Advice on setting up a 3- or 4-fund portfolio for a youngerish couple - update

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benevo
Posts: 145
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2017 7:21 am

Advice on setting up a 3- or 4-fund portfolio for a youngerish couple - update

Post by benevo »

Hi all,

After posting in the wrong format (my apologies!), I am taking the smart advice to post a new thread with this format. Hope I did it right this time, it's been a while since I've been on here and am usually a reader vs a poster. :) Original post: viewtopic.php?t=395715

Questions are listed below the details! Thanks ahead of time for your thoughts!

Emergency funds: We have 9 months saved in a high-yield savings account (currently gaining 3.3%).

Debt: We pay our credit cards off each month, and have no student loan debt remaining nor car loans anymore. We do have a mortgage: $560,000 remains (5.125%) and we pay the monthly due in full each month (+$400 extra towards principal)

Tax Filing Status: Married filing jointly; also worth noting that I also have an LLC as a side job with taxes. We currently work with a tax advisor to help us with our taxes at this time.

Tax Rate: 32% Federal, 6.85% State (NY)

State of Residence: New York

Age: Me: 35, spouse: 40

Desired Asset allocation: 70% stocks / 25% bonds / 5% cash
Desired International allocation: ~20% of stocks

Please provide an approximate size of your total portfolio (as in 50K, 700k, 1.4M, etc.) or as (high four-figures, mid five-figures, low six-figures, etc.).
~$1M

Current retirement assets

Taxable
28.6% cash (for investing – do not include emergency funds)
34.3% stock CRWD (from RSUs from former job; plan to sell soon)

My 401k
24.0% FA FREEDOM 2045 (0.5% expense ratio)

My Roth IRA at Vanguard
0.86% Vanguard Target Retirement 2055 (ticker symbol) (0.08% expense ratio)

My company's ESPP
Contributing 15% of net take home; includes lookback period; 15% discount; able to sell quarterly (my personal plan is to sell right after vesting each quarter)

Spouse 401k
12.24% FA FREEDOM 2040 (0.5% expense ratio)
_______________________________________________________________

Contributions

New annual Contributions
$22,500 my 401k (1% employer match)
$22,500 spouse 401k (6% employer match)
$0 my roth IRA (no longer able to)

Available funds

Funds available in my 401(k)s

Code: Select all

FID 500 INDEX (FXAIX) 0.015%
FID TOTAL MKT IDX (FSKAX) 0.015%
FKLN RISING DIVS R6 (FRISX) 0.53%
PUTN LG CP VAL TR IA 0.33%
FID EXTD MKT IDX (FSMAX) 0.035%
MFS MID CAP VALUE R6 (MVCKX) 0.64%
FID SM CAP IDX (FSSNX) 0.025%
FID GLB EX US IDX (FSGGX) 0.055%
HTFD INTL OPPS R6 (IHOVX) 0.69%
INVS GLOBAL R6 (OGLIX) 0.66%
FID REAL ESTATE IDX (FSRNX) 0.07%
AB US LG CP GR CIT L 0.35%
GS MID CP GROWTH R6 (GGOUX) 0.99%
BLKRK GLOBAL ALLOC K (MKLOX) 0.81%
FA FREEDOM 2005 Z6 (FYGLX) 0.37%
FA FREEDOM 2010 Z6 (FUGLX) 0.38%
FA FREEDOM 2015 Z6 (FIGLX) 0.40%
FA FREEDOM 2020 Z6 (FOGLX) 0.42%
FA FREEDOM 2025 Z6 (FPGLX) 0.44%
FA FREEDOM 2030 Z6 (FDGLX) 0.46%
FA FREEDOM 2035 Z6 (FHGLX) 0.48%
FA FREEDOM 2040 Z6 (FKGLX) 0.50%
 FA FREEDOM 2045 Z6 (FCGLX) 0.50%
FA FREEDOM 2050 Z6 (FVGLX) 0.50%
FA FREEDOM 2055 Z6 (FBGLX) 0.50%
FA FREEDOM 2060 Z6 (FNGLX) 0.50%
FA FREEDOM 2065 Z6 (FDFRX) 0.50%
FA FREEDOM INCOME Z6 (FEGLX) 0.37%
FID US BOND IDX (FXNAX) 0.025%
HTFD STRAT INC R6 (HSNVX) 0.54%
JPM CORE BOND R6 (JCBUX) 0.35%
PIM REAL RETURN INST (PRRIX) 0.47%
FID GOVT MMKT K6 (FNBXX) 02/05/1990  0.27%
BROKERAGELINK (no fee for Fidelity Funds, and Stocks/ETFs are $0/trade online)
Funds available in spouse's 401(k)s

