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Thread: burrocrat's Account Talk

  1. #1

    Default burrocrat's Account Talk

    This is where I will post thoughts and insights on why I did what I did. I plan on using the autotracker to monitor my TSP account performance.

    I posted the following in another thread on this sight but it probably belongs here:

    "So i really want to track my TSP returns performance, but the TSP website and quarterly reports aren't much help. My PIP can't really be that bad can it? It ain't a lot of money but hey, -xx% of my paltry sum = hurts just as bad as -XX% of massive sums right? At first i tried to split my allocation 1/2 in 2040 fund and use other 1/2 to re-allocate/time the market to see if my hunches proved correct. But then i just could'nt leave it alone, every time i re-allocated i would set the 2040 back to an even 50% and place the other 50% as i saw fit. So there goes my strategery to compare my guesses vs. the most aggressive auto fund over time by just looking current value. Plus new contributions didn't always match current allocations. Eventually I ditched the lifecycle fund and developed my own % allocations to represent what i feel is the place to be given my take on current events/sentiment/chart analysis: Fear, Conservative, FDH, Aggressive, & All in. Also additional categories for special short-term moves: Market, Tech, International. Never 100% in any given fund, rarely in only two. Not trying to hit a home run, but wouldn't mind stealing an extra base here and there. Any suggestions?"

    Thanks for watching.


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  3. #2

    Default Re: burrocrat's Account Talk

    Some basic background: early 40's, started my career in federal service a few years ago, contributing 5% + matching funds to the TSP ever since. After two decades of various exciting past lives, I took a minute to take stock of my financial situation. Well, a minute is an over-exaggeration, it didn't take anywhere near that long to confirm I had put away exactly $0.00 for retirement.

    So, since then I have been learning a lot and refining my investment goals, I am pretty comfortable with risk given the ground I need to make up, and think I follow a pretty aggressive strategy and have been reasonably successful at, although I took a pounding last year of course. It was hard to see my contributions evaporate as quickly as I put them in, but all the way down I kept reminding myself what a great deal these prices were.

    I suppose my basic investrment strategy could be called the 3S method: stir, stew, strike (just made that up, hope it's not a copyright infringement). I combine a mix of ingredients/research like mainstream financial news, various irreverent blogs, TSP Talk Market Commentary, prices (and conversation) at the pump or grocery store, as well as national and several regional news websites. When you read the same story told from different perspectives in NY, MT, WA, UT, TX, and PA news outlets it can be very enlightening. Having lived and loved there it becomes a great way to check Hoi Polloi's pulse, the market is after all an emotional exercise.

    Well, that's my manifesto. Sit back and enjoy the show.

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  5. #3

    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Gainesville, Florida, USA
    Posts
    24,244

    Default Re: burrocrat's Account Talk

    Ah the pain of buying all the way down - the more you buy the more pain you experience. But then again - no pain no gain. Now on the other hand - buying all the way up is a joy but your dollar cost averaging doesn't go as far but it certainly feels better. Welcome to the cash bar.

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  7. #4

    Default Re: burrocrat's Account Talk

    Attached is my guidebook I keep handy for when I want to make a trade/change fund distributions. I have found that sometimes what I wanted to do and then later what I think I did aren't always the same thing. So I use this to remind me where I should be given current sentiment.

    Keep in mind that category titles are how I feel at the moment, not general market sentiment. Also, fund allocations in respect to those perceptions are where I want to be, not neccessarily where an investment professional would deem appropriate given the conditions.

    I have a retirement horizon of 25 years, and no longer utilize the lifecycle funds, but do like to refer to their allocations for a point of reference. I have never been 100% in any one fund, most often I am in three or more, but adjust percentages to load up on what i think will perform best in near future.

    By way of explanation:

    FEAR = Armegeddon, where I should have been last year, but just couldn't believe it would continue much lower, man I never seen knuckles that white before.

    CON = Conservative, standard 60/40 split, buy and hold, good luck with that, great place to park funds while on Annual Leave.

    FDH = Fat Dumb & Happy, just enough protection but can enjoy equity upsides, expect to do well long term, more politically correct title is the 'Ron Popiel Method', set it and forget it.

    AGG = Aggressive, I have modified this to 10% F and 20% C recently, optimists only please.

    ALL IN = Euphoria, let 'er buck.

    The remaining three, Market, Tech, & International, are short-term plays in response to concerns about debt, sector performance, inflation, etc. I don't trust my strategy enough yet and TSP trade limitations make it impractical to be 100% in any one fund in my opinion.

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  9. #5

    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Gainesville, Florida, USA
    Posts
    24,244

    Default Re: burrocrat's Account Talk

    You've already made it to complicated for my style.

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  11. #6

    Default Re: burrocrat's Account Talk

    Quote Originally Posted by Birchtree View Post
    You've already made it to complicated for my style.
    Boils down to gut feeling. Just trying to justify it so the smart folk don't laugh too hard.

    I appreciate your responses, and have read some of your posts, how did you accumulate those kind of resources? I hope to get there someday. Do you ever just take a day off from trading, if so where do you park? When is enough enough?

