Q: I have a 401(k) account and I am trying to determine the best mix of the funds available to me. In addition to my annual salary, I receive a retirement check from DOD for my 20 years of Army service. I have tried to include my wife’s 403(b) account in the formula, but since she has only Fidelity funds available and I have several different ones from Vanguard, Janus, Fidelity, and Invesco this doesn’t work. The reason is because the mix is heavily weighted towards Fidelity and I can’t the place the recommended per cent in each fund. Also, we have different salaries and contribute at different levels.
I have used the 401(k) planning programs from Morningstar and the one on the U.S. News & World Report. Neither can “handle” the Army retired pay. I finally got US News to admit that their program was not designed to allow for someone to receive retired military pay.
In the Morningstar program, the only way I could get it to work was to count it as a pension from another company with a payment starting a year in the future.
Do you have another one that I can try?
A: Instead of worrying about the army money as pension cash, why don’t you include it as “other income?” That’s usually an option on these kinds of programs.
You might try www.Quicken.com. I think a lot of their site.
Q: My husband and I have recently become very interested in Mutual and Index Funds. After much investigating, it appears Index Funds, not Mutual Funds, are the best way for us to go. I recently resigned from my company and have about $15,000 in my 401K that I’d like to test the investing waters with by putting part of into an Index Fund without going through a broker. The rest I will put into a money market until I feel comfortable enough to eventually invest it all. Can you walk me through, from the beginning, how we go about investing in an Index Fund which do you currently like?
A: Vanguard is the granddaddy of index funds (www.vanguard.com). They’re the cheapest and I think best. The S&P 500 index fund that’s tax managed will likely give you excellent returns over the long haul.