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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money
Old 10-03-2006, 09:05 PM   #101
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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money

Quote:
Originally Posted by youbet
What I'm fishing for Rich, and I suppose I should launch a new thread, is whether folks are sensing equities are high and shifting out of them. Whether you call it refilling bucket one or two from bucket three, rebalancing, taking money off the table, changing your allocation percentages or whatever, anybody feeling like we may be near a top?
OK, gotcha. Yup, probably would get more iinput as a separate threat.

FWIW, I'm sitting tight.
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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money
Old 10-03-2006, 09:10 PM   #102
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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money

Okie, dokie

If one visualizes holding preset asset classes aka one of the Target Retirement Series and sweeping the current yield into Prime MM at the end of each year aka bucket 1 with VG's trusty computers rebalancing away thruout the year aka buckets 2 and 3.

At a stretch maybe - if you take three giant steps back and say 'Mother may I?'

heh heh heh heh heh heh heh - I like the part where I sit on my butt and let it happen automatically without a lot of agonizing 'thunking'.
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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money
Old 10-03-2006, 09:31 PM   #103
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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money

Seems to me the Bucket System could make things more stressful as time goes by.. As you withdraw from buckets 1 and then 2, your equity allocation as a percentage of your total portfolio will go up over time, creating a higher risk situation. If the answer to that is to skim some of the winnings out of bucket 3 from time to time then all you are doing is rebalencing which is the same as taking X% out of your portfolio each year as part of your annual rebalencing.

I would like to see a study comparing the bucket system versus the "standard" annual withdraw/rebalence method using the same investments/allocation. Maybe that could be the next FIRECALC "bolt-on". We could call it FIREBuckets.

Yea I think its just "repackaging" to sell books which are just hooks for other product sales hawked by Mr. Ray.
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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money
Old 10-03-2006, 09:39 PM   #104
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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money

Quote:
Originally Posted by unclemick2
If one visualizes holding preset asset classes aka one of the Target Retirement Series and sweeping the current yield into Prime MM at the end of each year aka bucket 1 with VG's trusty computers rebalancing away thruout the year aka buckets 2 and 3.

At a stretch maybe - if you take three giant steps back and say 'Mother may I?'
Mick,

Sounds yet again like that's working great for you. In your shoes, I wouldn't change or see any reason to bucketize.

Bear in mind, though, that with a single balanced fund every share you sell is essentially like selling a bit of this and a bit of that according to the fund's allocation.

If stocks are down and stay that way for a long time while bonds hold their own, it may be difficult to tease out just the fixed income holdings to sell. You've got buckets, in effect, but when you pour one, you pour them all. With "separate buckets" you can pour them separately with a bit more ease.

I'm a bucket fan, but not a fanatic. We each have to make it feel right. Just pointing out some finer points -- hope you never have to test it .
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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money
Old 10-03-2006, 10:38 PM   #105
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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hydroman
As you withdraw from buckets 1 and then 2, your equity allocation as a percentage of your total portfolio will go up over time, creating a higher risk situation. If the answer to that is to skim some of the winnings out of bucket 3 from time to time then all you are doing is rebalencing which is the same as taking X% out of your portfolio each year as part of your annual rebalencing.

I would like to see a study comparing the bucket system versus the "standard" annual withdraw/rebalence method using the same investments/allocation. Maybe that could be the next FIRECALC "bolt-on". We could call it FIREBuckets.

Yea I think its just "repackaging" to sell books which are just hooks for other product sales hawked by Mr. Ray.
No, "skimming winnings from Bucket 3 from time to time" is NOT the same thing
as annual rebalancing. I think you are missing the point of buckets, which is you
give some thought as to when and where you're going to rebalance, and reserve
the option to take a pass if the market looks down to you. This should give better
results than simple annual rebalancing.

I agree a FIRECalc "enhancement" would be great. Maybe it'll happen. The
problem is specifying EXACTLY how the rebalancing of buckets occurs (so that
it can become computer code). It CANNOT simply be rebalancing the buckets
annually to keep the same bucket allocation. This would provide results no
different that the other methods, with buckets simply providing another way
of specifying portfolio allocation. This opportunistic rebalancing of buckets
(specifically when do you sell equities in Bucket 3 to replenish Bucket 2)
must somehow be formalized - the very question people keep asking about
here and about which Mr Lucia seems coy.

I believe, however, that his approach is a useful one and not just a marketing
ploy for his book.

