Jill on Money: Dow 13,000, Investments, Social Security

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Is Dow 13,000 calling you? Did you sell at the bottom and are now wondering how to get back in? Don't be afraid, on this week's show we cover investing and allocation questions; provide a primer on Social Security and outline the benefits of 529 plans.

Will in Louisville, Mary in Los Angeles, Servando and Patricia all needed guidance about investments. In these conversations, I was able to talk about some of my favorite topics, including what constitutes a well-diversified portfolio; dollar cost averaging; no load mutual funds vs. exchange-traded funds; and target date funds.

As promised, here's a simple balanced portfolio:

  • 50% Bond Fund ( Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund (VBMFX), Schwab Total Bond Market (SWLBX), Fidelity U.S. Bond Index (FBIDX)
  • 40% Total Stock Market Index Fund (Fidelity Spartan Total Market Index, Schwab 1000 Index Fund Investor or Vanguard Total Stock Market Index)
  • 10% International Stock Index Fund (Fidelity Spartan International Index (FSIIX), Vanguard Total International Stock Index (VGTSX)

You'll hear me mention Target Date funds as an alternative to allocating your portfolio yourself. In a Target Date fund, the manager gradually reduces risk as you approach a predetermined time. Both Vanguard Target Retirement and T. Rowe Price Retirement are good options.

We answered pension, Social Security and long-term care questions from e-mailers and with Mo in Texas - see the links below to understand some of the strategies you can use when approaching your big SS decisions.

Here are web sites and resources mentioned in this week's show:

-- Jill's Blog

-- 9 Questions to Ask a Financial Advisor

-- NAPFA: National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (fee-only advisors)

-- Social Security estimator

-- When to take Social Security?

-- Social Security File and Suspend

-- Social Security: Double-Dipping

--Long-term Care - US government web site

-- Long term care conundrum

-- 529 plan info-- Financial documents: What to shred, what to keep

-- Estate Planning: the Documents You Need

Thanks to everyone who participated and to Mark, the BEST producer in the world and our intern, Sehar. If you have a financial question, there are lots of ways to contact us:

Call 855-411-JILL and we'll schedule time to get you on the show LIVE

Send an email: askjill@moneywatch.com

Tweet me: @jillonmoney

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    Jill Schlesinger, CFP®, is the Editor-at-Large for CBS MoneyWatch. She covers the economy, markets, investing or anything else with a dollar sign. Prior to the launch of MoneyWatch in 2009, Jill was the chief investment officer for an independent investment advisory firm. In her infancy, she was an options trader on the Commodities Exchange of New York.

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