Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

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corn18
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by corn18 »

What if you are domestic partners? Spouse A and Spouse B would be offensive.
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FiveK
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by FiveK »

corn18 wrote: Sat Jun 22, 2019 11:30 am What if you are domestic partners? Spouse A and Spouse B would be offensive.
Your suggestion?
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by retiredjg »

icefr wrote: Sat Jun 22, 2019 9:44 am Hi all, I would like to kindly request that you revisit the gendered pronoun language present in the template. I do personally find it offensive. It is 2019: my marriage license used the terms “Spouse A” and “Spouse B” and so many bathrooms in my city are now gender neutral. I don’t see why we need to know the gender of either the OP or of their spouse in order to be providing them with factual information about their financial situation. Additionally, the OP doesn’t always even indicate their personal gender, so we aren’t even sure which of the two spouses is the OP from the current template in order to use their correct pronouns. Thank you for your consideration.
I've given this a great deal of thought over the years. In theory, I agree. In philosophy, I agree. In practice, I do not want to see this changed.

The reason is that it is incredibly difficult to keep up with Person 1 and Person 2, or He-A and He-B, or Steve and George, or Eva and Susan. I know this because I've done it a number of times over the years.

People have posted their information in some creative ways and I'm OK with that, but I'm telling you it can make the portfolio helper's job much much harder. I'm not interested in this job being harder. The reason we are talking about changing the format is to make it easier.

There is no requirement for people to use His and Hers pronouns. The He-Him and She-Her and They-Them couples can post any way they want to post using whatever pronouns they want. There is nothing stopping them from doing that. And they have already been doing it for quite a long time.

Of the people posting in this thread, I may be the only one who has ever done a bunch of portfolios for same sex partners. I've found some of them quite difficult. For that reason, I'm hoping that you will take my comments seriously and not pursue any change in pronoun usage in the format.
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by LadyGeek »

livesoft wrote: Sat Jun 22, 2019 7:08 am I like the new expense ratios. :)
retiredjg wrote: Sat Jun 22, 2019 6:58 am Maybe the tickers should look more real?
Yep, it wouldn't hurt to have them end in the letter X and be 5 letters long.
FLUNX
SHOLX'
VJUPX
VENUX
I have revised the wiki page: User:LadyGeek/Asking portfolio questions (Key Points)
* Please make sure that percentages add up to 100% across all of your accounts, not within each account. For example:

Taxable:
35% Fidelity Total Lunar Active Fund (FLUNX) (0.01%)
35% Schwab Black Hole Bonds Fund (SBLKX) (1.50%)

His 401(k):

05% Vanguard Total Jupiter Stock Market Index fund (VJUPX) (0.05%)
25% Vanguard Total Venus Stock Market Index fund (VENUX) (0.03%)

The percentage total of all funds (Taxable + His 401(k)) is 100%.
After checking that the ticker symbols were not already in use, I changed livesoft's suggestion from "SHOLX" to retiredjg's suggestion as "SBLKX" (with an "X" at the end).
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by LadyGeek »

icefr wrote: Sat Jun 22, 2019 9:44 am Hi all, I would like to kindly request that you revisit the gendered pronoun language present in the template. I do personally find it offensive. It is 2019: my marriage license used the terms “Spouse A” and “Spouse B” and so many bathrooms in my city are now gender neutral. I don’t see why we need to know the gender of either the OP or of their spouse in order to be providing them with factual information about their financial situation. Additionally, the OP doesn’t always even indicate their personal gender, so we aren’t even sure which of the two spouses is the OP from the current template in order to use their correct pronouns. Thank you for your consideration.
livesoft wrote: Sat Jun 22, 2019 10:22 am ^I completely agree.
corn18 wrote: Sat Jun 22, 2019 11:30 am What if you are domestic partners? Spouse A and Spouse B would be offensive.
retiredjg wrote: Sat Jun 22, 2019 12:22 pm I've given this a great deal of thought over the years. In theory, I agree. In philosophy, I agree. In practice, I do not want to see this changed.
We have a contention on the wording for the gender cases. Another wiki editor had updated the page before the disagreements were posted. The page is now back to the original wording (except for the example above). The points of contention are:
Show us your current portfolio including all investment and retirement accounts (yourself and spouse or civil partner, if applicable) as it's important to look at the portfolio as a unified whole rather than look at accounts in isolation. Also include the available funds in your employer provided retirement plans.

...

His 401k
xx% fund name (ticker symbol) (expense ratio)
Company match?

His Roth IRA at Vanguard
xx% fund name (ticker symbol) (expense ratio)
xx% fund name (ticker symbol) (expense ratio)

His Rollover IRA at Schwab
xx% fund name (ticker symbol) (expense ratio)

Her 403b
xx% fund name (ticker symbol) (expense ratio)
Company match?

Her SIMPLE IRA at Fidelity
xx% fund name (ticker symbol) (expense ratio)

Her Traditional IRA at Vanguard
xx% fund name (ticker symbol) (expense ratio)
The examples are equal in terms of 3 accounts for each gender.

