Overall Investment Strategy Review - First Timer / Please Help!

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Foxmoto28
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Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2024 10:01 am

Overall Investment Strategy Review - First Timer / Please Help!

Post by Foxmoto28 »

Hello Everyone,

I am new to this forum and here for everyone’s insight / opinion. I am currently a 30-year-old male and married. My wife and I own a home, so we are trying to learn and invest properly. I listed our current investments below. If you could please review and let me know your thoughts.

Emergency funds: $50K in savings

Debt: Mortgage $400k @ 4% and Car $20k @ 3%

Tax Filing Status: Married Filing Jointly

State of Residence: North Carolina

Age:30

Desired Asset allocation: 90% stocks / 10% bonds
Desired International allocation: 20% of stocks

Current retirement assets:

Taxable:
100% Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (Ticker - VTSAX) (expense ratio - 0.04)
Investing $1,500.00 per month in this account

His 401k:
100% American Funds 2050 Trgt Date Retire R6 (Ticker - RFITX) (expense ratio - 0.38)
Company match's up to 6%. I am currently maxing out my 401k.

His Roth IRA at Vanguard:
100% Vanguard Total World Stock Index Fund (Ticker - VTWAX) (expense ratio - 0.10)

Her Roth IRA at Vanguard:
100% Vanguard Total World Stock Index Fund (Ticker - VTWAX) (expense ratio - 0.10)
We are maxing both Roth IRAs.

Contributions:

New annual Contributions:
$23K his 401k
$7K his IRA/Roth IRA
$7K her IRA/Roth IRA
$18K taxable

Available funds:

Asset Allocation:
American Funds 2040 Trgt Date Retire R6 (Ticker – RFGTX) (Gross/Net Ratio – 0.37/0.37)
American Funds 2045 Trgt Date Retire R6 (Ticker – RFHTX) (Gross/Net Ratio – 0.37/0.37)
American Funds 2050 Trgt Date Retire R6 (Ticker – RFITX) (Gross/Net Ratio – 0.38/0.38)
American Funds 2055 Trgt Date Retire R6 (Ticker – RFKTX) (Gross/Net Ratio – 0.38/0.38)
American Funds 2060 Trgt Date Retire R6 (Ticker – RFUTX) (Gross/Net Ratio – 0.39/0.39)

Balanced Funds:
Vanguard Wellington Adm (Ticker – VWENX) (Gross/Net Ratio – 0.17/0.17)

Bond Funds:
American Funds US Government Sec R6 (Ticker – RGVGX) (Gross/Net Ratio – 0.26/0.26)
Dodge & Cox Income X (Ticker – DOXIS) (Gross/Net Ratio – 0.36/0.33)
Vanguard Total Intl Bd Idx Admiral (Ticker – VTABX) (Gross/Net Ratio – 0.11/0.11)

International Funds:
BlackRock MSCI ACWI ex-U.S. Index R (Ticker – N/A) (Gross/Net Ratio – 0.07/0.07)

Large Cap Funds:
American Century Growth R6 (Ticker – AGRDX) (Gross/Net Ratio – 0.62/0.57)
Fidelity 500 Index (Ticker – FXAIX) (Gross/Net Ratio – 0.02/0.02)
Vanguard Equity-Income Adm (Ticker – VEIRX) (Gross/Net Ratio – 0.19/0.19)

Mid Cap Funds:
Fidelity Mid Cap Index (Ticker – FSMDX) (Gross/Net Ratio – 0.03/0.03)
Delaware Ivy Mid Cap Growth Y (Ticker – WMGYX) (Gross/Net Ratio – 1.13/1.04)
MFS Mid Cap Value R3 (Ticker – MVCHX) (Gross/Net Ratio – 1.00/0.99)

Money Market Funds:
Empower Government Money Inst (Ticker – MXGXX) (Gross/Net Ratio – 0.12/0.11)

