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Re: Attention South Carolina Residents - 529 Plan

+1 on everything above. SC plan is outstanding and easy to enroll, with exceptional tax benefits and excellent fund choices. Go with the "direct sold" plan, it's far cheaper and enrolling online is simple. You have to be a SC resident or state employee at time of enrollment.
by BigMike
Fri Aug 15, 2014 7:15 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Attention South Carolina Residents - 529 Plan
Replies: 4
Views: 727

Second Life Insurance Policy with Different Company?

I am 4 years into a 20-year term policy with a solid insurance company. I want to add additional insurance, and I'm thinking about going with a different company for a second 20-year term policy. I have nothing against the first company, but I think I might be able to get a better rate with the seco...
by BigMike
Sat Jul 19, 2014 5:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Second Life Insurance Policy with Different Company?
Replies: 2
Views: 385

Re: Thinking of tweaking allocation -- but does it matter?

You asked, implying that you thought most (all?) tinkering is immaterial to the overall picture/goal. In YOUR case, did Ability and Need to take risk changed (personal circumstances) to necessitate a -6% decrease in Fixed Income to meet objectives? That's a good question. What changed is that given...
by BigMike
Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:31 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Thinking of tweaking allocation -- but does it matter?
Replies: 6
Views: 641

Thinking of tweaking allocation -- but does it matter?

I'm thinking of making some changes to my asset allocation. Does my current allocation seem significantly different in risk or expected return than the proposed allocation? I do want to reduce my bond allocation down to 20% anyway, and I was told in a conversation that adding REIT and increasing int...
by BigMike
Sun Feb 24, 2013 8:53 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Thinking of tweaking allocation -- but does it matter?
Replies: 6
Views: 641

Re: Is Whole Life right in my situation?

Set up an automatic savings account or an automatic transfer to an investment account, and choose the monthly amount so that when she's in her seventies she won't NEED a "death benefit." It's up to you whether to do this literally or just to do it by accounting in your general retirement ...
by BigMike
Sun Feb 10, 2013 1:57 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is Whole Life right in my situation?
Replies: 16
Views: 866

Re: Is Whole Life right in my situation?

Money invested in TSM grows virtually tax-free, too. All unrealized capital gains are tax-free. If you die, the heirs get all the gains tax-free. One does pay a small amount of taxes on the qualifed dividends that TSM pays out every year. The taxes amount to something like 0.3% of the invested amou...
by BigMike
Sun Feb 10, 2013 1:54 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is Whole Life right in my situation?
Replies: 16
Views: 866

Re: Is Whole Life right in my situation?

I hope your agent didn't tell you that you would receive a guaranteed 4.5% return on premiums paid, because that is not true for any Whole Life policy. No, I could have misunderstood, but my understanding is that whatever portion of the premium goes to cash value is invested and grows at a minimum ...
by BigMike
Sun Feb 10, 2013 1:51 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is Whole Life right in my situation?
Replies: 16
Views: 866

Re: Is Whole Life right in my situation?

I don't understand why your goal wouldn't be to be self-insured by age 50, so that if either of you died, then there would be no financial impact to your loved ones. To be self-insured means you put money into 401(k), Roths, taxable, etc. Well, that would be a good goal and we do contribute the max...
by BigMike
Sun Feb 10, 2013 1:46 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is Whole Life right in my situation?
Replies: 16
Views: 866

Is Whole Life right in my situation?

I have read a lot of negatives about whole life insurance, and have stayed away from it -- but I've also read that whole life makes sense in certain situations, and I'm wondering if mine is one of them. My wife and I both have 20-year term policies that will cover us into our mid-60s, when our young...
by BigMike
Sun Feb 10, 2013 1:29 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is Whole Life right in my situation?
Replies: 16
Views: 866

Car Insurance (with tickets)?

