Search found 84 matches

by MarkBarb
Sun Jul 19, 2015 6:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: honda civic or Prius?
Replies: 86
Views: 7231

Re: honda civic or Prius?

I rented a Prius once. It was one of the worst cars I've driven. The dash was a nightmare of distracting and useless information presented tastelessly. The worse part, though, was the handling. I was in Denver during a storm and keeping the car planted in its lane was an amazing amount of work. I th...
by MarkBarb
Thu Jul 16, 2015 7:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do Bogleheads carry thin wallets? What's in your wallet?
Replies: 34
Views: 1881

Re: Do Bogleheads carry thin wallets? What's in your wallet?

2 personal credit cards
Corporate credit card
ATM card
DL
Zoo membership
Health insurance
2 car insurance cars (I have two different carriers)
Cash
by MarkBarb
Sun Jul 12, 2015 1:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Password Management
Replies: 56
Views: 2932

Re: Password Management

I should add that in addition to storing long, randomly generated passwords in my vault, I generate long, random user names for sites like banking and investing. That and 2-factor authentication. Some key principals: 1) Don't be someone that hackers want to hack. If you are, you need to be even more...
by MarkBarb
Sun Jul 12, 2015 1:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Password Management
Replies: 56
Views: 2932

Re: Password Management

I'm a KeePass/Dropbox user. Very convenient. Very secure. I've considered LastPass, but I don't see a compelling advantage to it. With KeePass, I also store a lot of non-password info that is nice to have secure but available.
by MarkBarb
Sat Jul 11, 2015 6:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: who do you have your term life insurance with?
Replies: 32
Views: 2148

Re: who do you have your term life insurance with?

I have a 1.5mil policy and wife has a 0.25mil policy both with Banner through SelectQuote. At the time (10 years ago), they were the cheapest offering with a AA or better rating.
by MarkBarb
Mon Jul 06, 2015 8:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What is the best meal you've had at a restaurant?
Replies: 119
Views: 11443

Re: What is the best meal you've had at a restaurant?

Panjo's Pizza in Rockport, TX. I love pizza and theirs is my favorite.
by MarkBarb
Fri Jul 03, 2015 11:35 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: financial adviser told me not to invest too much in 401k
Replies: 92
Views: 10087

Re: financial adviser told me not to invest too much in 401k

The motivation of the adviser has been heavily (and accurately) commented on, so I'll leave that alone. I'd like to reply about the tax increase debate. Given demographics and modern spending patterns, it seems extremely likely that taxes will rise over the next few decades. That doesn't mean that i...
by MarkBarb
Fri Jul 03, 2015 11:28 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Average raises for promotions
Replies: 32
Views: 3682

Re: Average raises for promotions

That's a complicated question to answer. Our "typical" raise for promotion is around 8%, but that also puts the person lower in their "compensation ratio range", which means that they'll probably get larger raises in future years than they otherwise would have received. It also m...
by MarkBarb
Fri Jul 03, 2015 11:22 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Will you pay to not have ads?
Replies: 35
Views: 3347

Re: Will you pay to not have ads?

Bought a DVR back in 2000. I've hardly ever watched commercials since then. I even DVR sporting events. For online stuff, I've used AdBlockers for many years because the ads are too annoying. I've even started playing with an ad-blocking proxy on my phone because the game I've been playing lately ha...
by MarkBarb
Fri Jul 03, 2015 11:19 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How to play Europe
Replies: 11
Views: 1557

Re: How to play Europe

Seems incongruous to see a post on "playing" a situation on a forum of "investing advice inspired by Jack Bogle". My "play" will be to rebalance my Intl Index fund if it drops significantly below my preferred allocation.
by MarkBarb
Fri Jul 03, 2015 11:16 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: excellent summary of the Greek crisis by U of Chicago Professor
Replies: 45
Views: 8473

Re: excellent summary of the Greek crisis by U of Chicago Professor

Great post, but if we are going to keep throwing around Paul Krugman's opinions as facts, we should probably at least acknowledge that he hasn't done serious economic work in 20 years, and writes a column titled "The Conscience of a Liberal." He's not exactly unbiased. I lost any faith in...
by MarkBarb
Fri Jul 03, 2015 11:10 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What age did you become debt free and what opportunities did it create?
Replies: 95
Views: 9182

Re: What age did you become debt free and what opportunities did it create?

Paid off our house at age 45. It didn't really change anything. Income that was going to pay down the mortgage loan now went into long-term savings. It made my wife really happy, but the truth is that it made about as much financial difference as switching types of bonds.
by MarkBarb
Fri May 22, 2015 2:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Friends/Family that don't invest!
Replies: 94
Views: 11515

Re: Friends/Family that don't invest!

