Trying to do better...Need advice!

Have a question about your personal investments? No matter how simple or complex, you can ask it here.
Topic Author
NationalParks1
Posts: 29
Joined: Fri May 13, 2022 8:33 pm

Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by NationalParks1 »

Good evening. I’ve been reading these forums for awhile, but was too intimidated to join in. Many of you are so knowledgeable and seem to offer good, sound advice. There is still so much I don’t know about investing/retirement, but I have learned a lot just by reading all these threads. So I’d like some input on my investments. I haven’t always made the best financial decisions, but I’ve been trying be wiser with my money.

Age: Late 40s
Job: Teacher and a Part-Time job
Income: $75,500
EF: $12,000
Retirement:
*403b: Approximately $88,000- (Valic/AIG) ***Has dropped quite a bit in the last few months***
*Roth IRA 1: $8,600 earns no less than 4.00% (Modern Woodman-opened up a very long time ago)
*Roth IRA 2: $9,000- All in VTSAX (Vanguard)
*Pension- estimated to be about $36,000+/year
*Will also participate in our teacher retirement program that defers retirement for up to 10 years. Basically salary will be
frozen. Then excess salary, bonuses, and retirement contributions will be put into a fund and grow with annual compounded
interest each year. I’m eligible to participate in 5 years. Then I can continue in this program for 10 years, which is my plan.
Average earnings for 10 years is $250,000-$300,000, plus I will get my pension.
*Social Security: I don’t know how much or when I’ll start.

I have a mortgage with 3.375% interest. I have no other debt.

My plan is to retire in 15 years. I’ve been contributing to my 403b for a long time, but not that much. I just upped my contribution to $800/month. I plan to increase it again in the fall, with my salary raise. I will never be able to max it out though. This is my current allocation in my 403b.

Large Cap: 78.4%

***26%-Valic Co 1 Stock Index: .29 Expense (22,000)
***25%-Valic Co 1 Growth: .64 Expense (21,000)
***14%-Valic Co 1 Systematic Core: .68 Expense (12,000)
***14%-Vanguard Windsor II Investor Shares: .59 Expense (12,000)

Speciality: 19.28%

***19%Valic Co 1 Science & Tech: .97 Expense (17,000)

International: 2.32%

***2%Valic Co 1 Emerging Economics: .88 Expense (2000)

I don’t really know much about investing in my 403b and wouldn’t feel comfortable changing anything on my own. But if you see some red flags, I will most definitely discuss this with my rep. I’ve read many stories about 401/403 investments that weren’t handled well. I don’t want to be funneling money into this account, only to unwittingly be making bad investment decisions.

I just started maxing out my Roth IRA’s last year. I’m not sure how to allocate my money, though. Should I put all my money in the guaranteed 4% or put it all in my VTSAX account? Or should I put a specific percentage in each? Right now I’ve made them about equal. But I don’t necessarily think that’s the best strategy. I have $450 left this year to contribute and can’t decide where to put it. My instinct tells me to put the rest of it in VTSAX, but I don’t know. I do plan to max my Roth out each year, from this point forward.

My final issue is about 2 whole life/universal life insurance policies. I’ve read many articles that they are not really wise investments. So I’ve been researching. I can get a 20 year term for less money and more coverage. I’m planning to close the old policies, after I open up the term life. Right now I have approximately $15,000, that I can cash out when closed. My plan is to put $10,000 in an I-Bond to bump up my EF. And possibly open up a taxable brokerage account with the rest. Any thoughts? Is this the right direction?

Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.

Thanks
Last edited by NationalParks1 on Sat May 14, 2022 10:03 pm, edited 3 times in total.
User avatar
TJat
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Joined: Tue May 04, 2021 6:51 am

Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by TJat »

You seem to be doing quite well. Others are experts on whole life policies so I will not comment on that, but being open to surrendering is good.

Your 403b investment choices jump out as sub optimal. The portfolio is unnecessarily complex and full of high ER funds. I’m not sure why you’re hesistant to make changes without “your rep” (likely just a salesman). If they put you in those funds, I don’t think they offer you any value. Managing a 403b should be no different than your Roth IRA, for which you’re doing fine. Post your investment options and we can help.

I’d also encourage you to establish a target AA and international allocation target. It seems like you’re largely equities, which could match your risk tolerance, but without you posting more, I’m not sure if your AA is an accident.
Dantes
Posts: 365
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2015 6:38 pm

Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by Dantes »

I will guess that if you have life insurance it is because of family obligations.

In your 403B you have too many investments; there is no reason to have more than three or four at most; two would be even better. Think about what you want your overall investment allocation to be, and then adjust your investments across your accounts. Normally people recommend stocks in Roth accounts, but the 4% stable value you have access looks pretty good right now, so I personally would let that be.

Are you paying in to Social Security as well? If so you should be really golden when it comes time to retire.
Sgal8713
Posts: 70
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2020 8:07 am

Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by Sgal8713 »

1. 403b has too many different (and likely overlapping) funds. A full list with Expense ratios will get the best advice.

2. Continuing to use Roth v traditional retirement accounts may be about equal for you based on current and future tax rates. This probably favors using Roth at least until 2026 as we know tax rates will go up then. Otherwise an even balance between the two means you are only ever half wrong with whatever happens to taxes.

3. I will leaving cashing out whole life insurance to the board experts. I plan to never touch those, even with someone else's money.

4. Overall you look to be in pretty good shape. You have done that, not your rep. Feel confident in your ability!
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retiredjg
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by retiredjg »

It is hard to tell just what you have already. Please show your entire portfolio (all your accounts) and show each holding as a percentage of the whole thing.

For example, if all your accounts together equals $10,000 and you have $1,000 in the Valic Co 1 Stock Index: .29 Expense, you would show that 10% of the portfolio is in the Valic Co 1 Stock Index.

It appears there are no bonds in the 403b. What are the other choices of funds available in the 403b?
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CyclingDuo
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by CyclingDuo »

NationalParks1 wrote: Fri May 13, 2022 11:21 pm Good evening. I’ve been reading these forums for awhile, but was too intimidated to join in. Many of you are so knowledgeable and seem to offer good, sound advice. There is still so much I don’t know about investing/retirement, but I have learned a lot just by reading all these threads. So I’d like some input on my investments. I haven’t always made the best financial decisions, but I’ve been trying be wiser with my money.

