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This is the eighteenth day in our 31-Day Money Challenge. Over 31 days we’ll publish 31 podcasts, each designed to help you move closer to financial freedom. Yesterday I interviewed author Larry Swedroe about his book, Think, Act, and Invest Like Warren Buffett. In today’s podcast, we cover how to build an asset allocation plan.

Sponsors: The 31-Day Money Podcast is sponsored by Betterment and Personal CapitalBetterment and Personal Capital are two tools I use to make investing easier, less expensive, and more effective.

Topics Covered

  • What is an asset allocation plan?
  • What are the major asset classes?
  • How are stock mutual funds classified (U.S. vs. foreign; large companies vs. Small; developed countries vs. emerging markets; value funds vs. growth funds).
  • How are bond mutual funds classified (Government vs. corporate; short term vs. long; foreign vs. domestic; investment grade vs. high yield).
  • Should commodities and real estate be part of a diversified portfolio?
  • How much should you invest in stocks and how much in bonds?
  • What factors should you consider in setting an appropriate stock/bond allocation?
  • Should you have a foreign stock fund in your portfolio, and if so, how much?
  • We look at some actual asset allocation plans, including the 3-Fund Portfolio.


Listener Questions & Comments

I cover the following questions and comments in today’s podcast:

MaryAnn: “I plan on retiring soon should I invest my 401(k) into an IRA? Are there any that you would recommend that are solid and honest?”

Art: “Rob, hey, I am really enjoying the podcast series, and appreciate all the time & effort you are putting into these. For the listener question about pulling from retirement accounts early, I was wondering about IRS Rule 72t and if that was applicable here? Thanks! Art.”

Kenneth: “Rob, DoughRoller is fast becoming one of my favorite Personal Finance websites. The site is very well organized and content is excellent. I found you by way of Podcasts. Keep up the good work.

My only remaining debt is a temporary HECL loan. I’m paying it down about $1,500/mo, and it’s at $58,000 right now. YNAB has my pre-YNAB HECL at $58,000, but my actual HECL balance is $50,128. That’s because YNAB has set aside category balances for my current spending categories, as well as annual categories such as property taxes and insurance. I keep my checking account balance right around $1,000, and have NO SAVINGS (other than the equity in my two homes, and my retirement account balances). The reason I’m laying this out, is I just listened to Podcast 20, the Debt Snowball. So I’m using my HECL as Springy Debt (a term MMM coined), and until I need the money to pay that insurance bill, it is used to pay down my HECL more than I actually could. Why keep $7,000 in Savings, when it could be lent at 4% to my HECL until the day I actually need it?”

Olivia: “I’ve been loosely following these podcasts and was chewing on your first speaker’s comment about $75,000 being a threshold for “financial independence”. As the average US household income is about $50,000, how can the rest of us even manage to retire at 70, let alone experience some measure of flexibility?”

Kevin: “I found your podcast through the MMM interview and have very much enjoyed the 31 day money series so far. I listened to day 13 this morning and could really relate to the debt snowball versus avalanche discussion. My wife and I read the Total Money Makeover about 3 years ago and will pay off the last student loan later this year. We started with Dave Ramsey’s approach of paying off the small debts first to celebrate a few wins. However, by the time the third small debt was paid off we were six months in and hitting a groove. At that point we decided to reorder the debts by interest rate and pay the higher rates first. This wasn’t quite as efficient as starting with the avalanche but this hybrid approach really worked for us.

Thanks for delivering a wonderful product and I look forward to the rest of the series.”

Day 19: How to Select Mutual Funds

Author Bio

Total Articles: 1080
Rob founded the Dough Roller in 2007. A litigation attorney in the securities industry, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, their two teenagers, and the family mascot, a shih tzu named Sophie.

Article comments

Kenneth says:

Hi Rob. I would really love it if you could redesign you site just a little to put in a header link (up with Resources, Banking, etc.) called Podcasts. When I bring up your home page right now, the front page is DR 021: which way is up?. I’d love a single link listing all 26 (to the minute) podcasts, so I can select whichever I like to look at your show notes, or to actually listen to the podcast.

Thanks for considering this.

P.S. the links and supporting materials you provide are EXCELLENT and I really appreciate them!

Rob Berger says:

Kenneth, great idea. I’m working on it and should have that link up soon.

Kenneth says:

Rob, I see the title bar now has Podcasts in it! Fantastic, thank you!

Rob Berger says:

Thanks for the idea!

Md. Taslimuzzaman Fakir says:

Hi Rob. I’m at Day 18 in your 31 day money challenge podcast. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’ve been looking for a money freedom. Taslimuzzaman

joseph sweeting says:

Rob, Day 18 for me. I live in the sunny Bahamas, and feeling more empowered every day.
Thanks for sharing.