I just don't talk to them about it unless they raise the topic. To me, it would be like telling overweight people that they need to lose weight, sedentary people that they need to exercise, smokers that they need to quit, etc. I assume that they all know it already and just don't have the willpower ...
by MarkBarb
Mon May 04, 2015 7:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Insurance Claim Question
Replies: 7
Views: 611

Car Insurance Claim Question

We had a minor accident in our driveway this weekend in which one car scraped the other. The repair estimate is about $1,300. My wife called the insurance company and they said that our deductible is $500. Should we file the claim and get our $800 or will we end up paying more in the long run in hig...
by MarkBarb
Sun Apr 12, 2015 12:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How should I name my home Wi-Fi network?
Replies: 55
Views: 5263

Re: How should I name my home Wi-Fi network?

I don't think hiding your SSID helps at all against a hacker with even low levels of sophistication. And while I recommend WEP2, don't think of it as secure. Consider it more like the difference between leaving your house unlocked vs using a deadbolt. It is still pretty easy for someone to break in,...
by MarkBarb
Sun Apr 12, 2015 12:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Password manager recommendations?
Replies: 86
Views: 8608

Re: Password manager recommendations?

Whatever option you go with, use a secure passphrase for your main password. Not so long that you hate typing it on your phone, but not a simple 8 character word. Something like "bogleHeads.readjoy!
by MarkBarb
Sun Apr 12, 2015 12:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Password manager recommendations?
Replies: 86
Views: 8608

Re: Password manager recommendations?

LastPass is a great, low cost ($12/year, I think) offering that is cloud based so you can access it anywhere. It is what I recommend to non-technical people. My personal favorite is KeePass. It is free. The problem with it is that your encrypted password file is stored locally. In order to access it...
by MarkBarb
Sat Apr 11, 2015 5:41 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is Sammy Savers net worth?
Replies: 41
Views: 4000

Re: What is Sammy Savers net worth?

I'd ask him what he wants the number for. If he's looking for bragging rights, he could include the NPV of his pension and even SS. If he's trying to sound as poor as possible, he would ignore the income streams and use the after tax value of his savings. If he's trying to assess his retirement inco...
by MarkBarb
Thu Apr 09, 2015 7:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Poll: What is the credit limit of your credit card?
Replies: 56
Views: 4692

Re: Poll: What is the credit limit of your credit card?

adamthesmythe wrote:There is no option for "I don't know."

I'm not even sure where to find out.


Add me into the "don't know" category as well. I'm guessing something like $15,000, but it has never come up. I also have no idea what the interest rate is.
by MarkBarb
Thu Apr 09, 2015 7:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best US city to spend Xmas
Replies: 40
Views: 2809

Re: Best US city to spend Xmas

That totally depends on personal preferences. Some people loathe the cold and snow and others wouldn't consider XMas season complete without them. It might be better for you to describe what you would like your XMas trip to be like before asking for where it should be.
by MarkBarb
Tue Apr 07, 2015 6:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When to give adult children their inheritance?
Replies: 57
Views: 7425

Re: When to give adult children their inheritance?

I like splitting it. Early for a stipend that can be used for some travel. Later for the bulk. My worry is that they would be tempted in their 20's to use it to buy more house than is appropriate at that age. Just as important is stressing to them that they should never commingle a significant inher...
by MarkBarb
Sun Apr 05, 2015 5:30 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buy riding mower or hire service to cut grass?
Replies: 56
Views: 4730

Re: Buy riding mower or hire service to cut grass?

Have you thought about getting a goat?
by MarkBarb
Sat Apr 04, 2015 3:32 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Zweig's Latest Blog Post/Column (Bogle vs. Grant Debate)
Replies: 16
Views: 3387

Re: Zweig's Latest Blog Post/Column

Do a Google search on "zweig blog david goliath" and you'll see a link to the article that doesn't require a subscription.
by MarkBarb
Sun Mar 29, 2015 10:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hate where we live, do we make major changes?
Replies: 132
Views: 13785

Re: Hate where we live, do we make major changes?

I like in the Houston, TX area. It's an area well known for its miserable climate. I know a lot of people here that complain that there is nothing to do. My wife and I have a different perspective. It's hot, so we embrace things that work with the weather. We have a pool. We go to the beach. During ...
by MarkBarb
Sun Mar 29, 2015 10:18 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How many of you invest in individual stocks?
Replies: 70
Views: 5824

Re: How many of you invest in individual stocks?

