Sunday, July 05, 2009

Working on my new investment strategy

So over the past couple of months/years, my personal finances have become a bit of a mess. I had too many accounts with too many brokers and it was too hard to tell what was going on. So some accounts got super-whacked by the recession and some got brutally-whacked. I wasn’t sure which got whacked the hardest and why so over the past little while I’ve been consolidating all the accounts into one place, so I can get a nice overview of what is going on.

I got phase 1 completed a few weeks back and now have a single view on our various retirement and retail accounts (well, sorta, no sense in going into the gory details.)

Now, what to do with what little cash remains?

The accounts are currently filled with a variety of funds but I get the sense there is a lot of overlap here. Different funds, probably covering the same parts of the market, exist in different accounts; I’m going to have to spend some time untangling and figuring out which are the funds to keep and which I should jettison. Diversity is still your friend, and I think I have a lot of redundancy.

I’ve already done a couple of moves. In one account (Roth IRA) I loaded up on a TIPS fund. Yes, I am very worried about inflation and since that account didn’t have any bonds in it, I took the TIPS mutual fund route. My wife and I have a Roth each so I don’t mind sacrificing growth on one, if I think it is a little less risky. Right now, a TIPS mutual fund sounds like the right kind of risk mitigation.

In the retail account, I went back to an old friend, EWZ (Brazil ETF.) I made pretty good money off if this ETF over the past 5-6 years. Last year I fell asleep at the wheel and got totally spanked in Oct when this ETF fell like a ton of bricks (BRICs?)

Anyway it seems to be coming back and while I’ve missed some of the early upside, there may be more to come (I hope!) I’ve always liked Brazil. It has a solid financial sector, good exposure to commodities but still pretty diversified with a strong manufacturing base as well.

In the retail account I also bought into a California Municipal Bond fund. Yes, I know the state’s finances suck but I’m counting on it not defaulting. The yield may go up on the state’s munis so that may be nice plus I’m looking for a little tax protection.

I’ll let you know as to my other moves. Basically in my other accounts (IRA, Roth IRA) I’ve got a bunch of large-cap funds, which I need to diversify away from, and a REIT, which I may keep, I’m not sure yet.

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