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Hi guys

I am a totally novice investor. I want to set up the 401 account with my company, since they are matching 6% of my pay. My mind went to totally blank when I saw these many choices my company offers in the 401 account. Can any of you be kindly enough to take a look and give me some suggestions which ones I should choose and how much to allocate? I really appreciate your help!

thanks,

Bond Funds
Vanguard Inst Total Bond Mkt Index VITBX 0337

%
Balanced Funds (Stocks and Bonds)
Vanguard Target Retirement Income VTINX 0308

%
Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 VTOVX 0302

%
Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 VTXVX 0303

%
Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 VTTVX 0304

%
Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 VTTHX 0305

%
Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 VTIVX 0306

%
Domestic Stock Funds
Vanguard Inst Index Fund Inst Plus VIIIX 0854

%
Vanguard Mid-Cap Index Fund Inv VIMSX 0859

%
Vanguard Small-Cap Index Fund Inv NAESX 0048

%
International Stock Funds
Vanguard Total Int'l Stock Index VGTSX 0113

%
Specialty Stock Funds
Vanguard REIT Index Fund Inv VGSIX 0123

%
Supplemental funds
Fund Fund Symbol Fund Number Percentage
Bond Funds
Dreyfus A Bonds Plus DRBDX 0392

%
Dreyfus Basic US Mortgage Securities DIGFX 0394

%
Dreyfus Bond Market Index Basic DBIRX 0437

%
Dreyfus GNMA DRGMX 0449

%
Dreyfus Intermediate-Term Inc Inv DRITX 0412

%
Dreyfus Premier Core Bond A DSINX 3710

%
Dreyfus Premier GNMA A PSGNX 3703

%
Dreyfus Premier High Income A DIMAX 7682

%
Dreyfus Premier Ltd-Term High Yld A DPLTX 3699

%
Dreyfus Premier Short Term Income A DSHAX 7680

%
Dreyfus Premier Yield Advantage A DPYAX 7681

%
Dreyfus Short-Intermediate Government DSIGX 0400

%
T. Rowe Price GNMA PRGMX 1589

%
T. Rowe Price International Bond RPIBX 1601

%
T. Rowe Price New Income PRCIX 1612

%
T. Rowe Price Short-Term Bond PRWBX 1625

%
T. Rowe Price U.S. Treasury Interm PRTIX 1635

%
Vanguard GNMA Fund Investor Shares VFIIX 0036

%
Vanguard High-Yield Corp Fund Inv VWEHX 0029

%
Vanguard Inflation-Protect Sec Inv VIPSX 0119

%
Vanguard Inter-Term Bond Index Inv VBIIX 0314

%
Vanguard Inter-Term Invest-Gr Inv VFICX 0071

%
Vanguard Inter-Term Treasury Inv VFITX 0035

%
Vanguard Long-Term Bond Index VBLTX 0522

%
Vanguard Long-Term Invest-Gr Inv VWESX 0028

%
Vanguard Long-Term Treasury Inv VUSTX 0083

%
Vanguard Short-Term Bond Index Inv VBISX 0132

%
Vanguard Short-Term Federal Inv VSGBX 0049

%
Vanguard Short-Term Invest-Gr Inv VFSTX 0039

%
Vanguard Short-Term Treasury Inv VFISX 0032

%
Victory Fund For Income A IPFIX 6904

%
Balanced Funds (Stocks and Bonds)
Dreyfus Premier Balanced A PRBAX 5538

%
T. Rowe Price Balanced RPBAX 1590

%
T. Rowe Price Personal Strat Balanced TRPBX 1619

%
T. Rowe Price Personal Strat Growth TRSGX 1620

%
T. Rowe Price Personal Strat Income PRSIX 1621

%
T. Rowe Price Spectrum Income RPSIX 1639

%
Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund Inv VAAPX 0078

%
Vanguard Balanced Index Fund Inv VBINX 0002

%
Vanguard STAR Fund VGSTX 0056

%
Vanguard Wellesley Income Fund Inv VWINX 0027

%
Vanguard Wellington Fund Inv VWELX 0021

%
Domestic Stock Funds
Dreyfus DREVX 0448

%
Dreyfus Appreciation DGAGX 0416

%
Dreyfus Basic S&P 500 Stock Index DSPIX 0435

%
Dreyfus Disciplined Stock DDSTX 0436

%
