Author Archive: indexfundfan

Do you Prosper?

I loaned out $200 as a test of the Prosper system before deciding whether to commit more money. To date, however, I am quite disappointed with the system. From my experience, I found a long overhead waiting time before your money can be loaned out and before payment can be collected and deposited back into your bank.

The following is my experience:

1) Funding of the account. The money disappeared from my linked bank account on the morning of 2/15 but appeared in the Prosper system for use more than two full days later on the evening of 2/17. I lost 2 days of float of my money.

2) I funded two loans which were closed on 2/18 but for whatever reason, the origination date was delayed to 2/22. I lost another 4 days of float of my money here.

3) The borrower made a payment on 3/22 but the money was only available on 3/28. Six days are lost here.

4) You need to have $25 before you can transfer out any payment. If your loan payments are too small, sorry, they cannot be transferred out.

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Bummer. I can’t transfer out the loan payment because the amount is too small.

5) When you have finally accumulated $25 of payment, it again will take a few days for the money to make it to your bank after you submit a request at Prosper. I estimate I will lose another 3 days of float.

I am sure glad that I tried out the system with only $200. On hindsight, I should never have signed up with Prosper at all. Until Prosper can positively address the above concerns, I will pull out the money at the first opportunity. (But alas, the loans are all for three years unless the borrower decides to pay up early).

Conclusion? With the long delays associated with funding and loan payment, Prosper seems to be skewed against the lender.

EDIT 04/05/06: See also Vanguard Diehards’ discussion HERE.

Fidelity 529 college rewards credit card

2006-03-27-fidelity529card.gifI received the Fidelity 529 college rewards credit card earlier this month. I think for parents setting up a 529 College Plan, this credit card offers a fantastic deal and it is one of the rare credit cards that gives you 2% back on practically anything you charge to the card. In addition, it also offers you online Bill Payment service which lets you pay many merchants including even your mortgage or electric bill, companies that traditionally do not accept credit cards. Although for these payments no reward points are earned, you can still benefit by enjoying the additional float on the money that you otherwise would have to pay earlier.

I just hope that MBNA would not pull the plug on this card after the recent merger with Bank of America.

My portfolio allocation

Recently, I generated an interesting chart showing how my asset allocation has evolved since 2002. I started out with a 100% equity allocation, being modelled along Larry Swedroe’s two parts of “value” equity to one part of “blend”, and with roughly equal allocations to US large-cap, US small-cap and International equities. Subsequently, I added REIT, emerging markets and precious metal equity asset classes. These asset classes proved to be life-savers for my portfolio. I have also abandoned the 2:1 value to blend ratio to simplify matters and to reduce the number of funds I need to hold.

My current target allocation is 70% equity and 30% fixed income, with the following breakdown:

US large cap 20%
US small cap 10%
EAFE large cap 10%
EAFE small cap 5%
Emerging markets 10%
REIT 5%
Precious metal equity 5%
Healthcare 5%
Fixed income 30%

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I also used to have about 5% allocation to energy and individual stocks. But with the huge run-up in energy prices last year, I decided to close out the allocation and re-allocate the money. These go mostly into the now enlarged emerging market equity allocation.