Age: Late 40s
Job: Teacher and a Part-Time job
Income: $75,500
EF: $12,000
Retirement:
*403b: Approximately $100,000 (Valic/AIG)
*Roth IRA 1: $8,600 earns no less than 4.00% (Modern Woodman-opened up a very long time ago)
*Roth IRA 2: $9,000- All in VTSAX (Vanguard)
*Pension- estimated to be about $36,000+/year
*Will also participate in our teacher retirement program that defers retirement for up to 10 years. Basically salary will be
frozen. Then excess salary, bonuses, and retirement contributions will be put into a fund and grow with annual compounded
interest each year. I’m eligible to participate in 5 years. Then I can continue in this program for 10 years, which is my plan.
Average earnings for 10 years is $250,000-$300,000, plus I will get my pension.

I have a mortgage with 3.375% interest. I have no other debt.

My plan is to retire in 15 years. I’ve been contributing to my 403b for a long time, but not that much. I just upped my contribution to $800/month. I plan to increase it again in the fall, with my salary raise. I will never be able to max it out though. This is my current allocation in my 403b.

Large Cap: 78.3%
Valic Co 1 Stock Index: .29 Expense
Valic Co 1 Growth: .64
Valic Co 1 Systematic Core: .68
Vanguard Windsor II Investor Shares: .34
Speciality: 19.4%
Valic Co 1 Emerging Economics: .88
Global: 2.3%
Valic Co 1 Science & Tech: .97

I don’t really know much about investing in my 403b and wouldn’t feel comfortable changing anything on my own. But if you see some red flags, I will most definitely discuss this with my rep. I’ve read many stories about 401/403 investments that weren’t handled well. I don’t want to be funneling money into this account, only to unwittingly be making bad investment decisions.

I just started maxing out my Roth IRA’s last year. I’m not sure how to allocate my money, though. Should I put all my money in the guaranteed 4% or put it all in my VTSAX account? Or should I put a specific percentage in each? Right now I’ve made them about equal. But I don’t necessarily think that’s the best strategy. I have $450 left this year to contribute and can’t decide where to put it. My instinct tells me to put the rest of it in VTSAX, but I don’t know. I do plan to max my Roth out each year, from this point forward.

My final issue is about 2 whole life/universal life insurance policies. I’ve read many articles that they are not really wise investments. So I’ve been researching. I can get a 20 year term for less money and more coverage. I’m planning to close the old policies, after I open up the term life. Right now I have approximately $15,000, that I can cash out when closed. My plan is to put $10,000 in an I-Bond to bump up my EF. And possibly open up a taxable brokerage account with the rest. Any thoughts? Is this the right direction?

Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.

Thanks
Welcome to the boards and good first post!!! You have done a great job up to this point, so kudos.
:sharebeer

Questions for you...

Will you receive Social Security as well in retirement, or are you in a state where teachers do not pay into SS?
Does your Valic/AIG 403b plan have more of the lower cost Vanguard Index Funds available than the index fund you are currently using?

Regarding the second question and to show you as an example, our state plan for Valic/AIG includes the Institutional S&P 500 Index Fund, Total International and Total US Bond funds as options. We approximate the Total US Stock Market by also using some of the Mid Cap and Small Cap funds following the Wiki recommendation of approximating the Total US Stock Market.
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Approxi ... ock_market

My wife's looks like this after following the guidelines at the Wiki link above...

Vanguard Institutional Index Fund 32%
Vanguard Mid Cap Index Institutional 2%
Vanguard Sm Cap Index Admiral 6%
Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund Admiral 20%
Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund Admiral 40%

You have some overlap with the Index Fund + the other funds on the US side, so agree with others it may not be a bad strategy to simplify and get costs lower than some of those specialty funds.

The Roth IRA's that you just started is what I would encourage you to max out each and every year to build up that space since your pension will be taxed as ordinary income in retirement as will RMD's from the tax deferred space. For the time being, nothing wrong with just filling those spaces with Total US Stock Market.

Agree with the I Bonds and getting a taxable account going rather than the whole life/universal life policies. Good move. :beer

CyclingDuo
"Save like a pessimist, invest like an optimist." - Morgan Housel
Topic Author
NationalParks1
Posts: 29
Joined: Fri May 13, 2022 8:33 pm

Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by NationalParks1 »

Thank you for your input and advice! Yes, I will be eligible for Social Security. I definitely pay into SS, but I didn’t think to include it with my numbers. As soon as I get a moment this evening, I will give more specifics to my 403b account.

Thanks
Topic Author
NationalParks1
Posts: 29
Joined: Fri May 13, 2022 8:33 pm

Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by NationalParks1 »

Sgal8713 wrote: Sat May 14, 2022 6:54 am 1. 403b has too many different (and likely overlapping) funds. A full list with Expense ratios will get the best advice.
Dantes wrote: Sat May 14, 2022 5:50 am In your 403B you have too many investments; there is no reason to have more than three or four at most; two would be even better. Think about what you want your overall investment allocation to be, and then adjust your investments across your accounts.
TJat wrote: Sat May 14, 2022 5:38 am Your 403b investment choices jump out as sub optimal. The portfolio is unnecessarily complex and full of high ER funds. I’m not sure why you’re hesistant to make changes without “your rep” (likely just a salesman). If they put you in those funds, I don’t think they offer you any value. Managing a 403b should be no different than your Roth IRA, for which you’re doing fine. Post your investment options and we can help.
CyclingDuo wrote: Sat May 14, 2022 8:40 am Will you receive Social Security as well in retirement, or are you in a state where teachers do not pay into SS?
Does your Valic/AIG 403b plan have more of the lower cost Vanguard Index Funds available than the index fund you are currently using?

Regarding the second question and to show you as an example, our state plan for Valic/AIG includes the Institutional S&P 500 Index Fund, Total International and Total US Bond funds as options. We approximate the Total US Stock Market by also using some of the Mid Cap and Small Cap funds following the Wiki recommendation of approximating the Total US Stock Market.
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Approxi ... ock_market


You have some overlap with the Index Fund + the other funds on the US side, so agree with others it may not be a bad strategy to simplify and get costs lower than some of those specialty funds.


