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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Investor Alley => Topic started by: kathanto on May 27, 2013, 08:19:42 PM

Title: Investing help
Post by: kathanto on May 27, 2013, 08:19:42 PM
Hi, I just received 16k from my grandmother and I was hoping that this community could help me think of ways to make it work best for me.
Here is my quick bio to give a sense of my goals:
I am 24, single (maybe not for much longer?), I am a teacher in DC (though I plan to move to be closer to my girlfriend in at least a year), I have about 9k in student loans (and a 5k americorps award waiting to be used), I own my car, I have about 4k in a schwab checking account (not counting the 16k from grammy).

Mainly I feel like it would be good money to have in about 5 yrs when I will be more settled down and will want to buy a home.  Until then, I definitely don't want it just collecting .01% in my checking account.

I'm thinking of using schwab to buy into some mutual funds and index funds.  I've talked to a couple of their people on the phone, so I have a general sense of what to do.  Mainly I know that I should probably spread the 16k into different accounts, and there are many no load/no fee options to use with schwab. 

I was wondering if anyone had some advice that would help me figure out what to buy.

Title: Re: Investing help
Post by: Another Reader on May 27, 2013, 08:44:17 PM
In your shoes, I would look at paying off the student loans and funding an IRA.  Anything left over could be used to fund a taxable account or could be added to your savings until you need it.  You are young and have the power of compounding on your side, so invest as much as you can today.
Title: Re: Investing help
Post by: Joel on May 27, 2013, 09:05:37 PM
What is the interest rate on your student loans? I'm guessing around 6%? That is a guaranteed 6% return which I would pay off before investing in the stock market.
Title: Re: Investing help
Post by: Khan on May 27, 2013, 10:34:11 PM
I agree with the sentiment of paying off the student loans, however you say you want to have the money within 5 years, why? Do you expect to have other money available at that time?

Make sure you understand the ins and outs of homeownership, IMO, we put too much emphasis on it in America. It is all too often a liability, and only a "less bad then renting" way of providing shelter for yourself.

I would max ROTH IRA contributions(5500$) and put it in a well chosen index fund or 2 or three of them(TD Ameritrade has free trading on over 100 index funds), and if you do need it in 5 years, you can withdraw the principle tax and penalty free.
Title: Re: Investing help
Post by: aj_yooper on May 28, 2013, 12:07:17 AM
What is the Americorps award? 

Good advice from the group.  Pay off student loans, put the money in a Roth IRA, and use cost effective investment vehicles.  Many here use Vanguard; go to the website and see if it could work for you. 
Title: Re: Investing help
Post by: kathanto on June 01, 2013, 01:50:22 PM
Thanks for the advice.

An Americorps award is 5k that I can pay toward my loans or toward future education.  I've been using it slowly because it counts as taxable income.  Does that make sense?  I had friends who got put into a new tax bracket as a result and had to pay a lot more in taxes than they were anticipating.

My thought about not using the money to pay off my loans is that it is probably the cheapest loan I'll ever get, so having the money in other places would be better. But I like the idea of it thinking of it as a guaranteed 6% return.

Why is vanguard better than schwab?
Title: Re: Investing help
Post by: aj_yooper on June 01, 2013, 04:21:26 PM
Why is vanguard better than schwab?

Vanguard is the original financially efficient index fund creator.  Go to their website and look around.  I believe they are the cheapest way to invest, especially if you do index funds.  They won't try to sell you anything, unlike the other retail brokers; in my opinion, many brokers are hired because they are good at sales, not that they are so good at finance and investments. 

