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Will You Share What Funds You're In?
Old 04-08-2021, 06:36 PM   #1
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Will You Share What Funds You're In?

I've discovered over the past year, since retiring, that managing money is a LOT of work. It shouldn't be this stressful.

I want to just get into 4 or 5 or 6 (or some reasonable, manageable number of) ETFs and/or mutual funds and then sit back and put our accounts on autopilot (with the normal occasional rebalancing, of course), so I can relax.

The endless research trying to decide on the "perfect" mix is making me nuts. Every time I think I've chosen a few funds that would be a good balance, the sectors I've decided on seem to tank.

I've gotten suggestions from my broker (Fido), but they always want me to put what I feel is too much into international stocks and into bonds. I know we need SOME of those, but not the percentages brokers seem to like.

I just want our money to grow at a reasonable, consistent rate over the next several years, so I can be sure we'll be okay.

Would any of you who have done what I'm saying be willing to share a list of exactly which ETFs/funds you're in, and the percentage of your total that's in each?

Although I'd appreciate hearing from anyone, I'd especially be interested in folks like us, with a ~$1M portfolio, who started this strategy in the past few years, and for whom it seems to be working well. The previous decade of crazy gains was waaaay too much of a best-case scenario, so I'm less comfortable with data from those years.

Thanks--appreciate your input.
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Old 04-08-2021, 07:04 PM   #2
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Here are the funds I have, with rough percentages of each. I am a 72 year old woman and a very conservative investor; I'm certainly not saying these are right for everyone! But I am satisfied with them, for me.

VBTLX 21% Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund Admiral Shares
VWIAX 30% Vanguard Wellesley Income Fund Admiral Shares
VTSAX 20% Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund Admiral Shares
VFWAX 9% Vanguard FTSE All-World Ex-US Index Fund Admiral Shares
TSP "G Fund" 7% (bond fund for federal employees/retirees)

I also have cash in Vanguard money market funds and elsewhere which makes it add up to 100%. Right after I rebalance, the cash plus the two bond funds plus the bond portion of Wellesley roughly add up to 58%, and the equity funds plus the equity portion of Wellesley roughly add up to 42%. So, my AA is 42:58.

I re-balance the first week in January and take my spending money for the year at that time. Other than that I leave it alone other than checking the balance to see how it is doing.

If/when you have some idea of what you want to do, I'd recommend running it by the people over at the Bogleheads forum. Might be helpful.
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Old 04-08-2021, 07:18 PM   #3
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OP, You might be a good candidate for the simple, powerful Three Fund Portfolio. Taylor Larimore wrote a brief book about it, too. https://www.morningstar.com/articles...fund-portfolio
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Old 04-08-2021, 07:23 PM   #4
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OP, You might be a good candidate for the simple, powerful Three Fund Portfolio. Taylor Larimore wrote a brief book about it, too. https://www.morningstar.com/articles...fund-portfolio
This. You need 3 funds.

That is not what we have because our portfolio has been cobbled together over the past 30 years but if I was starting from scratch, this is what I would do.
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Old 04-08-2021, 07:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by disneysteve View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Markola View Post
OP, You might be a good candidate for the simple, powerful Three Fund Portfolio. Taylor Larimore wrote a brief book about it, too. https://www.morningstar.com/articles...fund-portfolio
This. You need 3 funds.

That is not what we have because our portfolio has been cobbled together over the past 30 years but if I was starting from scratch, this is what I would do.
I think that's great advice, too. Go for the 3 fund portfolio!
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Old 04-08-2021, 08:33 PM   #6
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The 3 fund portfolio is exactly what I am doing. I have -

62% VTSAX
5% VTIAX
30% VBTLX
3% CASH

I used to have more VTIAX, but am slowly selling it off. In a few years, I'll just have VTSAX and VBTLX. Simple is good! I also used to have a few different individual equities, such as Google/Alphabet, but the amounts were small. I've been doing the simple 3-fund thing for around 10 years or so now. It has been working well so far. I have a useful ability to ignore my investments when the market is down, which I think will help keep me invested like this. I spend about 20 minutes a year on portfolio maintenance/rebalancing. Maybe 30 minutes. Not really sure. It's not much.