CyclingDuo
I’ve added Social Security retirement income to my original post. For my 403b, I’ve also added the percentage and the amounts with each fund. I’m trying not to look at my account, since it’s constantly dropping. Unfortunately, I also had to modify the current amount. :(

Here is a list of Large Cap options available with expenses: (If the expense was over 1.00, I didn’t include that fund)

Blue Chip Growth .76
Capital Appreciation .60
Dividend Value .69
Large Capital Growth .75
Nasdaq-100 .51
Systematic Value .57
US Socially Responsible .36

All of the advisors for these are Valic. The only Vanguard Fund available in this category is Windsor II, which I’m already using.

What I currently have in Large Cap:

26%-Valic Co 1 Stock Index .29
25%-Valic Co 1 Growth .64
14%-Valic Co 1 Systematic Core .68
14%-Vanguard Windsor II Investor Shares .59

What I currently have in International:
2%-Valic Emerging Economics .88

What I currently have in Specialty:
19%-Valic Science & Tech .97

Right now I have a total of 6 funds.

What should a reasonable expense be for a 403b account? Should I be looking at an expense limit for each fund or an overall limit? And it sounds like I need to narrow it down to 3 or 4.

Thanks again for your input!
Last edited by NationalParks1 on Sat May 14, 2022 10:02 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Topic Author
NationalParks1
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Joined: Fri May 13, 2022 8:33 pm

Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by NationalParks1 »

retiredjg wrote: Sat May 14, 2022 7:16 am It is hard to tell just what you have already. Please show your entire portfolio (all your accounts) and show each holding as a percentage of the whole thing.

For example, if all your accounts together equals $10,000 and you have $1,000 in the Valic Co 1 Stock Index: .29 Expense, you would show that 10% of the portfolio is in the Valic Co 1 Stock Index.

It appears there are no bonds in the 403b. What are the other choices of funds available in the 403b?
I’ve added the ratios and amounts in my original post. And now I’ve added some other funds available in my 403b in the post above.

Thank you for your input!
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retiredjg
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by retiredjg »

NationalParks1 wrote: Sat May 14, 2022 8:37 pm What I currently have in Large Cap:

26%-Valic Co 1 Stock Index .29
25%-Valic Co 1 Growth .64
14%-Valic Co 1 Systematic Core .68
14%-Vanguard Windsor II Investor Shares .59
The only fund that you need in this group is the first one - Valic Company 1 Stock Index. It follows the 500 index and is relatively low cost. The other funds are not index funds - they are actively managed. They contain stocks that are (for the most part) already included in the 500 index and their expense ratios are high.
What I currently have in International:
2%-Valic Emerging Economics .88
This is not a good choice. What else do you have available in international funds?

What I currently have in Specialty:
19%-Valic Science & Tech .97
This is not needed. It is high cost, actively managed, and science and tech stocks are included in the 500 index.

What bond funds are available? Stable value?

Are you single or married filing jointly (or something else)?
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retiredjg
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by retiredjg »

What do you think your stock to bond ratio should be? Do you have something in mind? This is the first decision you need to make before making any changes.



This is what your portfolio looks like as a whole. This is the best way to look at it.

Total portfolio = $105,600 (all percentages below are based on this total number). There is some rounding error, but just ignore it.

403b $88,000 83.3%
20.8% Valic Co 1 Stock Index: .29 Expense (22,000)
19.9% Valic Co 1 Growth: .64 Expense (21,000)
11.4% Valic Co 1 Systematic Core: .68 Expense (12,000)
11.4% Vanguard Windsor II Investor Shares: .59 Expense (12,000)
16% Valic Co 1 Science & Tech: .97 Expense (17,000)
2% Valic Co 1 Emerging Economics: .88 Expense (2000)

Roth IRA 1: $8,600 Modern Woodman 8.1%
8.1% in something that earns no less than 4.00%

Roth IRA 2 $9,000 8.5%
8.5% VTSAX Total Stock Index All in VTSAX (Vanguard)

So right now, assuming the Roth IRA 1 is a bond fund, your portfolio is at about 92% stocks and 8% bonds. That is very aggressive for a person your age (late 40's). You should probably have something between 20% and 40% in bonds. That is why I'm asking for the bond funds available in your 403b.

What is in the Modern Woodman account?
HomeStretch
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by HomeStretch »

+1 to reconsider your 8% portfolio allocation to bonds/fixed income. If your (vested?) pension and social security benefits combined will exceed or cover most of your/spouse’s expected expenses (including taxes, healthcare and periodic large expenses) in retirement, you have the ability to be more aggressive in your asset allocation. But 92/8 seems aggressive even for that scenario especially if there is not a pension survivor benefit for your spouse.

Assuming there is a decent bond fund with reasonable ERs in the 403b to hold your desired bond allocation, for simplicity consider rolling over the Modern Woodman (MW) Roth IRA to your Vanguard Roth IRA. Given that the balance in the Modern Woodman Roth IRA is low, the 4% guaranteed return $ isn’t significant.
Topic Author
NationalParks1
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by NationalParks1 »

retiredjg wrote: Sun May 15, 2022 7:26 am Are you single or married filing jointly (or something else)?
I file head of household...I’ve have children.
Topic Author
NationalParks1
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by NationalParks1 »

retiredjg wrote: Sun May 15, 2022 7:26 am This is not a good choice. What else do you have available in international funds?
These are my international options:

International Equities Index Fund .43
International Growth Fund .83
International Opportunities Fund .95
International Value Fund .74

All advisors are Valic.
Topic Author
NationalParks1
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by NationalParks1 »

retiredjg wrote: Sun May 15, 2022 7:26 am What bond funds are available? Stable value?
I will post the bonds available as soon as I get a chance. Thank you!
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retiredjg
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by retiredjg »

NationalParks1 wrote: Sun May 15, 2022 8:38 am
retiredjg wrote: Sun May 15, 2022 7:26 am Are you single or married filing jointly (or something else)?
I file head of household...I’ve have children.
With income of $75,500 and a standard deduction of $19,400 that gives you a taxable income of $56,100. However, your 401k contribution and employer sponsored heath insurance will bring that taxable income below $55,900 which is the top of the 12% tax bracket.