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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money
Old 10-03-2006, 11:38 PM   #106
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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money

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Originally Posted by JohnEyles
I believe, however, that his approach is a useful one and not just a marketing
ploy for his book.
His approach is useful, it's just not unique to him. Only his propriatary terminology and jargon are unique to Ray. And that's OK! Our discussion has shown that the Rayism's such as "buckets" really help some folks and that's great. If Ray's teaching method helps more people understand investing basics and prepares them for our world of fewer DBP pensions, I'm all for it. It's just taken me a while to come to grips with that.......
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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money
Old 10-04-2006, 12:53 AM   #107
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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnEyles
No, "skimming winnings from Bucket 3 from time to time" is NOT the same thing
as annual rebalancing. I think you are missing the point of buckets, which is you
give some thought as to when and where you're going to rebalance, and reserve
the option to take a pass if the market looks down to you. This should give better
results than simple annual rebalancing.

I agree a FIRECalc "enhancement" would be great. Maybe it'll happen. The
problem is specifying EXACTLY how the rebalancing of buckets occurs (so that
it can become computer code). It CANNOT simply be rebalancing the buckets
annually to keep the same bucket allocation. This would provide results no
different that the other methods, with buckets simply providing another way
of specifying portfolio allocation. This opportunistic rebalancing of buckets
(specifically when do you sell equities in Bucket 3 to replenish Bucket 2)
must somehow be formalized - the very question people keep asking about
here and about which Mr Lucia seems coy.

I believe, however, that his approach is a useful one and not just a marketing
ploy for his book.
Then buckets is just a market timing system except there is no system because there is no defined methodology for when to excute your "opportunisitc rebalencing". Just place your bet and hope you can sleep at night. Does not exactly give me the warm fuzzies.
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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money
Old 10-04-2006, 02:37 AM   #108
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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hydroman
Then buckets is just a market timing system except there is no system because there is no defined methodology for when to excute your "opportunisitc rebalencing". Just place your bet and hope you can sleep at night. Does not exactly give me the warm fuzzies.
That's what I thought too - it's market timing. But now I think maybe not,
assuming one can come up with a good defined methodology for the opportunistic
rebalancing.

If someone can come up with a good methodology, it can be plugged into FIRECalc
and then we'll know if it works.

But even if it doesn't, and simply rebalancing mindlessly each year works as well,
I think the buckets are a good way of keeping it straight in your head.

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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money
Old 10-04-2006, 03:04 AM   #109
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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money

At this point im not retired so im not adjusting buckets at this point.

I merely use bucket 1 as a holding tank for money ill need over the next 3 years for major expenses coming up.

buckets 2 and 3 are just growing untouched at this point.

I find three seperate hand taylored portfolios much easier and efficiant than one big one. Mostley because i follow a newsletter so i merely use their income and preservation model for bucket 2 , and bucket 3 is split betWeen their growth and growth and income models.

Very simple to do . If you think about it eating today is a short term liability , eating in 30 years is a very long term liability and so i structure my portfolio's to match the time frame with the proper investments
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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money
Old 10-04-2006, 03:13 AM   #110
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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money

ILL post my buckets: Since bucket 1 is cd's, money markets and banks let go right to bucket 2.

Since we are talking close to 1.7m in the buckets there are quite a few funds but all have been carefully chosen.

BUCKET 2

1-7 year treasury notes laddered

fidelity new market income

fidelity floating rate loans

fidelity strategic income

fidelity ultra short bond fund

fidelity strategic real return

apple hospitality un-listed reit paying 8.30% and gets sold in 6-7 years.

fidelity income manager


BUCKET 3A GROWTH AND INCOME

FIDELITY BALANCED FUND

FIDELITY EQUITY INCOME FUND

FIDELITY PURITAN

FIDELITY ASSET MANAGER INCOME (also used in 2)


BUCKET 3B GROWTH

FIDELITY EQUITY INCOME

FIDELITY VALUE

FIDELITY GROWTH COMPANY

FIDELITY INTERNATIONAL DISCOVERY

FIDELITY SMALL CAP VALUE

AIM DEVELOPMENT 401K

MERRILL LYNCH S&P 500 INDEX 401K

MERRIL LYNCH EUROPE 401K

GSG COMMODITIES ETF
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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money
Old 10-04-2006, 06:50 AM   #111
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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money

I don't agree with many of Rays ideas but his book and a couple of others got me thinking in terms of self-annuitizing for a period of years while letting the investment portfolio run. According to my research on Firecalc and other calculators this reduces my overall return sleightly but increases the survivorablility of portfolio considerablity. I have limited funds and no pension so this is very important to me.

This approach also allowed me to better limit my taxes by "using up" taxable funds while leaving qualified funds invested and because of the "safety" of the self-annuity I am able to increase the volatility and thus return on my investment portfolio as I can let it run for 11 years.

