Portfolio Review: Life Changes

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Portfolio Review: Life Changes

Postby DTLALaw » Sat Sep 15, 2012 12:31 pm

Long time fan of Vanguard, and just found these forums. Reading them over the last two weeks has been incredibly helpful and educational, and I thought I would dive in and ask for some direct advice.

The theme of this post is "life changes." I've just turned 31, have recently purchased a home, and will get married next year. I want to make sure that I'm on the right course for life and retirement.

Any thoughts and suggestions would be happily welcomed!

Emergency Funds: These are in place. Approximately four months' worth currently, primarily in Vanguard's California Tax-Exempt Money Market Fund.

Debt: Student loans (approx. $45,000, 1.825 fixed APR, $240 monthly payment), car loan (approx. $11,000, 5.69% APR, to be paid off this year; KBB trade-in value is around $21,000), mortgage (approx. $479,000 balance, 4% fixed APR, $2287 monthly payment)

Tax Filing Status: Single

Tax Rates: 33% Federal (marginal); 9.6% State (effectively flat)

State of Residence: California

Allocation: 80% stocks, 20% bonds

International Allocation: 30% (give or take)

Current Portfolio:

Approximate total available funds: $280,000 (excluding emergency fund and short-term reserves)

Taxable at Vanguard
Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Admiral Shares (VTSAX) - $28,300
Vanguard Total International Stock Index Admiral Shares (VTIAX) - $35,200

Roth IRA at Vanguard
Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX) - $55,300

401(k) at Merrill Lynch
BlackRock S&P 500 Stock Fund (WFSPX) - $67,200
Columbia Mid Cap Index Fund Class Z (NMPAX) - $31,300
Thornburg International Value Fund Class R5 (TIVRX) - $19,500
PIMCO Total Return Fund Institutional Class (PTTRX) - $44,000

Other Assets
$10,000 I Bonds (purchased 2012)
$15,000 Vanguard California Tax-Exempt Money Market
$9,000 checking account

Annual Contributions
$5,000 to the Roth IRA (backdoor IRA)
$17,000 to the 401(k)
$6,750 employer contribution to the 401(k)
$12,000 into taxable
$10,000 annual I bond purchases

Current Contribution Directions (Annual)
$2,100 to taxable Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund Admiral
$9,900 to taxable Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund Admiral
100% ($5,000) to Roth IRA Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund
46% of contributions to 401(k) BlackRock S&P 500 Stock Fund
20% of contributions to 401(k) Columbia Mid Cap Index Z
34% of contributions to 401(k) PIMCO Total Advantage Fund

additional cash, as available, into the Vanguard California Tax-Exempt Money Market as a "sweep" account; all dividends etc. reinvested into the paying fund(s).


Available Funds in the 401(k)

Core Equity Funds
Allianz NFJ Small Cap Value Class A (PCVAX) (1.21%)
American Century Livestrong 2015 Institutional (ARNIX) (0.58%)
American Century Livestrong 2025 Institutional (ARWFX) (0.63%)
American Century Livestrong 2035 Institutional (ARLIX) (0.69%)
American Century Livestrong 2045 Institutional (AOOIX) (0.73%)
American Century Livestrong Income Institutional (ATTIX) (0.55%)
American Funds EuroPacific Growth R3 (RERCX) (1.14%)
BlackRock Capital Appreciation Institutional (MAFGX) (0.78%)
BlackRock S&P 500 Stock Fund (WFSPX) (0.18%)
Columbia Dividend Income Fund (GSFTX) (0.75%)
Franklin Advisers High Income Fund (FVHIX) (0.61%)
Janus Enterprise Fund Class A (JDMAX) (1.06%)
John Hancock Disciplined Mid-Cap Value (JVMIX) (0.98%)
JP Morgan US Equity Fund Class R5 (JUSRX) (0.59%)
Loomis Sayles Administrative Small Cap (LSVAX) (1.49%)
Lord Abbett Developing Growth (LADYX) (0.74%)
Lord Abbett Value Opportunities Fund Class A (LVOAX) (1.31%)
Templeton Advisers China World Fund ADV (TACWX) (1.52%)
Thornburg International Value Fund Class R5 (TIVRX) (0.99%)
Wells Fargo Advantage Precious Metals (EKWYX) (0.72%)