Does your 403b allow Roth contributions? If yes, consider putting enough into traditional 403b to get into the 12% tax bracket and put the rest of your 403b contributions into Roth 403b. I'm suggesting this because when you start filing as single, it is very unlikely you will be in a bracket as low as your 12% bracket now.

On the other hand, if you use more traditional 403b (instead of Roth 403b) you are more likely to qualify for the earned income credit and the saver's credit on your taxes. So using all traditional 403b may be the better idea while you are supporting children.
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retiredjg
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by retiredjg »

NationalParks1 wrote: Sun May 15, 2022 8:42 am
retiredjg wrote: Sun May 15, 2022 7:26 am This is not a good choice. What else do you have available in international funds?
These are my international options:

International Equities Index Fund .43 <---this one or put your international allocation into Roth IRA
International Growth Fund .83
International Opportunities Fund .95
International Value Fund .74

All advisors are Valic.
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retiredjg
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by retiredjg »

Any thoughts on what you want your stock to bond ratio to be? You can let us know when you post the bonds available in your 403b.
Topic Author
NationalParks1
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by NationalParks1 »

retiredjg wrote: Sun May 15, 2022 7:26 am What bond funds are available? Stable value?
Here are the bond options:

Vanguard Long-Term Investment-Grade Fund .22
Vanguard Long-Term Treasury Fund .20
Inflation Protected Fund .53
High Yield Bond Fund .68
Government Securities Fund .66
Goldman Sachs VIT Government Money Market Fund .18
Core Bond Fund .53

Thank you!
cascadian
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by cascadian »

I urge you to get more engaged with your retirement plan sponsor board of trustees to root out shady financial industry practices that have led to those high fee investment options in your defined contribution plan. The WSJ had a great article a few years ago that will certainly make for some enlightened conversations. https://www.wsj.com/articles/teachers-p ... _permalink
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retiredjg
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by retiredjg »

NationalParks1 wrote: Sun May 15, 2022 10:26 am
retiredjg wrote: Sun May 15, 2022 7:26 am What bond funds are available? Stable value?
Here are the bond options:

Vanguard Long-Term Investment-Grade Fund .22
Vanguard Long-Term Treasury Fund .20

Inflation Protected Fund .53
High Yield Bond Fund .68
Government Securities Fund .66
Goldman Sachs VIT Government Money Market Fund .18
Core Bond Fund .53


Thank you!
Not my favorite list. Long term bonds are not as "protective" as intermediate term bonds. However, with whatever you have in the Modern Woodsman account, the combination of the two seems OK.

Is there a stable value fund or a guaranteed income fund available in your plan?
Topic Author
NationalParks1
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by NationalParks1 »

retiredjg wrote: Sun May 15, 2022 9:11 am Does your 403b allow Roth contributions? If yes, consider putting enough into traditional 403b to get into the 12% tax bracket and put the rest of your 403b contributions into Roth 403b. I'm suggesting this because when you start filing as single, it is very unlikely you will be in a bracket as low as your 12% bracket now.

On the other hand, if you use more traditional 403b (instead of Roth 403b) you are more likely to qualify for the earned income credit and the saver's credit on your taxes. So using all traditional 403b may be the better idea while you are supporting children.
I don’t have a Roth 403b option. I’m about to increase my 403b to $1200/month when school starts again in the fall. It is currently $800/month.
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NationalParks1
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by NationalParks1 »

retiredjg wrote: Sun May 15, 2022 10:41 am Not my favorite list. Long term bonds are not as "protective" as intermediate term bonds. However, with whatever you have in the Modern Woodsman account, the combination of the two seems OK.

Is there a stable value fund or a guaranteed income fund available in your plan?

My Roth IRA with Modern Woodman is not a bond. It just earns 4% on whatever I put in there. Basically it’s like a savings account, or so it seems to me. I believe it compounds monthly. I opened it up back in 1999 or 2000. My agent said they don’t even write these anymore. So I don’t want to get rid of it. But I didn’t put anything in it for over a decade. I just started adding to it again. She also said, I could eventually roll my other account in it. Then it would all earn the 4%. I guess right now that would be the only guaranteed/stable fund that I have in my current set up.

And then I have the Roth IRA with Vanguard. That is all in VTSAX. Now I’m trying to figure out how much of the $6000, eventually $7000 I should be putting in each Roth account.

If 90/10 is too aggressive, I don’t believe I’d want to go any lower than 80/20. If I still need bonds and my 403b doesn’t have good options, should I add it to my Roth IRA with Vanguard? I could get the Total Bond one?
cascadian
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by cascadian »

Looking go so far. I'd recommend staying more aggressive on your asset allocation once you step back to consider all assets and future retirement income streams. You have a nice "bond-like" feature with two stable retirement income streams coming from both a defined benefit plan along with social security. At your age there is plenty of time to remain aggressive with the other part of your defined contribution retirement savings, particularly when you think of a long glidepath through retirement. The cherry on top is that the stock index fund you are already using provides the desired aggressive exposure at the lowest fee available within your tragic investment option menu.
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retiredjg
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by retiredjg »

Keep in mind that even 80/20 will be very aggressive for a person in their late 40's. You must expect the portfolio to drop about 40% during a significant bear market. How do you think you would react to seeing 40% of your savings disappear for months on end?


Here is a way you can set up the portfolio that will have a much lower cost than what you have now. Remember the percentages are based on the total portfolio amount of $150,600.

403b $88,000 83.3%
51.8 % Valic Co 1 Stock Index: .29 Expense (500 index)
20% International Equities Index Fund .43
11.5% Vanguard Long-Term Investment-Grade Fund .22


Roth IRA 1: $8,600 Modern Woodman 8.1%
8.1% in something that earns no less than 4.00% <---treat this as a bond fund

Roth IRA 2 $9,000 8.5%
8.5% VTSAX Total Stock Index All in VTSAX (Vanguard)

This is about 80% stocks and 20% bonds (counting the annuity as a bond) with about 25% of the stocks (20% of the portfolio) in international. This is a somewhat mainstream Bogleheaded portfolio other than the fact that it is pretty aggressive for your age.

