Moving from an advisor to DIY . . . Please Help!

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dotdotloop
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2018 3:52 pm

Moving from an advisor to DIY . . . Please Help!

Post by dotdotloop » Sun Aug 05, 2018 8:42 pm

I'm new to Bogleheads, but, after beginning to read about investing, I followed the rabbit trail and believe Bogle's philosophy most closely aligns with what I believe.

Here's a quick overview:
My husband and I are both 31 and have two young children (19 months and 6 weeks). My husband makes $52k/year and I stay at home. We owe $90k on our home (appraised for $125k). We have no car loans, student loan debt, or credit card debt. We live on a budget and try to be frugal with our spending. I tend to feel very comfortable finding ways to save money, but I'm just now delving into investing after realizing how much money we've been spending on fees between our financial advisor and the investment companies.

Financial Overview:
My Roth IRA: $26k (currently earning 6%)
Husband's Roth IRA: $10k (currently earning 10%)
Husband's 401k: $2,600 (funded to receive full employer match) (currently earning 6%)
Secondary Investment: $31k (currently earning 4.3%- I'm not sure what to do with this money- I would like it to be fairly low risk and liquid so we can use it as part of a downpayment when we decide to move to a different home)
Public School Retirement System: $65k ($1000/month payout starting at age 60 until death- option to do a traditional IRA rollover)
Money Market: $27k (currently earning 1.85%- this is our emergency fund account)
Checking Accounts: $23k (designated for car savings, vacation savings, health savings- for our health sharing group, car insurance savings, etc.)
Monthly Budget: We save 15% for retirement per month

Questions:
1. Roth IRAs: We've been paying a financial advisor 1% of our investments to help guide us. However, until now, we''ve been completely hands off because I didn't ever take the time to really track our spending until staying at home. This led to me to realize how much we've been paying in fees to both him, SEI, and Morningstar. In total this year, we will have paid 2% of our total investments in fees! I would like to make the move to manage everything myself, but I'm nervous. I would like to invest both of our Roth IRAs in index funds that follow the S&P 500, as well bond funds. Thoughts on putting a percentage into an index fund that follows an international market? I'm looking at 80% stocks and 20% bonds. Does this seem wise? Thoughts on Fidelity's new no-fee indexes? Too new?

2. Public School Retirement System: With $65k in PSRS, I'm torn between leaving the $ there or rolling it over to a traditional IRA and following the asset allocation listed above. There is minimal risk with PSRS and there are lifetime benefits for my children if I were to pass early. It's unlikely I will contribute to a traditional IRA because we've been putting money into our Roths. However, I know with the traditional IRA, I can have control over it right now and I can have control of it during retirement. With PSRS, the money will come every month from age 60 onward. This is a no brainer, right? Roll it over? I believe I have the option to roll it back if I go back to teaching public school.

3. Secondary Savings Investment: Our emergency fund is fully funded, but I like having a low risk secondary savings investment that's earning $, but that is also liquid in case we need it for a downpayment. Any suggestions on funds?

4. Anything I'm overlooking? We try to be wise with our money, but I've just never taken the time to learn about managing our investments ourself until now.

Thanks!

Jablean
Posts: 250
Joined: Sat Jun 02, 2018 2:38 pm

Re: Moving from an advisor to DIY . . . Please Help!

Post by Jablean » Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:08 pm

You have more than we did starting 10 years later with kids so you are doing great. 1st off with the public school retirement - if they are highly rated (compare it to Idaho which is great) keep it in the system. My mom kept hers in (and kept teaching) allowed her to travel in retirement. My dad took his out to travel the world early, had a chance to pay it back, didn't, now living with me. Don't do that to your kids.

On taking the step to DIY, yes do it, once you see those fees disappear you won't look back. Will you lose money some time? Yep. I didn't look at my files for two years in 2009 and 2010, that was just savings and income was still flowing from work. Your first step is getting it moved out of your advisor's hands. Fidelity is great and you can talk with an advisor one time and never again if you want. Their indexes, and the 0 fee ones are fine.

billfromct
Posts: 747
Joined: Tue Dec 03, 2013 9:05 am

Re: Moving from an advisor to DIY . . . Please Help!

Post by billfromct » Sun Aug 05, 2018 11:30 pm

Your Roth IRA, if a stock fund, isn't "currently earning 6%". That may be the year to date return. That return is not guaranteed & may go up or down depending on the market.

Fidelity is a good mutual fund company, but their "no cost" index funds (only 2) are loss leaders so they can get some free publicly & get people to invest with Fidelity so they can get other client assets into higher cost investments.

If Vanguard wasn't around, Fidelity would not offer mutual funds with costs as low as current Vanguard funds because they would not have the low cost competition.

Don't get me wrong, Fidelity is a great investment company. The company I worked for had their 401k with Fidelity. I had no complaints. I've been with Vanguard for 35 years or so & have been very happy. I believe Vanguard has their customer's interest as their number 1 priority. I have heard of Fidelity phone reps trying to steer customers into higher cost funds. If you can be sure that your money is put into the low cost funds, Fidelity is a good choice.

I rolled my company "cash account" pension into my rollover IRA at Vanguard because I am waiting to take SS at age 70 (the highest amount you can get) & I wanted to simplify my retirement accounts. You don't say your age, but the S&P 500 would probably earn a 7% annual return for the long run (of course nothing is guaranteed), so that $65k would double every 10 years with a 7% return. The S&P 500 has returned about 10.1% since 1957 including reinvested dividends. The S&P went to 500 stocks in 1957.

Currently, the Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund is paying 2.06%. You can write checks if over $250 & you can transfer money between your bank/credit union checking account & the Vanguard Prime MM Fund within a day or so. I have transferred money between the 2 accounts, but never checked to see how long it takes.

You may want to investigate opening a 529 college savings account for your kids. The money compounds tax free & can be used tax free for college expenses. Many states give a state tax deduction for 529 contributions into the 529 plan sponsored by the state. If no state tax deduction, Vanguard & Fidelity have good low cost 529 plans.

bill

sjt
Posts: 91
Joined: Fri May 26, 2017 3:03 pm

Re: Moving from an advisor to DIY . . . Please Help!

