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No. of Recommendations: 3
Ok, so I've mastered the pay off debt deal. I have opened an index fund. I do the 401K at work getting the full company match. I also participate in the company stock purchase plan. Not too much, I won't be overweighted there.

What next? I feel like I should be able to get more information for the next steps. Do any of you use a newsletter? Are you getting tips and advice from some other source? How are you making decisions about what to invest in next? Should there be a next, after an index fund?

I keep looking in bookstores to see if there is more guidance, but don't see anything. I feel like I'm flailing about making little headway.

fredinseoul
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No. of Recommendations: 2
Ok, so I've mastered the pay off debt deal. I have opened an index fund. I do the 401K at work getting the full company match. I also participate in the company stock purchase plan. Not too much, I won't be overweighted there.

What next? I feel like I should be able to get more information for the next steps. Do any of you use a newsletter? Are you getting tips and advice from some other source? How are you making decisions about what to invest in next? Should there be a next, after an index fund?

I keep looking in bookstores to see if there is more guidance, but don't see anything. I feel like I'm flailing about making little headway.

fredinseoul


You didn't mention what kind of index fund. S&P 500?

I wrote a post on my blog about index investing:

Beat the Pros by Being a “Know-Nothing Investor”
http://www.rationalwealth.net/blog/2008/05/15/beat-the-pros-...
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Do you have a plan with what you want to do with the next 5, 10 twenty years and the rest of your life? Decide that and you'll have a much better idea of how much to save and for what purposes.



Seattle Pioneer
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No. of Recommendations: 2
I recommend you sell your company stock as soon as it's vested or allowed. My old ESPP (employee stock purchase plan) allowed us to use up to 10% of our paychecks to purchase shares (the actual purchases were made twice a year). If you sold automatically, every 6 months there was a guaranteed 15% profit (taxed of course, as it was only purchaseable through taxable paycheck income, not inside our 401k). This was amazing, as the very last paycheck's contribution made 15% just like the contribution made 6 months earlier. I participted to the max.

I recommend Paul Farrell's lazy portfolios:
http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/lazy-portfolio-investo...

Or Scott Burns' couch potato-type portfolios:
http://assetbuilder.com/Investing/inv_potato.aspx

Or just use on of Vanguard, Fidelity, or T Rowe Price's "retirement funds," which are funds of funds that they rebalance for you every year. Pick one that is closest to your preferred allocation or year of planned retirement. Or you might choose a long-term stalwart like Oakmark Equity and Income fund--I'm glad I bought a chunk in 2003.
http://quicktake.morningstar.com/FundNet/TotalReturns.aspx?C...

The people I know who follow newsletters or advisers are as likely to do worse than the market as better. Each adviser seems to work well for a while--until it doesn't. And unless you're willing to analyze and monitor individual stocks (and even if you do-), that can be a risky route as well.

Which index fund are you invested in? I would, at minimum, invest in Total US, Total International, and a non-risky fixed income fund or individual bonds--I prefer govt bonds, especially TIPS, and CDs. I'm already retired and my husband is getting close. We have a 10-year CD and TIPS ladder to cover our basic income requirements in case of a really long bear market, when I wouldn't want to sell stock.

Good luck!
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No. of Recommendations: 0
All,

Thanks for the replies.

I am investing in VFINX. It is slow slogging lately and it was down again today. I hope it stays down for another two days, I buy on the 7th of each month.

I don't like the retirement funds. They get into bonds too early and too much. I am looking at about 35 years in retirement, so I want growth as much as possible. I haven't looked at income funds. I've looked at the lazy portfolio. I am doing it, but slowly.

I'm looking at some stocks in addition to the index funds for kind of a charged return. If a couple of stocks surge, their impact on an index is lessened through dilution. OTOH, which stocks? I like the market we are in for purchasing. I bought LOW, PEP, MAA, and have been DRIPing ALE for more than a decade. I guess I am looking for more ideas to boost returns.

Does anyone do anything but stocks? I look at the current housing mess and dream of buying something I could turn into a rental. I worry about being a landlord, but income is income, right?

Other income streams out there? Franchising? Business ownership? Can you make it to FIRE without going that way?

Questions troubling a jet-lagged mind.

fredinseoul
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Other income streams out there? Franchising? Business ownership?
Do you have a college near you with classes in entrepreneurship? There are many possibilities and a good teacher can help you sort it out.

Can you make it to FIRE without going that way?
Yes.

We are FIRE (well sort of--I am, but the hubster still enjoys his semi-retirement job as a college instructor). We made it to FIRE through saving in 401ks and taxable accounts, getting stock options and ESPPs in the software industry, big appreciation in one house that enabled us to forgo mortgages ever after, not making too many serious investing mistakes, and living below our means. Work with very high compensation (allowing very high saving) and even modestly compensated work with a good pension and retiree health insurance can also work.
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Ok, so I've mastered the pay off debt deal. I have opened an index fund. I do the 401K at work getting the full company match. I also participate in the company stock purchase plan.

This looks good. A taxable account, a tax-deferred account(410k), and snapping up the bargain company stock.

Have you decided on an asset allocation? Remember that your asset allocation includes ALL of your assets. What are you investing your 401k in? How does that fit in with your asset allocation? What percentage have you allocated to your non-index stock purchases? We're already FIREd, so the "play money" percentage is small.

MadCapitalist has a good point that an average return on investment has its advantages. And you already know about keeping the fees low.

Alstroemeria pointed you to some good links for looking at asset allocation. I haven't really found any that distinguish between the accumulation and disbursement phases.

For other stock ideas, you might wander by the BMW board
http://boards.fool.com/Messages.asp?mid=26857192&bid=116...

Landlording works better when you can do most of the required upkeep yourself. Remember to figure in the various taxes and fees--my town charges me both a rental fee and a business license with a percentage of income fee. Plus all the regular costs of owning.

I found it convenient to map our various assets into the categories available in Quicken. I like the pretty charts and tables.

Vickifool
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