If there is no consensus to update these sections of the template, are there any objections to keep the wording "as-is"?
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by icefr »

retiredjg wrote: Sat Jun 22, 2019 12:22 pm
icefr wrote: Sat Jun 22, 2019 9:44 am Hi all, I would like to kindly request that you revisit the gendered pronoun language present in the template. I do personally find it offensive. It is 2019: my marriage license used the terms “Spouse A” and “Spouse B” and so many bathrooms in my city are now gender neutral. I don’t see why we need to know the gender of either the OP or of their spouse in order to be providing them with factual information about their financial situation. Additionally, the OP doesn’t always even indicate their personal gender, so we aren’t even sure which of the two spouses is the OP from the current template in order to use their correct pronouns. Thank you for your consideration.
I've given this a great deal of thought over the years. In theory, I agree. In philosophy, I agree. In practice, I do not want to see this changed.

The reason is that it is incredibly difficult to keep up with Person 1 and Person 2, or He-A and He-B, or Steve and George, or Eva and Susan. I know this because I've done it a number of times over the years.

People have posted their information in some creative ways and I'm OK with that, but I'm telling you it can make the portfolio helper's job much much harder. I'm not interested in this job being harder. The reason we are talking about changing the format is to make it easier.

There is no requirement for people to use His and Hers pronouns. The He-Him and She-Her and They-Them couples can post any way they want to post using whatever pronouns they want. There is nothing stopping them from doing that. And they have already been doing it for quite a long time.

Of the people posting in this thread, I may be the only one who has ever done a bunch of portfolios for same sex partners. I've found some of them quite difficult. For that reason, I'm hoping that you will take my comments seriously and not pursue any change in pronoun usage in the format.
I am not discounting that you have given this a great deal of thought over the years, that you have done many portfolios for same sex portfolios on this forum over the years, nor that they are difficult. I recognize that there isn't a clear best answer on how to format the template if we change the pronouns, since as is His & Her pronouns distinguish easily between two partners of the opposite gender. I firmly believe, however, that by presenting a template with His/Her pronouns, this forum is actively discouraging non-heterosexual couples from posting their portfolios for suggestions on this forum and as such, I do believe it needs more careful consideration than that it is difficult or impractical. Do we want to discourage non-heterosexual couples from posting portfolio reviews by them not seeing themselves in the template?
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by ruralavalon »

Since there "isn't a clear best answer on how to format the template if we change the pronouns", and it works well as is, in my opinion we should simply leave this part of the template as it is.
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by livesoft »

Mine, theirs, ours
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by retiredjg »

icefr wrote: Sat Jun 22, 2019 2:09 pm I firmly believe, however, that by presenting a template with His/Her pronouns, this forum is actively discouraging non-heterosexual couples from posting their portfolios for suggestions on this forum and as such, I do believe it needs more careful consideration than that it is difficult or impractical. Do we want to discourage non-heterosexual couples from posting portfolio reviews by them not seeing themselves in the template?
Of course we don't want to discourage non-heterosexual couples from posting. And there is no way to know if it has discouraged them or not.

My opinion is that people have found and will continue to find a way to post what they want to post in a way they want to post it. If the pronouns they prefer make the situation fuzzy, that will have to be addressed in their thread if/when it comes up.

As you mentioned earlier, we don't care what a person's gender is and we don't care which person or gender is posting and which is the spouse. We only care that it is clear through out the discussion who is who.

If people find this issue so offensive, I'm not opposed to adding an instruction something like "traditional his and her pronouns have been used in the format but feel free to use whatever pronoun or identification you like as long as it is clear which assets belong to which person".

The problem is that this type of communication frequently falters later on in the discussion when one of them is referred to as "him" or "her" and we have no idea which person that is. This is not speculation. It is from my own experience on this forum working on people's portfolio questions.
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by LadyGeek »

Would this work? I have added text at the end of the last paragraph.

From:
Show us your current portfolio including all investment and retirement accounts (yourself and spouse or civil partner, if applicable) as it's important to look at the portfolio as a unified whole rather than look at accounts in isolation. Also include the available funds in your employer provided retirement plans.

Show each fund or holding as a percentage of the entire portfolio, not as a percentage of the account that holding is in. If this instruction is not clear, see the example under the Key Points section below. For example:
To:
Show us your current portfolio including all investment and retirement accounts (yourself and spouse or civil partner, if applicable) as it's important to look at the portfolio as a unified whole rather than look at accounts in isolation. Also include the available funds in your employer provided retirement plans.

Show each fund or holding as a percentage of the entire portfolio, not as a percentage of the account that holding is in. If this instruction is not clear, see the example under the Key Points section below. For example (replace "His" and "Her" as appropriate, but it must be clear these are two individuals):
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by retiredjg »

LadyGeek wrote: Sat Jun 22, 2019 4:21 pm Would this work? I have added text at the end of the last paragraph.

