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What are your investing tasks?
Old 08-05-2015, 12:58 PM   #1
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What are your investing tasks?

Pre-retirement my investing tasks have been limited to setting and verifying an allocation strategy and then rebalancing to target once a year. I'm a hyper-indexer so selection of mutual funds was minimal. Recently I consolidated a few far flung mutual funds from other fund families to the Vanguard to simplify tracking performance and withdrawals.

What are your monthly, quarterly, and annual investing tasks? I'm hoping to learn a lot from those who have been at this longer than me.

Retired 12/16/2015 at 60.
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Old 08-05-2015, 01:06 PM   #2
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Not much for me. I use Quicken to track my investments, automatically import transactions and reconcile statements quarterly. Towards the end of the year I rebalance and as part of rebalancing I bring our cash allocation (which is what we live on) back to 6% and do my Roth conversion for the year. That's it that I can think of.

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Old 08-05-2015, 01:15 PM   #3
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not much for me either - I just make sure that I'm contributing the max to my 401K each year
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Old 08-05-2015, 01:22 PM   #4
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I've got a selection of mutual funds and stocks that I check now and then. I don't even re-balance, just sell losers and invest in something else. 70% in equities but then I have 2 pensions plus SS to fall back on, so my investments are more for "stuff" and "adventure" than actually living on.
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Old 08-05-2015, 01:30 PM   #5
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Still have around 25 years to retirement. Mine's been pretty simple thus far. Set-up payroll deduction/automatic deposit. Adjust if contribution limits or pay has increased. So far, I've had no need to rebalance as I had only been contributing to a target date fund (Roth IRA: VFORX) and a pre-made stock-heavy portfolio of index funds on the 457(b) (both of which get automatically rebalanced).

Alas, a lot of the fund offerings in the 457(b) have changed to be part index/part active so I switched to self-directed with Schwab Index ETFs. In future, I'll have to take the time to rebalance (probably around New Year).
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Old 08-05-2015, 02:04 PM   #6
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For grandma:
Every year update assets. When/if appropriate, discuss options in tax efficient wealth transfer (with mom present). Usually every year.

For mom:
Every half year decide on allocation between bonds/cash/equities. Update 30-year cashflow model.

For me:
  • Every half year decide on allocation bonds/cash/equities. Update cash flow model.
  • Every year decide whether to keep running my magic formula experiment.
  • Every year decide on where to put the bonds/cash portion. Usually means simply refreshing the bond ladder or shifting banks.
In parallel ongoing process whether i should do individual stocks. So I monitor them and on/off research companies. If I don't outperform the market will convert to indexing though. +/- 3 years (and at least 1 market dip) to go before the verdict is in.

But haven't been at it for very long, so may not qualify for your answering your question
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Old 08-05-2015, 02:17 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Totoro View Post
For mom:
Every half year decide on allocation between bonds/cash/equities. Update 30-year cashflow model.

For me:
[LIST][*]Every half year decide on allocation bonds/cash/equities. Update cash flow model.
I think your mention of a cash flow model is a good one. I have a spreadsheet for my cash balance with a month to month deduction of known cash needed (expenses, prop taxes, insurance, etc). This helps me know when cash may be getting low.

I'd be interested in knowing what your cash flow model entails. Especially a 30 year one!

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Old 08-05-2015, 02:25 PM   #8
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Every six months, we:

- Look at total portfolio allocation and tabulate numbers to track performance (more for interest than anything else).
- Re-allocate our monthly contributions to direct money where it needs to go to stay within our 85/15 (30% INTL) allocations among our total portfolio.
- On rare occasion I'll move assets between funds themselves, but normally I just adjust the contribution allocations and let it ride.
- Look at our cash stash and see how much we want on hand compared to how much we have. Normally we end up with a little more than we need, so we'll plug the extra into our taxable investment account IAW our desired allocation.
- Look at our budget, specifically IN vs. OUT. If IN >> OUT, raise savings rate if we're not saving for a major purchase (car, overdue vacation).
- At the six-month point after a promotion or payraise, we look and see if we can raise savings rate, and then we adjust our IPS accordingly. We like to put our plan in writing so we're both on the same page and it's got something concrete behind it.

