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dipping my toes in.....
Old 03-06-2013, 05:14 PM   #1
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dipping my toes in.....

Hi all,

I have been casually reading the site on and off for a couple of years now, but lately am realizing more and more like it might actually be possible that my husband and I might actually be retirees at some point.

I have learned a lot already from the posters here and am realizing this thing isn't going to get done by itself. I need a plan. I intend to start here. Now.

So, I am 51 and my DH is 56. We have:

Cash = 200k
Joint mutual funds = 110k
IRA's and rollover 401(k)'s = 210k
Current employer 401(k)'s = 500k
Some misc stock and options less than 15k

We earn about 175k annually combined, our house is paid for, and we have no other debt.

The first three items are kind of spread around at a few mutual fund places as accounts have been randomly opened and left to sit. None of the funds are star performers as far as I have seen.

As the first step of getting this under control I was thinking of moving the first three line items to Vanguard. They told me that if I moved at least 100k over they would have a CFP do a review of all the assets as a whole and then, based on what they see, make some suggestions about where/how the Vanguard account could be set up. I would not be in the Voyager Select class, just regular Voyager, because I do not think I would be tossing the 200k cash all in the market at one time, but I would be willing to sell the other 300k out of the funds they are in and move them into Vanguard funds.

From what I have read here Vanguard seems to be held in good esteem.

Does this seem like a good plan? Should I not use any kind of service like that and just do enough research until I feel I can do as good of a job? I have been letting all of this slide without a cohesive plan for a long time so I am concerned that if I leave it all up to me nothing is going to get done.
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Old 03-06-2013, 05:47 PM   #2
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That makes a lot of sense to me. Almost all my nestegg is at Vanguard and I have been pleased with them.

If it were me I would probably move the 200 (or most of it) into a short term bond fund, which would be better than cash, low risk and might move you into Voyager Select. You could then value average the 200 less what you want to retain for emergencies into equities over a year or two.
If something cannot endure laughter.... it cannot endure.
Patience is the art of concealing your impatience.
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Old 03-06-2013, 06:24 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by ImaCheesehead View Post
... I need a plan. ... Should I not use any kind of service like that and just do enough research until I feel I can do as good of a job?...
It's not that hard to do it yourself. Here's a link for the Bogleheads website for those getting started: Bogleheads
"It is better to have a permanent income than to be fascinating". Oscar Wilde
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Old 03-06-2013, 06:27 PM   #4
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Have you entered your numbers in FIREcalc? Welcome to the forum.
Very conservative with investments. Not ER'd yet, 48 years old. Please do not take anything I write or imply as legal, financial or medical advice directed to you. Contact your own financial advisor, healthcare provider, or attorney for financial, medical and legal advice.
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Old 03-06-2013, 06:36 PM   #5
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Welcome to the forum! I have been with Vanguard for about 20 years and am very happy with them. Their representatives are very knowledgeable and helpful, although I have never used their CFP services.
The only piece of information missing is what your annual expenses are. As obgyn65 suggested, enter your numbers in FIRECalc and see what the results are. Good luck. You will get a lot of good advice here.
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Old 03-06-2013, 06:40 PM   #6
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I've used Vanguard as one of my investment firms for 20+yrs. No longer the lowest expenses in every category, but always close.
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Old 03-06-2013, 09:29 PM   #7
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Welcome, you seem to be on the right path. Consolidating "random" assets at Vanguard is a great step due to the lower costs alone, and it also greatly simplifies your paperwork and planning! Good luck to you!
"One of the funny things about the stock market is that every time one person buys, another sells, and both think they are astute." William Feather
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Old 03-06-2013, 09:34 PM   #8
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Thank you for the welcome and advices!

I have tried to use the FIREcalc and I think I don't understand it enough yet to properly load it to get a good result. I need to figure out the pages that discuss how my assets are allocated and also the page where it discusses how my expenses might rise later.

Our annual expenses are fairly low. Of our 175k income we save about half, and then taxes and living expenses take the other half. I always read that we need 70-80% of pre-tax income in retirement. It seems to be more than we need now so I am not sure why we might need it then. Medical premiums would bump up our current expenses, but taxes might go down however. In retirement I would pretty much want to continue our current lifestyle which is not extravagant but does allow for a two week trip to Europe each year and a another week in either the Caribbean or US. We would probably do a bit more traveling.

The other thing is that we do not have kids so I don't have a concern about leaving money to heirs.

I hope that by organizing what we have already accumulated I will be able to formulate a plan where we work maybe 3-4 more years. Health insurance will be a puzzle we still need to figure out.
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