Jetson23 wrote:1. Simplify my Vanguard selections. I've actually already done that. After posting this thread, I talked to a friend who follows these forums pretty closely, and he pointed me to a thread that recommended just putting it into three funds: Vanguard Total Stock Market (VTSMX), Vanguard Total Bond Market (VBMFX), Vanguard Total International Stock Market (VGTSX).
That's fine except the bulk of your retirement assets are in your 401k which doesn't have Vanguard. It doesn't have a Total Stock Market fund. You would have to buy both 500 Index and Extended Market to cover it. It doesn't have a Total Bond Market fund. You would have to use PIMCO Total Return, which, while not great, will do. It doesn't have a Total International fund. The best is the Hartford but it's only a developed markets fund. In the real world you can only work with the options you have.
Another option here seemed to be just putting everything into Wellington at Vanguard?
This is a balanced fund. If you're going to have a balanced fund in one account, you really need it in all accounts.
Could also do one of the two above along with the REIT fund in Vanguard for diversification?
REITs are included in a total market fund at the market weight. If you have 500 Index and Extended Market funds you already have REITs.
Or even more simplified is to go with one fund, a target retirement fund.
You could put one of the Fidelity Freedom K funds in your 401k and one of the Vanguard Target Retirement funds in your Roth IRA. Balanced funds aren't suitable for taxable. Just pick the fund by the AA not the date.
2. Simplify and get rid of high expense funds in 401K. I do have some other choices there, so I think I can make some moves to make that happen.
3. Balancing to achieve a 80% stocks, 20% bonds, with 20% of stocks in international? I was more or less asking what ratio I should have, someone said 20% bonds is too low. So I guess I'm asking, what should I be looking to do as far as percentages in each category? Once I know that, I can start balancing the funds as necessary, depending on my choices outlined above.
This is personal. It's based on your need, ability, and willingness to take risks. Based solely on your age I already recommended 70% stocks, 30% bonds, with 30% of stocks in international. That breaks down to 49% US stocks, 21% international stocks, and 30% bonds.
Vanguard has found between 20% and 40% of stocks in international to be the "sweet spot". See the discussion
and the Vanguard paper link
. Vanguard splits the difference and uses 30% in their Target Retirement and LifeStrategy funds.
As for 30% bonds, at age 37 this is not too conservative. Try it for a couple of years. You may find you would feel more comfortable with less in bonds or more in bonds. (Although if you end up using the Freedom and TR funds they automatically become more bond heavy over time.) In a tax-sheltered account it doesn't hurt to change your mind.