May 1, 2010

1-may-2010 meeting minutes

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hello, folks

27 of us made it today. not bad for what turned out to be a pretty nice (if not a little too windy) saturday.

after needing to almost break into throwbacks restaurant, the meeting time flew by once again (at least for me). thanks to jim d and "tall" phil b for being on the panel. and thanks to the table moderators for helping the conversations move along during the break-out sessions. our panel session ran long (by voting consensus), so we only did two of the three breakout sessions. i'll bump those topics from the third session to the next meeting on AUGUST-7, 12:00, in bloomington.

this was a decidedly low tech / low maintenance meeting. no powerpoint. no pictures. no wifi. no computers. no food. no whistles. seemed to work out well.

for august-7, we'll do our usual break-out sessions, and have the other half be 'something'. if anyone has a speaker in mind, or a presentation idea, please let me know. we discussed having a CPA or tax expert give a talk with Q&A. another topic may be how to manage investing in a household when there are different interests, risk tolerance, life expectancies, and philosophies by couples. SWR and the "4% rule?" has a lot of interest. possibly we could do a "what are the boglehead investing principles and philosophy" workshop/discussion. or complete some type of investing-related survey beforehand and then analyze results w/ entire group.

anyway, please send me any topic ideas, speakers, surveys, meeting formats, etc. for future meetings. and it's never too early (or late) to RSVP for august. and don't be shy about volunteering to give a talk yourself. we have a very diverse group with tons of talent right in our group.

link to forum:
link to wiki:
link to advanced search:

jeff mc

ps, looking at our past meeting metrics... this is our 16th meeting. the first meeting was 3/12/2005 w/ 7 of us.

next minnesota meeting 7-august-2010 | bloomington | PM or email for details

Apr 13, 2010

next meeting: 1-may-2010

from: boglehead post

see below copy [edited for length] of email sent to the MN boglehead group... let me know if you want to be added to the mailing list, or get specifics on our next meeting, etc.

[quote]MN bogleheads!

the next meeting is saturday, may-1, at 10:00-12:00, in woodbury... NOT the usual 12:00-2:30. at ...

please RSVP so we can arrange tables, print enough agendas, etc. and please include additional panel and breakout topics in your reply.


from 10:00-11:00, we'll have a panel discussion. from 11:00-12:00, we'll have 2-3 breakout sessions. the panel topics and breakout sessions will be from the survey results (see below).

the panel will be:
- jim D. - charter member of MN group. has huge depth and experience with personal investing, DIY, and worked in banking
- tom R. - author of chapter in latest bogleheads retirement book. expert in retirement planning (chapter 1)
- jason G. CFA with background in personal investing, asset allocation, etc. co-leader of west side splinter group.
- me - i'll "be oprah" and moderate the panel discussion. also, could discuss my chapter on early retirement from the bogleheads' retirement book (chapter 13) and the website

i'll send out the final list of breakout topics once i hear back from you, in a 'final reminder' a few days before may 1st.

thanks to everyone who completed the latest quick survey after the last meeting. here's the survey summary:

- what do you see as an attractive bond mix for someone allocating 60% of their portfolio to bonds and 1-3 years from drawing on investments??
- What Vanguard Managed funds would you invest in and which would you avoid, including sector funds.
- DFA equivalent etf's
- there is controversy about the percentage in asset allocation in equities, bonds, cash,etc., for the age group near retirement. 60/40, 50/50, and still w/objective of staying ahead of inflation. The experts vary on this topic.
- thoughts on owning individual stocks, say 12, to enhance portfolio. I assume the holder of these stocks would keep a watchful eye on them.
- anything on taxes would likely be a benefit and also how to find a good CPA. If word of mouth is a good way, I'd like to hear some names offered.
- roth ira conversions - no income restrictions for 2010
- what do we need to know...
- Is high inflation coming? Inflation protecting our portfolio.
- What asset allocation gives the best returns over ten years with rebalancing?
- We have just had the worst ten year returns for stocks in the history of the nation. How can be countered by some other asset class?
- Does history repeat or just rhyme regarding crashes, debt, etc.?
- Are there safe strategies for income beyond the low rate CD's and money markets I see?
- What it's like to start from a $0 balance, how to get started. How to allocate assets at the very beginning. Importance of saving rate vs. specific funds purchased. Start with TSM (can't go wrong with that fund), think about it for a while, then eventually consider more complex investments.

- continuation of ones from last meeting, especially asset allocation, withdrawls, and tracking methods
- Cont- using efficient methods to withdrawal strategies after retirement Minimizing taxes after retirement
- more retirement taking money out
- I think that the current and list of potential topics should give us plenty of topics. My problem is not finding an interesting topic but trying to choose among very interesting topics.
- I missed the session today on tracking portfolio (2nd breakout). It would be nice if some valuable sites were offered up, that it was noted and sent via email. Jason led this and I am also seeking software and have been unsuccessful in finding anything.
- Commodity investing
- Asset allocation and rebalancing.
- maybe a discussion of stages: early accumulation, mid-years, and transition to retirement. Also, more on withdrawal phase. Lots of good topics this meeting. Couldn't attend all. Maybe people would like to see some repeated. First time attendees have different needs than regulars. I could see one long break-out session devoted to first or second timers. They have lots of questions.