Got my insurance renewal today from Travelers. Because my wife and I each got a ticket last year, our annual premium has increased by nearly $700! Anyone have suggestions for other reliable companies that might be less expensive, even with a couple of tickets?
by BigMike
Sat Feb 18, 2012 1:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Car Insurance (with tickets)?
Replies: 2
Views: 306

Re: VUSTX vs. VIPSX

nisiprius wrote:You need to get grounded in the nature of the underlying bonds.

Just want to say, nisiprius, that I greatly appreciate the time you spent explaining this and the many other topics you take the time to comment on. I've learned a great deal from your posts. Thanks!
by BigMike
Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:37 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: VUSTX vs. VIPSX
Replies: 13
Views: 1373

Re: When will Lifestrategy Funds be all index?

joe8d wrote:Check the VG website for the composition of the LS funds as of 11/30 which should be available after tomorrow. i believe the transition has been completed.

Thanks!
by BigMike
Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:35 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: When will Lifestrategy Funds be all index?
Replies: 2
Views: 368

When will Lifestrategy Funds be all index?

I have the choice in my 401K of moving funds into Vanguard's Lifestrategy funds -- has Vanguard said when the transition of this fund to just the three underlying index funds will be complete?
by BigMike
Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:03 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: When will Lifestrategy Funds be all index?
Replies: 2
Views: 368

Re: Taylor's Tax Tips

Taylor Larimore wrote:* Buy taxable funds after the distribution record date.


Where does one find the upcoming distribution record dates? I have maxed out my 401K but with a year-end bonus I am considering buying VTSMX in a taxable account.

Thanks!
by BigMike
Fri Dec 09, 2011 4:37 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Taylor's Tax Tips
Replies: 30
Views: 5630

Comparing Home and Auto Insurance Rates

Does anyone know of websites where you can compare rates for auto or home insurance without giving your personal contact information (like Term4Sale does with life insurance)?
by BigMike
Sat Jun 04, 2011 8:55 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Comparing Home and Auto Insurance Rates
Replies: 1
Views: 300

Re: savings bonds

Funny thing happened when I was buying my May paper bonds at my bank. When the teller asked why I was buying them again after a long hiatus, I told him what the current rate was. He was dumfounded and said he was going to have to get some for himself. Mel, I had the same experience. The employee wh...
by BigMike
Fri May 27, 2011 8:21 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Sharing My I-Bond Purchase Experience
Replies: 53
Views: 6359

Sharing My I-Bond Purchase Experience

I went to my local community bank (where I have my checking and savings accounts) today to buy I-bonds. After reading the advice of others on this forum, I started out by asking the teller simply if they sell savings bonds. She said yes, and directed me to a bank officer. I told him I wanted to buy ...
by BigMike
Thu May 26, 2011 9:57 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Sharing My I-Bond Purchase Experience
Replies: 53
Views: 6359

I plan to list each bond's issue price and current value. I plan to occasionally (probably yearly) update the current values. I understand there is a desktop wizard from TD that will do this for me. If it doesn't run on my old machine, then I've read the information can be gotten from the TD websit...
by BigMike
Thu May 26, 2011 9:39 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: I-bonds--electronic vs. paper
Replies: 45
Views: 4948

Unless you have a very large family, I would think that you could have a heck of a trip in four years for $10K, and then another one in four more years and so on. Paying for the airfare and a rented house or villa somewhere could be in this sort of budget depending on where you are going. If you wi...
by BigMike
Sat May 14, 2011 7:16 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Saving for a vacation in 10 years -- where to put the money?
Replies: 20
Views: 1922

mamster wrote:Anyway, where are you planning to go?


Right now, thinking of either the Galapagos Islands or an African safari. It would pretty much be the trip of a lifetime, hence the need to save up! :D
by BigMike
Sat May 14, 2011 1:44 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Saving for a vacation in 10 years -- where to put the money?
Replies: 20
Views: 1922

Segregation is just a bookkeeping entry. :o Yes, that is often an overlooked aspect when people address this kind of objective. Thank you for the feedback. These are good points -- let me explain my thinking on segregation of these funds and ask you if makes sense. We currently max out our tax-defe...
by BigMike
Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Saving for a vacation in 10 years -- where to put the money?
Replies: 20
Views: 1922

Saving for a vacation in 10 years -- where to put the money?

