Author Topic: Requesting assistance with retirement accounts  (Read 3277 times)

YummyRaisins

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Requesting assistance with retirement accounts
« on: December 15, 2016, 05:37:39 PM »
I'm trying to decide what to do with our retirement accounts and could really use some advice.

We have 2 tIRAs and 2 Roth IRAs with Scottrade with the following allocations (expense ratios in parentheses):

My IRA: $14,032.97
      FSTMX - Fidelity® Total Market Index Fund Investor Class (0.09%)
      VTSMX - Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund Investor Shares (0.16%)
   
DW’s IRA: $43,686,35
      FSTMX - Fidelity® Total Market Index Fund Investor Class (0.09%)
      VGSIX - Vanguard REIT Index Fund Investor Shares (0.26%)
      VTSMX - Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund Investor Shares (0.16%)
   
My ROTH: $7,886.67
      ASVIX - American Century Small Cap Value Fund Investor Class (1.26%)
      CAMOX - Cambiar Opportunity Fund Class Investor (1.05%)
      CHDVX - Cullen High Dividend Equity Fund Class Institutional (0.76%)
      EIEMX - Parametric Emerging Markets Fund Institutional Class (1.12%)
      FKASX - Federated Kaufmann Small Cap Fund Class A Shares (1.96%)
      ITHIX - The Hartford Capital Appreciation Fund Class I (0.78%)
      IVAEX - Ivy Asset Strategy Fund Class I (0.74%)
      JETIX - Aberdeen Select International Equity Fund II Class (1.13%)
      SRVEX - Victory Diversified Stock Fund Class A (1.09%)
      TGVIX - Thornburg International Value Fund Class I (0.90%)
   
DW’s ROTH: $51,498.71
      EMGYX - Wells Fargo Emerging Markets Equity Fund - Class Admin (1.49%)
      ICMBX - Intrepid Capital Fund Investor Class (1.40%)
      IGNIX - Ivy Global Natural Resources Fund Class I (1.16%)
      IVAEX - Ivy Asset Strategy Fund Class I (0.74%)
      MALOX - BlackRock Global Allocation Fund, Inc. Institutional Shares (0.87%)
      SGIIX - First Eagle Global Fund Class I (0.84%)



The tIRAs allocations are pretty straightforward. Returns have been fair and ERs are low.

The Roth IRA allocations are much more complicated. Returns have been decent to "crap". The ERs overall are high.

I have never paid attention to the allocation of these accounts before, but since discovering MMM I've decided it's time to take the reins. I'd like to simplify things for all the accounts over $10k by investing 100% in VTSAX, however Scottrade won't let me unless I have a Scottrade Advisor Services Registered Investment Advisor. I don't know who she/he is, but I assume she/he wants to extract extra money from me to invest in VTSAX.

Questions:

Should I transfer these accounts over to Vanguard to invest in their index funds? The fee to do this is $75. Not sure what other costs I will incur or if timing is important.

If yes, should I do a transfer in place or liquidate first? I assume I should consult with a Vanguard rep either way.

If no, are there comparable TSM index funds to use in Scottrade? The Fidelity Total Market fund seems similar and has a lower ER, but still higher than the 0.05% of VTSAX.

Does having 4 accounts make sense for us? If not, is there any way to consolidate that won't cost a fortune? Wife is a SAHM and at the moment we aren't able to contribute to these accounts. Hopefully that will change in the next couple years thanks to the suggestions we were given in our Ask A Mustachian post (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/reader-case-study-what-do-we-focus-on/)

Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

« Last Edit: December 15, 2016, 06:14:20 PM by YummyRaisins »

SeattleCPA

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Re: Requesting assistance with retirement accounts
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2016, 07:32:10 AM »
You are essentially a closet indexer given all your various holdings, so it sure seems like you might as well just admit that and go totally passive.

The easiest way to do this would be to move all of your money to a cheap target retirement fund at someplace like vanguard. Or maybe *four* cheap target retirement funds. This might also address an issue that isn't apparent from your post--but which is really important: your asset allocation.