0% - significantly less
21% somewhat less
74% balance is about right
5% somewhat more
0% significantly more

32% definitely
47% possibly
16% probably not
5% definitely not

- I liked the ice breaker, good way to start the meeting.
-Don't need speaker / panel at every meeting
- I think it's important to have a moderator present at a breakout who should direct the flow of the session and make sure everyone present has a chance to ask questions they might have; sometimes one or two people tend to dominate these and drown out others??
- I was a bit frustrated that I could not attend more of the breakouts. Something we had at my job and professional mtgs were poster sessions where presenters created 'posters' that summarized their topic and attendees circulated around and viewed and discussed the work with presenter and other interested attendees. Not appropriate for all topics but might be a model to consider.
- I was frustrated with the AA review....about 6 to review in 20 minutes and the first review ate up 15 minutes. One question to ask is 'what are you trying to accomplish' or 'what is your goal'? Not enough time.
- I thought the other two break outs were better because it was easier to focus. Withdrawal strategies...found helpful. Roth: Discussion didn't really follow the topic but nevertheless was beneficial.
- Very good for my level. I learn each time. I do like to know how to avoid taxes.
- I like the idea of having a tax expert available. Maybe for next year's February/March meeting.
- I like the current mix of one speaker topic and a few breakouts at 20 minutes each. Two hours is fine but if the three sessions end up running a little over 2 hours, no big deal. Today it was about 2 hours and 10 minutes and no one seemed anxious to leave.
- Don't want to be too age-ist, but I would like to speak to other investors in their 30s and younger and find out what their challenges and considerations have been for investing.

see you soon!
jeff mc

Feb 6, 2010

6-feb-2010 meeting minutes

below is the email sent to the MN bogleheads. to be added to this list, email me

hey, folks.

i realize i was being a "tough guy" w/ the time and whistle again today, cutting off good conversations to keep us moving through the agenda. we try to strike a good balance between free-range chatting and anal-retentive, on-topic, focused discussions. and to wrap it all up in 2 hours. i'll let you decide (and answer via the survey below) how we did at that balancing act.

it was great to see so many first-timers today. about 5-6 new folks of the 33 total attendees. i especially got a kick out of having first-timer mary ann attend (the mother of my 8th grade girlfriend more than 25 years ago. small world, indeed!). if only mary ann would of whispered "vanguard" or "index funds" in my ear back then, maybe the chapter in the boglehead book could have been called "ridiculously early retirement"!

based on the voting at this meeting, the next meeting will be on saturday, May-1, without food, in woodbury, from 10:00-12:00, at some large (preferably free) spot, like the Y or library. stay tuned for details. tentative agenda, subject to change based on survey results, is to have a panel discussion for first half, breakout sessions for 2nd half. and then possibly an informal 'third half' at a nearby restaurant, for anyone who wants to eat and chat in an informal setting w/ a small group. thanks for the idea of this informal lunch, mike and that table in the back.

link to survey to find panel questions, experts, and breakout topics for 1-may meeting: PLEASE TAKE THIS SHORT SURVEY {{link removed}}

link to powerpoint and pictures

link to main forum:

link to main forum thread and subforum where future meetings will be posted:

link to rick ferri on fox business news talking about new book: (sorry the sound was too quiet and tinny during meeting)

link to MN local blog:

link to our MN boglehead comic, b.j. dewey:
the last strip (5-feb) is about LBYM... a primary theme of the early retirement chapter. she's a true boglehead!

contact jason for splinter group - west side meeting dates and/or sturdy phil for east side dates (see email CC above). they meet in between our quarterly 'full' meetings.

thanks. i think the meeting was another good one due to such an energetic group, full of vets and new folks. take the survey. go vikes :-( and see you in may.
jeff mc

Nov 14, 2009

14nov2009 meeting minutes & future meeting schedule through 2011

if interested in learning more about the bogleheads, or to added to the MN boglehead mailing list, shoot me an email,

below are meeting minutes from the 14nov2009 meeting:

hey, folks:

it's cliched to say this again, but i think we had a really great mix of new bogleheads and old vets, w/ lots of good discussions. and special thanks to tom r. for his great presentation on his chapter of the new boglehead book (link to amazon -> )

for those not in attendance: 32 of us met and planned out the next 2 years of meetings, tom reviewed his chapter, and we had 2 breakout sessions. (and... i had to drive to radio shack (twice!) to get the correct cables for the overhead projector but that only delayed the start by a minute...)

here are the powerpoint slides, the agenda, and one picture of the meeting, all in one PDF file:

main website:

MN boglehead website: (updated very INfrequently)

jolinda and others were discussing the 'easy allocator' website, from yobria. i said i'd attach the link. unfortunately, it's not online these days. i don't know why.

meeting schedule:

6-feb-2010 12:00, bloomington

1-may-2010 10:00, woodbury
7-aug-2010 12:00, bloomington
6-nov-2010 12:00, woodbury

5-feb-2011 time, location tbd
7-may-2011 "
6-aug-2011 "
5-nov-2011 "

breakout session topics, keynote speakers, and content are the lifeblood of our group. please let me know what speakers and/or topics you would want to hear about in future meetings. some ideas to get you thinking: i think jason g. (CFA and west side co-moderator) could talk about something interesting. some CPA could come to discuss tax planning, i could do a chapter review of the boglehead book. some boglehead-type who really understands annuities and life insurance could de-mystify those. or we could do a panel discussion on "creating your personal asset allocation" w/ Q&A as an entire group.

if interested in meeting w/ either the east side or west side groups inbetween these main meetings, contact phil or jason, respectively. their emails are in the CC above. it sounds like both of those groups are doing great, and have a good core group of folks who have been getting together in more informal settings more often than main group meets. look them up!

jeff mc

Oct 4, 2009

new boglehead book in stores now & next MN boglehead meeting is nov-14

the community-written book, "bogleheads' guide to retirement planning" is now in stores and available at amazon: here is link to the book

kara mcquire, a great friend of the bogleheads, did a quick Q&A on it in sunday's paper (10/4/09)... here is link to that: here is link to boglehead book in star tribune

the book had two chapters written by MN bogleheads... early retirement and retirement planning.

the book is available to read at google books, too (not every page, but a pretty good sampling). link to google books

the next meeting of the MN chapter of bogleheads is november 13, 2009.

email me for details... we're back in woodbury for this one.