For example (replace "His" and "Her" as appropriate, but it must be clear these are two individuals):
I don't think this addresses the concerns of people who are unhappy with the current wording.

Perhaps add a key point - "The format is set up using traditional his and her pronouns and we realize this does not represent every couple who might want to post portfolio questions. Feel free to use whatever pronouns or identifying names you prefer as long as it is clear which assets belong to which person."

Or maybe someone else has some better wording.
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by ruralavalon »

retiredjg wrote: Sat Jun 22, 2019 4:49 pm
LadyGeek wrote: Sat Jun 22, 2019 4:21 pm Would this work? I have added text at the end of the last paragraph.

For example (replace "His" and "Her" as appropriate, but it must be clear these are two individuals):
I don't think this addresses the concerns of people who are unhappy with the current wording.

Perhaps add a key point - "The format is set up using traditional his and her pronouns and we realize this does not represent every couple who might want to post portfolio questions. Feel free to use whatever pronouns or identifying names you prefer as long as it is clear which assets belong to which person."

Or maybe someone else has some better wording.
I think that wording is appropriate.
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by LadyGeek »

Here is retiredjg's suggestion added as the second Key Point. Would this work?
Show us your current portfolio including all investment and retirement accounts (yourself and spouse or civil partner, if applicable) as it's important to look at the portfolio as a unified whole rather than look at accounts in isolation. Also include the available funds in your employer provided retirement plans.

Show each fund or holding as a percentage of the entire portfolio, not as a percentage of the account that holding is in. If this instruction is not clear, see the example under the Key Points section below. For example:

(Template goes here)

Key Points

* Please make sure that you've provided all the information requested above. Omitting information often results in delays and/or longer exchanges.
* The format is set up using traditional his and her pronouns and we realize this does not represent every couple who might want to post portfolio questions. Feel free to use whatever pronouns or identifying names you prefer as long as it is clear which assets belong to which person.
* Please post fund names, not just ticker symbols.
* If you have an account in a retirement plan with your employer, be sure to enter the expense ratios for the funds as they are in your company's specific plan; often the fund expense ratios in 401k/403b/457 plans are different from the "retail" expense ratios you will find for a fund when doing an internet search.
* If you see several different expense ratios for a single fund, use the net expense ratio.
* Please make sure that percentages add up to 100% across all of your accounts, not within each account. For example:

Taxable:
35% Fidelity Total Lunar Active Fund (FLUNX) (0.01%)
35% Schwab Black Hole Bonds Fund (SBLKX) (1.50%)

His 401(k):
05% Vanguard Total Jupiter Stock Market Index fund (VJUPX) (0.05%)
25% Vanguard Total Venus Stock Market Index fund (VENUX) (0.03%)

The percentage total of all funds (Taxable + His 401(k)) is 100%.
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by retiredjg »

LadyGeek wrote: Sat Jun 22, 2019 6:24 pm Here is retiredjg's suggestion added as the second Key Point. Would this work?
Show us your current portfolio including all investment and retirement accounts (yourself and spouse or civil partner, if applicable) as it's important to look at the portfolio as a unified whole rather than look at accounts in isolation. Also include the available funds in your employer provided retirement plans.

Show each fund or holding as a percentage of the entire portfolio, not as a percentage of the account that holding is in. If this instruction is not clear, see the example under the Key Points section below. For example:

(Template goes here)

Key Points

* Please make sure that you've provided all the information requested above. Omitting information often results in delays and/or longer exchanges.
* The format is set up using traditional his and her pronouns and we realize this does not represent every couple who might want to post portfolio questions. Feel free to use whatever pronouns or identifying names you prefer as long as it is clear which assets belong to which person.
* Please post fund names, not just ticker symbols.
* If you have an account in a retirement plan with your employer, be sure to enter the expense ratios for the funds as they are in your company's specific plan; often the fund expense ratios in 401k/403b/457 plans are different from the "retail" expense ratios you will find for a fund when doing an internet search.
* If you see several different expense ratios for a single fund, use the net expense ratio.
* Please make sure that percentages add up to 100% across all of your accounts, not within each account. For example:

Taxable:
35% Fidelity Total Lunar Active Fund (FLUNX) (0.01%)
35% Schwab Black Hole Bonds Fund (SBLKX) (1.50%)

His 401(k):
05% Vanguard Total Jupiter Stock Market Index fund (VJUPX) (0.05%)
25% Vanguard Total Venus Stock Market Index fund (VENUX) (0.03%)

The percentage total of all funds (Taxable + His 401(k)) is 100%.
It works for me. Perhaps icefr and livesoft would like to comment?
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by LadyGeek »

I have updated the wiki page with retiredjg's key points. User:LadyGeek/Asking portfolio questions

Are there any further comments?
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by livesoft »

In the key points example, a nod to gender neutrality can be made by changing "His 401(k)" to simply "My 401(k)", but I wouldn't be upset if it wasn't changed, though it is so so easy to change it. :)

Otherwise, I'm fine with the updates ... for now.
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by retiredjg »

livesoft wrote: Sun Jun 23, 2019 2:43 pm In the key points example, a nod to gender neutrality can be made by changing "His 401(k)" to simply "My 401(k)", but I wouldn't be upset if it wasn't changed, though it is so so easy to change it. :)
Unfortunately, someone will think it implies that the format is intended to be presented from the husband's perspective which is not correct.

