How do rebalance and maintain brokerage account on my own after 20 years?


Once upon a time, long before marriage, I learned to lived below my means and save, save, save! The investing often part was started but then got delayed. When I started working full time 25+ years ago I had a financial advisor through my bank that managed my savings and investments. She was as rare as a 4-leaf clover and felt that she looked out for my best interest. She past away 12 years ago and my portfolio was passed around and mismanaged. During that time I was busy raising a toddler and newborn so my financial priorities were neglected. During my divorce a few years ago I was swayed by a mediator/financial advisor to move my brokerage account to her company. She told me that my account was being highly mismanaged and I was being charged a lot of hidden fees. She took advantage of my divorce situation and convinced me that I was not able to handle my funds because I was too busy raising my kids full time as a single parent and I blindly trusted her until a few years later I realized that her quarterly commission as an advisor was more than the “hidden fees” I was paying at my old bank. Plus, we would only meet once a year so she wasn’t actively managing my funds all year round so I questioned the advisor fee. The entire time I was under her services, my gut instinct sensed red flags but after coming out of a draining divorce my mediator/advisor kept telling me that I couldn’t do everything on my own. I finally listened to my gut and in a mad dash transferred accounts through her back door to my bank just to get away from my advisor’s brokerage and to stop the bleed from her advisory fees. Still today she tries to reach out for contact. For the last year and a half I have been too scared to do anything with my sitting investments. I have lost all trust in any advisor and I am learning about investments at a turtle’s pace. I would like to be able to manage investments on my own at a more simplified approach. I have a lot of cash in taxable IRA accounts just sitting there, my previous advisor never looked at them. My Roth IRA has little funds and most probably needs to be moved into a different fund. Brokerage fund is not balanced. I have emergency funds and savings that I would like to invest. Income now is alimony for 4 more years, future job opportunities are another worry since I have not been in the workforce for 20 years. I am focusing on my children for the next four years so if I can just clean up accounts, invest cash, let them grow on their own and not touch them is ideal for me. A one and done approach. It would be ideal if investments could provide passive income as well as grow for future, is that even possible? I know I am better off than most people, but the mixture of seeing close friends and family fall into debt combined with me not having a job and unforeseen future income, I worry so much about the future. I continue to live below my means but the every day cloud of money worries is always there. I would like to someday be able to not worry as much, perhaps take a small vacation with my kids that we’ve never had in over a decade.


  1. Fund daily & retirement needs
  2. Financially assist aging parents, children, my siblings and their kids


Age 48
Single mom
Only Income = alimony for 4 more years (2025)
No debt

50K = Emergency Fund
Mortgage paid off this week
550K = Home Equity
Will = 500k
110k = 529 Educational Account
26,500 = IRA Traditional

  • [ ] 20k cash
  • [ ] 6500 ABIAX - looks bad?
    9148.89 = ROTH IRA
  • [ ] 1k cash
  • [ ] 8K FTCOX
    775k = Brokerage
  • [ ] account is mixture of bonds, mutual funds, index and long term individual stocks
  • [ ] Small amount of oil and natural gas bought in 2019 - these are the only losing stocks, shoud I keep them?
    100k = Savings - I would like to “one and done” invest this but need to figure out which index fund would suit me best


  1. From what I gather, I need to build up Roth to offset taxes at retirement, I have very little in Roth & most the of IRA is sitting in cash. Can I use them in very aggressive funds in hopes that they will be able to offset capital gains tax for future taxable brokerage count withdrawals? I can look at these accounts as vehicles for paying capital gains on brokerage account (which I consider my real retirement account because funds are heavier there) when cashed in upon retirement OR use as legacy money to leave for my children/inheritance

  2. Can stocks/mutual funds be bought and sold without short term taxes while kept in retirement account?

  3. What is the best place to invest my 100K savings?

  4. Brokerage account has several individual stocks I would like to not touch, but there are some mutual funds, etfs, that I am not sure I should keep or move to just 1 index fund for simplification or are they better off just staying put? I don’t know how to tell if they are good or bad.

  5. Previous advisor had me buy oil and natural gas in 2019, they are both down 50%, do I leave them for long term or get rid of them?

  6. Where do I start?

Hi @Vestafia!

I’ll cover this in tonight’s office hours (6/9/2021) with the recording available afterwards on the course site!

If you’re not signed up for office hours, you can sign up here.

Thanks Jeremy! I look forward to Office Hours to tonight.

Just wanted to add to my question last week - sorry it was so long, this one is shorter. I spent the last several days getting educated and things are starting to make sense…

  • Thursday - Began to study monthly statements and then turned on dividends to reinvest in accounts that former advisor had turned off years ago

  • Friday - Flagged “the duds” - 5 mutual / bond funds marked with high expense ratio fees RWJ (.39%), NOBL (.35), MDY (.23%), MUI (2.31%), EIM (2.18%)

  • Saturday - Bonded with my teenager and finished the excellent course from Personal Finance Club and passed - yay!

  • Monday - Listened to Choose FI podcasts - episode 19 w/ JH Collins stood out

  • Tuesday - Lightbulb!! Plan to sell all 5 dud - high expense ratio fee mutual / bond funds and buy VTSAX in addition dump savings into VTSAX as well for bigger growth

    • Regarding taxes I know that I have to pay long term capital gains tax but does my income tax bracket go up tremendously for 2021?

    • What should I do with IRA (20K in cash), 6600K (ABIAX 1.25% fee)

    • What should I do with Roth IRA (6K) 1 dud fund (FTCOX - 1.06% fee) needs to go - what do I trade it for? I would like to invest ROTH in something very aggressive in hopes to help offset taxable brokerage