Investment update for December 2018

Well, despite some of the headlines we’ve seen about the market tanking again, November was an “up” month for me in comparison to how October left me. It just continues to show how the markets work (up one minute, down the next, but overall following an upward, though jerky, trend).

I believe a lot of folks don’t realize how much the Fed has an influence on the markets. For the 7-8 years after the “great recession” of 2008-2009, the Federal Reserve, or Fed, pumped a huge amount of money into the economy in order to keep deflation from happening. Due to that amazing amount of easy money, the markets responded by essentially tripling in value over that time. However, over the last year or two, the Fed has been increasing interest rates and pulling money out of the market. The result is that the markets are having a hard time, with the Fed putting the breaks on.

Many companies are enjoying strong profits, and the P/E ratio of the S&P 500 is 22.05 (est.) which is what it was back in 2015. Think about that, companies are more profitable than they were in 2016 (total return 11.96%) or 2017 (total return 21.83%) – but they can’t increase their price. There just isn’t much new money in the system, and it appears that the profits from 2016 and 2017, at least, were partially driven by easy Fed money.

So what to do? I plan on staying the course, like so many others of you. Over time, the market will increase. We will just have to weather the ups & downs.

Retirement Accounts: Remember, my allocation for these is:

  • 30% Bond Index Fund
  • 17.5% S&P500 Index Fund
  • 17.5% International Index Fund
  • 17.5% Small Cap Index Fund
  • 17.5% REIT Index Fund

So for the month, I’m up about 2%, with the big gainers kinda matching the big losers of earlier in the year.

  • S&P500: +2.8%%
  • Small Cap: +5.5%
  • International: +1.9%
  • Bonds: +0.8%
  • REITs: +3.9%

My 401K/Deferred account at work is up a similar amount

Dividend Income Account: Allocation:

  • 25% Dividend Stocks
  • 25% REITs
  • 50% Bond Index Funds

This is up about 2.3%, with several of the REITs (especially HealthCare) going up strongly. Many of the dividend stocks (Chevron, Cisco, etc.) bounced back after big loses. Bonds went up, although my total bond market index greatly outpaced by intermediate bond index fund.

Value Investing Account: I sold off my value stocks in late November to pay for my Roth IRA rollover. I rolled over about $100K from regular IRA to Roth, and paid the taxes out of this “fun money” account. Due to the losses of the stocks, I was able to “harvest the tax loss” and reduce my taxes a little for 2018.

Allocation now:

  • 39% USAA Market Index (my brokerage is USAA)
  • 61% in Vanguard Value Index fund

Both of these were up in November. USAA’s extended market was up 1.8%, but Vanguard’s value index was up 5.1%. Again, these guys both got hit last month, so for the most part, it was gaining back ground.

For the year, I am down 1.99%, so I am hoping for a strong December to at least get me into positive territory for the year. So far, it hasn’t worked out that way. I guess we will see at the year end round up.

How did you do in November?

 

Mr. 39 Months

Well, I took the plunge….

If you remember in some of my previous posts on draw-down strategy and the Power of Zero, I talked about using money from my “fun money” value investing account to do a Roth conversion on a significant portion of my regular IRA funds. The objective would be to reduce my 401K amount and reduce my Required Minimum Distributions from them by transferring money to Roth’s now, while the tax rates are so low.

I’ve been bouncing back & forth on this because of my job situation (somewhat sketchy) and the potential impact of getting let go. If let go, I would be due a significant (six-figures) deferred payment, which would shoot me past the 24% tax rate. I’d rather not hit that.

Now that it seems secure, I traded in my two value stocks, Gilead and Cia Saneamento Basico – both of which were in negative numbers for the year. I’ll be able to offset some other stock gains, get out of the value investing business (which I apparently suck at) and convert money to the Roth. A triple win!

Mrs. 39 Months has her regular IRA & Roth at Troweprice, and I have mine at Vanguard. Both of them make it relatively easy to convert money from their regular IRA to their Roth IRA with a few clicks of the mouse. I rolled them right into the exact same index funds that they had previously, so hopefully, no harm/no foul.

