Help a 23 y/o invest in 401K

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Help a 23 y/o invest in 401K

Postby henry.c221 » Mon Dec 24, 2012 5:28 pm

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Re: Help a 23 y/o invest in 401K

Postby linuxuser » Mon Dec 24, 2012 7:42 pm

Do you have the fund symbols for the index funds?
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Re: Help a 23 y/o invest in 401K

Postby livesoft » Mon Dec 24, 2012 8:19 pm

Just invest in the LifePath 2050 fund.

Just because you have a TargetRetirement 2050 in your Roth IRA is no excuse not to have something similar in 401(k). Indeed, it is an even better excuse to use the same or similar fund in your 401(k).
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Re: Help a 23 y/o invest in 401K

Postby henry.c221 » Mon Dec 24, 2012 8:41 pm

linuxuser wrote:Do you have the fund symbols for the index funds?



its in the parentheses
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Re: Help a 23 y/o invest in 401K

Postby Watty » Tue Dec 25, 2012 12:17 am

livesoft wrote:Just invest in the LifePath 2050 fund.

Just because you have a TargetRetirement 2050 in your Roth IRA is no excuse not to have something similar in 401(k). Indeed, it is an even better excuse to use the same or similar fund in your 401(k).


+1 on the 2050 fund. It has a very good expense ratio, one of the reasons that some people don't recommend them is they often have higher expense ratios. When you save up a year or two of your income in the retirement accounts then you can worry about fine tuning your asset allocation

It would also be good to take another look at using a traditional deductible IRA instead of the Roth.
http://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Traditional_versus_Roth

There isn't a magic right answer but single people get up into the 25% federal tax bracket pretty quickly. If you are likely to get married, have a mortage, and maybe have some kids some day you may be in a lower tax bracket then which could be a better time for a Roth if you don't have very high income by then.

Choosing a Roth and giving up a 30%+ combined tax break is a significant choice. There very well could be some compelling reason to do this in your situation but unless you can come up with a compelling reason, then I would stick with a deductible retirement account untill you have several years income saved up.

I'm not retired yet but I've already seen lots of people run into career and life setback and end up retiring with less money, and in a lower tax bracket than they expected. Basically "stuff" happens. An argument can be made to first focus on most basic retirement needs first and a deductible IRA is better for that since you can save more money if you also save the tax savings. I think of this as my "I'm not going to eat cat food" money.
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Re: Help a 23 y/o invest in 401K

Postby henry.c221 » Tue Dec 25, 2012 1:48 am

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Re: Help a 23 y/o invest in 401K

Postby Watty » Tue Dec 25, 2012 2:53 pm

If it turns out that you cannot contribute to a deductible IRA then next year you could likely make additional contributions to the deductible 401K next year even though you are not getting the match yet.

If you can't do this for some reason then it isn't like the Roth is poor choice. The Roth and a deductible retirement account (IRA, 401k, etc) are both great choices with different plusses and minuses.

Some people use a Roth for part of their emergency funds since they can withdraw the contributions if they need to. If you search the boards on this you will see a number threads talking about this. One strategy would be to do all your retirement savings in the 401k for the next few years and move some of your emergency money into a Roth each year.

Since I am covered by a retirement plan at work and with my income over $69k, I thought I don't get a deduction if I was to contribute to a traditional IRA. Is this correct?


That sounds logical but it is not so obvious which is pretty typical when it comes to tax laws so it is good to get in the habit of digging a bit deeper before making tax related decisions.

The problem is that you need to look at just what they define as "income". You likely will have numbers in several of the "income" boxes on the W2 tax form you will get soon and there are all sorts of additions and subtractions that will give you your Adjusted Gross Income, and Modified Adjusted Gross Income(MAGI) that will be used to determine if you are eligible for things like a deductible IRA.

I'm not a tax guru who knows this off the top of my head but I am pretty sure that things like deductions for things like employer provided health insurance and flexible spending accounts will reduce your MAGI so that you are more likely to be able to use a deductible IRA.

This thread was talking about MAGI calculations for high income limitations for Roth contributions but it looks like 401K contributions will reduce your MAGI too.

viewtopic.php?t=56839

It might be close but you might be able make enough 401K contributions to get your MAGI low enough to make a fully deductible IRA contribution next year, but that would require a lot of your income.
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Re: Help a 23 y/o invest in 401K

Postby retiredjg » Tue Dec 25, 2012 4:26 pm

I think there are two good approaches for you. One would be to use a target type fund in both your Roth IRA and in your 401k. This would be the easiest way to invest - all you do is add money.