I am granted stock by the company at which I work. When I receive a grant (generally an annual event), it vests in thirds each year. When it vests, I sell the shares and transfer the proceeds to an index fund. That's the only individual stock that I hold today. On rare occasions I will by an individ...
by MarkBarb
Sat Mar 28, 2015 6:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The random stock portfolio bogey - beating the monkey
Replies: 150
Views: 10360

Re: The random stock portfolio bogey - beating the monkey

I'm working on a website called "Monkeystar". It looks at the past performance of each monkey so that you know which ones to pick and what to expect from them.
by MarkBarb
Thu Mar 26, 2015 8:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: WSJ Delivery Record - Dismal
Replies: 25
Views: 2167

Re: WSJ Delivery Record - Dismal

Mine is delivered online. I almost never have a problem with delivery.
by MarkBarb
Thu Mar 26, 2015 8:07 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: When does a 529 plan make sense to me?
Replies: 194
Views: 10659

Re: Why 529 plan makes any sense??

Understood. You are from the group of parents that believe children's college tuition are part of the parents' responsibility. I am not. :shock: Not shocked that you don't want to pay for your kid's college. That doesn't seem unreasonable. It just seems a bit surprising that, given that criteria, y...
by MarkBarb
Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:04 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: When does a 529 plan make sense to me?
Replies: 194
Views: 10659

One more reason...

I just remembered one more reason why I liked using a 529 instead of a taxable account. My plan was to start with 100% stocks, slowly add bonds, and slowly move to money market funds. Being able to reallocation my college savings asset allocation without tax consequences is another nice benefit to h...
by MarkBarb
Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:58 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: When does a 529 plan make sense to me?
Replies: 194
Views: 10659

Re: Why 529 plan makes any sense??

Isn't the best reason to use a 529 instead of your Roth because you need it to help retire someday. The 529 is another vehicle to save money on a tax advantaged basis? Use both and a 401k if it presents itself to you. You can't save to much! fourwedge, <<you need it to help retire someday. >> Retir...
by MarkBarb
Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:55 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: When does a 529 plan make sense to me?
Replies: 194
Views: 10659

My Approach

First, I already max out my 401K, my HSA, and my Roth contributions each year, and still have money to save. I used 529 plans for many years to save for the children's college expenses. When they were very young, my thought was that I was extremely likely to spend at least some money on their colleg...
by MarkBarb
Sun Mar 22, 2015 12:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How Do You Watch Television?
Replies: 81
Views: 7151

Re: How Do You Watch Television?

Mostly satellite. More and more streaming. Just canceled disc service from Netflix. We'll use Redbox for new movies. Overall, TV viewing has steadily declined at our house. Better Internet content, better computer games, and easy access to books on our Kindles have all steadily eroded TV viewing. I'...
by MarkBarb
Mon Mar 16, 2015 10:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gaming amazon product reviews
Replies: 16
Views: 2410

Re: Gaming amazon product reviews

When reading reviews, I focus most of my attention on the middle reviews (2-4 stars on Amazon). The 1 star reviews are often just haters and the 5 star reviewers are often fanboys. The middle reviews usually do a better job of representing the strengths and weaknesses of the product.
by MarkBarb
Sat Mar 07, 2015 4:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Traits of Happiest Retirees
Replies: 29
Views: 4422

Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

This looks like a good example where it is important to understand the difference between correlation and causation.
by MarkBarb
Sun Feb 22, 2015 3:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What age do you guys plan to retire?
Replies: 143
Views: 10371

Re: What age do you guys plan to retire?

I'm turning 50 this year. I think I'll work about 10 more years. I've been saying "10 more years" for the last 5 years. Maybe one day I'll wake up and it will be sooner. My youngest doesn't head off to college for another 6 years, so it would seem odd to do it before then.
by MarkBarb
Sun Feb 22, 2015 12:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: On line product reviews vs Consumers Reports
Replies: 37
Views: 3286

Re: On line product reviews vs Consumers Reports

I rarely use CR. I got disillusioned when I read their reviews about things I had a lot of knowledge about. I realized that they are well meaning people that try to review things they don't always know much about. When I read online reviews, I pay a lot of attention to the 2 star and 4 star reviews....
by MarkBarb
Sun Feb 22, 2015 12:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much was your Tax Refund (or amount DUE)
Replies: 110
Views: 8537

Re: How much was your Tax Refund (or amount DUE)

[quote="travelnut1iNext year should be better with a baby on the way, no consulting income and we just bought a house. Still I think the only kid-related break we'll qualify is the extra exemption. :([/quote] Don't bank on it. I think you lose your personal exemptions if you end up paying the A...
by MarkBarb
Sun Feb 22, 2015 11:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Poll: Largest fraudulent charge to your credit card(s)?
Replies: 49
Views: 3209

Re: Poll: Largest fraudulent charge to your credit card(s)?

