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  1. #1 Investing, retiring, saving...... unrequested advice 
    Ancient Fire Breather Retread's Avatar
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    Whatever- Back in 1998 it looked like I was going to be booted out the door as my company was being absorbed by another and, in the position I was in, one of us had to go. Luckily, my boss was savvy enough to survey our side of the fence and basically get a severance for any who wanted it and a position, although some were shaky, for those who desired to stay on.

    As a benefit I spent a lot of time looking into my options, who/where were the best places to invest, with whom and at what cost. The following list is the take-a-ways from that time.

    Know where your 401(k), if you have one, is invested and what in. Check out ALL your options and watch out for 'gotchas'.
    IMHO none of this money should be in stock but near all should be in equities - Contradiction? No, Mutual Funds. Just watch those fees, every fund has them but they vary by 300% or more.
    Same with IRAs.
    If your company offers a match, put at least that much in every paycheck - your money is doubled - that day.

    Our 401(k) offered up historical records of all the options so the first thing I did was taking that history back to before the last down-market and tracking them through a multi-year period to decide just which ones to move my money into. I re-evaluated that every 6 months and rebalanced when needed. I still do that to some degree with my IRA.

    Reading: Anything Scott Burns writes. He has a column in many of the papers across the country as well as online availability. His website describes a series of suggested portfolios all based on diversification and low fees. His columns build an educated investors tool box almost daily.
    William J Bernstein: If You Can: How Millennials Can Get Rich Slowly [Kindle Edition] $0.99 – A grand total of 17 pages but with reading assignments that you can get from the local library. The Doc said he would give it away but Amazon won’t let him. Check out the reviews. I gave it a 5. It’s a good read for anyone wanting to build wealth at any age.
    The Motley Fool - Ask the fool: It is directed at stock buyers but the advice is often just a good, sound and sensible thought process.

    Gotchas: Quick trade penalties – trading in and out of a fund too quickly. It can get you banned from trading and/or cost you a penalty.
    Target date funds – IMHO they are all far too conservative. Choose the fund that is 5-10 years beyond what is recommended.
    Fees, fees, fees.

    Full disclosure: I have two IRA’s derived from my employment. One I started with a fee adviser several years before I retired for us to evaluate one another. The other is under my direct control with a non-fee adviser who is there simply to answer operational questions and invite me to investment seminars. My wife and I each have an annuity under Metlife – I cannot emphasize this enough – don’t do it. If you see a need for an annuity, don’t consider the life ins type, just discuss it with a real annuity company. I also have two stock accounts that are less than 5% of my net worth. One holds the dividend stocks and the good stuff I’ve lucked into, the other, smaller one is my “play money”.

    Further info – the gubmint is out to get you. When I retired I had no need of SS or retirement funds for most of the next two years. I went ahead and filed for SS just under a year later but I got a bonus amount by qualifying at age 67 rather than my required 66.5. With all that I did not have to hit any of my “retirement” until in 2013 I turned 70 and a half and the feds forced a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD). My old defined benefit plan was sitting there earning a guaranteed 5% a year minimum but I had to withdraw it because the plan options did not offer me the ability to pull a variable amount annually. Side-note – IMHO take the lump sum, not the monthly check; especially in times of low interest rates.

    Other observations: numbers said she was going to retire early and wasn’t the least bit worried. The reason is she works for the gubmint where you cannot get fired and are guaranteed raises every year even when the ‘freeze’ is on.
    As numbers also said – the post offers up a very good, common sense check list.
    It's not how old you are, it's how you got here.
    It's been a long road and not all of it was paved.
    A man is but a product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes. Gandhi
    Quote Originally Posted by Carol
    When I judge someone's integrity one key thing I look at is - How does s/he treat people s/he doesn't agree with or does not like?
    I can respect someone who I do not agree with, but I have NO respect for someone who puts others down in a public forum. That is the hallmark of someone who has no integrity, and cannot be trusted.
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  2. #2  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retread View Post
    Other observations: numbers said she was going to retire early and wasn’t the least bit worried. The reason is she works for the gubmint where you cannot get fired and are guaranteed raises every year even when the ‘freeze’ is on.
    As numbers also said – the post offers up a very good, common sense check list.
    If you are referring to me, you are incorrect about one thing: I do not work for the "gubmint", and I never have. I work for a private company in the Washington area, and have for the past fourteen years. Before that, I worked for two consulting firms and for a couple of trade associations. Before that, I worked for the company which (at the time) was #5 on the Fortune 500, and I benefited from plenty of discount stock purchases while there.

    I have not worked one day of my life for the "gubmint", and have never been a beneficiary of the benefits you describe (can't get fired, raise every year).
    "Today, [the American voter] chooses his rulers as he buys bootleg whiskey, never knowing precisely what he is getting, only certain that it is not what it pretends to be." - H.L. Mencken
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  3. #3  
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    Addendum: I certainly don't have any pension benefits that feds have; my husband and I have built our own 401(k) and other investments over the years, sometimes (but by no means always) with an employer match. I'm still confident about retirement in two or three years (I just turned 59).
    "Today, [the American voter] chooses his rulers as he buys bootleg whiskey, never knowing precisely what he is getting, only certain that it is not what it pretends to be." - H.L. Mencken
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  4. #4  
    Ancient Fire Breather Retread's Avatar
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    My apologies all over the place - I based my assumptions on the pure DC gubmint bureauacry sound of your postings. So now I can say the gubmint portion does not apply....
    It's not how old you are, it's how you got here.
    It's been a long road and not all of it was paved.
    A man is but a product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes. Gandhi
    Quote Originally Posted by Carol
    When I judge someone's integrity one key thing I look at is - How does s/he treat people s/he doesn't agree with or does not like?
    I can respect someone who I do not agree with, but I have NO respect for someone who puts others down in a public forum. That is the hallmark of someone who has no integrity, and cannot be trusted.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  5. #5  
    Ancient Fire Breather Retread's Avatar
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    More from Scott Burns for those with 401(k) plans
    It's not how old you are, it's how you got here.
    It's been a long road and not all of it was paved.
    A man is but a product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes. Gandhi
    Quote Originally Posted by Carol
    When I judge someone's integrity one key thing I look at is - How does s/he treat people s/he doesn't agree with or does not like?
    I can respect someone who I do not agree with, but I have NO respect for someone who puts others down in a public forum. That is the hallmark of someone who has no integrity, and cannot be trusted.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  6. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retread View Post
    My apologies all over the place - I based my assumptions on the pure DC gubmint bureauacry sound of your postings. So now I can say the gubmint portion does not apply....
    That's ok; it's a normal assumption about the DC area. If I sound "bureaucratic" it may be because I don't live in a constant state of boiling outrage. How exhausting. :) Private companies and private industry are a far larger percentage of the DC-area economy than they used to be. If I don't see government as an automatic enemy, it may be because I have friends who are deputy chiefs of mission in the State Department, "Das"es (Deputy Assistant Secretaries in federal agencies), etc. Those are very normal jobs in this town - and they don't exist anywhere else.
    "Today, [the American voter] chooses his rulers as he buys bootleg whiskey, never knowing precisely what he is getting, only certain that it is not what it pretends to be." - H.L. Mencken
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