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Since International Paper is better than most, should I keep it or move money to my Vanguard IRA?

Feb 17, 2012 by Gail from Dexter, NY in  |  Flag
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Gail, it depends on what your objectives for the money are. International Paper (IP) is a relatively stable company with a respectable dividend yield, and if that meets your objectives long-term, then you may want to keep it. Alternatively, if you feel you have a investment opportunity within your Vanguard account which better meets your needs, then selling the stock could be beneficial. In the end, you have to look at the tradeoff between the investment you have, and the one you are considering, and think through the issues around which one is more likely to meet your needs and expectations. This may not be the precise answer you were looking for, but where investments are concerned, the answer is rarely black or white.

2 Comments   |  Flag   |  Feb 17, 2012 from Cumming, GA

I should have been more specific: Since we are getting older we think it is wise to eliminate some paperwork and are considering putting the Domini IRA and the IP 401k into the Vanguard IRA. Or should we put it all into a local bank or credit union IRA? We are getting a small amount now from the Vanguard IRA but will have to take more in a few years. Thank you.

Flag |  Feb 18, 2012 near Dexter, NY
Travis Raish, CFA

Gail, I often tell my clients to keep things consolidated if they can. It helps them stay organized and as you mentioned, it can cut back on the paperwork you receive. With that said, most people are better off using a larger brokerage firm to consolidate their accounts and assets because they generally have access to a broader range of investments than they will at their friendly neighborhood bank or credit union.
If you already have an account with Vanguard, that would be a fine choice, and if that's the direction you want to go, you will fill out transfer paperwork with Vanguard to move the Domini IRA account over, but you will have to call the International Paper human resources department to find out what you need to do to send the 401k money over.

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Flag |  Feb 18, 2012 near Cumming, GA

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Gail, it's been almost 3 years since you posed your initial question. If you chose to simplify and consolidate, I hope it worked out nicely for you. Vanguard offers a brokerage IRA account also, so you could choose to consolidate retirement accounts, yet still hold any IP stock that you accumulated while an employee. Since then, International Paper stock (which I assume you held some of in your IP 401k) has appreciated 59%, while paying you almost 9% more in dividends, for a total return of about 68%. A balanced Vanguard IRA approach, with 50% in the S&P 500 and 50% in total bond market, returned 26% during the same 3-year period. Looking forward, as you approach RMD in your IRAs, balancing risk versus return, and predicting a sustainable cash flow from your consolidated IRA, should be easier to manage with consolidated accounts. Good luck.

Comment   |  Flag   |  Jan 31, 2015 from Cedar Park, TX

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Gail, Be careful not to put the cart before the horse. Investing is a means to an end - not an end in itself. Please take a time out to craft a plan: comprehensive and in writing - preferably with assistance from a caring and competent financial advisor - that articulates your goals, time horizon and risk tolerance. From here you can arrive at which funding vehicles are most appropriate within the context of that plan. Without such a plan, an investor might be like a sailboat in the sea with no sail or destination which is why most Americans fail at investing. Best of luck! Evan

Comment   |  Flag   |  Feb 17, 2012 from Port Washington, NY

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