    Current allocation:

    G: 0
    F: 20
    C: 20
    S: 30
    I: 30

    Out of trades this month and going on travel status all next week so it will have to do, can't see putting it all into cash given recent market events.

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  13. #7

    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    West of Atlanta
    Posts
    2,578

    Default Re: burrocrat's Account Talk

    Sounds like you have a plan. Much good luck!

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  15. #8

    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    3,027

    Cool Rather Similar

    Burrocratus (yuk, yuk - I kinda Romanized it),

    We have similar philosophies. Sortof a buy and hold, but with a few different allocations based on mid-term market/economic trends.

    Mine are:
    All In: 90% - 100% in C/S/I. Used when the market is bubbling up. Like now. Don't have to have any reason, but if there is no reason watch the market carefully. Bail out when half the gains are blown or some other marker.

    Standard: 80% in C/S/I. Like you I am young enough to survive a standard 10% - 20% correction in C/S/I. Nice to have some resources in the asset class folks will probably bail to (F) if that happens.

    Conservative: 60% in C/S/I, 40% in F. That kind of allocation should provide some gains and really buffer the dumps. If 2008/09 was merely a correction this is where I would have rested. But, the F Fund was collapsing as well - thus, more than a correction. We were in, or are in, a collapse.

    Hiding: Anything in G is hoarding cash. Can be used to hoard assets for an expected short term dump opportunity. Can be used to run and hide from a market where all funds are falling - very, very rare but happened last year.

    Also, if you have a conservative allocation and/or a hiding allocation don't be afraid to use them. Assets that are saved in a crappy market are the same as growth. Not as flashy, but very useful when used to get back into C/S/I when the prices stabilize. I absolutely loved buying back into the market at prices 30% less than the original price offered by TSP. Yummy.
    Lookin' up at the 'G Fund'!!!

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  17. #9

    Default Re: burrocrat's Account Talk

    So I show up on the Tracker now with my current allocation 0,20,20,30,30, gotta start somewhere. Considering a shakespeare move, to G or not to G. That would leave me safe ending the month with two shots to get back in with some or all of it in a few days. Could lock in some gains, not much to lose except the opportunity. I haven't had time to get a feel for the markets this week so it would just be a guess.

    When I think back on what I could've done vs. who I actually did one thing is glaringly clear, shoulda poked her in the whiskers when I had the chance.

    I'm away from home so lack the usual frame of reference, but stores, restaurants, and theaters are busy. No particular reason except sun is warm and life is good. Or maybe I just see what I want to see, and there is no shortage of halter tops and tan legs to fill the vision.

    I think I'll stick around and ride the tide for a while. I'm betting enough other folks are feeling the same way to keep floating the boat. Now if I can just avoid getting trickled on. If nothing else maybe I could convince myself I was just giving the old buy and hold college try another chance.
    100g


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  19. #10

    Default Re: burrocrat's Account Talk

    New allocation: 10,40,10,20,20. Going to take some profits but couldn't justify getting all the way out. Clean slate with two moves to make next month. Major run, end of week, end of month, had to do it. Lots of cash for clunkers exuberance out there, things are about to take off but I expect the anticipated pull back, if I qualified I'd consume too, but my 74 olds ain't gonna make it, fast though, fun to drive, and many a good time. Sorry Angie, promised I wouldn't kiss and tell, on the other hand not much kissing going on that night. Thanks girl.
    100g

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  21. #11

    Default Re: burrocrat's Account Talk

    New allocation effective COB 08/05/09.

    G 0, F 30, C 20, S 25, I 25.

    Can't seem to log in to tracker to make the trade there.
    100g

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  23. #12

    Default Re: burrocrat's Account Talk

    Thanks TSP Talk!

    Made a transfer but messed up posting the trade on tracker log in, so posted the trade here to get a time-stamp on it. You guys are great, thanks for the quick responses. I think I've got the password thing figured out now.

    As far as the trade goes, I think I jumped the gun, saw the decline this morning and wanted to get more in equities. Was nervous about getting out at the end of last month and afraid it would take off without me. It looks like support is still there by the way it climbed back in the afternoon, meaning support will still likely fail in the short-term in my opinion. Well we'll just have to ride it down i guess, only one more bullet to fire, plan on getting it all in for another leg up to this rally. I would like to see 3-5% down then jump in, had to guess by 10:00 am here and thought we might get to 3% down today the way it looked this morning. Probably would have been better off staying where I was at last week.

    Hindsight is 20/20.

    I seem to be more comfortable in the stock funds even if they're going down, getting a bargain on my payroll contributions, believing the future is brighter. Just can't handle the meager returns in G and F, with inflation fears I don't see much future there. If we had more trades available then cash position might appeal, but maybe it's a blessing in disguise, being saved from my own 'dog chasing it's tail' stupidity. Easier to pull the trigger far from retirement with not much on the line, and can only hurt my position twice a month.

    Thanks again TSP Talk for the service you provide.
    100g

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