letsmakesomething wrote:Tax Rate: 25% Federal, 9.3% State
Due to being in 25% federal bracket and being in a high tax state, I would recommend using a Traditional IRA instead of a Roth IRA (if possible). There's a decent chance you might be paying more taxes now than necessary. When you withdrawal from your 401k/Traditional IRA, there will likely still be the 0% bracket due to the personal exemption and standard deduction, and then you can fill up the lower brackets if you need to withdrawal more in a given year (as most of us will). If you are fairly certain taxes will rise in the future, then maybe do a combination of 401k and Roth IRA.
This link talks about the advantages of deferring taxes versus paying them now (it talks about a Roth 401k vs. traditional 401k, which is the same principle as Roth IRA vs. Traditional IRA): http://thefinancebuff.com/case-against-roth-401k.html
letsmakesomething wrote:Desired International allocation: % of stocks I’m open to input
Most people choose somewhere between 20% and 50% of their stock allocation. Much is personal preference and guesswork about the future. Some feel their best bet lies with the U.S. economy and thus keep a smaller percentage overseas, whereas some like to diversify more into foreign countries. 30% might be a good starting number if you're unsure.
letsmakesomething wrote:1. What do you think about convertining my portfolio to the core four? Doesn't seem ideal but seems much better than what I'm currently doing.
I think it's an excellent idea. Just make sure to place funds for tax efficiency: http://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Principl ... _Placement
letsmakesomething wrote:2. How should I tilt it?
There's a plethora of ways. Here's an example without the 401k use, since you said you probably aren't going to use it:IRA
Vanguard Total Bond Market
Vanguard REITs Index FundTaxable
Vanguard Total U.S. Stock Market
Vanguard Total International Stock Market
However, I strongly suggest that you max our your IRA AND use your 401k. A portfolio implementing both might look like this*:401k
Mutual Global Discovery A - TEDIX - ER 1.31% <--- If the high expense ratio drives you crazy, then you could potentially use Vanguard Total Intl in a taxable account.
Franklin Flex Cap Growth A - FKCGX - ER 0.98% <--- Lowest ER for any stock fund offered. Focuses on large growth companies. You may want to add small or value.IRA
Vanguard Total Bond Market
Vanguard REITs Index Fund
*As you've noticed, you don't have the best 401k choices. However, I think the options are definitely still worth it since you get to defer taxes by using the 401k. I'm sure others will chime in with what options are the best from your limited 401k choices. The small growth might be an okay choice too (too bad there's no small value!). It'd be great if your employer could add some low cost, total market index funds, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
letsmakesomething wrote:3. What other advice/suggestions would you have for me as I formulate a better portfolio?
See advice above on Traditional vs. Roth IRA. I would also try to contribute more on a yearly basis. First, contribute to your 401k up to the company match. Second, max out an IRA. Third, continue filling up that 401k - it's valuable space!
letsmakesomething wrote:Debt: No debt currently, might make a real estate purchase in the next couple years.
Don't buy more house than you need. Make sure you can afford it.
letsmakesomething wrote:.3% American Express (AXP)
.1% Best Buy (BBY)
.4% Diagio (ADR)
.6% Netflix (NFLX)
Ditch these and begin implementing your core four portfolio.
letsmakesomething wrote:4. Is it okay to hold some of my portfolio in my IRA and the rest in the individual investment account (assuming I switch my assets over to Vanguard, currently with Wells Fargo PMA. What funds/ETF's should I hold in the IRA?
See my sample asset allocations above. It is okay to hold some of your portfolio in multiple locations. Make sure you allocate your fund choices in a tax efficient manner (see link above).