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Re: California Taxes - Am I Missing Something?

^ I can speak to the above. When significant remodeling is done, you should pull permits and the job is inspected during various stages of work. This will affect your property tax although it is still usually far less than the market value of your house. People do a lot of renovations without permit...
by Artsdoctor
Fri Apr 11, 2014 5:27 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: California Taxes - Am I Missing Something?
Replies: 142
Views: 8472

Re: Passport, TSA Pre-Check, and Global Entry

^ Sounds like a decent plan to me. The more you travel, the happier you'll be.
by Artsdoctor
Fri Apr 11, 2014 4:35 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Passport, TSA Pre-Check, and Global Entry
Replies: 58
Views: 2559

Re: negotiation for MD, contracts, RVUs etc

LH, I cannot emphasize enough how valuable a good contract lawyer can be, hopefully one with a lot of experience negotiating MD contracts. One of the most valuable pieces of information he/she will bring to the table is experience and the sense of what's reasonable and what is not for your area. If ...
by Artsdoctor
Fri Apr 11, 2014 4:32 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: negotiation for MD, contracts, RVUs etc
Replies: 11
Views: 794

Re: Corporate Bond in Tax-deferred vs Muni Bonds in Taxable

Asket, First, decide on your asset allocation. If you have a specific % you'd like for real estate, then you're almost certainly better off putting this in a tax-advantage account because of tax purposes (REITs are not tax efficient). Then, you can figure out where you want/need to put your fixed in...
by Artsdoctor
Fri Apr 11, 2014 12:17 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Corporate Bond in Tax-deferred vs Muni Bonds in Taxable
Replies: 8
Views: 763

Re: Why Americans are Retiring Overseas

^ Yes, health care needs to be a consideration if you're thinking about retiring outside the US. There are fine choices. And then there are not. In my medical practice, I am always amazed at how consideration of medical care often is last on a retiree's check list. The most extreme and unfortunate e...
by Artsdoctor
Fri Apr 11, 2014 11:15 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why Americans are Retiring Overseas
Replies: 109
Views: 9035

Re: Friday blog review April 11, 2014

Very nice link. Thanks!
by Artsdoctor
Fri Apr 11, 2014 10:57 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Friday blog review April 11, 2014
Replies: 1
Views: 223

Re: Passport, TSA Pre-Check, and Global Entry

Victoria, We enrolled in Global Entry when it was initially rolled out. American Express paid all the fees but even if we would have paid for enrollment, it would have been worth it to us. We fly in and out of LAX a lot and the Bradley International Terminal can be a real zoo. Global Entry is unbeli...
by Artsdoctor
Fri Apr 11, 2014 10:54 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Passport, TSA Pre-Check, and Global Entry
Replies: 58
Views: 2559

Re: California Taxes - Am I Missing Something?

Well, there are a lot of doctors here in California. I guess they enjoy the weather, things to do, the diversity, and have lots of business. Los Angeles county appears to have the highest doctor to patient ratio as medical insurance premiums are lower there than in other parts of the state (for the...
by Artsdoctor
Tue Apr 08, 2014 7:37 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: California Taxes - Am I Missing Something?
Replies: 142
Views: 8472

Re: How often do you rebalance to maintain your AA

"Re" balancing probably conjures up the picture of selling something to buy something. I do this rarely. However, I make frequent contributions to my portfolio throughout the year. New money goes to wherever it's needed (the classes/subclasses that have become underweighted). I don't reinv...
by Artsdoctor
Tue Apr 08, 2014 6:53 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How often do you rebalance to maintain your AA
Replies: 35
Views: 1680

Re: TIPS Intermediate Fund vs. International Bond Fund

^ I think that's about as much as anyone can say. The yield of Vanguard's international bond fund is nothing to write home about and the duration is on the high side, but this is probably a function of its highly rated sovereign bonds. Whether or not the fund accomplishes what Vanguard believes it c...
by Artsdoctor
Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:07 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: TIPS Intermediate Fund vs. International Bond Fund
Replies: 35
Views: 2782

