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Old 06-19-2007, 08:43 PM   #1
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Online asset allocation tools

Recently I've begun more carefully scrutinizing my asset allocation. Previously I'd just dumped lump sums into various index funds to smooth out the uneven allocation I'd compiled.

Does anybody have thoughts on which websites have the best asset allocation tools? I've got a number of different accounts (brokerage, roth, 401k, DW's accounts, etc), so I'm looking for a site where I can input ALL the information (rather than just analyze the holdings I've got with that particular institution).

And now to hijack my own thread... recently I've noted the following message for several of my funds (this one applies to ETRUX). Does anybody know how these caps work, and should I just assume that the expense ratio will jump to .72 as soon as allowed (4/30/2008 according to the prospectus)?

"**The fund's expenses are subject to a cap and/or waiver on expenses. Without these caps and/or waivers, the total expenses would have been 0.72% as of 5/1/2007. There is no assurance that the caps and/or waivers will continue. For more information, please click on the prospectus link below."

Thanks!
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Old 06-19-2007, 11:56 PM   #2
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Does anybody have thoughts on which websites have the best asset allocation tools? I've got a number of different accounts (brokerage, roth, 401k, DW's accounts, etc), so I'm looking for a site where I can input ALL the information (rather than just analyze the holdings I've got with that particular institution).
Yes, log on to riskgrades.com, you need to establish an account and it will look at your allocation and provide comments.

Rita
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Old 06-20-2007, 05:08 AM   #3
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I like this.

EasyAllocator.com
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Old 06-20-2007, 06:38 AM   #4
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If you like the 9-box style guide of Morningtar (M*), then you can go to www.troweprice.com and establish a FREE online persona (aka account) then use the M* premium tools there for free. You can enter ALL your holdings into the portfolio manager/tracker and get a portfolio X-ray (not the less useful instant X-ray). Vanguard has a similar tool called "portfolio watch", but is less useful.

Gotadimple - I tried riskgrades, but I found it clunky and I could not interpret any of the results. It's got graphs and figures, and circles and arrows, but appears to just be trying to dazzle me with bullshit. How exactly do you use it? Does it tell you how much emerging markets and how much REITs you have?
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Old 06-20-2007, 07:14 AM   #5
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As LOL said, the T. Rowe Price Calculators & Tools is excellent for seeing what you have. Use the Portfolio X Ray tool is the one you want.

Also, if you don't feel like creating your own spreadsheet for rebalancing, you can use Bob Beeman's Portfolio Rebalance Calculator.

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Old 06-20-2007, 09:14 AM   #6
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None of them are that special, but if you want some basic info they're not bad.

Like most things in life, you get what you pay for. My annual software subscription budget for my practice is $3500..........
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Old 06-20-2007, 10:48 AM   #7
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Like most things in life, you get what you pay for. My annual software subscription budget for my practice is $3500..........
Just curious, what is the main thing the $3500 a year software gives you that you can't get for free or at a much lower cost somewhere else?
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Old 06-20-2007, 12:14 PM   #8
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FD spends extra money for the software because it tells him how much he's making on the folks he's helping invest.
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Old 06-20-2007, 12:18 PM   #9
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Just curious, what is the main thing the $3500 a year software gives you that you can't get for free or at a much lower cost somewhere else?
How about a tax writeoff?

Seriously he is running a business and there are many business costs (overheads) that do not apply to DIY. Buffett does not do allocation so he saves all that overhead.
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Old 06-20-2007, 12:58 PM   #10
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Just curious, what is the main thing the $3500 a year software gives you that you can't get for free or at a much lower cost somewhere else?
Probably some assurance that the numbers are correct, imagine the
liability if you got it wrong.
You realize not everything on the internet is true and all freebies should
be double checked?
TJ
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Old 06-20-2007, 01:17 PM   #11
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To OP's second question, a lot of fund companies hold down their fees in order to look good in league tables that are comparing them to other funds, at least for awhile until they build up a pile of investors' dough. Then the fine print says they can raise the fees on you, on the assumption that you'd rather pay the fees than sell the fund and pay capital gains taxes on the appreciation.

Caveat Emptor. btw, Vanguard doesn't do this.
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Old 06-20-2007, 01:18 PM   #12
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From what I have read, any fancy asset allocation software "optimizers" are just an extreme exercise in data-mining. In other words, any tweaking to optimize an allocation is just an illusion. Better to just stick to the basic bonds/stocks ratios and foreign/domestic ratios according to your volatility/performance goals and not try to overly refine anything with software. You can find basic stats on various ratios on the internet (sorry I don't have any links handy).

I use my own basic spreadsheets to calculate any rebalancing.

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Old 06-20-2007, 01:50 PM   #13
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Probably some assurance that the numbers are correct, imagine the
liability if you got it wrong.
You realize not everything on the internet is true and all freebies should
be double checked?
TJ
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Old 06-20-2007, 01:52 PM   #14
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From what I have read, any fancy asset allocation software "optimizers" are just an extreme exercise in data-mining. In other words, any tweaking to optimize an allocation is just an illusion. Better to just stick to the basic bonds/stocks ratios and foreign/domestic ratios according to your volatility/performance goals and not try to overly refine anything with software. You can find basic stats on various ratios on the internet (sorry I don't have any links handy).

I use my own basic spreadsheets to calculate any rebalancing.

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Find me a link for free that can do Monte Carlo, overlap analysis, and all the other goodies, and I'll gladly cancel all my subscriptions........

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Old 06-20-2007, 01:54 PM   #15
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FD spends extra money for the software because it tells him how much he's making on the folks he's helping invest.
Pretty funny stuff, considering the job you had for over 30 years, care to shed some light on how much F&I departments make on unsuspecting consumers??
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Old 06-20-2007, 01:59 PM   #16
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Probably some assurance that the numbers are correct, imagine the
liability if you got it wrong.
You realize not everything on the internet is true and all freebies should
be double checked?
TJ

You mean NOT EVERYTHING on the Internet is true?? The horror!!!
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Old 06-20-2007, 02:29 PM   #17
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FD spends extra money for the software because it tells him how much he's making on the folks he's helping invest.
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Pretty funny stuff, considering the job you had for over 30 years, care to shed some light on how much F&I departments make on unsuspecting consumers??
Am I the only one enjoying the irony of watching the car dealers & financial advisors smack each other upside their heads?

Pass the popcorn, please!
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Old 06-20-2007, 02:46 PM   #18
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Am I the only one enjoying the irony of watching the car dealers & financial advisors smack each other upside their heads?

Pass the popcorn, please!



Some of the travesties in dealer-financed car deals would make variable annuities look impossibly cheap..........
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Old 06-20-2007, 03:03 PM   #19
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Am I the only one enjoying the irony of watching the car dealers & financial advisors smack each other upside their heads?

Pass the popcorn, please!
X car dealer I might add. FD's still working (heheh) but a lot younger I'm sure.
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Old 06-20-2007, 03:05 PM   #20
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Pretty funny stuff, considering the job you had for over 30 years, care to shed some light on how much F&I departments make on unsuspecting consumers??
I have no idea, remember, I'm retired.
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