Code: Select all

Vanguard Target Retirement Income Trust 0.04%
Vanguard Target Retirement 2020 0.04%
Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 0.04%
Vanguard Target Retirement 2030 0.04%
Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 0.04%
Vanguard Target Retirement 2040 0.04%
Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 0.04%
Vanguard Target Retirement 2050 0.04%
Vanguard Target Retirement 2055 0.04%
Vanguard Target Retirement 2060 0.04%
Vanguard Target Retirement 2065 0.04%
Vanguard Target Retirement 2070 0.04%
VTSPX 0.04%
VTIFX 0.07%
Vanguard Institutional Total Bond Market Index Trust 0.02%
Vanguard Institutional Total International Stock Market Index Trust 0.05%
Vanguard Institutional Total Stock Market Index Trust 0.01%
VDIGX 0.27%
VHGEX 0.41%
VPMAX 0.31%
VWILX 0.34%
VIVIX 0.04%
VIGIX 0.04%
VEVFX 0.53%
VMCPX 0.03%
VSCPX 0.03%
PIMIX 0.51%
VEXRX 0.29%
DFSIX 0.18%
VMRXX 0.10%
Questions:
1. We have a good amount in cash (boo, I know!) in part from selling our home last year. We'd like to put this into investing and setup a 3- or 4-fund portfolio. Looking for advice on what funds to select. Ultimate goal is all for a comfortable and hopefully early retirement. If helpful additional context, no kids today nor planned.

2. Is there a good suggestion on where to invest in the funds we pick (Vanguard vs Schwab vs Fidelity, etc)?

3. I do like getting involved and learning as I invest, but also don't feel comfortable 100% handling everything alone. Compared to my spouse, who does not like getting involved in the day-to-day numbers too much and would prefer to "just put it where it needs to be." Does looking into something like Vanguard Personal Advisor or Schwab Intelligent Portfolio make sense for us so that we can both kinda get what we are comfortable with?

4. I personally always believed having a small portion of our portfolio in cash - eg ~5% - was smart, but open to arguments against! That said, for our cash, but also our emergency fund - are we good in the high-yield savings account they currently sit in, or should we split that to a CD or something as well for less-urgent funds with slightly more gain?

Thank you, all, so much!
Last edited by benevo on Wed Feb 22, 2023 11:33 am, edited 5 times in total.
HomeStretch
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Re: Advice on setting up a 3- or 4-fund portfolio for a youngerish couple

Post by HomeStretch »

Thanks for providing your portfolio information in the template format! You have built a good-size portfolio and it’s understandable that you to manage it in the best way possible.

1) for the available cash in your Taxable account, consider:

a) as your income is too high for a direct Roth contribution, contribute via a Backdoor Roth $6.5k to each of your Roth IRAs. It’s a good idea for your spouse to start a Roth IRA to get the 5-year clock on an initial Roth IRA started. BH wiki page on backdoor Roth:
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Backdoor_Roth

b) consider I-Bonds - annual purchase limit of $10k each but taxes are deferred until maturity/redemption. They are state tax free and have some inflation protection. BH wiki:
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/I_savings_bonds

c) do either of your 401k plans offer a mega-backdoor Roth? If yes, you should take advantage of this to get more $ into Roth. Roth accounts grow tax-free whereas a Taxable account does not. BH wiki page about MBR:
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Mega-backdoor_Roth

d) invest any remaining cash in low-cost, tax-efficient, diversified equities in your Taxable account - for example, a total US or international stock market fund/ETF.

2) I am preferring Fidelity these days for better 800# service and a local office. If your 401k is at Fidelity, that might be a logical choice to minimize the # of brokerages you deal with which in turn makes your portfolio easier to manage. Schwab is good too I hear but no experience.

3) I think your portfolio could be simple enough to DIY with very little time and effort after you get it set-up. Consider holding off on deciding whether to use an advisor until you finish receiving feedback in this thread.

4) how much cash you hold is a personal choice to sleep well at night. Try to get the best rate on your emergency fund (EF)/cash. I-Bonds can function as part of an EF as they may be redeemed, if necessary, after 1 year (you forfeit 3-months interest if redeemed before 5 years). Brokerages are offering good rates on money market funds, brokered CDs and T-Bills. The T-Bills and treasury money market funds are state tax-free.

Edit- what is your mortgage rate and do you itemize deductions for your Federal tax return? If your mortgage rate is high enough, another option is to use some/all of the cash to pay down your current mortgage.

Other comments:
You have 34.3% in a single stock (CRWD). Consider de-risking and moving at least some of that to a diversified equity fund. There are tax consequences to selling in a Taxable account. What is the total unrealized gain or loss on CRWD? Do you have any individual tax lots with a loss or small gain?