I didn't go with a 3 "bucket" approach but created an 11 year annuity "indexed for inflation" with CDs. Mean return is 6%. I will create the so called second bucket by moving some of my allocation to balanced funds and/or more bonds during the 11 year period on up years. This is similar to the Bob Clyatt withdrawal approach only I will use it only for xfer of portfolio allocations.

Rays book helps with allocation concepts -but perhaps he does make it look too easy " he uses examples of 5-6% withdrawals a lot" and information on timing for moving to buckets and final portfolio design are weak but his ideas and book helped me re-evaluate my portfolio design and I am thankful for that.
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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money
Old 10-04-2006, 07:41 AM   #112
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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa
Bear in mind, though, that with a single balanced fund every share you sell is essentially like selling a bit of this and a bit of that according to the fund's allocation.

If stocks are down and stay that way for a long time while bonds hold their own, it may be difficult to tease out just the fixed income holdings to sell. You've got buckets, in effect, but when you pour one, you pour them all. With "separate buckets" you can pour them separately with a bit more ease.
I see it this way also. I have been tempted by "lifestyle" funds for ease of use (set it and forget it). But a slice and dice approach to allocation and withdrawal makes more sense to me and that is what the bucket approach is. I agree with others that there is nothing new here it is allocation in a fashion that allows you to draw down non-volatile funds during downturns allowing equities to recover. A touch of allocation with a touch of timing.

What many of us are looking for are the strategies for withdrawal and rebalancing. Can any of you old timers point to a thread about slice and dice withdrawal strategies? Do we need a "bucket pouring" thread?
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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money
Old 10-04-2006, 07:53 AM   #113
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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money

Quote:
Originally Posted by youbet
What I'm fishing for Rich, and I suppose I should launch a new thread, is whether folks are sensing equities are high and shifting out of them. Whether you call it refilling bucket one or two from bucket three, rebalancing, taking money off the table, changing your allocation percentages or whatever, anybody feeling like we may be near a top?
It would seem to me that in a "buckets" strategy or in a slice and dice pie strategy with "strategic" withdrawals (i.e. pull from non-volatile slices during downturns) now would probably be a period for dripping money out of bucket three into bucket two (or reallocating to your standard slice ratios). If you were fully bucketized in 2000 (which a good bucketter would have been) you would have left your #3 bucket alone until some point after the bottom (2002). My SWAG at when it would have been prudent to start pouring back to #2 would be when #3 recovered to at least a net positive bucket history average. Of course that is easier said than calculated.

It would seem that during bull markets some sort of dollar cost averaging into buckets 2 and 1 would make sense. Also easier said that done. This is a nice opportunity for Vanguard - a suite of bucket funds with standardized withdrawal and replenishment algorithms - simply set your starting withdrawal rate and let er rip.
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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money
Old 10-04-2006, 08:05 AM   #114
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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money

I guess I've been doing "buckets" for years. But I only have two. I keep 2 to 3 years of cash for expenses in a separate account from my retirement portfolio brokerage account. It just makes things easier for me keeping them separate.

My retirement account is asset allocated and maintains around a 55% equities, 45% bonds + cash. The bonds portion is mostly short-intermediate term high quality stuff, which means it's another safety net that can be drawn down in years when equities perform poorly - which would be what happens naturally in an asset allocated portfolio (you naturally draw from the asset classes which have outperformed).

45% represents 11 years worth of cash/bonds [based on having 25x annual needs in a retirement portfolio - i.e. 4% SWR]. This means I have plenty of safety net to rebalance (add to equities from bonds/cash) when equities take a hit and thus take advantage of down market conditions. But under a really bad bear market scenario, I can also choose to limit my rebalancing to ensure that I never drop below say 7 years worth in cash/bonds. This gives me plenty of cushion to make it through tough times without having to draw on down equities.

Frank Armstrong advised a withdrawal strategy something like this. Making sure the cash/high-quality bonds portion of the portfolio is at least 7 years worth (initially). And withdrawing from this part of the portfolio under down-equity conditions. It's quite simple.

Audrey
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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money
Old 10-04-2006, 08:15 AM   #115
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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money

Quote:
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The bonds portion is mostly short-intermediate term high quality stuff, which means it's another safety net that can be drawn down in years when equities perform poorly - which would be what happens naturally in an asset allocated portfolio (you naturally draw from the asset classes which have outperformed).