Small Cap Funds:
DFA US Targeted Value I (Ticker – DFFVX) (Gross/Net Ratio – 0.29/0.29)
Federated Hermes MDT Small Cap Growth IS (Ticker – QISGX) (Gross/Net Ratio – 1.09/0.89)
Fidelity Small Cap Index (Ticker – FSSNX) (Gross/Net Ratio – 0.03/0.03)

Specialty:
DWS Reef Real Assets Instl (Ticker – AAAZX) (Gross/Net Ratio – 1.00/0.90)
Fidelity Real Estate Index (Ticker – FSRNX) (Gross/Net Ratio – 0.07/0.07)

Questions:
1. Should I be investing my 401k different? I want to retire by 55 years old. I want to be aggressive but I don't want to have to worry about messing with it much.

2. Is my allocations for our Roth IRA good or should I change that? Should I change it to VTSAX or a TDF or keep it VTWAX?

I appreciate everyone's help and insight for this newbie!

Thanks!
Last edited by Foxmoto28 on Sun Feb 11, 2024 10:36 am, edited 3 times in total.
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retired@50
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Re: Overall Investment Strategy Review - First Timer / Please Help!

Post by retired@50 »

To get more thorough and complete responses to your questions, consider posting in the Asking Portfolio Questions format. You can just edit your post by using the pencil icon. At a minimum, we'd need to see all the choices available in the 401k plan(s).

Regards,
If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. -George Orwell
Topic Author
Foxmoto28
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2024 10:01 am

Re: Overall Investment Strategy Review - First Timer / Please Help!

Post by Foxmoto28 »

retired@50 wrote: Sat Feb 10, 2024 4:29 pm To get more thorough and complete responses to your questions, consider posting in the Asking Portfolio Questions format. You can just edit your post by using the pencil icon. At a minimum, we'd need to see all the choices available in the 401k plan(s).

Regards,
Hello,
I updated it. Please let me know if that's better. I appreciate the help!
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retired@50
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Re: Overall Investment Strategy Review - First Timer / Please Help!

Post by retired@50 »

Foxmoto28 wrote: Sat Feb 10, 2024 4:17 pm
Tax Filing Status: Married Filing Separately
Married filing separately is somewhat rare. Are you certain that this leads to the best tax outcome for you two?
Available funds:

Bond Funds:
American Funds US Government Sec R6 (Ticker – RGVGX) (Gross/Net Ratio – 0.26/0.26)
Vanguard Total Intl Bd Idx Admiral (Ticker – VTABX) (Gross/Net Ratio – 0.11/0.11)

International Funds:
BlackRock MSCI ACWI ex-U.S. Index R (Ticker – N/A) (Gross/Net Ratio – 0.07/0.07)

Large Cap Funds:
Fidelity 500 Index (Ticker – FXAIX) (Gross/Net Ratio – 0.02/0.02)

Mid Cap Funds:
Fidelity Mid Cap Index (Ticker – FSMDX) (Gross/Net Ratio – 0.03/0.03)

Small Cap Funds:
Fidelity Small Cap Index (Ticker – FSSNX) (Gross/Net Ratio – 0.03/0.03)
I'd suggest you use the green funds (or a subset of them) in the 401k plan.
Questions:
1. Should I be investing my 401k different? I want to retire by 55 years old. I want to be aggressive but I don't want to have to worry about messing with it much.

2. Is my allocations for our Roth IRA good or should I change that? Should I change it to VTSAX or a TDF or keep it VTWAX?

I appreciate everyone's help and insight for this newbie!

Thanks!
To invest in the 401k plan, you can try to mimic the "total US stock market" or you can just use the S&P 500 index fund and say it's good enough.
If you want to go to the trouble of approximating the total US market by including mid cap and small cap funds, see the wiki page and use the 3 fund Fidelity solution provided.
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Approxi ... ock_market

As for bonds, the American Funds Government bond fund is fine for US bonds. You can also consider adding International bonds by using the Vanguard fund VTABX. When setting up your bond mix, consider holding about 70% US bonds, and 30% International bonds.

As for international stock, consider using the BlackRock ACWI ex-US fund.

