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Re: All-inclusive resort vacation for $2K??

Two weeks ago I flew to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic for 5 nights, 6 days for $450 (flight) + $50 (one bag @ $25 each way) + $660 (all-inclusive resort) + $40 (cab fare) = $1,200 per person. And I signed up for an airline card on the flight home, so my would have been free had I already had it (or...
by BrandonBogle
Tue Apr 15, 2014 5:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: All-inclusive resort vacation for $2K??
Replies: 15
Views: 1295

Re: Problem with Vanguard website

Well, I was just checking out my account today and saw the same symptoms of the missing images and malformed pages. I decided I'll just try again next week. Was just updating my spreadsheet to see if I need to rebalance.
by BrandonBogle
Fri Apr 11, 2014 8:35 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Problem with Vanguard website
Replies: 25
Views: 2018

Re: Passport validity: Do I need at least 6 months?

My appointment is May 10th! Seems there is a LONG wait for in-person, non-expediated renewals in my area. Apparently it is worthwhile to ask the right questions. I called today and asked if there was another location that can take my passport sooner. Lady checked and I have an appointment at 9:30 a...
by BrandonBogle
Fri Apr 11, 2014 2:22 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Passport validity: Do I need at least 6 months?
Replies: 40
Views: 1421

Re: Getting Passport without specific travel plans?

As I always say- get a passport you never know when you're going to want to leave the country in a hurry. I would highly recommend the global entry program/ TSA precheck , though the recent policy of automatically tagging some people as precheck who don't know how the precheck works (fumbling with ...
by BrandonBogle
Fri Apr 11, 2014 2:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Getting Passport without specific travel plans?
Replies: 29
Views: 1670

Re: Passport validity: Do I need at least 6 months?

I just flew to the Dominican Republic last week and my passport expires May 15. I had the paperwork to mail it in as soon as I got back. Sadly, I forgot to take it out of my jeans when I did my wash when I got home and it came out perfectly legible, but has a crease and no longer sits flat. Worried ...
by BrandonBogle
Thu Apr 10, 2014 11:50 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Passport validity: Do I need at least 6 months?
Replies: 40
Views: 1421

Re: The Three Fund Portfolio

I'm only thinking hypothetically (and I apologize if it's already been asked - I didn't read the entire thread)... at what point would you transition away from or include other types of investments to prepare for or during retirement? What would an example of this be? I am far from retirement, so t...
by BrandonBogle
Thu Apr 10, 2014 6:32 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Three Fund Portfolio
Replies: 738
Views: 254696

Re: Inexpensive Win7 laptop that will support 2 to 3 monitor

I do this with my Lenovo T420. At work, it's in a dock with two external monitors (wish I had 3, but we didn't buy that upgrade on this laptop -- my teammate's T420 has it). At home, its by its lonesome b/c I'm to lazy to connect/disconnect cords, or in a dock with one external monitor + laptop's bu...
by BrandonBogle
Tue Apr 08, 2014 4:03 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Inexpensive Win7 laptop that will support 2 to 3 monitors?
Replies: 21
Views: 1018

Re: Any way to auto save a draft?

Is all the more annoying when posting from your phone!!!!!!! It's gotten to the point sometimes when I'm copy/pasting links that I have to pause a bit when saving drafts b/c then I will have multiple entries with the same timestamp and have to figure out which one to use! </soapbopx> Can't be too ba...
by BrandonBogle
Mon Apr 07, 2014 6:02 pm
 
Forum: Forum Issues and Administration
Topic: Any way to auto save a draft?
Replies: 14
Views: 461

Re: Why pay off your house?

There are a lot of good points in this thread. I've been thinking about this topic AGAIN recently and I've changed my mind AGAIN. ... I wish I had that problem! Great attitude to take and while changing your mind based on the wind is a bad idea, changing it based on a better understanding of yourse...
by BrandonBogle
Mon Apr 07, 2014 5:49 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Why pay off your house?
Replies: 119
Views: 8396

Re: Why pay off your house?

