Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

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fortfun
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Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by fortfun » Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:43 pm

I've seen a dozen portfolio assessment posts come up the last few weeks (I posted one yesterday). Many get little or no response, even when posted correctly. Yet a question about brake pads may yield a couple of hundred responses. Are people just tired of answering portfolio assessments? If so, this makes me a little sad about the state of Bogleheads. I'd hate to see people start turning to the "pros" for investment advice. This forum saved my financial "life." I hope it will continue to flourish!

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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by White Coat Investor » Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:01 pm

# 1 Yes, I think people do get sick of it a bit. It actually requires effort to read a 1000 word post (just like 500 previous ones) and respond to it. Since nobody gets paid to do this effort, you can only get a little bit of work out of a single person. There are upsides and downsides to the format. The upside is that it is free and there is little bias. The downside is nobody has much incentive to respond and help. Newbies are left to the goodness of the hearts of forum regulars and their available time. There are other models, but this is the one the forum has chosen, for better or for worse. Just as an example, not a suggestion, an ad could be stuck up on the homepage and the proceeds from that ad could be used to pay 5 people a month whose job it is to respond to the portfolio help requests. Then it is both someone's responsibility and they are incentivized to do it. Another option, again not a suggestion, is to allow financial professionals to put their firm in their signature and then they're incentivized to give good advice because they may pick up a client from it. Yet another is for the forum to solicit donations and use those to pay $5 for each of the first five responses to one of those "help me" threads. Lots of ways to skin a cat, all with their pluses and minuses. But nobody can expect 10 or 15 people to do this for a dozen posts each every week. They'll get burned out. And that's what has happened.

# 2 Most responses just recommend that they change their portfolio so it looks more like that of the person making the recommendation (I think you need more TIPS, you have 5% and I have 10%.) The real benefit of asking for help is putting it in the recommended format! At that point the questions you have left are usually just matters of opinion with no right answer.

# 3 The forum has grown. There are like 5 pages worth of posts that have been updated just today. I can't imagine anyone is reading all the threads. I scan down 20 or 30 threads, click on one or two that look interesting, and that's it. Maybe leave one response. See you tomorrow. And I have more posts on this forum than all but 17 other people. The likelihood of those one or two being a "help me with my portfolio" thread is low. You just have to think about why people log in. Do they do it to learn more about investing? Do they do it to kill time? Do they do it to help others? Some combination of the above? We're all different, but we're also people, and people do what they're incentivized to do. The incentive on a forum is to take, not give...to lurk, not contribute. I mean, look at how many hits the forum has on a given day and then how many responses to newbies asking for help there are. It's a tiny percentage. That's not why people come here for the most part.

Bottom line: I'd encourage everyone, whether you think you know enough or not, to make an effort to give one response a week to a portfolio help thread. If even 10% of us did that, it would meet the need. Whether people will do that voluntarily or not is beyond me.

I do know of some posters who used to do this a great deal but have left the forum because they got sick of being trolled/pestered, the internet being what it is, even here. So maximizing kindness particularly for those who are not anonymous goes a long way too.
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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by retiredjg » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:10 pm

fortfun wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:43 pm
I've seen a dozen portfolio assessment posts come up the last few weeks (I posted one yesterday). Many get little or no response, even when posted correctly.
Sometimes people think they have posted "correctly" when their information is posted in a way that will take extra time and extra work on the part of the "helper".

For example, your recent posting shows dollar amounts but does not show all your holdings in terms of what percentage they are of the portfolio. That means that your "helpers" will have to redo all the math for your entire portfolio before being able to reliably help you.

I don't mean to "pick on" you, but this is the honest answer to your question.

I have noticed many postings in this same un-usable format lately. I don't know why. I'm sure those folks think they have posted "correctly" as well. And many, like you, may be wondering why they are getting less help than they expected to get. It is because some of us "helpers" do not have the time or energy to rework everything before even getting to the questions that people have asked.


What I can truthfully say is that the way to get the most help and the best help is to present your portfolio information in the format requested in Laura's "Asking Portfolio Questions" format. The closer to Laura's format, the easier it is to help you. The easier it is to help, the more help you will get.

I realize there are people who do not understand how to post in Laura's format. The math can be confusing at first. When it is clear that is what is going on, someone will usually take the extra time and effort to walk them through it.

Yet a question about brake pads may yield a couple of hundred responses. Are people just tired of answering portfolio assessments?

No. It simply means that people can express opinions about brake pads easily....but they often must put in a lot of time and effort to work on people's portfolios. A brake pad post can be answered in 30 seconds to a minute. And it can be answered by dozens of people who don't yet understand portfolios.

On the other hand, a fairly simple portfolio question will often take 15 to 30 minutes if presented completely in sync with Laura's format. And it is not uncommon for a helper to spend 1 to 2 hours on a person's portfolio if the questions have a lot of moving parts.

With that in mind, it is easy to see why people who make it easy to help.....get the most help.

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fortfun
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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by fortfun » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:19 pm

retiredjg wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:10 pm
fortfun wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:43 pm
I've seen a dozen portfolio assessment posts come up the last few weeks (I posted one yesterday). Many get little or no response, even when posted correctly.
Sometimes people think they have posted "correctly" when their information is posted in a way that will take extra time and extra work on the part of the "helper".

For example, your recent posting shows dollar amounts but does not show all your holdings in terms of what percentage they are of the portfolio. That means that your "helpers" will have to redo all the math for your entire portfolio before being able to reliably help you.

I don't mean to "pick on" you, but this is the honest answer to your question.

I have noticed many postings in this same un-usable format lately. I don't know why. I'm sure those folks think they have posted "correctly" as well. And many, like you, may be wondering why they are getting less help than they expected to get. It is because some of us "helpers" do not have the time or energy to rework everything before even getting to the questions that people have asked.


What I can truthfully say is that the way to get the most help and the best help is to present your portfolio information in the format requested in Laura's "Asking Portfolio Questions" format. The closer to Laura's format, the easier it is to help you. The easier it is to help, the more help you will get.

I realize there are people who do not understand how to post in Laura's format. The math can be confusing at first. When it is clear that is what is going on, someone will usually take the extra time and effort to walk them through it.

Yet a question about brake pads may yield a couple of hundred responses. Are people just tired of answering portfolio assessments?

No. It simply means that people can express opinions about brake pads easily....but they often must put in a lot of time and effort to work on people's portfolios. A brake pad post can be answered in 30 seconds to a minute. And it can be answered by dozens of people who don't yet understand portfolios.

On the other hand, a fairly simple portfolio question will often take 15 to 30 minutes if presented completely in sync with Laura's format. And it is not uncommon for a helper to spend 1 to 2 hours on a person's portfolio if the questions have a lot of moving parts.