You'll probably need to re-balance these holdings from time to time if you want to stay close to your 90% stock / 10% bond with 20% of stock in international desired mix. Once a year should be plenty, or maybe once every two years. Do the re-balancing in the 401k account and leave the Roth accounts and the Taxable account alone.

Regards,
If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. -George Orwell
Topic Author
Foxmoto28
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2024 10:01 am

Re: Overall Investment Strategy Review - First Timer / Please Help!

Post by Foxmoto28 »

retired@50 wrote: Sat Feb 10, 2024 6:19 pm
Foxmoto28 wrote: Sat Feb 10, 2024 4:17 pm
Tax Filing Status: Married Filing Separately
Married filing separately is somewhat rare. Are you certain that this leads to the best tax outcome for you two?
Available funds:

Bond Funds:
American Funds US Government Sec R6 (Ticker – RGVGX) (Gross/Net Ratio – 0.26/0.26)
Vanguard Total Intl Bd Idx Admiral (Ticker – VTABX) (Gross/Net Ratio – 0.11/0.11)

International Funds:
BlackRock MSCI ACWI ex-U.S. Index R (Ticker – N/A) (Gross/Net Ratio – 0.07/0.07)

Large Cap Funds:
Fidelity 500 Index (Ticker – FXAIX) (Gross/Net Ratio – 0.02/0.02)

Mid Cap Funds:
Fidelity Mid Cap Index (Ticker – FSMDX) (Gross/Net Ratio – 0.03/0.03)

Small Cap Funds:
Fidelity Small Cap Index (Ticker – FSSNX) (Gross/Net Ratio – 0.03/0.03)
I'd suggest you use the green funds (or a subset of them) in the 401k plan.
Questions:
1. Should I be investing my 401k different? I want to retire by 55 years old. I want to be aggressive but I don't want to have to worry about messing with it much.

2. Is my allocations for our Roth IRA good or should I change that? Should I change it to VTSAX or a TDF or keep it VTWAX?

I appreciate everyone's help and insight for this newbie!

Thanks!
To invest in the 401k plan, you can try to mimic the "total US stock market" or you can just use the S&P 500 index fund and say it's good enough.
If you want to go to the trouble of approximating the total US market by including mid cap and small cap funds, see the wiki page and use the 3 fund Fidelity solution provided.
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Approxi ... ock_market

As for bonds, the American Funds Government bond fund is fine for US bonds. You can also consider adding International bonds by using the Vanguard fund VTABX. When setting up your bond mix, consider holding about 70% US bonds, and 30% International bonds.

As for international stock, consider using the BlackRock ACWI ex-US fund.

You'll probably need to re-balance these holdings from time to time if you want to stay close to your 90% stock / 10% bond with 20% of stock in international desired mix. Once a year should be plenty, or maybe once every two years. Do the re-balancing in the 401k account and leave the Roth accounts and the Taxable account alone.

Regards,
Thank you for this awesome response! I very much appreciate the information!
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retired@50
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Location: Living in the U.S.A.

Re: Overall Investment Strategy Review - First Timer / Please Help!

Post by retired@50 »

You two may need to determine if you're both eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA and use the Married Filing Separately filing status.

More details here:
https://www.investopedia.com/married-fi ... ra-4772024

https://www.thebalancemoney.com/can-i-c ... ly-5221563

Regards.
If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. -George Orwell
Topic Author
Foxmoto28
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2024 10:01 am

Re: Overall Investment Strategy Review - First Timer / Please Help!

Post by Foxmoto28 »

retired@50 wrote: Sat Feb 10, 2024 6:48 pm You two may need to determine if you're both eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA and use the Married Filing Separately filing status.

More details here:
https://www.investopedia.com/married-fi ... ra-4772024

https://www.thebalancemoney.com/can-i-c ... ly-5221563

Regards.
Thank you for providing this. I was almost over the limit for 2023... Also, I am going to reallocate my 401k and leave the rest alone. I overthink if I am investing in the right funds since I am still learning. It makes me worried because I don't want to waste years investing in the wrong funds. I feel like I am pretty late to the game starting to really invest at 30 years old.
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retired@50
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Re: Overall Investment Strategy Review - First Timer / Please Help!

