Thursday, March 31, 2011

Keeping it Simple

... with one-stop investment choices.

I'm halfway through this round of 401(k) enrollment meetings. And the thing that strikes me is how many Plan participants don't want some kind of high maintenance investment program, but something simple and unadorned that they can "set and forget." So here, in truncated form, are a few selections out of the TAG 401(k) Plan ...

If you are terrified of losing money in the stock market, TAG 401(k) Plan has got:

Vanguard Target Retirement Income Fund

This baby gives you 30% stocks (domestic and foreign equity index funds), and 70% bonds (Total Bond Market, Treasury Inflation Protected Securities, Cash.) There is also:

Pimco Total Return Fund

This intermediate bond fund is run by fixed-income wizard Bill Gross from his PIMCO palace in Newport Beach. Hasn't done gangbusters in the last few months, but it's been a high-performer over longer stretches of time. (Total Return has higher administrative costs than I like, but you probably won't lose much money -- if any -- by being in it. Unlike "Target Income", it contains no stocks.)

And if you're okay with owning some stock exposure, but don't want to overdo it, there are these one-stop options:

Vanguard Target Retirement 2010 Fund

This specimen has 49% stocks, 51% bonds and cash. Over the last several decades, this allocation has hovered right around the "efficient frontier," a nice balance of returns on investment along with pretty good safety (meaning the big slug of bonds in the portfolio has helped protect the risk of its stock allocation.)

Vanguard Target Retirement 2020 Fund

This Target fund gives you 67% stocks, 33% bonds. It's well-designed for participants in their thirties.

There are thousands of ways to invest your money. Individual stocks. Actively managed mutual funds. Index funds. Lots of people earnestly believe that if they can find the right high-flying fund with the best hard-charging manager, their futures will be assured. I believe that it's pretty to think there's some perfect stock-picker out there, but chasing returns or the Next Hot Fund is, in my humble opinion, a fool's enterprise.

Studies show that over long stretches of time, Index funds outperform most managed funds. So it might be useful to play the odds, invest in lower cost index mutual funds, and not over think things too much.

(And here, courtesy of, is a sampling of various index-fund portfolios that have performed quite well over time.)

Upcoming TAG 401(k) Informational/ Enrollment Meetings

Fox Animtn -- Thurs. Mar. 31, 2-3 p.m.

WB Animtn -- Mon. Aprl 4, 10-11 a.m., conf. rm.

Sony Pict. Anmtn -- Tues. Aprl 5, 2-3 p.m.

Film Rmn -- Wed. Aprl 6, 10-11, glass conf. rm.

Nick Studio -- Thurs., April 7, 2-3 p.m., conf. rm.


Anonymous said...

absence of replies must mean no one has any savings.

Steve Hulett said...

... or maybe interest.

Anonymous said...

No, I have both retirement savings and interest in investing. However, I do not work at a union shop with access to Animation Guild 401(k) at this time. If I did, I'd choose the Vanguard TR 2020 fund for its stock/bond ratio.

I max out my Roth IRA, my spouse's Roth IRA and a SEP-IRA every year. I just need to dip a toe into taxable investing waters to make up for my lack of a 401(k) at this time. My one irrational worry right now is the thought of making a mistake in my taxable investing, since I've never done it before.

I recently purchased The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-Timers, and the Self-Employed to read its retirement planning section. It touches on taxable investing, and I'm hoping to pick up some tips.

Site Meter