Hi.I am very new to investing. Two years ago, I had to select where to invest my 8% (state matches this) in my State University Retirement System. (At my University, we pay into this instead of Social Security.)So, I read in the retirement literature I received that for someone my age, 29 years old (then), I should invest (approximately): 15% in safe stuff (bonds and fixed rate funds) 75% in growth stuff (balanced funds and U.S. Equities) 10% in aggressive growth stuff (International Equities)So, knowing virtually nothing, but looking at the 10-year returns for my choices (AETNA, ICMA-RC, TIAA-CREF), here's what I did: % Fund Name 10-year return Expense Ratio Fixed Rate/Bond funds: 02% in Aetna Stable Value Option 06.6% 0.50% 10% in TIAA Traditional Annuity 07.6% 0.25% 04% in VT Core Bond Index (ICMA) 07.0% 1.03% Balanced Funds: (i don't even know what this means!) 05% in CREF Social Choice 12.2% 0.29% 04% in VTMS Balanced (Vanguard Well)12.9% 1.26% U.S. Equities: 24% in Aetna Growth Fund 11.9%(5-year) 0.94% 05% in VT Growth Stock (ICMA) 12.8% 1.36% 10% in MFS Research Fund (AETNA) 10.0% 0.98% 14% in VT MS Momentum Growth (ICMA) 13.4% 0.88% 10% in Vanguard Index 500 (ICMA) 14.3% 1.03% International Equity Funds: 02% in CREF Global Equities 09.0%(5-year) 0.34% 04% in Janus Worldwide fund 14.3%(5-year) 0.89%Given all of this, here are my questions:1. Is it better to narrow down the funds I am investing in?2. Should I just throw all of my U.S. equities investment into the Vanguard 500 index? (seems like a lot of people on this site recommend the Vanguard 500 index highly)3. Any other "Big-Picture" advice about my retirement portfolio from those of you who have some knowledge about investing?Thanks for any tips or advice. I am hoping to reallocate my funds in the next couple of months if I can learn enough to make Foolish decisions.Jodi
keoki23,I don't think anybody reads the "Retirement" board. You'd probably get a better range of advice from one of the following boards:Retirement InvestingPortfolio ManagementMutual FundsA few specific answers:A "balanced fund" is one that tries to keep a set balance between stocks and "Safe" investments like bonds. To learn what the ratio is, you have to read the fund literature. Say the ratio is 50-50. Then owning $1000 of the fund means you should think of it as $500 of stocks and $500 of bonds.It probably is better to narrow down the funds, since:1. It's simpler2. You can stick to lower-fee (expense ratio) funds; in general there is no correlation between higher fees and better performance.Unfortunately none of your U.S. Equities funds are low-fee. It's particularly galling that they are charging you over 1% annually to invest in the Vanguard Index 500, because the real fee on that is 0.15%!!! *DO NOT BLINDLY INVEST EVERYTHING IN THE Vanguard FUND!*Ten-year returns are of little to no value for predicting how an investment will do in the future.
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