The one issue for both of them is the default is that you want taxes taken out of the money you shift over (rather than paying the taxes separately). This would cause you both to lose the money from your IRA and potentially force you to pay a 10% penalty due to early withdrawal before age 59-1/2. Make sure if you do this that you pay attention to the questions you are asking and don’t pay your taxes out of the money you are transferring.

I think I may do this one more time, in 2019, based on the job situation. Then I’ll be in pretty good shape as I cruise to my FIRE date – July 2020!

Mr. 39 Months

Drawdown Strategy Analysis – using “Power of Zero” – V2 using lessons from the book

My last post, I covered the traditional way to withdraw upon reaching retirement (all your taxable, then all your tax deferred, and finally, all your tax-free spending. In the end, I was left with $1.1M in my Roth IRA.

I also did the analysis with a withdrawal rate of $84,000/year (of which 8,500 if Fed/State taxes). This works out to $75,500 if I manage to avoid any taxes whatever – based on the guidelines of “the power of zero”. In addition, if I keep my income around $24K (the exemption for married) my medical subsidies will reduce my medical costs by an estimated $7.166/year. So I’m going to assume a withdrawal rate of 68,500 to keep the same lifestyle as my previous withdrawal – again provided I can keep my revenue at $24K for the year.

In order to make this work, I would need to use money in my investment account over the next two years to shift $200,000 from my Tax-Deferred bucket, into my Tax-free bucket (using my investment account to pay the taxes. If I do this, at my FIRE date (21 months from now) I should have the following assets:

  1. Taxable bucket: $302,358 (including $156,689 in deferred that I will have just paid the taxes on)
  2. Tax-Deferred: $518,578
  3. Tax-Free: $505,627

So, unless being spent, the items listed will grow at 5.24%.

  • Year 2020 (6 months): Pulling $42K out of Tax-Deferred account (Pop’s IRA). Taxable, but I just got hit with a lot of taxes for my Deferred.
  • Year 2021-2024: Withdraw minimum from Pop’s IRA (a little over $4K) and enough from Mrs. 39 months IRA to hit the $24K (allowance for IRS with no taxes) and remainder from Taxable bucket. This allows us to pay $0 in tax and minimal for insurance, due to subsidies
  • Year 2025-2026: Mrs. 39 Months starts collecting Soc. Security, which alters some stuff. Continue to pull minimum distribution from Pop’s IRA (starting to climb to $5K and $6K), finished depleting our taxable bucket, while reducing money from our tax-deferred bucket to keep total under the $32K minimum for tax-free. Will need to start pulling some from our Tax-Free Roth to make up for lower Tax-Deferred money
  • Year 2027-2028: Mrs. 39 Months goes on Medicare. Assuming medical costs increase about $4500. Continue to take minimum from Tax-Deferred to keep Soc Security under $32K point where we’d have to pay taxes on it. Still Tax free 8 years after retirement.
  •  Year 2029-2031: Mr. 39 Months goes on Medicare. Assume medical costs climb to our final number, so our withdrawal has to be $75,500/year (adjusted for inflation). Still able to pay no taxes by withdrawing minimums from Tax-Deferred and supplementing with Tax-free Roth.
  • Year 2032: Mr. 39 Months begins taking Soc. Security at age 67. However, I’m going to assume that, due to issues with Soc. Security, I am going to assume that I am only going to get half of what I will get (i.e. 50% cut in benefits), so that works out to $16,908/year. So, each year roughly $30K in Soc. Additional funds out of Tax-Deferred and Tax-Free, but I’m going to be past the “don’t pay taxes on Soc Sec – now taxed at 50% of them. Assume income requirements go up to $77K
  • Year 2033-On. RMDs and Social Security force me into higher tax brackets, meaning I’m set at $78500. Mix of Tax-Deferred and Tax-Free withdrawals keep me in good shape.
  • Year 2062: I hit 97 and Mrs. 39 Months hits 99. We have roughly $924K in Roth IRA, and $192K in Tax-Deferred IRA, for a total of $1.16M.

