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  1. If the markets plunge, it has been expected but if it jumps again this month along with the PE ratio we are getting into bubble territory. Wait a minute, the markets did plunge a year ago only in December but they all bunched back quickly at the beginning of this year.
  2. 12.0% as of last Friday's close. First, a little history of my 70/30 portfolio. From 2009 through 2018 the returns ranged from -2% to 13.9%. In 2019, my boring portfolio is on track to break my 2009 record of 13.9%. Right now it is about 12.0%. Both stocks and bonds soared because according to some, the feds lowered interest rates which increased the value of my bonds and their returns. Also, from what I heard corporations are using both the tax cuts and the low-interest rate money to borrow and buy back their stocks, which would increase their stock value too. But there are many factors involved and to try and speculate what is going on is fruitless. All we can do is to diversify and create the stock-bond split according to your age and need for the money. Since we are teachers here, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, if both you and your spouse have huge pensions, heck, you can ignore this rule of thumb entirely because you don't need the money for retirement. Or if you have a high-risk tolerance and love the volatility, you can also ignore this rule of thumb. For me, I have better things to do that experience volatility and I need my investments for retirement. 2000 to 2002 the financial crisis was caused by the tech bubble. In 2008, the financial crisis was caused by the real estate bubble with so-called free money flooding the market. A similar situation may be happening now especially this last run of the interest rate cuts. We are not there yet, but I think we may be the beginning of another bubble. The S&P 500 PE ratio is about 23 right now. Back in the last 1990s, it was up to 32. It is one indicator of a bubble. We have experienced the longest bull market in history! I am old enough to remember 1974-1975, the energy and inflation crisis, the 1987 crash, the technology, and the real estate bubble, all of these crashes were n asty. During those wild days of the tech bubble, I made more money in my portfolio on many days than a year's worth of my teacher's salary! I vividly remember the thrill, excitement and the rush of those huge gains in my portfolio. What goes up must come down and then absolute dread with the tech bubble crash and dealing with cancer. In 2008, I had fixed the errors of the past and I sailed through the 2008 crash with only a loss of 11.8%. But in all cases, the markets recovered and grew, and luckily my cancer was treated successfully.
  3. In my situation, I retired early so I need my investments as my pension is only 49% of my salary, and its only from me. Neither my late hubby nor my current partner have pensions, only SS. This is not exactly what you asked but to increase your % saved, get those salary points to increase your income. In addition to all of the good points above, I got to the top of my salary scale within a few years by taking every district workshop available. Then, I continued to look for district opportunities to increase my salary. Even though I am not administrative material, I got my administrative credential. This credential helped me get a position that required an administrative credential with more pay and what I wanted to do (educational technology coach), but was not going down the route of school site principal. The National Board Certification is another that would greatly increase your salary.
  4. Yes, I moved with my late hubby back in 2008 when I retired. We moved from Los Angeles to the desert where the standard of living is a little lower, but especially housing. The house I live in now would cost several million just about anywhere in Los Angeles.
  5. Pushing this up. In two weeks on December 7th another very cool financial literacy workshop will be offered by genuine fiduciaries, Dan Otter and Barbara Healy. Register here: https://www.utla.net/contact/2019_dec_7_financial_literacy_10
  6. Register online Attention Los Angeles Unified Teachers, your spouses, and loved ones! Another round of excellent speakers full of great information to understand this potentially powerful benefit plan. Sadly less than 30% of LAUSD educators take advantage of it! Don't be the 70%! This semiannual financial literacy workshop has been going on for over a decade. The Los Angeles County Office of Education in conjunction with Jump$tart and Tim Ranzetta's Next-Gen Personal Finance workshops are the only other workshops available. Besides these two wonderful organizations, I doubt if any other union or school district publically announce a similar workshop led by some of the most fiduciary financial advisers in the state. These workshops are rare. If you are a young teacher, you will look back 20 years from now and say how fortunate (and smart) you are to take advantage of these workshops and start planning for life after the classroom now. Who knows, you might join the highly organized and connected FIRE movement and retire way ahead of most career educators (Financial Independence Retire Early or just FI, Financial Independence, Watch their Documentary Trailor). Hope to see you December 7th at UTLA union headquarters. Dan Otter will lead off! PS: If you cannot make it, please download the flyer and announce it at your school site staff meetings. Register online