Post by sjt » Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:26 am

dotdotloop wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 8:42 pm

Public School Retirement System: $65k ($1000/month payout starting at age 60 until death- option to do a traditional IRA rollover)
Money Market: $27k (currently earning 1.85%- this is our emergency fund account)
Checking Accounts: $23k (designated for car savings, vacation savings, health savings- for our health sharing group, car insurance savings, etc.)

Questions:
1. Roth IRAs: We've been paying a financial advisor 1% of our investments to help guide us. However, until now, we''ve been completely hands off because I didn't ever take the time to really track our spending until staying at home. This led to me to realize how much we've been paying in fees to both him, SEI, and Morningstar. In total this year, we will have paid 2% of our total investments in fees! I would like to make the move to manage everything myself, but I'm nervous. I would like to invest both of our Roth IRAs in index funds that follow the S&P 500, as well bond funds. Thoughts on putting a percentage into an index fund that follows an international market? I'm looking at 80% stocks and 20% bonds. Does this seem wise? Thoughts on Fidelity's new no-fee indexes? Too new?

Glad to see you've seen the light - on high fees. You're still young enough that you haven't lost a ton of money. Consider it the cost of an education! 80/20 seems fine to me, are you comfortable holding this Asset Allocation even if the stocks take a big dip in the next few years?

2. Public School Retirement System: With $65k in PSRS, I'm torn between leaving the $ there or rolling it over to a traditional IRA and following the asset allocation listed above. There is minimal risk with PSRS and there are lifetime benefits for my children if I were to pass early. It's unlikely I will contribute to a traditional IRA because we've been putting money into our Roths. However, I know with the traditional IRA, I can have control over it right now and I can have control of it during retirement. With PSRS, the money will come every month from age 60 onward. This is a no brainer, right? Roll it over? I believe I have the option to roll it back if I go back to teaching public school.

If you put this money into an IRA, and it earned 7% every year until you were 60 years old, I come up with a balance of about $462k. Assuming a "safe withdraw rate" of 3.5%, I get just over $16k annually, about $1350 per month. When you pass on, your IRA fund balance (half million?) will go to your heirs. If you stayed in PSRS, you would get $1000/month and how much would pass to your heirs? I'd option for the IRA rollover.


3. Secondary Savings Investment: Our emergency fund is fully funded, but I like having a low risk secondary savings investment that's earning $, but that is also liquid in case we need it for a downpayment. Any suggestions on funds?

Maybe in an Ally no-penalty CD. It's earning more money than a savings account.

4. Anything I'm overlooking? We try to be wise with our money, but I've just never taken the time to learn about managing our investments ourself until now.

Google a book / PDF called "If You Can" and read the Wiki here. Keep reading posts on here. Understand the tax code and how to take advantage of it for your personal situation (Roth vs pre-tax, etc) Sounds like you're on the right path!

"The one who covets is the poorer man, | For he would have that which he never can; | But he who doesn't have and doesn't crave | Is rich, though you may hold him but a knave." - Wife of Bath tale

soccerrules
Posts: 803
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2016 4:01 pm

Re: Moving from an advisor to DIY . . . Please Help!

Post by soccerrules » Mon Aug 06, 2018 8:42 am

dotdotloop --

Welcome. I didn't make it to BH/DIY until I was 51.--you are 20 years ahead of me.

I would take it slow. Keep saving, being frugal and for the next 30-60 days READ READ READ.
Read the Get started
Read the Wiki
Read several of the recommended books (Common Sense Investing Guide, All About Asset Allocation - are 2 good ones)
Search/Read the Forum.

The more you know the more it will make sense. You will get some great advice here but unless you understand the advice it will not be YOUR decision nor will you understand why you are making the changes. This is YOUR money and YOUR retirement plan. Doing it yourself is really pretty easy once you have a plan and understand what you are trying to accomplish.

Best of Luck
Don't let your outflow exceed your income or your upkeep will be your downfall.

carolinaman
Posts: 3239
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:56 am
Location: North Carolina

Re: Moving from an advisor to DIY . . . Please Help!

Post by carolinaman » Mon Aug 06, 2018 9:00 am

dotdotloop wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 8:42 pm


Questions:
1. Thoughts on putting a percentage into an index fund that follows an international market? I'm looking at 80% stocks and 20% bonds. Does this seem wise? Thoughts on Fidelity's new no-fee indexes? Too new?

2. Public School Retirement System: With $65k in PSRS, I'm torn between leaving the $ there or rolling it over to a traditional IRA and following the asset allocation listed above. There is minimal risk with PSRS and there are lifetime benefits for my children if I were to pass early. It's unlikely I will contribute to a traditional IRA because we've been putting money into our Roths. However, I know with the traditional IRA, I can have control over it right now and I can have control of it during retirement. With PSRS, the money will come every month from age 60 onward. This is a no brainer, right? Roll it over? I believe I have the option to roll it back if I go back to teaching public school.
Welcome to the forum! Congratulations on your success so far. You and your husband are off to a good start and are headed in the right direction.

Do you ever intend to return to teaching? Perhaps after your children reach school age. I assume you are vested in the retirement system. If so, you should leave your money there because you can retain your seniority and further build your retirement. If you take your money out of the retirement system and then decide to return to teaching, buying back your time can be prohibitively expensive. I speak from experience because I took my money out of the NC retirement system and wound up paying $63k to buyback 5+ years.

Low cost S&P500 index funds are a good choice. Another fund to consider is Vanguard's Total Stock Market Index fund which includes the S&P500 plus about 20% in small and mid cap funds. Many on this forum prefer the latter fund.

I recommend using an intermediate bond fund. Vanguard has a great one in VBILX. I am not sure of the comparable Fidelity bond fund.

Investing in international equity gives you much greater diversification. Most people here will recommend somewhere between 20% and 50% of equity in international. I have 30%. I use Vanguard's International Index which includes developed and emerging markets. I know Fidelity has some good international funds but am not familiar with them.