This is more than we had under scenario 1.  This also doesn’t touch our “emergency fund” or house money – which I think of as our backup money in case of major disaster. If this tells me anything, it’s that I should look to shift more than $200k from our Tax-Deferred money, so that we can possibly keep our taxes lower once we start taking our Social Security.

Again, issues with this are that it shows that I could have taken out more and “lived a little more” in my years. In addition, I kept the $9K in medical spending stable, which might not really be accurate.  However, I ended up not paying much in taxes over much of the early part of the retirement.

I think the next step here is to do this study, assuming no social security, and see where that hits.

Other blogs on this top

 

Mr. 39 Months

Drawdown Strategy Analysis – using “Power of Zero”

After reading The Power of Zero  I decided to do an analysis on how effective this would be versus my current drawdown plan.  Some of the key aspects of the analysis include:

  • Withdrawal amount after taking into account taxes
  • Effect of revenue on social security
  • Effect of revenue on medical subsidies

As you remember from my review, the book breaks your funding down to three buckets:

  1. Taxable bucket (savings accounts, CDs, brokerage accounts, etc.)
  2. Tax-deferred bucket (401Ks, IRAs, etc.)
  3. Tax-Free bucket (Roth IRAs, LIRPs, etc.)

The way I chose to do my analysis is as follows:

  1. Identify specific FIRE date to start. This is controversial, in that it is committing me to “retire”, not just hit FI, but keep working
  2. Determine the amount of money I would have in each bucket at that time
  3. Estimate growth of investments while taking out inflation from growth, tax rates, etc.
  4. Determine withdrawal strategy for the two options and apply
  5. Determine a time frame for investments. I am going to assume Mrs. 39 Months and I live till we are 99/97.
  6. Determine if plan will enable us to survive

When going through our budget for retirement, I came up with a spend of $65,104/year, which included $8,892 for medical (insurance, co-pays, deductibles, etc.). Tack on $5,615 for state & local taxes, and I’m coming up with $70,719/year. For the basis of this analysis, I’m going to use $66K/year for expenses (again, I will adjust out for inflation) and $5K for taxes – bringing total to $71K. Just to be “extravagant”, I’m going to assume a spend of $84,000/year. Based on current tax rate and allowances, this would have me paying about $8,500 in taxes (Fed & State).

For investment returns, I’m going to assume 70% stocks (6.8% returns after inflation) and 30% bonds (1.6% returns after inflation) for a blended return rate of 5.24%.

At my FIRE date (21 months from now) I should have the following assets:

  1. Taxable bucket: $364,030 (including $156,689 in deferred that I will have just paid the taxes on)
  2. Tax-Deferred: $729,284
  3. Tax-Free: $294,922

So, unless being spent, the items listed will grow at 5.24%.