P.S. Don't know your rationale for being so Roth-heavy, but that seems curious. FYI, you can have probably $600K in your tIRA-style accounts and draw down money without paying taxes if you're married. More info here:

http://evergreensmallbusiness.com/why-you-dont-need-to-worry-about-taxes-in-retirement/

JDsNova

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Requesting assistance with retirement accounts
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2016, 07:52:46 AM »
You are essentially a closet indexer given all your various holdings, so it sure seems like you might as well just admit that and go totally passive.

The easiest way to do this would be to move all of your money to a cheap target retirement fund at someplace like vanguard. Or maybe *four* cheap target retirement funds. This might also address an issue that isn't apparent from your post--but which is really important: your asset allocation.

P.S. Don't know your rationale for being so Roth-heavy, but that seems curious. FYI, you can have probably $600K in your tIRA-style accounts and draw down money without paying taxes if you're married. More info here:

http://evergreensmallbusiness.com/why-you-dont-need-to-worry-about-taxes-in-retirement/

Not too entirely hijack the thread, but do us normal folk even need to bother with a Roth at all?    My wife and I both have them, figuring Roth was the better of the two IRA choices.   We have nearly $100k in our 2 Roth IRAs.   

Thanks

SeattleCPA

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Re: Requesting assistance with retirement accounts
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2016, 07:58:30 AM »
You are essentially a closet indexer given all your various holdings, so it sure seems like you might as well just admit that and go totally passive.

The easiest way to do this would be to move all of your money to a cheap target retirement fund at someplace like vanguard. Or maybe *four* cheap target retirement funds. This might also address an issue that isn't apparent from your post--but which is really important: your asset allocation.

P.S. Don't know your rationale for being so Roth-heavy, but that seems curious. FYI, you can have probably $600K in your tIRA-style accounts and draw down money without paying taxes if you're married. More info here:

http://evergreensmallbusiness.com/why-you-dont-need-to-worry-about-taxes-in-retirement/

Not too entirely hijack the thread, but do us normal folk even need to bother with a Roth at all?    My wife and I both have them, figuring Roth was the better of the two IRA choices.   We have nearly $100k in our 2 Roth IRAs.   

Thanks

I don't think they do. As discussed in the blog post I linked to, a single person can draw down nearly a $500K traditional IRA account and not pay income taxes during retirement. A married couple, about $600K...

Most people (like 90%?) don't accumulate these amounts. So these normal folks don't even need to do the analysis of comparing their working years' marginal rate to their retirement years' marginal rate... they know their retirement years' marginal rate will be lower. Because it will equal zero.

NoStacheOhio

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Re: Requesting assistance with retirement accounts
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2016, 08:08:24 AM »
You have enough in the traditional IRAs to get the lower ER of either VTSAX of FSTVX. You just hold more expensive shares in two duplicate funds.

I don't know about Scottrade, but share conversion at Vanguard isn't considered a trade. Either way, consider consolidating your holdings into fewer funds across all accounts. A typical indexer can hold three to five broad funds and get all the diversity they need/want.

The four IRAs generally make sense, but it'll depend on your specific income and tax situation. I wouldn't contribute to all four in one year unless you're in the deductibility phase out range.

YummyRaisins

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Re: Requesting assistance with retirement accounts
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2016, 08:09:29 AM »
Passive would be best. I don't know enough about investing at this stage to actively manage our accounts and we aren't planning to retire any time soon. Vanguard seems like a good option as I wouldn't be making many trades (or any at all really). I currently have a work 401k through Principal that's in the 2050 target fund. Not sure if they're a better option than Vanguard though.

The allocations we have have been static for several years. The accounts were set up and originally managed by Fidelity and Merrill Lynch. They may have started out as work 401k's that were rolled over into IRAs. I'm honestly not sure why we are so Roth heavy. It may have been the advice we were given at the time. We had advisors with these companies at the time they held our accounts, but our assets were small potatoes so we may not have had very good ones. Once we left those jobs, we decided to move the accounts to Scottrade to "manage" ourselves.