His and Her has worked for a long time. There is no need to change it in format. If people want to do something else, that's fine too.
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by LadyGeek »

With no further opinions, Laura's post and the wiki have been updated.

- Forum post: Asking Portfolio Questions

- Wiki: Asking portfolio questions - Bogleheads

The template on the wiki page can be used to create a forum post. I have added a link at the bottom of the forum post which points to the wiki.

Links to the wiki draft page now automatically go to the "live" wiki page.

We can always update Laura's post further. For now, let's give this update a chance to see if it helps new investors complete the template.
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by livesoft »

Thanks for all your help and everyone else's for getting this done. -ls
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by 557880yvi »

Hi Everyone, fairly new to Bogleheads (love it!) and am planning to post asking for feedback about my retirement strategy involving early retirement and ROTH IRA conversions. A bit overwhelmed by the many threads about the format (TEMPLATE) requested to provide the information. Is there a currently (June 2019) updated version of the preferred template for this post? I see many recommendations for changes but keep circling back to a very old template. Would like provide the most concise and useful information as possible.
Thank you!
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by livesoft »

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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by LadyGeek »

Yes, it's in the wiki: Asking portfolio questions - Bogleheads

The bottom of the forum post states:
- A template that can be used to create a forum post is in the wiki. See: Asking portfolio questions - Bogleheads
Should that be moved to a better location, perhaps just before the template is used as:
Show each fund or holding as a percentage of the entire portfolio, not as a percentage of the account that holding is in. If this instruction is not clear, see the example under the Key Points section below. For example: (See the wiki for a template to create the forum post.)
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by FiveK »

557880yvi wrote: Sun Jun 30, 2019 2:01 pm Would like provide the most concise and useful information as possible.
It depends on the questions you would like answered. For investments alone, the links LadyGeek supplied should suffice.

If you want more information on cashflow issues, more details on "unavoidable" income (e.g., pension or SS already started, expected interest/dividends, etc.) is useful as context for what you might do with optional income. Certainly doesn't need to be exact, but "reasonably accurate."
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by Singer85 »

Hello! I'm new to investing, have read the JL Collins Stock Series and many different individual entries of blogs but clearly have a lot to learn! I realize that this is very old but I've hopped around the forum trying to understand this one part of the post as I prepare my introduction:

"Taxable
xx% cash (for investing - do not include emergency funds)
xx% fund name (ticker symbol) (expense ratio)
xx% stock company name (ticker symbol)"

I looked at the example and it still does not make sense to me. I'm sorry! I'm sure I'll be embarrassed once it is explained.

For the first line - does it mean the cash you have sitting waiting to invest? Or "cash" in an investment account that is not geared toward retirement? The "do not include emergency funds" is throwing me off.

Are the next two lines supposed to be related to the first line? If so then why is there a percentage in front of both of them? Those two lines make sense in a vacuum but I don't get how to fill it in in relation to the rest of the portfolio or the line above. I hope my question even makes sense.

So sorry in advance. I'm trying my best to learn! The rest of it makes sense to me. Thank you!
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by retiredjg »

Welcome to the forum. :happy

The first line means "cash you have sitting in a taxable account (an ordinary account that does not have some kind of tax-advantage) that you plan to invest". This refers to money in a taxable account that is intended for long term investing - not your next car or a house downpayment.

Generally, your emergency fund and money for short term goals are not included in your retirement portfolio (at least at the stage where you are asking for advice - many people combine it all when they have collected a lot of assets.)

Are the next two lines supposed to be related to the first line? If so then why is there a percentage in front of both of them? Those two lines make sense in a vacuum but I don't get how to fill it in in relation to the rest of the portfolio or the line above. I hope my question even makes sense.
Again, lines 2 and 3 are under the heading of your "taxable account". This is money that is intended for long term investment including retirement even though it is not in a "retirement" account.

Here's an example. Let's say you have some money outside of a 401k type plan or an IRA that you intend to leave there for a long time and use for retirement. You have $20k saved in savings that you want to invest. You also have $50k in mutual funds and $10k in Tesla stock. Your total retirement portfolio is $500k. You have your emergency fund sitting on the side, not included in the "retirement portfolio".

That would be displayed as

Taxable
4% cash ready to invest (because $20k is 4% of the $500k portfolio)
10% Total Stock Market
2% Tesla stock


So sorry in advance. I'm trying my best to learn! The rest of it makes sense to me. Thank you!
Don't be sorry. It can be very confusing at first what money to include. Many people (including me) have gone through this same confusion.
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by LadyGeek »

retiredjg wrote: Thu Aug 27, 2020 4:04 pm Here's an example. Let's say you have some money outside of a 401k type plan or an IRA that you intend to leave there for a long time and use for retirement. You have $20k saved in savings that you want to invest. You also have $50k in mutual funds and $10k in Tesla stock. Your total retirement portfolio is $500k. You have your emergency fund sitting on the side, not included in the "retirement portfolio".

