3 Places I’m Considering To Invest My Retirement Money

In my last two articles I talked about the reasons why I think my current retirement plan sucks, and I also mentioned several traps I want to avoid moving forward with my retirement plan.

In today’s article I’m going to cover three places I’ve been considering as possible options to move my retirement funds over to.  However all three of these options are unique in their own way and they all present specific benefits that meet the criteria I’m looking for.

Also I would like to mention that I’m interested in hearing other options as well.  So if you know of a company that I might be interested I’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Option 1: Vanguard

vanguardThe first option I’ve considered was Vanguard.  Now for those of you who don’t know Vanguard is an at cost investment company that charges little to nothing to invest with them, hence the phrase At Cost Investing.

What this means specifically is that they don’t have any sale charge fees, and their annual fees are very small typically around 0.30% which is very cheap. You can check out my full review of them here.

With that everything looks very attractive on the outside but when I took a deeper look I found a huge issue with them, their returns just don’t stack up.  In fact when I looked over almost all of their funds I found that their typical returns don’t average more than 4%.

If you don’t believe me check out this article I did awhile back where I compared Vanguard over another company that charges higher fees.  In the end I found that even with paying the fees they still beat out Vanguard because the returns were higher.

Now obviously returns cannot be guaranteed but when you look at things over the long term it’s evident that Vanguard can’t bring the returns I’m looking for.

Option 2: Lending Club

Lending_ClubThe second option I considered was Lending Club.  Once I first heard about this company I was drawn into the idea of playing banker with my own money.  On top of that returns look very promising averaging around 8 – 10%.

However there’s one huge problem with using Lending Club or any other peer to peer lender, they are not available in Ohio.  Yup, that’s right you can’t invest with Lending Club in Ohio, and since I live in Ohio this is pretty much out of the question.  In fact I’ve gone as far to email them several times  and ask the were going to open Ohio up to investing in Lending Club and I have yet to ever hear from them.

The second problem I have with them is that investing strictly with Lending Club would be like investing all of my money in gold, which could prove to be risky.  On top of that nearly 82% of all Lending Club loans are debt consolidation loans.  This in itself could be very risky if a lot of people would happen to default on their loans.

Option 3: Betterment

BettermentFinally, the last option I’ve been considering is Betterment. I recently came across  a great review of them by Joshua over at Modest Money and decided to check them out, and one of the things that I noticed right off the bat that I liked was the fact that they kept things simple and user friendly.

Secondly the fees are very low typically between 0.15% to 0.35% with no sale charge fees.  On top of that they are very transparent showing me exactly where my money is invested and I can change things at the drop of a hat.

However there’s one thing I didn’t like about it, and that is if you have under $10,000 a month you need to contribute at least a $100 a month since my account isn’t at that mark yet.

However, I plan to start contributing to it again so this isn’t really that big of a deal.

Final Thoughts…

So those are my 3 options that I’ve been considering.  However I would like to hear your thoughts.  Where are you investing your retirement money?  Is their a specific company you like using and why?

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  1. Vanguard is a great choice for low cost investing. The only issue is that you need a decent amount to get started. For this reason I like Betterment as well as Schwab. You can invest in Schwab mutual funds and ETFs with just $100 and no fees at all. Plus the expenses of the funds compare well with Vanguard.

  2. We use Schwab and Vanguard. We’ve had retirement and college savings investments set up at Vanguard for years and have seen returns well in excess of 4%. Their flagship fund, the S&P 500 Index, has averaged almost an 11% return since it’s inception in 1976.

  3. That’s a good tip Jon. I never did consider Schwab, I may have to check into them. I think the reason Vanguard requires so much upfront is because they may so little since their fees are so low.

  4. Thanks for the tip Brian, I may have to look into that fund and see how they have been doing.

  5. I think Lending Club is my first choice when it comes to where I would like to invest my money but since it isn’t available in Ohio I won’t be able to do it.

  6. That would be great but most accounts require a certain amount of money before you can open an account and I just don’t have enough to do that. Plus the money is coming from a Roth IRA and I don’t know if you can split funds like that and still keep the same tax status. It’s a good thought though Laurie.

  7. I’d opt for Lending Club. There is something just appealing about being the lender, analysing the risk of each borrower and as you point out in the review, the returns are decent and you can even increase them with a bit of research and taking on a bit more risk.

  8. That’s exactly right Simon. Lending Club is my first pick but they are not available in Ohio and it doesn’t look like they will be anytime soon. I even checked other social lenders such as Prosper and they don’t even allow me to invest with them either in Ohio. My guess is that the laws and restrictions are pretty tough here in Ohio so they aren’t even going to try to do it.

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