Fidelity is a great fund company and the new no fee index funds seem promising. My experience with Fidelity is they will try a "soft sell" of other investments, but if you know what you want, then they will not push those products.

dotdotloop
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2018 3:52 pm

Re: Moving from an advisor to DIY . . . Please Help!

Post by dotdotloop » Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:30 pm

Jablean wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:08 pm
You have more than we did starting 10 years later with kids so you are doing great. 1st off with the public school retirement - if they are highly rated (compare it to Idaho which is great) keep it in the system. My mom kept hers in (and kept teaching) allowed her to travel in retirement. My dad took his out to travel the world early, had a chance to pay it back, didn't, now living with me. Don't do that to your kids.

On taking the step to DIY, yes do it, once you see those fees disappear you won't look back. Will you lose money some time? Yep. I didn't look at my files for two years in 2009 and 2010, that was just savings and income was still flowing from work. Your first step is getting it moved out of your advisor's hands. Fidelity is great and you can talk with an advisor one time and never again if you want. Their indexes, and the 0 fee ones are fine.
Thank you! Yes, Missouri's PSRS is excellent! Both of my parents are retired educators and were able to retire at age 52 with a guaranteed source of income. However, because I'm staying at home right now, I cannot contribute to my PSRS account and the money is not compounding like it would in a traditional IRA account. If I roll the money to a Roth, I have a pay taxes on it now and pay a penalty. If I roll it to a traditional IRA, I can do so without any penalty. I'm stuck between leaving it and rolling it over- there are pros and cons either way. I tend toward more conservative, so I'm leaning toward leaving it in.

I love your advice about DIY- I'm really excited about dropping these fees. Like you, my goal is to find a path and stick to it. My priority right now is raising my children, serving my family, and living a frugal/humble life. I do not want to be looks at performance every day and worrying about trades.

dotdotloop
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2018 3:52 pm

Re: Moving from an advisor to DIY . . . Please Help!

Post by dotdotloop » Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:37 pm

billfromct wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 11:30 pm
Your Roth IRA, if a stock fund, isn't "currently earning 6%". That may be the year to date return. That return is not guaranteed & may go up or down depending on the market.

Fidelity is a good mutual fund company, but their "no cost" index funds (only 2) are loss leaders so they can get some free publicly & get people to invest with Fidelity so they can get other client assets into higher cost investments.

If Vanguard wasn't around, Fidelity would not offer mutual funds with costs as low as current Vanguard funds because they would not have the low cost competition.

Don't get me wrong, Fidelity is a great investment company. The company I worked for had their 401k with Fidelity. I had no complaints. I've been with Vanguard for 35 years or so & have been very happy. I believe Vanguard has their customer's interest as their number 1 priority. I have heard of Fidelity phone reps trying to steer customers into higher cost funds. If you can be sure that your money is put into the low cost funds, Fidelity is a good choice.

I rolled my company "cash account" pension into my rollover IRA at Vanguard because I am waiting to take SS at age 70 (the highest amount you can get) & I wanted to simplify my retirement accounts. You don't say your age, but the S&P 500 would probably earn a 7% annual return for the long run (of course nothing is guaranteed), so that $65k would double every 10 years with a 7% return. The S&P 500 has returned about 10.1% since 1957 including reinvested dividends. The S&P went to 500 stocks in 1957.

Currently, the Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund is paying 2.06%. You can write checks if over $250 & you can transfer money between your bank/credit union checking account & the Vanguard Prime MM Fund within a day or so. I have transferred money between the 2 accounts, but never checked to see how long it takes.

You may want to investigate opening a 529 college savings account for your kids. The money compounds tax free & can be used tax free for college expenses. Many states give a state tax deduction for 529 contributions into the 529 plan sponsored by the state. If no state tax deduction, Vanguard & Fidelity have good low cost 529 plans.

bill
Thank you! After doing some more reading over the last few days, I'm about 99% sold on Vanguard. I believe their philosophy most closely aligns with mine. I do not want to be making frequent trades and sitting behind my computer when I should be raising my kids (they're napping now, by the way). I appreciate your perspective on Fidelity and can definitely see the truths in what you shared. Those zero fee indexes are tempting, but I don't want to be pulled into anything just because it's shiny and new.

We're both 31 right now. I'm definitely considering rolling over my teacher retirement because it'll give me more options. However, the money is very safe where it's at and I'm guaranteed a pension. However, like you mentioned, when I hit age 60, the money will start coming every month, whether I want it to or not. I do know this could lead to tax issues with being able to withdraw from our other accounts.

I guess I forgot to note it in my original post- we do have 529 plans in place for both of our children. At this point, we're only contributing $50/month for each of them and any additional funds they receive as gifts. We've definitely prioritized retirement savings over college savings.

dotdotloop
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2018 3:52 pm

Re: Moving from an advisor to DIY . . . Please Help!

Post by dotdotloop » Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:40 pm

soccerrules wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 8:42 am
dotdotloop --

Welcome. I didn't make it to BH/DIY until I was 51.--you are 20 years ahead of me.

I would take it slow. Keep saving, being frugal and for the next 30-60 days READ READ READ.
Read the Get started
Read the Wiki
Read several of the recommended books (Common Sense Investing Guide, All About Asset Allocation - are 2 good ones)
Search/Read the Forum.

The more you know the more it will make sense. You will get some great advice here but unless you understand the advice it will not be YOUR decision nor will you understand why you are making the changes. This is YOUR money and YOUR retirement plan. Doing it yourself is really pretty easy once you have a plan and understand what you are trying to accomplish.

Best of Luck
Thank you! This is exactly what I needed to hear. I really appreciate the encouragement and direction. Once I get rolling with something, I feel such urgency and sometimes fail to forget that waiting 1-2 months to actually take a step isn't going to cause long term harm, especially if I make more educated decisions down the line.

I also appreciate your comments about frugality. Although I'm at home right now with my children and not earning an income outside of the home, I definitely see part of my role right now to help my family make money through saving money.

dotdotloop
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2018 3:52 pm

Re: Moving from an advisor to DIY . . . Please Help!