With that in mind, it is easy to see why people who make it easy to help.....get the most help.
As usual, an excellent answer retiredjg. I'll go back and re-work my post. I made the corrections! I am grateful for your time on this forum. I didn't mean to criticize anyone. As I said, you people saved my financial life and for that I'm very grateful.
Last edited by fortfun on Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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fortfun
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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by fortfun » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:20 pm

White Coat Investor wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:01 pm
# 1 Yes, I think people do get sick of it a bit. It actually requires effort to read a 1000 word post (just like 500 previous ones) and respond to it. Since nobody gets paid to do this effort, you can only get a little bit of work out of a single person. There are upsides and downsides to the format. The upside is that it is free and there is little bias. The downside is nobody has much incentive to respond and help. Newbies are left to the goodness of the hearts of forum regulars and their available time. There are other models, but this is the one the forum has chosen, for better or for worse. Just as an example, not a suggestion, an ad could be stuck up on the homepage and the proceeds from that ad could be used to pay 5 people a month whose job it is to respond to the portfolio help requests. Then it is both someone's responsibility and they are incentivized to do it. Another option, again not a suggestion, is to allow financial professionals to put their firm in their signature and then they're incentivized to give good advice because they may pick up a client from it. Yet another is for the forum to solicit donations and use those to pay $5 for each of the first five responses to one of those "help me" threads. Lots of ways to skin a cat, all with their pluses and minuses. But nobody can expect 10 or 15 people to do this for a dozen posts each every week. They'll get burned out. And that's what has happened.

# 2 Most responses just recommend that they change their portfolio so it looks more like that of the person making the recommendation (I think you need more TIPS, you have 5% and I have 10%.) The real benefit of asking for help is putting it in the recommended format! At that point the questions you have left are usually just matters of opinion with no right answer.

# 3 The forum has grown. There are like 5 pages worth of posts that have been updated just today. I can't imagine anyone is reading all the threads. I scan down 20 or 30 threads, click on one or two that look interesting, and that's it. Maybe leave one response. See you tomorrow. And I have more posts on this forum than all but 17 other people. The likelihood of those one or two being a "help me with my portfolio" thread is low. You just have to think about why people log in. Do they do it to learn more about investing? Do they do it to kill time? Do they do it to help others? Some combination of the above? We're all different, but we're also people, and people do what they're incentivized to do. The incentive on a forum is to take, not give...to lurk, not contribute. I mean, look at how many hits the forum has on a given day and then how many responses to newbies asking for help there are. It's a tiny percentage. That's not why people come here for the most part.

Bottom line: I'd encourage everyone, whether you think you know enough or not, to make an effort to give one response a week to a portfolio help thread. If even 10% of us did that, it would meet the need. Whether people will do that voluntarily or not is beyond me.

I do know of some posters who used to do this a great deal but have left the forum because they got sick of being trolled/pestered, the internet being what it is, even here. So maximizing kindness particularly for those who are not anonymous goes a long way too.
Thanks for the thoughtful answer White Coat Investor. I appreciate your work on this forum.

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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by Pacman » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:24 pm

WCI has interesting points. For what its worth, I looked at your portfolio assessment post, and even as a CPA, its a lot of work to digest your situation and then provide recommendations. Easily 30 minutes worth of effort. If you feel you need customized advice and can't find other similar situations on here, I think you should be willing to pay for it. Otherwise, you can do what I do and just read through 1000s posts and come to my own conclusions while taking on some risk that I might not get it perfect, but that's part of the risk of doing it free and relying on the internet.

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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by retiredjg » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:31 pm

fortfun wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:19 pm
As usual, an excellent answer retiredjg. I'll go back and re-work my post...
And I'll take a look at it in the morning when I have the time and more energy to help out. If you can't get it reworked by then, I may have the energy to do it then myself. Tonight....ain't gonna happen. :happy

This does not mean I'll know the answers to your questions, but at least I'll know what you have.

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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by staythecourse » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:32 pm

Thank your for pointing this out as I hadn't noticed. I very rarely ever even read those threads as I assumed the true diehard posters on here who have a wealth of experience seeing a ton of these requests and would answer them better then I.

I am going to make more of an effort to read these requests. I would ask others to do so as well. It is one of the BEST features on this site. It is easy to charge folks for their opinion, but makes a better community when the opinion is unbiased by those who have no skin in the game.

If I missed yours please bump it back to the top so others (including myself) can take a look. I hope others will help out as well.

Good luck.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle

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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by fortfun » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:34 pm

staythecourse wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:32 pm
Thank your for pointing this out as I hadn't noticed. I very rarely ever even read those threads as I assumed the true diehard posters on here who have a wealth of experience seeing a ton of these requests and would answer them better then I.

I am going to make more of an effort to read these requests. I would ask others to do so as well. It is one of the BEST features on this site. It is easy to charge folks for their opinion, but makes a better community when the opinion is unbiased by those who have no skin in the game.

If I missed yours please bump it back to the top so others (including myself) can take a look. I hope others will help out as well.

Good luck.
Thanks stay the course! I just made the corrections that retiredjg suggested. So I think it will be back up at the top. I am so grateful for everyone's help!

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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by fortfun » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:36 pm

retiredjg wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:31 pm
fortfun wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:19 pm
As usual, an excellent answer retiredjg. I'll go back and re-work my post...
And I'll take a look at it in the morning when I have the time and more energy to help out. If you can't get it reworked by then, I may have the energy to do it then myself. Tonight....ain't gonna happen. :happy

This does not mean I'll know the answers to your questions, but at least I'll know what you have.
Thanks retiredjg. I used excel to calculate the percentage that each investment makes up (of the total). I believe that's what you needed. Again, I'm very grateful for everyone's help on this forum! I would not be where I am today without everyone's help!

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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by fortfun » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:39 pm

Pacman wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:24 pm
WCI has interesting points. For what its worth, I looked at your portfolio assessment post, and even as a CPA, its a lot of work to digest your situation and then provide recommendations. Easily 30 minutes worth of effort. If you feel you need customized advice and can't find other similar situations on here, I think you should be willing to pay for it. Otherwise, you can do what I do and just read through 1000s posts and come to my own conclusions while taking on some risk that I might not get it perfect, but that's part of the risk of doing it free and relying on the internet.
Thanks Pacman. When I first posted my situation on this forum a year or two ago, lot's of people took an interest. I was a mess then--maybe people felt sorry for me :)

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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by livesoft » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:39 pm

I used to respond to the "pimp my portfolio" threads all the time. But if the original post doesn't follow a format that my eyeballs can rake in in a moment, I just see what happens. In the past, I might have written, "Please update to follow the desired format in the Sticky." But that was a negative response, so I now often wait for someone else to get that ball rolling.