Dreyfus Emerging Leaders DRELX 0454

%
Dreyfus Growth & Income DGRIX 0404

%
Dreyfus Midcap Value DMCVX 0452

%
Dreyfus MidCap Index PESPX 1475

%
Dreyfus Premier Core Value A DCVIX 3697

%
Dreyfus Premier New Leaders A DNLDX 0469

%
Dreyfus Premier Third Century A DTCAX 5913

%
Dreyfus S&P 500 Index PEOPX 0458

%
Dreyfus Small Cap Stock Index DISSX 0459

%
T. Rowe Price Blue Chip Growth TRBCX 1595

%
T. Rowe Price Capital Appreciation PRWCX 1592

%
T. Rowe Price Dividend Growth PRDGX 1587

%
T. Rowe Price Equity Index 500 PREIX 1597

%
T. Rowe Price Equity-Income PRFDX 1588

%
T. Rowe Price Growth & Income PRGIX 1596

%
T. Rowe Price Growth Stock PRGFX 1512

%
T. Rowe Price New America Growth PRWAX 1599

%
T. Rowe Price New Era PRNEX 1600

%
T. Rowe Price Real Estate TRREX 1645

%
T. Rowe Price Spectrum Growth PRSGX 1640

%
T. Rowe Price Total Equity Market Idx POMIX 3200

%
T. Rowe Price Value TRVLX 1616

%
Vanguard Calvert Social Index Inv VCSIX 0213

%
Vanguard Capital Value Fund VCVLX 0328

%
Vanguard Convertible Securities VCVSX 0082

%
Vanguard Dividend Growth Fund VDIGX 0057

%
Vanguard Equity Income Fund Inv VEIPX 0065

%
Vanguard Explorer Fund Investor VEXPX 0024

%
Vanguard Extended Mkt Index Inv VEXMX 0098

%
Vanguard Growth and Income Inv VQNPX 0093

%
Vanguard Growth Equity Fund VGEQX 0544

%
Vanguard Growth Index Fund Inv VIGRX 0009

%
Vanguard Large-Cap Index Fund Inv VLACX 0307

%
Vanguard Mid-Cap Growth Fund VMGRX 0301

%
Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund Inv VMRGX 0026

%
Vanguard PRIMECAP Fund Investor VPMCX 0059

%
Vanguard Selected Value Fund VASVX 0934

%
Vanguard Small-Cap Growth Index VISGX 0861

%
Vanguard Small-Cap Value Index VISVX 0860

%
Vanguard Strategic Equity Fund VSEQX 0114

%
Vanguard Total Stock Mkt Idx Inv VTSMX 0085

%
Vanguard U.S. Growth Fund Investor VWUSX 0023

%
Vanguard U.S. Value Fund VUVLX 0124

%
Vanguard Value Index Fund Inv VIVAX 0006

%
Vanguard Windsor Fund Investor VWNDX 0022

%
Vanguard Windsor II Fund Inv VWNFX 0073

%
Victory Diversified Stock A SRVEX 3007

%
Victory Established Value A VETAX 6913

%
International Stock Funds
Dreyfus Intl Stock Index DIISX 0460

%
Dreyfus Premier Emerging Markets A DRFMX 0466

%
Dreyfus Premier International Value A DVLAX 0455

%
Dreyfus Premier Worldwide Growth A PGROX 3704

%
T. Rowe Price Emerging Markets Stock PRMSX 1609

%
T. Rowe Price European Stock PRESX 1604

%
T. Rowe Price International Stock PRITX 1602

%
T. Rowe Price New Asia PRASX 1605

%
Vanguard Developed Markets Index VDMIX 0227

%
Vanguard Emerging Mkts Stock Index VEIEX 0533

%
Vanguard European Stock Index Inv VEURX 0079

%
Vanguard Global Equity Fund VHGEX 0129

%
Vanguard International Growth Inv VWIGX 0081

%
Vanguard International Value Fund VTRIX 0046

%
Vanguard Internatl Explorer Fund VINEX 0126

%
Vanguard Pacific Stock Index Inv VPACX 0072

%
Specialty Stock Funds
Dreyfus Premier Technology Growth A DTGRX 3709

%
T. Rowe Price Financial Services PRISX 1593

%
T. Rowe Price Health Sciences PRHSX 1513

%
T. Rowe Price Media & Telecom PRMTX 1510

%
T. Rowe Price Science & Tech PRSCX 1622

%
Vanguard Energy Fund Investor VGENX 0051

%
Vanguard Health Care Fund Inv VGHCX 0052

%
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FYI

might be a good strategy to figure out what company best meshes with your style, and start with mutual funds from that company. this strategy also helps with maintenance feels.