Jul 12, 2009

boglehead meeting minutes - july 11, 2009

attendees: 20... 19 bogleheads + an external speaker.

an expert attorney on estate planning, wills, trusts, etc presented during first part of meeting.

then, last quarter of meeting was the traditional peer-to-peer discussion / breakout sessions.

we're doing a survey to see what MN folks want to do for future boglehead meetings. contact me for a link to the survey if interested in completing it.

next meeting is 14-november, in woodbury unless the survey results indicate other time/format/location is preferred.


a special thanks to our featured speaker today, joe henderson. he talked about estate planning, wills, trusts, etc. very informative. i think our first external speaker we've ever had was a success. whew! his website is

going forward, i would like to continue setting meeting agendas, durations, times, formats, etc. that benefit the maximum # of people possible. to help do that systematically, i created a short (9 question) survey to find out what the perfect boglehead meeting should be.

next meeting: NOTE: based on survey results, these dates may change... stay tuned... but tentatively, they are:

14-november-2009, in woodbury

and for those planners who look way ahead:
13-mar-2010, bloomington
17-jul-2010, woodbury
13-nov-2010, bloomington

also, there are two other boglehead groups that meet: a west side group led by sandra and an east side group led by phil. if you're interested in these 'in between' meetings, please contact them directly (see the CC email addresses above).

pictures from today:

if interested, you can pre-order the next boglehead book at amazon ($16.47), bogleheads guide to retirement planning:

have a great rest of the summer, everyone. i think the survey can really assist making future meetings better. i'm looking forward to seeing the results.


Jul 8, 2009

next meeting: july-11

our next meeting is july-11, 12:00, in bloomington

we're doing something a little unique at this meeting. we've having a guest speaker for the first half. he's an attorney who specializes in estate planning. his talk may discuss various issues around estate planning, such as: wills, living trusts, health care directives (living wills) and assigned powers of attorney. there will be a question and answer session after his 'formal' presentation.

then, we will have our usual 1-2 breakout sessions.

to get an idea on the room layout, and how many handouts to print, and for the wait staffing, having an accurate count of bogleheads really helps our planning. please let me know if you are a "yes / no / maybe", either here or via a direct email to thanks!

Mar 8, 2009

boglehead MN meeting minutes - 7-mar-2009

we had another good meeting saturday. 18 bogleheads. lots of topics...

future meeting dates:
- 11-july-2009, bloomington
- 14-november-2009, woodbury
- 13-mar-2010, bloomington
- 17-jul-2010, woodbury
- 13-nov-2010, bloomington

email me at MNbogleheads (at) gmail (dot) com if interested in joining the MN bogleheads emailing group or learning more about our group.

jeff mc

Nov 22, 2008

boglehead MN meeting minutes - 23-nov-2008

attendees: 29
location: majors in bloomington
when: 23-nov-08
duration: 2.5 hours

1) welcome & “formal” intro - your name & guess when we’ll hit market bottom
2) risk quiz
3) break into 5 tables, 4 sessions (all session will be 20 minutes each)
4) wrapup, next meeting timing / location / format, picture

Feel free to share this with others. Because the survey I put together was based on questions from three different surveys, this survey has also never been tested for validity.

Risk Tolerance Survey Results
Bloomington Bogleheads 11-23-2008

Of the 22 individuals who took the survey, 11 had previously taken a risk assessment survey. As self reported, the risk tolerance of 8 of the 11 is lower than their previously reported risk tolerance. However, because the margin for error on the survey is plus or minus three points, no definitive conclusion can be reached regarding the effect of the current market environment on risk tolerance. The average for the entire group was at the high end of the moderate range (22.36 where the moderate range is 15-23). In comparing the retired group to those more than 10 years from retirement, the younger group scored only slightly higher within the moderate range (1.86 points, 23.86 to 22.00). The most significant difference within two groups was that those who had previously taken a risk assessment scored 2.91 points less than those who had never taken a risk assessment (23.82 to 20.91). Those who had previously taken an assessment were close to the middle
of the moderate range while those who had not, were borderline moderate-high.

Based on the nature of the self selected group, this was not a statistically valid sample that can be extrapolated to the population at large.

