Investment Performance Update – Bleeding Money!

July 28, 2008

This may sound crazy but I haven’t looked at the peformance of our investments in quite some time.   When one of the Money Writers suggested we all do an overview of our of holdings I realized how long it had been and was afraid of what I’d see when I logged into our accounts.

My fears were well-founded, it’s been an ugly year so far for our investment portfolio.

401k Losses
The largest percentage of our investments are in my 401k, which is down 8.68% year to date.   The largest holding, about 60%, is an S&P 500 index fund, so this account tends to track the market.  The next largest holding is a bond market index fund and then there are two international mutual funds.  All of which are down : (

Vanguard 500 Index (VFINX) – Large Blend
Vanguard Total Bond Market Index (VBMFX) – Bond Index
American Century Intl Growth (TWIEX) – Foreign Large Growth
Dodge & Cox International (DODFX) – Foreign Large Value

403b Losses
My wife’s 403b is down a miserable 14.25% year to date.  Luckily it’s under half the size of my 401k investments so it’s 14.25% of a much smaller dollar amount. All of these funds are with American Century, the Ultra Fund is the one that’s hurting us the worst, down 16.7% this year according to my numbers.

American Century Equity Income (TWEIX) – Large Value
American Century Ultra (TWCUX) – Large Growth
American Century Heritage (TWHIX) – MidCap Growth

This is the investment where we noticed the biggest dollar amount drop, simply because we’re no longer contributing to the account.  With all of our other investments, as the market drops I keep reminding myself we’re buying new shares at cheaper prices which should (hopefully) appreciate over the next few decades.

However, since no new money is going into the 403b, the portfolio value keeps dropping along with the market.  I can see how this downturn would be stressful for someone living off of their retirement savings.

IRA Losses
Our IRA investments have lost the least in 2008 so far, mine is down 5.35% and my wife’s 6.48%.  The Small-Cap Index Fund Inv has been our biggest detractor for these accounts, year to date down about 7.6%

Vanguard Small-Cap Index (NAESX) – Small Blend
Vanguard High-Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX) – High Yield
Vanguard REIT Index (VGSIX) – Real Estate

Misc Losses
We also have a little money in Oakmark International (OAKIX) which is classified as a foreign large value fund.  I’m having issues with our site login so I don’t have our specifics but the fund in general is down 17.52% year to date so that’s probably our biggest loser so far.  Luckily it’s our smallest holding : )

Other than a few other shares of stock here and there I didn’t include, that pretty much sums up our investment performance so far this year.  In two words, “Really BAD”.

Money Writer Investment Performance
I heard a rumor that Million Dollar Journey has managed to squeak by with just over a 1% loss in their portfolio so far this year.  Who would have thought a few years ago I’d be envious of a portfolio with a 1.35% loss!

Here are the investment returns of the other Money Writers:


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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