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Vanguard LifeStrategy Funds

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  • Vanguard LifeStrategy Funds

    Hi all,

    I am 31 yo and practicing in a private practice, 1 year out of residency. I am a new member on our retirement committee and attended a meeting yesterday where we discussed funds. Our 401k currently offers 35 funds to invest in (some of them Vanguard), but doesn't have a Total Stock Market index fund, Total International Stock index fund or a Total Bond Market fund to create a 3 fund portfolio. I inquired about why we don't offer these and was given some snide answer about how they already offer too many funds and that if I really wanted that, I could put it together using multiple other funds they offered (they didn't seem to care that a) we could probably offer fewer funds if we offered these and b) the expense ratios to essentially make those funds with what they offered was higher than the Vanguard admiral funds themselves).

     

    What the plan does offer are the Vanguard LifeStrategy funds, which do essentially offer a Vanguard 4 fund policy made up of the Total Stock Market, Total International Stock, Total Bond and Total International Bond funds in 4 varying asset allocations (the most aggressive being an 80:20 allocation). The expense ratio for this fund is 0.14%.

     

    Does anyone have any experience using these funds, or thoughts on them? I'm considering using this fund as it is the closest thing I can get to a 3 fund portfolio from Vanguard without having to use a bunch of their smaller funds (Midcap growth, Midcap value, etc...). Is there anything else I should think about before using these?

     

    Thanks!

  • #2
    the LifeStrategy funds are perfectly fine. It's all Mike Piper, The Oblivious Investor, uses. Sure you pay a little ER premium compared to the constituent funds but you get an excellent one-fund portfolio and constant rebalancing.

    Next time maybe come to the meeting with a comprehensive plan to 1) simplify the offerings and 2) show how everyone saves lots of money over other expensive choices in the long term.

    Choose your battles...

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    • #3


      Does anyone have any experience using these funds, or thoughts on them? I’m considering using this fund as it is the closest thing I can get to a 3 fund portfolio from Vanguard without having to use a bunch of their smaller funds (Midcap growth, Midcap value, etc…). Is there anything else I should think about before using these?
      Click to expand...


      they are the same as the TDF just a static AA. you can use them as your only fund and be fine (https://obliviousinvestor.com/my-portfolio-updated/).

      i agree, 35 is an unnecessary amount of funds.

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      • #4
        By the way, the ER in LifeStrategy drops from .14 to .09 if your plan negotiates with Vanguard to make use of institutional shares. I confess I don’t know Vanguard’s criteria for offering the upgrade, but your plan manager could ask.

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        • #5
          Thanks for the information and input. I really appreciate it!

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