1st session
A BOGLEHEAD Basics 101: What is one? Brief history of bogleheads
B EMH (efficient market hypothesis): Does EMH really work? Considering the pessimism we have seen in the market lately are we sure that EMH has correctly priced equities or are there 'irrational' actors at work?
C ETFs: When to use ETFs, why to use them, who the major providers are, etc.
D BOND funds & TIPS: How to evaluate the risks/returns among bond funds. What data beyond 1,3,5,10 year returns need to be evaluated?
E WHY O WHY!?! someone knowledgeable explain in 5 minutes the reason for this economic mess, the bailout, and possible future scenarios if we continue to bail out further

2nd session
A AA: reviewing actual asset allocations / portfolios from people (bring 8 copies, % only)
B REBALANCE: Rebalance in this market? How often? (from every 5 years to almost continually)
C ROTH conversions, benefits of Roth vs. Traditional. location of funds: I've been trying to find a rationale for placing funds in a Roth
D RISK TOLERANCE review your risk analysis results from the intro quiz that we all took
E EARLY RETIREMENT. have you retired early? or do you want to? strategies, case studies, bridge income, boglehead book chapter preview

3rd session
A BEAR MARKET: After the crash: If bailed, when to get back in. if AA too stock heavy, when to adjust. Maybe some people sold to raise cash or avoid losses or just sleep better. If so what would be good strategies to redeploy this money sometime in the future?
B MENTAL HEALTH: Reinforce my decision not to bail out of the market & move to some remote island. What has been your emotional experience. How cope? What advice? bear market strategies. Staying the course in turbulent markets. Tune out the noise and stay invested? Hardest part about current markets
C EMPLOYER retirement plans and fund options. choosing best of the bad. how to judge/pick
D ESTATE PLANNING: Wills, Trusts, Power of Attorney, Living Wills. how to set up? how to update? how much to pay? DIY?
E HSA: Health Savings Accounts. how to document. when to tap. records to keep, etc

4th session
A TLH: Tax loss harvesting: Selling/switching a mutual fund. When/how?: replacements "substantially identical"? Deciding, w/ losses or gains, Do people decide an exit strategy when they buy? selling: Strategies to minimize taxes when selling investments?
B AA: reviewing actual asset allocations / portfolios from people (bring 8 copies, % only)
C WASHINGTON DC: proposed legislation changes / bailouts (401k, tax rates) w/ new administration/congress, 2010 roth changes
D RETIREMENT INCOME: Managing income streams and minimizing taxes (how to balance and maximize after tax income from pensions, SS, annuities, and pre /post tax)
E MENTAL HEALTH: Reinforce my decision not to bail out of the market & move to some remote island. What has been your emotional experience. How cope? What advice? bear market strategies. Staying the course in turbulent markets. Tune out the noise and stay invested? Hardest part about current markets

Jul 26, 2008

26-jul-08 minutes of MN diehard / boglehead meeting

visit for our global website. email directly at if you want to be added to the mailing list for future meetings.

it was a full agenda... (maybe too full?) next meeting in early nov, some sat, 12:00, at bloomington major's.

attendees: 27. several new folks, several old.

highest boglehead quiz score = 16 (too many small/value tilters!).

yang and i discussed that we could convert this to a bubblehead group and try to figure out and profit from the next bubble... commodities, real estate, etc. but maybe not...
the 'are you a diehard / boglehead' quiz:


____ 1. In these trying times, do you think it's reasonable to make tactical allocation changes? (Y=0, N = 1)
____ 2. Is the best strategy to simply to hold a broadly diversified portfolio and stay the course? (Y=1, N =0)
____ 3. Critics argue that buy and holders are simply sticking their heads in the sand as risk rises in the marketplace. Do you agree? (Y=0, N=1)
____ 4. Do you manage risk by diversifying among different types of securities - including bonds - and then staying the course? (Y=1, N =0)
____ 5. Do you rebalance and make necessary adjustments based on our own personal situation; not on market forecasts? (Y=1, N =0)
____ 6. Do you overweight portfolio to take advantage of the so-called value and small-cap premiums? (Y=0, N=1)
____ 7. Do you hold a broad market index fund and stay the course? (Y=1, N =0)
____ 8. Do you actively trade ETFs? (Y=0, N=1)
____ 9. Do you invest in high-cost actively managed funds? (Y=0, N=1)
____ 10. Do you consider yourself a market timer? (Y=0, N=1)
____ 11. Do you save regularly? (Y=1, N =0)
____ 12. Do you avoid mistakes? (Y=1, N =0)
____ 13. Do you have an asset-allocation plan? (Y=1, N =0)
____ 14. Do you diversify with broad market index funds? (Y=1, N =0)
____ 15. Do you keep costs low (including taxes)? (Y=1, N =0)
____ 16. Do you strive for simplicity? (Y=1, N =0)
____ 17. Do you stay the course? (Y=1, N =0)
____ add up your total score here. check with descriptions below

17 = You ARE John Bogle!
13-16 = Give that man a Bogle Bobblehead! Charter member.
10-12 = Pretty Boglish! Stay the course!
6-9 = You've heard the word, but haven't quite walked the walk.
3-5 = Eek. Good luck with that!
0-2 = Unrepentant market timing stock trader!

agenda: 1) welcome & “formal” intro - your name & what you’ve done during this bear market 2) boglehead quiz (below) 2) break into 5 tables, 5 sessions (all session will be ~15 minutes each) 3) wrapup, picture, next meeting timing / location / format

==================== Session 1 ==================== Table 1: Boglehead basics: what is one? Brief history of bogleheads Table 2: AA: Sample AAs for different ages/risk tolerance Automatic Investing 401k/403b/other, Setting Goals, Books/websites, how people track, Filing/keep/shred Table 3: AA: interested in asset allocation of index funds in retirement. Table 4: AA: reviewing actual portfolios from people (bring 8 copies, % only) Table 5: AA: US / Int'l equity allocations

==================== Session 2 ==================== Table 1: ROTH conversions, benefits of Roth vs. Traditional. location of funds: I've been trying to find a rationale for placing funds in a ROTH. Table 2: ROTH 401(k) vs. Traditional 401(k) if you have the option Table 3: 401k: keep $ in company stock, w/draw as LT gain, not ord. Income? Table 4: PICK: non-vanguard funds: discuss the where & why of owning such funds. Risk factor of being diversified through different fund families, e.g. Fidelity, VG, others Table 5: PICK: Picking/rating a mutual fund to meet AA, Rating – Morningstar, others