Core Bond Funds
BlackRock Inflation Protected Institutional (BPRIX) (0.45%)
JP Morgan Government (HLGAX) (0.49%)
PIMCO Low Duration Fund Institutional Class (PTLDX) (0.46%)
PIMCO Total Return Portfolio Institutional Class (PTTRX) (0.46%)

Other Core Funds
BlackRock Global Allocation Class A (MDLOX) (1.16%)
Retirement Bank Account
Retirement Reserves Money Market Fund

Non-Core Funds (All)
Aberdeen Global Equity Fund Class A (GLLAX) (1.48%) (5.75% front load)
BlackRock Health Sciences Opportunity Institutional (SHSSX) (1.01%)
BlackRock Latin America Institutional (MALTX) (1.26%)
Davis Financial Fund Class Y (DVFYX) (0.75%)
Eaton Vance Greater India Fund Class A (ETGIX) (1.88%) (5.75% front load)
Ivy Science and Technology Fund (WSTAX) (1.39%) (5.75% front load)
Lazard Emerging Markets Equities Open (LZOEX) (1.42%)
MFS Utilities Fund Class R4 (MMUJX) (0.79%)
Prudential Jennison Natural Resources Class Z (PNRZX) (0.88%)
Virtus Real Estate Securities Fund I (PHRIX) (1.21%)
Templeton Global Bond Fund (TGBAX) (0.64%)

Notes

A. I just purchased my home last month, so will begin to see tax savings from the mortgage.

B. Down payment on the house was 20% ($120,000). Additionally, I had purchased a relatively expensive engagement ring ($15,000) this year, so the total funds is lower than my savings discipline would normally result in. No other major near-term purchases are expected.

C. I am planning on getting married next July; the wife-to-be's assets and income are negligible and are not included here. However, once we're married, I do intend to set up investments (including an IRA) for her as well, and fund it fully.

D. My annual income, all in, is approximately $325,000. I'm a senior associate at a major law firm, and will be up for partner for the next two to three years. If I make partner, my income will triple; if I do not, I will probably see a middle term (4-6 year) reduction in total income by 50% or so, that will eventually recover to around my current pay.

Questions

1. This is the result of a major rebalancing of my portfolio to simplify the number of holdings and for tax efficiency completed around six months ago, and has just seen the funds rebalanced. I would appreciate any commentary or suggested tweaks.

2. The 401(k)'s options are terrible, I know. However, I am looking for advice/suggestions on making do with a bad set of investment options.

3. Are there any suggestions for additional diversification beyond the total market index funds listed here? Should I consider the Vanguard REIT Index, overweighting some sectors, or the like?

4. Because I do the backdoor Roth each year, I've left the Roth IRA as a single fund; that way I don't need to worry about it affecting the allocation of the rest of the accounts. Thoughts on this approach?

5. To date, I have been making my 401(k) contributions on a pre-tax basis. My 401(k) is fully funded for 2012. For 2013, I am considering moving to making 100% of my contributions as Roth 401(k) contributions. Is this a sound strategy? Should I split between Roth 401(k) and pre-tax 401(k) in order to benefit from tax diversification? I can afford the annual taxes, but, obviously, want to minimize.