PS - you wanted to hear from people who have ~$1M. I have a little more than that, but not much more. I'm in the ballpark.
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Old 04-08-2021, 09:29 PM   #7
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Another vote for the 3-fund portfolio for you. Here is a brief guide: https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Three-fund_portfolio
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Thanks!
Old 04-08-2021, 10:02 PM   #8
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Thanks!

Thank you all for your helpful responses.

I’m thrilled that multiple people suggested the three-fund portfolio—it sounds like exactly what I was looking for! Finally, maybe the end of my long search for smart-and-easy is near . 😃

Thanks for the links as well.
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Old 04-09-2021, 01:00 AM   #9
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You could also do the vanguard ETFs like VTI, BND, and VXUS instead of MF
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Old 04-09-2021, 06:20 AM   #10
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I'm another fan of three funds. Like some others our portfolio is cobbled together from various IRAs, 401Ks, taxable brokerage, and TSP so we have more funds but they add up to variations on the three fund approach (total stock, total bond, total international). We manage the bunch of them as one portfolio.
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Old 04-09-2021, 06:41 AM   #11
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I too have a whole mess of funds with small, small growth small value, emerging markets, etc. But over time they are not beating the 3 fund portfolio by enough to compensate for the extra volatility and rebalancing headaches, so I am slowly working my way 3 funds too.

The 3 fund portfolio is a great choice for your Roth or tax deferred accounts, but you may have a lot of capital gains taxes if you try to change your taxable accounts, so you will have to consider what to do there (maybe move some money each year) so you don't get slammed with excess taxes.
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Old 04-09-2021, 07:01 AM   #12
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I have 7 figures invested in 3 funds:

VTSAX 53%
VBILX 18%
VBTLX 18%
personal mortgages 11%

I'm not an expert, but I listen well!!

VW
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Will You Share What Funds You're In?
Old 04-09-2021, 07:22 AM   #13
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Will You Share What Funds You're In?

25% VTSAX Stock Index
25% VEIRX Stock Value
25% GAT Stock Growth
25% CD’s and SVF
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Old 04-09-2021, 07:29 AM   #14
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The 3 fund portfolio is a great choice for your Roth or tax deferred accounts, but you may have a lot of capital gains taxes if you try to change your taxable accounts, so you will have to consider what to do there (maybe move some money each year) so you don't get slammed with excess taxes.
This is my problem. We have a lot in taxable accounts where switching funds has significant consequences.
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Old 04-09-2021, 11:05 AM   #15
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VTSAX and Fidelity Growth Company Commingled Pool are two of my larger holdings. The Fidelity fund has done outstanding over the long term (and short term too) and made it easier for me to take the plunge to ER.
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Old 04-09-2021, 11:23 AM   #16
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We have 11 holdings for a value and small tilts, but that's unnecessary - I'll be simplifying, but it will take many years to avoid outsized cap gains hits. Here's another good resource of "lazy portfolios" with 3 or more funds. You probably can't go wrong with any of them.

https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Lazy_portfolios
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Old 04-09-2021, 01:57 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by SoReadyToRetire View Post
The endless research trying to decide on the "perfect" mix is making me nuts. Every time I think I've chosen a few funds that would be a good balance, the sectors I've decided on seem to tank.

Perhaps you are making "perfect" the enemy of "good"?
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Old 04-09-2021, 02:08 PM   #18
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Every time I think I've chosen a few funds that would be a good balance, the sectors I've decided on seem to tank.
Stop looking at sectors. At any given time, some will be doing well and others will be doing poorly. As many of us have said, take a broad, total market approach. It's easy. It's cheap. And it's virtually maintenance-free.
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Will You Share What Funds You're In?
Old 04-09-2021, 02:28 PM   #19
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Will You Share What Funds You're In?

Quote:
Originally Posted by disneysteve View Post
Stop looking at sectors. At any given time, some will be doing well and others will be doing poorly. As many of us have said, take a broad, total market approach. It's easy. It's cheap. And it's virtually maintenance-free.


+1. Promoting sector investing seems to be a popular way for brokers to stimulate trading activity.
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Old 04-10-2021, 10:53 PM   #20
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Consider something even simpler than the 3 fund portfolio:
A single Vanguard LifeStrategy all-in-one fund is the ultimate in simplicity.
They have four of these with various asset allocations ranging from 80/20 to 20/80.
Another all-in-one option is the Vanguard Target Retirement funds.
There are pros and cons of the all-in-one versus 3 fund portfolio.
Good luck,
DD
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