As for how to make your contributions, that depends on how much your contributions are expected to be in a year. Do you intend to contribute $1200 a month for 12 months or just during the school year?

Can you find out exactly what your Modern Woodsmen investment is called and what is in it?
Topic Author
NationalParks1
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by NationalParks1 »

retiredjg wrote: Sun May 15, 2022 1:09 pm
Can you find out exactly what your Modern Woodsmen investment is called and what is in it?
My Modern Woodmen account is called a Roth-Flex Premium Annuity. It was opened in 2001. Their website is very lacking and offers little information. I have to look at mailings to see what my the deposits and such. But there is currently $8623.85 in the account. I can try and dig up a old statement to see the deposits. They only send one statement out a year...I believe. But I do know it draws interest each month.
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NationalParks1
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by NationalParks1 »

cascadian wrote: Sun May 15, 2022 10:27 am I urge you to get more engaged with your retirement plan sponsor board of trustees to root out shady financial industry practices that have led to those high fee investment options in your defined contribution plan. The WSJ had a great article a few years ago that will certainly make for some enlightened conversations. https://www.wsj.com/articles/teachers-p ... _permalink
Thank you for this link. I will absolutely read it. Actually I’ve already been reading lots of articles, even on this site about questionable issues with retirement firms. That is exactly why I’m reaching out here. I’ve been pretty passive about retirement. I don’t want to just assume that my retirement money is being invested in the best way. And I don’t want to wait and find out when I’m ready to retire. So now I’m trying to do a better job and make sure I’m doing the best that I can. I’ve been reading these threads for awhile trying to figure out what corrections I need to do with my funds. The people on these boards really seem like experts and make wise financial decisions.

I really appreciate your advice. Thank you!
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NationalParks1
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by NationalParks1 »

retiredjg wrote: Sun May 15, 2022 1:09 pm As for how to make your contributions, that depends on how much your contributions are expected to be in a year. Do you intend to contribute $1200 a month for 12 months or just during the school year?
Yes it will be for 12 months. We get paid twice a month, so 24 payments a year. It’ll automatically come out of my check. However I’ll get a pay raise next school year, which is when I’ll increase my 403b payments. So it’s not actually a calendar year. Our salaries change every August. Basically I’ll increase it in August.
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NationalParks1
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by NationalParks1 »

retiredjg wrote: Sun May 15, 2022 1:09 pm Keep in mind that even 80/20 will be very aggressive for a person in their late 40's. You must expect the portfolio to drop about 40% during a significant bear market. How do you think you would react to seeing 40% of your savings disappear for months on end?
I’m not sure how I’d react. I know right now I’ve seen my 403b drop from $110,000 to $88,000 in about 6 to 8 weeks. So I know it’s not much fun. I’ve had to stop looking at my account. But I’m also not panicking and understand this happens in the stock market. My thoughts were to change my allocations when I was 10 years out to retirement. However I am open to suggestions on lowering my risks. So I could fix it now, if my current scenario is too risky. What ratio would you recommend?
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NationalParks1
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by NationalParks1 »

retiredjg wrote: Sun May 15, 2022 1:09 pm Here is a way you can set up the portfolio that will have a much lower cost than what you have now. Remember the percentages are based on the total portfolio amount of $150,600.

403b $88,000 83.3%
51.8 % Valic Co 1 Stock Index: .29 Expense (500 index)
20% International Equities Index Fund .43
11.5% Vanguard Long-Term Investment-Grade Fund .22


Roth IRA 1: $8,600 Modern Woodman 8.1%
8.1% in something that earns no less than 4.00% <---treat this as a bond fund

Roth IRA 2 $9,000 8.5%
8.5% VTSAX Total Stock Index All in VTSAX (Vanguard)

This is about 80% stocks and 20% bonds (counting the annuity as a bond) with about 25% of the stocks (20% of the portfolio) in international. This is a somewhat mainstream Bogleheaded portfolio other than the fact that it is pretty aggressive for your age.
This is exactly what I need! I appreciate all the information and details you have given me. I was honestly not sure how to figure this out. Thank you!!!!

One more question...I’ve been on my 403b website and believe I understand how to change up percentages to the funds in my account. But I’m not clear what happens to the money already there. Do my changes only affect “new money” coming in or what?
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NationalParks1
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by NationalParks1 »

cascadian wrote: Sun May 15, 2022 12:52 pm Looking go so far. I'd recommend staying more aggressive on your asset allocation once you step back to consider all assets and future retirement income streams. You have a nice "bond-like" feature with two stable retirement income streams coming from both a defined benefit plan along with social security. At your age there is plenty of time to remain aggressive with the other part of your defined contribution retirement savings, particularly when you think of a long glidepath through retirement. The cherry on top is that the stock index fund you are already using provides the desired aggressive exposure at the lowest fee available within your tragic investment option menu.
Thank you for taking the time to offer me feedback. I certainly appreciate it. I’m definitely out of my comfort zone, but I’m really trying to learn as much as I can. You and the others on this site have really helped me feel more confident in taking more ownership in my retirement planning. Thank you!
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by retiredjg »

NationalParks1 wrote: Sun May 15, 2022 7:32 pm
retiredjg wrote: Sun May 15, 2022 1:09 pm
Can you find out exactly what your Modern Woodsmen investment is called and what is in it?
My Modern Woodmen account is called a Roth-Flex Premium Annuity. It was opened in 2001. Their website is very lacking and offers little information. I have to look at mailings to see what my the deposits and such. But there is currently $8623.85 in the account. I can try and dig up a old statement to see the deposits. They only send one statement out a year...I believe. But I do know it draws interest each month.
Can you tell if the interest is actually about 4% a year?

Does the balance of this account vary a lot or stay the same when the market goes down?

The more I think about it, I'm not sure if considering this account as part of your bond allocation was a good idea on my part.

What is the surrender fee on this account?

In general, I'm not a fan of deferred annuities. However, at least one poster here believes that Modern Woodmen is an exception to the "annuities are often bad" guideline.

