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Old 12-20-2009, 03:56 PM   #21
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Well, if you lose your shirt day trading, you could probably take up poker or blackjack.

No, I'm not being facetious. It is the gambling aspect of day trading that appeals to you. I can understand that. The thing is that you have to see this as a hobby and form of entertainment and not as a way to actually make money....
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Old 12-20-2009, 03:59 PM   #22
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The question is how do I begin to invest 4.5 million when all these years I have only been in and out of the market. Stocks look expensive, bonds look expensive, gold and oil too....hell everything looks too expensive. I have to curb this mindset of trying to catch a bottom and begin. Over what timeline would you guys invest this 4.5 million ? The stock market is just in a quandry (still 30% cheap from oct 2007 but 60% more expensive from March 2009 sheeshhhhh.....)

Don't punish yourself for missing the bottom. Someday the market will recover to 07 levels and 12/09 levels will seem cheap.

Having said that, if I were working 4.5MM into my asset allocation model, I'd probably dollar-cost-average it in over 24-36 months, but I'd also be prepared to accelerate that on dips. I'd probably keep my bond allocation in TIPS or short term for now. You probably don't have much capacity in an IRA or other tax deferred account, if I had to guess, which doesn't help.

First thing you need to think about is what your asset allocation model should be.

Have you read any of William Bernsteins books? I recommend the Intelligent Asset Allocator as a start.
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Old 12-20-2009, 04:02 PM   #23
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I would also add that you should put a strict limit on how much capital you're willing to risk on day trading. Say its 250k or whatever. If you burn through that, I'd really reconsider day trading as a profession.
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Old 12-20-2009, 09:10 PM   #24
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Destiny, this is certainly an interesting discussion. Your question at this point seems to be what do at this point, considering you love trading, and would like to do it for the rest of your life, while at the same time, you want your money to be secure and meet your needs.

First, some thing to consider (a lot of this will be reiterations of what others have said, some of it new)

* When you have children, your expenses will increase, a lot. Your wife may need some sort of occupation now, but once she has children, taking care of the children may be enough to keep her occupied (it happens very often where one spouse has a very high income).

* This brings up health care. It is extremely likely that your wife will not be providing health care for you until you reach Medicare age (30 years). There are various reasons why this may occur, but children will most likely be the first event that will likely trigger a loss of health care. She may go back to work sometime afterward, but I think this will only be for a portion, quite possibly a small portion of the next 30 years. Your children will also need to be insured. You seem to be aware of the health care costs, and that your future expenses will likely be 15-20k higher (on average and with inflation adjustments) over the next 30 years.

* You appear to have a very good job. Can you find similar paying work if you decided to lateral to a different firm? If you stopped working, for say, 5 years, how difficult would it be for you, objectively, to find a similar paying job? (I can tell you that the chances in this case are low, and it will grow lower as the experience gap increases). This means that once you pull the plug, the amount you need for your expected expenses (which seem to really be 70k), needs to be in something that will provide you sufficient income to meet your 70k (with inflation adjustments) for both your and your spouses life.

* In your case, you are in the rare position where the skills that helped and currently help you earn a high income, have warped your current wealth management abilities (there are a lot of big red flags in what you have said). What you currently have known and done are in direct conflict with what you will need to learn to manage your wealth. While you have learned good spending habits, that has not changed how you manage your wealth, as they are two different things. You have said (and it appears this is true from some of your actions) that you are not able to recognize risk, which is a very big problem coupled with your desire to day trade, which inherently involves calculating risk on a minute-to-minute basis.

My Suggestion:

You are in a position to retire (this is obvious, you were in the 100% safe range a long time ago, based on your expenses).

But, you are also not ready to retire.

If you wish to retire right now (which you could), I would strongly suggest you get an irrevocable SPIA that covers 70K of income+30k more for your children expenses (for a total of 100k), that adjusts for inflation, and has survivorship benefits. Eventually, and possibly quite quickly, you would get into a situation where you would burn through all of your capital. With the SPIA, your income would be assured, but then you could go get a lower (probably it would be end up being much lower paying) job in the financial industry again in case you burn through all of your other money (which will be a lot more than 500k).