Re: Bogle: Tilt To Corporates For More Yield

There are two sides to this story, at least for me. I have to give credit to Larry Swedroe: he has always maintained that corporates are unlikely to hold up when you need them most (e.g., during the 2008 meltdown). That is indeed what happened and I remember it well. The equity swoon in late 2008 wa...
by Artsdoctor
Wed Apr 02, 2014 6:59 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bogle: Tilt To Corporates For More Yield
Replies: 64
Views: 6218

Re: TIPS Intermediate Fund vs. International Bond Fund

^ Again, as the paper is very clear to point out, you do indeed lose the diversification benefit but the point is to decrease volatility. Vanguard does not make any comment on increasing total return and the point of hedging is to lessen any volatility inherent in unhedged international securities s...
by Artsdoctor
Mon Mar 31, 2014 7:43 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: TIPS Intermediate Fund vs. International Bond Fund
Replies: 35
Views: 2782

Re: TIPS Intermediate Fund vs. International Bond Fund

^ Vanguard did a comprehensive white paper last month on this. I read it several times and really came to no definitive conclusion (nor did they). However, I thought it was pretty fair in assessing pros and cons.

You can get the paper through vanguard.com/research and look at February.
by Artsdoctor
Wed Mar 26, 2014 2:07 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: TIPS Intermediate Fund vs. International Bond Fund
Replies: 35
Views: 2782

Re: TIPS Intermediate Fund vs. International Bond Fund

^ I don't think it's being ignored, at least not to my reading. Vanguard's argument for adding international bonds to a portfolio is that the volatility of the entire portfolio is decreased. However, that may not be important to some folks. To me, I'm not sure I can argue for TIPS over international...
by Artsdoctor
Tue Mar 25, 2014 3:02 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: TIPS Intermediate Fund vs. International Bond Fund
Replies: 35
Views: 2782

Re: TIPS Intermediate Fund vs. International Bond Fund

Vanguard hedges its international bond fund so currency risk is less of an issue. The currency hedge also makes this fund even less of a diversifier. That is correct. You lose some diversification with hedging but you also decrease the volatility that would normally exist with not hedging. Internat...
by Artsdoctor
Mon Mar 24, 2014 8:42 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: TIPS Intermediate Fund vs. International Bond Fund
Replies: 35
Views: 2782

Re: Really confused by Bernstein

^ Yes. The emotional response is understandable. I see this at work as people start contemplating retirement. At first, there's a feeling that a nest egg is just fine. Then, people come to the realization that that nest egg might not generate enough money to sustain their lifestyles. The confusion t...
by Artsdoctor
Mon Mar 24, 2014 8:35 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Really confused by Bernstein
Replies: 168
Views: 12898

Re: Prerefunded munis: exempt from state tax?

John,

That is a high-quality national muni fund. You will not have to pay federal taxes on the proceeds (although I don't know if it is AMT-exempt; the prospectus will tell you that). It is not a state-specific fund so you will need to pay state personal income tax on the dividends.
by Artsdoctor
Mon Mar 24, 2014 6:43 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Prerefunded munis: exempt from state tax?
Replies: 3
Views: 414

Re: Really confused by Bernstein

http://www.morningstar.com/cover/videocenter.aspx?id=557820 I would suggest that you go back and listen to the interview again. Bernstein addresses NEED. If a person has a $5M portfolio and only needs 1% of the portfolio to live in, she can have a very equity allocation. If a person has a $1M portfo...
by Artsdoctor
Mon Mar 24, 2014 2:47 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Really confused by Bernstein
Replies: 168
Views: 12898

Re: TIPS Intermediate Fund vs. International Bond Fund

I'm not a big fan of investing in funds that only hold treasuries because I don't think there's any advantage to "diversifying away the risk" and you can buy them for free so easily at auction. I only buy individual TIPS although I can understand someone trying to keep things simple by usi...
by Artsdoctor
Fri Mar 21, 2014 8:57 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: TIPS Intermediate Fund vs. International Bond Fund
Replies: 35
Views: 2782

Re: NJ Muni Strategy / Recommendations

Dad, I think you might be looking at the coupon rate to come up with 4%? You will want to watch for the yield-to-maturity rate (or better, the yield-to-call or yield-to-worst rate). You're describing short-to-intermediate bonds and the yield in this environment will be well below the 3-4% you're loo...
by Artsdoctor
Fri Mar 21, 2014 8:18 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: NJ Muni Strategy / Recommendations
Replies: 9
Views: 529

Re: When the "very best" fail, should you be trying

If the NY Times and Tampa Firefighters are to be believed, some active managers may indeed provide value:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/22/busin ... iness&_r=0
by Artsdoctor
Fri Mar 21, 2014 7:59 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: When the "very best" fail, should you be trying
Replies: 12
Views: 1530

Re: Do you consider Vanguard Total Market to be 100% stocks?