My wife and I would like to take our family on a first-class vacation in 10 years. We plan to save $2500 a year towards this goal -- this savings would be separate from our retirement investments and our emergency fund. The most important thing to us with this money would be to preserve the principa...
by BigMike
Sat May 14, 2011 9:28 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Saving for a vacation in 10 years -- where to put the money?
Replies: 20
Views: 1922

Valuethinker and Nisiprius, thank you so much for your extremely detailed and thoughtful replies! You not only helped me with my portfolio questions, but you provided me with a deeper understanding of bond funds. Many thanks! Mike
by BigMike
Thu Mar 03, 2011 8:57 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Please help with my bond allocation!
Replies: 10
Views: 1490

I don't see any particular need to have bonds in each at this point. What is the rate on the fixed-rate account in #2? I assume that's a stable-value fund or something like that. Brian Thanks, Brian. The Fixed-Rate account is basically a cash account that pays a fixed rate of interest, which is cur...
by BigMike
Wed Mar 02, 2011 10:12 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Please help with my bond allocation!
Replies: 10
Views: 1490

Please help with my bond allocation!

Please forgive the length of this post, but I want to give a complete picture, even though I have a very specific question. And thank you in advance for replies! After much reading and help received on this forum, I have vastly simplified our portfolio into what I think are the best funds I can acce...
by BigMike
Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:16 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Please help with my bond allocation!
Replies: 10
Views: 1490

The idea is that Bonds are your base/anchor. You take significant risk on the equity side. Look at the corporate bond line during 2008, just when you needed bonds to be stable and support your portfolio, which would have allowed you to rebalance into stocks and more quickly recover from the market ...
by BigMike
Sat Feb 26, 2011 2:22 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: short (VFISX) or intermediate (VFITX) bond fund
Replies: 9
Views: 2823

intermediate bonds should provide higher returns in the long run, but with greater volatility. Here's the Morningstar chart comparing the two funds over the last 10 years: http://i54.tinypic.com/2ntdbop.jpg Which is better depends on your risk tolerance, need for growth, and your overall portfolio....
by BigMike
Fri Feb 25, 2011 9:19 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: short (VFISX) or intermediate (VFITX) bond fund
Replies: 9
Views: 2823

Vanguard offers Dividend Growth, Dividend Appreciation, and Hi Dividend Yield if you are interested in these types of funds. SDY is another alternative that tracks the S&P 500 aristocrats. Thanks for pointing me towards those funds for information. The ERs for each of them are higher than TSM a...
by BigMike
Tue Feb 15, 2011 5:42 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: WSJ Article on ICRDX
Replies: 4
Views: 975

WSJ Article on ICRDX

Today's WSJ had an article about ICRDX, a mutual fund that invests only in companies that have raised their dividends by an average of 10% annually for the past 10 years. Here is a link to a preview of the article (full content only available for subscribers): http://tinyurl.com/6h5l44v What do peop...
by BigMike
Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:02 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: WSJ Article on ICRDX
Replies: 4
Views: 975

I asked a similar question a while back and got some very detailed and helpful replies. You might want to read that thread.

http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=61782&highlight=
by BigMike
Mon Nov 29, 2010 7:28 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Where to house accounts (Vanguard/Fidelity/ML/etc)?
Replies: 10
Views: 1680

Most of the time, moving stuff is not hard at all. You just tell Vanguard to move it (fill out some paperwork) and it gets moved. It will take 10 days to maybe 3 weeks. You might want to do one account at a time so that everything is not "out of the market" all at once. ML likely has some...
by BigMike
Fri Nov 26, 2010 6:58 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Switch, or buy Vanguard funds in ML account?
Replies: 29
Views: 4526