  • Year 2020 (6 months): Pulling $42K out of Tax-Deferred account (Pop’s IRA). Taxable, but I just got hit with a lot of taxes for my Deferred.
  • Year 2021 & 2022: Withdraw $63.5K from Taxable bucket & $6K from Pop’s IRA. Pay reduced taxes because Deferred account already paid for them in 2020
  • Year 2023: Withdraw final $45,448 from Deferred, $6K from Pop’s IRA, and $18,052 from Taxable bucket (investments). Again, paying reduced taxes because Deferred account and investments already paid, or income small enough for Cap Gains
  • Year 2024: Pull $63.5K from Investments, $6K from Pop’s IRA. Reduced Taxes
  • Year 2025: Pull Final $3K from Investments, $14K for wife’s Soc Security, and $76K from Pop’s IRA. Wife’s Soc Security pays full taxes on 85% because Pop’s IRA is treated as regular income. Since I am over the ACA limit, my medical costs jump up from $8.8K to $19.4K (ouch!)
  • Year 2026: Pull final $27K from Pop’s IRA and $14K from Soc. Security. Begin drawing down Tax Deferred IRA money ($54.5K). Again, over ACA limit, so high medical. Not taking Mr. 39 Month’s Soc Security at this time.
  • Year 2027: Mrs. 39 Months starts getting medicare, so medical costs drop to about $13.2K (overall revenue needed drops to $89,364/year). Pull $75.5K from Tax Deferred IRA and $14K from SS. Now left with $713K in Tax-Deferred and $430K in Roth IRA.
  • Year 2028-2031: Continue pulling all money from Tax-Deferred Pulling $70-$75K and $14K from Wife’s IRA. All of this is taxable. At 65, Mr. 39 Months converts to Medicare and costs drop
  • Year 2032-2045: Mr. 39 Months begins taking Soc. Security at age 67. However, I’m going to assume that, due to issues with Soc. Security, I am going to assume that I am only going to get half of what I will get (i.e. 50% cut in benefits), so that works out to $16,908/year. So, each year roughly $30K in Soc. Security and $41K from Tax-Deferred accounts. All of this is taxable.
  • Year 2046: Tax-Deferred IRA runs out of money, and have to switch to Roght IRA. At this time, Roth has about $1.02M in it, so the 5.24% return rate will cover this out till we pass away.

So based on that, my excel chart came in at roughly $1,102,346 remaining in my Roth IRA (all of which I could pass on to my heirs tax free). Not bad, though it shows that I could have taken out more and “lived a little more” in my years. In addition, I kept the $9K in medical spending stable, which might not really be accurate. This also assumes the tax rates stay the same in the years ahead (a big “if”).

Tune in next time when I take the “Power of Zero” lessons and try to do even better.

Other blogs on this topic

 

Mr. 39 Months

 

Quarterly Update – Oct 2018

Well, it’s early October, and the year is three-quarters done. Some of the goals have been completed, some are still being worked on, and some have been dropped – a pretty typical year for most folks. So how am I doing in comparison to my goals for 2018?

My Goals for 2018 (some financial, some not):

Finance:

  • Save $81K in tax-advantaged accounts (saved almost $37K in 2017): Grade A. Saved almost $65K after 9 months, and on track to get about $80.5K in by the end of the year.
  • Save $9K in regular: Grade A. Got this done in 1st Qtr 2018.
  • Increase dividend income from all accounts to $24K/year: Grade B. I’ve gotten over $17K for the year, so I’m on track to get to $24K by the end of the year.
  • Passive income covers 33% of base living expenses in retirement, i.e. $24K of my $72K expected expenses: Grade B. See above. If I hit $24K, that is 33% of my expected $72K annual budget upon hitting FI
  • Beat net worth growth rate of 7%: Grade D. So far, I’ve only made 1.5% this year, beyond the money that I have already deposited. If the market stays flat or drops, I won’t hit this number. I need the market to pop up a bit in the last quarter.

Business:

  • Begin attending regular meetings of my local real estate investors association. Grade D. Attended two meetings in 3rd quarter. Slowing down a bit. Some of the meetings have been for info that I’m not interested in, and some of the meetings that I was interested in got blocked by business travel for my job.
  • Double the number of blog visitors in 2018. Grade A. I’ve already hit this goal, and actually working on tripling the number of visitors before the end of the year. Thanks to all of you for tuning in!
  • Write/publish a book on finance.  Grade: Incomplete. Did some initial work on it, but really haven’t put as much work into this as it needs.