Also the "Sticky" is not easily found either. This is evident because many times the OP will write, "I didn't know there was a sticky. How do I find it?"

As for fortfun's other thread, he is in good shape. I wouldn't be using CDs in taxable myself, but ....

A portfolio that is a real mess is easy to respond to. A portfolio that is good and needs little work doesn't need any response. I suppose folks are looking for a pat on the back or an "attaboy", so I see less need to comment.

Finally, the "Sticky" asks for "Desired asset allocation", I would like "advanced" posters to actually post their current asset allocation, so that I don't have to figure it out. That's beyond what is asked for now (the percentages of each investment). If both the current actual AA and the desired AA are both posted, then it should be more obvious to the OP what might need to be done.
Last edited by livesoft on Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by DaftInvestor » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:42 pm

My personal experience when I joined the forum a few years ago:
1) I posted all my data in required format and asked a few questions- got few responses.
2) shortly there after I asked my questions with providing little to no data - got LOTS of responses. Many more useful responses. I asked a single question at a time with the question in the title.
I've seem similar happen to others.
My conclusion:
Few people have the time and patience to review portfolios in a detailed fashion but they do like to answer question - if you give too much data they get overwhelmed and don't respond.
I realize the info provided is necessary to get proper feedback but then your feedback may be limited. I also realized that you might get folks requesting more data and the format provided - but I've also noticed that people make the request but them still don't provide feedback (they are presumably requested the data in hopes someone else will analyze it).

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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by retiredjg » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:46 pm

Let's fine tune it a little, fortfun. You have shown what percentage is in each account of the portfolio. We need to know what each individual holding represents as a percentage of your portfolio.

If an account is 20% of your portfolio and half is in one thing and half is in another thing.....each thing represents 10% OF THE PORTFOLIO.

We can only understand your portfolio if we know that fund A is 10% and fund B is 13% and fund C is 40%.....etc.

Many people misunderstand or confuse the words "account" and "fund" or "holding". An IRA is an "account". An account is a container. Your IRA container may hold 1 fund (1 holding) or 10 funds (10 holdings) or 30 individual stocks (30 holdings) or some combination of all of those things. What we can work with is the amount of each "thing" you hold.

Sometimes this is confusing at first, but when you learn to see your portfolio this way, you will realize how simple it is.

BTW. which fort?

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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by bottlecap » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:49 pm

I think some posts are often too complicated. One thing that would help would be for posters to summarize their issue at the beginning.

The recent post you made contains a bunch of information that is not needed, for instance. When the reader gets to the end, you ask a few questions that require a person to go back through the post and reacquire more specific information that is related.

This makes the process of responding is made time consuming and difficult. I'm reading all of this and have no idea whether I even have an opinion until the very end of your post. At this point I'm bored - I may stop reading. If I do read, I may not answer, unless one or more of your questions are really compelling.

Your questions could be broken down to several smaller posts with only the necessary information and you would probably get far more responses.

The responses to your post are not a real fair comparison, however, because you are doing better than most and don't really need "help." Yours is more of a post seeking validation, and perhaps possible tweaks. When someone truly needs help, there are usually plenty of responses.

Other stuff that makes me pass, even if the person might need help:

Huge posts
Large one-paragraph posts
Posts with ticker symbols
Posts without punctuation

You have to make it easy for the reader and hold the reader's attention. That's the number 1 rule of writing.

Are you still reading? :wink:

JT

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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by inbox788 » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:54 pm

bottlecap wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:49 pm
I think some posts are often too complicated. One thing that would help would be for posters to summarize their issue at the beginning.
I find the posting format cumbersome. There is a lot of extraneous information for me to wade through, and for me the bottom line is what is your current AA? It would be nice if there was an engine (ai?) that could parse the portfolios in the various accounts and come up with a result like Morningstar X-Ray. Is there a text input to the Morningstar X-Ray engine? Again, manually entering holdings for a dozen or two or more funds and stocks is too much. Something cut/paste would be helpful.

https://portfolio.morningstar.com/Rtpor ... Entry.aspx

viewtopic.php?t=192777

Also, breaking up the information into smaller pieces, would allow some folks to take smaller bites at any questions. But it's a tradeoff, since the responses you get are no longer cohesive and a bunch of piecemeal bites that may not get the important points across.
Last edited by inbox788 on Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:56 pm

The short of it - it requires time. Time can be in short supply when there are too many of the day to day tasks at hand. When I respond I like to write thoughtfully and provide the right calculations, it can get complicated when dealing with multiple accounts.
Last edited by Grt2bOutdoors on Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by retiredjg » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:57 pm

bottlecap wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:49 pm
Other stuff that makes me pass, even if the person might need help:

Huge posts
Large one-paragraph posts
Posts with ticker symbols
Posts without punctuation

You have to make it easy for the reader and hold the reader's attention. That's the number 1 rule of writing.

Are you still reading? :wink:

JT
Well, since this has gotten generalized....yes! Those things make me go find some other post to answer.

Some posts tell us everything we don't need to know and bury the information we do need to know in deep in a paragraph. That makes it difficult to help.

Some posts have sentence after sentence without paragraphs. That is difficult to read. Those are difficult to help.

Some posts have a lot of ticker symbols that I'm not going to look up. Those posts are difficult to help.

All bringing us back to Larua's "Asking Portfolio Questions" format which contains everything needed in an easy to find structure and nothing that is not needed.

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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by livesoft » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:59 pm

inbox788 wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:54 pm
I find the posting format cumbersome. There is a lot of extraneous information for me to wade through, and for me the bottom line is what is your current AA? It would be nice if there was an engine (ai?) that could parse the portfolios in the various accounts and

viewtopic.php?t=192777
I agree. I suppose the "Sticky" could say, "Please put your current portfolio into 'BH-approved tool' to show us your current asset allocation," but that would probably be too high a hurdle to get past for most people. Already, the current format probably dissuades many people.

Another peeve: I don't think there is any need to list all the fund options in a company-sponsored retirement plan. The poster could do some legwork and not show the one's that have high expense ratios, for instance.
Last edited by livesoft on Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by cherijoh » Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:08 pm

retiredjg wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:10 pm
fortfun wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:43 pm
I've seen a dozen portfolio assessment posts come up the last few weeks (I posted one yesterday). Many get little or no response, even when posted correctly.
Sometimes people think they have posted "correctly" when their information is posted in a way that will take extra time and extra work on the part of the "helper".

For example, your recent posting shows dollar amounts but does not show all your holdings in terms of what percentage they are of the portfolio. That means that your "helpers" will have to redo all the math for your entire portfolio before being able to reliably help you.

I don't mean to "pick on" you, but this is the honest answer to your question.

