Can you quantify how Bogleheads has helped you?

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Compound
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Can you quantify how Bogleheads has helped you?

Post by Compound » Sun Mar 15, 2015 1:58 pm

I recently refinanced my mortgage (my first refinance); in part, this decision was made based on inspiration I derived from searching these forums. As an example, this thread viewtopic.php?f=11&t=155189 (and the links within it) was helpful to me. EmergDoc's (who is a boglehead) blog post at WCI http://whitecoatinvestor.com/10-errors- ... efinancing/ was particularly helpful in motivating me to refinance (see #10).

I estimate that the refinance will save me about $100k over the life of the loan with a negligible change in cash-flow (due to a significant drop in interest rate and a shortening of the term). I also estimate (likely overestimate) that I spent about ten hours on the refinance. That's an astounding hourly rate! :shock:

So, to the posters and administrators of these boards -- Thank you so much for all you do! You've helped countless people learn to save and invest, myself included.

I'm curious if others can quantify what they've saved as a result of knowledge they've gleaned from bogleheads. My hope is that responses to this thread may help motivate less experienced members to shore up their finances.

livesoft
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Re: Can you quantify how Bogleheads has helped you?

Post by livesoft » Sun Mar 15, 2015 2:12 pm

The forum has stimulated me to think hard about saving money on taxes. The results have helped me save tens of thousands of dollars on taxes that would have gone to IRS. Some highlights:

1. Tax-loss harvesting now in order to pay no capital gains in the future, too.
2. Donor-advised funds to help with bunching of deductions.
3. Bunching of Schedule A itemized deductions reduces taxes by more than $1000 a year.
4. Tax-loss harvesting of 529 plans which is unusual, but saved more than two thousand dollars.
5. Borrowing from a 401(k) to reduce costs, saving a few thousand dollars over a few years.
6. Advice on cash-back credit cards saves another $1,000 or so per year.
7. Advice on not using cash for an emergency fund is worth another thousand or so.
8. Advice on negotiating a price for car saved a few thousand dollars.
9. Some market timing suggestions have worked and added at least a thousand dollars a year to profits.
10. Advice on stoozing (0% interest no-fee credit card cash advances) have made about $5,000.
11. Advice on getting rebates or bonuses by switching investment firms occasionally are worth about $1,000 a year.
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VictoriaF
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Re: Can you quantify how Bogleheads has helped you?

Post by VictoriaF » Sun Mar 15, 2015 2:14 pm

At a local Bogleheads meetings I asked a question related to my taxes. Grabiner made a suggestion for something that I had not considered. His suggestion saved me over $1,000.

Protagonist ridiculed me for purchasing a $2,000 ticket to Vienna. That prompted me to start learning about credit card bonuses. As the initial saving, I used miles for an upcoming flight to Madrid that otherwise would have been over $1,000.

Last year I was visiting Windsor and was wondering if I should stay at the conference compound, the Beaumont Estate, or walk there from Innkeepers Lodge. Livesoft has posted an easy walking route that tipped my decision in favor of the Inn. I saved 200-300 pounds.

Harder to quantify:
- The Bogleheads taught me that the G Fund is a free lunch. I have been having this lunch for years.
- Mel has posted I Bond tutorials that got me started on purchasing I Bonds.
- Grabiner taught me about HDHP and HSA.
- My car has just turned 18. In the past few years, whenever it malfunctioned, I thought it was time to get a new one. And every time, the Bogleheads have suggested inexpensive solutions that prolonged my car's life.

On the long run, I expect that the best advice will turn out to be "If you have won the game you can stop playing."

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

ddunca1944
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Re: Can you quantify how Bogleheads has helped you?

Post by ddunca1944 » Sun Mar 15, 2015 3:42 pm

This forum gave me the confidence to move our retirement accounts from a full service broker/advisor to Vanguard and to go from a dozen expensive funds to 3 low cost funds. This has saved us several percentage points/year since 2011 when we made the change.

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Tycoon
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Re: Can you quantify how Bogleheads has helped you?

Post by Tycoon » Sun Mar 15, 2015 3:57 pm

Many times postings on this forum reinforce what I know to be true.
Emotionless, prognostication free investing. Ignoring the noise and economists since 1979. How consistantly wrong do predictions have to be before the faithful learn?

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blueblock
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Re: Can you quantify how Bogleheads has helped you?

Post by blueblock » Sun Mar 15, 2015 5:48 pm

I'm pretty new to the forum, so my list isn't long.