This may be an overly simple way of looking at it, but for those who say to continue investing over paying off the mortgage, did you feel the same way in early 2009? If you would've lost your job and still had a big mortgage payment in early 2009, would you have been okay with taking cash out of yo...
by BrandonBogle
Mon Apr 07, 2014 5:40 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Why pay off your house?
Replies: 119
Views: 8396

Re: Why pay off your house?

One other option people haven't mentioned yet - a paid off home gives you options on when to sell - if property prices are in the tank and you hold a mortgage, being underwater presents a hazard to one's financial and mental well-being - do you really want to haggle with the mortgage company about ...
by BrandonBogle
Mon Apr 07, 2014 3:54 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Why pay off your house?
Replies: 119
Views: 8396

Re: Why pay off your house?

I could earn 3.10% after tax if I invested the money in Long-Term Tax-Exempt, and that's good compensation for the slight credit risk. Bonds and bond funds have credit and interest rate risk. Agreed not necessarily lose your shirt risk. Paying off a mortgage has no risk. Why not take out more loan ...
by BrandonBogle
Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:10 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Why pay off your house?
Replies: 119
Views: 8396

Re: Why pay off your house?

Assuming you have decent liquidity and are on track for retirement savings having a mortgage rather than paying it off is not always logical. Sure you can invest the money and it may or may not grow. Paying off the mortgage is a sure thing. There are no safe "investments" that pay more th...
by BrandonBogle
Sun Apr 06, 2014 3:29 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Why pay off your house?
Replies: 119
Views: 8396

Re: Why pay off your house?

What avalpert says is what I believe - it comes down to what you would otherwise do with the same money. Assume a 4% mortgage. If your choice is prepaying the mortgage or going on a shopping spree, prepay the mortgage. If your alternative is parking the money in a savings account or CD at today's r...
by BrandonBogle
Sun Apr 06, 2014 1:27 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Why pay off your house?
Replies: 119
Views: 8396

Re: Why pay off your house?

What avalpert says is what I believe - it comes down to what you would otherwise do with the same money. Assume a 4% mortgage. If your choice is prepaying the mortgage or going on a shopping spree, prepay the mortgage. If your alternative is parking the money in a savings account or CD at today's r...
by BrandonBogle
Sun Apr 06, 2014 12:32 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Why pay off your house?
Replies: 119
Views: 8396

Re: Why pay off your house?

As for tax credit? We could never see making a $1 payment in order to get back $.25 in taxes. Our current (retirement) home had a 30-year 6.875% note. We paid it off in 5.5 years, "saving" over $120k in "foregone interest" (interest we never had to pay). Just one other thing. In...
by BrandonBogle
Sat Apr 05, 2014 3:18 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Why pay off your house?
Replies: 119
Views: 8396

Re: Why pay off your house?

Nothing much to add to the points already discussed and the views already expressed. Personally, I am not afraid of properly managed debt, as long as I'm not joking myself into living on the payment. I could pay off my mortgage today and I did not need a second mortgage to pay for the renovations we...
by BrandonBogle
Sat Apr 05, 2014 1:44 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Why pay off your house?
Replies: 119
Views: 8396

Re: IRS Refund Fraud

Oh the tax gods are having a good laugh at our expense. So yesterday I dropped off the returns at the post office with mom's 2012 outstanding refund applied against 2013 taxes due (and still resulting in a refund). Today in the mail was mom's 2012 refund check with interest. Guess I will wait till 4...
by BrandonBogle
Tue Mar 25, 2014 9:31 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: IRS Refund Fraud
Replies: 41
Views: 3174

Re: Great time to tax gain harvest?

Also, if you have an ACA medical plan with subsidies, income where you are at may get a better subsidy than closer to the top of the 15% bracket. Or, alternatively, raising your income may make you eligible for an ACA medical plan with subsidies if your income was below the federal poverty level bef...
by BrandonBogle
Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:14 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Great time to tax gain harvest?
Replies: 2
Views: 302

Re: IRS Refund Fraud

I am not opining on your moms problem because I don't know what its about. If you have a problem with a refund contact the IRS Tax advocate in your area. That's what they are there for. Here's the link: Taxpayer Advocate Service I would have to check to see if this is the same number we've called t...
by BrandonBogle
Sun Mar 23, 2014 10:32 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: IRS Refund Fraud
Replies: 41
Views: 3174