I have noticed many postings in this same un-usable format lately. I don't know why. I'm sure those folks think they have posted "correctly" as well. And many, like you, may be wondering why they are getting less help than they expected to get. It is because some of us "helpers" do not have the time or energy to rework everything before even getting to the questions that people have asked.


What I can truthfully say is that the way to get the most help and the best help is to present your portfolio information in the format requested in Laura's "Asking Portfolio Questions" format. The closer to Laura's format, the easier it is to help you. The easier it is to help, the more help you will get.

I realize there are people who do not understand how to post in Laura's format. The math can be confusing at first. When it is clear that is what is going on, someone will usually take the extra time and effort to walk them through it.
+1
A couple more issues that can make a difference if I post or not are:
  • Has the poster clearly delineated their post (for instance using capital letters, bold and underline and extra spaces) so that it doesn't have to be read multiple times? One would-be poster used a stream of consciousness format and when I suggested he use Laura's format since his format was too difficult to follow, he took offense. Needless to say I never bothered to read any of his future posts. :oops:
  • Has the OP has posted their portfolio using only the 5-letter fund identifiers? I don't have time to look up all the symbols to figure out which funds you already have.
  • If the poster is asking for advice related to their workplace plan, have they provided the expense ratios associated with the available funds? Many people don't realize that mutual funds inside a workplace plan often don't have the same expense ratios as the retail shares.
  • Has the poster provided enough information to address the questions that they have asked? You may be only asking for advice on your 401k, but it makes a big difference if you have a Roll over IRA or a taxable investment account. Also make sure any percentages relate to your entire portfolio -not just that type of account.

    There have been quite a few posters who appear to be seeking confirmation of their own conclusions, so they provide selected facts to slant the responses. Once you drag out all the facts, you realize that you have wasted a lot of time on a thoughtful response. This is less prevalent on Portfolio review threads than "can I afford to buy this house" threads, but it still makes me less willing to answer any posts that only include portions of the necessary information.

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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by whodidntante » Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:13 pm

It's likely a side effect of increasing traffic. The posts that require work and understanding are skipped for posts that require opinion.

delamer
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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by delamer » Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:28 pm

In my last job, we maintained a large database and provided extensive, searchable documentation for users.

Yet we regularly got questions from users which made it obvious that they had not bothered to even do a rudimentary review of the documentation before sending in their questions.

I get the same sense with some, certainly not all, portfolio posters. There is lots of material in the wiki and in previous threads related to their questions, but they don’t bother to do any research before posting.

2retire
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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by 2retire » Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:03 pm

bottlecap wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:49 pm
I think some posts are often too complicated. One thing that would help would be for posters to summarize their issue at the beginning.

The recent post you made contains a bunch of information that is not needed, for instance. When the reader gets to the end, you ask a few questions that require a person to go back through the post and reacquire more specific information that is related.

This makes the process of responding is made time consuming and difficult. I'm reading all of this and have no idea whether I even have an opinion until the very end of your post. At this point I'm bored - I may stop reading. If I do read, I may not answer, unless one or more of your questions are really compelling.
This is a very good point. I don't even bother looking at the stuff up top anymore; the first thing I do is scroll down to the questions. It helps to process the information they have included so you can decide what is important and what isn't.

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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by BogleBoogie » Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:12 pm

I was going to read the post you are referring to and weigh in, but then I got tired and distracted.

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Tycoon
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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by Tycoon » Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:15 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:42 pm
My personal experience when I joined the forum a few years ago:
1) I posted all my data in required format and asked a few questions- got few responses.
2) shortly there after I asked my questions with providing little to no data - got LOTS of responses. Many more useful responses. I asked a single question at a time with the question in the title.
Hmmm... there's probably a research project opportunity hiding in your two observations.
...I might be just beginning | I might be near the end. Enya | | C'est la vie

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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by Dottie57 » Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:15 pm

fortfun wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:43 pm
I've seen a dozen portfolio assessment posts come up the last few weeks (I posted one yesterday). Many get little or no response, even when posted correctly. Yet a question about brake pads may yield a couple of hundred responses. Are people just tired of answering portfolio assessments? If so, this makes me a little sad about the state of Bogleheads. I'd hate to see people start turning to the "pros" for investment advice. This forum saved my financial "life." I hope it will continue to flourish!
A lot of the posts are like chapters in a book way too long and wordy.

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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by AnalogKid22 » Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:26 pm

whodidntante wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:13 pm
It's likely a side effect of increasing traffic. The posts that require work and understanding are skipped for posts that require opinion.
Agree. Since I joined in 2014 I'm guessing a lot of buzz around index investing and financial independence has drawn people to Vanguard and this site.

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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by Dottie57 » Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:30 pm

delamer wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:28 pm
In my last job, we maintained a large database and provided extensive, searchable documentation for users.

Yet we regularly got questions from users which made it obvious that they had not bothered to even do a rudimentary review of the documentation before sending in their questions.

I get the same sense with some, certainly not all, portfolio posters. There is lots of material in the wiki and in previous threads related to their questions, but they don’t bother to do any research before posting.
I think when someone first comes to this site, they may presume their question/situation is unique. It may take a while to realize that most questions have been seen before. This was true for me and now I Use search a lot more.

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randomizer
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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by randomizer » Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:34 pm

I mostly use my phone to access the forum, and it is such a terrible interface that it discourages long-form responses. Maybe that is true off a lot of people.
75:25 AA / Expected retirement: 2097

stlutz
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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by stlutz » Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:54 pm

Being stlutz, I have a bit of a contrarian take on this. I haven't replied much to the "portfolio assessment" threads over the years simply because I don't think the format is actually all that helpful.

As somebody noted above, pulling all of that information together is useful for the poster to get a complete view of their portfolio. I don't think it's that helpful for those helping out. There are a number of concerns with translating that to specific advice:

a) I view the purpose of the forum is helping people to make their own decisions. Or as livesoft's signature says, "Learn to fish." I don't know that me suggesting precise allocation percentages really helps someone to become more independent. I'm willing to accept responsibility for my own portfolio; I'm not comfortable telling someone they should only be 50% stocks and then have the market double over the next four years. New and old--we all need to make our own choices and live with them.

b) The range of what is reasonable when it comes to asset allocation is very wide. I don't see a big problem with someone who is 25 years old saying that they are 50% stocks and 50% bonds. I also don't see a big problem with the very equity heavy VG Target Retirement funds for the same person. Both approaches are reasonable. One of my rules in making recommendations to endorse sticking with a reasonable plan more than going with what stlutz would exactly do. Now I do have opinions on the matter, but those are better explored in separate topics.

c) The advice that is given (driven in part by the posting format) is overly focused on retirement savings. Most people are saving for multiple goals at the same time--a down payment on a house, college education for the children, retirement, etc. Yet the advice tends to be oriented solely around retirement and emergency funds.

d) It's not really helpful for new posters to be yelled at for asking questions incorrectly. I personally find it distasteful when someone asks a perfectly reasonable question and they get told to either post in the correct format or buzz off. Furthermore, we can generally read questions in a more generous manner than is sometimes done. Think of the responses that sometimes show up to a question like, "Should I invest in bonds or Treasuries?"

e) If somebody really does want somebody else to come up with an allocation just for them, then the best advice really is a target fund, VPAS, or a robo.

f) Too much of the advice gets focused on peripheral issues. Asset allocation is the most important decision beyond how much to save. Yet much of the discussion will be centered on the freak-out over bonds in taxable. Helping someone perform a proper assessment over their need and willingness to take risk is simply more important than what funds to hold in a 401K vs an IRA etc. And the "portfolio question format" doesn't really help with the risk tolerance/need investigation.