Thus far, in about two years under our current IPS, our goal has been to save ~$XXk per year, and we've come in several thousand above that each year. Putting everything on auto-pilot (periodic automatic electronic investments) ensures we always hit our target. LBYM usually means we end up with some "extra" to push our savings rate higher.

That's really about it.
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Old 08-05-2015, 02:26 PM   #9
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It's a very basic one.

It is projected expenses and pension income + expected return of capital and inflation. Projected expenses is not corrected for changes throughout life, mostly because we live in Europe and healthcare cost isn't much of an issue.

Those numbers go in a chart to see in real terms or nominal terms what total net worth will do in a 'base scenario'. One question specifically: when/if we would go bankrupt with given assumptions

It's just to be able to have a discussion around where we (grandma, mom, or myself) are in terms of (financial) comfort, and then see what happens if several things may or may not happen, including sickness, death, lottery wins, stock fluctuations, tax changes, inheritance, children, divorce, marriage, extra income/pension, ..

Sounds maybe complicated, but with mom we're usually done in 15 mins. or less, summarizing: you'll be fine!
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Old 08-05-2015, 05:00 PM   #10
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Every fall I meet with our CPA. By then I have a good idea of our income for the year and we talk about optimizing things for taxes. Things like ROTH conversions vs how much capital gains to incur to not go into the next tax bracket.
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Old 08-05-2015, 05:13 PM   #11
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I do some mild rebalancing, mainly in my IRA, when it gets more than 5% off my target (which is now 50-50). In my taxable account, I need to have a larger imbalance in order to rebalance because it will affect my cash flow, something I pay a lot more attention to. I invest excess dividends from my bond and stock funds but lately I have been hoarding some extra cash because I know I will some fairly large expenses coming due in the next month or two.

I have a longer-term spreadsheet which I update every year to project expenses and income. If there is some big change in my ordinary expenses, I update that part of the longer-term spreadsheet, too. For extra-long term projections (beyond age 60, 8 years from now), I use Fidelity's RIP program.
Retired in late 2008 at age 45. Cashed in company stock, bought a lot of shares in a big bond fund and am living nicely off its dividends. IRA, SS, and a pension await me at age 60 and later. No kids, no debts.

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Old 08-05-2015, 05:26 PM   #12
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I log onto VG every quarter to see how the overall account balances look. I currently have the 30 day TE dividends from VWALX going into VYFXX (NY TE money market), so I check the VYFXX balance and see if I have enough to buy some more BHP stock in the next quarter. I also update my M* portfolio tracker share amounts.
I am not tapping my retirement portfolio at this point (age 56 with sufficient pension and annuity income), so I don't have to do anything with the AA (40/60 target) or SWR (not applicable) or detailed transaction tracking.
I'm fully in "set it and forget it" mode. I'm not adding any more new money, just letting it ride with the tide.
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Old 08-05-2015, 10:16 PM   #13
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I monitor my AA in case of an occasional rebalancing. I have a few individual stocks I'm looking to sell in favor of index funds, so I keep an eye on those in case a target price is reached. I spend a fair amount of time on longer term macro issues, such as whether it makes sense to do Roth conversions and if so how much to convert, the optimal SS strategy, etc.

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Old 08-06-2015, 01:31 AM   #14
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I need to read these all more carefully (when I'm more awake) and take some notes. I don't think I've ever purposely rebalanced my accounts in the last 10 years. I think just about everything is in index funds, but I should take a look at it nonetheless. It's one of those things I know I'm supposed to do, but I just never know where to start.

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Old 08-06-2015, 04:24 AM   #15
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Once-a-day, a general look at the market just to see if Rome is burning.

Once-a-week, usually on Saturday morning before anybody wakes up: Enter the latest amounts in each account into my spreadsheet.

Once-a-month, just before I make a deposit into my taxable account, I take a look at the allocation to decide which fund(s) to send the deposit to.

Once a quarter, check the overall AA in all accounts to see if anything's gotten very far off and rebalance if it has.

Once a year, early in January, rebalance the tax deferred accounts and take another peek at the taxable accounts. Make sure I max out my 401K by with-holding the maximum amount possible from each paycheck. In my industry, layoff's generally happen later in the year and I now max out my 401K for the year in the first couple of months to get it out of the way.

