the psychology of a taxable account

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TarHeel2002
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the psychology of a taxable account

Post by TarHeel2002 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:08 am

I max out tax all deferred accounts every year available to me. I am thinking of starting a taxable account. I am also thinking of paying down some low interest mortgage debt in lieu of the taxable account (forced savings). Tax deferred accounts are easy for me to mentally categorize as 'untouchable' money. Taxable accounts not so much. I'm afraid that as I grow a taxable account I would eventually find some 'want' to spend it on. This is why I am strongly considering accelerating the pay down some low interest mortgage debt instead (3.125% 30 year fixed). Any advice is appreciated!

Thanks!

livesoft
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Re: the psychology of a taxable account

Post by livesoft » Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:12 am

When you have to pay capital gains taxes, you will decide that the money is "untouchable" as well. :)

If you don't believe that investing tax-efficiently in a taxable account will well exceed the interest you pay on your mortgage (before tax and after tax), then it seems that you do not understand what investing is all about.

Another mental accounting trick:

If you buy 1000 shares of an ETF, then you won't want to sell it and break the round '1000'.
Last edited by livesoft on Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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chevca
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Re: the psychology of a taxable account

Post by chevca » Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:13 am

I would pay down debt before starting a taxable account. Not because I would worry I'd find something to spend on, but that's just the order I would do things debt/savings wise.

I don't have a taxable investing account. But, reading some threads on here and how folks worry about capital gains and all, it seems some think of their taxable accounts just as much, or more untouchable.

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TheTimeLord
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Re: the psychology of a taxable account

Post by TheTimeLord » Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:21 am

Second Livesoft's comment. Buy VTI and/or VEU in your taxable account and the capital gains taxes will discourage you from spending the money and if they drop in value you can tax loss harvest. That said I have never for one minute regretted paying off my mortgage. FWIW, no one ever said you couldn't do combination of both.
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Mlm
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Re: the psychology of a taxable account

Post by Mlm » Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:24 am

I started saving late so 50% of my retirement savings is in a taxable account. I had no debt. I labeled it as a retirement account in my Quicken software so that it's purpose was obvious. I had a separate savings account for the fun stuff. If I didn't have that investment I would not have been able to retire when I did.

KlangFool
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Re: the psychology of a taxable account

Post by KlangFool » Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:29 am

TarHeel2002 wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:08 am
I max out tax all deferred accounts every year available to me. I am thinking of starting a taxable account. I am also thinking of paying down some low interest mortgage debt in lieu of the taxable account (forced savings). Tax deferred accounts are easy for me to mentally categorize as 'untouchable' money. Taxable accounts not so much. I'm afraid that as I grow a taxable account I would eventually find some 'want' to spend it on. This is why I am strongly considering accelerating the pay down some low interest mortgage debt instead (3.125% 30 year fixed). Any advice is appreciated!

Thanks!
TarHeel2002,

1) If you are spending the 1% to 2% of your taxable account's dividend and distribution, what is wrong with that? I am using the dividend and distribution from my taxable account to pay for my kids' college education.

2) You will be paying capital gain tax if you sell your taxable investment. That should keep you in check.

3) It makes a lot more sense to

A) Invest in your taxable account.

B) If you choose to, use the distribution and dividend from your taxable account to prepay your mortgage.

KlangFool

RRAAYY3
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Re: the psychology of a taxable account

Post by RRAAYY3 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:46 am

I contribute to my taxable account monthly (no 401k until June) and view it as part of the retirement plan ... is this a bad idea?

I keep an oversized emergency fund for fun / car / house payment

Basically I don’t put any money in my taxable that I think I’ll need for a long time and don’t plan on touching it until I need it.

I max Roth and will likely max 401k once eligible, but for now putting money in taxable seemed to make the most sense (2 funds, total us total int’l)

The Wizard
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Re: the psychology of a taxable account

Post by The Wizard » Sat Nov 25, 2017 12:12 pm

I would do both: put part of extra funds toward paying down mortgage and part in your taxable investment account, which also could be called your New Car Savings/Investment Account.