BSG
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Forgot to mention my condition. I am 30 year old single female. And this is my first year working. I'd like to be a little agressive.

thanks
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Posted to the board, and emailed. Post replies (if any) to the board.

Hi guys

I am a totally novice investor. I want to set up the 401 account with my company, since they are matching 6% of my pay. My mind went to totally blank when I saw these many choices my company offers in the 401 account. Can any of you be kindly enough to take a look and give me some suggestions which ones I should choose and how much to allocate? I really appreciate your help!


Hello,

Lots of suggestions, don't know where to start. One practical matter is that when you want to post tabular data to this board -- which seems to have been what you started out with -- you should use the option at the bottom of the message entry screen that says

"Table Data (fixed-width font, enter your own line breaks)"

That way, your columns would stay aligned and be more readable to others. Right now, they all run together in proportional spaced fonts.

After that, your most immediate need is to understand all those fund categories that your list included; to learn how to judge the quality of the funds included therein; and to decide what kind of portfolio balance suits you personally, and meets your financial needs.

One doesn't need to devote a lifetime to it, but one DOES need to take the task seriously. That's why it's very dangerous to take the advice that one of us might give you, without having any idea whether we have any clue what we are talking about. Or, for that matter, whether we are trying to help you reach YOUR goals, or instead, preaching to you and trying to sell you on our OWN personal tastes in investment styles.

That's a big issue and it's something you can only decide for yourself -- but obviously, you can't decide it without information. There is a lot of research involved to understand what is contained in each of those funds, as well as how some of them might change over the course of time -- with or without action on your part.

You listed funds from Vanguard, Dreyfus, and T.Rowe Price. Those are all well-regarded companies, for different reasons. They have strengths and weaknesses, and unlike some folks, I would not make a blanket statement about any of them. What's most important is that they are BIG companies, with lots of resources.

In other words: if you want to know about their products, you should be asking THEM. No, don't ask them for advice -- you won't be ready to evaluate its quality. Just scour their websites (or ask for printed materials by mail) that help investors out. I would bet that they all offer resources that go beyond mere sales brochures. But you should also get the sales brochures (or the online equivalent) so you'll know what every single one of those funds is for.

Frankly, for most of us, answering your question would require US to go look that stuff up for you. None of us has encyclopedic knowledge of every single fund, and none of us are paid to be here. The best we can do is provide a few tips and give you guidance on how to help yourself. Because self-reliance and independence should be your goal.

Besides any how-to primers that those fund companies might offer, You can of course buy books about mutual fund investing. Some folks here are fond of suggesting various titles. You are free to pursue that angle if you want; I have generally gotten my information in bits and pieces over time, rather than trying to learn it all at once. But that's a personal choice, and besides, you probably have a deadline.

It will be very tempting to do all your research on the internet, but you have to be aware that there isn't very much information on the internet that isn't colored by selfish interest of some kind -- whether it's advertisers, or brokers trying to get your business, or whatever. So, stay on your toes!

The Motley Fool has resources to help understand mutual funds, and they are well-meaning, but not entirely authoritative. So it's a good start, but I would not stop there. This board has a lot of information but it is not designed to be a quick-and-easy brochure. So the best way to use it is to go back at least a few months and to read through as many messages as possible. It does not matter if you understand everything you read at first glance. Just plow through, you will start to pick things up that will fit into place for you eventually.

Oh, some final thoughts. 1) You will no doubt get tips and advice from friends, family, and/or co-workers. Be wary of such sources until you have your own grounding in the subject matter, so that you can distinguish a good tip from a bad one. 2) Once you get going, and have a lot of information under your belt, do not assume you are done. Instead, know that there are always new things to learn, and new ways to think about things that you've already encountered before.

