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Here's a statement of the obvious: The opinions expressed here are those of the participants, not those of the Mutual Fund Observer. We cannot vouch for the accuracy or appropriateness of any of it, though we do encourage civility and good humor.

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  • davidrmoran
    in-house vs out-of-house, right? nobody charges for in-house
    June 2023
  • We have not encountered difficulties buying CDs and treasuries at Vanguard site. Yes, VG website interface is more clunky compared to Fidelity, but it works. Can you share what specific issue you run into?

    BTW, we also use Fidelity as our main brokerage and they work very well for us.
    August 2022
  • Hi Derf, Old_Skeet said it was ok to provide you with a link to one of the compasses that he uses. In this way you can see what is moving as well as what is not.
    November 2021
  • Hi Derf, Hope you are well? I enjoyed seeing your post ... "Blast from the Past." A new fund, for me, that I have added to my buy list and one that I have been adding portfolio surplus income into is GSRAX. It sports a yield of about 3.8% and is up about 70% for the rolling year. Other than this, I am pretty much the same within my 20/40/40 asset allocation (+ or - 5% from neutral weightings). Currently, I am heavy cash by 5% at 25% and light equity by 5% at 35% as I did an early spring rebalance. Take care ... and, as you say ... Be Safe!
    March 2021
  • johnN
    August 2020
  • johnN

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    Are Critics Right? Is It Time To Dump Your 401(k) Account?
    PAUL KATZEFF 08:00 AM ET 07/13/2020
    Critics, including some high-profile celebrity talking heads, are bashing 401(k) accounts. They claim 401(k)s are riddled with flaws and will burn you later. Are they right? Are you sabotaging your retirement planning by stashing money inside those popular workplace retirement savings plans?

    Or are there solutions and workarounds for those stinging criticisms of 401(k) accounts?

    If taking one of those course corrections or avoiding some mistake lets you boost your retirement savings by, say, 5% or 10% or 20%, you'd do it, right? Of course you would.

    So here are three of the most common criticisms of 401(k), with experts' retorts on why you shouldn't let the criticisms sway your retirement planning.

    And it matters. 401(k) and related accounts are Americans' main retirement savings tool, says the American Benefits Council.

    Retirement Planning Criticism No. 1: 401(k)s Expose You To Higher Future Tax Rates
    Criticism about higher tax rates: Tax rates are likely to rise in the future from where they are now. If you withdraw retirement savings after tax rates rise, your taxes may rise too.

    Higher tax rates look likely. How else can the federal government pay for its humongous deficits and its stimulus payments to help Americans cope with their losses of jobs and income due to the coronavirus pandemic?

    But does the likelihood of higher tax rates mean a 401(k) should not be the foundation of your retirement planning?

    Answer to criticism about higher tax rates: No. What really matters isn't what your post-retirement tax rate will be. It's how much savings your retirement planning leads to, says Sean Wilson, a senior director of product and portfolio solutions and distribution at retirement savings titan TIAA.

    "If using a 401(k) account enables your savings to grow by more than the extra amount in taxes you pay due to higher rates, you come out ahead," Wilson said.

    And a 401(k) account makes your retirement savings grow. Money you contribute goes into your account without being taxed as income. In fact, you get a tax deduction. Then year by year the principal and its earnings are sheltered from income taxes.

    Diversify Your Retirement Planning By Adding Roth-Type Accounts
    Second answer to criticism about rising tax rates: There's a second reason not to let the prospect of higher tax rates deter you from saving inside a 401(k) account. Withdrawals from a Roth 401(k) account, offered by many employers, are tax-free. So if you use that type of 401(k) account, it does not matter how high tax rates are once you begin withdrawals.

    The catch? On the front end, your contributions do not receive a tax deduction the way they do with contributions to traditional IRAs and 401(k)s.

    Still, a Roth 401(k) is a way to avoid higher future tax rates. A Roth account protects your access to an automatic workplace retirement account. And a Roth 401(k) preserves your eligibility for a matching contribution from your employer. A Roth 401(k) can be a key feature of smart retirement planning. "Company contributions are like free pay raises," said Ed Murphy, chief executive officer of Empower, the retirement plan giant. "Why give it up?"w401kperfins-071320

    401(k) Criticism No. 2: Investment Choices Are Weak
    Criticism about limited investment choices: 401(k) plans do not offer members enough investment choices.

    In comparison, your choices are virtually unlimited in an Individual Retirement Account.

    And 401(k) choices are declining. The average number of investment options in 2019 was 17.4, says Vanguard. That's down by one over the past 10 years.

    Some critics say that's reason enough to not bother using a 401(k). After all, how can you create a portfolio that truly reflects your exact risk tolerance, goals and time horizon when you're offered so few options?

    First answer to criticism about investment choices: The truth is that the vast majority of plan members don't want a huge number of investment options.

    Members of plans run by Vanguard may have just 17.4 investment choices on average. But they only use 2.4 of them on average.

    Second answer to criticism about investment choices: "The real question is whether an individual can put together a fully diversified portfolio that meets their needs inside a 401(k)," said TIAA's Wilson. "You don't need a menu that offers 10 versions of an S&P 500 index fund to do that. Instead, with diversified stock funds and bond funds you get many of the tools you need for a diversified portfolio. And if your plan offers target date funds, you have an investment option whose asset allocation changes as you approach retirement."

    Target date funds invest in a mix of stocks and bonds. That mix customarily changes over time, growing more conservative and less volatile as your target retirement date approaches. A target date fund uses many of the same retirement planning goals you would, if you were building a portfolio from scratch. It can build an asset allocation similar to what you would on your own.

    Third answer to criticism about investment choices: In addition, more 401(k) plans offer access to a professional advisor. Wilson said, "A professional can help you decide when to retire and what's a reasonable mix of stocks and bonds for your situation. And that mix should be rebalanced on a regular basis."

    That can save you a lot of time and sweat. "Most people don't have a lot of time to spend on picking individual investments," Murphy said.

    And, maybe most importantly, target date funds stick with the asset allocation that your retirement planning targeted in the first place, even amid market volatility. Murphy said, "They don't panic. They tend not to sell low and buy high when the market is wild, which is the mistake a lot of individual mutual fund investors make."
    July 2020
  • johnN
    Hi sir..think the author concluded maybe best to cease 401k distributions, swap for roth/sep ira and buy target date funds in these. maybe these are the best tax savings strategies going forward especially risks of tax rates increase .
    July 2020