My $.02.

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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by stlutz » Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:59 pm

One other note, a very significant percentage of the posts are from the already affluent or HENRYs. If somebody is in the 39.6% federal bracket, I'm comfortable allowing them to do their own research and figure more out on their own. I'd feel more useful if we could get more "portfolio question" threads from more normal middle class folks.

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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by onourway » Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:03 pm

Agree with retiredjg. It takes a lot of time to answer many of these questions well, and if the poster doesn't put things in a format that is easy to digest, it makes it all the harder. I often end up creating my own spreadsheet based on their info, but if they leave out key information (like portfolio size), for me at least, it makes it much harder to be sure I have the complete picture, and if I'm not sure I understand exactly what the situation is, I'll often just move on. The same applies with the questions asked. Sometimes the questions are so vague that I'm not sure what kind of response to give.

I like the current method, however. It forces people to give enough of the financial picture that we can give real input, and I prefer that the input given comes from volunteers rather than anyone getting paid. If you aren't getting a response, ask why not in your own thread!

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fortfun
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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by fortfun » Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:06 pm

stlutz wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:54 pm
Being stlutz, I have a bit of a contrarian take on this. I haven't replied much to the "portfolio assessment" threads over the years simply because I don't think the format is actually all that helpful.

As somebody noted above, pulling all of that information together is useful for the poster to get a complete view of their portfolio. I don't think it's that helpful for those helping out. There are a number of concerns with translating that to specific advice:

a) I view the purpose of the forum is helping people to make their own decisions. Or as livesoft's signature says, "Learn to fish." I don't know that me suggesting precise allocation percentages really helps someone to become more independent. I'm willing to accept responsibility for my own portfolio; I'm not comfortable telling someone they should only be 50% stocks and then have the market double over the next four years. New and old--we all need to make our own choices and live with them.

b) The range of what is reasonable when it comes to asset allocation is very wide. I don't see a big problem with someone who is 25 years old saying that they are 50% stocks and 50% bonds. I also don't see a big problem with the very equity heavy VG Target Retirement funds for the same person. Both approaches are reasonable. One of my rules in making recommendations to endorse sticking with a reasonable plan more than going with what stlutz would exactly do. Now I do have opinions on the matter, but those are better explored in separate topics.

c) The advice that is given (driven in part by the posting format) is overly focused on retirement savings. Most people are saving for multiple goals at the same time--a down payment on a house, college education for the children, retirement, etc. Yet the advice tends to be oriented solely around retirement and emergency funds.

d) It's not really helpful for new posters to be yelled at for asking questions incorrectly. I personally find it distasteful when someone asks a perfectly reasonable question and they get told to either post in the correct format or buzz off. Furthermore, we can generally read questions in a more generous manner than is sometimes done. Think of the responses that sometimes show up to a question like, "Should I invest in bonds or Treasuries?"

e) If somebody really does want somebody else to come up with an allocation just for them, then the best advice really is a target fund, VPAS, or a robo.

f) Too much of the advice gets focused on peripheral issues. Asset allocation is the most important decision beyond how much to save. Yet much of the discussion will be centered on the freak-out over bonds in taxable. Helping someone perform a proper assessment over their need and willingness to take risk is simply more important than what funds to hold in a 401K vs an IRA etc. And the "portfolio question format" doesn't really help with the risk tolerance/need investigation.

My $.02.
Thanks for your two cents stulz, I agree with many of your points.

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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by Atomic » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:41 pm

I was lucky to have Duckie tune up my portfolio 3 years ago. A couple others weighed in too on insurance and pensions. The AA was my pick, and the advice left me with a pretty slick, optimized 3 fund. I had a wall of text and questions that may have made the post somewhat unapproachable. In the last 3 years I've gone full nerd and made a spreadsheet, donated to the website, played around with the emergency fund layers and done a bunch of do it yourself work on the wiki. Thanks Bogleheads.

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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by armeliusc » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:55 pm

White Coat Investor wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:01 pm
Bottom line: I'd encourage everyone, whether you think you know enough or not, to make an effort to give one response a week to a portfolio help thread. If even 10% of us did that, it would meet the need. Whether people will do that voluntarily or not is beyond me.
I am one of the lurkers who's been here quite a while, but never answered any kind of portfolios assessments questions. I probably know enough by now of the basics of Bogleheads way, and likely (based on some casual conversations) know a bit more than my other (real world) peers, but I always feel so intimidated here by the wealth of knowledge and of ... err... wealth. So I stayed silent.

But WCI makes a very good point. We all need to contribute to make this forum as useful as possible, as a way to give back from getting the help ourselves when we first started. So, thanks for the encouragement. I started to answer one portfolio question tonight, and will continue to try to do that.

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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by telemark » Tue Jan 23, 2018 12:36 am

Most of the time I don't have anything to say other than "looks ok." Because most of the portfolios are basically ok, and it isn't clear that making small changes would be an improvement.

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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by AlohaJoe » Tue Jan 23, 2018 12:46 am

telemark wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 12:36 am
Most of the time I don't have anything to say other than "looks ok." Because most of the portfolios are basically ok, and it isn't clear that making small changes would be an improvement.
I'm in the same boat.

I understand that people stress about money and it is a big, scary topic but most portfolio assessments seem to be people just looking for someone to tell them everything is okay.

For portfolios that aren't okay....I usually feel like they need to just read one of the recommended books.

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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by daveydoo » Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:14 am

I've been here a little bit. It's still a little intimidating to say "sell this and buy this." Even with an exhaustively documented right-format initial post, I never know about the capital gains exposure, existing offsetting (or potentially offsetting) losses, etc. There are a lot of factors that go into whether someone should immediately three-fund Bogle-ize or wait a little bit, imo. Yes, this is a form of market-timing. And I try not to let the tax-tail wag the asset-allocation dog and so forth.