Over the years, I've lost interest in researching individual stocks and, on my own, got into mutual funds and, later, ETFs. Now that I'm about to retire, and will be transferring my 401K account to an IRA, I'm definitely going the three-fund portfolio route, which I learned about here, except I'll be adding a REIT at 10% AA to make it four funds.

Less quantifiable, I've gotten confirmation that I've been doing a lot of things right all these years. As Tycoon says, "Postings on this forum reinforce what I know to be true," and at least for me that's invaluable.

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htdrag11
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Re: Can you quantify how Bogleheads has helped you?

Post by htdrag11 » Sun Mar 15, 2015 6:00 pm

There are too many to name, but here are two big ones (quantitative and qualitative):

- moved one portfolio to Vanguard and manage myself; saves at least $5,000/annually.
- stop trading activities to a drip, making end of year tax filing a non-event that is PRICELESS. :mrgreen:

Ever since I've been spreading the gospel of Bogleheads. :D

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stemikger
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Re: Can you quantify how Bogleheads has helped you?

Post by stemikger » Sun Mar 15, 2015 6:03 pm

The Bogleheads have helped me numerous times stay the course.

Every time I was going change my asset allocation drastically, I posted here first and I was always talked down from the ledge. That in itself is worth the price of my annual subscription.
Choose Simplicity ~ Stay the Course!! ~ Press on Regardless!!!

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rob
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Re: Can you quantify how Bogleheads has helped you?

Post by rob » Sun Mar 15, 2015 6:11 pm

livesoft wrote:4. Tax-loss harvesting of 529 plans which is unusual, but saved more than two thousand dollars.
Do you mind explaining this point some more?

As to the question at hand..... no real way to know or even start to estimate but I have no doubt it's signifiant. It's been a change in the way of thinking, so mor evaluable than just an answer on a specific point.
| Rob | Its a dangerous business going out your front door. - J.R.R.Tolkien

likegarden
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Re: Can you quantify how Bogleheads has helped you?

Post by likegarden » Sun Mar 15, 2015 6:17 pm

10 years ago when planning to rollover the 401(k) and moving all other stocks and IRAs somewhere, I might have done this with a high cost financial advisor. Luckily I then read the Morningstar Vanguard forum which lateron was transitioned into the Bogleheads forum, and then went with Vanguard and mostly low-cost index funds. With front loads, 1% AUM, 12b-1 and high ERs by the Financial Adviser over 10 years and let's say a mid 6 figure portfolio that would have been a lot of money lost, over $100k. I also learned not to sell equity mutual funds at the bottom of a bear market, but rebalanced. That's another $100k.
Last edited by likegarden on Sun Mar 15, 2015 6:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Can you quantify how Bogleheads has helped you?

Post by Petrocelli » Sun Mar 15, 2015 6:23 pm

They helped me select a really nice watch.
Petrocelli (not the real Rico, but just a fan)

livesoft
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Re: Can you quantify how Bogleheads has helped you?

Post by livesoft » Sun Mar 15, 2015 6:24 pm

rob wrote:
livesoft wrote:4. Tax-loss harvesting of 529 plans which is unusual, but saved more than two thousand dollars.
Do you mind explaining this point some more?
See Pub 970 p. 60 ff. and http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtop ... 8#p2027308
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Re: Can you quantify how Bogleheads has helped you?

Post by abuss368 » Sun Mar 15, 2015 8:01 pm

Educating me on the Jack Bogle and Vanguard philosophy and strategy of pure investing.

Thank you Mr. Bogle!
John C. Bogle - Two Fund Portfolio: Total Stock & Total Bond. "Simplicity is the master key to financial success."

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Re: Can you quantify how Bogleheads has helped you?

Post by aquifer » Sun Mar 15, 2015 10:21 pm

I moved my Roth from Edward Jones to VG as a result of what I learned from the Bogleheads. Easy math: I've invested about $22,000 in the Roth since then, and another $15,000 in a taxable account recently. At 5.75% EJ sales load, I've saved over $2,125. That figure ignores the ER savings, and the ER savings in my 401k that I moved to a VG index fund based on BH education. It almost makes me sick to think of all the money I would have given to my EJ advisor going forward thru life had it not been for the Bogleheads.

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Re: Can you quantify how Bogleheads has helped you?

