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International money transfer options

I have been looking at various international money transfer options. The following three looks interesting:

www.customhouse.com
www.orderwires.com
www.xe.com

Xe seems to be using the transfer services of Custom House and I came across OrderWires from a Google Ad. Another option is to use Citibank’s online international wire service at $30 a pop.

Recently, Washington Mutual introduced a FREE checking account that is supposed to provide FREE domestic and international wire services. That might be another viable cheap option.

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.