Post by retired@50 »

Foxmoto28 wrote: Sat Feb 10, 2024 6:57 pm
retired@50 wrote: Sat Feb 10, 2024 6:48 pm You two may need to determine if you're both eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA and use the Married Filing Separately filing status.

More details here:
https://www.investopedia.com/married-fi ... ra-4772024

https://www.thebalancemoney.com/can-i-c ... ly-5221563

Regards.
Thank you for providing this. I was almost over the limit for 2023... Also, I am going to reallocate my 401k and leave the rest alone. I overthink if I am investing in the right funds since I am still learning. It makes me worried because I don't want to waste years investing in the wrong funds. I feel like I am pretty late to the game starting to really invest at 30 years old.
I'm thinking you didn't read the links... Or, do you not live with your spouse?

There are a variety of restrictions on who can contribute to a Roth IRA. You should be aware of ALL the restrictions.

Regards,
If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. -George Orwell
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retiredjg
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Re: Overall Investment Strategy Review - First Timer / Please Help!

Post by retiredjg »

Foxmoto28, the first thing to figure out here is if/how to make a Roth contribution if married filing separately...before you file your taxes for 2023.

There are a number of tax benefits that you lose by filing separately. The ability to contribute directly to Roth IRA is one if them if your income is greater than $10k and if you have lived with your spouse at any time during the year. Obviously your income is higher than $10k and your post does not indicate that you live separately.

I question the (financial) need to file separately - the usual reason is trying for student loan forgiveness, but you don't mention any student loans. If there is some compelling personal reason to file separately, you will just need to learn about and accept the consequences of choosing that filing status.

And you would need to remove or recharacterize your roth IRA contributions for the year.
Topic Author
Foxmoto28
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2024 10:01 am

Re: Overall Investment Strategy Review - First Timer / Please Help!

Post by Foxmoto28 »

retired@50 wrote: Sat Feb 10, 2024 8:06 pm
Foxmoto28 wrote: Sat Feb 10, 2024 6:57 pm
retired@50 wrote: Sat Feb 10, 2024 6:48 pm You two may need to determine if you're both eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA and use the Married Filing Separately filing status.

More details here:
https://www.investopedia.com/married-fi ... ra-4772024

https://www.thebalancemoney.com/can-i-c ... ly-5221563

Regards.
Thank you for providing this. I was almost over the limit for 2023... Also, I am going to reallocate my 401k and leave the rest alone. I overthink if I am investing in the right funds since I am still learning. It makes me worried because I don't want to waste years investing in the wrong funds. I feel like I am pretty late to the game starting to really invest at 30 years old.
I'm thinking you didn't read the links... Or, do you not live with your spouse?

There are a variety of restrictions on who can contribute to a Roth IRA. You should be aware of ALL the restrictions.

Regards,
Hello,
I listed it wrong I apologize. We file jointly and just did for 2023.
Topic Author
Foxmoto28
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Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2024 10:01 am

Re: Overall Investment Strategy Review - First Timer / Please Help!

Post by Foxmoto28 »

retiredjg wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 8:23 am Foxmoto28, the first thing to figure out here is if/how to make a Roth contribution if married filing separately...before you file your taxes for 2023.

There are a number of tax benefits that you lose by filing separately. The ability to contribute directly to Roth IRA is one if them if your income is greater than $10k and if you have lived with your spouse at any time during the year. Obviously your income is higher than $10k and your post does not indicate that you live separately.

I question the (financial) need to file separately - the usual reason is trying for student loan forgiveness, but you don't mention any student loans. If there is some compelling personal reason to file separately, you will just need to learn about and accept the consequences of choosing that filing status.

