The Research Triangle Park Bogleheads®, North Carolina Local Chapter held its first 2019 meeting.
Bogleheads forum member Steve Thorpe recaps this meeting in this guest article.
RTP, NC Chapter Meeting 11:00 AM Sat April 13, 2019
Roughly sixteen Bogleheads braved the rainy weather and the obstacle course of downtown Durham’s streets to attend this morning’s meeting. Our group had newbies and long-time attendees, twenty-somethings to long-time retirees and everywhere in between. As usual we had a thoroughly enjoyable conversation covering many topics.
- Bogleheads® investment philosophy – see Bogleheads investment philosopy
- Educating young (and not-so-young) people on finances
- Income strategies for retirement (e.g. dividend/high yield focused vs. Total return, dipping into principal vs. living purely off the income, REITs? MLPs? etc.)
- Psychological aspects of dividend-oriented investing
- Value “premium” hasn’t shown up so much in recent times. Is it real?
- Share buybacks as a form of dividend payments (based on this idea, the S&P 500 may actually have a “dividend yield” comparable to International stocks)
- Expenses in retirement often turn out to be higher than you expected so its best to plan conservatively (e.g. you may spend more than anticipated on medical, dental, long-term-care, recreational expenses)
- Long Term Care insurance: pros and cons, premiums, ideal age range to purchase, typical wealth range when it is beneficial, etc)
- Long Term Care expenses are EXPENSIVE! (Imagine coming up with $12K/month for a few years. How to cover for that possible need?)
- Early Retirement: Be cautious about retiring too early without thoroughly understanding those future expenses and how you expect to cover them.
- Benefits of simplification (you can build a fabulous portfolio with just a small number of funds)
- Changing tax rates
- 0% Federal Tax rate on Qualified Dividends and Long Term Capital Gains if your income is below a certain level.
- What percentage of our portfolios are in International? (answer, it is ALL over the map, from none to almost all!)
- How do you know if you’ve reached “the number?”
- Emotional comfort level from having an extra buffer beyond your estimated “number”.
- Different forms and time frames of risks from stock vs. bonds.
- Planning out scenarios for which spouse passes first, and when. Under different circumstances what will the financial picture look like for the surviving spouse?
Fidelity vs. Vanguard
In recent years Fidelity has been aggressively competing with Vanguard on low-cost index fund offerings. Chong, Ed, and Rhona have a working paper titled “Vanguard versus Fidelity: Multidimensional Comparison of the Index Funds and ETFs of the Two Largest Mutual Fund Families”. At today’s meeting Chong kindly shared the key conclusions on the various metrics. I’m not going to repeat them here since you can easily access their paper at the following link (and I encourage you to do so): SSRN (see the “Download this Paper” button near the bottom to get a full PDF copy of the working paper.)
Fidelity’s local offices – these are convenient. Fidelity has local offices, plus they offer Medallion signature guarantors (something that is hard to come by at many banks nowadays, although credit unions can often be accommodating with Medallions).
Thank you to everyone who attended and for all of the delicious conversation! It was great to see you and I look forward to our future get-togethers!