Since my goal is to simplify, I'd like to redistribute these allocations (whether it's 4 accounts or less) into 2-3 index funds in the simplest and most cost-effective way, then leave them.

Thanks for the link. I'll give it a read.






dandarc

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Re: Requesting assistance with retirement accounts
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2016, 08:14:29 AM »
If it were me, I'd move everything to Vanguard and do a 3-fund portfolio.

As others have pointed out, you have enough in 3 of the 4 accounts to get Admiral shares and therefore lower expense ratios.

And those ER's on the Roth accounts are going to kill you over the long-term, so prioritize getting that fixed.

NoStacheOhio

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Re: Requesting assistance with retirement accounts
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2016, 08:16:01 AM »
I went and poked around Scottrade a little bit, and it doesn't look like they offer inexpensive index funds without transaction fees. The lowest cost I could find was 0.3%. For me, this would be a total deal-breaker.

Fidelity, Schwab and Vanguard all offer very low cost funds (mutual AND ETF) without any transaction fees. It may be worth the fee to transfer your accounts. Check how much a trade costs you, and set up your transfer accordingly. If Scottrade has lower fees to sell, then sell and do a cash transfer. If your new broker has lower fees, then transfer in-kind and sell after it's complete.

teen persuasion

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Re: Requesting assistance with retirement accounts
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2016, 08:27:00 AM »
You are essentially a closet indexer given all your various holdings, so it sure seems like you might as well just admit that and go totally passive.

The easiest way to do this would be to move all of your money to a cheap target retirement fund at someplace like vanguard. Or maybe *four* cheap target retirement funds. This might also address an issue that isn't apparent from your post--but which is really important: your asset allocation.

P.S. Don't know your rationale for being so Roth-heavy, but that seems curious. FYI, you can have probably $600K in your tIRA-style accounts and draw down money without paying taxes if you're married. More info here:

http://evergreensmallbusiness.com/why-you-dont-need-to-worry-about-taxes-in-retirement/

Not too entirely hijack the thread, but do us normal folk even need to bother with a Roth at all?    My wife and I both have them, figuring Roth was the better of the two IRA choices.   We have nearly $100k in our 2 Roth IRAs.   

Thanks

I don't think they do. As discussed in the blog post I linked to, a single person can draw down nearly a $500K traditional IRA account and not pay income taxes during retirement. A married couple, about $600K...

Most people (like 90%?) don't accumulate these amounts. So these normal folks don't even need to do the analysis of comparing their working years' marginal rate to their retirement years' marginal rate... they know their retirement years' marginal rate will be lower. Because it will equal zero.

I read the article, and broadly I agreed, but I think there is a place for some Roth.

We are contributing max to HSA, as much as possible to traditional 401k, and max to Roth IRAs.  There's no further tax advantage to us to choose tIRA over Roth (we're at zero fed tax, and IRA contributions don't increase refundable credits in the way that t401k contributions do), and the Roth IRAs are funded at least in part by the refundable credits. 

I also want a base of Roth contributions to prime a Roth conversion ladder (5 years of expenses).  Traditional accounts in theory could be tapped in the first 5 years, but our income hasn't reached the level where we have excess savings to put in taxable, and taxable accounts would be counterproductive for both eligibility for refundable credits and financial aid calculations.

With This Herring

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Re: Requesting assistance with retirement accounts
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2016, 08:34:55 AM »
I'm trying to decide what to do with our retirement accounts and could really use some advice.

We have 2 tIRAs and 2 Roth IRAs with Scottrade with the following allocations (expense ratios in parentheses):

My IRA: $14,032.97
      FSTMX - Fidelity® Total Market Index Fund Investor Class (0.09%)
      VTSMX - Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund Investor Shares (0.16%)
   
DW’s IRA: $43,686,35
      FSTMX - Fidelity® Total Market Index Fund Investor Class (0.09%)
      VGSIX - Vanguard REIT Index Fund Investor Shares (0.26%)
      VTSMX - Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund Investor Shares (0.16%)
   
My ROTH: $7,886.67
      [various high fees]
   
DW’s ROTH: $51,498.71
      EMGYX - Wells Fargo Emerging Markets Equity Fund - Class Admin (1.49%)
      [more various high fees]
*snip*

Questions:

Should I transfer these accounts over to Vanguard to invest in their index funds? The fee to do this is $75. Not sure what other costs I will incur or if timing is important.