6. I have, based on what others here have done, begun buying Series I Savings Bonds each year. What are the board's thoughts on the total amount that I should be aiming to have invested in these savings bonds? Maximum per year, every year, ad infinitum? Or some other amount. For what it is worth, my assets are held in a trust for estate planning purposes, and I believe the trust can purchase an additional $10,000 per year (for a total of $20,000). Assuming I have the funds available, should I increase those purchases?
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Re: Portfolio Review: Life Changes

Postby Duckie » Sat Sep 15, 2012 8:05 pm

DTLALaw, you want an AA of 80% stocks, 20% bonds (that's a little low for your age), with 30% of stocks in international. That breaks down to 56% US stocks, 24% international stocks, and 20% bonds. Here is a possible retirement portfolio:

Taxable at Treasury Direct -- 3%
3% I Savings Bonds

Taxable at Vanguard -- 22%
10% (VTSAX) Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund Admiral Shares (0.06%)
12% (VTIAX) Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund Admiral Shares (0.18%)

401k at Merrill Lynch -- 56%
39% (WFSPX) BlackRock S&P 500 Stock Fund (0.18%)
17% (PTTRX) PIMCO Total Return Fund Institutional Class (0.46%)

Roth IRA at Vanguard -- 19%
7% (VEXAX) Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund Admiral Shares (0.14%) <-- Roughly four parts large caps (S&P 500) to one part mid/small caps (Extended Market) makes up the total US stock market. This is a little low for now.
12% (VTIAX) Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund Admiral Shares (0.18%)

My comments:
-- This ignores the money market and checking account.
-- From now on add only TISM to taxable (plus the I Bonds) until you can have the entire 24% there. This is to take advantage of the Foreign Tax Credit.
-- I would up the bond allocation to at least 25% (if not 30%), but it's your choice.

Your questions:
1. This is the result of a major rebalancing of my portfolio to simplify the number of holdings and for tax efficiency completed around six months ago, and has just seen the funds rebalanced. I would appreciate any commentary or suggested tweaks.
-- See above.

2. The 401(k)'s options are terrible, I know. However, I am looking for advice/suggestions on making do with a bad set of investment options.
-- See above.

3. Are there any suggestions for additional diversification beyond the total market index funds listed here? Should I consider the Vanguard REIT Index, overweighting some sectors, or the like?
-- I'm not a fan of overweighting. The Vanguard REIT would have to go in the Roth IRA and you need that room for other things right now. You could always add it later.

4. Because I do the backdoor Roth each year, I've left the Roth IRA as a single fund; that way I don't need to worry about it affecting the allocation of the rest of the accounts. Thoughts on this approach?
-- It would be better to have individual funds in the Roth IRA to complete your AA in a less expensive manner. The above portfolio removes two expensive funds from your 401k and puts cheaper options in your Roth IRA.

5. To date, I have been making my 401(k) contributions on a pre-tax basis. My 401(k) is fully funded for 2012. For 2013, I am considering moving to making 100% of my contributions as Roth 401(k) contributions. Is this a sound strategy? Should I split between Roth 401(k) and pre-tax 401(k) in order to benefit from tax diversification? I can afford the annual taxes, but, obviously, want to minimize.
-- For most people the pre-tax 401k is better. Your case may be different. The Finance Buff (who posts here as tfb) wrote a couple of articles about this: The Case Against Roth 401(k) and Roth 401(k) for People Who Contribute the Max.

6. I have, based on what others here have done, begun buying Series I Savings Bonds each year. What are the board's thoughts on the total amount that I should be aiming to have invested in these savings bonds? Maximum per year, every year, ad infinitum? Or some other amount. For what it is worth, my assets are held in a trust for estate planning purposes, and I believe the trust can purchase an additional $10,000 per year (for a total of $20,000). Assuming I have the funds available, should I increase those purchases?
-- The more you hold in I Bonds the less you would need in PIMCO which is more expensive. However, PIMCO is also more diversified. I wouldn't hold more than 40% of my retirement fixed income in I Bonds (and probably less). Your choice.