Post by dotdotloop » Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:46 pm

carolinaman wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 9:00 am
dotdotloop wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 8:42 pm


Questions:
1. Thoughts on putting a percentage into an index fund that follows an international market? I'm looking at 80% stocks and 20% bonds. Does this seem wise? Thoughts on Fidelity's new no-fee indexes? Too new?

2. Public School Retirement System: With $65k in PSRS, I'm torn between leaving the $ there or rolling it over to a traditional IRA and following the asset allocation listed above. There is minimal risk with PSRS and there are lifetime benefits for my children if I were to pass early. It's unlikely I will contribute to a traditional IRA because we've been putting money into our Roths. However, I know with the traditional IRA, I can have control over it right now and I can have control of it during retirement. With PSRS, the money will come every month from age 60 onward. This is a no brainer, right? Roll it over? I believe I have the option to roll it back if I go back to teaching public school.
Welcome to the forum! Congratulations on your success so far. You and your husband are off to a good start and are headed in the right direction.

Do you ever intend to return to teaching? Perhaps after your children reach school age. I assume you are vested in the retirement system. If so, you should leave your money there because you can retain your seniority and further build your retirement. If you take your money out of the retirement system and then decide to return to teaching, buying back your time can be prohibitively expensive. I speak from experience because I took my money out of the NC retirement system and wound up paying $63k to buyback 5+ years.

Low cost S&P500 index funds are a good choice. Another fund to consider is Vanguard's Total Stock Market Index fund which includes the S&P500 plus about 20% in small and mid cap funds. Many on this forum prefer the latter fund.

I recommend using an intermediate bond fund. Vanguard has a great one in VBILX. I am not sure of the comparable Fidelity bond fund.

Investing in international equity gives you much greater diversification. Most people here will recommend somewhere between 20% and 50% of equity in international. I have 30%. I use Vanguard's International Index which includes developed and emerging markets. I know Fidelity has some good international funds but am not familiar with them.

Fidelity is a great fund company and the new no fee index funds seem promising. My experience with Fidelity is they will try a "soft sell" of other investments, but if you know what you want, then they will not push those products.
I love your advice! Thank you!!

Honestly, I do not intend on returning to teaching at the public school level. As much as I loved it, we plan on homeschooling, which will keep me at home for at least another 18 years, longer if we're able to have more children. I do have my doctorate and am on staff to teach online courses at a local university, but they do not feed into the same retirement system. My dad also is a retired educator, pulled from the retirement system when he was young, and payed an arm and leg to buy those years back. However, if I pull it, I would be rolling it directly into a traditional IRA. It's such a difficult decision. All this to say, I can't predict the future and, who knows, may return to the classroom.

Thank you for your fund advice! I've been doing more reading over the last few days and definitely want to keep things simple, but have a diversified portfolio.

The more I've read, the more I'm leaning to Vanguard. I believe their philosophy most aligns with mine- I don't want any frills- just a place for long term investing.

soccerrules
Posts: 803
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2016 4:01 pm

Re: Moving from an advisor to DIY . . . Please Help!

Post by soccerrules » Wed Aug 08, 2018 4:55 pm

dotdotloop wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:40 pm
soccerrules wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 8:42 am
dotdotloop --

Welcome. I didn't make it to BH/DIY until I was 51.--you are 20 years ahead of me.

I would take it slow. Keep saving, being frugal and for the next 30-60 days READ READ READ.
Read the Get started
Read the Wiki
Read several of the recommended books (Common Sense Investing Guide, All About Asset Allocation - are 2 good ones)
Search/Read the Forum.

The more you know the more it will make sense. You will get some great advice here but unless you understand the advice it will not be YOUR decision nor will you understand why you are making the changes. This is YOUR money and YOUR retirement plan. Doing it yourself is really pretty easy once you have a plan and understand what you are trying to accomplish.

Best of Luck
Thank you! This is exactly what I needed to hear. I really appreciate the encouragement and direction. Once I get rolling with something, I feel such urgency and sometimes fail to forget that waiting 1-2 months to actually take a step isn't going to cause long term harm, especially if I make more educated decisions down the line.

I also appreciate your comments about frugality. Although I'm at home right now with my children and not earning an income outside of the home, I definitely see part of my role right now to help my family make money through saving money.
Looks like you are on a good track.
Once you know -- it is hard to unknow. The fees you are paying the adviser and possibly the fees associated with the mutual funds (he/she has you in) will erode your savings/nest egg over 20-30 years. It really is easy to do it yourself.
We are here to help you and we will do it for FREE. :happy
Don't let your outflow exceed your income or your upkeep will be your downfall.

dotdotloop
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2018 3:52 pm

Re: Moving from an advisor to DIY . . . Please Help!

Post by dotdotloop » Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:33 pm

soccerrules wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 4:55 pm
dotdotloop wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:40 pm
soccerrules wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 8:42 am
dotdotloop --

Welcome. I didn't make it to BH/DIY until I was 51.--you are 20 years ahead of me.

I would take it slow. Keep saving, being frugal and for the next 30-60 days READ READ READ.
Read the Get started
Read the Wiki
Read several of the recommended books (Common Sense Investing Guide, All About Asset Allocation - are 2 good ones)
Search/Read the Forum.

The more you know the more it will make sense. You will get some great advice here but unless you understand the advice it will not be YOUR decision nor will you understand why you are making the changes. This is YOUR money and YOUR retirement plan. Doing it yourself is really pretty easy once you have a plan and understand what you are trying to accomplish.

Best of Luck
Thank you! This is exactly what I needed to hear. I really appreciate the encouragement and direction. Once I get rolling with something, I feel such urgency and sometimes fail to forget that waiting 1-2 months to actually take a step isn't going to cause long term harm, especially if I make more educated decisions down the line.

