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Author: agg97 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 76907  
Subject: Re: What to do. Date: 6/23/2004 10:48 AM
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I am considering subscribing to TMF but still not 100%.

Do it. It's by far the best $30 you're ever going to invest in your life. The community spirit and willingness to share knowledge here is simply amazing. Tomorrow is my 1-year "Fooliversary", and I still learn something new almost every day I come on these boards.

I am 29 yrs old and work for a good I.B.E.W. Local #3 in N.Y.

I had to look that one up, I guess you're an electrician then? BTW, I'm 29 also.

I have a pension, annuity and 401k.

Can you go into more details on these? Are they with your current employer? Do you think they'll still be there when you retire? The current trend in the U.S. is for companies to do away with pensions and solely use 401k's as retirement vehicles.

I will be contributing on a once a month basis= $650.00. And this is how it is distributed= 20%- DJIA Index(Diamonds), 10%-Lehman 7-10 year Treasury bonds, 10%-Real Estate Index, 20%- Nasdaq 100 Index, 20%-S&P 500 Index SPDR, 20%- Walmart Stock.

Do you have any goal of when you want to retire (better than ASAP). Realistically, are you going to retire when you're 50? 55? 65? How much are you going to need to live on? I'm guessing for right now that your investment horizon is "about 25 years" and you just want to invest "as much as comfortably possible", which are my current goals as well. In another 10 years, I'll have a better idea of a target date, but there's too many variables right now to get a good estimate of an actual date.

Is this $650/mo within a retirement account (401k, etc)? Are there any transaction fees to buy the funds you're particularly talking about?

It's hard to make any recommendations without some of the questions above answered, but I'll give you a few general thoughts for right now.

20%- DJIA Index(Diamonds): Why limit yourself to the Dow? I would lump this in with your contribution to an S&P 500 or Wilshire 5000 index fund.

10%-Lehman 7-10 year Treasury bonds: I would skip this. We're at a young enough age where we can go 100% equities (stocks) and come out all right. As you get within 10 years of retirement or so, it's time to think about bonds. Until then, you're probably going to lose money to inflation over time, especially with 7-10 year T-bonds in a rising interest rate environment. Definitely skip this.

10%-Real Estate Index: REITs are a great diversification tool because they have different business cycles from most other types of investments. However, I would build up a strong core of large index funds and then start diversifying in something like this later on. JMHO.

20%- Nasdaq 100 Index: A risk taker, eh? In my humble opinion, investing in the Nasdaq 100 is the same as gambling. Most technology companies are flashes in the pan and then go away...it's the companies who actually utilize the technology to grow their business are the real winners. I would definitely skip this unless you want some added stress and drama added to your life with no real reward.

20%-S&P 500 Index SPDR: Ah, finally! An index fund that tracks the S&P 500. Will there be any transaction fees associated with buying this once a month? An better alternative might be to invest in a mutual fund such as Vanguard's S&P 500 index fund (VFINX) or similar.

20%- Walmart Stock: Wow! That's a lot of $$$ to put on just one company! I really don't mind having 20% invested in individual stocks, but not all 20% in one stock!

Tell you what, here's how I am approaching my retirement investment strategy. First, invest in only index funds until I reach $50k, and then start diversifying from there. I have only picked two index funds VFINX and VTSMX (total market fund) or closest equivalent in my 401k offerings. They overlap quite a bit, but the total market fund gives me some exposure to small caps, but I want that exposure limited at this time. I have also used last year's Roth contribution to buy 2 individual stocks for "training wheels". We'll see if I'm any good at picking individual stocks or not, but it will be a cheaper education than taking a class somewhere.

Once I reach that $50k threshold, then I'll start diversifying in REITs, and maybe some sector index funds. Healthcare seems to be pretty beaten down right now and might be a good time to jump in. That might not be the case in a couple years when I reach $50k.

Good luck!

-Agg97
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