If yes, should I do a transfer in place or liquidate first? I assume I should consult with a Vanguard rep either way.

If no, are there comparable TSM index funds to use in Scottrade? The Fidelity Total Market fund seems similar and has a lower ER, but still higher than the 0.05% of VTSAX.

*snip*

So, FYI:
For most of its mutual funds, Vanguard has three ways to buy into them.  Usually it is Investor mutual fund shares, Admiral mutual fund shares, and buying it as an ETF (which isn't quite the same, but it will be close enough for our purposes at the moment).

Using the Total Stock Market index as an example:
  • Investor shares are for small-scale just-getting-into investing.  Usual minimum to buy via Vanguard is $3K.  These have the higher expense ratio, probably because small trades like this make it more expensive to run.  VTSMX has a 0.16% expense ratio.
  • Admiral shares are for when you have more saved up.  Usual minimum to buy via Vanguard is $10K.  These have the lower expense ratio, probably because the larger amounts of money in each pot make it more efficient.  VTSAX has a 0.05% expense ratio.
  • ETF shares are easy to buy anywhere.  Vanguard has some special setup that other threads have explained well, but it allows them to have a very low expense ratio.  In many cases, the ETF will have the same expense ratio as the Admiral shares.  VTI has a 0.05% expense ratio.

If you had all of your money with Vanguard and had at least $10K invested in each mutual fund, Vanguard would automatically convert your Investor shares to Admiral shares, saving you money on the expense ratios.  I do not know if you can convert shares outside of Vanguard's accounts.  It looks like Fidelity also has a separate class for higher investment and lower expense ratios.

If you are going to buy Vanguard mutual funds outside of Vanguard accounts with less than $10K, you can get a better ER by purchasing the ETF version.

Inside Vanguard accounts, all Vanguard mutual funds and a few extras (other funds with which Vanguard has agreements) trade for free.  (For normal mutual funds; I'm not sure about Vanguard ETFs.)  This makes rebalancing cheap.  I am guessing Fidelity has the same deal for their own funds, but I don't have experience with it.

I wouldn't be too worried about the $75 fee if it will convince you to get out of those high expense ratio funds.  If you look at your wife's $50K Roth, and assume that the funds in it have an average 1% expense ratio, isn't that $500 per year?

.........

It looks like a bunch of this has been said already, but I am going to post so I can reference this later as needed.

YummyRaisins

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Re: Requesting assistance with retirement accounts
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2016, 09:29:09 AM »
Fidelity, Schwab and Vanguard all offer very low cost funds (mutual AND ETF) without any transaction fees. It may be worth the fee to transfer your accounts. Check how much a trade costs you, and set up your transfer accordingly. If Scottrade has lower fees to sell, then sell and do a cash transfer. If your new broker has lower fees, then transfer in-kind and sell after it's complete.

Scottrade cost $7 for trades. Vanguard seems like it could be more expensive, at up to $20. This would suggest selling some stocks and doing a cash transfer would make more sense. However, wouldn't the cash be out of the market during the transfer period (up to 3 weeks)? This seems like it could potentially be more costly than paying the $20 trade fees for the non-Vanguard index funds?

Using the Total Stock Market index as an example:
  • Investor shares are for small-scale just-getting-into investing.  Usual minimum to buy via Vanguard is $3K.  These have the higher expense ratio, probably because small trades like this make it more expensive to run.  VTSMX has a 0.16% expense ratio.
  • Admiral shares are for when you have more saved up.  Usual minimum to buy via Vanguard is $10K.  These have the lower expense ratio, probably because the larger amounts of money in each pot make it more efficient.  VTSAX has a 0.05% expense ratio.
  • ETF shares are easy to buy anywhere.  Vanguard has some special setup that other threads have explained well, but it allows them to have a very low expense ratio.  In many cases, the ETF will have the same expense ratio as the Admiral shares.  VTI has a 0.05% expense ratio.

