Author Topic: AA: Mirror or Whole Portfolio for multiple accounts?  (Read 895 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Posts: 11
AA: Mirror or Whole Portfolio for multiple accounts?
« on: July 09, 2016, 12:11:53 PM »
I am new to investing and decided to cancel the professional investing services at my work and my Credit Union.

I finally was able to consolidate my IRA to Vanguard from my CU.  My IRA hold Vanguard Target Fund 2035.   I wanted to have AA of 80 stocks / 20 bonds since my 401K has the same AA.   I was thinking of mirroring the Vanguard Target Fund 2035 in my 401k for ease.

Then I've been reading this  My understanding that it is better to evaluate my portfolio as a whole instead of mirroring for tax efficiently and expense.  There may be some overlap between accounts.  For example, US stocks allocation might not have enough funds my IRA to accommodate the AA for US.  Then I will need to use the funds in my 401k but I additional slices.  I hope that make sense.

So my question:

Is it better to do as a Whole Portfolio or to Mirror?


  • Stubble
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  • Posts: 115
Re: AA: Mirror or Whole Portfolio for multiple accounts?
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2016, 07:19:13 AM »
Whole portfolio allows you to optimize the location of each asset for tax advantages and lowest cost (expense ratio). For example, assets that pay a higher proportion of dividends would be held preferentially in a tax advantaged account (IRA,  401k etc) over a taxable account.

As another example,  my TSP account (basically a 401k for federal government employees) has low expense ratios across the board,  but the savings is greatest in its international fund over similar offering by vanguard. Therefore all of my international holdings are in my TSP account, and my vanguard accounts are all US stock market.

It can be harder to keep track of your total asset allocation across accounts this way,  but that is easily solved by account aggregation tools like personal capital, and mint.

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