Frank Armstrong advised a withdrawal strategy something like this. Making sure the cash/high-quality bonds portion of the portfolio is at least 7 years worth (initially). And withdrawing from this part of the portfolio under down-equity conditions. It's quite simple.
Good example of why much of this discussion revolves around semantics. You seem to have intuitively bucketized. Lucia might advise 7 years in near-cash, but then again he allows for a little more aggressive posture in Bucket 2, albeit still conservative stuff.

Either scenario tends to lean against blend funds at that point due to the mechanical difficulties of teasing out fixed investments from equities.

I like the way you describe your strategy and I'd also be comfortable with that.
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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money
Old 10-04-2006, 08:39 AM   #116
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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money

I too have "intuitized" my portfolio into 3 buckets having started with Frank Armstrong when I retired in 2000. As I recall, Frank spoke of 2 buckets and recommended just short term bonds in his non-equity bucket. We have a 50-50 portfolio and after ensuring 3-4 years (bucket 1) of stable investments, I've figured we could go for a little more return on the rest of the non-equity. What I would call our bucket 2 currently is invested in Vanguard's Wellesley, TIPS and GNMA funds.

ps - may have been posted before, but this site has some excellent reading and links concerning withdrawal strategy

http://bobsfiles.home.att.net/finance.html
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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money
Old 10-04-2006, 09:43 AM   #117
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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money

Thanks for the link - very useful. I hadn't seen it. Comparing all the withdrawal strategies, I like the Bob Clyatt strategy the best - fixed 4% withdrawal with 95% floor after a bad year. It's SO SIMPLE!!

(Simple is good!)

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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money
Old 10-04-2006, 11:09 AM   #118
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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money

Been following this thread. Very thought prevoking. Appreciate the fact that MathJak and Rich both are sharing their views and not taking any offence by the skepticism from the rest of us.

First, I think Rich's advice to actually READ the book is right on, since if we don't/haven't read it, it is hard to put the whole "Buckets" concept into perspective. I looked online for the book at the library and it is not avail in our area. Then I went to Amazon to see info on the book. I do this often - if not avail from library, I read the exerpt from book at Amazon to get a "feel" for the book and author's style. I also read thru the index and table of contents. I sometimes buy one of these recommended books, trying eBay first since that's usually cheaper.

Getting back to the point!! I just read thru the index of Ray's "Bucket" book and he had listed in the index his list of "Laws" for investing, etc. This is the link:

http://tinyurl.com/h3yy9

(I don't know how to shorten this link, sorry. Moderators are welcome to fix it if they want. Thanks) (DONE--astro)

Anyway - reading thru many of the "Laws" (includes quite a bit of typical financial advice you always hear) this one caught my attention QUOTE:
#23) "A load may help you do the right thing for the wrong reason: If it keeps you from jumping from fund to fund it's worth the cost"

Sorry, but that one sticks in my craw!

Personally I think from what I am reading on this thread, he reminds me of that Rich Dad, Poor Dad guy - light on the details of implementing the big plan. Rich and MathJak are savvy enough to pick up on the good stuff and have enough knowledge to be able to implement it on their own. What about the "average Joe"!? Everyone is looking for the "Magic Beans" from Jack and the Beanstalk. They just don't exist! Not meaning to rant - just wish there WERE some magic beans! (Uncle Mick - pssst ...... Wellesley .......)

Just had to get all that off my chest. I think that this is a really good discussion - we all really need to be careful once we start drawing out our SWR and hashing it out like this makes you look at different alternatives.

Thanks everyone for sharing and letting all of us "see" your different methods of attack. I can't wait to be able to join the ranks!

Getting closer to FIRE every day!

Jane

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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money
Old 10-04-2006, 11:22 AM   #119
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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money

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Sorry, but that one sticks in my craw!
Jane,

It's one of those "don't throw the baby out with the bath water" deals. Lucia has two tendencies I don't buy into: he pushes financial advisors universally (my take - OK for some and not for others), and he likes annuities a little more than I'm comfortable with. His tolerance of load funds ties in to the former.

His radio shows are pretty good from the few I've heard, and that helps me tolerate the vagaries of his book with a bit more patience.
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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money
Old 10-04-2006, 01:53 PM   #120
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Re: Ray Lucia...Buckets of Money

Quote:
Originally Posted by mathjak107
ILL post my buckets: Since bucket 1 is cd's, money markets and banks let go right to bucket 2.

Since we are talking close to 1.7m in the buckets there are quite a few funds but all have been carefully chosen.
mathjak, since you are with Fidelity, I was wondering what your opinion of Fidelity Capital and Income (FAGIX) fund. This looks good to me compared to similar funds, e.g. Wellesley (6.27vs. 4.1% yield). Oh, and pardon the symbol, but that is actually what it is.
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