If you had all of your money with Vanguard and had at least $10K invested in each mutual fund, Vanguard would automatically convert your Investor shares to Admiral shares, saving you money on the expense ratios.  I do not know if you can convert shares outside of Vanguard's accounts.  It looks like Fidelity also has a separate class for higher investment and lower expense ratios.

If you are going to buy Vanguard mutual funds outside of Vanguard accounts with less than $10K, you can get a better ER by purchasing the ETF version.

Inside Vanguard accounts, all Vanguard mutual funds and a few extras (other funds with which Vanguard has agreements) trade for free.  (For normal mutual funds; I'm not sure about Vanguard ETFs.)  This makes rebalancing cheap.  I am guessing Fidelity has the same deal for their own funds, but I don't have experience with it.

I wouldn't be too worried about the $75 fee if it will convince you to get out of those high expense ratio funds.  If you look at your wife's $50K Roth, and assume that the funds in it have an average 1% expense ratio, isn't that $500 per year?

.........

It looks like a bunch of this has been said already, but I am going to post so I can reference this later as needed.

The $75 fee isn't a big concern and neither is the $20 annual fee Vanguard charges for the accounts. The bigger concern is the one I pointed out to NoStacheOhio; having the cash from selling stocks out of the market for 3 weeks during the transfer. Is this a non-issue?
« Last Edit: December 16, 2016, 09:39:09 AM by YummyRaisins »

Huskie87

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Re: Requesting assistance with retirement accounts
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2016, 09:31:33 AM »
One thing to consider when making your changes is that some places have promotions when opening new accounts.  If you end up planning to sell off many of your funds to remake the portfolios with low cost index funds, try to take advantage of getting '100 free trades' or something.  This way you won't pay $7 * # transactions, or whatever it might be.  Save yourself $100

dandarc

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Re: Requesting assistance with retirement accounts
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2016, 09:43:07 AM »
The $75 fee isn't a big concern and neither is the $20 annual fee Vanguard charges for the accounts. The bigger concern is the one I pointed out to NoStacheOhio; having the cash from selling stocks out of the market for 3 weeks during the transfer. Is this a non-issue?
Are you not willing to have electronic documents?  Because that's all you need to do to waive the fee at Vanguard.

YummyRaisins

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Re: Requesting assistance with retirement accounts
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2016, 09:45:15 AM »
Definitely don't need paper. Thanks for pointing this out dandarc.

With This Herring

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Re: Requesting assistance with retirement accounts
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2016, 10:00:09 AM »
The $75 fee isn't a big concern and neither is the $20 annual fee Vanguard charges for the accounts. The bigger concern is the one I pointed out to NoStacheOhio; having the cash from selling stocks out of the market for 3 weeks during the transfer. Is this a non-issue?

Yeah, Vanguard makes it easy to avoid fees, as dandarc pointed out.

For the three weeks, I don't know.  I am a terrible person to ask because I have a lot sitting in cash (ouch) while I figure out what I want for an asset allocation.  I would suggest talking to Vanguard to find out how long it normally takes when they deal with Scottrade with (1) existing funds OR (2) just cash.  "Maximum of 3 weeks" might mean worst case and the average is a couple days.  When I was switching cell service providers, PureTalk warned me the transfer from AT&T could take a week.  It was done in a couple hours.  Vanguard might also be able to tell you something like a switch during the holiday season would take longer, but one in January would be fast or that it will go more quickly if you do X things to your Scottrade account first or who knows what.  These are all my thoughts; I know none of it for sure.

seattlecyclone

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Re: Requesting assistance with retirement accounts
« Reply #15 on: December 16, 2016, 11:11:20 AM »
Should I transfer these accounts over to Vanguard to invest in their index funds? The fee to do this is $75. Not sure what other costs I will incur or if timing is important.

