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Keeping things straight

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1 Keeping things straight on Sat May 02, 2015 9:34 am

I have never been accused of being detail oriented....as such, I often get caught up in the action and care goes to the dogs and the aftermath yields some poor record keeping....

Thankfully, Scottrade as with any brokerage I'm sure, keeps records for me and I can reconcile what's happened for good or ill and when. I was so employed this morning and pleasantly surprised to find that my in and out transactions on some of my test buys, while being net negative, were less than $200 down.

What most concerns me...is that on a couple of occasions I have pulled the trigger on transactions that while very positive to the overall net of my accounts, in the process, I have still managed to shoot myself in the foot...

I am managing money in a couple IRAs of my wife's..(playing with her money really relieves a lot of pressure ;-)...
One account is a traditional IRA with the greater amount of funds...and the other is a ROTH. I try not to split buys of a single asset across both accounts...but in the case of uwti and ugaz, I have had to do so to keep my buy-downs going when settled funds were only available in the alternate account. No problem...except...

What I have managed to do on a couple of occasions now is sell out of my ROTH account where the assets have had a higher basis. While I know my overall basis....the transactions were profitable....but in the ROTH account, they ended up being net negative. The effect of this was essentially to transfer money from the ROTH account to the Traditional....not a good tax strategy.....so, I just HAVE to be more careful in making the sells from the appropriate accounts.

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2 Re: Keeping things straight on Sat May 02, 2015 10:53 am

My setup is as follows: I have both a fairly large Roth IRA and a 2 regular taxable accounts (looking to close one of those out once I close out my google buy, one account is 10x larger than the other) in my name and a Roth IRA and a taxable account in my wife's name, and one large very restrictive TSP (federal government 401K) account that I can't really do too much in. What ends up happening is that I do a lot of my trading in the taxable accounts because they have the margin feature, which limits my worrying about unsettled funds. On the downside, I'm paying a lot of short term capital gains. Everything is Vanguard except for the TSP and the 2nd taxable account at Fidelity (only opened this since I had to because of the Lending club IPO went through Fidelity only- nice $3000 gain in a 2 weeks, so worth it).

For an improvement, I'm thinking about keeping all my less active investments in the taxable accounts, but trading in the IRA's. The downside is no margin. So maybe I'll be doing a combination of keeping the less active investments in the taxable accounts, trade the intermediate term stuff in the IRA, and using the margin in the taxable account for the short term stuff. Note that I never actually pay the margin interest rates since I only use the margin feature to avoid trading violations, not for the loan purpose.

The other thing that I might do is combine my taxable account with my wife's taxable account into one large joint account, so that way I'm operating off of 2 IRA's, 1 TSP, and a 1 large taxable account with lots of margin. Thinking about taking this all through Tradeking to give me more flexibility with trades (options, after hours, more detailed bracket orders, trailing stops, etc. - very limited with Vanguard right now) with the $5 commissions. Right now I'm at $2 commissions on my taxable and Roth IRA, but $7 on my wife's. I think right now though, I lose more money on the lack of flexibility than I do on the $3 difference in commissions, and I actually lose $2 difference of commissions in my wife's account.

Still thinking about how to do this best though. Haven't taken any action yet.

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