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NYT article: Investment advice for small fry
Old 05-31-2011, 10:36 PM   #1
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NYT article: Investment advice for small fry

Hard for me to see how you get your money's worth for forking over 0.3-0.9 of portfolio (Betterment) or $199 a month (Flat Fee Portfolios).

New York Times: Investment Advice for Small Fry
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Old 06-01-2011, 12:03 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by wishin&hopin View Post
Hard for me to see how you get your money's worth for forking over 0.3-0.9 of portfolio (Betterment) or $199 a month (Flat Fee Portfolios).

New York Times: Investment Advice for Small Fry
All the married people who have been stressing about what wil happen to their spouses when they kick can stop worrying, for $2400/year, IMO a blazing bargain, the survivor will get it taken out of his or her hands in what sounds like a very transparent way.

However, for people who feel that everything should be free, this is perhaps not the way to go.

Ha
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Old 06-01-2011, 12:11 AM   #3
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Excellent article. I agree with Ha - worth it if you don't have any interest in managing your portfolio.
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Old 06-01-2011, 10:31 AM   #4
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Excellent article. I agree with Ha - worth it if you don't have any interest in managing your portfolio.
Actually those without interest and just leave the d%@n thing alone are probably better off than those who change course repeatedly depending on the noise generated in the media. For the latter this approach would be very helpful and money well spent.

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Old 06-01-2011, 11:41 AM   #5
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Hard for me to see how you get your money's worth for forking over 0.3-0.9 of portfolio (Betterment) or $199 a month (Flat Fee Portfolios).
New York Times: Investment Advice for Small Fry
Thanks, great link. I feel a blog post coming on for those who "just can't be bothered" to handle their own portfolios.
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Old 06-01-2011, 02:28 PM   #6
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Thanks, great link. I feel a blog post coming on for those who "just can't be bothered" to handle their own portfolios.
Yes, that would be a worthy topic.
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Old 06-01-2011, 02:47 PM   #7
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Excellent article. I agree with Ha - worth it if you don't have any interest in managing your portfolio.
What's wrong with putting it all in a Vanguard target date fund? These other products don't seem to offer anything more than a target date fund.
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Old 06-01-2011, 03:29 PM   #8
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I'd like to see a firm charge a one time fee to teach someone how to manage their money....the "give someone a fishing pole" approach. For the fee the customer would get a suitable portfolio for their current situation, help in implementing it with someone like Vanguard, guidance on how to adjust it with time and a thorough schooling in low cost passive index investing.
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Old 06-01-2011, 05:24 PM   #9
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A flat fee financial advisor will do just that. At least, mine did.
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Old 06-01-2011, 11:29 PM   #10
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What's wrong with putting it all in a Vanguard target date fund? These other products don't seem to offer anything more than a target date fund.
My thoughts exactly.
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Old 06-02-2011, 12:31 AM   #11
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What's wrong with putting it all in a Vanguard target date fund? These other products don't seem to offer anything more than a target date fund.

To take it a bit further following on Boogle. If you are long term then you decide if you want to bet on US companies then the US S&P500 or total US market index fund is the ticket, or on the whole world with a total world index fund (again such as vanguard has). Now if your over 50 you do need to look at fixed income, but first start with a 1-2 year emergency fund/I don't need to tap the market during this downturn fund. (Ideally 2 years) this should be in CDs and the like. IMHO I wish states would pass an addition to a GO bond to provide that if you put the bond to the state it can be used to pay property taxes and other state taxes at par even if the agency is in default. This would make local muni bonds an ideal investment for safety as you could use it to pay property taxes.
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Old 06-02-2011, 10:55 AM   #12
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With a nest egg > $1.5 million invested in the Flat Fee portfolio, the $2400/year fee is better than the .0016 that Vanguard's target funds carry, I think (numbers is hard but wouldn't the Vanguard target funds' cost be $2400/year for $1.5 million?).
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Old 06-02-2011, 10:58 AM   #13
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(numbers is hard but wouldn't the Vanguard target funds' cost be $2400/year for $1.5 million?).
Sorry, I'm no help...
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Old 06-02-2011, 11:06 AM   #14
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With a nest egg > $1.5 million invested in the Flat Fee portfolio, the $2400/year fee is better than the .0016 that Vanguard's target funds carry, I think (numbers is hard but wouldn't the Vanguard target funds' cost be $2400/year for $1.5 million?).
As I mentioned earlier, the problem for these gents is not that it isn't inexpensive, but that it isn't free.

