Welcome New York Times Readers to my Blog. My name is Steve Schullo, a retired Los Angeles Unified School teacher and an advocate for cheaper 403(b) plans for over 20 years. Please follow up on these fantastic (and rare) print media articles by a fantastic New York Times editorial staff, and their superb reporter Tara Siegel-Bernard.
She has been working on these articles since the beginning of the year. The educational professional and its institutions are reticent to talk about the 403(b). The rationale is easy. We educators hardly ever talk about the 403(b) publically or in any organized manner. Why? Nothing wrong with talking about how to best invest our retirement money that supplements our pension plan. After all, the 403(b) is 100% of our money.read more
The Stock and Bond Markets are up again in the third quarter of 2016. Read how my portfolio has returned 6.7% after nine months. It’s really not complicated because my portfolio is straightforward. It’s constructed to gain when the core asset classes increase and loses value when the market goes down.
Losing is an important part of investing process, if not the most important part. The majority of people don’t understand it because they sell when their investment declines. Never sell, unless it is part of your plan, not because of bear market conditions. Have a plan and stick with it during ups and downs.
I reviewed another investment book. I tell why self-published authors connect better with investing beginners than most of the traditionally published personal finance books found in bookstores. The author follows the sage advice of portfolio construction of Jack Bogle and the investment company he founded in 1974, Vanguard Group. I highly recommend this book. It’s an easy read and gets right to the point.read more
Many financial planning professionals are trying to scare people into “doing something” with your bonds. Ignore the warnings from the pundits on the financial news mania that you should now buy gold or precious metals. Even my favorite radio political pundit, former Senator Tom Harkin, warns people to buy gold. With all due respect, the former good Senator doesn’t know what he is talking about by telling people in his commercials to put all of their money in gold, because he has been predicting a stock market crash for over a year. That is despicable advice and he should stick to what he does best, discuss progressive ideas.
Be mindful that these articles and the pundits have an agenda. The articles are written by authors who usually work for a firm that happens to sell “what you need” and the reporters or radio hosts want views or website clicks. Scare tactics work every time, but not to readers here. Have a balanced plan with stocks and bonds approximately equal to your age. The post discusses in more detail why I have half of my portfolio in one bond fund, Vanguard’s Total Bond Market Index. I will NEVER buy gold!
How has last year’s marriage equality law passed by the Supreme Court affected the hundreds of benefits here-to-fore only afforded to straight married couples? I have compiled four published articles that address some of these benefits. I have one in depth response to one of the articles whose author is an LGBTQ adviser who also wants to be your “friend” of the community, only because he is gay. The primary competency you need to look for when hiring your LGBTQ adviser is to make sure he or she is a genuine fiduciary.read more
Ten years ago a brilliant benefits administrator, George Tischler (now retired), launched Los Angeles Unified District’s 457(b) plan. Since then, our advisory committee has lowered costs and selected more index funds with broad diversification. It is the model which all employer-sponsored retirement plans should follow because the plan and the advisory committee follows the fiduciary standard. My free eBook, Fighting Powerful Interests, is about the history, development and the reasons why the Award Winning 457(b) became an option in 2006. Since I have been on the advisory committee, we have followed the fiduciary standard since day one for good reason–to look out for your best financial interests.
This blog post is for all public educators who want to discover how to use the 403(b) or the 457(b). It is specifically for my LAUSD colleagues. I will discuss fiduciary standard, a little history of our complicated relationship of LAUSD, its employees, insurance industry’s 403(b), and why the 457(b) came into fruition to fix and clarify the historical and often corrupted 403(b).
It’s that time of the year, the Quarterly Reports. I really hope you find these reports helpful for a number of reasons:
1. Show you how a portfolio of diversified stocks, bonds, and cash looks like.
2. Show how this diversified portfolio performs in coordination with the stock and bond markets.
3. The individual holdings are not selected at random, but for the purpose of doing a specific and important job in the portfolio. It’s always about the portfolio as a whole performing package, not about the individual holdings.
4. Each holding reflects a specific part of the domestic and international stock and bond markets.
5. While some of the stock asset classes have high correlations, stock and bond allocations are not. Including bonds in my portfolio helps preserve my money against a major and lengthy stock market crash. This is known as the stock bond split. My portfolio is 30% stocks and 70% bonds. My 30% exposure to stocks provides enough risk that my portfolio should keep up with inflation (This is not a guarantee, it is part of my diversification and asset allocation plan).
6. This portfolio is an example of a conservative portfolio for a 69-year-old retiree.read more
Is been over eight months since Dan died and while the hours and days are getting easier, I miss Dan every day. The single life remains an unfamiliar challenge. I am still thinking and feeling as a part of a couple—similar to losing a limb, the phantom pain is real. I am functioning just fine and carrying on with life as if nothing happened. But my grief is alive and painful just below the surface, 24/7. I am slowly “rebalancing” back to a single life, a life that I have not experienced since my 20s.read more
Steve’s comment: Guest Author Jessica Kane shows how some regular people of all income levels become wealthy. Those who earned their way to being financially secure executed those common sense daily habits we all share. I love articles that show the behavioral similarities between the wealthy and the rest of us. I think it comes down to actually believing that if you are consistent and disciplined about the goal of saving and learning to manage your investments, after time, your assets will grow more than you think and you’ll become financially secure. It’s a darn good feeling.read more