  7. Lori, As everybody has said, Fidelity. Steve
  8. Everyone is welcome. Tell us what's happening?
  9. Hi Jane, Above is my portfolio as a retired 72-year-old. It will be a bit overwhelming, but there is a lot of thinking and reading in constructing my retirement portfolio. Here is Millionaire Educator's website: https://www.millionaireeducator.com/ Ed is famous in our journey to get every educator educated in 403(b) and personal finance. It changes our life so much and we become better teachers as well. He was asked to be on the new documentary Playing with FIRE but couldn't because of his exotic and fun-filled lifestyle. Take a look at his portfolio. You can learn from us regular investors by what we do. But also, keep reading! You sound a little desperate and want to be perfect by not making mistakes. Slow down and take your time. Your question about tax benefits outweighing costs. Not sure what you read about Ed, but he will eventually have to pay taxes on his 457b, 403b. As I understand the HSA, it can only be used for health costs. We all have to pay the taxman or woman when we withdraw the money for retirement purposes. Anyway, it sounds like a sales pitch for selling you an expensive annuity. Taxes are significant, especially during retirement when my income is more than twice as high as when I was working as a teacher, and complying with the IRS's RMD (Required Minimum Distribution of tax-deferred IRAs at 70.5). We need to know more about your 403b plan in order to comment on what you can transfer to an index fund. Just off the top of my head is that you have to have an index fund in your plan to transfer it while you are working. When you retire, then you can roll over all of our 403b, 457b into Vanguard. That's what I did when I retired 11 years ago. I have all of my money in vanguard and TIAA. Hope this helps, Steve
  10. sschullo

    Why? FI

    We older Boomers grew up with one bathroom house and were taught to "save for a rainy day." In the 60s, I remember about one of the many counter-culture values besides long hair on men and boys--materialism. A big one was rejecting materialism and turning inward to solve our problems, via mediation and consciousness-raising encounter groups. I got involved with one for years and got a lot out of it. Help me grow up. But something happened in the 1980s when luxury became standard, and we began to borrow and spend like drunken sailors, big and expensive cars and HUGE homes way too big for average families. The FI movement saw what happened to their friends and relatives in 2008. They don't want any part of feeling and experiencing something like that happening to them, and they are doing something about it. They know taxes will go up, SS and pensions will disappear, and perhaps another financial crisis will happen. They reject the materialistic rat race and stress and want to live a peaceful simple life. I applaud them for doing this. Rejecting consumerism takes a lot of guts and raw courage. Find out first hand how difficult it is to change to a simple life in the documentary, Playing with FIRE.
  11. IRS Announces 2020 Contribution and Benefit Limits The contribution limit for employees who participate in 401(k), 403(b) and most 457 plans is increased from $19,000 to $19,500.
  12. But what you showed us in your post what you are going to present. I don't understand. Anyway, don't trivialize your efforts. Some of your colleagues will take notice but they will probably not tell you. There are many savvy investing teachers but they remain quiet and go about their business. All of us in education are warned against saying anything. That's why the insurance industry has such a stranglehold on teachers. For decades, the industry has warned districts to not say anything for the same reason you said. Thankfully that has changed as most districts show what is available. Its a start but we should not expect teachers to do much more than roll their eyes because we cannot be specific. What I do is share what I do and one of the primary reasons why I share my portfolio here every quarter.
  13. Got for it. You are providing information that is totally unfamiliar because there is no discussion anywhere else. It's a dirty rotten job, but somebody has got to do this. Someday, when enough of our colleagues get it, then reform will happen. You have a grasp of the historical reason why annuity salespeople are everywhere on district turf and no other companies. The sales force is powerful and has a deep historical connection with everybody in educational institutions, from school board members to custodians, they do not leave any stone left unturned. I have a PRIME EXAMPLE of leaving no stone left unturned!!! Just a few months ago, I was at a political fundraiser at a private home in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles. As the school board member spoke about what he would do if re-elected to the school Board, a very tall good looking gentleman came in late. He introduced himself as such in such and was a TSA salesperson. I KID YOU NOT! This meeting was on a Saturday afternoon! We alerted the school board member about this. This is a prime example of what we are up against, an entire profession with a casual acceptance of the annuity sales force with smiling faces and phony overly safe but hideous products. Thank you for trying to save your colleagues from a career of getting ripped off slowly and legally.
  14. Hi Ottakee, You are not alone! I know two friends who tried to find a fee-only adviser, and they experienced the same as you. All of the advisers they contacted said "no" to looking and advising their portfolio and charging their hourly fee. My friends were willing to pay their hourly fee up to $200 or $300 or more per hour! This is not recent. About 4 years ago, I wrote this blog post about one of my teacher friend's experiences. Read what happened when I called this adviser and subsequently reported her to Garrett Planning Network: http://latebloomerwealth.com/did-garrett-planning-network-pass-the-smell-test/ Garrett was not happy about one of their advisers, and already knew who she was. She is no longer on Garrett's list. But this is still a huge issue. I read much of the legislation going on in DC about this. AUM is a big problem as advisers know they can say that they sell no commission-based products now, but the AUM is lucrative, probably more lucrative than commissions. The profession doesn't see to think they have to clarify what they mean by Fee-Only, because it is not Fee-Only, it is primarily AUM or a retainer. Everybody calls themselves a fiduciary these days.
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