I also appreciate your comments about frugality. Although I'm at home right now with my children and not earning an income outside of the home, I definitely see part of my role right now to help my family make money through saving money.
Looks like you are on a good track.
Once you know -- it is hard to unknow. The fees you are paying the adviser and possibly the fees associated with the mutual funds (he/she has you in) will erode your savings/nest egg over 20-30 years. It really is easy to do it yourself.
We are here to help you and we will do it for FREE. :happy
I can't tell you how much I appreciate the encouragement. It's been such a blessing to come across this community. After leaving my job to stay at home with my children, I've really been spending a lot of time combing through our finances and evaluating all of our spending. This led me to find all of the fees we've been paying. I started plugging them into a calculator and was astonished at how much it would eat away at our investments. Then I realized that our advisor would make money whether or not we did. I know I have the ability to oversee our own investments, but there's a lot more I need to learn. It feels like another language.

soccerrules
Posts: 803
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2016 4:01 pm

Re: Moving from an advisor to DIY . . . Please Help!

Post by soccerrules » Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:17 pm

dotdotloop wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:33 pm
soccerrules wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 4:55 pm
dotdotloop wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:40 pm
soccerrules wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 8:42 am
dotdotloop --

Welcome. I didn't make it to BH/DIY until I was 51.--you are 20 years ahead of me.

I would take it slow. Keep saving, being frugal and for the next 30-60 days READ READ READ.
Read the Get started
Read the Wiki
Read several of the recommended books (Common Sense Investing Guide, All About Asset Allocation - are 2 good ones)
Search/Read the Forum.

The more you know the more it will make sense. You will get some great advice here but unless you understand the advice it will not be YOUR decision nor will you understand why you are making the changes. This is YOUR money and YOUR retirement plan. Doing it yourself is really pretty easy once you have a plan and understand what you are trying to accomplish.

Best of Luck
Thank you! This is exactly what I needed to hear. I really appreciate the encouragement and direction. Once I get rolling with something, I feel such urgency and sometimes fail to forget that waiting 1-2 months to actually take a step isn't going to cause long term harm, especially if I make more educated decisions down the line.

I also appreciate your comments about frugality. Although I'm at home right now with my children and not earning an income outside of the home, I definitely see part of my role right now to help my family make money through saving money.
Looks like you are on a good track.
Once you know -- it is hard to unknow. The fees you are paying the adviser and possibly the fees associated with the mutual funds (he/she has you in) will erode your savings/nest egg over 20-30 years. It really is easy to do it yourself.
We are here to help you and we will do it for FREE. :happy
I can't tell you how much I appreciate the encouragement. It's been such a blessing to come across this community. After leaving my job to stay at home with my children, I've really been spending a lot of time combing through our finances and evaluating all of our spending. This led me to find all of the fees we've been paying. I started plugging them into a calculator and was astonished at how much it would eat away at our investments. Then I realized that our advisor would make money whether or not we did. I know I have the ability to oversee our own investments, but there's a lot more I need to learn. It feels like another language.
You will be fine-- Just take your time. The only reason you "might" need to do something would be if there was a BIG drop in the market over the next 30-60 days (think buying opportunity). Otherwise your accounts will just bounce along. You can focus on learning. You will start to understand pretty quickly. You can transfer your funds from adviser to Vanguard or Fidelity or Schwab in an action called "in kind"-- which basically moves all the funds AS IS to your broker/access. Poof --you have dropped your adviser. You don't even need to talk to your adviser -- Vanguard (or Fid/Sch) can do the work, just call them.
There might be 1 -2 funds that you would need to sell before transferring --but Vanguard can tell you which ones. It also might be cheaper to sell at your current broker before transferring --but you can check on this. I just transferred mine over and had to pay a little bit at Vanguard to liquidate. It might have cost $100 more, but it was easier to do it that way for me.
Most BH'rs like simplicity and hold a 3 fund portfolio --read about it. You can make any changes in 401k/403b/IRA and not have any tax consequences (short term or long term gains). If you have a taxable brokerage account - you will want to check what short /long term capital gains would be triggered if you sold and bought something else. You might want to spread out the liquidation depending on your tax situation and how that might impact you. If you have losses on funds -- you can sell those and offset against any gains in others funds (when you sell) in the same year you sell them.
Sorry not trying to make you drink out of the fire hydrant.
Don't let your outflow exceed your income or your upkeep will be your downfall.

dotdotloop
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2018 3:52 pm

Re: Moving from an advisor to DIY . . . Please Help!

Post by dotdotloop » Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:23 pm

soccerrules wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:17 pm
dotdotloop wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:33 pm
soccerrules wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 4:55 pm
dotdotloop wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:40 pm
soccerrules wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 8:42 am
dotdotloop --

Welcome. I didn't make it to BH/DIY until I was 51.--you are 20 years ahead of me.

I would take it slow. Keep saving, being frugal and for the next 30-60 days READ READ READ.
Read the Get started
Read the Wiki
Read several of the recommended books (Common Sense Investing Guide, All About Asset Allocation - are 2 good ones)
Search/Read the Forum.

The more you know the more it will make sense. You will get some great advice here but unless you understand the advice it will not be YOUR decision nor will you understand why you are making the changes. This is YOUR money and YOUR retirement plan. Doing it yourself is really pretty easy once you have a plan and understand what you are trying to accomplish.

Best of Luck
Thank you! This is exactly what I needed to hear. I really appreciate the encouragement and direction. Once I get rolling with something, I feel such urgency and sometimes fail to forget that waiting 1-2 months to actually take a step isn't going to cause long term harm, especially if I make more educated decisions down the line.