If you provide the info requested above and tell us which brokerage you want to use and whether you prefer mutual funds or ETFs, we can recommend some specific funds/ETFs.
Last edited by HomeStretch on Tue Jan 24, 2023 7:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
toblerone
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Re: Advice on setting up a 3- or 4-fund portfolio for a youngerish couple

Post by toblerone »

In both 401k I would move into the total market index fund, @ 0.015% ER. The funds you are currently in are costing you $1746 per year more just in expense ratios (assuming $360,000 in 401k).

Regarding cash, 5% is fine but as your portfolio grows larger it will become an unnecessary drag, at your age. I'm a fan of the three-fund portfolio and would not have a significant cash balance until closer to retirement.
tashnewbie
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Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2020 12:44 pm

Re: Advice on setting up a 3- or 4-fund portfolio for a youngerish couple

Post by tashnewbie »

benevo wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 7:30 pm Debt: We pay our credit cards off each month, and have no student loan debt remaining nor car loans anymore. We do have a mortgage: $560,000 remains and we pay the monthly due in full each month (+$400 extra towards principal)
What's the mortgage interest rate?
Desired Asset allocation: 70% stocks / 25% bonds / 5% cash
Desired International allocation: ~20% of stocks
This works out to be roughly: 55% US stock / 15% int'l stock / 25% bonds / 5% cash

That means with $1mm saved, you want about $550k US stock, $150k int'l stock, $250k bonds, and $50k cash.
Current retirement assets

Taxable
28.6% VTSAX/VTI, ITOT, SCHB, etc. - use mutual funds of your brokerage family or ETFs, whichever you feel more comfortable using.
34.3% stock CRWD - I would want to diversify this

My 401k
24% FID US BOND IDX (FXNAX) 0.025%

My Roth IRA at Vanguard
0.86% Vanguard Total International Stock (VTIAX)

Spouse 401k
12.24% FID GLB EX US IDX (FSGGX) 0.055%

If you ever need to put US stock in the 401ks, I would use: FID 500 INDEX (FXAIX) 0.015% OR FID TOTAL MKT IDX (FSKAX) 0.015% - I would make the selection based on the brokerage you use for the taxable account. If you use Fidelity, then I would probably use S&P 500 funds in 401k and Roth IRA and total market mutual funds or ETFs in taxable.
Contributions

New annual Contributions
$22,500 my 401k (1% employer match)
$22,500 spouse 401k (6% employer match)
$0 my roth IRA (no longer able to)
As someone else mentioned, I would definitely want to start the 5-year Roth IRA clock for him by making an initial contribution. Because of your income, you'd need to use the backdoor method to get money into Roth IRAs. That method is easy to execute but a lot of people don't understand the associated tax paperwork (Form 8606). Don't attempt doing the backdoor UNTIL you understand the steps and paperwork. Read the backdoor Roth wiki page and search related forum threads and ask questions if you have them. I recommend filling out the 8606s by hand to ensure you understand them.

It looks like both of your 401ks are at Fidelity. It might be easiest to open his Roth IRA at Fidelity and move her Roth IRA there, too. That way you only have one brokerage which may make things more convenient. Of course if either of you changes jobs, then the new employer may not use Fidelity so you'd have more logins to track then.
3. I do like getting involved and learning as I invest, but also don't feel comfortable 100% handling everything alone. Compared to my spouse, who does not like getting involved in the day-to-day numbers too much and would prefer to "just put it where it needs to be." Does looking into something like Vanguard Personal Advisor or Schwab Intelligent Portfolio make sense for us so that we can both kinda get what we are comfortable with?
I think the portfolio above is an example of what your portfolio could look like. You'd just be adding new money to the accounts. In the taxable account, you eventually may need to add an international stock index fund/ETF and would need to monitor your asset allocation on a semi-regular basis (once a year is probably sufficient) to see if you need to redirect regular monthly contributions to one fund instead of the other, but for now you'd just be adding money to a US stock index fund.

Would you feel comfortable managing that yourself? There's not much to manage. It's really just adding new money, and that process is automated with the 401ks and can be with the taxable account too if you use mutual funds. Because you'd need to use the backdoor to get money in Roth IRAs (if you decide to use it), that process would be a bit more manual but can be done over a few days once per year.

The things that stand out the most to me are the large cash position and the huge single stock holding. I think the latter is a bigger issue. I wouldn't want 35% of my portfolio to be in a single stock. Is this from ESPP purchases (if so, you may want to anonymize the holding; your employer may have automated searches that run for the ticker and might capture your post)? If so, I would sell the stock as soon as you're able and diversify into your desired asset allocation.
4. I personally always believed having a small portion of our portfolio in cash - eg ~5% - was smart, but open to arguments against! That said, for our cash, but also our emergency fund - are we good in the high-yield savings account they currently sit in, or should we split that to a CD or something as well for less-urgent funds with slightly more gain?
I wouldn't want to have emergency funds in a CD because they wouldn't be as accessible, but the overall return might be better than other options even with the early termination fee. For convenience, I'd probably prefer to keep emergency funds in vehicles that are more liquid such as a high yield savings account or money market fund (or I bonds that are >12 months old).

