standard deviation (SD) of my individual investments but not the entire portfolio. About a third of my portfolio, taxable equities, have a standard deviation of 18 to 25 (high), and 2/3 of my portfolio is 7 or less (low). SD is the measure of market volatility. Both stocks and bonds performed better than expected in 2020. For those of you who are new to this site, I share my portfolio allocation, my costs in percentages and dollars and the returns of my individual securities. So many of you come here and want to get out of such and such annuity but need to know where you are going, and when you get your diversified portfolio set up, how does it work. That's why I share my portfolio every quarter. I did the same thing decades ago by getting out of 2 of those horrible annuity products and into genuine stock and bond investments. My portfolio is easily replicated by the broadest asset classes of the Vanguard choices, Treasury Direct and TIAA. Here are the particulars of my portfolio as of December 31, 2020. All the data and statistics are from the portfolio feature on Morningstar. I created the following graphs and tables from Excel. Hope this will be useful for those of you still learning about constructing your balanced and diversified portfolio. Asset Allocation
  4. I don't understand your question. While I would never again put my money in any insurance company (except TIAA), I agree with krow36. But when an insurance company rep "swears" anything, my red flag goes up big time. They can say anything! He/she does not want you to leave! It is an old emotional game played with educators' minds for decades. Since we are kind folks we tend to believe what is said to us. It is what's written in the contract you signed that counts. I would check there about the mortality fee. As you probably know, M&E fees are hideous, wasteful and absolutely useless. Happy new year and congratulations on your upcoming retirement. I have been retired for 12 years and love it. Steve
  5. Hi whyme, I figure you were on to something that I either forgot or never read. Hey that's great for our colleagues going forward, and it simplifies the mind numbing regulations. That's why I rely on people like you to keep track of the old and new regs. I read the regulations and try to remember, but I don't, there are sooooooooooo many. Scotty D. and Micheal D. are too long standing posters who know all, and I mean, ALL the regs. All I know is my portfolio expenses are still .07% and my 2020 return was a mindblowing 9.34% for my boring conservative portfolio! Nothing boring about 9.34%. I will put up those numbers in about a week or so. And happy new year to you. Stay healthy and safe. We are not over this thing yet. Steve
  6. Am already registered! Steve
  7. Same as what whyme and Tony said. It makes no sense to leave your money in your employer's sponsored plan and pay the extra costs of administration. Roll them over to Vanguard or fidelity as soon as you retire. With the 457b plan, you have to be separated from service in order to do a rollover. 403b plan you have to be 59.5. hope this all helps, Steve
  8. Consider your wife extremely lucky that she hit it twice, growth and international went through the roof in 2020. Good for you for rebalancing out of this fund, or at least reducing your exposure. Might be due to style drift. Managed funds often do this when the stocks are doing great, especially Tesla this year! OMG! You have to dig deeper into the prospectus to find out why Tesla was an exception because you are right, Tesla should not be in this fund. The data says this fund invests 14% of its holdings in the U.S. https://investor.vanguard.com/mutual-funds/profile/portfolio/vwilx Your experience is exactly why I do not invest in such a narrow part of the market. I really don't know if my portfolio is diversified, as you found out, as time goes by. You might as will be invested in Tesla stock! Interestingly, 58% is what my portfolio returned in 1999 with the tech bubble, and you know don't want to know what happened to my portfolio 2 years later. Since those terrible years 20 years ago, I have my money in broadest diversified index funds, only two equity funds. Total Stock market index and total international stock market index and a balance fund, Wellesley.
  9. Everytime the market is as rip roaring as it has been since 2008 (with occasional short term hiccups), some people are lucky with their short-term, overnight get rich, style. Of course there will be some people who made it big on Tesla stock. There are many problems with reporting about this kind of "investing" but the first one is that there is no follow up that I know of five or ten years down the road. To nobody's surprise for the regulars here, and from all the books that I have read, this is how NOT to invest: https://www.morningstar.com/news/dow-jones/20201227504/investors-double-down-on-stocks-pushing-margin-debt-to-record This is anadulterated g ambling!