Re: IRS Refund Fraud

The way to protect yourself is to adjust your withholding so that you don't get a significant refund; now, if something goes wrong, you will have your refund while it is getting straightened out. (And this protects against errors as well as fraud; I have had two state refunds delayed because of the...
by BrandonBogle
Sun Mar 23, 2014 12:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: IRS Refund Fraud
Replies: 41
Views: 3174

Re: IRS Refund Fraud

They should honestly do more verifications before sending out a refund, even if it means we have to wait an extra week, two, or a month. But maybe I'm just jaded from all this. Mom's return was large because she lost her job partway through the year, reducing her income significantly. She owes abou...
by BrandonBogle
Sun Mar 23, 2014 12:11 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: IRS Refund Fraud
Replies: 41
Views: 3174

Re: Bogleheads.org Home Page Updated

Nisi, and here I was loving when LG added that. At least on my phone, it helped make things much easier to separate since others didn't like the idea of alternating colors (plus it would have broken the "out of the box stock" design guidelines for the homepage).
by BrandonBogle
Sat Mar 22, 2014 9:52 pm
 
Forum: Forum Issues and Administration
Topic: Bogleheads.org Home Page Updated
Replies: 230
Views: 9045

Re: IRS Refund Fraud

They should honestly do more verifications before sending out a refund, even if it means we have to wait an extra week, two, or a month. But maybe I'm just jaded from all this. Mom's return was large because she lost her job partway through the year, reducing her income significantly. She owes about...
by BrandonBogle
Sat Mar 22, 2014 12:11 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: IRS Refund Fraud
Replies: 41
Views: 3174

Re: 2013 TurboTax: Which Product? New Rules?

Taxman,

Now that you've paid for at least Deluxe for your 2013 return, all prior year returns are unlocked online. You can download your .tax and your .pdf files now. After some date, you cannot get prior returns without paying for/buying this year's.
by BrandonBogle
Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:16 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2013 TurboTax: Which Product? New Rules?
Replies: 302
Views: 28631

Re: The Three Fund Portfolio

One typically pays a premium for convenience. But even 18 bps is better than most funds available elsewhere. Personally though, I'm sticking with the TFP.
by BrandonBogle
Fri Mar 21, 2014 3:16 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Three Fund Portfolio
Replies: 738
Views: 254696

Re: ANY secure Internet access while traveling?

I did google searches on VPN's but never came across an article mentioning that routers can come equipped with VPN software. For what I want to do, that solution appeals to me. While some of us technically minded people can do this "relatively easily", I would seriously considering hiring...
by BrandonBogle
Fri Mar 21, 2014 1:49 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: ANY secure Internet access while traveling?
Replies: 54
Views: 3332

Re: IRS Refund Fraud

Last year my mom got hit by this, but didn't file early. She still hasn't received her refund from them. Whomever did it filed electronically and put in false W2 earnings and withholdings, netting a large return. IRS let it through without issue. Sucks as we had to go through lots fo trouble and thi...
by BrandonBogle
Fri Mar 21, 2014 1:23 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: IRS Refund Fraud
Replies: 41
Views: 3174

Re: ANY secure Internet access while traveling?

So that IP remains static? (I guess it'd have to be so the internet provider can find me.) No, it does not remain static unless you are specifically contracted to (and thus, paying for it). How often it changes vary from provider to provider and geographic region to geographic region, but it does c...
by BrandonBogle
Fri Mar 21, 2014 11:35 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: ANY secure Internet access while traveling?
Replies: 54
Views: 3332

Re: ANY secure Internet access while traveling?

