Hello all, I'm a regular on the fool boards, but established a new profile because I'm not comfortable posting such sensitive information on my recognizable account. I'm happy with my current direction in retirement planning, but also wanted some objective advice, so I thought I would post this synopsis and let people provide feedback. Any thoughts are, of course, appreciated and recognized with a rec!!! (whoopee!). Background:1) I am 24 years old2) I work in the financial services industry in a large city with a reasonable cost of living. It's not Houston, but very similar to Houston (i.e., big, but not expensive to live). 3) My gross pay is $66,235 per year. State taxes average, all other taxation average. 4) Cash bonus can range from $5,000 to $50,000. Was $20,000 this year in a weak environment. 5) Have been proactive in my savings and now looking to diversify, but still maintain an active, high-risk, high-reward philosophy. 6) Extensive knowledge of equity markets. Confident in stock-picking ability.Goals:1) Retirement at a reasonable age (58-62) with ability to travel frequently, live very comfortably, but not lavishly, and ability to leave substantial assets to heirs at death.2) Plan to buy engagement ring at approx. cost of $8,000 near end of 2002. Will finance if rate is sub-9%, pay cash otherwise.3) Plan to return to top-notch MBA program in 2004-2006. Company will fund education, but will have a two year gap in income. 4) Girlfriend and I plan to have a large family and want to start sometime in the next 5 years.Fixed Expenses: 1) Not a homeowner. Rent a house with two friends - rent share is $433 per month, utilities an extra $100 - nothing exorbitant.2) Owe about $5,000 on a 1996 Honda Accord. Interest rate of loan is 13%.3) Minimal credit card debt ($500 or so). Typically pay off at the end of each month.4) Other expenses about $600 - $700 per month.Luxuries: 1) Avid wine collector. Average expenditure about $50-$100 per month.2) Eat out at least once a week. Nothing super fancy, but for girlfriend and I, will probably spend $40 - $50.3) One nice ski trip per year: Average cost prob. about $2,000.4) $1,000 - $2,000 in charitable giving per year. I plan to increase this over time, but want to give something now.Current Assets: Pension Plan (defined contribution): $3,700 in diversified mutual funds.401K and Rollover IRA: $11,900 in aggressive mutual funds. Roth IRA: $6,200 in aggressive equities (MCHP, SUNW, COSN). Taxable Brokerage Account: $11,000. $4,500 in cash, $6,500 in growthy, diversified equities (IR, CCU, CYMI, COSN). Company Stock Purchase Program: $1,000 in cash. Will be converted to company equity sometime in future. Currently 40% in the money.Other Stock Options: 10,000 options in company stock, at the money. Company is not Goldman Sachs, but equity trades in very similar fashion to GS.Wine collection: Worth $3,000 - $5,000. Difficult to monetize for true value (no plans to do so anytime soon).Current Plan of Action: 1) Roth IRA contribution of $3,000 to be made on Jan 1st. Will purchase another aggressive equity with the proceeds, thinking of LAMR, IPG or VIA. 2) 401K contributions at 15% of salary in 2002. Allocated into aggressive, yet diversified mutual funds. Focus on small-cap and sector funds (Leisure, Health Care and Technology).3) Pension contributions (from company) continue at 10% of base salary (not including bonus). Invested in diversified mutual funds.4) $800 - $1,000 per month savings in taxable brokerage account. Focus on diversification through long-term, low-yield individual equities. Thinking about PFE, MRK, more IR or PLL for my next purchase. 5) Plan to pay off $5,000 car loan by June 2003. Want to continue driving this Honda Accord for another 4-5 years. 6) Manage personal expenses with more discipline. Cut back on eating out and other variable expenses. Questions and Thoughts:1) Is is possible to place additional income in tax-deferred vehicles? Can I put money into an educational IRA, even though I have no children (I hope to have at least a dozen in the future ;-) ) 2) Should I actively look for a house for the tax benefits? My girlfriend is a home owner and I will likely be living there 18-24 months from now. Premarital cohabitation is not an option (her father is good with a gun).3) Should I pay off my car loan at 13% instead of making an incremental equity investment in my taxable brokerage account? 4) One big expense is insurance. I pay about $200 a month, despite a clean driving record (more a function of age). I'm very happy with the quality of service of my insurance provider and would rather not switch, but for a $500 annual savings, I might. Any thoughts on how I can get this rate down?5) Should I hold my more aggressive investments in a different account? I currently have my most aggressive and most volitile investments in my Roth IRA. I figure I can sell these stocks for a quick gain if they rapidly appreciate and avoid the tax liability..... My most conservative investments, over time, will be in my taxable account, where I want to minimize turnover, thus capital gains.6) Am I getting the diversity I need through multiple mutual fund holdings? 7) At what age should I start looking for yield in the stocks I select? When should I start allocating funds to fixed income holdings?Any other thoughts or advice are GREATLY appreciated! I'm very happy with my progress so far, but I am always looking for ways to improve my savings plans and ways to avoid paying Uncle Sam that extra dollar. Thanks again for reading this!My best,PlanningMoose
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