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Old 08-25-2021, 07:34 AM   #61
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I agree with the others on self managing your investments.
In your taxable account specifically, you want to do two things:
1) set your cost basis method for each fund to Specific ID.
2) set your dividends from each fund to go to your settlement fund (MM fund) rather than immediately reinvesting in the same fund.

Also make sure to have the Vanguard app on your smart phone so you can check things daily, transfer new money into your settlement fund, and setup market orders (or even better, limit orders)...
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Old 08-25-2021, 07:42 AM   #62
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Are you even considering Fidelity or Schwab? I only have experience with Fidelity and Vanguard but I would not hire a Vanguard rep. Their entire business model is low cost which means a lower level of service. You can still benefit from low fee Vanguard ETF’s or funds by holding them in a Fidelity or Schwab portfolio. The free Fidelity advisor we have is pretty good, and definitely helpful in managing taxes.
I was with Fidelity for about 20 years, with the last 5 years using their fee-based portfolio management service. Their local reps were good but their managed service was thoroughly bad. That poor experience caused such bad memories which make us not want to go back.
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Old 08-25-2021, 10:58 AM   #63
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I like simplicity. I think you could do worse than VASGX an index "lifestyle fund" with 80% stock allocation, international diversification and 5 underlying funds.

https://investor.vanguard.com/mutual.../profile/VASGX

Sure you could buy the underlying funds and tinker or re-balance but why bother. In my totally uninformed opinion this is about what you would get from a financial advisor at Vanguard.

In most of my Vanguard funds I have never sold shares. I think that setting the cost basis for HIFO (high in first out) would work fine in taxable accounts. You get the tax benefit of selling the highest cost without bothering to specify individual lots. It doesn't matter in tax deferred.

This is not what I do since I have a collection of funds and stocks with embedded gains in our taxable account and our IRAs are full of our most tax inefficient investments.
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Old 08-25-2021, 11:16 AM   #64
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... Sure you could buy the underlying funds and tinker or re-balance but why bother. ...
Because rebalancing and SORR moves are very difficult when it involves blended funds and because tax optimizations in taxable accounts can also be difficult or impossible.

If you continue to never sell your funds then you will not realize this.
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Old 08-26-2021, 12:51 AM   #65
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I was with Fidelity for about 20 years, with the last 5 years using their fee-based portfolio management service. Their local reps were good but their managed service was thoroughly bad. That poor experience caused such bad memories which make us not want to go back.


I donít use their professional management. Just DIY and their free advisor. Really like their website and appreciate their 24/7 service. Obviously YMMV.
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Old 08-26-2021, 03:15 PM   #66
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Because rebalancing and SORR moves are very difficult when it involves blended funds and because tax optimizations in taxable accounts can also be difficult or impossible.

If you continue to never sell your funds then you will not realize this.
You realize that Vanguard would keep the balanced fund allocated as advertised, right?
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Old 08-26-2021, 03:58 PM   #67
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You realize that Vanguard would keep the balanced fund allocated as advertised, right?

I don't think that's his/her point.

Keeping equities and fixed income in separate funds gives you more control for rebalancing and tax efficiency.
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Old 08-26-2021, 04:02 PM   #68
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You realize that Vanguard would keep the balanced fund allocated as advertised, right?
Sure, and that is better than the target date funds that make changes somewhat randomly, but we have changed our overall AA a couple of times in the past few years and other posters here often talk about changes they made, are making, or want to make. A blended fund is just a clumsy investing tool except for fire-and-forget investors. IMO anyway.

Another problem with some blended funds is that the equity tranche is actively managed but its performance is camouflaged by being mixed in with the FI performance. The VG fund you mentioned at least doesn't have that problem so much because the equity money is invested in index funds, hence is transparent.
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Old 08-27-2021, 10:48 AM   #69
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Many of you have posted the reduced cost of managing your own investments.

