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Hello from aspiring FIRE newby!
Old 01-11-2006, 02:50 PM   #1
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Hello from aspiring FIRE newby!

I came across this board recently and like the information/discussions.
Bio -
36yo, mother of 2 little girls, seasonal CPA, have rental real estate, part time controller of hubby's business.
I've looked for board rules and I'm not finding any. Is this board a free for all
My current focus is finding where/what to open a taxable account? We are maxing our 401k and Simple IRA accounts, have an emergency fund of 3 months, funding 529 plan. I've been throwing $250-500 into a savings account until I reached $3k balance (typical opening amount for taxable accounts). Now that I have it, I need help deciding on a fund. This money is not specifically earmarked toward anything, but options would be retirement $ or vacation home downpayment - I do view it a mid-term 5-10years.
Thanks for inviting me,
Robin
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Re: Hello from aspiring FIRE newby!
Old 01-11-2006, 03:07 PM   #2
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Re: Hello from aspiring FIRE newby!

Robin, if we have rules, nobody's told me. Mostly we try to stay on-topic for the specific board we post on and be at least marginally respectful of each other.

I think the challenge will be finding a good provider that won't nickel and dime you with fees for having a small account. I know Schwab has dropped their minimums, but I think they are more like $10k than 3. IIRC, Vanguard will hit you with fees for a $3k account. Maybe check out Etrade or Fidelity? Maybe Scottrade?
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Re: Hello from aspiring FIRE newby!
Old 01-11-2006, 03:09 PM   #3
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Re: Hello from aspiring FIRE newby!

Quote:
Originally Posted by pinkmali
I've looked for board rules and I'm not finding any. Is this board a free for all
Not quite Robin, although we do have our days.

What passes for our rules are posted on the home page, listed along with the description of each board. We try to accommodate an open discussion of topics related to FIRE, but give wide latitude as long as people are reasonably courteous, have a sense of humor, and don't use the board to sell products or services. I guess you could say we are a "R" rated board, but straying much beyond that will probably get your knuckles rapped.

Welcome to the forum.
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Re: Hello from aspiring FIRE newby!
Old 01-11-2006, 03:16 PM   #4
 
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Re: Hello from aspiring FIRE newby!

pinkmail, you may want to look at ETF's like DIA or SPY or EWJ, these track a stock index, or you can track an index for a particular country, or you can have an Index made of Government Bonds.

Low cost, very popular since most mutual funds fail to beat the index.

google on ETF's or try etfconnects.com
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Re: Hello from aspiring FIRE newby!
Old 01-11-2006, 03:21 PM   #5
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Re: Hello from aspiring FIRE newby!

Vanguard has no fee* for regular taxable accounts unless they are index funds, where the fee is $10/yr for balances less than $10k. Most funds at VG require $3k minimum. The STAR fund is an exception at $1k, and has no fees in a taxable account. It is a balanced fund (owns a mix of funds that own stocks and bonds), so it may be good for a 5-10 year time horizon, as long as you don't mind risking a loss of principal due to fluctuations in the stock market.

As to ETF's, remember that you'll pay a commission every time you buy or sell one. Those could add up quick if you are a small time investor.


* I just checked, and there is an extra $10/yr fee if your account balance drops below $500 - hard to imagine since this fund holds ~40% bonds.
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Re: Hello from aspiring FIRE newby!
Old 01-11-2006, 03:27 PM   #6
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Re: Hello from aspiring FIRE newby!

In that case, the STAR fund sounds ideal for Robin, IMO.
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Re: Hello from aspiring FIRE newby!
Old 01-11-2006, 03:31 PM   #7
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Re: Hello from aspiring FIRE newby!

If it's five years, I might just look for a nice CD...
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Re: Hello from aspiring FIRE newby!
Old 01-11-2006, 03:32 PM   #8
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Re: Hello from aspiring FIRE newby!

Yep. I'm tempted to pick the STAR fund for my 1 y.o. daughter's college fund, at least till I have more money for a $3k min fund like VG Lifestrategy growth (check that one out too, if you have $3k).

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Re: Hello from aspiring FIRE newby!
Old 01-12-2006, 11:47 AM   #9
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Re: Hello from aspiring FIRE newby!

Thanks for the suggestions.

I have had my eye on the Star fund before, but was turned off by the high amount of bonds - 40%. In taking a second look, it's 10 yr performace is alot better than I would have expected w/ the bond inclusion. I was also looking into increasing my exposure to Foreign mkts, but I will probably do this in my 401k so I don't have to deal w/ foreign tax credits. My roths and simple IRA are w/ Vanguard and should reach $50k this year - I think after that point Vanguard does not charge fees, so I'm leaning towards them.

Robin
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