  10. bk10s, There was one important factor I left out. I don't need to take the risk to grow my portfolio as somebody who is working or retiring at a younger age than normal retirement. At my age, I have won the game. I have "enough". I have enough fixed income and enough investments. My portfolio is about the preservation stage and if I am lucky enough it might grow enough to keep pace with inflation and pay the income taxes. If not, I will still have enough to last the rest of my days. I have two healthcare plans, long term insurance and best of all I am extremely fortunate that I can manage my money without an expensive adviser and save a ton of money. Here is a discussion on bogleheads about the "ability, willingness and need to take risk." https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=333831&newpost=5684634 Below is a table I created and posted on this forum previously. It shows who I actually pay (in green) compared to the cost of somebody else managing my portfolio. The difference is staggering!
  11. The 30/70 allocation is not popular especially with financial advisers say this allocation is too conservative. As I have said before, I look at the data of this allocation and according to Vanguard it returns about 7.7% (15 years ago it was 7.3%): https://investor.vanguard.com/investing/how-to-invest/model-portfolio-allocation. What the heck is wrong with 7.7% return? NOTHING. My portfolio has average almost 6.0% per year since 2008 and I have spend a lot of money, and it's still growing! Of course, I am 100% lucky that I (we all) had a bull market all of these years. But what was unexpected is the bonds have done well too. I don't understand the usual negative narrative about bonds, consider this discussion on the bogleheads: https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=310761 Sleep better. Yes, I am loss averse because of two issues, my age and I need my investments for retirement. My pension is modest as I only worked for 24 years and retired at 61 because of my savings and property investments. Both my late spouse and my current one only have social security as with most Americans they do not have a pension. If I were like you and did not need my investments for retirement it doesn't matter what age, I would have a higher allocation to stocks absolutely. You said "we" so I am guessing both you and your spouse have pensions? If so heck, put 100% in equities and let your descendents worry about it. There is a lot written about drawdowns when retired whether it's the buckets, 3%, 4% rule brought about by the Trinity Study or more. Come January, I will draw down from capital gains, dividends from both my stocks and bonds. I will sell shares too: since my total stock market index is through the roof and my stock/bond balance is now about 36% stock 64% bonds, I will take out money from my VTI. I have to make a RMD so next year I will take 100% out of the Total bond Market index as it too is through the roof, at $11.51 a share! Nobody knows about the future and if the 30/70 will work as well as it did for me the last 12 years. But it looks like to me, you can keep your allocation at 60/40 because you don't need your investments for retirement purposes. Your pensions are plenty and that makes all the difference. Happy holidays, Steve
  12. All three markets Nasdaq, S&P and DJIA closed at record levels. And so did the dollar amount of my portfolio. 9.0% YTD return. AA: 36% stock / 64% bond Despite these terrible times, wishing Happy Holidays!
  13. Here are some important details about Vanguard: Found on the Vanguard website Began operations May 1, 1975 Oldest fund Wellington Fund (inception: July 1, 1929) Total assets About $6.2 trillion in global assets under management, as of January 31, 2020 Number of funds About 190 U.S. funds (including variable annuity portfolios) and about 230 additional funds in markets outside the United States, as of January 31, 2020 Number of investors More than 30 million investors, in about 170 countries, as of January 31, 2020 Average expense ratio 0.10% (U.S. asset-weighted fund expenses as a percentage of 2019 average net assets) Chairman and CEO Mortimer J. Buckley Number of employees (crew) About 17,600 in the United States and abroad, as of January 31, 2020 Core purpose To take a stand for all investors, to treat them fairly, and to give them the best chance for investment success
  14. Welcome to the forum, Deana! Your story is decades old. Most of us regulars here have similar stories. I was sold two annuities 35 years ago and the same thing is still happening. You did the first step correctly by stopping immediately! Do NOT pull the money out! Just leave it there for the time being and we can guide you along about what to do moving forward. But we need more information. Now provide the other companies that are available so we can take a look. There might be one gem in the rough. Steve
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