And I disagree with certain others about CG taxes being a hindrance.
If I put $1000 a month into an Ally savings account, I pay 28% FIT on the growth (interest).
If I put $1000 a month into VTSAX, I pay 15% FIT on most of the dividends and on the Capital Gains when I sell long-term holdings.
So tell me: which deal is more fun?
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sketchy9
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Re: the psychology of a taxable account

Post by sketchy9 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:39 pm

I've never agreed with paying off debt early in small increments. Unless you can push the due date for the next payment into the future with extra payments (not common at all, and I've never heard of a mortgage that allowed you to do this), you still have to make timely monthly payments or you default on the loan. Lose your job? Medical emergency? Need a new roof? Tough beans, you still need to make your payment, and the bank doesn't care how much extra principal you've paid over the years.

Whereas, if you were to put the money into a taxable investment account, that money is always immediately available for any purpose you see fit, including paying off the mortgage in one fell swoop when you have enough money. If you're concerned about investment losses, then invest in appropriately un-risky funds. Investing in a taxable account is as much "forced savings" as paying extra on your mortgage.

And I agree with others, once the tax implications of selling become clear, you'll steer clear of selling and spending on frivolous things (particularly as you seem to be a diligent saver and not prone to impulse purchases already).

chevca
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Re: the psychology of a taxable account

Post by chevca » Sat Nov 25, 2017 2:02 pm

The Wizard wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 12:12 pm
I would do both: put part of extra funds toward paying down mortgage and part in your taxable investment account, which also could be called your New Car Savings/Investment Account.

And I disagree with certain others about CG taxes being a hindrance.
If I put $1000 a month into an Ally savings account, I pay 28% FIT on the growth (interest).
If I put $1000 a month into VTSAX, I pay 15% FIT on most of the dividends and on the Capital Gains when I sell long-term holdings.
So tell me: which deal is more fun?
Again, I don't have a taxable account yet. But, I've never understood the fear of capital gains tax either. It's a better deal, as you point out, and paying some taxes means you made some money. What's so bad about that?

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Doom&Gloom
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Re: the psychology of a taxable account

Post by Doom&Gloom » Sat Nov 25, 2017 2:12 pm

The danger is real. It happened to me. YMMV.

bhsince87
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Re: the psychology of a taxable account

Post by bhsince87 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 2:14 pm

Half of my assets (beside real estate) are in taxable accounts. IMO, the increased liquidity is worth a lot more than an early mortgage pay off. And it is THE key to early retirement.

That being said, once I had enough built up to pay off the mortgage with about 10% of the balance, I did so.

I've never been tempted to use it to buy frivolous stuff, but it has been the source for our occasional new car purchases.

And for a married couple filing jointly, it is essentially tax free for an income level around $100k or less.
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ralph124cf
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Re: the psychology of a taxable account

Post by ralph124cf » Sat Nov 25, 2017 2:31 pm

sketchy9 wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:39 pm
I've never agreed with paying off debt early in small increments. Unless you can push the due date for the next payment into the future with extra payments (not common at all, and I've never heard of a mortgage that allowed you to do this), you still have to make timely monthly payments or you default on the loan. Lose your job? Medical emergency? Need a new roof? Tough beans, you still need to make your payment, and the bank doesn't care how much extra principal you've paid over the years.

Whereas, if you were to put the money into a taxable investment account, that money is always immediately available for any purpose you see fit, including paying off the mortgage in one fell swoop when you have enough money. If you're concerned about investment losses, then invest in appropriately un-risky funds. Investing in a taxable account is as much "forced savings" as paying extra on your mortgage.

And I agree with others, once the tax implications of selling become clear, you'll steer clear of selling and spending on frivolous things (particularly as you seem to be a diligent saver and not prone to impulse purchases already).
It is certainly true for a fixed rate mortgage that your payment will not change until the loan is paid in full. However, for a variable rate mortgage, if you prepay some of it, then the payment is refigured once a year such that the loan will be paid off on the original payoff date.