Something to think about.
Last edited by Duckie on Sun Sep 16, 2012 3:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Portfolio Review: Life Changes

Postby DTLALaw » Sun Sep 16, 2012 3:30 pm

Dukie-

Thanks for the detailed response; I especially liked the articles on the traditional vs. Roth 401(k), which I hadn't seen before. They make a good point that contributions are at the marginal dollar, but withdrawals are at the baseline. The frustrating thing for me is that my 401(k) plan does not allow conversions between the traditional 401(k) and the Roth, so I have to make the decision now, and would need to quit in order to rejigger it later. Right now, with the backdoor Roth IRA, around 15% of my annual tax-advantaged account contributions are going into Roth vehicles (taking into account the employer contribution as well); maybe I will leave it alone for the present.

Portfolio Suggestions

From looking at the percentages you suggest, it seems like there isn't a lot that really would need to be done; it would really be cutting down on what is currently in the 401(k), and moving most of it into the BlackRock S&P500 index, and then making up for the loss of the mid-cap and international components, by the changes in the Roth IRA. Is that right?

And as for your comment regarding the Extended Market Index fund, saying that it is "a little low for now," that refers to the fact that I would need to keep adding to it in order to reach an approximate total-U.S., given the 401(k) BlackRock index? I realize that I had failed to list the ER for the Columbia mid-cap value fund in the 401(k) currently. It is 0.21%, only 0.07% more than the Vanguard Extended Market Index Admiral Shares, and actually a little lower than investor shares of that fund (ER of 0.28%).

In light of that, do you think it might make more sense to shift the goal of the Roth IRA into eliminating the expensive (ER 0.99%) Thornburg International Fund in the 401(k)? I've already stopped future contributions to it in favor of the Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund in my taxable account. If I immediately moved $19,500 into VTIAX in my Roth IRA, I could eliminate Thornburg from my portfolio and free up those funds for less costly investments.

Along a similar tack, although PIMCO isn't that bad (ER of 0.46%), it still is higher than the various index funds. The Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Admiral Shares have an ER of 0.10%; if I put those into the Roth 401(k), I could similarly start reducing the PIMCO holdings in favor of the cheaper 401(k) options.

That would leave me a portfolio that looked something like this:

Taxable at Vanguard
5% Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund Admiral Shares (VTSAX) (0.06%)
17% Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund Admiral Shares (VTIAX) (0.18%)

Roth IRA at Vanguard
7% Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund Admiral Shares (VTIAX) (0.18%)
12% Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund Admiral Shares (VBTLX) (0.10%)

401(k) at Merrill Lynch
38% BalackRock S&P 500 Stock Fund (WFSPX) (0.18%)
10% Columbia Mid-Cap Index Fund Class Z (NMPAX) (0.21%)
8% PIMCO Total Return Fund Institutional Class (PTTRX) (0.46%)

With the last 3% being the I Bonds, which will eventually, I suspect, become an emergency fund in favor of a TIPS fund as part of the retirement investment plan. The 5% VTSAX in the taxable account is close to the $10,000 minimum needed to keep the admiral shares. This portfolio would yield an AA of 53% domestic stock, 24% international stock, 20% bonds, and 3% I Bonds - pretty close to target.

Future investment direction would be:

100% of the IRA to VBTLX
26% of the taxable to VTSAX, 74% to VTIAX
65% of the 401(k) to WFSPX, 18% to PTTRX, 17% to NMPAX.

These contribution targets keep the AA as close as possible to the initial plan, and still serves my goal of keeping the IRA portion as uncomplicated as possible.

What do you think of these tweaks?
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Re: Portfolio Review: Life Changes

Postby Duckie » Sun Sep 16, 2012 4:45 pm

DTLALaw wrote:The frustrating thing for me is that my 401(k) plan does not allow conversions between the traditional 401(k) and the Roth, so I have to make the decision now, and would need to quit in order to rejigger it later.

I don't think any 401k plan allows you to convert assets from traditional to Roth. But when it comes to contributions, it doesn't have to be all or nothing. Most plans allow for a split if you choose. You could contribute 50% to the traditional 401k and 50% to the Roth 401k (or whatever ratio you want) and change that in the future if desired.