And you would need to remove or recharacterize your roth IRA contributions for the year.
Hello,
That was a mistake on my end. We file jointly and just did it for our 2023. My apologies for the mistake / confusion.
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retiredjg
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Re: Overall Investment Strategy Review - First Timer / Please Help!

Post by retiredjg »

Foxmoto28 wrote: Sat Feb 10, 2024 4:17 pm Desired Asset allocation: 90% stocks / 10% bonds
Desired International allocation: 20% of stocks
Are you actually at these allocations now? We cannot tell because you have shown your investments as a percentage of the account they are in rather than a percentage of the portfolio.

I suspect you are not near 10% bonds, but don't know for sure.


His 401k:
100% American Funds 2050 Trgt Date Retire R6 (Ticker - RFITX) (expense ratio - 0.38)
Company match's up to 6%. I am currently maxing out my 401k.
This is not a bad choice, but it is not the best choice in terms of cost. I would use the 500 index and a bond fund. But if you want to pay for simplicity, I don't think this fund is a fatal flaw.
tashnewbie
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Re: Overall Investment Strategy Review - First Timer / Please Help!

Post by tashnewbie »

I agree with @retiredjg

If your wife has access to a workplace retirement plan, she should probably be using it.
Topic Author
Foxmoto28
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Re: Overall Investment Strategy Review - First Timer / Please Help!

Post by Foxmoto28 »

retiredjg wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 8:29 am
Foxmoto28 wrote: Sat Feb 10, 2024 4:17 pm Desired Asset allocation: 90% stocks / 10% bonds
Desired International allocation: 20% of stocks
Are you actually at these allocations now? We cannot tell because you have shown your investments as a percentage of the account they are in rather than a percentage of the portfolio.

I suspect you are not near 10% bonds, but don't know for sure.


His 401k:
100% American Funds 2050 Trgt Date Retire R6 (Ticker - RFITX) (expense ratio - 0.38)
Company match's up to 6%. I am currently maxing out my 401k.
This is not a bad choice, but it is not the best choice in terms of cost. I would use the 500 index and a bond fund. But if you want to pay for simplicity, I don't think this fund is a fatal flaw.
Hello Sir,

You are correct. I will list my investment amounts below. They are small at this point because I just started recently and I was embarrassed to post them.

His 401k - $10,000.00 (100% American Funds 2050)
His Roth IRA - $13,000.00 (100% VTWAX)
Her Roth IRA - $4,000.00 (100% VTWAX)
Taxable Brokerage - $3,500.00 (100% VTSAX)

I really ramped up our investments for this year. I am maxing out both Roth IRAs and my 401k. Also, contributing $1,500 per month to the taxable brokerage. I want to invest as much as I can going forward.

I was debating on reallocating my 401k and doing 83% Fidelity 500 index, 9% Fidelity Small Cap Index and 8% Fidelity Mid Cap Index. What's your opinion on this? Do you think I need to add bonds or international stocks to the portfolio?

Thank you!
Topic Author
Foxmoto28
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Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2024 10:01 am

Re: Overall Investment Strategy Review - First Timer / Please Help!

Post by Foxmoto28 »

tashnewbie wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 9:12 am I agree with @retiredjg

If your wife has access to a workplace retirement plan, she should probably be using it.
Hello,
Unfortunately, my wife currently doesn't have access to a workplace retirement. She is a 1099 employee and works from home, so we don't have to pay for child care. She's a counselor so she is able to work remote. That's why we started a Roth IRA for her.
tashnewbie
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Re: Overall Investment Strategy Review - First Timer / Please Help!

Post by tashnewbie »

Foxmoto28 wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 10:39 am
tashnewbie wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 9:12 am I agree with @retiredjg

If your wife has access to a workplace retirement plan, she should probably be using it.
Hello,
Unfortunately, my wife currently doesn't have access to a workplace retirement. She is a 1099 employee and works from home, so we don't have to pay for child care. She's a counselor so she is able to work remote. That's why we started a Roth IRA for her.
Sounds like she may be eligible to start an individual plan like a solo 401k or SEP IRA. Might be worth considering if you’d like to put some of the $12k you’re currently putting in taxable in a deferred or Roth account.
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retiredjg
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Re: Overall Investment Strategy Review - First Timer / Please Help!

