Financial Update – Nov 2022

Another month, another update. A few random comments.

Good Reads/Listens/Watches

  • My father recommended the series Formula 1: Drive to Survive (link).
    • I had always thought that car racing was boring, but this series is pretty captivating.


  • The month flew by. I’m unsure where it went.

Most of the fam jumping after our Christmas card photo shoot.

Getting shut down by a pink crimpy route in a bouldering league. Fortunately I got to the top after several failed attempts.

FC1 & FC4 are puzzle wizards.

blankGoofy mini golfing antics in Denver, where we got a Groupon for $3/person.

blankLarger-than-life ice cream sandwiches were included in the Groupon!

Teenage Zac Efron was kind enough to serenade FC2 on her birthday.

This Month’s Finances

  • The good:
    • Still employed.
  • The bad/abnormal:
    • $655 for wisdom teeth (4) extraction.
    • $292 airplane ticket to Vegas for upcoming climbing trip.
    • Bought some Christmas gifts.
    • Prepaid some utilities to take advantage of BoA’s extra 2% off promo.

Full version downloadable here (link).



  1. Fidelity unambiguously has the best HSA on the market. $0 admin fees + $0 expense ratio funds.
  2. I lazily approximate home value as my historical purchase price.
  3. I have a 15Y mortgage which results in much larger principal payments than a 30Y mortgage. Since principal payments are simply transfers from one pocket (assets) to another (debt reduction), I treat such cash flows as savings.
  4. ~$0 cell phones described here.
  5. All expenditures at Costco & Walmart are classified as “Food at home” for simplicity (even if it’s laundry detergent, clothing, medicine, toys, etc).
  6. Nobody knows the perfect asset allocation. Just pick one and run with it. Use a target date retirement fund as a benchmark if you want some guidance (link). If you prefer to DIY (as I do), then a three-fund portfolio is great (link).
  7. My low portfolio expense ratio is the primary reason why I don’t hold target-date funds, which have expense ratios anywhere from 0.16% to 1%. I can achieve a much lower expense ratio on my own due to Admiral shares, etc. And it’s not hard. Plus, a DIY portfolio allows one to tax-loss-harvest more easily.
  8. ETF’s are slightly more annoying to hold relative to index funds. With ETF’s, you must deal with bid-ask spreads as well as the inability to buy partial shares (Fidelity now offers fractional shares). With a simple index fund, you don’t have to deal with either of these issues. Bogleheads discussion here (link).
  9. I continue to own VTSAX rather than FZROX and in my taxable brokerage account because it is more tax efficient due to lower capital gains distributions. Bogleheads discussion here (link).
  10. CA’s 529 plan has the lowest expense ratio US equity index fund of any in the US (link). I’d have 100% of our 529 money there if not for the state tax deduction we receive in our own state.
  11. My Collective Investment Trust (CIT) version of Vanguard’s Total Int’l Stock Index has a 0.059% expense ratio, yet produces 0.15% of “tax alpha” due to reduced foreign tax withholdings. Vanguard implemented this change around 2019. Therefore, I report the effective expense ratio of negative 0.091% for this holding (=0.059%-0.15%). The “tax alpha” shows up in the performance differential in the fact sheets here (CIT vs MF) and is more thoroughly explained here. Unfortunately, this 0.15% of “tax alpha” is not available in the mutual fund version.

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5 thoughts on “Financial Update – Nov 2022”

    • Thanks for stopping by. Happy holidays to you too! Set it and forget it is indeed the way to go (assuming that the initial “set it” is reasonable).

  1. Agreed! Using 60/40 as I couldn’t figure out what asset allocation to use so I figured there were dozens of worse options to pick as long as I’m in a low fee investment. Of course in high school teaching I had to navigate 25 403b vendor options to locate a secret option of Security Benefit “direct invest”. Thanks to

  2. Hey, FP, your favorite Baughheads officially made it out of debt the second to last day of 2022. Happy freaking New Year to us! Hope all is well with you and yours.


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