I logged into my 401(k) plan. Ouch! It’s been taking a beating all year. In fact I mentioned that my 401(k) was hurting back in December when Hank over at MiB Smarter Money gave me a nice analysis of my portfolio. Now, I understand that I’m in this for the long haul as far as the investments are concerned. After all this is for my retirement which is still a ways off. There’s plenty of time for the investments to recover and do well. I’m not going to pull my money out because the market isn’t great. The only reason my contributions were lowered is because we’re a one-income family right now (I only lowered my contributions down to the company match).
So I accept that my 401(k) isn’t so hot. Now what? Well, I’ve been reading The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing (which I won from The Digerati Life). I’m not done with the book (which, by the way, is a great how-to investing read) but I have read how important it is to have a good asset allocation and to re-balance your portfolio from time to time.
This made me wonder what my portfolio looked like. I set up how I wanted my assets allocated when I started contributing and I’ve made a few adjustments from time to time. But reading the Boglehead book made me re-think what my allocations should be. Also, I haven’t re-balanced the portfolio in the longest time. I’ve changed my future contributions but rarely what was already in there.
So today I changed that. Looking at my portfolio I realized I had funds that I was no longer contributing to but still had large balances. I also saw that based on suggested portfolios in the book and my age that I should probably have a higher percentage of bonds in my investments. Other funds that I was contributing a higher % to really took up a very small % in my portfolio since I haven’t been re-balancing.
First, I changed where my future contributions will be going. This is money that comes out of my check as well as the company match. Next, I moved investments already in my portfolio to match my new asset allocation. Both processes were pretty easy on the Fidelity site (the company that manages the 401k). Remember, changing your future contributions isn’t the same as re-balancing your portfolio. You have to look at both if you want it truly balanced to the investments of your choice.
Here’s what the allocation is now:
- Fidelity Contrafund 18%
- Vanguard Institutional Index Fund Institutional Shares 22%
- Artisan Mid Cap Inv CL 10%
Fidelity Small Cap Stock Fund 10%
American Funds New Perspective Fund Class R5 5%
Fidelity Diversified International Fund 5%
PIMCO Total Return Inst CL 30%
Before I started changing anything I made sure that there would be no fees for changing investments. Some funds charge a fee if you sell them before a certain time frame.
I also set up my account to send me an email if any of my percentages exceed 5% of what I set. This gives me a reminder to check if I want to re-balance the funds that changed.
I’m not expecting my portfolio to all of a sudden jump into the black but it will be interesting to look and see where it’s at year-end. Again, these funds are for the long haul as I won’t use them until I retire. That said, I still need to adjust my contributions and allocations as time goes on.
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photo credit: James Jordan