Ralph

sketchy9
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Re: the psychology of a taxable account

Post by sketchy9 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 2:48 pm

ralph124cf wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 2:31 pm
sketchy9 wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:39 pm
I've never agreed with paying off debt early in small increments. Unless you can push the due date for the next payment into the future with extra payments (not common at all, and I've never heard of a mortgage that allowed you to do this), you still have to make timely monthly payments or you default on the loan. Lose your job? Medical emergency? Need a new roof? Tough beans, you still need to make your payment, and the bank doesn't care how much extra principal you've paid over the years.

Whereas, if you were to put the money into a taxable investment account, that money is always immediately available for any purpose you see fit, including paying off the mortgage in one fell swoop when you have enough money. If you're concerned about investment losses, then invest in appropriately un-risky funds. Investing in a taxable account is as much "forced savings" as paying extra on your mortgage.

And I agree with others, once the tax implications of selling become clear, you'll steer clear of selling and spending on frivolous things (particularly as you seem to be a diligent saver and not prone to impulse purchases already).
It is certainly true for a fixed rate mortgage that your payment will not change until the loan is paid in full. However, for a variable rate mortgage, if you prepay some of it, then the payment is refigured once a year such that the loan will be paid off on the original payoff date.

Ralph
Thanks for the clarification. Back when I still had a sizable student loan and hadn't really thought things through, I would throw extra principal at it and it would change my next due date. I was actually prepaid by almost 2 years! But for a conventional fixed-rate mortgage that doesn't happen.

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Re: the psychology of a taxable account

Post by dwickenh » Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:22 pm

livesoft wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:12 am
When you have to pay capital gains taxes, you will decide that the money is "untouchable" as well. :)

If you don't believe that investing tax-efficiently in a taxable account will well exceed the interest you pay on your mortgage (before tax and after tax), then it seems that you do not understand what investing is all about.

Another mental accounting trick:

If you buy 1000 shares of an ETF, then you won't want to sell it and break the round '1000'.
"When you have to pay capital gains taxes, you will decide that the money is "untouchable" as well. :)"

Wait, don't we have someone that posts about paying no tax on high income? :twisted:

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hmw
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Re: the psychology of a taxable account

Post by hmw » Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:48 pm

I do find it hard to sell winners in a taxable account because of 20% cap gain tax. One more reason to buy and hold index funds so I don’t need to “time” the market and sell stocks that have had a good run. Will probably end up in the 15% long term cap gain tax bracket in retirement, so I am holding on to all my long term gains.

bhsince87
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Re: the psychology of a taxable account

Post by bhsince87 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:02 pm

hmw wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:48 pm
I do find it hard to sell winners in a taxable account because of 20% cap gain tax. One more reason to buy and hold index funds so I don’t need to “time” the market and sell stocks that have had a good run. Will probably end up in the 15% long term cap gain tax bracket in retirement, so I am holding on to all my long term gains.
Same here. I have some capital gains on individual stocks going back to 1991! I'm mostly saving them for retirement, when I hope to be taxed at 0%.

However, I do occasionally make charitable contributions with them. That's a pretty sweet deal too. Another advantage of a taxable account.
"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace." Samuel Adams

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Re: the psychology of a taxable account

Post by Artsdoctor » Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:11 pm

TarHeel2002 wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:08 am
I max out tax all deferred accounts every year available to me. I am thinking of starting a taxable account. I am also thinking of paying down some low interest mortgage debt in lieu of the taxable account (forced savings). Tax deferred accounts are easy for me to mentally categorize as 'untouchable' money. Taxable accounts not so much. I'm afraid that as I grow a taxable account I would eventually find some 'want' to spend it on. This is why I am strongly considering accelerating the pay down some low interest mortgage debt instead (3.125% 30 year fixed). Any advice is appreciated!

Thanks!
It is true that you could be tempted at the beginning because your capital gains may not be enough to dissuade you. But by definition, investing for the future requires a bit of self-control.