Personal:

  • Increase weight lifted by 10% from 2018 (increased by 12.7% in 2017) Grade B: Up 5% from the beginning of the year, but I’ve had some health issues which have set me back here. Still working on it
  • Average 2 hours of cardio per week (currently averaging about an hour).Grade C: Averaging about 1.2 Hours a week for 3rd quarter. Really need to work on this. .
  • Backpack over 100 miles on AT (did over 100 in 2017) Grade: C. Completed only 79 miles this year. Personal issues got in the way of completing other hikes. Looking to rebound in 2019 and get over 130 miles in.
  • Begin volunteering at Pennsbury Manor at their joiner’s shop (woodworking) Grade A: Volunteer training completed, and I’ve been volunteering since May. Year coming to close, but plan to assist in 2019.
  • Reduce weight by 20 lbs. from Jan 2018 (lost 9 lbs. in 2017). Grade D: Dropped down 11 lbs by July 1, but gained most of it back. Health issues are keeping me from aggressively losing more weight right now.
  • Read at least one book a month. Grade A. Read seven (7) books in 3rd qtr – two fiction, 2 financial, three history. I’m going to need to bump this goal up in 2019, cause I’m enjoying it.

Travel:

  • Visit a national park (visited Shenandoah NP in 2017). Grade: A. Visited two parks in May  (Redwoods NP in California and Crater Lake in Oregon) Planning on visiting another park in 2019
  • Visit family in Tennessee, Vermont and New York. Family is very important to me. One of the things I am looking forward to with financial independence is the opportunity to visit family more often. Grade B. Visited family in TN in March. Plans to visit TN in Oct and Nov (Thanksgiving) and Mrs. 39 Months in early November. Missed out on visiting Vermont this year (plan for 2019)
  • Visit Portland, OR and northern California. Grade: A
  • Visit Ellis Island. Wanted to do this in 2017, but didn’t make it. As 50% Czech from immigrant great grandparents from the turn of the century, I believe they went through there, and I want to see it Grade: F. Still haven’t been there and I have had the opportunities.

Overall, I’d give myself a B. Got a lot done, but still have a few more to close out.

Other updates in 2018

How are you going on your goals for 2018?

Mr. 39 Months

Investment update for Sep 1, 2018

Things went well again, with another month of gains which pushed me further into the black for 2018. Still have some ground to makeup after the Feb/Mar meltdown, but its trending well. I am now up 2.24% for the year, with a 1.68% bump in August. An old investment saying was “sell in May and go away!” where you sell everything on Memorial Day (late May) and walk away till Labor Day (Sep). If you did this in 2018, you lost out on some significant gains (about 4% for those 3 months or the equivalent of 15.7% annual). Stick with the plan!

Retirement Accounts: Remember, my allocation for these is:

  • 30% Bond Index Fund
  • 17.5% S&P500 Index Fund
  • 17.5% International Index Fund
  • 17.5% Small Cap Index Fund
  • 17.5% REIT Index Fund

I ended up being about 1.6% up here for August, so they have continued steady increases for a while now. US Small caps continued to surge, and S&P500 and REITS did well. Bonds gained a little and International got hit. See my July post on this to look how each segment did for the first half of the year. Note that these returns include reinvesting dividends.

My 401K/Deferred account at work was up 1.7% for August, with the same general results on each segment. Remember that this account doesn’t have REITs, so it benefits more than above when REITs drop (but doesn’t do as well when REITs surge).

Dividend Income Account: Allocation:

  • 25% Dividend Stocks
  • 25% REITs
  • 50% Bond Index Funds

This account was up 2.2%, so up a bit (in July it dropped -1.6%). For the year, it is a little down, even counting in the dividends. I think this is primarily due to drops in bond index funds. Overall, it continues sending me dividends, but not growing much.

Value Investing Account: Allocation (remember I refocused this at the beginning of February):

  • 40% in individual value stocks I picked myself (2 each, 20% for each) – SBS and GILD
  • 20% USAA Market Index (my brokerage is USAA)
  • 40% in Vanguard Value Index fund

My losing streak starts back up again here, primarily due to my value stock picks. The leader, Cia Saneamento, suffers from the problems that all the international stock funds have (see above). My other value stock, Gilead, was down -2.7%. Meanwhile, my two mutual funds were both up (average of 2.7%). This continues to show me that I am not a good stock picker.

Again, another up month. Let’s hope we can keep this momentum going for the rest of the year, so we can rescue this one.

 

How did you do in August?

