Target Retirement Fund vs. existing LifeStrategy Growth Fund


R

rstrazz

I have a Roth IRA with Vanguard that is the LifeStrategy Growth Fund.
I was lucky and started it very early, I'm 22 and it has a nice
balance. My uncle originally started it for me and chose the
LifeStrategy Growth Fund. Now that I am older I am starting to
question if this is the best fund. I am comparing it to the Vanguard
Target Retirement Fund for 2045 (Hoping to retire at 60, a separate
debate for another day)

I am basically wondering:

1. Which one is better for fees?

2. When it's the year 2035 (10 yrs before I retire) is the
LifeStrategy Growth Fund going to be too risky? I like the fact that
the retirement fund constantly re-allocates itself.

Extra info:

3. I have no extra time, I am a very overworked software developer
with multiple projects. I don't want to mess with allocations, etc.
at all if I can help it.

4. There is no reason I cannot put 4k in every year until I retire
(not too much vs. a developer salary) Just keep in mind that I plan
to do this (don't know if that changes your answer at all)

Here is the link to the LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX):

https://flagship.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsSnapshotSec?FundId=0122&FundIntExt=INT

The 2045 Retirement Fund:

https://flagship.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/content/Funds/FundsVanguardFundsTarget2045SummaryJSP.jsp

Thank you all very much for your input :- )
 
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S

Sandra Loosemore

I have a Roth IRA with Vanguard that is the LifeStrategy Growth Fund.
I was lucky and started it very early, I'm 22 and it has a nice
balance. My uncle originally started it for me and chose the
LifeStrategy Growth Fund. Now that I am older I am starting to
question if this is the best fund. I am comparing it to the Vanguard
Target Retirement Fund for 2045 (Hoping to retire at 60, a separate
debate for another day)

I am basically wondering:

1. Which one is better for fees?
Morningstar lists VASGX at 0.27%, and VTIVX at 0.21%. These are both
very low-cost funds.
2. When it's the year 2035 (10 yrs before I retire) is the
LifeStrategy Growth Fund going to be too risky? I like the fact that
the retirement fund constantly re-allocates itself.
I wouldn't worry too much about trying to predict the future, that far
ahead. Investment regulatory climate and tax regulations might be
significantly different 30 years from now, for instance, and there's no
telling whether these funds will even still be in existence by that time.
Save your money regularly and about once a year consider whether your
asset allocation is appropriate for your current goals and risk tolerance,
and whether your current funds are still good choices in their categories.
3. I have no extra time, I am a very overworked software developer
with multiple projects. I don't want to mess with allocations, etc.
at all if I can help it.
Well, a day or so to go over your finances once a year isn't such a
big deal, is it? ;-) Eventually you'll also want to add reviewing your
insurance and estate planning to your annual financial checklist; that's
especially important if you get married and/or have children.
4. There is no reason I cannot put 4k in every year until I retire
(not too much vs. a developer salary) Just keep in mind that I plan
to do this (don't know if that changes your answer at all)
If your employer offers a 401(k) plan, you should also sock away at least
enough there to get the full company match. Otherwise you're throwing
away free money! Diversifying your retirement assets between pre-tax
(401(k)) and post-tax (Roth IRA) investments is a good thing, too.

-Sandra the cynic
 
B

BreadWithSpam

Sandra Loosemore said:
Morningstar lists VASGX at 0.27%, and VTIVX at 0.21%. These are both
very low-cost funds.
I'd call it a wash.

Currently, both have 85-90% in equities, about 10% in bonds,
and on the order of 15% (all equities, presumably) in non-US.
ie. they are *very* similar at the moment, though VASGX has
an asset-allocation fund which can move those proportions around
a little bit. Vanguard's 2035 fund is almost identical to the
2045 and even their 2025 is still almost 80% stocks and only
increases bonds to 20%.

In other words, it'll hardly make a difference for at least 10 years.
Well, a day or so to go over your finances once a year isn't such a
Or at least plan on reviewing sometime in the next few years -
plus, of course, before/around any major event - marriage, job
loss, house-buying, etc.
big deal, is it? ;-) Eventually you'll also want to add reviewing your
insurance and estate planning to your annual financial checklist; that's
especially important if you get married and/or have children.
He should be reviewing some of that now anyway - perhaps not
life insurance (especially if he has no dependents now) but
certainly disability and, if he doesn't have it, health insurance.

Moreover, the IRA is only part of a bigger picture - a review
of debt, spending, etc on a regular basis is a good idea.
If your employer offers a 401(k) plan, you should also sock away at least
enough there to get the full company match. Otherwise you're throwing
away free money! Diversifying your retirement assets between pre-tax
(401(k)) and post-tax (Roth IRA) investments is a good thing, too.
All good advice and worth repeating!
 
T

Tad Borek

I have a Roth IRA with Vanguard that is the LifeStrategy Growth Fund.
I was lucky and started it very early, I'm 22 and it has a nice
balance. My uncle originally started it for me and chose the
LifeStrategy Growth Fund. Now that I am older I am starting to
question if this is the best fund. I am comparing it to the Vanguard
Target Retirement Fund for 2045

2. When it's the year 2035 (10 yrs before I retire) is the
LifeStrategy Growth Fund going to be too risky? I like the fact that
the retirement fund constantly re-allocates itself.

I'd suggest reading about the investment mix in the 2045 fund, and
comparing it to the LifeStrategy growth fund, and see if you agree with
their investment strategy over the entire lifetime that you'd hold the
fund. My criticism of life-cycle funds generally is that by nature they
assume you have no other investments, and they assume everyone retiring
in 2045 has the same view of risk and the same plan for withdrawals. I
believe they'll err on the side of "less risky" for this reason. Maybe
you have a 401k at work and you'd tap into those assets early in
retirement. And maybe the plan has only one decent mutual fund offered
and so you need to "balance it out" with this Roth IRA.

The other thing is, you're very far away from retirement, and choosing a
mutual fund based on its investment mix in 2035 seems really premature.
I mean really, you say you're busy but you have over 20 years to find
some spare time to make a switch! You have plenty of time to decide that
the LifeStrategy Growth is too aggressive and shift to the life-cycle
fund, or one of the more conservative LifeStrategy funds, or to
something else entirely. As a "single decision", buy and forget it
mutual fund, you could do a lot worse than LifeStrategy Growth -- it
would certainly be on my short list of suggestions. At 22 in a
relatively small IRA it might even be too conservative, but that depends
on your personal comfort level with investments.

-Tad
 
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R

rstrazz

You all have really helped out a bunch! Thank you for all of the great
responses and advice, I really appreciate it :- )
 

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