Most money market funds have return >3.3% right now so you could earn probably ~1% more if you used those instead of your HYSA. That may or may not be worth the effort to you, depending on how much 9 months' expenses is and the amount of the extra interest (which may not last long; money market fund rates fluctuate with the federal funds rate). But after you decide on a brokerage for your taxable account, it would be relatively easy to transfer the money to a money market fund at that broker (usually it's the settlement fund).

Any cash beyond your emergency fund, you could use longer-term CDs, MMFs, or you could even explore something like Treasuries.
Topic Author
benevo
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Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2017 7:21 am

Re: Advice on setting up a 3- or 4-fund portfolio for a youngerish couple

Post by benevo »

HomeStretch wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 8:45 pm

Edit- what is your mortgage rate and do you itemize deductions for your Federal tax return? If your mortgage rate is high enough, another option is to use some/all of the cash to pay down your current mortgage.

Other comments:
You have 34.3% in a single stock (CRWD). Consider de-risking and moving at least some of that to a diversified equity fund. There are tax consequences to selling in a Taxable account. What is the total unrealized gain or loss on CRWD? Do you have any individual tax lots with a loss or small gain?

If you provide the info requested above and tell us which brokerage you want to use and whether you prefer mutual funds or ETFs, we can recommend some specific funds/ETFs.
Thank you for the reply to you and all! To follow-up on a few questions from folks (also updated original post):
- Mortgage is at 5.125% rate
- We do you itemize deductions for our Federal tax return
- The single CRWD stock is from RSUs from my last job before taking my new job last month; I plan to sell in the next couple weeks

No preference on mutual funds or ETFs specifically, but I do lean towards mutual funds. And either Fidelity or Schwab for brokerage. I do like Schwab's UI, but as you and a few others point out, 401(k)'s in Fidelity may make that easier.
Topic Author
benevo
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Re: Advice on setting up a 3- or 4-fund portfolio for a youngerish couple

Post by benevo »

toblerone wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 1:32 am In both 401k I would move into the total market index fund, @ 0.015% ER. The funds you are currently in are costing you $1746 per year more just in expense ratios (assuming $360,000 in 401k).

Regarding cash, 5% is fine but as your portfolio grows larger it will become an unnecessary drag, at your age. I'm a fan of the three-fund portfolio and would not have a significant cash balance until closer to retirement.
Thanks! Would you recommend like 2% cash at our age then?
toblerone
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Re: Advice on setting up a 3- or 4-fund portfolio for a youngerish couple

Post by toblerone »

benevo wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 7:18 pm Thanks! Would you recommend like 2% cash at our age then?
I would recommend 0% cash in your investment portfolios. Just emergency fund and short term expected needs in HYSA and/or MMF.
Topic Author
benevo
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Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2017 7:21 am

Re: Advice on setting up a 3- or 4-fund portfolio for a youngerish couple

Post by benevo »

HomeStretch wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 8:45 pm If you provide the info requested above and tell us which brokerage you want to use and whether you prefer mutual funds or ETFs, we can recommend some specific funds/ETFs.
After the helpful info in this thread and some further research, I’m considering the following and thinking of going with Schwab:

55% SWTSX
25% SWISX
18% SWAGX (or 15% SWAGX + 3% TBD - no Schwab equivalent to VTABX?)
(remaining 2% cash or SWVXX tbd)

And moving 401ks from FA FREEDOM 2045 (0.5% expense ratio) to FSKAX (0.0125%).

Would love any thoughts on this plan, and thanks again. Happy almost Friday to you all.
-be
toblerone
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Re: Advice on setting up a 3- or 4-fund portfolio for a youngerish couple

Post by toblerone »

benevo wrote: Thu Jan 26, 2023 9:00 pm 55% SWTSX
25% SWISX
In the original post you said you wanted your AA to be 70/30, but this would put you at 80/20 (in taxable?), and the 100% stock in your 401ks would make your overall AA closer to 85/15. Did your risk tolerance change with newfound Boglehead confidence? ;)

Otherwise yes, it looks great, and I would tweak the dials to make your overall AA 70/30, or whatever you want it to be. SWAGX for all of your fixed income seems fine to avoid an extra fund.
Topic Author
benevo
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Re: Advice on setting up a 3- or 4-fund portfolio for a youngerish couple