Hope this helps. Good luck!
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No. of Recommendations: 1
You have a number of good funds and fund families to consider. I have a personal preference for Vanguard funds and I am a proponent of index funds so my recommendation is perhaps biased.
Since I assume this is a decision that will have to be made soon I would suggest you put 100% into the Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 fund. This can be changed later since changes in a 401k plan can be done at low cost without tax impact. This fund of funds provides exposure to stocks, both US and foreign as well as a bond allocation. This gets you started with your 401k and then you can take more time to develop a more comprehensive investment plan through some self education. Steps in doing your planning would include determining your basic asset allocation plan which would state your desired stock vs. bond allocations based on your age, risk tolerance, and personal considerations.
Then you should determine whether you want to use index funds or actively managed funds or perhaps a combination of the two. You should consider whether you want to keep the plan simple with a minimum number of funds or would like to have a fairly complex plan with a larger number of funds.
You may later decide to stay with the Target Retirement fund. I would not think this is a poor choice, but many choose to invest in additional fund to be able to maintain better control of their asset allocation.


Bob
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Wow, that plan looks really familiar, even down to the 3 Victory funds and the Institutional Index Inst. Plus fund. I bet I know who you work for. :-)

I know I'm assuming a lot, but I'll bet that Vanguard provides a link to financial engines software for your plan. I'm pretty sure that Financial Engines is not associated with Vanguard, so it may provide a bit more objective feedback. Also, you can tweak it with different assumptions, including your risk style, retirement horizon, etc. However, as Littlechap mentions, take everything with a grain of salt, because it is hard to say if the information you see on the internet is truly objective.

I would also say that you need to determine what you are willing to do, as far as your own research. I love this stuff, so it's an easy question for me. But do you? If you don't, and you're not interested in doing the research, I'd probably recommend that you look at index funds.

Good luck
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Yikes! Having to choose between all those funds can be quite intimidating!

I agree with CABob's advise to first allocate everything to a retirement target date fund, while you get yourself a little bit of an education on investing.

One book I would highly recommend is Bernstein's "Four Pillars of Investing". A second choice would be "The Coffeehouse Investor". A third choice would be Bogle's book on Mutual Funds.

I think reading any one of these books would be a better investment of your time than chasing all over the web for research and advice, which you have no way of guaging how reliable the research or advice is.

Much of how you handle your investing portfolio now and in the future is determined by how much education you're willing to get, how much time and energy you're willing to devote, and how much you think you'll get rewarded for doing so. In the end, it's up to you.

But keep in mind that there are many 'lazy' investors who do quite well simply by knowing the basics of portfolio allocation. Spending too much time and energy researching every investment option is, IMHO, often not the way one wants to spend their leisure life.

2old


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Thank you, all, for your valuable input here. Especially thanks to littlechap. (just count the words he/she typed in. :-)) Of course, other Fool's advices to me are very informational too. And I decide before I can learn the basics and define my goals and risks, I will, like CABob suggests, put all of them into one retirement fund, then I will make the changes as time comes.

Another thing I want to ask, if any of you know, how about the Money Advisor service TMF provides? Are they good? It's worth for me to use them to help me do my personal financial plan?

thanks again!!!
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I think reading any one of these books would be a better investment of your time than chasing all over the web for research and advice, which you have no way of guaging how reliable the research or advice is.

This echoes a point I made, but I realized later that I overlooked one big advantage of online information: TIMELINESS. For example, Morningstar's news page reports the comings and goings of fund managers, the introduction of new products like ETFs, the closings or openings of funds, changes in expense ratios, and other things that no book can do.

And an online source like Morningstar, although not 100% perfect, is overall surely as reliable as any single book by a single author. The analyst opinions on that service range from mediocre to superb, but at least the company goes to some trouble to discuss different fund styles, asset classes, and other categorizations.

The original poster asked about how to allocate her investments, and I tend to agree that it would not hurt to get into a fairly passive fund just to get started and meet the 401K deadline. But she needs to know just how vast the differences can be in the potential choices she faces.

This chart illustrates three different ways one could have "beat the market" over the past year. It compares the S&P500 index -- which is technically a domestic stock, diversified multicap blend fund -- with a Healthcare Sector Fund, a Natural Resources sector fund, and an Emerging Markets stock fund:
http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=GAGEX&t=1y&l=on&z=m&q=l&c=SSEMX,ICHCX,%5EGSPC

No, not everybody wants to go to the trouble of finding these alternative investments. But I managed to do so, without an advisor, without slaving over it, just by putting in a bit of research and time. I also disregarded a lot of advice by other people telling me that I could not beat the index. The point is that one does not get returns like those shown on the chart without putting in some effort.