Once a year, in Q1, do taxes and adjust withholdings for the remainder of this year.
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Old 08-06-2015, 08:51 AM   #16
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Once a year increase monthly auto payments from brokerage account into checking account.

Based on dividend increases in brokerage account.
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Old 08-06-2015, 09:03 AM   #17
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I've got a spreadsheet that pulls in prices and dividend amounts automatically (a little vba code) from yahoo.
It calculates my current balances and forecasts income for the next 18 months. I have to tweak it occasionally
To account for contributions to my cash balance pension, 401k, and employee stock purchases..

When the cash balances build up I buy some more dividend funds.

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Old 08-06-2015, 09:04 AM   #18
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Once or twice per year, as-needed, I replenish one or both of our cash accounts to their target levels. If I sell something in that process, I'll immediately rebalance as necessary. We have pensions, rentals, and dividends that cover basic living expenses. So this replenish/rebalance process generally only happens in conjunction with a major expenditure (new car, home improvement, international travel).

Twice per year, I have a phone call with our Fidelity Private Client Group advisor. Nothing much comes from this. We walk through the latest RIP numbers, and she'll make a suggestion or two about the portfolio, which is usually pretty good.

At the end of each month, I login to Personal Capital and let it accumulate all balances and transactions. I usually have to update or correct the account category on a handful of credit card transactions. I look for anything unusual or unexpected and discuss with DW. I then spend a few minutes looking over the AA, performance vs benchmark, yield, and other portfolio analytics. I then transfer summary amounts from Personal Capital to my retirement planning spreadsheet... (1) month-end values for each holding, and (2) monthly spending by account category. Again, I spend a few minutes looking at AA, yield, performance, etc; and also compare spending to our budget by category. Periodically, I work on the withdrawal strategy tab as well, usually as it relates to SS timing and potential Roth conversions, which I'm still trying to optimize.

Once per quarter, I update the tax planning spreadsheet with the estimate for the year and send a payment to the IRS if needed. There's a tax tab in the retirement spreadsheet as well for projecting tax many years into the future. So if anything significant has changed in the current year, I'll update the baseline there as well. In December, I update this with the latest distribution estimates and other data to firm things up as much as possible. I'll also evaluate tax loss harvest opportunities, Roth conversion, make an HSA contribution, decide when to pay property tax and charitable contributions, etc.

That's about it. From time to time, I rethink some aspect of the portfolio. Like right now, I'm slowly reducing the cash allocation, increasing international equity, and replacing long-duration bond funds with a stable value fund. I'm also still researching two big ER topics which I'm undecided about: (1) SS timing strategy for DW and myself; and (2) Roth conversion strategy. I always read anything on this forum and elsewhere related to those topics, which is quite helpful.
Retired at 52 in July 2013. On to better things...

AA: 45% stock, 35% bonds, 15% real estate, 5% cash
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Old 08-06-2015, 05:45 PM   #19
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Hyper indexer also.

Yearly - re-balance allocation if necessary

Quarterly (optional) - see how well allocation is doing

Monthly - balance checkbook
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"If only I had spent more time at work" ... from "Busy Man" sung by Billy Ray Cyrus
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Old 08-06-2015, 09:22 PM   #20
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At the start of the year, I figure out how much of my tIRA I want to convert to my Roth. I'll revisit that again before the end of the year. I also make my HSA contribution.

At the start of the year I also decide whether I want to put another $25K into VG Primecap (closed fund but current investors can add 25K/yr).

At tax time I figure out how much I need to allocate for the quarterly estimated tax payments for the year in progress, and schedule the payments online.

At the end of the year I look at what effect year end distributions had on my AA and rebalance if necessary.

Periodically throughout the year I'll update my "net worth" spreadsheet to see how I'm doing, and take a glance at my AA. A couple times a year I'll save a snapshot, and sometimes compare past snapshots. I also think about whether I have the right investments. At this point I do very little tweaking to equities, but still do some changes on the non-equity side.

Usually once or twice a year I'll have to sell some funds for living expenses, at which time I look at my AA to see where to draw from.

Every month or two or three I track my expenses and see how they are doing over a rolling 12 month period.

Not sure I'd call them tasks, but I'll listen to some of the VG webcasts and look at other financial websites, often prompted by discussions here.

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