Post by benevo »

toblerone wrote: Fri Jan 27, 2023 1:07 am
benevo wrote: Thu Jan 26, 2023 9:00 pm 55% SWTSX
25% SWISX
In the original post you said you wanted your AA to be 70/30, but this would put you at 80/20 (in taxable?), and the 100% stock in your 401ks would make your overall AA closer to 85/15. Did your risk tolerance change with newfound Boglehead confidence? ;)

Otherwise yes, it looks great, and I would tweak the dials to make your overall AA 70/30, or whatever you want it to be. SWAGX for all of your fixed income seems fine to avoid an extra fund.
Haha honestly, yes, newfound Boglehead confidence indeed! After reading a bit more about some new (to us) ways of identifying our bond %, decided we liked theo 120-age rule. Since we're 35 and 40, going with 120-40=80. And thanks for your comments!
tashnewbie
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Re: Advice on setting up a 3- or 4-fund portfolio for a youngerish couple

Post by tashnewbie »

benevo wrote: Thu Jan 26, 2023 9:00 pm
HomeStretch wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 8:45 pm If you provide the info requested above and tell us which brokerage you want to use and whether you prefer mutual funds or ETFs, we can recommend some specific funds/ETFs.
After the helpful info in this thread and some further research, I’m considering the following and thinking of going with Schwab:

55% SWTSX
25% SWISX
18% SWAGX (or 15% SWAGX + 3% TBD - no Schwab equivalent to VTABX?)
(remaining 2% cash or SWVXX tbd)
This would be in taxable? If so, I recommend not using nominal bonds in taxable in your tax brackets. If you want bonds in taxable, use muni bonds, preferably NY state muni bonds because they'd be federal and state tax-free.

But you have plenty of space to hold your desired bond allocation in your 401ks. So that's what I'd do.

Coordinate your asset allocation across all your accounts - you don't have to mirror it in each account.

I would put all your desired bonds in FID US BOND IDX (FXNAX) 0.025% in the 401ks.

Then use taxable for US stock funds and int'l stock funds, as needed.
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ruralavalon
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Location: Illinois

Re: Advice on setting up a 3- or 4-fund portfolio for a youngerish couple

Post by ruralavalon »

My personal preference is Vanguard for accounts and funds.

In your taxable brokerage account use very tax-efficient stock index funds. Examples include Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSAX) ER 0.04% and Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund (VTIAX) ER 0.11%.

In your 401k plans the better funds to consider using include:
1) Fidelity® Total Market Index (FSKAX) ER 0.015%;
2) Fidelity® Global ex US Index (FSGGX) ER 0.055%; and
3) Fidelity® US Bond Index (FXNAX) ER 0.025%.

Bond funds are not very tax-efficient so are best held in a tax-advantaged account preferably traditional tax-deferred accounts like a traditional 401k.

Wiki article Tax-efficient fund placement.

It is usually better to treat all accounts together as a single unified portfolio, rather than treat each account separately. It is not necessary or desirable to hold all assertions in each account.

Other than an emergency fund, I don't favor holding a cash allocation in an investment portfolio.

benevo wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 7:30 pmContributions

New annual Contributions
$22,500 my 401k (1% employer match)
$22,500 spouse 401k (6% employer match)
$0 my roth IRA (no longer able to)
You can each contribute to a Backdoor Roth IRA, contributing $6/5k each annually. I suggest that you do that.
Bogleheads wiki wrote:If you cannot contribute to a Roth IRA because your income exceeds the income eligibility limit, you can still choose to contribute indirectly through a two step process known informally as the backdoor Roth.
. . . . .
1. Make a nondeductible (i.e. taxed and not deducted) contribution to a traditional IRA.
2. Then convert the traditional IRA to a Roth IRA.
The net effect of performing these two steps is equivalent to contributing to a Roth IRA. Since there are no income limits for either of these steps, you can use this backdoor Roth technique to effectively contribute to a Roth IRA regardless of how high your income is.
I suggest that you both use backdoor Roth IRAs.

In general it's best to use make maximum annual contributions to all available tax-advantaged accounts as a priority ahead of investing in a taxable brokerage account.

Wiki article, Prioritizing investments.
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link: Bogleheads® investment philosophy
Topic Author
benevo
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Re: Advice on setting up a 3- or 4-fund portfolio for a youngerish couple

Post by benevo »

ruralavalon wrote: Fri Jan 27, 2023 11:22 am My personal preference is Vanguard for accounts and funds.

In your taxable brokerage account use very tax-efficient stock index funds. Examples include Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSAX) ER 0.04% and Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund (VTIAX) ER 0.11%.
Would SWTSX and SWISX (understood your personal preference is Vanguard!) be similarly equivalent in tax-efficiency as VTSAX and VTIAX you mention?

