Author Topic: Argh!  (Read 2548 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 15
« on: May 02, 2014, 08:55:10 PM »
Help me!  My 401k is suffering from stupidity.  I'm trying to do the lazy man's portfolio and apparently I'm failing miserably.  Do any of you guys have advice for me!?  I'm 32 and just trying to make a decent return on my investments.  Currently I'm contributing 6% with 3% match from employer.  I've been with this employer for about a year and don't have much to show for it.  Help!

I have my current investments and available choices listed.  Thanks!


  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9895
Re: Argh!
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2014, 09:40:51 PM »
Perhaps these two for starters:
1) Increase your 401K contribution to the maximum allowed $17,500/yr if at all possible - whatever contribution percentage that is.
2) 18 different investments is taking the concept of "diversification" too far.  Reduce to no more than 6.  E.g., 1 large cap, 1 mid cap, 1 small cap, 1 international, and the 2055 index fund (5 total) would be a defensible "lazy man's portfolio".

By the way, what is your definition of "failing miserably"?  Portfolios can gain and lose value over short (i.e., several year) periods and still end up quite successful. 

Another Reader

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5183
Re: Argh!
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2014, 10:12:56 PM »
You have way too many funds and some are pricey without the performance to justify the price.  You have some excellent, low cost Vanguard and Fidelity index funds to pick from.  Most lazy portfolios are allocated among such funds.  Figure out how you want your 401k allocated and then pick the funds to build that allocation.

Frankies Girl

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3117
  • Age: 82
  • Location: The laboratory
  • Ghouls Just Wanna Have Funds!
Re: Argh!
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2014, 11:14:34 PM »
Waaaay too many funds. I had sort of the same problem when I first started paying attention, so don't feel bad tho. I had something like 10 different funds that a friend suggested (I basically copied his setup when I started my 401k). If you're wanting a lazy portfolio - from what I understood, simplifying your fund choices was one of the suggestions, so definitely take a hard look at the long-term returns and the expenses on each of the offerings and try to find a good broad stock market index (or at least one that has large cap, and one that has med/small cap), a broad bond index, and you could even add in a few more, but I'd try to keep the total funds under 6 just because any more seems like overkill. 

I'm by no means an expert, but just doing a run through, I'd probably take a good look at the following:

SpartanŽ U.S. Bond Index Fund FXSTX
0.07% expense ratio

SpartanŽ 500 Index Fund  FXSIX
0.04% expense ratio

Vanguard Total Intl Stock Index  VTSGX
0.14% expense ratio

Fidelity's low cost funds are usually in the "Spartan" family (they are generally good funds and comparable to Vanguard's fees), and Vanguard funds should all be very low expense ratios. Those three would be good to consider (or at least what I'd move to if I was in your position, but that is based off of only a few minutes' review - so do check ALL of your fund choices since I'm not familiar with all of these funds, and again, not an expert by any stretch of the imagination). You don't seem to have a total US stock market index fund available, but I didn't go through every one of them to read the summaries, so do some research on your own and don't feel like you have to have a whole bunch of funds - narrow down your choices.

I'm also seeing things like "class w" and institutional shares and the like. Just odd to me as I usually see class a/b shares that indicate a front or back loaded fund but could be a no-load fund, so I have to go google about that now.

« Last Edit: May 02, 2014, 11:16:51 PM by Frankies Girl »


  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1310
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Missouri
Re: Argh!
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2014, 09:12:43 AM »
Follow Frankie Girl's advice for a true lazy man's portfolio. You really only need those three index funds. It might be "lazy man's", but you will get market comparable returns in the long run. And that's all your expectations should be.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 15
Re: Argh!
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2014, 07:42:03 PM »
Thanks everyone.  I've adjusted my account and everything should take effect this pay period.  Thanks!