==================== Session 3 ==================== Table 1: PICK: Workplace retirement plans and fund options, etc. Table 2: TAX: tax deferred account %? Roll-over to Roth (qualifications today, 2010 law changes), Preparing for roll-over (accumulate cash), Does anyone have Roth 401k offered today? Table 3: TAX: taxes: strategies to minimize taxes, future tax changes and respective changes in investment strategies if any, pay off mortgage sooner vs. invest in taxable (if smth left after tax-deferred)... Table 4: TAX: Retirement: Managing income streams and minimizing taxes (how to balance and maximize after tax income from pensions, SS, annuities, and pre /post tax) Table 5: Selling/switching a mutual fund. When/how?: Deciding, w/ losses or gains, Do people decide an exit strategy when they buy? selling: I'm thinking real hard about selling out of a fund I've owned for a long time. does anybody have strategies to minimize taxes when selling investments?

==================== Session 4 ==================== Table 1: WD Buckets of Money Theory (withdraw phase) and other withdrawal techniques Table 2: WD RMD Required Min. Distribution which will happens at 70.5. I'd like to be better prepared for taxes both Fed and MN taxes, fund location advantages, re-balancing strategies, reverse mortgages, etc. Table 3: BONDS: junk bonds: What (if any) percent of total portfolio to devote to ‘junk bond’ funds, and if so what are well-run, inexpensive funds or ETFs to use? Table 4: BONDS: bond funds: How to evaluate the risks/returns among bond funds. What data beyond 1,3,5,10 year returns need to be evaluated? Table 5: ETFs: When to use ETFs, why to use them, who the major providers are, etc.

==================== Session 5 ==================== Table 1: bear market correction: staying the course in turbulent markets. What do you do to tune out the noise and stay invested? What is the hardest part about the current state of the markets, tuning out the media, etc.... Table 2: commodities: What % of portfolio are commodities, what are well-run, inexpensive funds or ETFs to use? What the heck are speculators doing to drive prices up. We all "speculate". What happens to market when they go away? Is the housing bust similar? outlaw speculation? We seem to be in series of bubbles Table 3: rebalance; How often? (from every 5 years to almost continually) Table 4: Estate planning: Wills, Trusts, Power of Attorney, Living Will Table 5: VG: Managers Who Eat Their Own Cooking OR NOT! It appears Vanguard managers who run index funds don't believe in indexing.

Mar 8, 2008

mtg minutes - 8-mar-2008 bloomington

wow, what a great meeting. lots of new faces, and a lots of vets, too. see below for agenda:

meeting minutes (...seconds)
attendees: 36
length: 2.5 hrs
topics: see below
format: 3 groups and 2 breakout sessions. thanks to walleye, a2z and sue for moderating each table.
next meeting: july-ish
next location: woodbury-ish

click on each picture to make bigger, then hit "back":

MN diehards/bogleheads meeting
“...dedicated to do-it-yourself, low cost, diversified, stay the course investing”
saturday, 8-mar-2008, 12:00
majors in bloomington

full group - “formal” intro - your name, forum name (if applicable), what you want to get out of today’s meeting

#1 breakout session
A) asset allocation reviews (%s only) bring 10 copies if you want to get peer reviewed
B) changes you’re hoping to make in 2008
C) steve showing his portfolio software

full group - want do you want to learn in next 12 months?

#2 breakout session
A) recent interesting diehard threads or polls
B) leading pres. candidates views and how those views may affect our portfolios/economy
C) financial metrics that you track for your household

full group - economy in 2008. predictions on US & intl equity & bond returns

full group - wrapup, next meeting timing / location / format

other group discussion ideas (for third breakout, or as time allows)
- estate planning: wills, trusts, how set up? cost?
- tax mgmt for retirement accounts (401ks, roth IRAs, SEPs) vs. taxable accounts
- diversifying retirement accounts (roth? 401k? after-tax? 529s?)
- one concrete way diehards/bogleheads/vanguard have helped you out
- favorite / funny stories about investing
- your worst investing mistake
- ETFs. who is using them? why? how to select them?

what diehards believe:
1. keep it simple
2. create a diversified, passive asset allocation and rebalance to it annually
3. stay the course - ignore the noise – do not market time or performance chase
4. costs matter - invest through low cost companies/ETFs
5. buy and hold low expense, low turnover, passive funds/ETFs
6. core holdings should be TSM, TISM, TBM, MM
7. no individual stocks - high uncompensated risk
8. bonds = age - 15 as a starting point
9. defer and/or manage taxes
10. buy term life insurance and invest the rest

Nov 23, 2007

you found us... now what?

hello: for even more details/info or to be added to our mailing list

thanks for your interest in the MN diehard group! i’ve received several emails asking about our group, so here’s some standard answers... apologies for the ‘generic nature’ of this reply.

there are no fees, dues, or investment money needed to become a MN diehard. just a desire to do it yourself investing to keep costs low, taxes manageable, and risk to be where you need it to be, done in a buy-and-hold, stay the course, non-market-timing manner. we don’t invest anything together as a group.

we’re a very informal group that gets together 4 times a year to discuss investing over a lunch at some metro restaurant, usually on a saturday at 12:00, for a few hours. most (but not all) use low-cost funds and ETFs, through vanguard or other brokerage firms. several of us also post and discuss finances at, but that isn’t a prerequisite, either.