One for $10,000 (a $4,750 cash advance at a bank and a $4,750 at CompUSA plus overlimit fees). A few others for a few hundred. I've always been baffled by the lack of security in the industry.
by MarkBarb
Sun Feb 22, 2015 9:58 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Luxury Car
Replies: 86
Views: 7805

Re: Luxury Car

Caterham R300. OK, it's about as far from being a luxury car as you can possibly get. If it had windows, they wouldn't be powered. It doesn't have bluetooth anything because it doesn't have any microphones or speakers. I'd need to buy a top if I want to call it a convertible. No AC or heater. It bas...
by MarkBarb
Sun Feb 22, 2015 9:52 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much was your Tax Refund (or amount DUE)
Replies: 110
Views: 8537

Re: How much was your Tax Refund (or amount DUE)

$290 this year.

It was $5,000 last year. Amazon had a promotion through Turbo Tax where they would give you 110% of you return if you took it in gift cards. I made $500 on the deal. his year, the promotion was only 5%.
by MarkBarb
Sun Feb 01, 2015 3:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying a Home. 30yr FRM vs. 15yrFRM vs. ARM 5/1
Replies: 32
Views: 3055

Re: Buying a Home. 30yr FRM vs. 15yrFRM vs. ARM 5/1

Here are a few numbers to add some context. Assuming that the loan is $240,000 and given the interest rates listed above, we have the following scenarios: Scenario #1 - 30 year fixed at 3.75%, monthly payment of $1,111.48 Excel formula =PMT(0.0375/12,30*12,240000) Scenario #2 - 15 year fixed at 3.00...
by MarkBarb
Sun Jan 25, 2015 1:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Rental Car Prices - is this the new normal ?
Replies: 89
Views: 9222

Re: Rental Car Prices - is this the new normal ?

You might try Priceline. When I go to San Jose, they always want $900/week for a van and I get it on Priceline for < $400/week with their "name your price" option.
by MarkBarb
Thu Jan 01, 2015 10:35 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What do you drive, and why?
Replies: 249
Views: 26779

Re: What do you drive, and why?

I drive a '59 Lotus 7, because, well, I can. And I am am guarenteed of never seeing another one sitting at a red light. My fun car is a 2012 Caterham R300. There is one other Caterham in the community, but the only time I've seen him on the road is when we have purposefully met up. It's a great car...
by MarkBarb
Thu Jan 01, 2015 10:23 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Amazon tax refund bonus offer
Replies: 6
Views: 2002

Re: Amazon tax refund bonus offer

I did it last year to go from a $5,000 refund to a $5,500 refund. Yes, we spend more than that on Amazon every year.
by MarkBarb
Tue Jun 10, 2014 5:41 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Questions about restricted stock units
Replies: 15
Views: 751

Re: Questions about restricted stock units

I am in a similar situation. I get a letter about a month before my shares vest titled "Award Due To Vest". It says this: We are writing to inform you that, in accordance with the terms and conditions of your company's plan and your award agreement, if applicable, which are in all events t...
by MarkBarb
Sun Mar 23, 2014 7:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Prime Increase
Replies: 185
Views: 10636

Re: Amazon Prime Increase

My household has made almost 600 different orders on Amazon since 2011, not including digital orders. Prime is a no-brainer for us.
by MarkBarb
Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What is your winter thermostat setting (while you are up)?
Replies: 116
Views: 10084

74 or 75

On top of that, we have fire going in the fireplace (nat gas) when it is cold. The kids love to laze about in front of the fire in their shorts. We're frugal, but not when it comes to being warm and comfortable. Besides, natural gas is cheap, so it really doesn't cost that much.
by MarkBarb
Sat Feb 23, 2013 8:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much do you spend in a week? (Mon-Sun)
Replies: 50
Views: 3307

Re: How much do you spend in a week? (Mon-Sun)

Starting with my total after tax (fed, SS, medi, property tax) income and comparing that to my spending (excluding housing costs and a fairly major home improvement), I spent a little under 35% of my income last year. That works out to 0.67% per week. One could debate as to whether I should include ...
by MarkBarb
Sun Feb 10, 2013 2:18 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Form 8606 IRA Basis Question
Replies: 11
Views: 1970

Re: Form 8606 IRA Basis Question

I just worked everything out both ways in a spreadsheet. If you convert an IRA to a Roth IRA in one year and then make an after-tax contribution for that year at the start of the following year, you get different results based on whether you directly use the 8606 or whether you use the IRA Worksheet...
by MarkBarb
Sun Feb 10, 2013 1:21 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Form 8606 IRA Basis Question
Replies: 11
Views: 1970

Re: Form 8606 IRA Basis Question

I just tried filling out the 2011 8606 form directly. It works perfectly. The key is that line 4 removes contributions made January 1 or later from the calculation, so everything works OK. The problem is the Taxable IRA Distribution Worksheet. On line 1 it says to include contributions made during 2...

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