That would be displayed as

Taxable
4% cash ready to invest (because $20k is 4% of the $500k portfolio)
10% Total Stock Market
2% Tesla stock
It might be confusing what to do with the other parts of the portfolio. Here's an example.

Retirement Portfolio

Taxable
4% cash ready to invest (because $20k is 4% of the $500k portfolio)
10% Total Stock Market (the mutual fund, because $50k is 10% of $500k)
2% Tesla stock (because $10k is 2% of %500k)

IRA or 401(k)k
84% retirement plan funds (break this down into individual funds, because $420k = ($500k total - $80k taxable) is 84% of $500k)

100% - The total of the taxable and tax-deferred (IRA or 401k) portions of the portfolio
_______________________________________________________________
Note: Total percentage of all the above accounts together (not each account individually) should equal 100%.

If you didn't understand something, please let us know and we'll try again.
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by Singer85 »

Thank you *so much* for your explanation and your kindness! I completely understand now. I'm thrilled to have this community to help guide me. I'll be posting the portfolio with a zillion questions, soon! :happy

retiredjg wrote: Thu Aug 27, 2020 4:04 pm Welcome to the forum. :happy

The first line means "cash you have sitting in a taxable account (an ordinary account that does not have some kind of tax-advantage) that you plan to invest". This refers to money in a taxable account that is intended for long term investing - not your next car or a house downpayment.

Generally, your emergency fund and money for short term goals are not included in your retirement portfolio (at least at the stage where you are asking for advice - many people combine it all when they have collected a lot of assets.)

Are the next two lines supposed to be related to the first line? If so then why is there a percentage in front of both of them? Those two lines make sense in a vacuum but I don't get how to fill it in in relation to the rest of the portfolio or the line above. I hope my question even makes sense.
Again, lines 2 and 3 are under the heading of your "taxable account". This is money that is intended for long term investment including retirement even though it is not in a "retirement" account.

Here's an example. Let's say you have some money outside of a 401k type plan or an IRA that you intend to leave there for a long time and use for retirement. You have $20k saved in savings that you want to invest. You also have $50k in mutual funds and $10k in Tesla stock. Your total retirement portfolio is $500k. You have your emergency fund sitting on the side, not included in the "retirement portfolio".

That would be displayed as

Taxable
4% cash ready to invest (because $20k is 4% of the $500k portfolio)
10% Total Stock Market
2% Tesla stock


So sorry in advance. I'm trying my best to learn! The rest of it makes sense to me. Thank you!
Don't be sorry. It can be very confusing at first what money to include. Many people (including me) have gone through this same confusion.
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by Mudpuppy »

I hate to be late to the party, so to speak, but I just got caught up on this thread and I agree with needing to change the gendered pronouns. It is a very strong microaggression to assume that (a) every person posting a portfolio question has a spouse and (b) that the couple is "he" and "she" in gender. It's along the same lines as continuing to call someone "Eddie" when they've repeatedly asked you to call them "Edward": it's disrespectful and sets a bad tone. It makes it seem like this forum is not respectful or welcoming to all couples.

I don't understand why this is so controversial. Why not something simple like "my" and "spouse's", as suggested by livesoft back in June? There's no need for person A, B, etc or any other contortions if you just keep to the neutral "me" and "spouse" concept. For example:

My 401(k)

My Roth IRA

Spouse's 401(k)

Spouse's Roth IRA

I find that to be very readable and clear as to what part of the portfolio belongs to whom. Also, it doesn't presume the gender of the poster, it doesn't presume the gender of the spouse, and, if someone doesn't have a spouse, like me, they just skip the "spouse" part and keep the "my" part.
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Brokerage account option?

Post by dratkinson »

Looked but didn't see this information requested.

Believe it would speedup things if OP would check if a "brokerage account option" is available in their employer's retirement plan. That way we could quickly advise them to use that option if it were better for them.

Suggested wording in blue. Wordsmithing encouraged.


Available funds

Funds available in his 401(k)

Fund name (ticker symbol) (expense ratio)
Fund name (ticker symbol) (expense ratio)
Fund name (ticker symbol) (expense ratio)

Does your 401(k) have a brokerage account option?

Funds available in her 403(b)
Fund name (ticker symbol) (expense ratio)
Fund name (ticker symbol) (expense ratio)
Fund name (ticker symbol) (expense ratio)

Does your 403(b) have a brokerage account option?
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by LadyGeek »

The terminology I've seen is "Self-Managed Account".

I'm concerned new investors may be intimidated by the terminology, as it's usually buried in the plan's fine print. It also introduces a level of complexity that they may not be able to manage.