Thanks for the info BrianH. So even if I obtain a router with VPN software built in, I'd still need to use a service such as NameCheap or the free providers you mentioned, right? Yes. Otherwise you will always have to remember a number like 205.152.16.20 to represent your router instead of router.b...
by BrandonBogle
Fri Mar 21, 2014 11:21 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: ANY secure Internet access while traveling?
Replies: 54
Views: 3332

Re: Laptop Cost

I'm another ThinkPad lover here and specifically declined a laptop upgrade at work when they offered me an HP instead of another Lenovo (I eventually got a T420 to replace my T61). For my mother, I bought a $300 Dell from Costco with 8 GB RAM, a 1TB HD, i3 processor, etc. It works great. I didn't bo...
by BrandonBogle
Fri Mar 21, 2014 10:52 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Laptop Cost
Replies: 15
Views: 1089

Re: Car Loans for Debt Consolidation

In both FL and NC, the lienholder holds the title. I hadn't realized my 4Runner was still titled in Florida until two years after I moved when the last loan payment on it went in. I got my Florida title and though "oops". NC DMV never said anything and continued to renew my NC registration...
by BrandonBogle
Fri Mar 21, 2014 12:28 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Car Loans for Debt Consolidation
Replies: 8
Views: 550

Re: Car Loans for Debt Consolidation

Penfed offered my a 0.99% $21k check on my then lien-free 4Runner. I used that to pay off my 6.8% student loans. The 4.75% loans I then paid down aggressively till completed about a year ago. Trouble free. I applied online, said I was financing my own car, and got a check in the mail made out to me ...
by BrandonBogle
Thu Mar 20, 2014 11:46 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Car Loans for Debt Consolidation
Replies: 8
Views: 550

Re: Buy a used car or pay $5,000 more to get a new one?

If you truly are willing to go the new car route, is your current car in good enough shape to last another few months? In that timeframe, you can shore up your savings a bit more, or have the house hunt completed so a small auto loan will not impact mortgage shopping.
by BrandonBogle
Thu Mar 20, 2014 4:11 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buy a used car or pay $5,000 more to get a new one?
Replies: 62
Views: 4219

Re: 1st time car buyer - complicated situation

And if for some reason you don't have a car lined up before the end of June, rent a small car for a week or two while you look around.
by BrandonBogle
Tue Mar 18, 2014 5:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 1st time car buyer - complicated situation
Replies: 12
Views: 856

Re: "gold" USB computer cables

I would just buy highly reviewed ones from Amazon and call it a day. I must be easy on my cables as I've never had to replace one. None of mine are gold, but many are AmazonBasics type cables if there didn't come with one of my device purchases.
by BrandonBogle
Tue Mar 18, 2014 5:12 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: "gold" USB computer cables
Replies: 15
Views: 707

Re: Foreign tax credit, and Roth IRA

Artsdoctor wrote:If you've made a decision to include international equities in your asset allocation, don't let the tax tail wag the investment dog.


EXACTLY! :oops:
by BrandonBogle
Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:54 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Foreign tax credit, and Roth IRA
Replies: 7
Views: 365

Re: Municipal Bonds or Vanguard Wellesley Income Fund

My emergency fund (6 mo of expenses) is in an FDIC-insured liquid account earning 1.99%. It would remain in an FDIC-insured liquid (or near-0 EWP) account regardless of rate. However, I then have "long-term unplanned expenses" such as a new water heater, a new car, a new roof, new washer/d...
by BrandonBogle
Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:51 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Municipal Bonds or Vanguard Wellesley Income Fund
Replies: 10
Views: 1261

Re: Can I beat 2.75% guaranteed via mortgage paydown?

I tend to think if you have tax deferred space available, you should fill it before paying down a mortgage because its value is high and the space is limited. If you have available funds for taxable investing after filling up deferred, pay down the mortgage and ratchet up the allocation to equities...
by BrandonBogle
Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:55 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Can I beat 2.75% guaranteed via mortgage paydown?
Replies: 73
Views: 4487

Re: Mouse over thread title to see content?

Ahhh, I get you now. I never even noticed the thread title was a link. I read your #3 incorrectly and thought you meant the post title. Trying it in another thread gave me the behavior you described. I agree it is inconsistent and should be consistent across the board.
by BrandonBogle
Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:36 pm
 
Forum: Forum Issues and Administration
Topic: Mouse over thread title to see content?
Replies: 21
Views: 1468

Re: Is Vanguard's portfolio watch tool broken?

Definitely broken. One additional thing that drives me up the wall. Every month or so it will recharacterize my outside investments as 'other' and I have to spend an hour putting in the details. What I did for my auto updating ones (via CashEdge it appears) is "edit" it and choose by fund...
by BrandonBogle
Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:26 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is Vanguard's portfolio watch tool broken?
Replies: 23
Views: 1857

Re: Mouse over thread title to see content?