I must admit: I put my entire portfolio into Morningstar's X-ray Tool to help me see my asset allocation. I realize it's not absolutely perfect but it's fast and efficient. If I'm off a little, it won't make much difference.
by Artsdoctor
Wed Mar 19, 2014 5:47 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Do you consider Vanguard Total Market to be 100% stocks?
Replies: 15
Views: 2417

Re: No Foreign Transaction Fee, No Annual Fee

I use a State Department Federal Credit Union VISA when traveling internationally. There's no annual fee and no foreign exchange fee. It also has a chip and you can use your PIN. When I was in London recently, I tried using my AMEX, a CapitalOne VISA and my SDFCU VISA all within a couple of hours on...
by Artsdoctor
Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:37 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: No Foreign Transaction Fee, No Annual Fee
Replies: 24
Views: 1430

Re: ANY secure Internet access while traveling?

I use a mobile hotspot. You could use your phone but you'll drain the battery relatively fast. Also, you won't have to worry about a hotel's WiFi charge or a miserably slow hotel WiFi (which is not secure). This all depends on your needs: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/mobile-news/4g-mifi-vs-phone-as-hot...
by Artsdoctor
Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:57 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: ANY secure Internet access while traveling?
Replies: 54
Views: 3358

Re: Buy and hold or keep adding

^ If you're THAT certain about the Dow, go for it!
by Artsdoctor
Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:49 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Buy and hold or keep adding
Replies: 6
Views: 693

Re: Don’t Bother With That High Cost 401(k)

There have been some changes since 2009. Plans are now required to put a cash figure on administrative fees in an effort to provide more transparency; I can't speak for all plans, but this has succeeded in bringing SOME costs down (although not enough). Additionally, the tax benefits now are greater...
by Artsdoctor
Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:46 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Don’t Bother With That High Cost 401(k)
Replies: 28
Views: 2982

Re: Foreign tax credit, and Roth IRA

^ Agree with House Blend. If you're only able to fill up the Roth and no more, the amounts in question are trivial. If you've made a decision to include international equities in your asset allocation, don't let the tax tail wag the investment dog.
by Artsdoctor
Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:41 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Foreign tax credit, and Roth IRA
Replies: 7
Views: 372

Re: Buy and hold or keep adding

Learn from last year. There were plenty of people (not necessarily here) who didn't feel comfortable adding more to their portfolios at the beginning of 2013 because of the "run-up" which occurred shortly after New Year's. I listened quietly while colleagues wanted to "wait it out.&qu...
by Artsdoctor
Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:51 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Buy and hold or keep adding
Replies: 6
Views: 693

Re: Was frugality a mistake? The downsides of saving too mu

Did I sell myself short? Boring car. Basic apt. No stylish outfits. Boring affordable shoes. Large invisible Vanguard statement. Women probably thought I was poor. Maybe they even thought I had serious money problems. Most other men they meet own expensive things if they earn decent money. Sure, th...
by Artsdoctor
Sat Mar 15, 2014 2:02 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Was frugality a mistake? The downsides of saving too much.
Replies: 115
Views: 8814

Re: Was frugality a mistake? The downsides of saving too mu

You will not be able to enjoy the Porsche when you're 70. It's too close to the ground and it will kill your back every time you get in and out of it. :)
by Artsdoctor
Sat Mar 15, 2014 1:13 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Was frugality a mistake? The downsides of saving too much.
Replies: 115
Views: 8814

Re: Blog article: Core Four portfolios:

Thanks, Barry. Very clear post. I really never gave the Life Strategy funds too much thought until my HSA accounts ballooned. My overall portfolio asset allocation is about 50/50 and I found that my HSA accounts charged me PER FUND up to a certain amount so it was in my best interest to only have on...
by Artsdoctor
Sat Mar 15, 2014 1:05 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Blog article: Core Four portfolios:
Replies: 13
Views: 2094

Re: Who cares about inflation in retirement?