We are thinking of going with 85% to 90% equities for both taxable and tax deferred investments, with the remainder in a balanced fund like VBIAX and $100K in VTIP or something like that which acts like cash. We need help in understanding how VTIP works. We figure that $100K in VTIP in taxable account will cover the next 7 years, plus always funding it at about $100K to cover emergency needs. In tax deferred accounts, we will turn off dividend reinvesting and also keep another $100K in VTIP (2 to 3 years of withdrawal) to make up for the difference in RMD and dividends.

I need veterans here to help critique our strategy.

Thanks!
I personally do not like balanced funds in retirement because when you liquidate a balanced fund you are liquidating 50% equities and 50% bonds at the same time. Remember buy low sell high. Equities or bonds can be relatively low so you may be selling low.

I suggest separating the balanced funds into equities and bond funds so you have a choice which fund to liquidate. Balanced funds are OK before retirement but during retirement you may be forced to sell low. Diversifying your balance fund is my recommendation.

I know someone who is retired and his retirement is diversified into 12 asset classes: high caps, low caps, corp bonds, treasuries, junk bonds, high tech equities so that he can pick and choose which fund to liquidate. He has 12 options to sell high relative to the other asset classes. Not many investors think about developing a withdrawal strategy. When you get close to retirement, I recommend that you think about a withdrawal strategy.
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Old 08-27-2021, 02:03 PM   #70
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Just wondering how this will turn out without a solid plan? I would want a guarantee that the assets can be transferred in kind. It could be that you need to liquidate all and take a tax hit, but perhaps that is not necessary.

I recommend that you walk into a Schwab office as well as Fidelity, and speak with a person who has credentials and authority.
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Old 08-27-2021, 02:44 PM   #71
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Sure, and that is better than the target date funds that make changes somewhat randomly, but we have changed our overall AA a couple of times in the past few years and other posters here often talk about changes they made, are making, or want to make. A blended fund is just a clumsy investing tool except for fire-and-forget investors. IMO anyway.
A Vanguard advisor and I have my MIL invested in blended funds with dividends reinvested. She has zero interest in investing and doesn't need the money. This solution keeps her invested without requiring ongoing effort. OP seems to be looking for simple self management.
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Old 08-27-2021, 03:03 PM   #72
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On accessibility of a Vanguard rep. I do not use their FA services but apparently have enough money with them that there is a specific rep assigned to my account. He doesn't provide investment advice like a FA would but helps in many ways and is accessible with a direct phone call. If he's not there, I get a call back quite quickly. I can also see an online calendar and can set up an appointment with him in any open slot he has. I have never had a call I made not returned that day or at least by the following day. I've used his help to get accounts transferred to VG, tax questions answered, issues with a 401k transfer worked through, getting cost basis adjustments made, and just general support on how VG works.

I've also just called the general help number many times. Normally I wait 2-8 minutes to get a real person on that line .... if I wait. Instead, I often use their call back service. I leave my number and the recording tells you how many minutes later to expect a callback. Typically <10 minutes in my experience and the call backs always seem to be within a minute or so of when they said it would be.

You will find varied experiences on this board. The above are mine. It is nice to know that there are three well recommended companies out there (VG, Schwab and Fidelity). So if one doesn't meet your needs, the others might. Here's one of the better comparisons of the three that I've seen.....
Thanks for posting the video! Very informative.
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Old 08-29-2021, 02:40 PM   #73
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I don’t understand sometimes. If one doesn’t like/want/is comfortable self investing than the fact that the investment advisor made them so much more money that the percentage fees are way up so bad. A long as objectives are met by the advisor firm- why does one necessarily care how much money they make( assuming the percentage does not increase and probably goes down the more they manage.). As long as one is aware of options than paying for a service is just another option as one gets older. Sometimes planning for the ultimate ending of our life/abilities involves a financial cost.
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Old 08-30-2021, 10:35 AM   #74
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Itís clear that RetiredHappy has the mental faculties to self-manage the accounts. I have no problem with the proposed high stock allocation as RH already has an annuity and little need for cash, so the investing horizon is decades.