I also appreciate your comments about frugality. Although I'm at home right now with my children and not earning an income outside of the home, I definitely see part of my role right now to help my family make money through saving money.
Looks like you are on a good track.
Once you know -- it is hard to unknow. The fees you are paying the adviser and possibly the fees associated with the mutual funds (he/she has you in) will erode your savings/nest egg over 20-30 years. It really is easy to do it yourself.
We are here to help you and we will do it for FREE. :happy
I can't tell you how much I appreciate the encouragement. It's been such a blessing to come across this community. After leaving my job to stay at home with my children, I've really been spending a lot of time combing through our finances and evaluating all of our spending. This led me to find all of the fees we've been paying. I started plugging them into a calculator and was astonished at how much it would eat away at our investments. Then I realized that our advisor would make money whether or not we did. I know I have the ability to oversee our own investments, but there's a lot more I need to learn. It feels like another language.
You will be fine-- Just take your time. The only reason you "might" need to do something would be if there was a BIG drop in the market over the next 30-60 days (think buying opportunity). Otherwise your accounts will just bounce along. You can focus on learning. You will start to understand pretty quickly. You can transfer your funds from adviser to Vanguard or Fidelity or Schwab in an action called "in kind"-- which basically moves all the funds AS IS to your broker/access. Poof --you have dropped your adviser. You don't even need to talk to your adviser -- Vanguard (or Fid/Sch) can do the work, just call them.
There might be 1 -2 funds that you would need to sell before transferring --but Vanguard can tell you which ones. It also might be cheaper to sell at your current broker before transferring --but you can check on this. I just transferred mine over and had to pay a little bit at Vanguard to liquidate. It might have cost $100 more, but it was easier to do it that way for me.
Most BH'rs like simplicity and hold a 3 fund portfolio --read about it. You can make any changes in 401k/403b/IRA and not have any tax consequences (short term or long term gains). If you have a taxable brokerage account - you will want to check what short /long term capital gains would be triggered if you sold and bought something else. You might want to spread out the liquidation depending on your tax situation and how that might impact you. If you have losses on funds -- you can sell those and offset against any gains in others funds (when you sell) in the same year you sell them.
Sorry not trying to make you drink out of the fire hydrant.
This is all excellent to know- thank you! I'll give Vanguard a call and see if they can guide me through the process. I made it all the way to your comments about the 3 fund portfolio and felt pretty good. It's the tax info right now that's a little mind boggling. :)

soccerrules
Posts: 803
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2016 4:01 pm

Re: Moving from an advisor to DIY . . . Please Help!

Post by soccerrules » Thu Aug 09, 2018 3:53 pm

dotdotloop wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:23 pm
soccerrules wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:17 pm
dotdotloop wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:33 pm
soccerrules wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 4:55 pm
dotdotloop wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:40 pm


Thank you! This is exactly what I needed to hear. I really appreciate the encouragement and direction. Once I get rolling with something, I feel such urgency and sometimes fail to forget that waiting 1-2 months to actually take a step isn't going to cause long term harm, especially if I make more educated decisions down the line.

I also appreciate your comments about frugality. Although I'm at home right now with my children and not earning an income outside of the home, I definitely see part of my role right now to help my family make money through saving money.
Looks like you are on a good track.
Once you know -- it is hard to unknow. The fees you are paying the adviser and possibly the fees associated with the mutual funds (he/she has you in) will erode your savings/nest egg over 20-30 years. It really is easy to do it yourself.
We are here to help you and we will do it for FREE. :happy
I can't tell you how much I appreciate the encouragement. It's been such a blessing to come across this community. After leaving my job to stay at home with my children, I've really been spending a lot of time combing through our finances and evaluating all of our spending. This led me to find all of the fees we've been paying. I started plugging them into a calculator and was astonished at how much it would eat away at our investments. Then I realized that our advisor would make money whether or not we did. I know I have the ability to oversee our own investments, but there's a lot more I need to learn. It feels like another language.
You will be fine-- Just take your time. The only reason you "might" need to do something would be if there was a BIG drop in the market over the next 30-60 days (think buying opportunity). Otherwise your accounts will just bounce along. You can focus on learning. You will start to understand pretty quickly. You can transfer your funds from adviser to Vanguard or Fidelity or Schwab in an action called "in kind"-- which basically moves all the funds AS IS to your broker/access. Poof --you have dropped your adviser. You don't even need to talk to your adviser -- Vanguard (or Fid/Sch) can do the work, just call them.
There might be 1 -2 funds that you would need to sell before transferring --but Vanguard can tell you which ones. It also might be cheaper to sell at your current broker before transferring --but you can check on this. I just transferred mine over and had to pay a little bit at Vanguard to liquidate. It might have cost $100 more, but it was easier to do it that way for me.
Most BH'rs like simplicity and hold a 3 fund portfolio --read about it. You can make any changes in 401k/403b/IRA and not have any tax consequences (short term or long term gains). If you have a taxable brokerage account - you will want to check what short /long term capital gains would be triggered if you sold and bought something else. You might want to spread out the liquidation depending on your tax situation and how that might impact you. If you have losses on funds -- you can sell those and offset against any gains in others funds (when you sell) in the same year you sell them.
Sorry not trying to make you drink out of the fire hydrant.
This is all excellent to know- thank you! I'll give Vanguard a call and see if they can guide me through the process. I made it all the way to your comments about the 3 fund portfolio and felt pretty good. It's the tax info right now that's a little mind boggling. :)
again take your time. If you want to read some of the threads it will start to make sense. Several on my early posts are dealing with this exact event from last year if you want to look there. You can also use the search function at the top to find others.

In your taxable brokerage account you pay taxes (when you file tax returns) yearly on dividends, interest and then on the proceeds IF you sell a stock/bond/mutual fund. When you buy a S/B/MF you are establishing a cost basis. (what you paid for it). When you sell S/B/MF you have a Sale price. The difference determines a loss or gain. If you sell stock/bond/MF at a LOSS -- meaning you are selling for less than you paid for it -- you can take the loss against your taxes (up to $3,000 a year). When you sell stocks/bonds/MF for a GAIN you will have either a Short Term Capital Gain or a Long Term Capital Gain. This is determine on how long you held the S/B/MF -- hold the asset for less than 12 months (ST Cap Gain)-- longer than 12 months (LT Cap Gain) -- ST Cap gains are taxed at your ordinary income tax rate-- LT Cap Gains are taxed at 15%. (LT gains are better) You can apply ST Losses to ST Gains and the same for LT losses to LT gains. This is where making a decision on when to sell some of your funds can have a tax implication. I sold a number of funds in 2017 but waited until 2018 to sell more due to Cap Gains (wanted them to be LT no ST) and spreading out the tax hit.
The S/B/MF you have in your IRA's (trad or Roth), 401K, 403B you can sell anytime without triggering ST/LT cap gains (tax consequences)-- they are currently in a tax deferred position, until you withdraw them. This is a good place to do re-balancing for your AA (Asset Allocation).

The goal is to buy and hold for the most part -- frequent trading is not usually good for your accounts.
Don't let your outflow exceed your income or your upkeep will be your downfall.

