dsanders79 wrote:1. I'm not sure I figured my tax rate correctly; how do I calculate that?
Check out this table: http://www.moneychimp.com/features/tax_brackets.htm
Match your income level to your tax bracket.
dsanders79 wrote:2. I have a few taxable stocks. Right or wrong, I don't really consider these to be part of my retirement (I could be convinced otherwise).
KO - ~$750 (enrolled in DRIP), gift from grandmother, somewhat sentimental
GPC - ~$3,900 (enrolled in DRIP), former employee stock purchase plan, slightly sentimental (but not too much)
SPY - ~$1,000 - bought as a gamble in 2008
F - ~$880 - bought as a gamble in 2008
Goog - 1 share (recent purchase)
Should I sell any or all of these and invest in something else? I kind of like gambling a bit on individual stocks (particularly when they drop), but I only do it with money I don't mind losing. Feel free to convince me I'm being stupid.
It's really up to you. You can let them ride if you like them and think they're a good choice. If they have losses I would consider selling in order to harvest tax losses, and reallocate to your 3 fund portfolio. Regardless of what you decide to do, I would keep individual stocks to 5% of your total portfolio or less.
dsanders79 wrote:3. REITs, should I dump that from my portfolio and go with a simpler 3 fund approach?
Some people overweight REITs because they think they add diversification to a stock/bond portfolio. Some people argue that total market funds don't adequately capture the real estate market, so they add REITs. In my opinion, adding a bit of REITs is fine, but I wouldn't overdo it. Similar to your individual stocks question, it's really up to you!
dsanders79 wrote:4. My company offers a Roth 401k, should I contribute to that instead of the regular 401k?
No. If you are truly in the 25% federal income tax bracket (don't forget to check the link posted above!) and live in Georgia with a 6% income tax, that adds up to 31%, which is probably a higher tax rate than you would have to pay in retirement when you withdrawal from a 401k or Traditional IRA. In fact, in addition to your 401k, you MAY want to consider going with a Traditional IRA rather than a Roth IRA. If you think tax rates are certain to rise in the future, then maybe go with a combination of 401k and Roth IRA. Check out this link for more info: http://thefinancebuff.com/case-against-roth-401k.html
dsanders79 wrote:5. Emergency fund - I know this needs to be readily available and invested safely. If I bumped my emergency fund to 6 months, do you think it would be ok to put 3 months in a Mango savings account? Or is there something else I should consider?
Wasn't sure what Mango was, so I searched it on DuckDuckGo (weird not using the Google verb anymore!). It looks like TFB is a fan (http://thefinancebuff.com/mango-prepaid ... n-gem.html
), so I say go for it - just make sure to carefully follow all the rules. 6 months should be a good size emergency fund if you have a stable job.
dsanders79 wrote:6. Windfall - $10,000 this year (just sitting in savings until I figure out what to do) and another $13,000 the beginning of next year. What should I do with this?
Definitely use it to fund $5,500 for your IRA for 2013. If you need a new used car, then buy it. If you think you need to bump up your emergency savings, then do it. If you end up holding off on the latter 2 options, then I would put it towards this:
dsanders79 wrote:Debt: 2 years in on a 30 year mortgage $170k left @ 5.125%
dsanders79 wrote:7. House (ugh) - sadly I already tried to refi and found out I was pretty far underwater. I was in the middle of doing some repairs so the interior of the house looked pretty rough, so I am contemplating fixing up the house a bit and trying again in a couple months. Should I and at what point should I start adding extra to the principle?
At 5.125%, if this was ME, I would:
1) Invest in 401k up to company match
2) Max out IRA
3) Add extra money to mortgage principal
4) Continue to fill up 401k
dsanders79 wrote:8. Should I strive to max my 401k, or is there something else I should be doing first?
See above. Some might disagree with doing #3 before #4; however, you have to ask yourself: Will my 401k investments make more than the 5.125% return from paying off my mortgage? What is the advantage of deferring taxes in my 401k versus getting a guaranteed 5.125% return on paying off the mortgage? Not necessarily easy questions.
dsanders79 wrote:9. Should I dump the VASGX and focus on loading my Roth IRA with equities and then balance the Traditional IRA accordingly?
If you want! Some people like to hold the underlying funds of the Lifestrategy funds, as you have done in your Traditional IRA. If you a slightly lower expense ratio with the possibly added responsibility of rebalancing every year or so (instead of having a fund manager doing it for you), then it may be better to hold the underlying funds (Total Bond, Total U.S., Total International). It's really up to your personal preference. I like holding the individual underlying funds because it makes it easier to rebalance across multiple accounts (IRAs, 401ks, taxable, etc.).
dsanders79 wrote:10. What should I invest my future 401k contributions in?
I can tell you that you will get much more feedback on this question if you post expense ratios for ALL of your 401k mutual fund choices. Do for the other choices as you have done it with one particular listed option:
dsanders79 wrote:BlackRock LifePath Index Funds 2015 - 2055 (0.17% expense)
Hope that helps. Welcome to the Bogleheads forum!