Back to online sources: the numeric data at M* and other sources is very useful, but BUT DANGEROUS if one does not know how to interpret it. So the point of one's initial education should be to learn what all the buzzwords mean, and why they may, or may not, be important. That is where the general advice of books may be most useful.

I also think it's crucial to get multiple viewpoints. All too often I see people describing screens in which their criteria -- culled from "how-to" books -- knock them out of many great mutual funds that do not fit the paint-by-numbers criteria.

Much of how you handle your investing portfolio now and in the future is determined by how much education you're willing to get, how much time and energy you're willing to devote, and how much you think you'll get rewarded for doing so. In the end, it's up to you.

That is all very true. But we are addressing somebody who has gotten as far as signing up for the Motley Fool and paying for a subscription. One might assume that this person has a bit of motivation. And in any case, I would urge anybody who puts a single dime into an investment, to have a clue WHY they are doing that.

I mean, if the Enron disaster taught us anything, it is that a whole lot of people made really awful decisions with their money, the most memorable being Congressional testimony by former employees who invested ALL their money into a single stock -- breaking a cardinal rule of investing, i.e. overconcentration.

We've discussed the Vanguard target funds before and I do not recall the particulars of every single one. However, I do recall one thread in which one "fund of funds," of the many Vanguard offers, grouped a couple of good funds with a couple of dogs, thus hiding some bad performing products by averaging them out with better ones in a package.

NO, I'm not saying that's the case with the Target fund mentioned earlier. I'm saying that if an investor does not "look under the hood" of an investment, he/she will not know if such a thing is happening.

Right now, people who own "target" retirement funds with maturities in 2005 or 2006 are probably watching the portfolios SHRINK, because most such funds go heavily into bonds at the tail end -- and right now bonds are down, and going further down. An awful lot of slow growth over many years can be hammered by a drop of just a few percent in the final year(s). It's something that an investor should care about, and just trusting fate is not a very good plan. As Jim Cramer says, "HOPE is not part of the equation!"

But keep in mind that there are many 'lazy' investors who do quite well simply by knowing the basics of portfolio allocation. Spending too much time and energy researching every investment option is, IMHO, often not the way one wants to spend their leisure life.

Well, first off -- since when is investing a "leisure" activity? My goodness. Perhaps it's just a hobby for some folks, but for me it is quite serious, and I consider it to be an obligation to myself. The upside of the effort is that there are intellectual and emotional rewards for succeeding at it.

Furthermore, there is a BIG spread between "researching every investment option" as you put it, and doing no research at all. In my view, "lazy" investors will indeed get "lazy" returns compared to those who put out some effort. The original poster specifically said that she wishes to be "aggressive" in her choices. I think she has pretty much said she is looking for more than just "average."

I just can't sit back and endorse the idea that we should encourage any reader of this board to be lazy. I know you didn't mean it quite that way, but that's what it boils down to. If a person does not give a hoot about his/her financial future, then they can just mail me a check every month and I'll send them a thank you note. <g> After all, that is EXACTLY what some really bad mutual funds do, in effect.

Luckily, I don't think there are any funds on that list quite so bad as that! But I have been through that wringer once, and learned a whole lot of things *not* to do. That's what got me started on a learning curve that continues even now. It made me very skeptical, and desirous of knowing how to handle my own money, rather than relying too much on advice whose quality I could not evaluate.

This is an old discussion, really, and I think we all pretty much agree with your conclusion that every investor has to find his/her own comfort level, and degree of motivation. I just happen to feel that extra work usually IS rewarded, and that independent thinking and learning should be encouraged at every opportunity.
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No. of Recommendations: 1
I look for 7 basic things in a mutual fund.

1) Dividend Yield. I like funds produce income as well as growth, especially if I am holding positions within a Roth IRA as those dividends are tax free.

2) Expense Ratio. I like funds that are cheap to manage. No Load funds are a given, so I look for funds that have expense ratios at least under 1.00 and preferably under 0.50.

3) Management Tenure. The number of years the fund has been lead by the same manager is key to understanding the investment approach they have undertaken. Similarly, having confidence that tenured management will continue on after you stake your position.

4) Turnover. Funds that have a high turnover rate are often more expensive and indicative of either a speculative or scrambling investment style. I prefer the the buy-and-hold strategy that turnover rates under 50% may reflect.

5) Morningstar rating. 5 stars means silk sheets and mints on the pillow. Pick your rating system but if the mutual fund is hitting on all cylinders, analysts will recognize it.