[I]t would really be cutting down on what is currently in the 401(k), and moving most of it into the BlackRock S&P500 index, and then making up for the loss of the mid-cap and international components, by the changes in the Roth IRA. Is that right?

Right.

And as for your comment regarding the Extended Market Index fund, saying that it is "a little low for now," that refers to the fact that I would need to keep adding to it in order to reach an approximate total-U.S., given the 401(k) BlackRock index?

Right. My example had 39% S&P 500 and 7% Extended Market because of space limits. 39 plus 7 equals 46 divided by 5 equals ~9. So 7 was a little less than the recommended 20%.

I realize that I had failed to list the ER for the Columbia mid-cap value fund in the 401(k) currently. It is 0.21%, only 0.07% more than the Vanguard Extended Market Index Admiral Shares.

Columbia Mid Cap is just mid-caps. Extended Market also has small caps. It's not a big issue, but you should consider it.

In light of that, do you think it might make more sense to shift the goal of the Roth IRA into eliminating the expensive (ER 0.99%) Thornburg International Fund in the 401(k)?

Definitely get rid of Thornburg International in your 401k.

Along a similar tack, although PIMCO isn't that bad (ER of 0.46%), it still is higher than the various index funds. The Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Admiral Shares have an ER of 0.10%; if I put those into the Roth 401(k)[IRA], I could similarly start reducing the PIMCO holdings in favor of the cheaper 401(k) options.

With a 0.36% difference I can see why you want TBM in your Roth IRA. It's your choice.

With the last 3% being the I Bonds, which will eventually, I suspect, become an emergency fund in favor of a TIPS fund as part of the retirement investment plan.

If the I Bonds are not for retirement purposes, they should be removed from the portfolio.

The 5% VTSAX in the taxable account is close to the $10,000 minimum needed to keep the admiral shares.

Are you thinking of selling TSM in taxable? If so, don't (unless you'd have a loss). Just don't contribute to it until all 24% of TISM is in taxable. You don't have to get your entire plan in place right away. Just start heading in the right direction.
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Re: Portfolio Review: Life Changes

Postby Valuethinker » Mon Sep 17, 2012 5:07 am

DTLALaw wrote:Long time fan of Vanguard, and just found these forums. Reading them over the last two weeks has been incredibly helpful and educational, and I thought I would dive in and ask for some direct advice.

The theme of this post is "life changes." I've just turned 31, have recently purchased a home, and will get married next year. I want to make sure that I'm on the right course for life and retirement.

Any thoughts and suggestions would be happily welcomed!

Emergency Funds: These are in place. Approximately four months' worth currently, primarily in Vanguard's California Tax-Exempt Money Market Fund.

Debt: Student loans (approx. $45,000, 1.825 fixed APR, $240 monthly payment), car loan (approx. $11,000, 5.69% APR, to be paid off this year; KBB trade-in value is around $21,000), mortgage (approx. $479,000 balance, 4% fixed APR, $2287 monthly payment)?



Other people will have more complete advice:

1. yes you should buy at least $10k ibonds a year, you and your spouse can do 20k? in 10 years this will be a nice chunk of change

2. at your income, other than maximizing tax exempt space (first) I would think it pays you to repay any debt except that student loan (given that student loan debt would not transfer to your spouse if you died? it's a kind of life insurance).

Accelerated payments on the mortgage would save you money (I realize mortgage is tax deductible in the US, so the after tax cost of that debt is around 2.8%? So it's not a no brainer, but it would still be a *certain* return higher than you can get in government bonds). I would pay down debt before investing in fixed income (stocks is somewhat different-- higher long run expected returns than 2.8%).

Not that you would, but don't go and trade up car just because you've paid it off. Enjoy the luxury for a few years of living in effect car cost free (except for minor things like gas, insurance, repairs ;-)).