Also, I don't want to make our own format overly complicated.
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thr

Post by redfishbluefish »

retiredjg wrote: Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:16 pm
Mudpuppy wrote:Not to bring up anything too political (and I wouldn't have bothered if the wiki wasn't actively being edited), but using "his" and "her" for account designations with a couple might be a bit behind the times. I do not have a good suggestion for brief alternate wording, perhaps something like "my 401k" and "spouse's 401k" (or "partner's 401k").
Sorry Mudpuppy, but I hope there is not a lot of interest in this change. :?

In my opinion, this has not really been a problem that needs to be fixed. And I don't think there is anything politically incorrect about using His and Her - those people in same sex unions have not had a problem finding appropriate words to use. Some actually use His and Her. Some use Her #1 and Her #2 or whatever. A few just use names (Tracey and Sam) and nobody has any idea who is which or even what gender the couple is.

The trouble with using "my" is in the reply. The reply would be "your ___" or "your partner's ___". These are cumbersome and awkward and there is always the problem that "your" can refer to either only one person or the couple. It's imprecise and will lead to confusion. I already have found I need to be careful using "your" for just this reason. I know if I mean an individual or the couple, but the reader might not. His and Her (or His-1 and His-2) eliminates this confusion.

His and Her works, it is precise, it is not offensive to my knowledge, and it makes it easy to remember who is who when writing a reply. My vote is to leave this one as it currently is.
I actually ended up asking the same question in my own "help me" post and got directed here. I think the thing at issue is not "does the system work" or "is it offensive" but what is the expectation that's being set around the "default" from the perspective of inclusivity. If I were reading through that template as a married, non-hetero couple, I'd feel a little twinge every time I had to change "her" to "his-2".

I had suggested "yours" and "theirs"?, and I understand the problem laid out with the use of "yours". That said, I think if the template read that, then the poster's expectation would be set such that "your" refers to them, the poster.
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by Misenplace »

New poster redfishbluefish had an excellent suggestion at the end of his first post Subject: Portfolio Advice
redfishbluefish wrote: Thu Oct 15, 2020 10:30 am Snipped for brevity

7. As an entirely unrelated note, how would I suggest a change to the template to remove "his" and "hers" to be replaced with "yours" and "theirs"? I'm not offended by it, but it could make the forum more inclusive.
I agree with redfishbluefish that it is not very inclusive. I know that I found the gender norms in this template a little off-setting when I first used it more than 4 years ago, and purposely modified it for my post.

Instead of yours/theirs, I would suggest yours/spouse's since the whole point of including this is the tax treatment of married couples' finances.
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by LadyGeek »

redfishbluefish, Welcome! From a grammar perspective, I think template should have "You" for the member (vs. "Yours").

Look at forms submitted on other things. It's always "You" for the applicant, "Spouse / Partner / Dependent" for the other person. At issue is what to call the "other" person for this template.
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by Misenplace »

Mudpuppy wrote: Sat Aug 29, 2020 5:31 pm I hate to be late to the party, so to speak, but I just got caught up on this thread and I agree with needing to change the gendered pronouns. It is a very strong microaggression to assume that (a) every person posting a portfolio question has a spouse and (b) that the couple is "he" and "she" in gender. It's along the same lines as continuing to call someone "Eddie" when they've repeatedly asked you to call them "Edward": it's disrespectful and sets a bad tone. It makes it seem like this forum is not respectful or welcoming to all couples.

I don't understand why this is so controversial. Why not something simple like "my" and "spouse's", as suggested by livesoft back in June? There's no need for person A, B, etc or any other contortions if you just keep to the neutral "me" and "spouse" concept. For example:

My 401(k)

My Roth IRA

Spouse's 401(k)

Spouse's Roth IRA

I find that to be very readable and clear as to what part of the portfolio belongs to whom. Also, it doesn't presume the gender of the poster, it doesn't presume the gender of the spouse, and, if someone doesn't have a spouse, like me, they just skip the "spouse" part and keep the "my" part.
Ah, I see Mudpuppy already suggested it. I agree with this suggestion.
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by retiredjg »

For those of you who have read this entire thread, you already know this pronoun topic has been discussed several times over several years. I have come to the conclusion that there is no solution that will satisfy everyone. Someone finds discomfort or fault with every suggestion.

I think many people look at this question from the perspective of understanding the original post. And from that viewpoint, many of the suggested alternatives make sense.

I look at this from the perspective of responding back to the original poster. That is where things get trickier. "My 401k" then sounds like it belongs to me, not the original poster. "Spouses 401k" is becomes confusing if both people in the couple are reading and responding. It is impossible to know what "your" and "their" mean because some people will interpret it as singular and some as plural.

Carrying this one step further, but the time a thread has 10 responses, "My 401k" has been referred to as "your 401k" by some responders and the original poster has now referred to "spouse's 401k" as "his 401k". And so on.

We all know know it is critical to know what account belongs to which person. Avoiding confusion is important.