I would use a Total Stock Market ETF for the stock portion and Total Bond Market for the Bond portion. Rebalance annually or if things get way off track, like in March 2020. Total Stock Market has super low turnover, which helps minimize the capital gains distributions.

I saw discussion of RMDs being more than enough to cover the needs, so RH should also think the bond holding preferentially in tax deferred to slow that account growth and minimize the RMDs. Also, with seemingly plenty of assets, RH should consider Roth conversions. It sounds like there will be plenty of cash to pay for the taxes and conversions now may avoid higher taxes in the future, so RH may be a prime candidate to benefit there.
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Old 08-31-2021, 06:27 AM   #75
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I would look closely at Wellington and Wellesley from Vanguard. A mix of the two is excellent.
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Old 08-31-2021, 07:49 AM   #76
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I donít understand sometimes. If one doesnít like/want/is comfortable self investing than the fact that the investment advisor made them so much more money ...
How is this a fact?

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeprintz View Post
.... A long as objectives are met by the advisor firm- why does one necessarily care how much money they make( assuming the percentage does not increase and probably goes down the more they manage.). ...
Sure, if they can make more money for me after fees, that's great. But that seems to be the exception, and how do you find the few that can do it? And can they do it long term?

Studies say no.

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Old 08-31-2021, 07:58 AM   #77
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I would look closely at Wellington and Wellesley from Vanguard. A mix of the two is excellent.
Why? Seems like a waste of time two buy two very similar funds, and blend funds at that.
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Old 08-31-2021, 08:05 AM   #78
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A Vanguard advisor and I have my MIL invested in blended funds with dividends reinvested. She has zero interest in investing and doesn't need the money. This solution keeps her invested without requiring ongoing effort. OP seems to be looking for simple self management.
She's a fire-and-forget investor. Nothing wrong with that. A blended fund or a target date fund is a good choice.
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Old 08-31-2021, 12:53 PM   #79
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Just want to give everyone a quick update. Our FA proposed dropping the commission to 0.6%. We said nada. We told him that amount that we are paying is only one half of the frustration, it does not address the other part with their incurring ridiculous amount of capital gains in taxable account due to their active management. We want to move to a few ETFs only and would like to retain him as our FA but not using the investment house's bundle of investments. He was supposed to come back with a proposal on fees based on our investment model. He didn't come back with a proposal but instead asked us to let him know the ETFs which we are looking at. Just not happening there.

On the Vanguard end, the frustration continues. We created login accounts and started the process of adding new accounts. I also tried creating joint account with my son and that came back with system error after trying a dozen times. A week later, we both got emails asking us to call back to complete the process. Phone calls yesterday and today, 2 hours wait time each and got nowhere. We are beyond frustrated with Vanguard. I got into another "call back" request this morning and expect to spend my entire day today just hanging around waiting for them to call back.
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Old 08-31-2021, 12:57 PM   #80
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... On the Vanguard end, the frustration continues. We created login accounts and started the process of adding new accounts. I also tried creating joint account with my son and that came back with system error after trying a dozen times. A week later, we both got emails asking us to call back to complete the process. Phone calls yesterday and today, 2 hours wait time each and got nowhere. We are beyond frustrated with Vanguard. I got into another "call back" request this morning and expect to spend my entire day today just hanging around waiting for them to call back.
VG business model involves a lower level of personal service than Schwab or Fido.

Why don't you try one of those? Interview both if they have offices near you, then pick one. If only one has a nearby office, think about visiting there. NB: TDAmeritrade has been bought by Schwab, so your nearest TDAmeritrade office may become a Schwab office. Ask.

Most VG funds are as easy and cheap to buy via Schwab as at VG. Don't know about Fido.
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