Although most CDs and certificates issued directly by banks and credit unions allow early withdrawal with a penalty, there is no requirement for such a provision. Neither is there any requirment for a specific penalty. Make 100% sure that, if it is important to you, that the Cds or certificates hav...
by BigMike
Sun Nov 21, 2010 10:41 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why ladder taxable CDs out to 5 years?
Replies: 13
Views: 1610

I would suggest that you enter funds into M* X-ray to see how the fund is distributed across the nine style boxes M* uses. General statements that a fund is "Large Value" of "Growth" tend to be insufficiently specific and often misleading. Are there any examples of the "rig...
by BigMike
Thu Nov 18, 2010 8:00 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Portfolio Construction
Replies: 8
Views: 929

If you live near a Perry Ellis factory outlet store, try them. I've purchased 4-5 suits from them, and if you get on their e-mailing list they will send you notice when they have a sale. Most of the suits I've purchased from then were on super-special for $99 or $119, and they are good quality suits...
by BigMike
Sun Nov 14, 2010 10:20 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Men's Suit Brand - Value and Quality
Replies: 120
Views: 20407

Personally if I owned this fund I'd be darned annoyed at Valic. I assume you have no easy alternative. Nisiprius, that's correct. This is the only option in my 403(b) that falls under the heading of "inflation protected." I was thinking I could split my total 403(b) bond allocation betwee...
by BigMike
Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:30 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What makes a bond fund "inflation protected?"
Replies: 24
Views: 2082

As you will see, the fund is allocated about 55% to TIPS, with the remainder in corporate bonds, some foreign government bonds, and a little in preferred stock. It doesn't say it explicitly, but many of the corporate bonds appear to pay variable interest (likely tied to a short-term LIBOR rate), ba...
by BigMike
Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:16 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What makes a bond fund "inflation protected?"
Replies: 24
Views: 2082

. BigMike, Be careful if you are using Morningstar to get your information about inflation protected funds. It has been posted before that Morningstar lists Vanguard's Inflation Protected Securities fund as about 50% TIPS and 50% Treasuries when it is was close to 100% TIPS. Yes, I was getting the ...
by BigMike
Sun Nov 14, 2010 12:59 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What makes a bond fund "inflation protected?"
Replies: 24
Views: 2082

Re: What makes a bond fund "inflation protected?"

You'd need to read the prospectus to see what is and isn't allowed to understand the fund and its holdings. This is what the prospectus says: "The Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing under normal circumstances at least 80% of its net assets in inflation-indexed fixed in...
by BigMike
Sun Nov 14, 2010 10:23 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What makes a bond fund "inflation protected?"
Replies: 24
Views: 2082

What makes a bond fund "inflation protected?"

One of the funds in my 403(b) is Valic Inflation Protected Bond Fund (VCTPX). I guess I thought that in order to be "inflation protected," a bond fund would hold almost all TIPS and Treasury. But this fund holds approximately 32% US Treasuries, 23% TIPS, 35% corporate, and 5% foreign gover...
by BigMike
Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:36 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What makes a bond fund "inflation protected?"
Replies: 24
Views: 2082

you are pretty much spot on with your inference. Holding one or multiple combined, target retirement type funds, within a mix of other defined allocation funds is generally more trouble than they are worth if you have decent alternatives. I like retiredjg's suggestions, but I will add 2 other point...
by BigMike
Sat Nov 13, 2010 2:04 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Am I a Boglehead now? (portfolio analysis wanted)
Replies: 19
Views: 2252

How about this? Taxable 3% Vanguard Total Stock Market Admiral (VTSAX) (.07) His Employer 403(b) Account #1, VALIC 2.5% Vanguard Inst. Index (VINIX) (.05) 500 Index 20% Vanguard Intermediate Bond Fund (VFIDX) (0.11) His Employer 403(b) Account #2, VALIC 53% 8.75% Fixed Interest Account (Note: I can...
by BigMike
Sat Nov 13, 2010 10:59 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Am I a Boglehead now? (portfolio analysis wanted)
Replies: 19
Views: 2252

