I will have money left over after maxing my 401(k) and Roth IRA. I plan to open a taxable investment account to invest the remaining money, but I want to make sure I understand the basics of tax-efficient investing before I do.
I plan to invest exclusively in low-expense index funds, but I am open to investing in other vehicles (I bonds, municipal bonds, etc) if you think they would be appropriate.
It seems like stocks that pay dividends should go in a 401(k) or IRA, and so should most types of bonds, because dividends or coupons will be taxed on receipt. It seems like this holds true for bond and dividend-paying-stock indices as well.
On the other hand, it seems like stocks that generate returns primarily through capital gains should be kept in a taxable account. As I understand it, capital gains are taxed when the stock is sold; since I am planning to hold the stock until I retire, and since I will presumably have a lower income tax bracket when I am retired, selling these stocks to generate income will result in lower capital gains taxes.
With that said, I was thinking of the following portfolio:
401(k): domestic and foreign bond indices, and domestic and foreign REITs Indices
IRA: Same as 401(k)
Taxable: Total US Stock Market Index , Total Foreign Stock Market Index
If this looks tax efficient, my next question would be: is there any tax advantage to using mutual funds instead of ETFs that mirror those mutual funds?
Thanks in advance.