Yes, you should. Back when I started investing I opened an IRA with Scottrade. I later learned about index funds and opened a Vanguard account, finally transferred the Scottrade IRA over a couple of years ago. You'll pay a one-time $75 fee per account to do the transfer, but what you get in return is the ability to invest new money in low-cost funds with no transaction fees going forward. You'll make the $75 back eventually.

The other cost to look out for would be the transaction costs to liquidate your existing funds. Vanguard charges as much as $35 per trade for non-Vanguard mutual funds, so you may find it cheaper to liquidate through Scottrade before making the transfer, even taking into account the fact that your money will be out of the market for a few weeks.

Quote
If yes, should I do a transfer in place or liquidate first? I assume I should consult with a Vanguard rep either way.

You may not need to call anyone. If I remember correctly, I entered my Scottrade account number into the web form at Vanguard and they took care of everything. A representative from Scottrade called me up just to confirm that the transfer was legit, but that was it. I had previously gone and sold all my holdings in the Scottrade account so there was no question about whether the transfer would be in cash or shares.

Quote
If no, are there comparable TSM index funds to use in Scottrade? The Fidelity Total Market fund seems similar and has a lower ER, but still higher than the 0.05% of VTSAX.

Any total stock market ETF would work fine if you want to stick with Scottrade. VTI or SCHB are the big ones I know of. Just keep in mind you'd be paying $7 per trade to do that when you add new money instead of at Vanguard where it's free.

Quote
Does having 4 accounts make sense for us? If not, is there any way to consolidate that won't cost a fortune? Wife is a SAHM and at the moment we aren't able to contribute to these accounts. Hopefully that will change in the next couple years thanks to the suggestions we were given in our Ask A Mustachian post (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/reader-case-study-what-do-we-focus-on/)

Yes, four accounts makes sense. IRAs are individual accounts; there's no way to transfer from your account to your spouse's or vice versa, at least not until one of you dies. You could cut it down to two by converting your pre-tax balance to Roth and paying tax on the full amount this year, but that's probably a very bad decision.

SeattleCPA

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Re: Requesting assistance with retirement accounts
« Reply #16 on: December 16, 2016, 12:13:26 PM »
Passive would be best. I don't know enough about investing at this stage to actively manage our accounts ...


Some pretty smart people think that basically nobody knows enough to succeed with an active management approach if you're investing in traditional asset classes like US stocks, etc.

Where these same pretty smart people think active management works is when you get into alternative asset classes like private equity or absolute return investing (e.g., hedge funds).

Example source: David Swensen...

YummyRaisins

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Re: Requesting assistance with retirement accounts
« Reply #17 on: December 16, 2016, 05:41:54 PM »
Thanks for breaking down the answer to my questions SeattleCyclone. We've contacted Vanguard and they told us to sell and transfer as cash, so we're moving forward with that.

Some pretty smart people think that basically nobody knows enough to succeed with an active management approach if you're investing in traditional asset classes like US stocks, etc.

Where these same pretty smart people think active management works is when you get into alternative asset classes like private equity or absolute return investing (e.g., hedge funds).

Example source: David Swensen...

If you have any suggested reading on this, I'd appreciate it. I'm looking to educate myself, but for the time being a simple buy and hold approach is the way we'll go. Unless it goes negative (in which case we'd all be screwed) it would be hard to perform worse than they were with the current allocation.

Heckler

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Re: Requesting assistance with retirement accounts
« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2016, 08:56:34 AM »
Unless it goes negative (in which case we'd all be screwed) it would be hard to perform worse than they were with the current allocation.


Alarm bells! 


Educate yourselves first on any type of investing you do!  It will go negative, but you will only be screwed if you don't learn first about asset classes,  diversification and risk.

Start here

https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Getting_started


"Vanguard" and "low fees" are just a small portion of the key to success. 

Note that Jack Bogle is the founder of Vanguard, so that site is a little biased but there are others with the same mantra.  I have a Canadian bias.

http://canadiancouchpotato.com/about/

http://www.finiki.org/wiki/Main_Page
« Last Edit: December 17, 2016, 09:03:48 AM by Heckler »