Jablean
Posts: 250
Joined: Sat Jun 02, 2018 2:38 pm

Re: Moving from an advisor to DIY . . . Please Help!

Post by Jablean » Thu Aug 09, 2018 6:23 pm

dotdotloop wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:30 pm
Jablean wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:08 pm
You have more than we did starting 10 years later with kids so you are doing great. 1st off with the public school retirement - if they are highly rated (compare it to Idaho which is great) keep it in the system. My mom kept hers in (and kept teaching) allowed her to travel in retirement. My dad took his out to travel the world early, had a chance to pay it back, didn't, now living with me. Don't do that to your kids.

On taking the step to DIY, yes do it, once you see those fees disappear you won't look back. Will you lose money some time? Yep. I didn't look at my files for two years in 2009 and 2010, that was just savings and income was still flowing from work. Your first step is getting it moved out of your advisor's hands. Fidelity is great and you can talk with an advisor one time and never again if you want. Their indexes, and the 0 fee ones are fine.
Thank you! Yes, Missouri's PSRS is excellent! Both of my parents are retired educators and were able to retire at age 52 with a guaranteed source of income. However, because I'm staying at home right now, I cannot contribute to my PSRS account and the money is not compounding like it would in a traditional IRA account. If I roll the money to a Roth, I have a pay taxes on it now and pay a penalty. If I roll it to a traditional IRA, I can do so without any penalty. I'm stuck between leaving it and rolling it over- there are pros and cons either way. I tend toward more conservative, so I'm leaning toward leaving it in.

I love your advice about DIY- I'm really excited about dropping these fees. Like you, my goal is to find a path and stick to it. My priority right now is raising my children, serving my family, and living a frugal/humble life. I do not want to be looks at performance every day and worrying about trades.
Are you sure your retirement isn't compounding? Or at least growing as compounding may not be the right word. I put $2000 into a non-profit retirement system that I haven't worked for in over 20 years now. I could cash it out for over $38,000 today. Maybe I could have done that myself but for me it's like WoW. Rolling it over to an IRA should be the last, last, last thing on your list. It''s not costing you any fees to have someone else manage it.

For Fidelity or Vanguard you can easily open up accounts at either or both and test them out. I wouldn't worry about company philosophy, I'd worry about how easy it was to navigate and find what I needed. Fidelity is nice because if you are in a decent sized town there is probably a brick and mortar office you can go to.

dotdotloop
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2018 3:52 pm

Re: Moving from an advisor to DIY . . . Please Help!

Post by dotdotloop » Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:33 pm

Jablean wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 6:23 pm
dotdotloop wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:30 pm
Jablean wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:08 pm
You have more than we did starting 10 years later with kids so you are doing great. 1st off with the public school retirement - if they are highly rated (compare it to Idaho which is great) keep it in the system. My mom kept hers in (and kept teaching) allowed her to travel in retirement. My dad took his out to travel the world early, had a chance to pay it back, didn't, now living with me. Don't do that to your kids.

On taking the step to DIY, yes do it, once you see those fees disappear you won't look back. Will you lose money some time? Yep. I didn't look at my files for two years in 2009 and 2010, that was just savings and income was still flowing from work. Your first step is getting it moved out of your advisor's hands. Fidelity is great and you can talk with an advisor one time and never again if you want. Their indexes, and the 0 fee ones are fine.
Thank you! Yes, Missouri's PSRS is excellent! Both of my parents are retired educators and were able to retire at age 52 with a guaranteed source of income. However, because I'm staying at home right now, I cannot contribute to my PSRS account and the money is not compounding like it would in a traditional IRA account. If I roll the money to a Roth, I have a pay taxes on it now and pay a penalty. If I roll it to a traditional IRA, I can do so without any penalty. I'm stuck between leaving it and rolling it over- there are pros and cons either way. I tend toward more conservative, so I'm leaning toward leaving it in.

I love your advice about DIY- I'm really excited about dropping these fees. Like you, my goal is to find a path and stick to it. My priority right now is raising my children, serving my family, and living a frugal/humble life. I do not want to be looks at performance every day and worrying about trades.
Are you sure your retirement isn't compounding? Or at least growing as compounding may not be the right word. I put $2000 into a non-profit retirement system that I haven't worked for in over 20 years now. I could cash it out for over $38,000 today. Maybe I could have done that myself but for me it's like WoW. Rolling it over to an IRA should be the last, last, last thing on your list. It''s not costing you any fees to have someone else manage it.

For Fidelity or Vanguard you can easily open up accounts at either or both and test them out. I wouldn't worry about company philosophy, I'd worry about how easy it was to navigate and find what I needed. Fidelity is nice because if you are in a decent sized town there is probably a brick and mortar office you can go to.
I will double-check, but I'm pretty sure the money is just sitting there. However, I agree . . . it's definitely at the bottom of my to-do list. Honestly, there are pros and cons to both keeping it and moving it. Like you said, it's safe where it is and there are no fees associated with it right now. That's amazing what your teacher retirement has done!! I will definitely look more into mine. Before I started staying at home, I contributed 14.5% and my district contributed another 14.5% percent- it's a very strong system!

Great idea- I will definitely check out both sites! Thank you!!

dotdotloop
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2018 3:52 pm

Re: Moving from an advisor to DIY . . . Please Help!