Another thing to consider regarding investing in a taxable account (and there are many other advantages). In time, you will most likely have tax-loss harvesting opportunities. This may translate to carryover losses which will be up to a $3,000 loss per year for years to come. Aside from other advantages, that's going to be money in your pocket each year. (Granted, you will be resetting your basis and will need to reconcile that later, but that's a topic for a different time.)

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Re: the psychology of a taxable account

Post by cfs » Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:28 pm

TarHeel2002 wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:08 am
. . . Tax deferred accounts are easy for me to mentally categorize as 'untouchable' money. Taxable accounts not so much . . .
I find this interesting. What I did from the beginning of time was to drop whatever change I had left [after maxing out my tax deferred accounts] into my TA [taxable account]. Guess what happened? With time my TA became and remains my largest account. Wishing you good luck, Merry Christmas, and thanks for reading.

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bikechuck
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Re: the psychology of a taxable account

Post by bikechuck » Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:30 pm

TheTimeLord wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:21 am
Second Livesoft's comment. Buy VTI and/or VEU in your taxable account and the capital gains taxes will discourage you from spending the money and if they drop in value you can tax loss harvest. That said I have never for one minute regretted paying off my mortgage. FWIW, no one ever said you couldn't do combination of both.
You are speaking in tongues. What do VTI and VEU stand for? I guess that they are funds but it would be SO HELPFUL if posters would identify these funds by name instead of or in addition to using the symbols. This takes a few extra seconds for one person (the poster) and it save many many people the trouble of looking them up. Also the post becomes less useful because many readers will not bother looking them up.

Sorry for the rant, now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

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Devil's Advocate
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Re: the psychology of a taxable account

Post by Devil's Advocate » Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:35 pm

TarHeel2002 wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:08 am
I max out tax all deferred accounts every year available to me. I am thinking of starting a taxable account. I am also thinking of paying down some low interest mortgage debt in lieu of the taxable account (forced savings). Tax deferred accounts are easy for me to mentally categorize as 'untouchable' money. Taxable accounts not so much. I'm afraid that as I grow a taxable account I would eventually find some 'want' to spend it on. This is why I am strongly considering accelerating the pay down some low interest mortgage debt instead (3.125% 30 year fixed). Any advice is appreciated!

Thanks!
DA

I had the same fear of Spending the taxable account frivolously. I am a reformed Spender. Now pretty frugal. Therefore the wife and I decided a few years ago to accelerate our mortgage payment. Paid off our mortgage and January of this year. Started my taxable account and have a decent amount in it.

Our goal now is to start saving for an upgrade in a few years. Not necessarily because we want a bigger house but would prefer to be out of town and have more privacy. Right now we live next door to our babysitter and this is a huge Benefit so we are in no rush to move. Our youngest will be 5 in 5 years December 26th.

:D

DA

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Re: the psychology of a taxable account

Post by TheTimeLord » Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:39 pm

bikechuck wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:30 pm
TheTimeLord wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:21 am
Second Livesoft's comment. Buy VTI and/or VEU in your taxable account and the capital gains taxes will discourage you from spending the money and if they drop in value you can tax loss harvest. That said I have never for one minute regretted paying off my mortgage. FWIW, no one ever said you couldn't do combination of both.
You are speaking in tongues. What do VTI and VEU stand for? I guess that they are funds but it would be SO HELPFUL if posters would identify these funds by name instead of or in addition to using the symbols. This takes a few extra seconds for one person (the poster) and it save many many people the trouble of looking them up. Also the post becomes less useful because many readers will not bother looking them up.

Sorry for the rant, now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
Probably true but really didn't think those 2 would need an explanation to folks on this forum, especially VTI.
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Re: the psychology of a taxable account

Post by Sammy_M » Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:49 pm

TarHeel2002 wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:08 am
I am strongly considering accelerating the pay down some low interest mortgage debt instead (3.125% 30 year fixed).
If you will take the standard deduction in 2018, paying down a 3.15% mortgage is sensible. That beats the yield on safe bond funds. You may need to adjust your tax advantaged contributions to shift more toward equities. For example, if you pay $1,000 extra per month on your mortgage, and contribute $1,500/mo to your 401K, instead of a say 60/40 stock/bond split, make it 100% stocks. That still nets out to 60/40 if you look at the mortgage as a negative bond: $1000/$2500 total = 40% bonds.