How much have you contributed to this account since 2001? Does it seem to be growing well or just a little? If the fees for this annuity are high, the fees might be eating up your profits.
Last edited by retiredjg on Mon May 16, 2022 7:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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retiredjg
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by retiredjg »

NationalParks1 wrote: Sun May 15, 2022 8:09 pm
retiredjg wrote: Sun May 15, 2022 1:09 pm Keep in mind that even 80/20 will be very aggressive for a person in their late 40's. You must expect the portfolio to drop about 40% during a significant bear market. How do you think you would react to seeing 40% of your savings disappear for months on end?
I’m not sure how I’d react. I know right now I’ve seen my 403b drop from $110,000 to $88,000 in about 6 to 8 weeks. So I know it’s not much fun. I’ve had to stop looking at my account. But I’m also not panicking and understand this happens in the stock market. My thoughts were to change my allocations when I was 10 years out to retirement. However I am open to suggestions on lowering my risks. So I could fix it now, if my current scenario is too risky. What ratio would you recommend?
I would recommend that you move to 70% stocks and 30% bonds. Then move to 65/35 when closer to retirement. That is based just on your age using a guideline of "age minus 20" in bonds. In my opinion, that is an aggressive portfolio.

You can do this slowly by sending all of your 403b contributions to a bond fund. Or if you decide to change your allocations, you can do it by selling stocks and buying bonds in the 403b. I would probably do some of both.
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by retiredjg »

NationalParks1 wrote: Sun May 15, 2022 8:26 pm
retiredjg wrote: Sun May 15, 2022 1:09 pm Here is a way you can set up the portfolio that will have a much lower cost than what you have now. Remember the percentages are based on the total portfolio amount of $150,600.

403b $88,000 83.3%
51.8 % Valic Co 1 Stock Index: .29 Expense (500 index)
20% International Equities Index Fund .43
11.5% Vanguard Long-Term Investment-Grade Fund .22


Roth IRA 1: $8,600 Modern Woodman 8.1%
8.1% in something that earns no less than 4.00% <---treat this as a bond fund

Roth IRA 2 $9,000 8.5%
8.5% VTSAX Total Stock Index All in VTSAX (Vanguard)

This is about 80% stocks and 20% bonds (counting the annuity as a bond) with about 25% of the stocks (20% of the portfolio) in international. This is a somewhat mainstream Bogleheaded portfolio other than the fact that it is pretty aggressive for your age.
This is exactly what I need! I appreciate all the information and details you have given me. I was honestly not sure how to figure this out. Thank you!!!! /
Once you "see" your portfolio as a whole, it becomes much easier to understand and not nearly as intimidating.


One more question...I’ve been on my 403b website and believe I understand how to change up percentages to the funds in my account. But I’m not clear what happens to the money already there. Do my changes only affect “new money” coming in or what?
You will need to change both the contributions and what is already there. These are two separate processes.

While you are nosing around in the 403b, look again for a stable value fund or guaranteed income fund. Sometimes they are listed in a separate place from the bond funds.
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by NationalParks1 »

retiredjg wrote: Mon May 16, 2022 6:52 am
NationalParks1 wrote: Sun May 15, 2022 7:32 pm
retiredjg wrote: Sun May 15, 2022 1:09 pm
Can you find out exactly what your Modern Woodsmen investment is called and what is in it?
My Modern Woodmen account is called a Roth-Flex Premium Annuity. It was opened in 2001. Their website is very lacking and offers little information. I have to look at mailings to see what my the deposits and such. But there is currently $8623.85 in the account. I can try and dig up a old statement to see the deposits. They only send one statement out a year...I believe. But I do know it draws interest each month.
Can you tell if the interest is actually about 4% a year?

Does the balance of this account vary a lot or stay the same when the market goes down?

The more I think about it, I'm not sure if considering this account as part of your bond allocation was a good idea on my part.

What is the surrender fee on this account?

In general, I'm not a fan of deferred annuities. However, at least one poster here believes that Modern Woodmen is an exception to the "annuities are often bad" guideline.

How much have you contributed to this account since 2001? Does it seem to be growing well or just a little? If the fees for this annuity are high, the fees might be eating up your profits.
My last statement was from Nov 2021. I’d only contributed $2750 at that time. The surrender value in November was $5095.33. I opened it in Nov 2001. So it had been exactly 20 years since I opened it, but I had contributed very little over all those years. This year in 2022, I put an additional $3500. There is no surrender fee/charge.
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by CyclingDuo »

NationalParks1 wrote: Sun May 15, 2022 8:26 pm
retiredjg wrote: Sun May 15, 2022 1:09 pm Here is a way you can set up the portfolio that will have a much lower cost than what you have now. Remember the percentages are based on the total portfolio amount of $150,600.

403b $88,000 83.3%
51.8 % Valic Co 1 Stock Index: .29 Expense (500 index)
20% International Equities Index Fund .43
11.5% Vanguard Long-Term Investment-Grade Fund .22


Roth IRA 1: $8,600 Modern Woodman 8.1%
8.1% in something that earns no less than 4.00% <---treat this as a bond fund

Roth IRA 2 $9,000 8.5%
8.5% VTSAX Total Stock Index All in VTSAX (Vanguard)

This is about 80% stocks and 20% bonds (counting the annuity as a bond) with about 25% of the stocks (20% of the portfolio) in international. This is a somewhat mainstream Bogleheaded portfolio other than the fact that it is pretty aggressive for your age.
This is exactly what I need! I appreciate all the information and details you have given me. I was honestly not sure how to figure this out. Thank you!!!!
Retiredjg did an excellent job to distill it down to a lower cost investment portfolio that covers all the bases you need covered (domestic, international, fixed income).

I agree with the suggestions and commend you on asking questions and taking charge. Enjoy the day to day of life and the journey it provides.

:sharebeer

CyclingDuo
"Save like a pessimist, invest like an optimist." - Morgan Housel
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by retiredjg »

NationalParks1 wrote: Tue May 17, 2022 5:44 am My last statement was from Nov 2021. I’d only contributed $2750 at that time. The surrender value in November was $5095.33. I opened it in Nov 2001. So it had been exactly 20 years since I opened it, but I had contributed very little over all those years. This year in 2022, I put an additional $3500. There is no surrender fee/charge.
I have to say I don't know the "right" way to judge an annuity. I looked at "growth of $10k" charts for total stock index and total bond index between November 2001 and November 2021 to see what they did.