Post by dotdotloop » Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:35 pm

soccerrules wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 3:53 pm
dotdotloop wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:23 pm
soccerrules wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:17 pm
dotdotloop wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:33 pm
soccerrules wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 4:55 pm

Looks like you are on a good track.
Once you know -- it is hard to unknow. The fees you are paying the adviser and possibly the fees associated with the mutual funds (he/she has you in) will erode your savings/nest egg over 20-30 years. It really is easy to do it yourself.
We are here to help you and we will do it for FREE. :happy
I can't tell you how much I appreciate the encouragement. It's been such a blessing to come across this community. After leaving my job to stay at home with my children, I've really been spending a lot of time combing through our finances and evaluating all of our spending. This led me to find all of the fees we've been paying. I started plugging them into a calculator and was astonished at how much it would eat away at our investments. Then I realized that our advisor would make money whether or not we did. I know I have the ability to oversee our own investments, but there's a lot more I need to learn. It feels like another language.
You will be fine-- Just take your time. The only reason you "might" need to do something would be if there was a BIG drop in the market over the next 30-60 days (think buying opportunity). Otherwise your accounts will just bounce along. You can focus on learning. You will start to understand pretty quickly. You can transfer your funds from adviser to Vanguard or Fidelity or Schwab in an action called "in kind"-- which basically moves all the funds AS IS to your broker/access. Poof --you have dropped your adviser. You don't even need to talk to your adviser -- Vanguard (or Fid/Sch) can do the work, just call them.
There might be 1 -2 funds that you would need to sell before transferring --but Vanguard can tell you which ones. It also might be cheaper to sell at your current broker before transferring --but you can check on this. I just transferred mine over and had to pay a little bit at Vanguard to liquidate. It might have cost $100 more, but it was easier to do it that way for me.
Most BH'rs like simplicity and hold a 3 fund portfolio --read about it. You can make any changes in 401k/403b/IRA and not have any tax consequences (short term or long term gains). If you have a taxable brokerage account - you will want to check what short /long term capital gains would be triggered if you sold and bought something else. You might want to spread out the liquidation depending on your tax situation and how that might impact you. If you have losses on funds -- you can sell those and offset against any gains in others funds (when you sell) in the same year you sell them.
Sorry not trying to make you drink out of the fire hydrant.
This is all excellent to know- thank you! I'll give Vanguard a call and see if they can guide me through the process. I made it all the way to your comments about the 3 fund portfolio and felt pretty good. It's the tax info right now that's a little mind boggling. :)
again take your time. If you want to read some of the threads it will start to make sense. Several on my early posts are dealing with this exact event from last year if you want to look there. You can also use the search function at the top to find others.

In your taxable brokerage account you pay taxes (when you file tax returns) yearly on dividends, interest and then on the proceeds IF you sell a stock/bond/mutual fund. When you buy a S/B/MF you are establishing a cost basis. (what you paid for it). When you sell S/B/MF you have a Sale price. The difference determines a loss or gain. If you sell stock/bond/MF at a LOSS -- meaning you are selling for less than you paid for it -- you can take the loss against your taxes (up to $3,000 a year). When you sell stocks/bonds/MF for a GAIN you will have either a Short Term Capital Gain or a Long Term Capital Gain. This is determine on how long you held the S/B/MF -- hold the asset for less than 12 months (ST Cap Gain)-- longer than 12 months (LT Cap Gain) -- ST Cap gains are taxed at your ordinary income tax rate-- LT Cap Gains are taxed at 15%. (LT gains are better) You can apply ST Losses to ST Gains and the same for LT losses to LT gains. This is where making a decision on when to sell some of your funds can have a tax implication. I sold a number of funds in 2017 but waited until 2018 to sell more due to Cap Gains (wanted them to be LT no ST) and spreading out the tax hit.
The S/B/MF you have in your IRA's (trad or Roth), 401K, 403B you can sell anytime without triggering ST/LT cap gains (tax consequences)-- they are currently in a tax deferred position, until you withdraw them. This is a good place to do re-balancing for your AA (Asset Allocation).

The goal is to buy and hold for the most part -- frequent trading is not usually good for your accounts.
I can't tell you how much I appreciate this explanation. I've heard these terms multiple times, but never really grasped them. Plus, because we've been using an advisor, I guess I just thought it was all part of his job to determine the best time to make decisions. It feels good to be moving in the direction of taking more control, as it's our money after all. The vocabulary is the most overwhelming part of it- feels like another language sometimes.

dotdotloop
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2018 3:52 pm

Re: Moving from an advisor to DIY . . . Please Help!

Post by dotdotloop » Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:42 pm

Jablean wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 6:23 pm
dotdotloop wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:30 pm
Jablean wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:08 pm
You have more than we did starting 10 years later with kids so you are doing great. 1st off with the public school retirement - if they are highly rated (compare it to Idaho which is great) keep it in the system. My mom kept hers in (and kept teaching) allowed her to travel in retirement. My dad took his out to travel the world early, had a chance to pay it back, didn't, now living with me. Don't do that to your kids.

On taking the step to DIY, yes do it, once you see those fees disappear you won't look back. Will you lose money some time? Yep. I didn't look at my files for two years in 2009 and 2010, that was just savings and income was still flowing from work. Your first step is getting it moved out of your advisor's hands. Fidelity is great and you can talk with an advisor one time and never again if you want. Their indexes, and the 0 fee ones are fine.
Thank you! Yes, Missouri's PSRS is excellent! Both of my parents are retired educators and were able to retire at age 52 with a guaranteed source of income. However, because I'm staying at home right now, I cannot contribute to my PSRS account and the money is not compounding like it would in a traditional IRA account. If I roll the money to a Roth, I have a pay taxes on it now and pay a penalty. If I roll it to a traditional IRA, I can do so without any penalty. I'm stuck between leaving it and rolling it over- there are pros and cons either way. I tend toward more conservative, so I'm leaning toward leaving it in.

I love your advice about DIY- I'm really excited about dropping these fees. Like you, my goal is to find a path and stick to it. My priority right now is raising my children, serving my family, and living a frugal/humble life. I do not want to be looks at performance every day and worrying about trades.
Are you sure your retirement isn't compounding? Or at least growing as compounding may not be the right word. I put $2000 into a non-profit retirement system that I haven't worked for in over 20 years now. I could cash it out for over $38,000 today. Maybe I could have done that myself but for me it's like WoW. Rolling it over to an IRA should be the last, last, last thing on your list. It''s not costing you any fees to have someone else manage it.

For Fidelity or Vanguard you can easily open up accounts at either or both and test them out. I wouldn't worry about company philosophy, I'd worry about how easy it was to navigate and find what I needed. Fidelity is nice because if you are in a decent sized town there is probably a brick and mortar office you can go to.
Just found out the PSRS does earn interest- looks like it's compounded annually and the interest rate is determined at that time- last year it was 2%.

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