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401k and Personal Finance iPhone app

Looking for a few good reviewers and bloggers for iPhone app

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I am looking for a few good reviewers and bloggers for my 1st iPhone app, myNestEgg ~ the retirement calculator. Here are a few basic requirements for the reviewer/blogger:

1) An iPhone, iPod Touch, or an iPad device with iOS 3.1.2 or above.

2) Has an iPhone app review site or a personal finance blog web site. More importantly, are willing to try out my app and write independent reviews.

How to get the app?
The app is at “Wait for review” stage. I can build ad hoc version of the app and send it to you (about 500k). Email me if you are interested. My email address is .

What you will get besides the app?
Well, I can not promise anything significant because they will affect your opinion. But I can come up with something appropriate later after seeing the review.

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401k and Personal Finance

What is American Funds and my 401k choice

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It’s 401k enrollment time, because of my recent job change. I have lived life without 401k contribution for several months now, although I tried to keep up with buying mutual fund Scottrade IRA account. But I found this IRA thing is not as easy my good old 401k account. Couple reasons:

1) Automatic payroll deduction and investment in 401k vs. manually deposit/buy fund in IRA;

2) Dollar average cost (DCA) for the investments (mutual funds) in 401k, vs. picking the best time to buy mutual fund cheap (not easy to time the market);

3) Choosing from about 10 mutual funds vs. choosing from thousands of mutual fund Scottrade offers (a daunting task, which I talked a bit in my earlier post).

Anyway, here is the new mutual funds and their respective weight I chose for my new 401k plan.

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401k and Personal Finance

401K, IRA, Roth IRA

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How to deal with 401k when leaving a job?
Some options:
1) Take it out, with 10% penalty, and potential income tax later on. This is usually not recommended.

2) Rollover to an Rollover IRA; or Rollover to the new employer’s 401k.
I did this once: not because of change of job, but because of change of company ownership, I have opportunity to rollover some of the 401k money into Vanguard Rollover IRA in year 2007. That money didn’t recover to the initial value so far.

3) Leave it alone (until 59 1/2 years old).
I did this when I left my former employer in Oct. 2008 (the middle of financial crisis), it turns out to be a good move (or no-op), as the value recovered from the crisis.

Should I open a traditional IRA or Roth IRA?
Tax deduction: IRS publication here.

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401k and Personal Finance

Q1 2009 Results: 401k and Rollover IRA

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They are all in stock funds.

Old 401k (Hewitt): down 11.8%
Rollover IRA (Vanguard): down 11.78%
New 401k (Vanguard): up 133.97% (this is due to new contribution, I started new 401k in Nov 08, so there is an easy comparison here)

Noticed my portfolio balance in Vanguard is about even compared to the end of 2007, when I started the Rollover IRA. Consider this is after I made signigicant new 401k contribution since Nov 2008. So much for long term investing concept. I need to rethink how to better managing my retirement account.

S&P is down about 11.7% in this quarter.

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401k and Personal Finance

Fund selections for Vanguard IRA

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I picked the following funds (and their weight) for my Vanguard IRA yesterday.

Vanguard International Value 50% (developed market large cap value)
Vanguard Winsor II 25% (US large cap value)
Vanguard Selected Value 25% (US mid cap value)

The first two funds are in my current 401k plan, I found the Vanguard Selected Value through Kiplinger magazine.

1) Performance
I looked at a fund’s 5 and 10 years performanace. I found something interesting: most funds could not beat its bench index consistently. For instance, Vanguard Explorer Fund and its bench mark is listed below:

Average Annual Returns—Updated Monthly as of 11/30/2007

1 Year 3 Year 5 Year 10 Year
Explorer Fund Investor 5.53% 9.71% 14.24% 9.44%
Russell 2500 Growth Index 9.52% 11.79% 15.93% 6.60%

I found Vanguard Intl Value fund to be an exception. Vanguard Winsor II also faired well. I left out fund such as Vanguard Prime Cap Core, because it does not have 5 years track record.

2) Weight

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401k and Personal Finance

Two baskets for our retirement accts

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Roll over IRA
In early Nov. I received a letter from Vanguard, it says I am eligible to transfer some of my 401k to an IRA account. I thought about it, the pros and cons, and decided to do it yesterday. Here are my rationale:

1) Ideally I like to keep all my retirement in one place, but one problem is I am not very familar with the new funds avaiable in the new 401k plan. On the other hand, I have been with Vanguard for a while and I know some of the funds are really good (good enough to make me sleep well in the night).

When I say Vanguard is good, I am not only talking about the fees, the performance, etc; but also their brand: it is one of the most respected mutual fund companies in the world. I rememeber a few years ago NY AG Spizer investigated many mutual funds, and I did not heard Vanguard name there (come back to the sleep well factor…).

2) Diversify: this will also allow me to diversify my 401k (IRA); and I can compare the performance of two baskets as time goes on.