Vanguard is  happy to help you move money to them.  If you did move from Schwab, contact Vanguard and have them do the transfer; they know the routine very well.
Title: Re: Investing help
Post by: aj_yooper on June 02, 2013, 06:28:01 PM
I am attaching a reading list from William Bernstein.  He mentions a fun book on brokers, Show Me the Customers' Yachts.  I put it on hold from our library.  Sounds like a hoot.  Best wishes on a highly profitable and cost efficient investment career!
Efficient Frontier 

William J. Bernstein

Reading List

Those of you who are seeking investing enlightenment are not going to find much of it on the Web. I suggest you log off, power down your computer, and read some books. Take your time. The months you spend perusing this list will be well spent. I'd recommend reading at least the first four books listed before even thinking of getting your hands dirty with real investing.
1. A Random Walk Down Wall Street, by Burton Malkiel, is an excellent investment primer. It explains the basics of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, and will reinforce the efficient market concept.
2. Common Sense on Mutual Funds. Replaces Bogle on Mutual Funds, by who else, John Bogle. It provides as much detail as you could ever want about this important investment vehicle. Mr. Bogle is the founder and retired chairman of The Vanguard Group, and has been an important voice in the industry for decades. Beautifully written, opinionated, and highly recommended. (The book also demonstrates the democritization which has swept the investment industry in recent years. Until a decade ago the sort of sophisticated mutual fund analysis described in his book was the brief of just a handful of professionals with access to expensive proprietary databases and mainframe computers. Almost all of Bogles work was done with a subscription to Morningstar and a statistically competent assistant, and could have been performed by any small investor with similar software and ability.)
3. Global Investing, by Roger Ibbotson and Gary Brinson. This is a beautifully written volume on the history of investible assets. An informed investor cannot know enough about market history, and this is the best single source in this area. Want to know: what the returns for US stocks have been in each of the past 200 years? The price of gold for the past 500 years? Interest rates and inflation for the past 800 years? Its all here. As implied by the title, the authors also provide an excellent perspective on the place of foreign assets in a diversified portfolio, and provide some worthwhile insights on portfolio theory and the efficiency of the marketplace.
4. What Has Worked in Investing is a free pamphlet from Tweedy, Browne. A low-key sales pitch for their funds, it is also the best compilation I've seen of the data supporting the value method.
5. The New Finance, the Case Against Efficient Markets, by Robert Haugen. If youre intrigued by the Tweedy pamphlet and wonder why value investing still works after all these years, this is your book. The prose is breezy, even quirkyBen Graham meets Hunter Thompson on bad acid.
6. Value Averaging, by Michael Edleson. An extremely useful how-to guide on deploying a lump sum of money among multiple assets. Finally back in print as a Wiley Classic Edition.
7. The Intelligent Investor, by Ben Graham. A popularized and more readable version of his earlier classic, Security Analysis, written with David Dodd. Although it has great relevance to the markets in general and should be read by any serious investor, it is particularly pertinent to those who feel compelled to buy individual stocks. Many of todays most successful money managers obtained their original financial inspiration from these two books. It is always fun to look at excesses in the marketplace and ask, "What would Ben say about this?" This 2003 edition benefits from annotation by one of finance's most brilliant observers, Jason Zweig. (By the way, if you get bitten by the Graham bug and decide to do Security Analysis, make sure you read the original 1934 edition, recently reprinted by McGraw-Hill.)
8. Devil Take the Hindmost, by Edward Chancellor. You simply can't learn enough about market history, and Chancellor's story of boom and bust in the capital markets, beginning in the 17th century, is pure mind candy. Supersedes Mackay's Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.
9. The Millionaire Next Door, by Thomas Stanley and William Danko. If you can't save, it doesn't matter if your name is Warren Buffett. If you think the road to happiness runs past a Beemer and a McMansion, this book will scare you straight.
10. Asset Allocation, by Roger Gibson, covers much of the same ground as my own books with more emphasis on the qualities of individual assets. For hard-core enthusiasts only; oriented towards the financial advisor.
Unless you're a glutton for punishment, you won't read all of these books. But however many you do, it's time for a treat: a small bon bon written in 1940 by a man named Fred Schwed called Where are the Customers' Yachts? That the most recent version from Wiley is graced with Forewords by both Micheal Lewis and Jason Zweig should tell you something; aside from being snort-out-your-nose funny, it is also both profound and prescient, full of observations about the financial markets that would not become generally accepted for a few more generations. You won't be sorry.
Title: Re: Investing help
Post by: kathanto on June 03, 2013, 04:23:09 PM
Cool cool cool.

My first step has been to cash in my Americorps award to start getting rid of my loans.  As soon as that clears I'll get rid of the rest with my grammy money.  Now to turn off the computer and go to the library!