the only requirement is that we do not accept solicitations of any kind from brokers, financial planners, life insurance sellers, etc. and we are not a ‘stock pickers’ investment club. we discuss asset allocations, risk, rebalancing, % international, etc. feel free to review past agendas on our blog to see if these topics interest you. if they do, we’d love to have you join us.

part of the benefit of our current group size is that it’s relatively small at any given meeting, and relatively easy to find a private room for free somewhere. if we double our size, logistics may be more difficult... so, stay tuned, our next meeting will be sometime in march, most likely.

thanks again for your interest. feel free to visit our nationwide forum ( or re-visit our MN blog,, or reply back if i haven’t answered your questions fully. the forum is free to register, and i find it to be the best, most professional, helpful site on the internet, regardless of your current investing knowledge (of course, i’m biased!). posting your current portfolio (in percentages only) on the board and asking for advice is some of the most powerful, useful outcome of diehard interaction, in my opinion. and reading as much as you can from the reading lists and the forums...

best regards,
jeff (aka ‘chuck D’ on the diehards)

Nov 21, 2007

MN boglehead story in the strib

kara mcquire did a great job with this story, imo.

for any new bogleheads out there who may want more info, feel free to email us at for details. we'll probably meet in march-ish, maybe in bloomington.

Photo illustration by Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune

which 529 state plan to use?


i stripped out all names from below email responses on the 529 email. thanks for the input! very solid info given...

also, i started a poll on the board... seems most folks like their own state, and then nevada:

happy thanksgiving!

original email request:

mn diehards:
peer pressure from the mn diehards has us thinking that it's finally time to open a 529. about 3/4 of the group last time said they have a 529, but i didn't ask through which state. i want to tap into your experiences. i'm thinking utah's plan (low fees, vanguard funds, seems to be near the top of most lists i've seen)
if you have an account, what state do you do it though? any reason to go w/ minnesota's plan? or some other state's plan? anything you would do different w/ your 529s in retrospect? thanks for any and all advice.

and the responses:
I am using the Minnesota College Saving Plan The distributions are free from federal and MN taxes. The contributions are not tax deductible; however, if the family income is less than $80,000, the State matches the contributions by a percentage in a matching account. The expenses are low and there are several plan options, including one where investments vary by the age of the child. A number of years ago I purchased EE Savings Bonds in my name with the intent of using them for my daughters' college expenses. However, my income became too high to benefit from the federal tax benefit. I did learn that you can roll over EE Savings Bonds into a 529, which I did, without incurring a tax liability for the accrued interest. With one daughter having recently finished college and my second one just starting as a freshman, my only advice is the usual--save as much as you can as early as you can! Good luck.
About a year ago I set up 529's for the grandkids. I researched the diehards site and went with Ohio. Vanguard and low fees. There was a specific reason I thought Ohio was better than Utah but I don't remember what it was.
I opened a 529 for my granddaughter this year. I strongly considered the Utah plan ( plus a couple of other as I remember) but finally went with Minnesota's plan with TIAA CREF, with the 100% equity option. There was not tremendous rationale, TIAA CREF is a pretty good company. I can always change plans if, for instance, down the road I would be interested in specific options.
We are sustaining two 529 plans for two grandsons. Both are Vanguard Iowa. There is a deduct from the State of Iowa income tax. It is not a big deal but every penny counts when you are a Diehard. =================
I have a 529 for my 5 grandkids with the MN plan. I am trying to remember why I went that way. Your email has prompted me to look at it again. So yes, in retrospect, I think Utah is the way to go. Will have to see if I can switch. I have had this plan for about a year now. Would be interested in hearing what kind of comments you get concerning this subject.
I have used the MN plan for all 4 of my children. You do get a matching grant from the State depending upon income level. So the matching grant is sort of a refund of one's taxes that helps with the tuition etc.
I will be making the same decision on a 529 plan for my newborn son. I was thinking Utah, Ohio or Iowa but I'm still researching. I would like to hear the responses you get from the group on your question. Please share what you can. Have a great day!
I was actually thinking the same thing - not the Utah plan, but the 529 for my sister's kids and maybe for mine someday, (do not have any yet or planning to-but you never know) Anyways, isn't it ironic that these thoughts come up when a new year is approaching. (But these thoughts are so important! with time on our side) So- if you don't mind - let me know what the other guys are using, I'll look up Utah and some others and get back to you.
I have a 529 for my Grandson. Vanguard, Nevada. At the time I started it there were fewer programs offered by Vanguard than now. I choose Vanguard Moderate Growth, which is about 25% bonds. I have not changed it. The funds will have 5 years. That is I put in the max each year for 3 years (His Freshman year is already taken care of.) He will have 1/3 of the funds for each of the last 3 years of college. I feel his parents can contribute for those last 3 years and he can also work (and borrow). I don't think it is wise to GIVE everything to kids on a silver platter.

His brother is a special needs child and I hope to set up some sort of "Trust" for him that will not hinder his getting help from the various agencies that help special needs. That is a whole different ball game and if I ever figure it out, I would be willing to share my findings if there is interest. I believe I will be using an attorney for this.
We opened up a MN 529 account last year because of the matching grants they offer to MN residents--which in my mind more than makes up for a slight difference in fees and non-Vanguard fund options. Last year, the match was 15% of deposits for households making up to $50,000 and 5% for those making over that. This year, they upped it to 15/10. TIAA-CREF offers the investment options, so they're more than reasonable.
We have 529 with MN, through TIAA -CREF, they do OK job, exp. 0.65, I chose an option when they adjust investment choices automatically based on the age of the child. In our case we are 4 years away, so conservative, with not very exciting rate of return. If I would go back and do it again - Utah or Iowa plans. Take a look here
- through Vanguard, also you can use Upromise system, when ? 2% or so of certain credit cards used amount goes into the account - I do not know details.

