Tag Archives: mutual fund

A Look at VGMIX (Vanguard Mid-Cap Growth Fund)

While I have a fairly good idea of what’s going on in my Sharebuilder account, it makes me uncomfortable to have no idea of what stocks my index funds are invested in. So every once in a while I plan to research my funds and see what stocks are in them.

I randomly decided to invest in VGMIX in a taxable account. Maybe a bad idea. Since I’m maxing out my Roth IRA currently with two vanguard accounts — Retirement 2050 and the Total Stock Index funds, I needed some place else to put my money. Perhaps all the rest of it should somewhere else.

VGMIX lost 47% last year (yikes.) So much for growth.

As of Dec 31, 2008…

VGMIX had:

231 stocks
$4.0B Median Market Cap (what does this mean?)
Price/Earnings Ratio 13.0x
Price/Box Radio 2.3x
Investor Shares: .6%
ETF Shares .8%
Return on Equity 20.2%
Earnings Growth Rate 26.0%
Foreign Holdings 0%
Turnover Rate 54$

Sector Diversification

Consumer Discretionary 13%
Consumer Staples 3.9%
Energy 8.1%
Financials 5.0%
Health Care 17.5%
Industrials 22.8%
Information Technology 19.5%
Materials 4.9%
Telecommunication Services 2.1%
Utilities 3.1%

Largest Holdings (approx 1% each):

C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc (air freight)
Fluor Corp (construction and engineering)
Laboratory Corp of America Holdings (healthcare)
Expeditors International of Washington (air freight)
Humana Inc. (managed healthcare)
Rockwell Collins (aerospace and defense)
AutoZone Inc. (automotive retail)

Apparently a fund provides a complete list of its holdings four times a year, as the quarter ends.

I hold a very little bit of a lot of different companies. Then there is a lot of other information that I do not understand. Hmmph.

Even if investing in single stocks freaks me out, I do like knowing what I’m investing in.

Speaking of investing in solo stocks and ETFs, I just bought more of COMV and IHI today. I hope that was a good idea. I feel like COMV maybe has great potential but I just don’t know enough to say. It’s in a good space that I believe has potential, but when it comes to the company’s ability to make a profit – I have no idea. I do know that they were down to $3 a share a few months ago and now they’re at $7. I’m still upset that I didn’t buy more when they were at $3.

Holding My Breath — Investment Pains

I know the economy is suffering lately, and had I not been paying attention to the news I would have figured it out by looking at my bank account. My Roth IRA, which had $4000 in it, is now worth $3762, and my regular Vanguard mutual fund, which had $5100 invested in it, is now worth $4662. Ok, so I’ve lost about $700 thus far on my investments. Ouch.

I’ll stick it out because I know investments have to be a long term sort of deal, and hopefully at some point our economy will recover and so will my piggy bank. It’s just tough to watch $700 disappear so quickly, and I’m sure this isn’t the end of the downturn. I’m prepared to lose all the money I invested, although it will surely SUCK to lose $9100. But if I lose all of that money, you can bet that I’m done with the stock market and mutual funds for good.

Vanguard Woes

Ok, I know mutual funds are rather safe when it comes to an investment, but I’m really bothered that my $8500 invested in a Roth IRA and index fund has turned into about $8338 over the course of two weeks. I know I have to deal with fluctuations in the market, but it’s no fun to lose over $100 in two weeks. The only thing that keeps me from pulling my money out is knowing that if it lost $100 in two weeks, then it certainly could gain $100 in a similar time span. But that’s not really the point of investing. I’m supposed to be making money, not watch it all sink down the drain. Maybe my investments are bad. Or maybe the market just isn’t doing good for the time being. At what point should I be worried about my investments? When my $8500 is $6000?

Vanguard Mid-Cap Growth Index Fund Investor
Shares 180.505
$24.56 –$0.14 *$4,433.20
Subtotal $4,433.20 (Bought for $4,500)

Vanguard Target Retirement 2050 Fund
$24.06 –$0.07 $3,955.61
Subtotal $3,955.61 (bought for $4,000)

Savings Breakdown

Ok, so at least my Vanguard accounts started to gain some money. I just realized that I have no idea how my VGMIX Mutual Fund account will be taxed. Do I get taxed when I take out the money or do I get taxed each year on capital gains, even if ultimately I could lose that money before taking it out of the account? There’s probably a simple answer for this, but as of now I’m clueless.