If you don't wish to retire right now, keep researching wealth management, once you get to the point where you think you can at least set up a balanced portfolio and not market time with it, you will be pretty close to being ready to retire. The big problem with you managing your own money is, inflation will eat it all, eventually, if you are doing it really wrong (such as by market timing when you cannot assess risk extremely well, much better than a normal investor). You want to setup a portfolio that will get what the market returns, no more, no less. Do not seek alpha with money you need to live on. You need to get to the where you can set the portfolio up, and only make simple re-balancing adjustments, regardless of how you feel the market is doing. Until you can honestly say to yourself that you can do this, you are not cured of your previous wealth management tendencies.

While you could hire someone to do it for you, this is very risky, for a number of reasons hit on in previous threads. The largest reason is, the majority of advisors do a pretty poor job, and they will charge you a lot to do a poor job. Another reason is, you still need to know what is going on with your portfolio, because otherwise, you will yank it from the advisor even when they are managing it well, or let the advisor do as he wishes when you really need to be putting on the breaks. Yet another reason is, advisors who invest money on someone elses behalf have an interest directly adverse to their clients, they want as big a piece of their clients assets and returns that they can get, usually. As such, they wil inherently, and often without even concious knowledge, do things with your portfolio which benefit them, and not you (this is called conflict of interest). Finally, even if you find a good advisor, he will not live forever, at some point, he is going to hand your portfolio back to you, or more likely, sell/hand over his control over your portfolio to a new (and younger) manager, who, more likely than not, is not like the good advisor you pain stakingly found earlier.

You also have the option to setup a trust, and make it irrevocable, with a life interest to yourself and your wife, and a remainder to your children. I will not get into that though, as this isn't legal advice.
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:45 PM   #25
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Hi Friends -

I am the OP here and thought it best to give an update. Its been 4 years since my initial message. I got my pretty good responses from several of you which I very much appreciated.

I did not RETIRE and kept at my day job and still do. I still day trade forex in the evenings and stocks/futures during the day (limited during the day for obvious reasons). I have not blown any accounts and have made some steady supplemental income over the last four years (nothing compared to the S&P 500 but steady). It is hard but it is a passion and i am constantly studying and researching risk/trade/money management and learning discipline.

Work wise I have done fine. My networth has grown from 4.5 mm + fully paid 1.25 mm manhattan condo in Dec 2009 to to 8.0 mm + condo which I think is roughly valued at 1.35 mm or so today.

The 3.5 mm increase in networth has come from:

2.9 mm (day job less expenses)
0.6 mm (Investments).

I was hardly invested in 2009 and have been slowly dipping into the VTIs and VXUSs and SPYs. Today I have approx. 1.45 mm of the 8.0 mm (18%) invested in stocks - all passively indexed. 550k of the 1.45 mm is in 401k & IRAs. Rest in CDs & short term bonds and money markets. Stocks have been going one way lately and I know I have missed lot of upside being in so much cash.

My expenses have risen from 50k to 55K per year. Nothing spectacular there and wife still works - she has accumulated a good sized net worth which I dont include in my numbers above (it is hers and she can do what she wants and is not a part of my analysis).

I dont know how much money is enough and I do not even know how long should somebody work for. I am turning 39 this year - no kids yet. After tiring myself thinking about retiring and not working I have just let it go. It is too scary to pull the plug on a day job. Even though the math tells me I should be ok - not having a pay check seems scary. But at some point I have to decide enough is enough and move on. I dont particularly enjoy my day job and feel I am just trading my life for money. Not that I have any plans to do anything after retiring. It is a quandry. The search for goal of life.

I follow many of you here and and will I know several of you much better than you could imagine. SO thought I should write an update - not that anybody was waiting for one LOL.

I just have to see how life goes and not push retirement and concentrate now on getting more money into the stock market. But I need an opening. Got one early this year and got 125K in the market but it turned abruptly.