Good luck, and here is MY philosophy of successful higher education: make sure your kids know both fun and discipline from early childhood-> push them to be straight "A" students starting with elementary school(bribe with interesting stuff...eventually they get used to the idea) -> get merit scholarship to the in state school for undergrad-> choose the best school you can get into for graduate program, and the kid pays for it him/herself, but maybe you can help too with leftover 529 money that was not used for undergrad school...certainly sounds much easier on paper than in real life ;-)
Great idea . . . Information on 529 Plans is a good topic for discussion, insight, etc. I have not opened any yet, but with a first grandchild on the way in a month, I suspect a 529 is not too far in my future.

Nov 10, 2007

10-nov-07 mtg minutes

13 attendees: paul, ken, anna, steve a, sue, jim, kara, chuck, deb, carol, arleigh, steve s, myself

davanni's in st. paul, 12:00 to 2:40

a great meeting of the diehards this time around. steve from 180 miles out made it, as did arleigh (5 hours away!). only downside is that our jack the boglehead was kidnapped! will we ever see him again?!? stay tuned...

1) "formal" intro your name, why are you here, and what the bogleheads mean to you

2) breakout 2A) ETFs. who is using them? why? happy with the decision?
2B) OR rebalancing: to do or not to do. how and when?

3) full group want do you want to learn and/or change in next 12 months?

4) breakout 4A) asset allocation reviews (%s only)
4B) OR intl as % of AA. intl bonds? (ongoing fall of US$)

5) full group economy in 2008. predictions on US & intl equity & bond returns

6) full group wrapup, next meeting timing / location / format

Oct 18, 2007

MN - minnesota mtg - november in bloomington?

hey, folks... i posted this on the new diehard forum earlier... so, please let me know which date you prefer. either reply here or on the forum about either nov-10 or nov-17. thanks.

hope to see everyone soon!


Posted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 8:14 pm Post subject: MN - minnesota mtg - november in bloomington?

it feels about that time again... how about either sat. nov-10 or sat. nov-17, at 12:00? and how about back to major's sports cafe in bloomington? they have a nice (free!) private banquet room for discussions, w/ full menu options and no minimums, and is somewhat centrally located in southern metro. (i can hear carol already... when will we meet in north metro?!?)

for anyone new to this forum or to MN (or WI or IA) but interested, feel free to join us. our last meeting had a great mix of old and new diehards.

agenda (very drafty):
1) entire group: introductions. order and eat lunch.
2) small groups: topics TBD
3) entire group: investing plans and changes for 2008
4) small groups: topics TBD
5) entire group: open discussion / next meeting logistics

we usually wrap it up after 2 - 2.5 hours. for questions or to vote your date preference, post your reply here, PM me, email me, or visit our MN blog any suggestions and/or changes to format, date, time, location, topics, moderator, etc. are more than welcome, of course. i'll post back here when there's a consensus.

Jul 21, 2007

meeting minutes - 21-july-07


we had a pretty good turnout (a great turnout when thinking about the gorgeous sat. afternoon we had). 11 of us. 3 new diehards: welcome shane, jason, and russ! and as a bonus, if we ever need a diehard bouncer or bodyguard for the boglehead, i'm sure jason will step up.

be thinking about location and timing for next meeting. probably in oct-nov and central or south central metro area (bloomington's major cafe again?). we've always done saturday, 12:00, but we can certainly think about changing it up to sunday at 3:00 or later saturday (5:00?) or whatever. maybe i'll do a poll

talk soon

Jul 19, 2007

confirmed... july-21 mtg

formatting is all wrong... but too lazy to fix... anyone see 200 missing paragraph indicators?!?
i just sent out final email reminder to the mn email list... i copied it below for any interested diehards who aren't on that email list. if anyone wants to be added to the minnesota diehard email list, PM me or drop an email to
hey mn, ia, and wi diehards... final reminder of our get together this sat (7/21), 12:00, at throwbacks in woodbury. we'll be in the back (free) private banquet room. as always, it looks like a great mixture of diehard vets and some new folks, too. we have our first wisconsite... joel p from western wisconsin... welcome to the group, joel! (altho he can't make it this saturday). also new to the group who will be joining us: jason, shane, and russ. welcome! jim and i will co-moderate. if anyone has any other topics they want to discuss, reply back to this or just wait and bring them up sat. we're a very informal group. but below is a strawman. link w/ map to throwbacks (formerly majors, marg. murphys, ol' mexico, purple people eatery, etc): Throwbacks: 1690 Woodlane Dr, St Paul, MN 55125, (651) 379-9211

=== agenda ========== 1) “formal” intro 1) name and 2) your worst investing mistake. 2) during lunch: Q&A with star tribune reporter, kara mcquire: “How the public invests” & other topics 3) breakout 3A) investment purchases or sales since last meeting & any planned changes & why 3B) OR interesting threads and poll results on 4) full group how you found vanguard and/or the diehard forum and/or this group 5) breakout 5B) asset allocation reviews (%s only) 5A) OR rebalancing from high to lower performing asset classes (intl outperformance, FI treading water, etc). the psychological battles waged vs. momentum vs. risk 6) full group % in stocks (115-age in stocks?) rationale for your most important allocation decision. 7) full, wrapup next meeting timing / location / format ========= other group discussion ideas (for third group, or as time allows) - pros / cons of retirement accounts (401ks, roth IRAs, SEPs) vs. taxable accounts - direction of market next 12 months. (election season. tax laws, interest rates, deficit, economy) - want do you want to learn / change in next 12 months - diversifying retirement accounts (roth? 401k? after-tax? 529s?) ====================

see you soon!