6) Weighted Return. I get a lot of complaints on this one, but I value a long consistent history over short term performance. So I give more weight to 5 and 10 year performance over 1 and 3 year performance. What I look for here is consistency during different market conditions as opposed to astronomic returns.

7) Projected Year-End Yield. Past performance is no indication of future returns, but I try to prognosticate by taking the YTD yield and pretending that the fund will continue to perform through the end of the year as it has to date.

After this, it becomes more subjective. Does the fund fit in with my asset allocation and diversification strategies? After reading the prospectus, do I feel comfortable that I understand the fund's objectives and strategy? Is this the best fund among its peers for the category?

Fuskie
Who hopes these and other ideas give you the tools to dig into your 401k plan's options...
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I would second the motion to start by signing up for the targeted retirement fund to get things rolling.

Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 VTIVX 0306

Then start with the Fuskie method -or similar from a reliable source (no not saying Fuskie is not realiable, just you may have another source that floats your boat)
1) Dividend Yield.
2) Expense Ratio.
3) Management Tenure.
4) Turnover.
5) Morningstar rating.
6) Weighted Return.
7) Projected Year-End Yield.


but what I would suggest first is using the Morningstar rating, and reading any report as to why the rating is what it is. As you read the reports note the things you like and think are important. As ValueFan said - it depends on how much you time and energy you want to spend -

Oh by the way ValueFan - How about that last Ute/Cougar game???

Then as you get to know what you like make a list. Then when you are ready - try to tackle the asset allocation and the funds will fall into place....

DrTarr
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Oh by the way ValueFan - How about that last Ute/Cougar game???

live it up, live it up...:-) but, at least we get to go bowling this year. It's been a while.

Been a rough year for my 49ers too...maybe I can get a little sympathy from Littlechap after tonights Eagles/Seahawks...um...game?

I would second the motion to start by signing up for the targeted retirement fund to get things rolling.

Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 VTIVX 0306


The target retirement funds are designed just for that, someone who has not done any research. To be sure, you can do a lot worse than that fund. But, I also believe you can do better with a little bit of work.
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If it were me at 30 years old wanting to be aggressive I'd go with the mid cap index fund, the small cap index fund, 30% each. Then I'd go 15% in the Vanguard healthcare fund, 15% in the cheapest (as far as fees are concerned) large cap index fund or the total market index fund and the remaining 10% in the best performing international index fund with the best 5 to 10 year track record. This plan would require you to do a little research comparing the international offerings...and if none of those offered appealed to you then simply pick another sector fund or distribute the remaining 10% into what you liked the best-for me it just might go 5% into the vanguard healthcare and 5% into my total market/large cap index fund.

As young as you are I'd stay away from any of the bond offerings. If you wanted to simplify, simply go with the Target retirement fund that is farthest away from this year-If one is target 2045, and another is Target 2065-the more aggressive approach would be the target 65. You would just have to re-assess your risk tolerance every 5 years or so to make sure you were assuming the level of aggressiveness you were seeking-of course the closer you get to retrement the less risk you probably want to assume, but that is a personal thing. The idea behind these "Target date" funds is that they adjust over time to be less aggressive as you get to retirement age. For me they start out a little too concervative though, and I like taking a more active role in what my furture will be-for better or worse!

Also, I'd be fairly generous with my contributions-hoping to put at least 12 to 15% of my income into the plan.

This is what I'd do if it were me, so your mileage may vary...

Dave
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Sorry, should have been more specific-My mid cap and small cap index funds would be the Vanguard offerings....and if the international fund did not appeal to you I'd look at t-rowe's financial, energy, and science & Tech fund and compare their 10 year track records and pick what I was most comfortable with...or simply redistribute the 10% into the other funds as described earlier...

As for financial planning- I have never used the Fool's. I think I'd rather go with someone I could meet with face to face-a fee per visit planner with no ties to a single company would be what I might look for. Do not go with someone who is paid commision or who work for a mutual fund company-they will be biased towards their products, good or bad, and if they get paid per transaction they will have you trading WAY too much!

An even better suggestion if you have the inclination would be to read several books on the subject and educate yourself. The Coffee House investor is a decent 1st book, The Four Pilars of Investing is another. Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover is a good money mangement book and his web site has a book list of suggested reading as well.

Just some more food for thought

Dave
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