3. don't forget to have *lots* of life insurance and good disability cover. You need a detailed workout of life insurance need, but my gut is for the next 20 years (really until you are about 55) you will need at least 5x income (so $1.5m in your case) and maybe up to 10x. This does assume you will have kids, but if your spouse was without you, even on a much reduced standard of living the loss of your income and future retirement savings would be critical.

The trick is to lock in a life rate now whilst you are young and healthy. 20 to 30 year term level premium policies. Probably get (at least) 2 policies, maybe with different insurers. Then, as your savings grow, you can lapse one but keep the other. When you become partner you may find the firm has arrangements.

Disability cover goes without saying. Own occupation. Max you can feasibly buy, with protection against price increase if your health deteriorates.
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Re: Portfolio Review: Life Changes

Postby DTLALaw » Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:28 pm

Valuethinker wrote:Other people will have more complete advice:

1. yes you should buy at least $10k ibonds a year, you and your spouse can do 20k? in 10 years this will be a nice chunk of change

2. at your income, other than maximizing tax exempt space (first) I would think it pays you to repay any debt except that student loan (given that student loan debt would not transfer to your spouse if you died? it's a kind of life insurance).

Accelerated payments on the mortgage would save you money (I realize mortgage is tax deductible in the US, so the after tax cost of that debt is around 2.8%? So it's not a no brainer, but it would still be a *certain* return higher than you can get in government bonds). I would pay down debt before investing in fixed income (stocks is somewhat different-- higher long run expected returns than 2.8%).

Not that you would, but don't go and trade up car just because you've paid it off. Enjoy the luxury for a few years of living in effect car cost free (except for minor things like gas, insurance, repairs ;-)).

3. don't forget to have *lots* of life insurance and good disability cover. You need a detailed workout of life insurance need, but my gut is for the next 20 years (really until you are about 55) you will need at least 5x income (so $1.5m in your case) and maybe up to 10x. This does assume you will have kids, but if your spouse was without you, even on a much reduced standard of living the loss of your income and future retirement savings would be critical.

The trick is to lock in a life rate now whilst you are young and healthy. 20 to 30 year term level premium policies. Probably get (at least) 2 policies, maybe with different insurers. Then, as your savings grow, you can lapse one but keep the other. When you become partner you may find the firm has arrangements.

Disability cover goes without saying. Own occupation. Max you can feasibly buy, with protection against price increase if your health deteriorates.


Thanks for the response.

So is the thinking that, assuming I have the money available, I Bonds should just be added to every year ad infinitum? If so, I would assume that there is no need to allocate a portion of my bond portfolio into a TIPS fund, right?

As far as insurance goes, are there particular companies/brokerages that are favored, like Vanguard is favored for mutual funds, or is the market that much more fragmented that it doesn't really matter?
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Re: Portfolio Review: Life Changes

Postby DTLALaw » Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:03 pm

I thought I'd come back here and post an update, so that people who are curious about the impact of portfolio-review advice can see what steps I've taken since September.

Here is where I'm at these days:

Emergency Funds: $35,000 - $20,000 in I bonds, $10,000 in Vanguard Short-Term Tax Exempt, and $5,000 in Vanguard California Tax-Exempt Money Market; the Vanguard funds are held in my taxable account.

Debt: Student loans (approx. $45,000, 1.625 fixed APR, $240 monthly payment), mortgage (approx. $476,000 balance, 4% fixed APR, $2287 monthly payment)

Tax Filing Status: Married!!! (well, it will be by the time I file for FY2013)

Tax Rates: 33% Federal (marginal); 10.3% State (marginal)

State of Residence: California

Allocation: 80% stocks, 20% bonds

International Allocation: 25%

Current Portfolio:
Approximate total available funds: $314,000

Taxable at Vanguard
Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Admiral Shares (VTSAX) - $31,400
Vanguard Extended Market Index Investor Shares (VEXMX) - $9,500
Vanguard Total International Stock Index Admiral Shares (VTIAX) - $40,800