In our last discussion about this, the best solution we could come up with was to add a note about using whatever pronouns a poster wants to use. It is unclear if some of the recent posters on this topic even realize that was added to the format. If not, here is the current version...
  • * The format is set up using traditional his and her pronouns and we realize this does not represent every couple who might want to post portfolio questions. Feel free to use whatever pronouns or identifying names you prefer as long as it is clear which assets belong to which person.
In my mind, the positioning of this paragraph near the end of the format is not optimal. Many posters probably never read that far and the ones who do may have already experienced the "twinge" mentioned by redfishbluefish.

I'd like to suggest that leave the format His/Her but move that paragraph from near the end to near the top of the format and maybe change a word or two and see if that will ease some of the discomfort expressed by the recent postings.
Last edited by retiredjg on Sun Oct 18, 2020 10:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by ruralavalon »

I agree with retiredjg. It's very important to avoid confusion about who owns each account. Confusion can lead to very bad advice about account consolidation and rollovers.

In my opinion it's best to leave the template and his/her pronouns as is, and move to a more prominent position the paragraph about feeling "free to use whatever pronouns or identifying names you prefer as long as it is clear which assets belong to which person."
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by Misenplace »

retiredjg wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 10:06 am I look at this from the perspective of responding back to the original poster. That is where things get trickier. "My 401k" then sounds like it belongs to me, not the original poster. "Spouses 401k" is becomes confusing if both people in the couple are reading and responding. It is impossible to know what "your" and "their" mean because some people will interpret it as singular and some as plural.

Carrying this one step further, but the time a thread has 10 responses, "My 401k" has been referred to as "your 401k" by some responders and the original poster has now referred to "spouse's 401k" as "his 401k". And so on.
I have not seen this confusion you reference, although I know that you have responded to many, many more of these posts than I have. I don't recall ever seeing the OP being a couple who respond by mixing up the nomenclature on the accounts. In the second example, if the OP suddenly referred to the "spouse's 401K" as "his 401K" (instead of "my 401K"), I would just take that to mean OP was female or married to a member of the same sex. But I can see the point about confusion for some readers.
retiredjg wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 10:06 am I'd like to suggest that leave the format His/Her but move that paragraph from near the end to near the top of the format and maybe change a word or two and see if that will ease some of the discomfort expressed by the recent postings.
I would be OK with this, and I can make the edits if there is a consensus.
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by Thrifty Femme »

How about <insert your username>'s 401k and <insert your username>'s spouse/partner/etc.'s 401k?
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by retiredjg »

Misenplace wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 6:04 pm I would be OK with this, and I can make the edits if there is a consensus.
Let's give this a day for others to comment. And let's discuss exactly how it should be worded.

Of all the other wordings I have worked with, some are Ok and some are difficult (even very difficult) from the perspective of the "responder".
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by LadyGeek »

Misenplace wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 6:04 pm I would be OK with this, and I can make the edits if there is a consensus.
That's fine by me. Let's agree on the placement. How about moving it here:
Please provide a hint as to the size of your current total portfolio (as in high four-figures, mid five-figures, low six-figures, etc.) What might be appropriate for a very large portfolio might not be appropriate for a new investor.

Show us your current portfolio including all investment and retirement accounts (yourself and spouse or civil partner, if applicable) as it's important to look at the portfolio as a unified whole rather than look at accounts in isolation. Also include the available funds in your employer provided retirement plans.

* The format is set up using traditional his and her pronouns and we realize this does not represent every couple who might want to post portfolio questions. Feel free to use whatever pronouns or identifying names you prefer as long as it is clear which assets belong to which person.

Show each fund or holding as a percentage of the entire portfolio, not as a percentage of the account that holding is in. If this instruction is not clear, see the example under the Key Points section below. For example:

Current retirement assets
The post is copied in the wiki. Asking portfolio questions

Myself or another wiki editor can update the wiki after we have a consensus.
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by LadyGeek »

Thrifty Femme wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 6:11 pm How about <insert your username>'s 401k and <insert your username>'s spouse/partner/etc.'s 401k?
It's the "spouse/partner/etc.'s" part that's in contention, not the username.
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by retiredjg »

Thrifty Femme wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 6:11 pm How about <insert your username>'s 401k and <insert your username>'s spouse/partner/etc.'s 401k?
This would seem like a good idea....but it isn't. :(

Some posters have very awkward or hard to remember usernames. As a person responding to a portfolio request, it is cumbersome and awkward and distracting to have to type in awkward usernames over and over.

Sorry, just being honest.
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by pasadena »

I agree it should be changed. I like "My" and "Spouse/Partner" - I don't find it confusing.

Offensive is a strong word, but I think using his/her and then a whole sentence to explain that, "yes, we know but hey, sorry" is a little exclusive.
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by Misenplace »

I think we should put it right before someone runs into the twinge-inducing language. Also, I don't think we should imply that the norm is our template (a male posting for a cis couple). My suggested language, and where to put it is below (the addition is in italics):
Desired Asset allocation: xx% stocks / xx% bonds
Desired International allocation: xx% of stocks

Please provide a hint as to the size of your current total portfolio (as in high four-figures, mid five-figures, low six-figures, etc.) What might be appropriate for a very large portfolio might not be appropriate for a new investor.