Oh yes, you have not really answered the question of putting some of the $7k intended for 403 #2 into Her IRA/SEP. We understand her contributions to the SEP IRA are limited, but are they limited to $2k? If not, you could put more money there for better choices and/or lower ERs. The small contribut...
by BigMike
Sat Nov 13, 2010 10:40 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Am I a Boglehead now? (portfolio analysis wanted)
Replies: 19
Views: 2252

BigMike, Can you contribute directly to your Roth? it may be better to take your $7000 contribution to 403(b) Acct #2 and at least contribute $5000 of it to your Roth instead. if your AGI is too high to directly contribute to the Roth, perhaps you can still make a $5k nondeductible contribution to ...
by BigMike
Sat Nov 13, 2010 10:37 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Am I a Boglehead now? (portfolio analysis wanted)
Replies: 19
Views: 2252

Wagnerjb wrote:
BigMike wrote: Is it your thought that getting out of mixed funds gives one more control over allocation and makes better use of indexing?


That's it exactly.


Your point is well taken. I'm having some difficulty fine-tuning the overall asset allocation with the mixed funds in place.
by BigMike
Fri Nov 12, 2010 7:23 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Am I a Boglehead now? (portfolio analysis wanted)
Replies: 19
Views: 2252

To be clear, I am referring to shifting new money only. Can you contribute new money to only one of those 403b's or are you required to contribute new money to both? Can you put more newly contributed money in your wifes SEP-IRA and less in your workplace 403b? To reiterate, in neither case am I re...
by BigMike
Thu Nov 11, 2010 10:10 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Am I a Boglehead now? (portfolio analysis wanted)
Replies: 19
Views: 2252

1. BigMike do you have to contribute to 2 separate 403b accounts or is this just what you prefer to do? 2. Can you shift more money into her SEP IRA from your 403b, after you contribute enough to get the maximum match or instead of contributing to 403b #2? Vesalius, thanks for the questions. Unfort...
by BigMike
Thu Nov 11, 2010 9:43 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Am I a Boglehead now? (portfolio analysis wanted)
Replies: 19
Views: 2252

I would toss out the Lifestrategy fund and Wellington, as well as the Foreign Value and Int'l Growth funds. Those are all in the 403b account #2. Replace with Stock index, Small Cap index, International Equities, LT Treasury and Inflation Protected bonds. Using these funds you should be able to ach...
by BigMike
Thu Nov 11, 2010 6:01 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Am I a Boglehead now? (portfolio analysis wanted)
Replies: 19
Views: 2252

Am I a Boglehead now? (portfolio analysis wanted)

Thanks to the good advice I’ve received on this forum, based on my previous posts and reading the archives, and from the recommended reading, I’ve vastly simplified my portfolio. So, am I a Boglehead yet? Critiques and answers to the questions that follow would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Emerge...
by BigMike
Thu Nov 11, 2010 5:22 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Am I a Boglehead now? (portfolio analysis wanted)
Replies: 19
Views: 2252

Re: Adding more funds to a target fund?

Thank you all for the very thoughtful replies. Yes, this was my first thought on the OP. The TR funds have a bond allocation built in, so picking the TR fund with the proper bond allocation, irrespective of date designation, precludes any need for a separate bond fund. Tet and Vesalius, you both pic...
by BigMike
Wed Nov 10, 2010 9:14 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: If you had $60,000....
Replies: 10
Views: 2193

If you had $60,000....

...to allocate within Vanguard tax-deferred retirement accounts, and assuming all other things are equal (i.e. your desired overall allocation can be tweaked by changing other accounts to come out fine either way), would you go for: $40K VTTHX Target Retirement 2035 $20K VBTLX Total Bond Market Admi...
by BigMike
Tue Nov 09, 2010 8:52 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: If you had $60,000....
Replies: 10
Views: 2193
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