Post by jay22 » Sun Mar 15, 2015 10:46 pm

I remember when I made my 1st post on this forum in Aug 2012. I was directionless, had no idea what to do and was utterly confused - didn't even know what an IRA is, let alone having an account. Almost 3 years later, I am close to having a 150K portfolio almost all of it is in TSM, TISM and TBM. I owe that growth to this forum. Thank you!

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Re: Can you quantify how Bogleheads has helped you?

Post by Toons » Sun Mar 15, 2015 10:53 pm

Educated me on bond funds.
Helped me in having a better understanding of the tax code. :happy
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Compound
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Re: Can you quantify how Bogleheads has helped you?

Post by Compound » Mon Mar 16, 2015 4:30 pm

Thanks all for your replies. If there are other examples, please keep them coming!

Livesoft -- I've seen you comment on many occasions about TLH. I look forward to the day when I can save enough to put your advice on this topic to use. (Can't just yet, as I haven't been able to invest beyond 403b contributions. Still clawing my way out from student loans.)

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MikeWillRetire
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Re: Can you quantify how Bogleheads has helped you?

Post by MikeWillRetire » Mon Mar 16, 2015 5:07 pm

Bogleheads assured me that I hadn't screwed up my retirement during my pre-boglehead days (1995 to 2012), but that I should pay more attention to it. Back then, I contributed about 8% on average to my 401k, got a 5% match, and let it ride on a 50/50 asset allocation without really knowing it. I didn't even notice what happened in 2008! Eventually I learned that investing my 401k in a 2020 target retirement fund was a good choice for a somewhat hands off investor like myself.

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Re: Can you quantify how Bogleheads has helped you?

Post by DVMResident » Mon Mar 16, 2015 6:05 pm

I've learned a lot and it stimulated me to think of why I'm saving -- and enjoy the rest. That's a qualitative statement.

The biggest quantitative impact is learning about Mega-backdoor ROTH IRAs. That's additional $18k/year (and growing each year) that would have gone into taxable accounts. So figure savings times 2~3 decades of tax drag (both Fed and CA, which is unkind) on $18k/year.

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vitaflo
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Re: Can you quantify how Bogleheads has helped you?

Post by vitaflo » Mon Mar 16, 2015 7:10 pm

Biggest one to me was EmergDoc teaching me about inflation and real returns. For the longest time I thought I'd need $2.5 million to retire. I'd put in my savings and rate of return into a calculator and was happy to see I could retire quite early! However, I never thought about the fact that $2.5m in 30 years is not the same as today (nobody on TV or online ever talks about this except here). Using real returns I had a bit of a wake up call. So happy I learned this 30 years out and not 3 years before I retire. I have time to make up for it.

Other ones:
- How great a deal maxing out an HSA is.
- What documents to scan and what can be tossed (and the recommendation on the wonderful ScanSnap scanner)
- "Time in the market, not timing the market"

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VictoriaF
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Re: Can you quantify how Bogleheads has helped you?

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Mar 16, 2015 8:09 pm

vitaflo wrote: Other ones:
- What documents to scan and what can be tossed (and the recommendation on the wonderful ScanSnap scanner
Do you have a link to the discussion of what to scan and what to toss?

Thank you,

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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Re: Can you quantify how Bogleheads has helped you?

Post by Visceral » Mon Mar 16, 2015 9:00 pm

I learned about the Mega Backdoor Roth IRA here, which is worth about $30,000 more in my Roth each year.

I also learned about DE razors, which is priceless: http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtop ... 1&t=150864

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Re: Can you quantify how Bogleheads has helped you?

Post by abuss368 » Mon Mar 16, 2015 9:42 pm

I learned about the many excellent investing books available such as Jack Bogle's. Prior to that it was all stock and option books!
John C. Bogle - Two Fund Portfolio: Total Stock & Total Bond. "Simplicity is the master key to financial success."

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Re: Can you quantify how Bogleheads has helped you?

Post by NightFall » Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:31 am

Prior to finding this site, I knew little about the benefits of tax deferred and tax advantaged accounts. I was not maxing my retirement contributions whereas I am now, which is suspect is saving me thousands of dollars. I certainly didn't understand IRA's and when you could/could not contribute to them. I also learned about I bonds and bought a few. Unfortunately, I knew almost nothing about investing prior to finding this site and just stumbled around in the dark. I learned about bunching deductions in alternate years from livesoft and saved several hundred in taxes just this year because of it. I also learned that finance is special in that knowing more translates directly into more money. In other fields, knowledge has a much more indirect correlation with compensation.

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