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Rebalancing multiple accounts too drastic? or Simple always better!

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  • Rebalancing multiple accounts too drastic? or Simple always better!

    I have read several articles on rebalancing across multiple accounts. My vanguard financial advisor agreed I was too aggressively off kilter.  Therefore I think I will play with the 401Ks.

    Hmmm, those expense ratio (1.13-1.77) in my wife's small group's John Hancock 401K sure do stand out.  Also why is her financial adviser using 20 funds for her prior Job's IRA? Why not change all of her retirement funds (28% of our total tax deferred portfolio) into total stock index or S & P 500 at the lowest expense ratio. Then I change all my 401/IRAs (70% of our total tax deferred portfolio) into a Total Bond Index fund with exp ratio .04.  Then I shouldn't have to adjust my taxable account as much to ultimately achieve 55/45.

    She does have my approval but I am sure her group's financial advisor will not be happy seeing one fund accounts.  Sure makes it a lot easier to rebalance and not have bits and pieces everywhere.   Is this too simple?

  • #2
    not too simple. perfect. My wife's 403b and 401a are 100% total bond market index because that's what we need to work for our total portoflio (1 457b, 2 401a's, 2 403b's, 2 Roth IRAs, a joint taxable account, an HSA, A treasury direct account, 2 rewards checking accounts, 6 529's, and probably a few more that I missed).

    Only thing is I don't use an advisor. Are you sure you need one? As you're discovering, they can make things more complicated without necessarily making them better.


    • #3
      Your "financial advisor" probably gets a little commission or kickback from each of those companies so is spreading the love. Just follow the money and incentives and you will shortly arrive at the answer.

      There is nothing wrong with a two fund total stock/total bond portfolio at all. However, are you guys nearer to retirement? Why 55/45? Thats on the extremely bond tilted side of things and while making withdrawals more consistent, it shortens it significantly and risks running longevity risk.


      • #4
        Thanks guys!

        My advisor was the freebie from Vanguard who I took out for a spin. I sorta knew what I had to do but glad he reinforced it. My wife's advisor is attached with her practice's plan -  so some politics. Well he is a nice guy  

        Sort of working for fun now and financially independent like FIRE above. 60/40 - 50/50, I kept on going back and forth so I settled on the middle.



        • #5
          20 funds? I'm not surprised, but you're right; there's no need for that kind of complexity. Like @Zaphod said, there were probably different incentives at different times, and the advisor took advantage of that.

          I dealt with a similar portfolio recently - 43 positions in 28 funds, and we were able to whittle it down to five. It would have been three if there weren't tax consequences to parting way with a couple funds held outside retirement accounts.