Slightly off topic: I don't like the behavior when I click on a thread title. Why? Because it is not consistent. To illustrate, take any thread with more than one page. 1) from bogleheads, click on the title. You go to page one. 2) from the forum index, click on the title. You go to page one. 3) fr...
by BrandonBogle
Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:21 pm
 
Forum: Forum Issues and Administration
Topic: Mouse over thread title to see content?
Replies: 21
Views: 1468

Re: Can I beat 2.75% guaranteed via mortgage paydown?

To each their own, I guess. But for me, if I had enough to pay off a mortgage or invest in a bond set up to break even, it's a no brainer for me too... I would no longer have a mortgage. I have enough in my taxable accounts to pay off my mortgage today if I wanted to. I've got a 2.75% fixed rate fo...
by BrandonBogle
Sun Mar 16, 2014 12:20 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Can I beat 2.75% guaranteed via mortgage paydown?
Replies: 73
Views: 4487

Re: Can I beat 2.75% guaranteed via mortgage paydown?

I'm in a 2.75% 30 year note and I do not plan on paying any extra. I max out my retirement accounts, out money in taxable, and reduce my effect rate even more since I pay 25% fed / 5.8% state taxes. Heck, Vanguard's LT Muni has a duration around 7 years and is paying an SEC yield above 3% fed tax fr...
by BrandonBogle
Sat Mar 15, 2014 11:42 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Can I beat 2.75% guaranteed via mortgage paydown?
Replies: 73
Views: 4487

Re: Tesla S

No doubt there are 'hoods in Seattle and Portland and NorCal that are very similar (and who knows, Austin Texas? Scottsdale AZ?). I like the idea of a Honda Element as a pull car ;-). Having just spent the past week in Scottsdale, I would say that Jeep Rubicons fit that bill around here. If you wer...
by BrandonBogle
Sat Mar 15, 2014 10:29 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tesla S
Replies: 431
Views: 38180

Re: When to sell leftover stock?

Keanwood, hard to give a good answer without knowing if this in a taxable account, your tax rates, if you have an tax losses harvested, and trading costs, and how much these shares comprise your portfolio. That said, I would look at it as such: - This equates to roughly $4k, with much of being capit...
by BrandonBogle
Tue Mar 11, 2014 1:37 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: When to sell leftover stock?
Replies: 5
Views: 502

Re: Buy vs rent no longer relevant?

Lol. Gotcha. My traveling fatigue got the better of my comprehension skills! On a side note, I think narrow seats on 5 hour plane rides should be illegal!!
by BrandonBogle
Tue Mar 11, 2014 1:29 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buy vs rent no longer relevant?
Replies: 60
Views: 5841

Re: Buy vs rent no longer relevant?

Buying a home is foolish. Renting is a better option. (full disclosure, I am a landlord) Actually, it all depends on the variables of your local market, your lifestyle, and your preferences. In my case, from a purely financial aspect, it would have been foolish to continue renting. Scroll up for th...
by BrandonBogle
Mon Mar 10, 2014 6:51 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buy vs rent no longer relevant?
Replies: 60
Views: 5841

Re: How do discount brokers make money from passive investor

Sorry to hear of your troubles. I routinely add to Vanguard's Long-Term Muni Fund Admiral (VWLUX) at WellsTrade for free, online, without issue. That said, Vanguard itself recently closed the Intermediate Term Muni Fund to new purchases from outside brokerages. This, however, shouldn't stop existing...
by BrandonBogle
Sat Mar 08, 2014 3:05 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How do discount brokers make money from passive investors?
Replies: 19
Views: 1874

Re: How do discount brokers make money from passive investor

Also don't forget that many of the larger discount brokers are also market makers. Whenever I make a buy/sell, my WellsTrade confirmation does typically have an asterisk saying they are a market maker for this security. This can bias the bid/ask spread you get for that security from that specific br...
by BrandonBogle
Sat Mar 08, 2014 12:33 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How do discount brokers make money from passive investors?
Replies: 19
Views: 1874
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