Ah, yes, that's what I was trying to remember. Cotton references this study by Banerjee & al. I think that's the one everyone is referencing.They did include health expenses, and they did find that overall spending, including health expenses, declined. But what they say about health expenses is...
by Artsdoctor
Sat Mar 15, 2014 10:57 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Who cares about inflation in retirement?
Replies: 55
Views: 3765

Re: Muni Bond Question

Bulldog, Your time horizon is vast. The muni funds are actively managed and Vanguard has attempted to keep the maturity on "the shorter side of long." At some point, you might notice that the duration increases but again, your time horizon is so long that you will most likely be fine. You ...
by Artsdoctor
Sun Mar 09, 2014 10:12 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Muni Bond Question
Replies: 10
Views: 658

Re: Tax Exempt Bonds - Risks Involved

OGD: Pre-refunded bonds can be an excellent addition to your portfolio. They are one of the few investments that can take advantage of a "free lunch." One of the reasons why is because they are misunderstood. Because the original bond is pre-refunded (into the escrow account described abov...
by Artsdoctor
Sat Mar 08, 2014 11:46 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Tax Exempt Bonds - Risks Involved
Replies: 76
Views: 3613

Re: Tax Exempt Bonds - Risks Involved

Artsdoctor: thanks. Since you're knowledgeable about this stuff and it's highly relevant to the thread, would you mind answering a couple more questions: 1) Is it not the case that the premium is at risk? (edit: as in, not covered by the collateral). If so, does the yield still stack well against t...
by Artsdoctor
Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:23 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Tax Exempt Bonds - Risks Involved
Replies: 76
Views: 3613

Re: Tax Exempt Bonds - Risks Involved

^ Sorry, just read your second half. Usually, the prerefunded date will become the maturity date. However, you could have a sink date which you might have to contend with, and I suppose there are call dates before the prerefunded date on some bonds although I've not seen this. As always, you'll need...
by Artsdoctor
Thu Mar 06, 2014 9:44 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Tax Exempt Bonds - Risks Involved
Replies: 76
Views: 3613

Re: Tax Exempt Bonds - Risks Involved

^ Prerefunded bonds are secured by treasuries so there is no credit risk and the market prices them accordingly (relatively low yields); there is no default risk. Some people will avoid them because the yields are lower in muni world exactly because of that different risk profile. There are times wh...
by Artsdoctor
Thu Mar 06, 2014 9:38 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Tax Exempt Bonds - Risks Involved
Replies: 76
Views: 3613

Re: Tax Exempt Bonds - Risks Involved

^ To Larry's point above and for those who buy individual treasuries. Prerefunded munis are secured by treasuries (or similar); so if you're actually buying individual treasuries in your taxable account, compare yields with individual prerefunded munis because you may come out ahead. You give up liq...
by Artsdoctor
Thu Mar 06, 2014 7:22 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Tax Exempt Bonds - Risks Involved
Replies: 76
Views: 3613

Re: Tax Exempt Bonds - Risks Involved

Abuss, Your concerns are right on schedule: I think everyone's taking a closer look at munis because they're noticing their 1040s and their tax liability. In 2013, my marginal tax rate for interest and dividends turned out to be 42.5% for federal and state. Holding taxable bonds in my brokerage acco...
by Artsdoctor
Thu Mar 06, 2014 11:28 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Tax Exempt Bonds - Risks Involved
Replies: 76
Views: 3613

Re: AMEX rewards on Kroger error

Mudpuppy's step-by-step explanation is concise and excellent. The only thing I would add is this: After you've tagged the purchases (say, for groceries, gas, and airlines), you will have a list already done. Those double and triple reward points will usually be added the FOLLOWING month. To reconcil...
by Artsdoctor
Sun Mar 02, 2014 6:51 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: AMEX rewards on Kroger error
Replies: 15
Views: 1282

Re: HELP! Medical costs

Investor1, Here are the ER billing guidelines. They are not meant to be perfect but offer suggestions: http://www.acep.org/Content.aspx?id=30428 I don't know how much the ER actually charged at the outset, but the negotiated rate that your insurer will pay is the Allowed Amount. This Allowed Amount ...
by Artsdoctor
Fri Feb 28, 2014 8:48 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: HELP! Medical costs
Replies: 57
Views: 2832

