Author Topic: Investment direction + 401k Q's.  (Read 1135 times)

6leakertweeker

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Investment direction + 401k Q's.
« on: February 02, 2016, 01:35:54 AM »
Hey guys as a newbie here I have a few questions.

     I'm going in to my second year of being financially aware.  Last year I grew my net profitability by 23% and balance sheet growth was around 34%.  I'd like to replicate my net worth growth of last year but as my net worth gets closer to 0 and will start to roll into the positive it may be harder than I had originally planned. 
    I've got my safety net built up and am about to pay off some major debt.  I'm unsure of how to make this debt pay off work for me.  Do I take those funds and dump them towards investments or stack them on top of my other debt recovery to speed up the elimination of my debt?  Either avenue will contribute towards my net worth but which is right?
    At what percentage is too high to put into your 401k?  I'm currently at 10% plus 3% match with the standard investment allocation and a fully "aggressive" model.  However, I don't think I'll max it out this year.  I know nothing of how to properly allocate my elections.  My 401(K) at this job has done nothing but lose since I've been here.  Would anyone be willing to take a look at the allocations and offer any tips?

I appreciate anyone's advice!  And don't be afraid to ask for further info.  I'll provide it.

Thank you,
Marshall
« Last Edit: February 02, 2016, 01:47:13 AM by 6leakertweeker »

MDM

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Re: Investment direction + 401k Q's.
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2016, 03:22:11 AM »
I'm unsure of how to make this debt pay off work for me.  Do I take those funds and dump them towards investments or stack them on top of my other debt recovery to speed up the elimination of my debt?  Either avenue will contribute towards my net worth but which is right?
See below for one set of investment ordering rules of thumb.

Quote
At what percentage is too high to put into your 401k?
No such thing* as too much here. 

*Ok, there can be, but for the sake of a short answer, "no such thing" is most likely correct.

Quote
I'm currently at 10% plus 3% match with the standard investment allocation and a fully "aggressive" model.  However, I don't think I'll max it out this year.  I know nothing of how to properly allocate my elections.  My 401(K) at this job has done nothing but lose since I've been here.  Would anyone be willing to take a look at the allocations and offer any tips?
If you list all available funds, including ticker symbol, short description, and expense ratio, you will likely get feedback.


In the lists below, thinking "first your 457 (if you have one), then your 401k and/or 403b" wherever "401k" appears is likely correct -   
   unless your 457 fund options are significantly worse than those in the 401k/403b.
Differences of a few tenths of a percent are not important when applicable for only a few years (in other words, these are guidelines not rules).   
   
WHAT   
0. Establish an emergency fund to your satisfaction   
1. Contribute to 401k up to any company match   
2. Pay off any debts with interest rates ~5% or more above the 10-year Treasury note yield.   
3. Max HSA    
4. Max Traditional IRA or Roth (or backdoor Roth) based on income level   
5. Max 401k (if 401k fees are lower than available in an IRA, or if you need the 401k deduction to be eligible for a tIRA, swap #4 and #5)   
6. Fund mega backdoor Roth if applicable   
7. Pay off any debts with interest rates ~3% or more above the 10-year Treasury note yield.   
8. Invest in a taxable account with any extra.   
   
WHY   
0. Give yourself at least enough buffer to avoid worries about bouncing checks   
1. Company match rates are likely the highest percent return you can get on your money   
2. When the guaranteed return is this high, take it.   
3. HSA funds are totally tax free when used for medical expenses, making the HSA better than either traditional or Roth IRAs.   
4. Rule of thumb: traditional if current marginal rate is 25% or higher; Roth if 10% or lower; flip a coin in between (or see   
   http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/deciding-between-roth-and-traditional-ira-based-on-marginal-tax-rate/
   if you want even more details on that topic).  See also
   https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=182081,
   http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/case-study-overwhelming-student-loan-debt-how-would-you-get-started/msg868845/#msg868845
   and other posts in that thread about exceptions to the rule.
5. See #4 for choice of traditional or Roth for 401k   
6. Applicability depends on the rules for the specific 401k   
7. Again, take the risk-free return if high enough   
8. Because earnings, even if taxed, are beneficial   
   
The emergency fund is your "no risk" money.  You might consider one of these online banks: http://www.magnifymoney.com/blog/earning-interest/best-online-savings-accounts275921001   
      
If your 401k options are poor (i.e., high fund fees) you can check   
   http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/to-401k-or-not-to-401k-that-is-the-question-43459/
for some thoughts on "how high is too high?"