But I can go on and on about brake pads with a clear conscience; there's not a lot of missing or hidden data that's likely to be relevant. Spouse and I make our own brake pads -- always have. No, not really.
"I mean, it's one banana, Michael...what could it cost? Ten dollars?"

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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by anonsdca » Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:59 am

White Coat Investor wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:01 pm
# 1 Yes, I think people do get sick of it a bit. It actually requires effort to read a 1000 word post (just like 500 previous ones) and respond to it. Since nobody gets paid to do this effort, you can only get a little bit of work out of a single person. There are upsides and downsides to the format. The upside is that it is free and there is little bias. The downside is nobody has much incentive to respond and help. Newbies are left to the goodness of the hearts of forum regulars and their available time. There are other models, but this is the one the forum has chosen, for better or for worse. Just as an example, not a suggestion, an ad could be stuck up on the homepage and the proceeds from that ad could be used to pay 5 people a month whose job it is to respond to the portfolio help requests. Then it is both someone's responsibility and they are incentivized to do it. Another option, again not a suggestion, is to allow financial professionals to put their firm in their signature and then they're incentivized to give good advice because they may pick up a client from it. Yet another is for the forum to solicit donations and use those to pay $5 for each of the first five responses to one of those "help me" threads. Lots of ways to skin a cat, all with their pluses and minuses. But nobody can expect 10 or 15 people to do this for a dozen posts each every week. They'll get burned out. And that's what has happened.

# 2 Most responses just recommend that they change their portfolio so it looks more like that of the person making the recommendation (I think you need more TIPS, you have 5% and I have 10%.) The real benefit of asking for help is putting it in the recommended format! At that point the questions you have left are usually just matters of opinion with no right answer.

# 3 The forum has grown. There are like 5 pages worth of posts that have been updated just today. I can't imagine anyone is reading all the threads. I scan down 20 or 30 threads, click on one or two that look interesting, and that's it. Maybe leave one response. See you tomorrow. And I have more posts on this forum than all but 17 other people. The likelihood of those one or two being a "help me with my portfolio" thread is low. You just have to think about why people log in. Do they do it to learn more about investing? Do they do it to kill time? Do they do it to help others? Some combination of the above? We're all different, but we're also people, and people do what they're incentivized to do. The incentive on a forum is to take, not give...to lurk, not contribute. I mean, look at how many hits the forum has on a given day and then how many responses to newbies asking for help there are. It's a tiny percentage. That's not why people come here for the most part.

Bottom line: I'd encourage everyone, whether you think you know enough or not, to make an effort to give one response a week to a portfolio help thread. If even 10% of us did that, it would meet the need. Whether people will do that voluntarily or not is beyond me.

I do know of some posters who used to do this a great deal but have left the forum because they got sick of being trolled/pestered, the internet being what it is, even here. So maximizing kindness particularly for those who are not anonymous goes a long way too.
I have a different opinion which I haven't heard mentioned--tho its been implied in a lot of posts here. I think a lot of the new posters (like me) are not proponents of the Bogelhead philosophy. So I don't feel comfortable even commenting on MFs or ETFs.

---I don't have a 3-fund portfolio, I don't want to buy a mutual fund or ETF, and I don't care to beat or even meet the market return with some total market fund. My strategy is different. I will NEVER beat the market because I buy the beat-up, out-of-favor and not the high-flying PE + 300 companies.

---I love the expat posts, I love the tax posts, I love the home v. apt or RE posts, I love the non-financial posts. I love a lot of stuff about this site. I spend a lot of time here and get GREAT value, but none of it is investing (except AA stuff). This is not the time to attack me for being a non-Bogel but just an observation.

---What I think Bogelheads should do is set up a Sub-forum---something like: "Not exactly a BH, but respect the wisdom" or some titled sub-forum where non-BHs can post their posts in peace. Think about it. There is so much animosity when some dividend or individual stock post gets posted. Wouldn't it be better to have those contained in a Sub-forum so that real die hard BHs would never see them because they just don't click that forum? Other investing sites have Sub-forums that diverge from their core purpose. They are not popular, but who cares? They serve those choosing another path and if they die out, OH well. I suspect they would not die out tho. There are too many BHs that have a mixed strategy. I have seen it over the past few years.

Anyway, that is my Alt observation. I think WCI is right. This forum is growing, but the growth may not be hard core BH, and that might be a reason the newbees don't comment. That's seems appropriate and we are respectful to the ways here and to not get involved in the debate. We know this is not our home, but there is so much other wisdom here we cannot turn away. At least I cant.

I would love it if a Moderator could tell me my hours logged in. Even with a 60 hour job, I am here a lot. I do lurk for sure, but I am posting more.

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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by delamer » Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:42 am

daveydoo wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:14 am

But I can go on and on about brake pads with a clear conscience; there's not a lot of missing or hidden data that's likely to be relevant. Spouse and I make our own brake pads -- always have. No, not really.
:D

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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by bloom2708 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:52 am

It takes serious time/thought to reply to some of the monster portfolio assessments. People with 1, 100 or 1,000 posts asking 5, 10 deep questions.

I often read threads and don't know where to start. Point them to the "Getting Started"? Tackle the biggest questions?

If you understand the 10 guiding principles and the 3 fund portfolio, then you can make leaps to other more complicated portfolios.

I always invite more people to take the time to add a piece of the puzzle. But I know that time is often hard to slice away.
"We are here not to please but to provoke thoughtfulness" Unknown Boglehead

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FiveK
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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by FiveK » Tue Jan 23, 2018 1:00 pm

stlutz wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:54 pm
c) The advice that is given (driven in part by the posting format) is overly focused on retirement savings. Most people are saving for multiple goals at the same time--a down payment on a house, college education for the children, retirement, etc. Yet the advice tends to be oriented solely around retirement and emergency funds.
Good point.

Comparing Asking Portfolio Questions - Bogleheads.org with How To: Write a "Case Study" Topic - MMM does make it appear the "preferred" questions differ between the two forums.

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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by BolderBoy » Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:20 pm

OP, these are general observations and not directed to you or any of your previous postings.

To me, postings-for-help seem to fall into two broad classes: those where it is obvious the poster spent a lot of time reading the forum and so has a grasp of what the BHs are all about (and the basics of investing) and those where it is clear that the poster has made no effort to learn anything before vomiting up what in some cases is just an overwhelming amount information in an non-cohesive form.

Fortunately, most postings tend toward the former. But a lot of posters readily admit that they, "Just found this forum..." and proceed to post their already-answered-1000-times-before questions. Some even use the ploy that the search function returned nothing when in fact, the BH search function is among the best I've found on any forums.

Another issue is trying to get the answers to too many things at one sitting. This has been touched on by other posters above. In some cases, the poster's English grammatical skills border on horrible and simply reading the post takes 10x normal.