Jun 15, 2007

ETFs - star tribune

interesting story about ETFs in today's star tribune (june15), w/ a nice diehard philosophy cooked in...

Kara McGuire: The ABCs of ETFs (exchange-traded funds)

An exchanged-traded fund is a basket of stocks that tracks an index instead of being picked by an adviser. The funds have gained a lot of followers -- from big-bucks advisers to small-fry investors and a growing number of 401(k) plans.
By Kara McGuire, Star Tribune
Last update: June 14, 2007 – 10:33 PM

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More from Kara McGuire
Kara McGuire: The ABCs of ETFs (exchange-traded funds)

There's a fast-growing type of investment that's gaining a lot of money and fans. I've yet to write about these ETFs, or exchange-traded funds, because they aren't a great fit for people who invest a little bit of money over a long period of time -- which pretty much sums up most of my readers.
Who has a lump sum to invest? But after the 100th person hit me over the head with a rolled-up list of the virtues of ETFs, I realized it was time for a primer.
Here's how they work. An ETF basically is a basket of stocks that tracks an index instead of being picked by an adviser. But unlike traditional index funds, which are priced at the end of the day, ETFs are traded throughout the day on an exchange, the same as stocks.
Since they were introduced in 1993, ETFs have gained a lot of followers -- from big-bucks advisers to small-fry investors and a growing number of 401(k) plans -- because they are relatively cheap and tax-efficient and give investors an affordable way to diversify around the globe.
And the numbers are growing to meet the demand. There are now about 500 ETFs, plenty to confuse the average investor, but certainly nowhere near the thousands of mutual fund choices.
Jeff McComas of Woodbury is a "huge fan" of ETFs, using them in his IRAs, his taxable accounts -- anywhere he can. He's an indexing devotee and wisely believes that "costs matter."
Take one of his holdings, the Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock ETF (VWO). It has an expense ratio of 0.3 percent, whereas you can pay well over 1 percent for a mutual fund investing in developing countries. No wonder investors are rushing into ETFs.
However, like stocks, every time you buy and sell an ETF, whether through your personal broker or online through a brokerage account, you'll pay a fee ranging from a few dollars to more than $20, which can add up. For this reason, most advisers recommend ETFs for investors with a few thousand to invest. McComas waits until he has $1,000 or more to lock away.
Those with less to invest would be better off from a cost perspective with a low-priced index fund that doesn't charge a purchase fee, although McComas rightly points out that some funds require large minimum investments and ETFs don't.
So who should use ETFs? Here's an example from Tim Gunderson, an adviser with Tradition Wealth Management in Edina: "Let's take a 35-year-old couple who just inherited $100,000" with no short-term plans for the money. For them, ETFs "are a great choice."
Anyone with a lump sum to invest from a 401(k) plan, a bonus or the proceeds from a screenplay also may find ETFs appealing.
Gunderson also likes ETFs for clients with taxable accounts because the capital gains hit typically is smaller than from mutual funds.
Say ETFs are right for you. But which? Some track the S&P 500 and other broad, mainstream indexes. Others invest in a sliver of the market: Euro ETF, anyone? How about one that invests solely in Russia or buys water-related companies?
Narrowly slicing and dicing the market by sectors and countries can be fun. But it's risky -- although at least you're more diversified than when you buy a single obscure stock.
Scott Oeth, a principal with Midwest Investment Advisors, said some of those ETFs are "really interesting," but he advises people to keep the ones with limited scope for their "satellite portfolio, where you give yourself a budget of money" for fun. Think no more than 10 percent of your portfolio, if that.
McComas, 37, sticks with the broader ETFs. "There are too many niche ETFs available now," he complained in an e-mail. His advice: "Keep investing simple, avoid single-country investing risk and stop trying to time the market."
How do you use ETFs? Tell Kara McGuire at 612-673-7293 or

Jun 8, 2007

next minnesota diehard mtg: july 21

it feels about time again... let’s plan on getting together sat. jul-21, at 12:00. we'll be meeting at throwbacks restaurant in woodbury. they have a nice (free!) private banquet room for discussions, w/ full menu options and no minimums. for anyone new to this forum or MN but interested, feel free to join us. our last meeting had a great mix of old diehards and several new ones, too.

agenda (very draft-y):

1) entire group: introductions (your name & worst investing mistake). order and eat lunch.

2A) small groups: discussion w/ kara mcquire (star tribune business/money columnist), OR

2B) asset allocation reviews (bring ~10 copies of AA - %s only)

3) entire group: mid-year checkup (your personal investing summary for 2007 ytd and any additional changes planned).

4) small groups: ISPs OR when to retire OR recent boglehead/diehard posts/polls that have been interesting

5) entire group: open discussion / other issues people want to discuss. next meeting timing / location

we usually wrap it up after 2 - 2.5 hours. for questions or to vote your preference, post your reply here, PM me, email me, or visit our MN blog (in signature below).

our numbers have been steadily rising over the years, which is great... at our last meeting, we had 21 diehards + 2 special guests (boglehead jack! and kara from the strib). several diehards have brought their significant other or neighbor, etc. the more the merrier! i’m really looking forward to it.