Author Topic: Please help me with my 401K  (Read 3035 times)

rockstache

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Please help me with my 401K
« on: July 01, 2013, 07:28:11 AM »
Within the last year I have really started getting serious and learning more about what my money is doing and how it can best work for me. I still have plenty of learning to do, but I am at least moving in the right direction. At the suggestion of some of the posters here, I have delved into the boglehead site, which is really great and a little over my head still in some places.

My company has a 3% match and uses John Hancock for their 401k. I contribute 12% (not maxed out yet, but hopefully someday soon), and up until now, had just dumped it all in one of the target funds. I recently discovered that they offer a couple of Vanguard funds, so I was excited about that and went to check it out. The funds are VIGSX - Growth Index Fund, and VISGX - Small cap Growth Index Fund, and one energy fund, and two others that are not index funds and that I am not too interested in.

I was wondering if anyone might be able to tell me anything about these funds, and how they differ from the MMM recommended Total Stock Market Funds and others that we hear about. I am really quite a baby when it comes to this stuff and would love if someone could please break it down and help me understand. 

notquitefrugal

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Re: Please help me with my 401K
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2013, 08:30:42 AM »
Which non-index Vanguard funds are offered? Their actively managed offerings aren't that bad in terms of expense ratios, and depending upon which funds they offer, you may want to consider some of them to round out your portfolio.

rockstache

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Re: Please help me with my 401K
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2013, 09:30:16 AM »
One is called Short Term Federal (VSGBX) and one is called Explorer (VEXPX). I am not really sure what you mean by round out my portfolio....can you please explain?

mlipps

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Re: Please help me with my 401K
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2013, 02:40:43 PM »
Is the 401k your only investment?

notquitefrugal

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Re: Please help me with my 401K
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2013, 03:22:05 PM »
I am not really sure what you mean by round out my portfolio....can you please explain?

Well, you may want more than just a single growth fund. E.g., if you want some bonds in your 401k, the Vanguard Short-Term Federal fund would fit the bill nicely. Unlike the target funds, the other funds you're looking at aren't all inclusive and generally invest only in a single asset class. But, mlipps' question is also important. If you have other investments, you may choose to invest your 401k differently than them, so long as your portfolio as a whole fits your desired asset allocation.

aj_yooper

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Re: Please help me with my 401K
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2013, 04:53:56 PM »
Within the last year I have really started getting serious and learning more about what my money is doing and how it can best work for me. I still have plenty of learning to do, but I am at least moving in the right direction. At the suggestion of some of the posters here, I have delved into the boglehead site, which is really great and a little over my head still in some places.

Print out the Boglehead site and study it.  Do both the investment (http://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Bogleheads_investing_start-up_kit) and the personal finance site (http://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Bogleheads_personal_finance_planning_start-up_kit).  Read Andrew Tobias, The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need and William Bernstein The Investor's Manifesto (harder).  Keep asking questions. 
The constant lesson of history is the dominant role played by surprise. Just when we are most comfortable with an environment and come to believe we finally understand it, the ground shifts under our feet.  Peter Bernstein

''It's not so much what folks don't know that causes problems, it's what they do know that ain't so.''   Artemus Ward

rockstache

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Re: Please help me with my 401K
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2013, 11:10:50 AM »
Thanks for the recommendations. The only other investment(s) I have is a Roth IRA through Vanguard for myself and my husband which I opened this year and really hope to be able to max out. As the balances are low right now, I am in the target retirement fund because you can start it with only $1,000. Once we reach the required limits for the other funds I was planning to transfer them into something else.