What % if the 8 mm would you guys think should be in the stock market. AFter a certain point dont traditional 40/60 and 50/50 numbers become irrelevant. I mean why risk 60% into stocks when that much growth in absolute terms is not even needed. My SWR is probably 0.68% or something like that - make it 0.93% with health care etc if I quit. How much stocks do i really need at these levels in the S&P 500?

Thanks
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Old 02-19-2014, 09:25 PM   #26
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Hello Destiny75 and welcome back to the ER forum.

I had to read your entire post from the beginning to get a sense of what is going on with you. You sound very similar to a few friends I've had over the years. It was suggested by other posters already, but it appears to me that you have a very strong gambling addiction. I say that knowing very little about you, and am hesitant to "diagnose" someone based on a few posts. But it's as clear as can be from what you've written back in 2009.

Your assets are enough to cover you for the next 145 years if you do nothing but keep up with inflation. So you are no longer working to reach financial independence. You must do some soul searching to figure out why you are still working, and why you are so addicted to day trading.

And another point that was mentioned, but bears repeating...why is someone who is asking basic questions about asset allocation doing day trading to begin with? To have even a chance at being a successful day trader, you should know more than all the wall street wizards out there. And if you do, how is it that you have such limited knowledge of basic investing principles?

I had a friend who lost everything before he finally admitted he had a problem and went to gambler's anonymous. Don't make the same mistake. You have enough to live the rest of your life doing anything you want, as long as it is not a highly destructive behavior. I hope you can figure this out. You've already won the game, don't blow it now.

Good luck with everything!
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Old 02-19-2014, 10:28 PM   #27
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Hello Destiny75 and welcome back to the ER forum.

I had to read your entire post from the beginning to get a sense of what is going on with you. You sound very similar to a few friends I've had over the years. It was suggested by other posters already, but it appears to me that you have a very strong gambling addiction. I say that knowing very little about you, and am hesitant to "diagnose" someone based on a few posts. But it's as clear as can be from what you've written back in 2009.

Your assets are enough to cover you for the next 145 years if you do nothing but keep up with inflation. So you are no longer working to reach financial independence. You must do some soul searching to figure out why you are still working, and why you are so addicted to day trading.

And another point that was mentioned, but bears repeating...why is someone who is asking basic questions about asset allocation doing day trading to begin with? To have even a chance at being a successful day trader, you should know more than all the wall street wizards out there. And if you do, how is it that you have such limited knowledge of basic investing principles?

I had a friend who lost everything before he finally admitted he had a problem and went to gambler's anonymous. Don't make the same mistake. You have enough to live the rest of your life doing anything you want, as long as it is not a highly destructive behavior. I hope you can figure this out. You've already won the game, don't blow it now.

Good luck with everything!

Ready - I think you might have noticed a big change in the post from 2009 and todays. I no longer entertain hardcore thoughts of day trading - its tough but its a passion and a hobby. I only have 300K in my trading account and have had stable results and still learning a lot.

Rest of the money I am very conservative with. I only have 1.45 mm (out of 8 mm) in stocks. Rest in very safe & liquid investments. So I am kind of risk averse with the bulk of my money as I don't need to take more risk than necessary to grow it. Issue I am debating now is how much should my max investment be in the stock market. I am debating overall 25-30% of the $8 million (approx. 2-$2.5 mm). Is there any reason to invest more than that? Why subject to any more risk as I dont seem to require that much growth. 5% return on 2.5 mm nets me about 125k which after taxes is still higher than my annual spend. Inflation is the X factor here and right now the bulk of my money is probably losing out to inflation - money markets & CDs hardly pay anything (I just recently invested 500K in the 3% pen fed CDs for lack of better investments). I dont like rental properties - have two of them and it is just too muck work and hassles. I have 100K in Vanguard US and global reits.

I am aware of the boglehead philosphy and very much on terms with passive low cost indexing which i currently follow. I am very much a vanguard person and I am careful with my spend and I do live below my means.

My question mainly is at my networth and expense levels how much investments do i need to make in stocks ? and what do i do with the rest to protect it from inflation? (I dont like bonds outside of short term in todays rate environment).