Stocks grew by about 6X and bonds grew by about 2.5X. So your annuity is not growing very much, even compared to a broad bond index fund. I don't know if there is some other benefit in holding the annuity longer, but so far it has not been very impressive (during a time when the market has been very impressive).

If you would consider surrendering the annuity and rolling that money into your other Roth IRA, it could be worthwhile.

Did you have a chance to see if your 403b offers a stable value fund or guaranteed income fund? They frequently do, but it may not be listed with the bond funds.
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by muffins14 »

retiredjg wrote: Tue May 17, 2022 7:54 am
If you would consider surrendering the annuity and rolling that money into your other Roth IRA, it could be worthwhile.
+1. I don’t see the value in holding this annuity and having two Roth accounts. Just consolidate into better investments with lower expenses
35% VTI, 25% AVUV, 15% IXUS, 15% AVDV, 10% VWO, 40% treasury futures
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by NationalParks1 »

retiredjg wrote: Tue May 17, 2022 7:54 am Did you have a chance to see if your 403b offers a stable value fund or guaranteed income fund? They frequently do, but it may not be listed with the bond funds.
So I found 3 more funds:

Vanguard Wellington Fund- but it’s a mix of equities and bonds .24
Valic Co I Government Money Market 1 (not really bonds) .54
Valic Co International Government Bond .65

These next are 2 options, but no descriptions. I’m not actually sure if they are available. But I would contact my rep for more information, if you think they are possibilities:

Fixed Account Plus
Short Term Fixed Account

There are also some target date funds that have a mix and some Vanguard LifeStrategy options. I can give you the names of those, if you think those would be helpful.

Thank you!
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by retiredjg »

NationalParks1 wrote: Tue May 17, 2022 1:44 pm
retiredjg wrote: Tue May 17, 2022 7:54 am Did you have a chance to see if your 403b offers a stable value fund or guaranteed income fund? They frequently do, but it may not be listed with the bond funds.
So I found 3 more funds:

Vanguard Wellington Fund- but it’s a mix of equities and bonds .24
Valic Co I Government Money Market 1 (not really bonds) .54
Valic Co International Government Bond .65

These next are 2 options, but no descriptions. I’m not actually sure if they are available. But I would contact my rep for more information, if you think they are possibilities:

Fixed Account Plus
Short Term Fixed Account

There are also some target date funds that have a mix and some Vanguard LifeStrategy options. I can give you the names of those, if you think those would be helpful.

Thank you!
If you can find information on Fixed Account Plus, short Term Fixed Account, the target funds and the cost of the Vanguard LifeStrategy funds, that would be good. I already know what is in the LS funds.
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NationalParks1
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by NationalParks1 »

retiredjg wrote: Tue May 17, 2022 3:23 pm
NationalParks1 wrote: Tue May 17, 2022 1:44 pm
retiredjg wrote: Tue May 17, 2022 7:54 am Did you have a chance to see if your 403b offers a stable value fund or guaranteed income fund? They frequently do, but it may not be listed with the bond funds.
So I found 3 more funds:

Vanguard Wellington Fund- but it’s a mix of equities and bonds .24 it’s actually .49
Valic Co I Government Money Market 1 (not really bonds) .54 years
Valic Co International Government Bond .65

These next are 2 options, but no descriptions. I’m not actually sure if they are available. But I would contact my rep for more information, if you think they are possibilities:

Fixed Account Plus
Short Term Fixed Account

There are also some target date funds that have a mix and some Vanguard LifeStrategy options. I can give you the names of those, if you think those would be helpful.

Thank you!
If you can find information on Fixed Account Plus, short Term Fixed Account, the target funds and the cost of the Vanguard LifeStrategy funds, that would be good. I already know what is in the LS funds.
Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth .37
Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth .39
Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth .38

T Rowe Price Retirement Fund 2015 .76
T Rowe Price Retirement Fund 2020 .78
T Rowe Price Retirement Fund 2025 .80
T Rowe Price Retirement Fund 2030 .83
T Rowe Price Retirement Fund 2035 .84
T Rowe Price Retirement Fund 2040 .85
T Rowe Price Retirement Fund 2045 .87
T Rowe Price Retirement Fund 2050 .88
T Rowe Price Retirement Fund 2055 .89
T Rowe Price Retirement Fund 2060 .89

I can’t find anything in the prospectus about the Fixed Plus/Short term fixed. But I will reach out to my rep to find out what it is and if it’s even available.
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NationalParks1
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by NationalParks1 »

retiredjg wrote: Tue May 17, 2022 7:54 am I have to say I don't know the "right" way to judge an annuity. I looked at "growth of $10k" charts for total stock index and total bond index between November 2001 and November 2021 to see what they did.

Stocks grew by about 6X and bonds grew by about 2.5X. So your annuity is not growing very much, even compared to a broad bond index fund. I don't know if there is some other benefit in holding the annuity longer, but so far it has not been very impressive (during a time when the market has been very impressive).

If you would consider surrendering the annuity and rolling that money into your other Roth IRA, it could be worthwhile.

muffins14 wrote: Tue May 17, 2022 8:07 am +1. I don’t see the value in holding this annuity and having two Roth accounts. Just consolidate into better investments with lower expenses
Okay. So it sounds like I just need to keep Roth IRA #2 with Vanguard. Since that’s all in VTSAX, I will still need some bonds.

Do you think the Vanguard Lifestyle funds have the better selection of bonds? Could I just use one of these funds instead of the other three you suggested? Then I’d only have one fund in my 403b... since it has all 3 components. I’m not sure which ratio is the best one. But I do love the idea of only having one fund to keep up with in my 403b and one set of fees. I know ideally, it would be better for them to be 3 separate funds.
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by retiredjg »

Sounds like you may be ready to give up the Modern Woodsman annuity. If yes, that can be rolled into the Roth IRA at Vanguard.

The LifeStrategy funds are worth considering. There are two things to work around. One thing is their cost. The ERs you listed are not prohibitive, but it is a little more than holding the 3 funds separately. Some people are willing to pay a little more for the convenience. Some would rather use individual funds for the lower cost.

