VDIGX….an investment decision validated.

When I was travelling last couple weeks, I got time away from the day-to-day chores of family life. I kind of enjoyed this break….ssshhhh….don’t tell this to my wife ūüôā I used that time to read up on different articles related to my current investments. When the markets went down, I wanted to feel good about my investments!

One of my investments is in VDIGX (Vanguard Dividend Growth funds). I have talked about various dimensions of this fund in this blog.

  • My original rationale on picking this fund is documented here.¬†Don Kilbride, the manager of VDIGX, is a recognized name in the industry and has done a wonderful job with VDIGX.
  • VTSMX is Vanguard Total Stock Market fund.¬†I compared VDIGX vs VTSMX here. I wrote that both VDIGX and VTSMX have their rightful place in my portfolio.
  • I definitely see a recession coming and wrote about it here. As part of that, I did a¬†Risk Analysis of all my investments here. VDIGX had the second lowest Beta Coefficient of all my investments….only VTMFX (a tax managed balanced fund) did better. A low beta coefficient means that my investments will be less volatile than the market i.e. income¬†stability will be much better.

In addition to what I thought about, some other smart people have thoughts on VDIGX too. I read one such article from Morning Star while travelling and I really liked the content enough to post a link here.

This article argues that a fund may¬†not provide the greatest current yield (usually, this implies¬†less risk) but if the fund holds¬†quality holdings, it will provide a more stable income stream and potentially lead to more capital growth in the longer term. Read more directly from Morning Star link above…it is worth it.

PS: There is good marks for VHDYX (Vanguard High Dividend Yield) also…this makes me more happy because I have invested in this also. Wish me luck for continued good success in picking good investments.

How long does it take to accumulate $80000 in a 529 College fund?

When I defined what Financial Independence means to me (here), $80000 dollars in a college fund for my kid seemed good to me….how I came up with that number is listed here. I did not have any notion of how to get there apart from creating a 529 fund and regularly depositing money into it.

The next question for me now is: how long before I get $80000 in the 529 College fund? This post will talk about how to come up with a time estimate.

Savings Calculator

There are two nice calculators that we can use to estimate how many years it will take to accumulate a certain sum of money, if we know the monthly investment that one is ready to invest.

  1. Savings Calculator from FINRA
  2. Bankrate.com’s Savings Calculator

The college fund for my kid is invested in a Vanguard 529 plan. I am going to assume that this fund returns about 3% average over the next 9 years. This is when my kid will be ready to enter college. I am going to use the Savings Calculators listed above to estimate when the 529 plan will reach a target amount of $80000.

Parameters for the Calculator

The input that the calculator needs is as follows:

  1. Initial Savings Balance: $25,310
  2. Deposit Interval: Monthly
  3. Deposit Amount per interval: $400
  4. Number of Deposits: 108 (12 months * 9 years = 108)
  5. Annual Return: 3.0% and 5% (conservative and average growth rate for the 529 Plan)
  6. Inflation Rate: 3.0%

Now, lets calculate the time required to reach $80000 at two growth rates: 3% and 5%.

Case 1: Calculator Results at 3% Return

By inputting the above parameters to the calculator, here are the results after 104 months of investing $400 at appx 3% average rate of return per year.

  • Ending Balance: $82,576
  • Inflation Adjusted Balance: $59,030

No   Period        Deposit      Balance           Inflation Adjusted Balance
1     Jan-2015  $400.00     $25,773.41     $25,693.43
13   Jan-2016  $400.00     $31,424.26     $30,179.91
25   Jan-2017  $400.00     $37,244.63     $34,460.31
37   Jan-2018  $400.00     $43,239.62     $38,542.51
49   Jan-2019  $400.00     $49,414.46     $42,434.08
61   Jan-2020  $400.00     $55,774.54     $46,142.32
73   Jan-2021  $400.00     $62,325.42     $49,674.25
85   Jan-2022  $400.00     $69,072.83     $53,036.64
97   Jan-2023  $400.00     $76,022.66     $56,236.01
98   Feb-2023  $400.00    $76,611.14     $56,495.46
99   Mar-2023  $400.00    $77,201.07     $56,753.83
100 Apr-2023  $400.00     $77,792.46     $57,011.12
101 May-2023 $400.00     $78,385.30     $57,267.33
102 Jun-2023  $400.00     $78,979.61     $57,522.46
103 Jul-2023   $400.00     $79,575.38     $57,776.53
104 Aug-2023 $400.00     $80,172.62     $58,029.53

Case 2: Calculator Results at 5% Return

By inputting the above parameters to the calculator, here are the results after 90 months of investing $400 at appx 5% average rate of return per year.

  • Ending Balance: $80,050
  • Inflation Adjusted Balance: $60518

No Period         Deposit       Balance          Inflation Adjusted Balance
1   Jan-2015     $400.00     $25,814.75     $25,734.64
13 Jan-2016     $400.00     $32,034.51     $30,766.00
25 Jan-2017     $400.00     $38,565.27     $35,682.22
37 Jan-2018     $400.00     $45,422.57     $40,488.33
49 Jan-2019     $400.00     $52,622.72     $45,189.15
61 Jan-2020     $400.00     $60,182.89     $49,789.36
73 Jan-2021     $400.00     $68,121.07     $54,293.46
85 Jan-2022     $400.00     $76,456.15     $58,705.82
………………………………………………………
90 Jun-2022     $400.00     $80,050.93     $60,518.23

Conclusion

From the calculator’s results above, we can see the following results for investing¬†$400 per month in a 529 plan.

  • At 3% annual return, it takes 104 months (approximately 9 years) of investing.
  • At 5% annual return, it takes 90 months (approximately 7.5 years) of investing.

Wish me luck that I can get this done within 7.5 years!!