Recycles dryer sheets
Join Date: Nov 2004
Another "How am I doing?" Thread...
As you can see from my join date (Nov 2004) I’m a lurker more than a contributor. The “attack my high yield investing” thread got me curious enough to submit my own investing history and see what you guys think.
Short bio: Due to my
brilliant planning dumb luck I’m retired from two police depts (+41 years total). Since the two depts were in two different states, hence two different pension systems, I get two separate pensions. Plus, in the first dept I paid into Social Security (as I did for four years of military service). Thus, I’m retired with a three stream pension coming my way.
My dilemma is that I really don’t “know” how to invest. Thus, I lurk here, and the Bogleheads forum, and pay attention to those people who seem to be prudent, knowledgable and offer rational opinions on the matter of where to put retirement money (I ignore the “put it all on red” kinds of advice…).
So, I retired from my last and final gig end of Sept 2010. I immediately yanked my money out of the qualified account it was in (a 457 plan) and put it all into a Vanguard IRA. My wife’s IRA money is also in Vanguard, with a nominal ($27K) Roth in the Gabelli Asset fund.
I also have some non-qualified money at E*TRADE. I’ll explain that in a moment.
Checking my Vanguard account this morning (1/14) I see the following:
Vanguard tells me I’m up 8.8% for one year. 7.4% for three years.
(I only went back to when I first moved the money into Vanguard, Oct 2010. The 457 plan was a typical qualified plan offered municipal workers; high fees (+1% plus hidden fees). Thus I’m only showing you guys what I’ve done since going all Vanguard).
My money is in:
REIT, VGSLX (nominal amount, around $16K)
Total Bond Mkt, VBTLX, +$220K
Total Int’l, VTIAX, $38.5K
Wellesley, VWIAX, $125K
Wellington, VNENX, $125K
My non-qualified money is in (mostly) E*TRADE:
Need to explain. I have good friend, a retired executive from a large company. He saw that I had six figures sitting in a MM account (we were thinking about buying a second home–now rent a 2nd home year round instead, even though we only use it +5 months during the winter. Still cheaper to do it that way!). He suggested a DRIP account at E*TRADE. I now have over $200K in that account. According to E*TRADE I’m up, since starting the account in May 2010, 18.88%.
My stocks are conservative picks, mostly “Dividend Aristocrats.”
They include; ATT, Verizon, Duke Energy, Con Ed, Exxon, Conoco Phillips, Coke, Johnson & Johnson. Nothing to get the heart all aflutter. As of this moment, if I wanted to take income from my stocks, I could pull out $8,360 dollars a year without touching principle. The purpose of the stocks are as a sort of self-created “annuity” for my spouse, should I predecease her (she’d lose some of my retirement pension income). I’m putting all my Social Security money into the E*TRADE account. My goal is to have enough in the account to pull out $12K a year without touching any of the stocks.
I first put $100K into the account (May 2010), picking up five or six stocks and dividing them into blocks of $20K ea. I’ve since added to the mix. Looking at my numbers, I got, for the most part, lucky;
Then and now, some figures from some of my stocks are:
COP $71.17/$58.40 (not so hot…)
CEF $21.98/$21.60 (a gold fund, pretty flat)
I also have a nominal amount of money in gold. Around $25K in CEF (a Canadian holding company) plus 11 one ounce coins I bought at $330 an ounce a million years ago. Gold is NOT an investment in my eyes. It’s an insurance policy.
My wife’s money is in, beside that small Roth in Gabelli, a Vanguard Wellesley fund. Just about $75K. Next year she’s going to have to do the RMD act. I’ll have to do that in a couple of years myself.
Hint to anyone who cares; Not owing a dime to anyone (for anything) makes for an easy life.
Anyway, I hope I haven’t confused you guys with all this info. I really would be interested in your views as to whether or not I’ve set my wife and myself up reasonably properly.
(normally on Cape Cod, but at the moment hiding out in AZ)
Just one quickie story. Some years ago I'm outside of my police dept with a young officer. Now, understand, I'm earning FIVE times what this fellow earns (pulling in my NYPD retirement plus my chief's salary). He's showing me his new, +$35K car. I bought all my cars as used vehicles, paying lots less than that for any one of them! I tried, really tried, to explain to him that owning such a vehicle, for a guy in his financial position, wasn't such a hot idea...