And thanks to you and tashnewbie for the replies! tashnewbie good call out on bonds in 401k, and ruralavalon on prioritizing tax advantages account first. (We will be looking into back door IRA; max 401k today.)
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ruralavalon
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Location: Illinois

Re: Advice on setting up a 3- or 4-fund portfolio for a youngerish couple

Post by ruralavalon »

benevo wrote: Fri Jan 27, 2023 7:47 pm
ruralavalon wrote: Fri Jan 27, 2023 11:22 am My personal preference is Vanguard for accounts and funds.

In your taxable brokerage account use very tax-efficient stock index funds. Examples include Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSAX) ER 0.04% and Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund (VTIAX) ER 0.11%.
Would SWTSX and SWISX (understood your personal preference is Vanguard!) be similarly equivalent in tax-efficiency as VTSAX and VTIAX you mention?

And thanks to you and tashnewbie for the replies! tashnewbie good call out on bonds in 401k, and ruralavalon on prioritizing tax advantages account first. (We will be looking into back door IRA; max 401k today.)
For better tax-efficiency than the Schwab index funds you mentioned consider:
1) Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI) or iShares Core S&P Total US Stock Mkt ETF (ITOT); and
2) Vanguard Total International Stock ETF (VXUS) or iShares Core MSCI Total Intl Stk ETF (IXUS).

Schwab International Index Fund (SWISX) is not a total international stock index fund. SWISX tracks the MSCI EAFE® Index (Summary Prospectus), which covers developed markets only (MSCI fact sheet) and omits emerging markets.
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link: Bogleheads® investment philosophy
Topic Author
benevo
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Re: Advice on setting up a 3- or 4-fund portfolio for a youngerish couple

Post by benevo »

HomeStretch wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 8:45 pm It’s a good idea for your spouse to start a Roth IRA to get the 5-year clock on an initial Roth IRA started. BH wiki page on backdoor Roth:
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Backdoor_Roth
Hi there! Do you have any good wiki article or documentation to explain the 5 year rule? I've done some research but have come back a tad confused and want to make sure I understand. Is it only a rule for withdrawals from the Roth - not deposits? So basically, as long as I and my spouse deposit into our traditional IRAs, do the conversion for the backdoor Roth, and then don't withdrawal - we can do this each year without penalty? (And then, after 5 years from our first deposit, we can then withdraw after that point?) Am I understanding that correctly?
HomeStretch
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Re: Advice on setting up a 3- or 4-fund portfolio for a youngerish couple

Post by HomeStretch »

benevo wrote: Tue Feb 14, 2023 8:04 pm
HomeStretch wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 8:45 pm It’s a good idea for your spouse to start a Roth IRA to get the 5-year clock on an initial Roth IRA started. BH wiki page on backdoor Roth:
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Backdoor_Roth
… Do you have any good wiki article or documentation to explain the 5 year rule? …
Here’s an older article by Michael Kitces that explains the two five-year rules:
https://www.kitces.com/blog/understandi ... nversions/
Topic Author
benevo
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Re: Advice on setting up a 3- or 4-fund portfolio for a youngerish couple

Post by benevo »

HomeStretch wrote: Tue Feb 14, 2023 8:40 pm
benevo wrote: Tue Feb 14, 2023 8:04 pm
HomeStretch wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 8:45 pm It’s a good idea for your spouse to start a Roth IRA to get the 5-year clock on an initial Roth IRA started. BH wiki page on backdoor Roth:
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Backdoor_Roth
… Do you have any good wiki article or documentation to explain the 5 year rule? …
Here’s an older article by Michael Kitces that explains the two five-year rules:
https://www.kitces.com/blog/understandi ... nversions/
Thank you!
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dogagility
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Re: Advice on setting up a 3- or 4-fund portfolio for a youngerish couple

Post by dogagility »

benevo wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 7:30 pm Thanks ahead of time for your thoughts!
What about investing using a Health Savings Account?
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Health_savings_account
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Priorit ... nvestments
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benevo
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Re: Advice on setting up a 3- or 4-fund portfolio for a youngerish couple

Post by benevo »

Update

Hi friends -

I’ll admit it: I’m nervous! We’ve never invested anything outside of my roth IRA and our 401(k)s. But, after reviewing our plan, reading into each and every one of your comments, having some discussions in other threads here on BH, and reading into some additional research, we have decided the following!

Note: I realize the %'s below may seem off, but I did confirm the final numbers align to my AA of 80% stocks/20% bonds. These %'s are specifically within each vehicle.

Emergency funds
We have 9 months (our goal) of emergency funds. Plan to have $10k each in i-bonds, ~50% in HYSA (currently at 3.5%), and the remaining % in CD ladder.

Mortgage
Only debt is mortgage; 5.125%, and paying extra towards principal monthly.

