December 2006 Investment Portfolio Snapshot

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Now how about a snapshot of our investments, as of the end of the day 12/15. Remarkably, our investments have increased $4,911 (7.3%) since my last update in October. Another example of how I can’t predict the stock market. We’re already done contributing to our Roth IRAs and 401ks this year, so we haven’t made any new deposits. Everything has been going into the house down payment fund.

I did realize that I’m not including my Bridgeway investments in my net worth calculations. This is because Bridgeway does not work with Yodlee, and I never remember to log into their website. Oops!

Retirement Portfolio
Fund $ %
FSTMX – Fidelity Total Stock Market Index Fund $11,058 15%
VIVAX – Vanguard [Large-Cap] Value Index $13,775 20%
VISVX – V. Small-Cap Value Index $13,748 19%
VGSIX – V. REIT Index $8,813 12%
VTRIX – V. International Value $7,821 11%
VEIEX – V. Emerging Markets Stock Index $7,500 10%
VFICX – V. Int-Term Investment-Grade Bond $7,596 10%
BRSIX – Bridgeway Ultra-Small Market $2,056 3%
Cash – Unreinvested Dividends
Total $72,367

October and November Fund Transactions

Current Asset Allocation per Morningstar X-Ray:


Current overall annual expense ratio: 0.26%

It’s been almost 8 months since I first set up this slice-and-dice portfolio back in May. During that time I haven’t really tinkered with it much at all, but I have constantly been thinking of changing my asset allocations a bit to add more international stocks. Although I think many domestic stocks also provide international exposure, 20% definitely feels on the low side.

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  1. Your international exposure is definitely on the low side. There’s no reason to correlate your portfolio with your human capital and house and cash and future income.

    The only real argument for investing domestically is that the US has the most widely documented and studied markets.
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  2. I believe 30% international is the rule of thumb? I got that from the Wall Street Journal.

    What percentage of a retirement portfolio should a 27 year old have in bonds?

  3. I’ve read a lot of differing opinions. Based just on historical performance, something like 25% of your stock portion in international has performed the best.

    However, there seems to be a widespread opinion that the US will not be the dominant world economy for the next 50 years, like it was for the last 50. Therefore, many people split their stocks 50/50 domestic and international. It’s also closer the actual relative capitalization of the markets now.

    As for bonds, that also varies. It depends the risk/return balance you want. Based on historical data, a little bit of bonds can decrease risk with only a relatively small decrease in overall performance. Some experts think you should have at least 20% bonds no matter how young. I tend to agree, especially if you’ve never experienced a crash period. Right now, stocks still look pretty rosy. In 2001 many people (and the media) were fleeing to bonds.

    However, if you want to maximize your return, then many other advisors are fine with 100% stocks. I’m probably going to stick with 10-15% bonds myself.

  4. Jonathan – You mention you couldn’t get your Bridgeway account to show up in Yodlee – do you know of a way to get an E-LOAN savings account to show up? I can’t seem to find a way.

  5. I have to say you make it look very simple.

    My portfolio is a mess compared to yours. I have been focussing on my international exposure as well. I am looking to get into the 25-30% range eventually.

  6. Thanks for sharing. We’re currently dealing with how to divvy up our retirement funds. Yours looks like a good plan, though I’m going to be taking everyone’s comment into account when dealing with our own portfolio.

  7. Of your total value of your portfolio ($72,367), how much would you say is principle and how much capital gain?

  8. FYI, a few of your funds are “overlapping” each other. Fidelity Total Stock Market Index Fund includes some stocks that are also in Vanguard [Large-Cap] Value Index, V. Small-Cap Value Index, and V. REIT Index. Also, if you look at the portfolio holdings page for the V. Small-Cap Value Index, you will notice that it contains a whole bunch of REITs, so you also have some overlap between this and V. REIT Index (I have some money in V. Small-Cap Value Index myself and decided not to put any money in a separate REIT index fund because of this).

  9. FYI: Vanguard will have a new total international index in the end of january that tracks the FTSE index….It will be elligible for the oerign stock tax credit

  10. Also, could you explain why you are value tilting with the large caps, don’t ferri and bernstein say that the premium exists for small cap value??

  11. denis – I really don’t know anymore. It’s a mix of Roth IRAs, Traditional IRAs, 401k Rollovers, 401ks, and taxable accounts. That’s why I’m doing these snapshots now and accounting for my principal deposits, so I can calculate returns properly.

    Jason – Yes, I am aware of the overlap. That’s why the Morningstar X-Ray tool is helpful. Overlap is not bad by itself, as long as you know what you’re invested in.

    BC – Thanks for the tip on the foreign tax credit. There is both a premium for value (independent of size), and for small (independent of valuation). Combining both large value and small helps give the best risk/reward ratio.

  12. SavingEverything says

    Your holdings are awesome! The only suggestion i would have is why not consider international index fund or total stock international fund instead? Also, as earlier said, your REITs’ exposure is quite high… but who cares, in the long run (15-30 years) it should be up alot. I just thought maybe it’s abit high, since it’s exposed indirectly with some other holdings. Index mutual funds, especially those with low expense ratios fees, are usually much better than plain mutual funds; though some may argue TRowPrice is excellent.

  13. How many of those Vanguard funds do you get dinged $10 a year on for having a balance of less than $10000?

  14. Jonathan,
    I am a newbie to you website but wanted to say thanks for yodlee. It is an awesome website. The morningstar x-ray is great also except I cannot put what is in my TSP account. But other than that it is a great website as well. Thanks

  15. One thing to consider when thinking about international exposure is the correlation. There have been recent studies that showed correlations are increasing worldwide. This detract from the diversifying power of adding internation stocks. While 30% might have been the rule in the past, currently that might mean that you are overexposed relatively speaking. I don’t know, just food for thought.

  16. I think the only one I get dinged $10 for is the Emerging Markets. I tried to minimize fees while still fitting within the restraints of multiple accounts.

  17. Jonathan, check out

    It will assess your portfolio, I think you will like it.

  18. Still no commodities? What are you thinking Jonathon?

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