The other thing to work around is the stock to bond ratios. LS Growth is 80/20 and LS Moderate Growth is 60/40.

If you want to be at 80/20, you could put the Vanguard LS Growth fund in both the 403b and the Roth IRA.

If you want to be at 70/30, you would need to use Growth and Moderate Growth at about half and half, spread between the two accounts.

As the years go by, you should shift to more than half in the Moderate Growth (60% stocks) fund. This is easily done and does not trigger any taxes.

Why do that? You don't want to arrive a year out from retirement at a high stock percentage and suddenly lose a lot if there is a market downturn right before retirement. As you approach retirement, it is important to preserve what you have by shifting to a lower stock percentage.

In retirement 60% in stocks would be somewhat aggressive. Many people choose 50% or 40% or even 30%. Some choose less but that is not something I would recommend most of the time.

Using a target fund in your 403b would be attractive if the expense ratios were not that high. Target funds migrate to a lower stock percentage over time on their own.

Wellington would also be nice, but not at that cost.
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by retiredjg »

Here are two ways you can set up the portfolio that will have a much lower cost than what you have now. Remember the percentages are based on the total portfolio amount of $150,600. These are both set up at 70/30.

Option 1

403b $88,000 83.3%
33.3% LifeStrategy Growth
50% LifeStrategy Moderate Growth


Roth IRA 2 $17,600 16.6%
16.6% Lifestrategy Growth

Pros: simple, you only need to add money to one fund in each account
Cons: higher cost
Other: higher percentage of foreign stocks (40% of stocks); presence of international bonds. Some consider these a pro, some a con.


Option 2

403b $88,000 83.3%
53.3% Valic Co 1 Stock Index: .29 Expense (500 index)
30% Bonds (probably a combination of two funds)


Roth IRA 2 $17,600 16.6%
16.6% Total International Index

Pros: lower cost
Cons: you have to balance it yourself (not a problem if you get the math); the Roth IRA will be more volatile
Other: lower percentage of foreign stocks (about 25% of stocks); no international bonds
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by aristotelian »

WIth pension and SS in retirement you might consider making some portion of your 403b Roth if that option is available.

I would put the 403b in the Stock Index and consolidate the Roth IRA's. Adding some international diversification in the Roth IRA is a great idea as others have suggested.
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by clip651 »

aristotelian wrote: Wed May 18, 2022 8:15 am WIth pension and SS in retirement
OP should double check whether the windfall elimination provision (WEP) will impact their social security given their pension. I don't personally understand the ins and outs of the WEP, but here are some links for starters:

https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/retirement ... r/wep.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windfall_ ... _Provision

cj
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NationalParks1
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by NationalParks1 »

retiredjg wrote: Wed May 18, 2022 7:54 am The LifeStrategy funds are worth considering. There are two things to work around. One thing is their cost. The ERs you listed are not prohibitive, but it is a little more than holding the 3 funds separately. Some people are willing to pay a little more for the convenience. Some would rather use individual funds for the lower cost.
I think I may be confused. It looks like it would be cheaper to use the Lifestrategy fund. They were all cheaper than the 3 separate funds combined. They are:

Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth .37
Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth .39
Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth .38

The original funds suggested were:

Valic Co 1 Stock Index: .29 Expense
International Equities Index Fund .43
Vanguard Long-Term Investment-Grade Fund .22

Did you mean they would be more expensive, if I had to combine 2 of the Lifestrategies together?
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by retiredjg »

You don't combine the three other expense ratios.

They each represent only a portion of the account and you only pay that ER on that portion.

For example, if you had 2 funds half and half in one account and one fund costs .6% and the other fund costs .2%, the weighted cost would be .4% for the account. (50% at .2% plus 50% at .6%)

So the weighted expense of these these would be something less than .38% or .39% (the Lifestrategy costs) because the majority of that account would be at .22% or .29% and only a little would be at .43%

Valic Co 1 Stock Index: .29 Expense
International Equities Index Fund .43
Vanguard Long-Term Investment-Grade Fund .22

Make sense?
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NationalParks1
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by NationalParks1 »

retiredjg wrote: Wed May 18, 2022 3:50 pm You don't combine the three other expense ratios.

They each represent only a portion of the account and you only pay that ER on that portion.

For example, if you had 2 funds half and half in one account and one fund costs .6% and the other fund costs .2%, the weighted cost would be .4% for the account. (50% at .2% plus 50% at .6%)

So the weighted expense of these these would be something less than .38% or .39% (the Lifestrategy costs) because the majority of that account would be at .22% or .29% and only a little would be at .43%

Valic Co 1 Stock Index: .29 Expense
International Equities Index Fund .43
Vanguard Long-Term Investment-Grade Fund .22


Make sense?
Okay...I think I understand. Thank you for explaining.
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NationalParks1
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Re: Trying to do better...Need advice!

Post by NationalParks1 »

retiredjg wrote: Tue May 17, 2022 3:23 pm If you can find information on Fixed Account Plus, short Term Fixed Account, the target funds and the cost of the Vanguard LifeStrategy funds, that would be good. I already know what is in the LS funds.
I was able to call today about the Fixed Plus and Short Term Fixed accounts. Those wouldn’t apply to me. Basically it’s setting aside some funds in the account that don’t draw interest.

But I did find out that they DO have an option for a Roth 403b. I know you’ve been getting me balanced out, but now I’m wondering if I should open one up. He said I could keep my regular 403b and open up a Roth 403b. I can contribute to one or both. Either account will have the exact same fund options and fees. So I know that part shouldn’t be too hard, since that’s what been doing. Now I need to figure out if it would be better to open up a Roth, and how much to contribute to it.

As a reminder I should have:

Taxable
Teacher Pension: approximately $36,000/year
Teacher Retirement Fund: averaging about $250,000-$300,000 (can be earned my last 10 years of teaching)
403b: currently $88,000
Social Security: No clue how to estimate this

Already Taxed
Roth IRA- $17,600 (combined)

I am concerned that I'll be in a higher tax bracket later in life. Plus I won’t be able to deduct my children, like I do now. Any thoughts?
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