 

Mr. 39 Months

Searching for a new home

As a resident of New Jersey, I know that we aren’t going to be able to retire “in place,” i.e. we won’t be able to stay where we live when we retire. New Jersey is already one of the most expensive (or the most expensive) states to live in, and it’s only going to get worse. Taxes keep going up, and as the “Pension Bomb” goes off, there won’t be any money for basic services. The roads are already starting to look like California’s (i.e. rotten). It’s a shame, because the state does have a lot to recommend it, especially its awesome beaches. Still, if we want to be financially independent for the long-term, we’ll have to leave.

There are parts of the country that we have vacationed in that we really like (Pacific Northwest, Northeast US) but we don’t want to retire to. We have ended up concentrating on two areas, Delaware and North Carolina/Tennessee. We can’t decide between beaches and mountains to retire in (I really like mountains, and Mrs. 39 Months and I both grew up in areas that had mountains). We want an area with decent services (hospital, shops, things to do, etc.) and Mrs. 39 Months would like to live in a town setting (she grew up in something like that) where you can walk to things.

Delaware has the advantage of being close to our current area, and the support network we have created (friends, hobbies, clubs, etc.). It has beaches, though the decent ones are very far south (Rehoboth, etc.). It has no sales tax, something that a FI person, who isn’t really generating a lot of income, should concern himself with (Tennessee has no income tax, but a high sales tax). It’s also got relatively low property taxes (because it doesn’t spend a lot on schools, something that shouldn’t concern us). Some of its disadvantages are that it’s very flat, and the beaches aren’t great up north (where the towns and services we like are).

In North Carolina, we are thinking of the Asheville area (near the Smoky Mtns) and in Tennessee we are considering Chattanooga. Both of these spots are in the mountains, offer a lot of outdoor activities, and a thriving social scene in the city. Services are good, though the cost of each (because of their great retirement possibilities) are a tad expensive. Normally I’d think we could sell the house in NJ and buy something in NC/TN and have some money left over, but not so much. Seems everyone is retiring there. Also, it would be a big move, away from all the relationships and everything we’ve built around us here.

I guess that is one of the issues with FIRE. You can use geo-arbitrage to speed up the process, but you still have to consider the move.

 

How are your plans going for where you want to retire?

 

Mr. 39 Months

Purging your Blogroll

One of the things which has always brought me a lot of pleasure is reading other FIRE blogs and seeing the different facets of the subject. It seems each blogger has a topic which motivates them, and they concentrate a great deal of energy on that topic. The result is some excellent reading and the opportunity to learn in-depth of a wide variety of topics.

However, as many folks know, blogging tends to be an exhausting process, and the ground is littered with bloggers who have not lasted more than a year. It seems folks start blogs to tell their tale or write-up their passion. Once that is done, they trail off, and the enjoyment that folks take in reading their work is lost.

As you look to the right on this page, you will see my “blogroll” of sites that I have found and believe worthy of further reading. Yet one of the tasks that has to be done, if the blogroll is not to grow too large, is the weed or “cull” the list occasionally. This can be done due to a fall off in productivity (not that many posts) or quality (no interesting posts). Some sites just stop publishing entirely.

It is often a sad affair, as the reason they were put on is because they have excellent topics and interesting writing. I try to do this at least twice a year, and recently culled a few sites (while adding several others). It is a personal decision, and not one that I take lightly. I hope that my blogroll continues to provide you, the reader, with a good list for you to check out on your own.

I hope you enjoy my writing and the writing of those I point out. Enjoy the rest of summer!

 

Mr. 39 Months

Status Update – Aug 1, 2018

Yeah, I am back “in the black” for the year!

After six months of struggle (the floor fell out in February 2018) I have finally moved back into the black for the year. Overall, I am up 0.7%. A far cry from the 19% of 2017, but at least I am profitable. All we have to do is keep this level up and I might be close to 8% for the year. Fingers crossed!