I know its a quandrum that I say all this and yet I have 300K with which i day trade futures and forex. But that is limited to just this bucket and outside of this I only want to take risks which i have to. Inflation is all i worry about.
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Old 02-19-2014, 10:43 PM   #28
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My biggest concern from your post is what might happen if you were to quit your job and have a lot more time to sit around doing day trading, but if you say it's under control and capped at $300K of play money then that sounds like a good way to stay out of trouble.

Regarding your question on AA, you will find varying opinions from different members on the forum. One line of thought is that you've already won the game, so invest a very moderate amount in equities just to keep up with inflation. This could be anywhere from 25-40%.

The second line of thought is that you already have so much saved that even if only half your portfolio was in fixed income, it would generate $4M @ 3% if you can find more 3% CDs, or maybe just some bond funds, so $120K per year. This is more than twice your budget. So the other 50% could easily ride the ups and downs of the market and protect you against inflation...not to mention make some serious dollars in case you find some hobbies in retirement that kick up your expenses above $55K per year.

I don't have as much saved as you do, but I have enough to live on the fixed income earnings on my portfolio, so I keep 40% in CDs and bonds, and the rest in index funds. I have no holdings in individual stocks. I figure the 60% allows me to dream about doing some very luxurious things should I choose to want to do them some day. If not, it creates further buffers for me to keep me financially independent and away from full time work that doesn't interest me.

And one thing that could bust your budget later in life is long term care, if you get something like alzheimers or dementia. You have enough money to hire full time care takers to live in your home and provide round the clock care. As I watch my father suffer through dementia in a very sterile nursing facility, I think very carefully about the importance of having a lot of money late in life to provide in home care for me should I need it. Nobody should have to spend their remaining years in one of those nursing facilities...certainly not after saving as much as you have so far.

Congrats on amassing such a fortune. I hope you are enjoying it.
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Old 02-20-2014, 10:03 AM   #29
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Welcome back. To your point on "how much should be in stocks" there were some recent discussions on having "already won the game" which might help to answer your questions. I would do a search for you and provide links but I'm supposed to be working
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Old 02-20-2014, 11:19 AM   #30
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Where should I start? It makes no sense that someone who works in stocks and futures during the day would not be more invested in the equities for personal assets. Since you have the skills, why be so much in cash? It is not logical to me.

With your $8M nestegg, you can retire now and have a great life doing nearly whatever you want. It seems you are just hesitant to escape the working life. Yes your high income makes it hard to walk away from that. But how much is enough? You have more than 99% of the people already.

Day trading and foreign exchange is something that just seems to be a recipe for losing money. Maybe fun using OPM, but not so fun when it is your money that is going away.

My suggestion, get out of your current big city life and move out to slower lower cost of living area and enjoy life. Get a hobby and other things to take time. Volunteer at a senior center to help elderly with financial advice (not day trading!! hahaha) for example. Spend you nestegg money investing in dividend and income stocks that will keep you in good financial position for the rest of your life, at whatever percentage you want, I think 60% is an easy target. CDs and money market is just a way to slowly lose your money vs inflation now, so I would try to get out of that as allocation class.

I still have a hard time to understand why if you have such a large nestegg, and you are hanging out here, work in stock trading industry, that you are not able to just retire and make a good income off your assets?
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Old 02-20-2014, 08:02 PM   #31
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This just seems like a hoax, a stock futures and forex trader sitting with millions in cash when his stated fear is inflation, a gambler who lives to day trade but limits his bet to a small (insignificant) portion of his portfolio even when he has no real need for 1/2 the rest in his scenario. A NYC trader who lives like a monk. Next you'll tell us you visited an Ameriprise FPA regarding the AA to find out how he could "help".
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Old 02-20-2014, 08:35 PM   #32
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This just seems like a hoax, a stock futures and forex trader sitting with millions in cash when his stated fear is inflation, a gambler who lives to day trade but limits his bet to a small (insignificant) portion of his portfolio even when he has no real need for 1/2 the rest in his scenario. A NYC trader who lives like a monk. Next you'll tell us you visited an Ameriprise FPA regarding the AA to find out how he could "help".