Re: Thought provoking Zweig Article in WSJ

^ I think the Baird fund will definitely be worth watching. The credit quality is higher than the Vanguard fund, and the Vanguard fund has delivered higher returns over the past 1, 3, 5, and 10 years, as you would expect with "lower" quality. If the credit issues heat up as many believe th...
by Artsdoctor
Sat Feb 22, 2014 9:51 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Thought provoking Zweig Article in WSJ
Replies: 32
Views: 6948

Re: Where do you park cash?

Reward Checking Accounts: I have four accounts yielding between 1.76% and 3% with a weighted average yield of 2.20% per year Where did you find those deals? http://www.depositaccounts.com/checking/reward-checking-accounts.html I have to admit, I've never looked at DepositAccounts section on checkin...
by Artsdoctor
Sat Feb 22, 2014 9:37 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Where do you park cash?
Replies: 48
Views: 4991

Re: How to Increase Charitable Giving?

(New poster, here.) Most people would describe me as "thrifty". Now that I'm retired, my "thriftiness" is still casting a long shadow. Frankly, I find it difficult (in my brain) to be as charitable as I'd like to be (in my heart). From a rational perspective, my long-term financ...
by Artsdoctor
Sat Feb 22, 2014 9:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to Increase Charitable Giving?
Replies: 26
Views: 1411

Re: Thought provoking Zweig Article in WSJ

Calm Man: Like you, I definitely respect Vanguard's bond team. They spend their days hashing over things that I simply cannot do. I also use a state-specific fund for a large portion of my FI needs. However, I do it with the understanding there is increased risk. It's not that I believe a huge chunk...
by Artsdoctor
Sat Feb 22, 2014 9:03 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Thought provoking Zweig Article in WSJ
Replies: 32
Views: 6948

Re: Bonds go in taxable (whitecoatinvestor aka EmergDoc arti

I think there was a little confusion that was made worse by a tongue-in-cheek comment I made. If I may take the liberty, I don't think EmergDoc was advocating taking ALL everyone's appreciated shares and donating them ALL to charity. There are people here who really have a tiny percentage of their p...
by Artsdoctor
Sat Feb 22, 2014 8:47 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bonds go in taxable (whitecoatinvestor aka EmergDoc article)
Replies: 96
Views: 5898

Re: Thought provoking Zweig Article in WSJ

Obviously, we have a lot of WSJ readers on the forum! There is a parallel conversation ongoing about asset allocation within the fixed income world in another thread:

viewtopic.php?f=10&t=133548&p=1969936#p1969936
by Artsdoctor
Sat Feb 22, 2014 8:31 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Thought provoking Zweig Article in WSJ
Replies: 32
Views: 6948

Re: Thoughts on California Municipal Bond Funds

One of the things the OP mentioned that caught my eye: 28% federal rate and 9.3% state rate. A tax software program has helped me juggle a bunch of "what ifs" around. Even though one might be firmly in one "tax bracket," the marginal rate may be completely different. I have been ...
by Artsdoctor
Sat Feb 22, 2014 8:15 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Thoughts on California Municipal Bond Funds
Replies: 23
Views: 1168

Re: Thoughts on California Municipal Bond Funds

Abuss, I think it's a great question. My personal opinion is that everyone must be their own calculations. First, where are you in your investment life? An early accumulator is going to have completely different goals and needs than a retiree. Second, what's the goal of your fixed income side of the...
by Artsdoctor
Sat Feb 22, 2014 1:36 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Thoughts on California Municipal Bond Funds
Replies: 23
Views: 1168

Re: Thoughts on California Municipal Bond Funds

OCR, I'm a CA investor and I understand your challenges; my marginal federal and state personal income taxes give me a tax-equivalent yield in the intermediate fund of 3.9%. As you pointed out, that is the SEC yield and the duration of the fund is in the 5-6 year range. I can give you the "conv...
by Artsdoctor
Sat Feb 22, 2014 1:04 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Thoughts on California Municipal Bond Funds
Replies: 23
Views: 1168
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