And of course, this is a volunteer activity. Probably one of the best ever, but still volunteer.
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect

ny_knicks
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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by ny_knicks » Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:38 pm

Here is my personal opinion. Have not looked at your post so don't take it as directed towards you but more the question in general.

Boglehead approach is grounded in simplicity. Anytime I look at a portfolio post it has a ton of tickers, listed numbers everywhere,expense ratios, returns. It isn't easy to read and it's way too long.

Most advice on here will be to pick lowest cost broadest US equity index, US bond index and international index. Should be fairly easy to narrow down your choices to something like this on your own. At least this is the starting point.

Then it's a question of what account should the bonds be in vs the stocks. Again I believe the answer is pretty templated: bonds in taxable and stocks in tax-deferred.

Then it's asset allocation. This question gets a little personal based on risk tolerance. Everyone has a difference preference. Start with age in bonds and then go from there.

After that the questions become much more nuanced to the individual. This is where I think bogleheads really add value and where you'll get the most responses. Best threads with most helpful responses typically ask one detailed question with enough context to answer. It's often an interesting question with a lot of variables at play.

What funds to pick/what asset allocation/where to put them aren't really that interesting and the answer isn't going to vary that much so you're probably not going to get a lot of responses. The wiki should get you 90% of the way there. Use the one off questions for the last 10%.

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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by livesoft » Tue Jan 23, 2018 3:00 pm

ny_knicks wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:38 pm
Again I believe the answer is pretty templated: bonds in taxable and stocks in tax-deferred.
I have bond funds only in tax-deferred and also equities in all accounts (taxable, tax-deferred, and Roth).
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mickens16
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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by mickens16 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 3:11 pm

Whatever the issues are these days, I hope we can all get to the bottom of it to help new posters. When I began on this board in 2011 I was absolutely clueless. I almost took my mother-in-laws advice and used one of the poor financial advisors that we see posted a lot. If it wasn’t for Retiredjg’s consistent responses to my many questions/portfolio review I don’t know where I would be. This forum is wonderful for many reasons and helping newbies find their way is right up there at the top.

Dottie57
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Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by Dottie57 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 3:21 pm

anonsdca wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:59 am
White Coat Investor wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:01 pm
# 1 Yes, I think people do get sick of it a bit. It actually requires effort to read a 1000 word post (just like 500 previous ones) and respond to it. Since nobody gets paid to do this effort, you can only get a little bit of work out of a single person. There are upsides and downsides to the format. The upside is that it is free and there is little bias. The downside is nobody has much incentive to respond and help. Newbies are left to the goodness of the hearts of forum regulars and their available time. There are other models, but this is the one the forum has chosen, for better or for worse. Just as an example, not a suggestion, an ad could be stuck up on the homepage and the proceeds from that ad could be used to pay 5 people a month whose job it is to respond to the portfolio help requests. Then it is both someone's responsibility and they are incentivized to do it. Another option, again not a suggestion, is to allow financial professionals to put their firm in their signature and then they're incentivized to give good advice because they may pick up a client from it. Yet another is for the forum to solicit donations and use those to pay $5 for each of the first five responses to one of those "help me" threads. Lots of ways to skin a cat, all with their pluses and minuses. But nobody can expect 10 or 15 people to do this for a dozen posts each every week. They'll get burned out. And that's what has happened.

# 2 Most responses just recommend that they change their portfolio so it looks more like that of the person making the recommendation (I think you need more TIPS, you have 5% and I have 10%.) The real benefit of asking for help is putting it in the recommended format! At that point the questions you have left are usually just matters of opinion with no right answer.

# 3 The forum has grown. There are like 5 pages worth of posts that have been updated just today. I can't imagine anyone is reading all the threads. I scan down 20 or 30 threads, click on one or two that look interesting, and that's it. Maybe leave one response. See you tomorrow. And I have more posts on this forum than all but 17 other people. The likelihood of those one or two being a "help me with my portfolio" thread is low. You just have to think about why people log in. Do they do it to learn more about investing? Do they do it to kill time? Do they do it to help others? Some combination of the above? We're all different, but we're also people, and people do what they're incentivized to do. The incentive on a forum is to take, not give...to lurk, not contribute. I mean, look at how many hits the forum has on a given day and then how many responses to newbies asking for help there are. It's a tiny percentage. That's not why people come here for the most part.

Bottom line: I'd encourage everyone, whether you think you know enough or not, to make an effort to give one response a week to a portfolio help thread. If even 10% of us did that, it would meet the need. Whether people will do that voluntarily or not is beyond me.

I do know of some posters who used to do this a great deal but have left the forum because they got sick of being trolled/pestered, the internet being what it is, even here. So maximizing kindness particularly for those who are not anonymous goes a long way too.
I have a different opinion which I haven't heard mentioned--tho its been implied in a lot of posts here. I think a lot of the new posters (like me) are not proponents of the Bogelhead philosophy. So I don't feel comfortable even commenting on MFs or ETFs.

---I don't have a 3-fund portfolio, I don't want to buy a mutual fund or ETF, and I don't care to beat or even meet the market return with some total market fund. My strategy is different. I will NEVER beat the market because I buy the beat-up, out-of-favor and not the high-flying PE + 300 companies.

---I love the expat posts, I love the tax posts, I love the home v. apt or RE posts, I love the non-financial posts. I love a lot of stuff about this site. I spend a lot of time here and get GREAT value, but none of it is investing (except AA stuff). This is not the time to attack me for being a non-Bogel but just an observation.

---What I think Bogelheads should do is set up a Sub-forum---something like: "Not exactly a BH, but respect the wisdom" or some titled sub-forum where non-BHs can post their posts in peace. Think about it. There is so much animosity when some dividend or individual stock post gets posted. Wouldn't it be better to have those contained in a Sub-forum so that real die hard BHs would never see them because they just don't click that forum? Other investing sites have Sub-forums that diverge from their core purpose. They are not popular, but who cares? They serve those choosing another path and if they die out, OH well. I suspect they would not die out tho. There are too many BHs that have a mixed strategy. I have seen it over the past few years.

Anyway, that is my Alt observation. I think WCI is right. This forum is growing, but the growth may not be hard core BH, and that might be a reason the newbees don't comment. That's seems appropriate and we are respectful to the ways here and to not get involved in the debate. We know this is not our home, but there is so much other wisdom here we cannot turn away. At least I cant.