Bye, Bye Capital Gains

My Vanguard ROTH IRA and Mutual Fund accounts are back up and running. Well, I shouldn’t say “back up and running” given the first purchases all were bounced back and all of the capital gains on these funds were lost. Of course, now that I reinvested my money, the funds are down and I’m losing money. I know not to stress out about this, of course, but it was so nice to see my money gain $50 in the first week as opposed to losing the money.

This time around, I decided to be a little bit more risky in my investment. I put the full $4000 into my Roth IRA (I was going to do $3000, but with my new job also lacking a 401k plan… but with a higher salary… there really is no reason not to max out my Roth IRA) and then I put $4500 into the mid cap growth index fund. In a month or so I might diversify a bit and take $1500 of that and add another $1500 to a large cap fund.

One day, when conflict of interest is not an issue (if that’s ever the case) I’d like to get into stock trading on Zecco. It sounds like a good place to start out. But for now, I can’t get too deep into the Wall Street world.

Ready for a little bit of a rant?

So, in short, my bank is driving me mad. I have no clue if all of this mess is my bank’s fault, or my fault, or Vanguard’s fault, but I’m really pissed off and to be honest I feel a bit bipolar about my whole financial situation right now.

Remember those two accounts I opened at Vanguard for $3000 each? The ones that were slowly but surely gaining interest that had me jumping for joy?

Well, I come home today to check my accounts over on my portfolio on BoA… and what do I see? They’re gone. Somehow my bank decided to buy negative shares back so now my investments are back to 0. I have no idea what’s going on. The mutual fund purchases were never posted to my checking account. But Vanguard’s site said they transferred. What is going on?

I called BoA and the woman I talked to didn’t understand anything. Of course it’s 8:30 on a Sunday night so customer service is closed.

Btw, two days ago they apparently turned off my debit card for “suspicious activity.” I’ve yet to have it turned back on. I decided that my transfers of $6000 to Vanguard must have freaked out BoA, but according to the person I talked to on their help line, the activity on my account should not effect my debit card and vice versa.

I appreciate my bank trying to protect me from fraudulent activity, but gosh, the reason I haven’t moved my cash to an online bank is because I like being able to go in to a banking center for help. Except the banking centers these days, at least BoA’s banking centers, are entirely useless. I mean, there are some nice people who work there, and I even found a BoA that has cookies to munch on while you’re waiting. That’s nice. I like cookies. But what I don’t like is how difficult it is to manage such simple things like transferring my money to an outside mutual fund. I mean, it seemed like such a concept was alien to this customer service woman. She couldn’t quite grasp the idea of someone transferring her money FROM a checking account TO a mutual fund.


Ok, my rant is just about done now because there’s nothing I can do until the morning when I’ll have the opportunity to call up customer service and whine to them. I e-mailed Vanguard because maybe they can tell me more than what BoA doesn’t understand.

I’m really getting fed up with BoA. It sucks, because I do like having a local banking center where I can deposit my funds. And I LOVE my mini BoA debit card for my keychain – I use it all the time and… I really think I’m the only person in the entire world taking advantage of the miniature debit card because every time I present it as a form of payment, the person ringing up the bill laughs out loud and says something along the lines of “wow, is this real?”

Anyway, I’m just really sad that the $30 some-odd dollars I supposedly made last week on my mutual fund is no more. I’m not even going to get hopeful about Vanguard being able to somehow place the purchase date on May 30 so the interest remains the same.

*end rant.*

PF Jitters

My $6000 was officially transferred from the safety of my Maximizer checking account into my IRA and Mutual Fund investment accounts. I’m excited about taking the investment leap myself, but nervous as all hell that the leap might be futile, or worse. I’m pretty comfortable with the $3000 I put to my Roth IRA. It’s in a nice Retirement 2050 plan that’s already diversified with my retirement date in mind. And since Vanguard seems to be a pretty reputable company, I’m not too worried. However, the $3000 I put towards that Mid-Cap Growth Index Fund is probably a bad idea.

As of 10:25am, my $3000 in my mutual fund is down 5 cents, and my $3000 in my IRA is up 3 cents. Why is a 2-cent loss making me so god-damn nervous? And furthermore, why is my Mutual Fund down 5 cents when looking at the day’s activity in the fund, it should be up a bit? I’m rather confused right now. Maybe it dropped down the second I put my money in. I know I’m going to be anal about checking how the fund is doing, despite that I’m going to try to force myself to keep my money in there for a few years (until grad school) unless someone more knowledgeable than me advises me otherwise.