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Old 06-02-2011, 11:08 AM   #15
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With a nest egg > $1.5 million invested in the Flat Fee portfolio, the $2400/year fee is better than the .0016 that Vanguard's target funds carry, I think (numbers is hard but wouldn't the Vanguard target funds' cost be $2400/year for $1.5 million?).
Even if it is, you are comparing Vanguards total expenses with the additional expenses charged by the advisors. Even though the ETF have lower fees than Vanguard's funds, you probably don't have the correct total cost.
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Old 06-02-2011, 11:15 AM   #16
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Even if it is, you are comparing Vanguards total expenses with the additional expenses charged by the advisors. Even though the ETF have lower fees than Vanguard's funds, you probably don't have the correct total cost.
Right. This is from the Flat Fee Portfolios site:

"Outside of our monthly management fee, mutual funds and exchange trade funds also have their own internal expenses. Additionally, there are separate transaction costs charged by the custodian to place trades in the accounts. Many of the mutual funds and ETFs in our models do not have transaction costs; however some do. Where possible these trades will be executed at a discounted rate with the custodian. Please note that our advisors do not receive any portion of these additional fees."
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Old 06-02-2011, 11:16 AM   #17
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Even if it is, you are comparing Vanguards total expenses with the additional expenses charged by the advisors. Even though the ETF have lower fees than Vanguard's funds, you probably don't have the correct total cost.
That's my mistake, interpreting "flat fee" as meaning "total fee" (my bad). From the Flat Fee website: "Are these the only fees? Outside of our monthly management fee, mutual funds and exchange trade funds also have their own internal expenses. Additionally, there are separate transaction costs charged by the custodian to place trades in the accounts. Many of the mutual funds and ETFs in our models do not have transaction costs; however some do. Where possible these trades will be executed at a discounted rate with the custodian. Please note that our advisors do not receive any portion of these additional fees."
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Old 06-02-2011, 01:19 PM   #18
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With a nest egg > $1.5 million invested in the Flat Fee portfolio, the $2400/year fee is better than the .0016 that Vanguard's target funds carry, I think (numbers is hard but wouldn't the Vanguard target funds' cost be $2400/year for $1.5 million?).
EDIT - NEVERMIND, already covered!

If I'm reading it right, the $2400 would be over and above the expenses of the funds they suggest. It looks like their suggestions are all low cost funds, but the Vanguard Target fund is very low.

I glanced, and the 2015 Target is 0.16%, while Vanguard's total Bond and total Stock funds are 0.22% and 0.18%. So it looks to me that you'd be paying some blend of the .22 and .18 type expenses, and another 0.16% on top of that to these managers (which isn't bad at all, if this is of use to a person).

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Betterment.com...
Old 06-03-2011, 06:39 AM   #19
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Betterment.com...

Maybe it is better for some people. For instance, there are many people in my extended family that just don't get it - somehow they think somebody else (their employer, Uncle Sam, etc.) is going to take care of them. They also feel overwhelmed when it comes to saving and investing.

Like many on this forum I take an active interest in our (me and DW) portfolio. So Betterment is probably not for me. But I do like their approach.

There are many (very many) people that want something more straightforward than Fidelity, Schwab, e-Trade. They want investing to be simple. They also want to think they are involved but they don't want to spend much time.

For that crowd I think the Betterment.com approach may offer a good solution. Look at their home page www.betterment.com click on the Watch Video Tour. While this is not the solution for most people on this forum I think it satistfies what many people think they want in an investing "tool."

Here's a message from Betterment founder .

I know my post sounds like an endorsement for Betterment but it's not. I just think they've found the key to reaching a market that was previously untapped. Maybe this will lead to a higher savings rate in the U.S. For that I give them credit.
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Old 06-03-2011, 08:02 AM   #20
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I don't know that there's one right answer. But there are some bad answers. I think paying over 0.5% to an adviser is likely a bad answer. Hard to convince me the return benefits would be worth it.

I do think an adviser can be worth something regardless of how simple & easy many here think DIY is. Some folks aren't wired for it mentally and/or emotionally. The emotional part is my personal reason for one. Not confident I would always make good decisions on my own or at some point will be able to. Also, reduces risk of family disputes with a professional leading.

And lowest internal fund costs aren't necessarily the best answer either. The risks taken to achieve a given return counts too.
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