The other approach would be a little cheaper. If you want a 3 fund basic portfolio, you could do something like this:

401k
SSgA Russell 3000 Fund (IWW) 0.10
SSgA Barclays Aggregate Bond Fund 0.10 in the 401k

Roth IRA
Vanguard's Total International index in the Roth IRA.

However, since IWW is not a Russell 3000 Index Fund, but is the Russell 3000 Value Index Fund, I'm not sure that is the right fund to choose.

After getting that part straight (and maybe using the 500 index instead), either approach would be fine - but which are you more interested in? The easy one or the cheaper one? Both are good ideas and even the more costly idea is cheap.


However, your stated desire for having a 70% stocks and 30% bond portfolio is in conflict with the Target fund you have chosen in your Roth IRA (which is 90% stocks and 10% bonds). It appears that you have chosen your Target fund by the date in the name (like most people). Ignore the date - pick the target fund that has the stock to bond ratio you want. That is likely to be something closer to 2030 than 2050.
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Re: Help a 23 y/o invest in 401K

Postby henry.c221 » Sat Feb 02, 2013 11:15 pm

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Re: Help a 23 y/o invest in 401K

Postby retiredjg » Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:49 am

How much money? What kind of account? Can it go in your Roth IRA? What is "anytime soon"? Will you need a car in the next few years?
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Re: Help a 23 y/o invest in 401K

Postby henry.c221 » Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:02 am

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Re: Help a 23 y/o invest in 401K

Postby retiredjg » Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:14 am

It looks like the money is going into a taxable account to be used in (maybe) 3 - 5 years. How much risk do you want to take on this money?
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Re: Help a 23 y/o invest in 401K

Postby henry.c221 » Mon Feb 04, 2013 7:23 pm

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Re: Help a 23 y/o invest in 401K

Postby retiredjg » Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:32 am

Here's the deal. You can use some stock funds and bond funds (or a fund that has both) and the money might be there when you want it. But if there is a market crash, a good part of the money might be gone (at least for a few years).

So you have to decide if the goal requires that money be saved (available to be used at a certain time) or if the goal allows the money to be invested (the goal is flexible and can be delayed 5 years or so, if necessary). For example, if you want to buy a house in 2018, you would save for it, not invest. If you want a house sometime in the future but could delay that if the market crashes, you can invest.

For an investment, I'd suggest a combination of Total Stock Market, Total International and a NY Tax-Exempt Bond Fund (or a shorter term muni bond if you prefer). Maybe something like 50%/20%/30%. For savings, I'd suggest something like CDs, CDs and a NY Tax Exempt Bond Fund, or maybe 10%/5%/85% of the above mentioned funds. Keep in mind that bond funds can and will likely lose some value if interest rates go up. They will also start paying more as well.
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Re: Help a 23 y/o invest in 401K

Postby henry.c221 » Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:08 am

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Re: Help a 23 y/o invest in 401K

Postby retiredjg » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:41 am

Not sure what the question means...kind of account?

A taxable account is a container that does not have some kind of tax-advantage. Where you open one depends on what you want to buy. For CDs, I'd check Bankrate.com for the best rates. For the mutual funds and muni bond fund mentioned, I'd open a "personal" account at Vanguard (but other places will do - I'm just most familiar with them).

If that doesn't answer your question, try again. :D
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Re: Help a 23 y/o invest in 401K

Postby henry.c221 » Sun Feb 10, 2013 6:58 pm

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Re: Help a 23 y/o invest in 401K

Postby retiredjg » Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:15 am

henry.c221 wrote:Thanks retiredjg.

About IRA..I'm going to start putting my money into my TIRA instead of Roth. Should I continue to invest into the same funds as my Roth which is Vanguard Target Retirement 2050 Inv (VFIFX)?

You can use a Target Retirement fund, but I don't know why you would choose 2050. The 2050 fund is 90% stock and 10% bonds. You said you want your stock to bond ratio to be 70/30. So you should be using Target Retirement 2025 instead of 2050.
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Re: Help a 23 y/o invest in 401K

Postby henry.c221 » Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:00 pm

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Re: Help a 23 y/o invest in 401K

Postby retiredjg » Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:19 pm

I meant you could use

    -CDs, or

    -a combination of CDs and and a NY Tax Exempt Bond Fund, or a shorter term tax-exempt bond fun if you prefer, or

    -maybe 10% Total Stock Market, 5% Total International Stock, and 85% of some NY Tax-Exempt Bond Fund or other tax-exempt bond fund

Those are just some suggestions of pretty conservative ways to hold money that doesn't have a great deal of risk. Ideas 2 and 3 can lose some value. Stocks can lose value if the market crashes. Bonds will likely lose value if interest rates go up. Only #1 can't lose value (although CDs may not keep up with inflation).
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