I would love it if a Moderator could tell me my hours logged in. Even with a 60 hour job, I am here a lot. I do lurk for sure, but I am posting more.
I don't think a sub-forum is a good idea. This is the Boglehead forum and not a general investing forum. You get mostly boglehead advice here. You should not be surprised at answers you get here.

delamer
Posts: 4821
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:13 pm

Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by delamer » Tue Jan 23, 2018 3:29 pm

Dottie57 wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 3:21 pm
anonsdca wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:59 am
White Coat Investor wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:01 pm
# 1 Yes, I think people do get sick of it a bit. It actually requires effort to read a 1000 word post (just like 500 previous ones) and respond to it. Since nobody gets paid to do this effort, you can only get a little bit of work out of a single person. There are upsides and downsides to the format. The upside is that it is free and there is little bias. The downside is nobody has much incentive to respond and help. Newbies are left to the goodness of the hearts of forum regulars and their available time. There are other models, but this is the one the forum has chosen, for better or for worse. Just as an example, not a suggestion, an ad could be stuck up on the homepage and the proceeds from that ad could be used to pay 5 people a month whose job it is to respond to the portfolio help requests. Then it is both someone's responsibility and they are incentivized to do it. Another option, again not a suggestion, is to allow financial professionals to put their firm in their signature and then they're incentivized to give good advice because they may pick up a client from it. Yet another is for the forum to solicit donations and use those to pay $5 for each of the first five responses to one of those "help me" threads. Lots of ways to skin a cat, all with their pluses and minuses. But nobody can expect 10 or 15 people to do this for a dozen posts each every week. They'll get burned out. And that's what has happened.

# 2 Most responses just recommend that they change their portfolio so it looks more like that of the person making the recommendation (I think you need more TIPS, you have 5% and I have 10%.) The real benefit of asking for help is putting it in the recommended format! At that point the questions you have left are usually just matters of opinion with no right answer.

# 3 The forum has grown. There are like 5 pages worth of posts that have been updated just today. I can't imagine anyone is reading all the threads. I scan down 20 or 30 threads, click on one or two that look interesting, and that's it. Maybe leave one response. See you tomorrow. And I have more posts on this forum than all but 17 other people. The likelihood of those one or two being a "help me with my portfolio" thread is low. You just have to think about why people log in. Do they do it to learn more about investing? Do they do it to kill time? Do they do it to help others? Some combination of the above? We're all different, but we're also people, and people do what they're incentivized to do. The incentive on a forum is to take, not give...to lurk, not contribute. I mean, look at how many hits the forum has on a given day and then how many responses to newbies asking for help there are. It's a tiny percentage. That's not why people come here for the most part.

Bottom line: I'd encourage everyone, whether you think you know enough or not, to make an effort to give one response a week to a portfolio help thread. If even 10% of us did that, it would meet the need. Whether people will do that voluntarily or not is beyond me.

I do know of some posters who used to do this a great deal but have left the forum because they got sick of being trolled/pestered, the internet being what it is, even here. So maximizing kindness particularly for those who are not anonymous goes a long way too.
I have a different opinion which I haven't heard mentioned--tho its been implied in a lot of posts here. I think a lot of the new posters (like me) are not proponents of the Bogelhead philosophy. So I don't feel comfortable even commenting on MFs or ETFs.

---I don't have a 3-fund portfolio, I don't want to buy a mutual fund or ETF, and I don't care to beat or even meet the market return with some total market fund. My strategy is different. I will NEVER beat the market because I buy the beat-up, out-of-favor and not the high-flying PE + 300 companies.

---I love the expat posts, I love the tax posts, I love the home v. apt or RE posts, I love the non-financial posts. I love a lot of stuff about this site. I spend a lot of time here and get GREAT value, but none of it is investing (except AA stuff). This is not the time to attack me for being a non-Bogel but just an observation.

---What I think Bogelheads should do is set up a Sub-forum---something like: "Not exactly a BH, but respect the wisdom" or some titled sub-forum where non-BHs can post their posts in peace. Think about it. There is so much animosity when some dividend or individual stock post gets posted. Wouldn't it be better to have those contained in a Sub-forum so that real die hard BHs would never see them because they just don't click that forum? Other investing sites have Sub-forums that diverge from their core purpose. They are not popular, but who cares? They serve those choosing another path and if they die out, OH well. I suspect they would not die out tho. There are too many BHs that have a mixed strategy. I have seen it over the past few years.

Anyway, that is my Alt observation. I think WCI is right. This forum is growing, but the growth may not be hard core BH, and that might be a reason the newbees don't comment. That's seems appropriate and we are respectful to the ways here and to not get involved in the debate. We know this is not our home, but there is so much other wisdom here we cannot turn away. At least I cant.

I would love it if a Moderator could tell me my hours logged in. Even with a 60 hour job, I am here a lot. I do lurk for sure, but I am posting more.
I don't think a sub-forum is a good idea. This is the Boglehead forum and not a general investing forum. You get mostly boglehead advice here. You should not be surprised at answers you get here.
I agree. If users aren’t in sync with the BH philosophy, then they’ll figure that out and not read the investment posts.

We already have sub-forums that don’t have anything to do with investing, like Personal Consumer Issues. Non-Boglehead investors can take (and add) value in those.

ny_knicks
Posts: 193
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2017 11:20 pm

Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by ny_knicks » Tue Jan 23, 2018 3:46 pm

livesoft wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 3:00 pm
ny_knicks wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:38 pm
Again I believe the answer is pretty templated: bonds in taxable and stocks in tax-deferred.
I have bond funds only in tax-deferred and also equities in all accounts (taxable, tax-deferred, and Roth).
Your post either points out there are multiple approaches, I have 0 idea what I am talking about, your situation is somewhat unique or some combination of the 3 lol

Point of my post was I think a lot of portfolio questions are going to get fairly standard responses. Most posting are fairly new and likely just looking to dip their feet. Gotta start somewhere and I think there is a fairly general starting point. Maybe my idea of a starting point missed the mark.

Anything after that post a specific question and you're much more likely to get a lot better/more tailored response.

TwstdSista
Posts: 806
Joined: Thu Nov 16, 2017 4:03 am

Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Post by TwstdSista » Tue Jan 23, 2018 3:56 pm

ny_knicks wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 3:46 pm
livesoft wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 3:00 pm
ny_knicks wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:38 pm
Again I believe the answer is pretty templated: bonds in taxable and stocks in tax-deferred.
I have bond funds only in tax-deferred and also equities in all accounts (taxable, tax-deferred, and Roth).
Your post either points out there are multiple approaches, I have 0 idea what I am talking about, your situation is somewhat unique or some combination of the 3 lol

Point of my post was I think a lot of portfolio questions are going to get fairly standard responses. Most posting are fairly new and likely just looking to dip their feet. Gotta start somewhere and I think there is a fairly general starting point. Maybe my idea of a starting point missed the mark.

Anything after that post a specific question and you're much more likely to get a lot better/more tailored response.
I'm confused. I thought the template answer to this situation was: bonds in tax deferred, stocks in taxable (and everywhere else)?

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