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Re: the psychology of a taxable account

Post by cfs » Sat Nov 25, 2017 5:45 pm

bikechuck wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:30 pm
. . . You are speaking in tongues. What do VTI and VEU stand for? . . .
We need to decode all the mumble jumble symbols, so, here we go.

VTI = Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF
VEU = Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US ETF

Thanks for reading.
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Re: the psychology of a taxable account

Post by radiowave » Sat Nov 25, 2017 6:56 pm

TarHeel2002 wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:08 am
I max out tax all deferred accounts every year available to me. I am thinking of starting a taxable account. I am also thinking of paying down some low interest mortgage debt in lieu of the taxable account (forced savings). Tax deferred accounts are easy for me to mentally categorize as 'untouchable' money. Taxable accounts not so much. I'm afraid that as I grow a taxable account I would eventually find some 'want' to spend it on. This is why I am strongly considering accelerating the pay down some low interest mortgage debt instead (3.125% 30 year fixed). Any advice is appreciated!

Thanks!
All good info above posts. We are using our taxable as our early retirement bridge in a few years. Basically a way to defer social security to 70 and perhaps give us a chance to start retirement a few years early. Yes, funds in a taxable account can be use as a second or third tier emergency fund. You do need to contend with the dividends but with good management, shouldn't have a major impact on annual taxes.

- a fellow tar heel -
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livesoft
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Re: the psychology of a taxable account

Post by livesoft » Sat Nov 25, 2017 6:57 pm

dwickenh wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:22 pm
"When you have to pay capital gains taxes, you will decide that the money is "untouchable" as well. :)"

Wait, don't we have someone that posts about paying no tax on high income? :twisted:
My taxable income is quite low nowadays, so we do have someone that posts about paying no tax on low income.
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Toons
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Re: the psychology of a taxable account

Post by Toons » Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:06 pm

Easy
Pay off the mortgage first.
Start the taxable account after that.
Save ,Invest ,,,grow your capital,
Then do as you please with your monies,
Spend as you please,share with family,charity.
Paying taxes?
It comes with the territory,
Enjoy :happy
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38,000 ft
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Re: the psychology of a taxable account

Post by 38,000 ft » Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:26 am

livesoft wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:12 am
If you buy 1000 shares of an ETF, then you won't want to sell it and break the round '1000'.
Nice, unless it pays a dividend and you have reinvestment on! :P

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randomizer
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Re: the psychology of a taxable account

Post by randomizer » Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:42 am

livesoft wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:12 am
When you have to pay capital gains taxes, you will decide that the money is "untouchable" as well. :)

If you don't believe that investing tax-efficiently in a taxable account will well exceed the interest you pay on your mortgage (before tax and after tax), then it seems that you do not understand what investing is all about.

Another mental accounting trick:

If you buy 1000 shares of an ETF, then you won't want to sell it and break the round '1000'.
Splendid advice.
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Re: the psychology of a taxable account

Post by Cunobelinus » Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:20 am

randomizer wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:42 am
livesoft wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:12 am
When you have to pay capital gains taxes, you will decide that the money is "untouchable" as well. :)

If you don't believe that investing tax-efficiently in a taxable account will well exceed the interest you pay on your mortgage (before tax and after tax), then it seems that you do not understand what investing is all about.

Another mental accounting trick:

If you buy 1000 shares of an ETF, then you won't want to sell it and break the round '1000'.
Splendid advice.
Taxable accounts, outside of my original brokerage/trading account, became untouchable as soon as they were created because I had already mentally allocated them as long-term money for retirement. I've only "touched" them to donate appreciated shares because it appears to me to be more cost effective than cash.

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