I’m kind of glad I’m prohibited from getting involved in the nitty gritty of stock trading (due to covering technology companies that I’d like want to invest in), so I’ll likely avoid making any major investment mistakes. Still, putting $3000 in an account that could drop down to $2000 in a few days makes me rather nervous. I mean, the largest investment I’ve ever made with my money thus far was that godawful CD with a 3.1 % interest rate. I put $7000 into that a few months after I got out of college. It seemed like the wise thing to do at the time. It was an 18-month CD, and I figured since I had upwards of $30k in savings somehow, I could spare $7000 for such a “risky” investment. Well, it felt risky at the time.

Sadly enough, I didn’t bother to call my bank when the CD matured, thinking that it would just automatically transfer to my checking or savings account and I could deal with it then. Of course, now I know that CD’s automatically reinvest themselves at the same rate, for the same amount of time. So now I have my $7000 (which is at about $7400 after gaining the 18 months of Interest, which I guess is better than nothing) tied up in this low-interest CD. Meanwhile I recently saw an ad on Bank of America for an 8-month 5.01 % CD and I threw $5000 at that. For some reason they haven’t processed my CD investment yet, though. I guess I have to call them and confirm some things before they can pull my money from my checking account and put it in the CD.

In more exciting news, since last weekend I’ve made $1.57 since enrolling in BankofAmerica’s “Keep the Change” program. It’s kind of neat – every time you use your debit card, they roll your spending cost up to the nearest dollar and deposit the difference in your bank account. So, for instance, if you spend $1.01, they’ll toss in 99 cents. Of course, most purchases end up being, like, $2.92, so in that case you only get 8 cents. But over the course of one week and eight transactions, I’ve afforded myself a small coffee. I also apparently racked up $2.46 in my AdSense account somehow. I guess that means people are actually reading my page. That’s exciting! Extra income, even $4 a week, is certainly helpful. I’m nervous about this AdSense account thing, though. I’ve read some horror stories about how Google has shut down accounts if you click on your own links. And it’s not like I’m going to do it on purpose, but sometimes I’m not thinking and I’m actually interested in an advertisement shown on my page. I’ve never had to restrict myself from clicking something. So hopefully I can restrain myself.

On another note, I’m saving some money this month because I’ve offered a friend who’s recently moved to the area a place to crash until she finds a place. I wasn’t going to make her pay anything, but since she offered I figured I’d split my rent and pro-rate it. So that comes out to $15 a day. And I’m also possibly designing some websites for my friends for a rather small fee (compared to my normal rate.) But I never count my freelance money as income. It’s always “extra,” although in actually due to my poor spending habits and inability to keep a budget, I’m lucky if my freelance wages cover all the cash I’ve spent in a month.

So salary-wise, make about $2200 a month after taxes. (Though this year I ended up owing a lot in taxes and I haven’t done anything with the W4, so I’m figuring I make about $2100 a month, really. $905 of that goes to rent & utilities (PG&E, water, trash, etc are “included” in my rent). Oh, what the hell, here’s a list of my basic fixed monthly costs:

$905 — Rent (includes utilities) – Going up to $1050 per month in July, plus requiring renter’s insurance.
$60 – Verizon Cell Phone Bill, if I remember to pay it on time and don’t use 411, etc.
$64 – RCN TV & Internet
$8 – the converter box from RCN that I’ve yet to find time to return, that I’m apparently “renting” on a monthly basis
$5 – RCN “Home networking” – on my RCN bill, but I have no idea what this is. WTF?
$1038 total for now
$1188 + whatever rent’s insurance costs in July.

Now, time for some depressing figures…

My spending on rent currently is 45 percent of my income (you’re only supposed to spend 20-30 percent of your income on rent, I hear.) In July, sans a raise (and I doubt I’m getting a raise anytime soon) I’ll be spending 50 percent (or more) of my income on rent.

It doesn’t take a personal finance blogger to tell me that’s a terrible idea.

I’ve been thinking about writing a post about why on earth I live alone in the SF Bay Area on $35k a year, so I think I’ll write that up over my lunch break later this afternoon.

In any case, with $1050 left for all the other things in life outside of basic housing, TV, Internet and phone, I just keep overspending. It doesn’t help matters that I’m spending upwards of $350 a month in gas to get to my various rehearsals that are 40 or so miles from my home (my “hobby” is doing community theater – which is free, outside of gas mileage and makeup for shows and the like.)

But hey, at least I made $1.57 in “keep the cents” change. Then again, Bank of America, for some reason, has that $1.57 noted as a “spend” in my checking account. So I’m down $1.57 for the time being. What’s up with that? Grr.