Show us your current portfolio including all investment and retirement accounts (yourself and spouse or civil partner, if applicable) as it's important to look at the portfolio as a unified whole rather than look at accounts in isolation. Also include the available funds in your employer provided retirement plans.

Show each fund or holding as a percentage of the entire portfolio, not as a percentage of the account that holding is in. If this instruction is not clear, see the example under the Key Points section below. For example:

Current retirement assets

Taxable
xx% cash (for investing – do not include emergency funds)
xx% fund name (ticker symbol) (expense ratio)
xx% stock company name (ticker symbol)

* The format is set up using his and her pronouns and we realize this does not represent how many couples might want to post portfolio questions. Feel free to use whatever pronouns or identifying names you prefer as long as it is clear which assets belong to which person.
His 401k
xx% fund name (ticker symbol) (expense ratio)
Company match?

His Roth IRA at Vanguard
xx% fund name (ticker symbol) (expense ratio)
xx% fund name (ticker symbol) (expense ratio)
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by Tamarack »

pasadena wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 6:58 pm I agree it should be changed. I like "My" and "Spouse/Partner" - I don't find it confusing.

Offensive is a strong word, but I think using his/her and then a whole sentence to explain that, "yes, we know but hey, sorry" is a little exclusive.
+1
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by LadyGeek »

Misenplace wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 7:31 pm I think we should put it right before someone runs into the twinge-inducing language. Also, I don't think we should imply that the norm is our template (a male posting for a cis couple). My suggested language, and where to put it is below (the addition is in italics):
I would not bold the "clear". I also inserted an extra blank line.
Desired Asset allocation: xx% stocks / xx% bonds
Desired International allocation: xx% of stocks

Please provide a hint as to the size of your current total portfolio (as in high four-figures, mid five-figures, low six-figures, etc.) What might be appropriate for a very large portfolio might not be appropriate for a new investor.

Show us your current portfolio including all investment and retirement accounts (yourself and spouse or civil partner, if applicable) as it's important to look at the portfolio as a unified whole rather than look at accounts in isolation. Also include the available funds in your employer provided retirement plans.

Show each fund or holding as a percentage of the entire portfolio, not as a percentage of the account that holding is in. If this instruction is not clear, see the example under the Key Points section below. For example:

Current retirement assets

Taxable
xx% cash (for investing – do not include emergency funds)
xx% fund name (ticker symbol) (expense ratio)
xx% stock company name (ticker symbol)

* The format is set up using his and her pronouns and we realize this does not represent how many couples might want to post portfolio questions. Feel free to use whatever pronouns or identifying names you prefer as long as it is clear which assets belong to which person.

His 401k
xx% fund name (ticker symbol) (expense ratio)
Company match?

His Roth IRA at Vanguard
xx% fund name (ticker symbol) (expense ratio)
xx% fund name (ticker symbol) (expense ratio)
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by Misenplace »

Tamarack wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 7:53 pm
pasadena wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 6:58 pm I agree it should be changed. I like "My" and "Spouse/Partner" - I don't find it confusing.

Offensive is a strong word, but I think using his/her and then a whole sentence to explain that, "yes, we know but hey, sorry" is a little exclusive.
+1
I see your point, and would like it to be "My" and "Spouse", but I am deferring to retiredjg and ruralavalon who have replied to just about every 'Asking about my Portfolio' post for the past several years. I think they have seen confusion occurring that I have not.
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by retiredjg »

Here is a suggestion for alternative language.

The format below is shown using his/her pronouns. Use whatever whatever pronouns or identifying names you prefer as long as it is clear which assets belong to which person.

I like Misenplace's placement.
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by ruralavalon »

retiredjg wrote: Mon Oct 19, 2020 7:40 am Here is a suggestion for alternative language.

The format below is shown using his/her pronouns. Use whatever whatever pronouns or identifying names you prefer as long as it is clear which assets belong to which person.

I like Misenplace's placement.
I agree.
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Re: Suggestion for updating "Asking Portfolio Questions" thread

Post by dratkinson »

Submitted only half in jest... let's kick this problem back to the couple. Why? To keep the template as simple as possible.

How about "His 401k", "Her 401k", ...and let the couple decide for themselves who more often prefers to wear pants... and who more often doesn't. Why?

In this way, it is clear to the forum (more folks, trying to help), and the couple.

If the couple can't keep the understanding straight between themselves, then nothing the forum decides will ever be correct... for all situations. It's a battle that can't be won, so let's not fight it.


Above should suffice until all-inclusive polygamy is allowed, and then we change to spouse#1, spouse#2,... without the need to worry about whether each spouse is animal, vegetable, or mineral. :)
Last edited by dratkinson on Mon Oct 19, 2020 11:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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