No. of Recommendations: 4
I view my assets to be in the accumulation phase.

I am not recommending what I do for everyone, I'm only outlining it to add another viewpoint to the responses.

I have a traditional IRA, a Roth IRA, both of which I refer to as qualified (a shortened form of "tax qualified") accounts. Then I have a non-qualified account.

I have no company-sponsored retirement plan, and have rarely ever participated in one because I live in Florida, which is a "right to work" state which means, in reality, it is the right to provide workers with the least amount they possibly can get away with. The real life outcome of "right to work" is that few employers provide company paid healthcare or 401Ks and the ones that do are usually based in a northern state and have extended their businesses into Florida.

Anyway, I have rarely saved in taking a portion of one's current earnings and put it into a savings account. So rarely that I can't remember the last time I did it. Well, that's not quite true, I worked for a company back in 1993 that had a 401K plan and I contributed to it. I left their employ in 1995.

One of the reasons I don't "save" is that I have rarely had a year where my earnings from employment have exceeded my fairly basic lifestyle needs. So if one does not have much discretionary income, saving becomes rather a moot point.

Compounding my problem as well was that I didn't start to build a retirement nest egg until after the age of 40. So I had lost much of the 'magic of compounding' potential.

I have had to learn how to make whatever money I do have squirreled away make outsized gains. That is not an easy task, but the only path I had if I were ever to consider retirement (i.e. the cessation of any type of income producing activity) a possibility in this lifetime.

So, coming from that perspective.....I wanted to have as much of my gains in qualified accounts as possible as I wanted to pay the tax man as little as possible during the accumulation phase as taxes are a real drag to wealth accumulation. Given that as an operating paradigm, I wanted the biggest gainers to be in my Roth, the next biggest gainers in my traditional IRA, and the the smallest gainers in my non-qualified accounts.

However, attempting to gain outsized returns often entails some big losses and the above allocations means that few of them will be able to be used to reduce income come tax time. I've accepted that as just one more of the rules of the road for what I needed to accomplish.

Warren Buffett has often stated that if he had a small amount of money to work with (small to him is less than $5 million) that he would easily make up to 50% per annum. I'm no Warren Buffett. However I have used much of his mentor's, Benjamin Graham, approach to how I look at possible investments. I have had some degree of success with that approach, and some of that can be inferred from the performance of my picks in the various contests on this board and on the Foolish Collective board when I frequented there many years ago now. I don't pick for those contests anything that I don't have my own money in, unlike some that seem to just "take a swing for the fences".

My approach to accumulation won't work for many, and for many they actually earn enough to have the option of saving some of it. Their strategies would be different than one born of desperation such as mine was.

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