Roth IRA at Vanguard
Vanguard Total International Stock Index Admiral Shares (VTIAX) - $22,200
Vanguard Total Bond Index Admiral Shares (VBTLX) - $39,600

401(k) at Merrill Lynch
BlackRock S&P 500 Stock Fund (WFSPX) - $115,600
Columbia Mid Cap Index Fund Class Z (NMPAX) - $31,500
PIMCO Total Return Fund Institutional Class (PTTRX) - $23,500

Summary
Stocks: $251,000 (79.91% of portfolio)
Bonds: $63,100 (20.09% of portfolio)

International stocks: $63,000 (25.1% of stock allocation)
Large-cap: 72.6% (+6.6%)
Mid-cap: 24.2% (-2.8%)
Small-cap: 3.2% (-3.8%)

Other Assets
$5,000 checking account
$1000 Lending Club "mad money" account

Annual Contributions
$5,000 to the Roth IRA (backdoor IRA)
$17,500 to the 401(k)
$7,000 employer contribution to the 401(k) (approximate)
$18,000 into taxable
$10,000 annual I bond purchases

Current Contribution Directions (Annual)
$3,500 to taxable Vanguard Extended Market Index (split over 52 weekly investments)
$4,500 to taxable Vanguard Total Stock Market Index (split over 52 weekly investments)
$7,500 to taxable Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund (split over 52 weekly investments)
$2,500 to taxable Vanguard California Tax-Exempt Money Market (split over bi-monthly payments)
$4,000 to Roth IRA Vanguard Total Bond Market Index (lump sum at the beginning of each year)
$1,000 to Roth IRA Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund (lump sum at the beginning of each year)
65% of contributions to 401(k) BlackRock S&P 500 Stock Fund (~$15,900)
17% of contributions to 401(k) Columbia Mid Cap Index Z (~$4,150)
18% of contributions to 401(k) PIMCO Total Advantage Fund (~$4,400)

As you can see, I've gotten my assets right almost spot-on to my desired allocation (80/20, with 25% international stock); the contribution rates will skew this slightly over time, but I aim to solve that by rebalancing.

On the debt front, the big thing I did since then was pay off the car loan, which I cannot recommend enough to anyone considering it. I also bit the bullet and signed up for automatic payments on my student loans, which cut 1% off the APR. I hate auto-debits on principle, but this was just too good to pass up, since it doesn't alter the already minimal monthly payment, but instead applies the additional spread to the principal.

On the portfolio side, I've been working to dump the higher-cost funds for lower-cost ones. I've already eliminated the Thornburg International Value fund from my 401(k), and am now in the process of reducing my holdings in the PIMCO Total Return Fund. I also dumped the Vanguard LifeStrategy fund from my Roth since it (1) holds investor class shares, rather than lower-cost Admiral ones and (2) prevents me from fine-tuning asset allocations across my tax-advantaged accounts. I also have been working towards correcting the large-cap bias in my portfolio. The 401(k) options for anything other than the S&P500 index are TERRIBLE, so I am slowly edging that way through the addition of the Extended Markets index to the taxable account.

It's a slow road correcting course on the expensive funds, as I'm out of tax-advantaged space to work with, and would rather suffer the higher expense ratios than put inefficient funds into my taxable account, but I'm confident I'll get there. After we get married, I plan to use the additional tax-advantaged space available to my wife to make some additional moves (her savings are negligible; I am going to fix that).

To follow up on other questions I asked, I did secure a term life insurance policy for $2.5 million recently, which is enough to cover all the outstanding debt and, invested conservatively, provide a decent, but not great, lifetime income for my wife if I get hit by a bus or whatever (assuming it can be invested reasonably safely for ~4% annual returns). I only bought a ten year policy, because I'm still working on my weight, and aim to replace it in a year or two if I can get that under control (or if we have kids and suddenly the higher premium for $10 million looks like a really good deal). I did not get a very good response on disability insurance yet, so am still shopping for that.

Anyway, people were so generous with the advice that I thought it would be interesting to check back in.
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