I’ve never had such a great relationship with a financial adviser before, I’m fortunate to be working with Andrew. I send him emails with questions or updates from time to time and feel the need to apologize because I don’t want to take up too much of his time. He replies saying that when it comes to my financial decisions he wants to be the first to know.
We also connect every quarter to go over my progress, for him to make sure that I’m following the steps of the plan we came up with together. He’s good about updating me on recent events in the financial industry and we conclude the call with a manageable to-do list for me to follow.
We discussed asset allocations and my investment strategy for 2016. As for the asset allocation we decided to keep my tax-deferred accounts (401k, IRA, 401a) at a 90% stocks and 10% bonds ratio. This should help optimize the growth of my investment while giving me still some room to re-balance my portfolio as one group of investments does better/worse than the other.
In my taxable accounts I am going to keep an asset allocation of 70%/30% of stocks/bonds. Andrew is preparing my taxable funds in case I decide to start accessing them when I ‘retire’ in 2019.
For you nerdy types, an asset allocation is supposed to be across all your investments which makes sense if you have access to both taxables and tax-deferred at the same time (once you reach age 59.5). I agree with Andrew that it makes more sense for me to treat each bundle differently, specifically decreasing my stock exposure in the taxable because that would be the bundle I’d access first.
My definition of retirement has had a few permutations, the most current being that I am hoping to always generate some sort of income even in retirement. I have also tried to decrease my overhead so that I don’t have to save too much or work for too long before hitting retirement.
The longer I can keep my money invested before accessing it the longer it will have time to grow. We’ll see when that would be, I figure before 50 I’m going to want to start taking some money off the top but I’m fine doing it even sooner.
We discussed my traditional pension which I would vest in by 5/2019 as long as I work at least at 50%. It would be worth around $60k gross a year starting at age 65. My other pseudo-pension is the cash balance plan which I am already vested in. I like it more because it’s portable, I can take the money with me once I leave my medical group.
Andrew was okay with me going down to 50%. We discussed possibly qualifying to contribute to a Roth IRA if my income gets low enough. I haven’t decided when I would be doing this. I’ll write more about this later.
He is running all the calculations with me keeping my expenses low. I’m doing a half-way decent job of that but admit that I spend more than I need to. As long as I’m able to make extra income to cover the extra expense I’m not too worried.
I don’t have enough bond exposure, over the next few months I’ll be putting more of my money into bonds. I will hold some bonds in my taxable accounts and some in the tax-deferred. Bonds aren’t the most tax efficient so generally they are better in tax-deferred accounts so that you don’t have to keep paying taxes on the yield.
However, there are municipal bonds which can be held in taxable accounts and though they usually are taxed at the state level they are federally exempt. My Oregon state taxes are sitting ugly at 9% but having more bonds makes sense.
I am also going to increase my position in international stocks. I have mostly US stocks mutual funds and maybe 20% international ones. For various reasons we decided to increase so that I get closer to 50/50 of US and international stick index funds.
I have some REITs which are basically stocks that invest in real estate. There is a lot of chatter about REITs, some think they tend to follow stocks in the long-run, maybe. I have maybe $19k in REITs and so I will maintain my position in that.
My Impression Of My Financial Adviser
Even though I know better, if left to my own I would just increase my investments in stocks and disregard bonds. I would probably be overly conservative and try to save too much money for retirement. And once retired I would become too fearful of actually using my retirement money worrying that it might run out. I have an adviser to keep me grounded to reality.
Andrew has been great at breaking down things and explaining why and how a certain plan will likely work.
I don’t expect that my adviser gets me high returns on my investment, that’s not at all why I decided to work with him nor is that the job of a financial adviser in my opinion.
It’s more important to me that I don’t lose my investments and that I am tax-wise when it comes to investing.
I want someone to hold my hand through uncertain economic times. I have no shame admitting that I need help when it comes to finances.
If I wanted high returns I would go into real estate, start my business or do options trading. But with potential high returns comes definite higher risk.
I want my financial adviser to be supportive but honest. Direct but not controlling. I feel that Andrew has done a fantastic job at this.
I pay him what most people pay for their TV/Internet bundle a month, that’s a steal in my opinion.
Do you have a financial adviser? Why or why not?