Retirement Accounts: Remember, my allocation for these is:

  • 30% Bond Index Fund
  • 17.5% S&P500 Index Fund
  • 17.5% International Index Fund
  • 17.5% Small Cap Index Fund
  • 17.5% REIT Index Fund

I ended up being about 1.5% up here for July, so they have continued steady increases for a while now. I re-balanced at the beginning of the month, so I sold some winners and bought some losers. S&P500, US small cap and International did well. Bonds and REITS stayed even/lost a little.  Note that these returns include reinvesting dividends.

My 401K/Deferred account at work was up 3.1% for July, after re-balancing. Remember that this account doesn’t have REITs, so it benefits more than above when REITs drop (but doesn’t do as well when REITs surge).

Dividend Income Account: Allocation:

  • 25% Dividend Stocks
  • 25% REITs
  • 50% Bond Index Funds

This account dropped -1.6% for the month, primarily due to drops in bond index funds (though Cisco and the REITs were also down a bit). This account was better earlier in the year. Overall, its sending me dividends, but not growing much.

Value Investing Account: Allocation (remember I refocused this at the beginning of February):

  • 40% in individual value stocks I picked myself (2 each, 20% for each) – SBS and GILD
  • 20% USAA Market Index (my brokerage is USAA)
  • 40% in Vanguard Value Index fund

This was the surprise. For those who have been following, my “fun money” account has been getting savaged this year. I have bemoaned my inability to pick stocks. Well, we had a minor turnaround in July (Cia Saneamento up 11.5%, Gilead up 9.9%) so the overall value was up 6.8% for July. Still way down for the year, so I still think my stock picking ability has not shown out.

Overall, an up month. Let’s hope we can keep this momentum going for the rest of the year, so we can rescue this one.

How did you do in July?

 

Mr. 39 Months

Well, I suck……

…..at picking stocks.

Seriously, I appear to be pretty bad at this. For the month of May, I made back a lot on some of the losses for the year, but my few value stock picks really tanked, dragging me down. I mean -$4,387 (or -17.3% down)! I ended up 1.26% for the month of June, primarily due to the good performance of my index funds. Still down 1.9% for the year, not counting what I have put into the accounts for the last 5 months. Still, I guess I’m buying stuff on sale, so I have that going for me.

Retirement Accounts: Remember, my allocation for these is:

  • 30% Bond Index Fund
  • 17.5% S&P500 Index Fund
  • 17.5% International Index Fund
  • 17.5% Small Cap Index Fund
  • 17.5% REIT Index Fund

I ended up being about 1.7% up here, after my monthly inputs into the various accounts. S&P500, Small Cap and REITS were up, Bonds were OK, and International was down. Remember that International did well earlier in the year, so it balances out. Another reason for asset allocation. Note that these returns include reinvesting dividends.

My 401K/Deferred account at work was up only 1.1% for May (same as April). Again, I’m gaining back some of what was lost at the beginning of the year, and buying stuff on sale.

Dividend Income Account: Allocation:

  • 25% Dividend Stocks
  • 25% REITs
  • 50% Bond Index Funds

Another bright spot, up 1.9% for the month (including dividends). My stocks in this account didn’t do as well in May, but the REITs did, and the bonds were OK. I think part of this was the major jump up of my stocks in April.

Value Investing Account: Allocation (remember I refocused this at the beginning of February):

  • 40% in individual value stocks I picked myself (2 each, 20% for each) – SBS and GILD
  • 20% USAA Market Index (my brokerage is USAA)
  • 40% in Vanguard Value Index fund

Again, major disappointment in the stocks. Overall, the account was down -6.8%. The two index funds did OK, but the stocks just drove it down. I continue to see evidence that I am not a good stock picker (as most folks in the FIRE community can attest to). If I don’t see a major turnaround in fortunes by the end of the year, I’ll just sell my stock picks and go to index mutual fund investing (like so many other folks). Again, this is more of a “fun money” account where I experiment.

The allocations are not too much “out of whack” so I don’t intend to rebalance until July (unless something major happens).

How did you do in May?

 

Mr. 39 Months