Post by retiredjg »

Foxmoto28 wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 10:36 am You are correct. I will list my investment amounts below. They are small at this point because I just started recently and I was embarrassed to post them.

His 401k - $10,000.00 (100% American Funds 2050)
His Roth IRA - $13,000.00 (100% VTWAX)
Her Roth IRA - $4,000.00 (100% VTWAX)
Taxable Brokerage - $3,500.00 (100% VTSAX)
Assuming the 2050 fund is 10% bonds, then you have roughly 3% of your portfolio in bonds. I suggest a bond allocation, even for young people. I think 20% is a good choice, but even 10% is worthwhile.
I was debating on reallocating my 401k and doing 83% Fidelity 500 index, 9% Fidelity Small Cap Index and 8% Fidelity Mid Cap Index. What's your opinion on this? Do you think I need to add bonds or international stocks to the portfolio?
I think all portfolios should have some bonds. I'm neutral on international although I think they are a good idea.

The 500 index alone will perform about the same as the 3 funds you mention. I also suggest the total bond index available in the 401k plan.
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mhadden1
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Re: Overall Investment Strategy Review - First Timer / Please Help!

Post by mhadden1 »

Foxmoto28 wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 10:36 am I was debating on reallocating my 401k and doing 83% Fidelity 500 index, 9% Fidelity Small Cap Index and 8% Fidelity Mid Cap Index. What's your opinion on this?
I did this for years, which worked fine. Then luckily my workplace 401k plan added a Total Stock Market fund, so I was able use that. :happy

Congratulations on having a number of good inexpensive index fund choices. Kudos to your employer!

At 30, you are doing a good choice moving ahead with your retirement saving, and I think your future self will be happy with the choices you are making. :moneybag
Retired 12/31/2015
Topic Author
Foxmoto28
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Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2024 10:01 am

Re: Overall Investment Strategy Review - First Timer / Please Help!

Post by Foxmoto28 »

retiredjg wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 8:46 am
Foxmoto28 wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 10:36 am You are correct. I will list my investment amounts below. They are small at this point because I just started recently and I was embarrassed to post them.

His 401k - $10,000.00 (100% American Funds 2050)
His Roth IRA - $13,000.00 (100% VTWAX)
Her Roth IRA - $4,000.00 (100% VTWAX)
Taxable Brokerage - $3,500.00 (100% VTSAX)
Assuming the 2050 fund is 10% bonds, then you have roughly 3% of your portfolio in bonds. I suggest a bond allocation, even for young people. I think 20% is a good choice, but even 10% is worthwhile.
I was debating on reallocating my 401k and doing 83% Fidelity 500 index, 9% Fidelity Small Cap Index and 8% Fidelity Mid Cap Index. What's your opinion on this? Do you think I need to add bonds or international stocks to the portfolio?
I think all portfolios should have some bonds. I'm neutral on international although I think they are a good idea.

The 500 index alone will perform about the same as the 3 funds you mention. I also suggest the total bond index available in the 401k plan.
Thank you for your time and feedback. I greatly apperciate it.
Topic Author
Foxmoto28
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Re: Overall Investment Strategy Review - First Timer / Please Help!

Post by Foxmoto28 »

mhadden1 wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 9:26 am
Foxmoto28 wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 10:36 am I was debating on reallocating my 401k and doing 83% Fidelity 500 index, 9% Fidelity Small Cap Index and 8% Fidelity Mid Cap Index. What's your opinion on this?
I did this for years, which worked fine. Then luckily my workplace 401k plan added a Total Stock Market fund, so I was able use that. :happy

Congratulations on having a number of good inexpensive index fund choices. Kudos to your employer!

At 30, you are doing a good choice moving ahead with your retirement saving, and I think your future self will be happy with the choices you are making. :moneybag
Thank you, Sir. I am very hopeful that it will pay off in the future!
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