+1 I find it hard to believe that someone with $8MM in assets at 35 is only spending $55K /yr.
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Old 02-20-2014, 08:45 PM   #33
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+1 I find it hard to believe that someone with $8MM in assets at 35 is only spending $55K /yr.
A trader who lives far below his means? Maybe he's related to Jacob?
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Old 02-20-2014, 09:08 PM   #34
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+1 I find it hard to believe that someone with $8MM in assets at 35 is only spending $55K /yr.
While it may seem a bit unusual, I would expect it to be considered more realistic in this forum than in the "outside world" where people learn to spend every penny they earn.

This reminds me of those financial advisors that go around telling everyone they need to have 80% of their pre-retirement income in retirement. The assumption being that people spend virtually everything they earn and have very little left for savings. If anyone watches the "Can I Afford It" segment on the Suze Orman show, it would certainly confirm that this is the norm in American culture.

My expenses are less than the OPs, and my net worth is not far off from his. Even when I was the CEO of a company and made more than $500K, I routinely spent less than $30K per year. I live a very simple life, and have no desire for expensive material items or fancy restaurant dinners. But I live a great life and enjoy every day of being financially independent and not being required to work any more.

Whether the OP is being completely honest with everything or not, I can't say. But this is not the forum to question how people can live significantly below their means. It is the main vehicle that got us all here.
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Old 02-21-2014, 08:14 AM   #35
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While it may seem a bit unusual, I would expect it to be considered more realistic in this forum than in the "outside world" where people learn to spend every penny they earn.

This reminds me of those financial advisors that go around telling everyone they need to have 80% of their pre-retirement income in retirement. The assumption being that people spend virtually everything they earn and have very little left for savings. If anyone watches the "Can I Afford It" segment on the Suze Orman show, it would certainly confirm that this is the norm in American culture.

My expenses are less than the OPs, and my net worth is not far off from his. Even when I was the CEO of a company and made more than $500K, I routinely spent less than $30K per year. I live a very simple life, and have no desire for expensive material items or fancy restaurant dinners. But I live a great life and enjoy every day of being financially independent and not being required to work any more.

Whether the OP is being completely honest with everything or not, I can't say. But this is not the forum to question how people can live significantly below their means. It is the main vehicle that got us all here.

Can't disagree with you.....maybe being a little too critical. As with most of us here, myself included, we live well below our means. I live 20 miles outside of NYC and know the cost of living well in this region....lived here all my life. Here is a typical analysis for COL for Manhattan to the U.S. average.

In New York-Manhattan, New York, it costs $183,682 to live a similar lifestyle as the U.S. NATIONAL AVERAGE lifestyle at an annual earnings level of $70,000.
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Old 02-21-2014, 08:31 AM   #36
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Love the board! Will be retireing end of August! woohoo!Will post details later!
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Old 02-21-2014, 09:32 AM   #37
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Aren't there stock market games where you could play the real markets with virtual money? Or would that be unsatisfying because the risk is not real?

As others have pointed out, I think you should figure out what you are retiring to do, before you retire. Travel, start a second career, study the mating rituals of penguins, etc.

If what you really want to do is play the market. And you don't care to make more money for yourself, then it sounds like your current job is the best place for you until you decide you want to do something else.
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Old 02-22-2014, 12:59 PM   #38
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I think its hard for people not in nyc to understand the peculiarities of working on wall street hence the skepticism. Note that the vast majority of the accumulation occurred from his salary + bonus, not day trading or even investment returns since he kept almost his entire asset allocation in cash and equivalents. Had he invested his salary his net worth would have at least doubled over the last 4 years to 16 mil. But this is not an unusual situation in my experience for people who work on wall st. More so than others, they know the appreciation in assets over the last several years, if not decades, has been the result of the fed printing money. Anyway, id suggest to the o.p. that his smartest move was to keep down his spending unlike his colleagues who undoubtedly bought 5 mil condos, had 3 kids who all go to private school at 40k a pop annually, etc etc. now, it will now be much much easier for the o.p. to exit the rat race and lead a very comfortable life somewhere else. Forget the market. It has done you well but now your most valuable asset is your time. Move to the midwest, south or west and start a family and enjoy the luxury of spending time with them.
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