My employer ESPP and RSUs
My ESPP is very good, with a 15% discount, 1-year lookback, and no hold time before I'm able to sell. So, I am currently investing in that and plan to sell quarterly as soon as it vests. For my RSUs, same thinking: I plan to sell as soon as they vest and include within our below plans.

401(k)s
We currently fully max our 401(k)s; to fix for currently-high-ERs, our plan is to do the following:

- Mine (plan for each is BrokerageLink): 25% in bonds (BND/BNDX split), 25% in intl stocks (VXUS), 50% in US stocks (VTI); I may also consider FXAIX instead, however wanted to prioritize bonds into here
- Spouse: 29% in bonds (Vanguard Institutional Total Bond Market Index Trust @ 0.02%), 25% in intl stocks (Vanguard Institutional Total International Stock Market Index Trust @ 0.05%), 46% in US stocks (Vanguard Institutional Total Stock Market Index Trust @ 0.01%)

IRAs
Max our IRAs, via backdoor roth (100% in bonds, BND, same fund for each of us). Haven't yet, but will as a 'next step' look into mega backdoor roth.

HSAs
Max our HSAs (spouse invests, 75% in bonds; 25% in stocks; I don’t invest yet but plan to invest about half of it, since I use it throughout the year for healthcare expenses I don't want to invest all of it)

Taxable account
For all of the above, we fully use up our 20% AA for bonds in tax-advantaged accounts.

Our brokerage of choice is Schwab, although we do like to support Vanguard/Vanguard funds. Therefore, while we don’t and won’t trade during the day, ETFs made the most sense, because we can buy Vanguard funds within Schwab since there’s no ETF fees there of course.

Having fully funded all tax advantaged accounts, and prioritized those accounts to be majority bonds for tax efficiency, our plan is the following for the remaining balance of cash. Thinking of the following breakdown:
- 71% US stocks - VTI
- 29% intl stocks - VXUS
- 0% bonds

If anyone has any other advice/thoughts/suggested changes, definitely open to it, but just wanted to send an update for anyone curious. Thank you all for the support and help!
Last edited by benevo on Wed Feb 22, 2023 11:40 am, edited 2 times in total.
tashnewbie
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Re: Advice on setting up a 3- or 4-fund portfolio for a youngerish couple

Post by tashnewbie »

benevo wrote: Wed Feb 22, 2023 11:12 am 401(k)s
We currently fully max our 401(k)s; to fix for currently-high-ERs, our plan is to do the following:

- Mine (plan for each is BrokerageLink): 25% in bonds (BND/BNDX split), 25% in intl stocks (VXUS), 50% in US stocks (VTI); I may also consider FXAIX instead, however wanted to prioritize bonds into here
- Spouse: 29% in bonds (Vanguard Institutional Total Bond Market Index Trust @ 0.02%), 25% in intl stocks (Vanguard Institutional Total International Stock Market Index Trust @ 0.05%), 46% in US stocks (Vanguard Institutional Total Stock Market Index Trust @ 0.01%)
Is there any fee to use BrokerageLink? If so, I would explore not using it and picking low cost funds in the standard account.
IRAs
Max our IRAs, via backdoor roth (100% in bonds, BND, same fund for each of us). Haven't yet, but will as a 'next step' look into mega backdoor roth.
It doesn't seem optimal to put only bonds in the Roth IRA. Qualified withdrawals from Roth IRAs are tax-free, so most people seem to want to maximize growth in Roth accounts by using equities, which have a higher expected return.

I would use VOO in the Roth IRAs and increase bonds in the 401ks.
Taxable account
Having fully funded all tax advantaged accounts, and prioritized those accounts to be majority bonds for tax efficiency, our plan is the following for the remaining balance of cash. Thinking of the following breakdown:
- 71% US stocks - VTI
- 29% intl stocks - VXUS
- 0% bonds
While some people don't think 401ks are part of the wash sale rule (if you want to tax loss harvest in the future), I think it's really easy to avoid the issue by not using the same funds in taxable as you use in 401ks/IRAs.

I would keep VOO/VFIAX/S&P 500 funds in the 401ks/Roth IRAs/HSA and use total market/large cap funds in taxable (e.g., VTI, ITOT, SCHB).
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benevo
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Re: Advice on setting up a 3- or 4-fund portfolio for a youngerish couple

Post by benevo »

tashnewbie wrote: Wed Feb 22, 2023 11:35 am
benevo wrote: Wed Feb 22, 2023 11:12 am 401(k)s
We currently fully max our 401(k)s; to fix for currently-high-ERs, our plan is to do the following:

- Mine (plan for each is BrokerageLink): 25% in bonds (BND/BNDX split), 25% in intl stocks (VXUS), 50% in US stocks (VTI); I may also consider FXAIX instead, however wanted to prioritize bonds into here
- Spouse: 29% in bonds (Vanguard Institutional Total Bond Market Index Trust @ 0.02%), 25% in intl stocks (Vanguard Institutional Total International Stock Market Index Trust @ 0.05%), 46% in US stocks (Vanguard Institutional Total Stock Market Index Trust @ 0.01%)
Is there any fee to use BrokerageLink? If so, I would explore not using it and picking low cost funds in the standard account.
Thanks for the notes. Good q on the 401(k) funds, I was a bit conflicted there still. No fee for BrokerageLink (and $0 if ETFs like VTI), however my other idea was 25% in FXNAX, 75% in FSKAX. Even with no fees in my BrokerageLink option, maybe that's easier and I'm overthinking it!
homebuyer6426
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Re: Advice on setting up a 3- or 4-fund portfolio for a youngerish couple

Post by homebuyer6426 »

benevo wrote: Wed Feb 22, 2023 11:12 am If anyone has any other advice/thoughts/suggested changes, definitely open to it, but just wanted to send an update for anyone curious. Thank you all for the support and help!
Your portfolio looks reasonable. I am your age and don't own any bonds or international, but it's not a bad choice to include them at the levels you state. Since you are young for your high amount of savings, I would rate your asset allocation as slightly conservative - but that is a matter of opinion and preference.
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tashnewbie
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Re: Advice on setting up a 3- or 4-fund portfolio for a youngerish couple

Post by tashnewbie »

benevo wrote: Wed Feb 22, 2023 11:42 am
tashnewbie wrote: Wed Feb 22, 2023 11:35 am
benevo wrote: Wed Feb 22, 2023 11:12 am 401(k)s
We currently fully max our 401(k)s; to fix for currently-high-ERs, our plan is to do the following:

- Mine (plan for each is BrokerageLink): 25% in bonds (BND/BNDX split), 25% in intl stocks (VXUS), 50% in US stocks (VTI); I may also consider FXAIX instead, however wanted to prioritize bonds into here
- Spouse: 29% in bonds (Vanguard Institutional Total Bond Market Index Trust @ 0.02%), 25% in intl stocks (Vanguard Institutional Total International Stock Market Index Trust @ 0.05%), 46% in US stocks (Vanguard Institutional Total Stock Market Index Trust @ 0.01%)
Is there any fee to use BrokerageLink? If so, I would explore not using it and picking low cost funds in the standard account.
Thanks for the notes. Good q on the 401(k) funds, I was a bit conflicted there still. No fee for BrokerageLink (and $0 if ETFs like VTI), however my other idea was 25% in FXNAX, 75% in FSKAX. Even with no fees in my BrokerageLink option, maybe that's easier and I'm overthinking it!
I would just use FSKAX and FXNAX in the standard account (I presume they are offered at low cost). It may be easier to manage than using BL (would you have to login to make investments in BL?). What's your rationale for using BL when you have great options in the regular account?
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Re: Advice on setting up a 3- or 4-fund portfolio for a youngerish couple

Post by Wiggums »

benevo wrote: Tue Feb 14, 2023 8:04 pm
HomeStretch wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 8:45 pm It’s a good idea for your spouse to start a Roth IRA to get the 5-year clock on an initial Roth IRA started. BH wiki page on backdoor Roth:
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Backdoor_Roth
Hi there! Do you have any good wiki article or documentation to explain the 5 year rule? I've done some research but have come back a tad confused and want to make sure I understand. Is it only a rule for withdrawals from the Roth - not deposits? So basically, as long as I and my spouse deposit into our traditional IRAs, do the conversion for the backdoor Roth, and then don't withdrawal - we can do this each year without penalty? (And then, after 5 years from our first deposit, we can then withdraw after that point?) Am I understanding that correctly?
The Boglehead wiki is your friend

Treatment of distributions summarized here. See chart under #2
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Roth_IRA#Notes

Backdoor Roth
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Backdoor_Roth
"I started with nothing and I still have most of it left."
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dogagility
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Re: Advice on setting up a 3- or 4-fund portfolio for a youngerish couple

Post by dogagility »

benevo wrote: Wed Feb 22, 2023 11:12 am HSAs
Max our HSAs (spouse invests, 75% in bonds; 25% in stocks; I don’t invest yet but plan to invest about half of it, since I use it throughout the year for healthcare expenses I don't want to invest all of it)

Taxable account
Thinking of the following breakdown:
- 71% US stocks - VTI
- 29% intl stocks - VXUS
- 0% bonds
Rather than spend from your HSA, I suggest paying for those bolded expenses with money you would otherwise be putting into your taxable account.

This will maximize tax-free growth and redemption of your money.
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