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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 12:48 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How should I name my home Wi-Fi network?
Replies: 55
Views: 4517

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 12:03 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Password manager recommendations?
Replies: 45
Views: 2555

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
Sun Apr 12, 2015 12:01 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Password manager recommendations?
Replies: 45
Views: 2555

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
Sat Apr 11, 2015 5:41 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is Sammy Savers net worth?
Replies: 41
Views: 3654

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 7:35 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Poll: What is the credit limit of your credit card?
Replies: 56
Views: 3446

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
Thu Apr 09, 2015 7:31 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best US city to spend Xmas
Replies: 40
Views: 2336

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
Tue Apr 07, 2015 6:02 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When to give adult children their inheritance?
Replies: 57
Views: 6662

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

Have you thought about getting a goat?
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: 3950

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
Sat Apr 04, 2015 3:32 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Zweig's Latest Blog Post/Column (Bogle vs. Grant Debate)
Replies: 7
Views: 1741

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 10:54 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hate where we live, do we make major changes?
Replies: 132
Views: 12271

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
Sun Mar 29, 2015 10:18 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How many of you invest in individual stocks?
Replies: 70
Views: 4876

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
Sat Mar 28, 2015 6:33 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The random stock portfolio bogey - beating the monkey
Replies: 150
Views: 8904

Re: WSJ Delivery Record - Dismal

Mine is delivered online. I almost never have a problem with delivery.
by MarkBarb
Thu Mar 26, 2015 8:09 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: WSJ Delivery Record - Dismal
Replies: 25
Views: 1945

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 8:07 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: When does a 529 plan make sense to me?
Replies: 194
Views: 8806

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 1:04 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: When does a 529 plan make sense to me?
Replies: 194
Views: 8806

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 12:58 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: When does a 529 plan make sense to me?
Replies: 194
Views: 8806

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
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: 8806

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
Sun Mar 22, 2015 12:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How Do You Watch Television?
Replies: 81
Views: 5842

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
Mon Mar 16, 2015 10:20 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gaming amazon product reviews
Replies: 16
Views: 2249

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
Sat Mar 07, 2015 4:01 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Traits of Happiest Retirees
Replies: 29
Views: 4063

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 3:12 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What age do you guys plan to retire?
Replies: 143
Views: 9124

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 12:12 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: On line product reviews vs Consumers Reports
Replies: 37
Views: 2823

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 12:07 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much was your Tax Refund (or amount DUE)
Replies: 110
Views: 7709

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 11:10 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Poll: Largest fraudulent charge to your credit card(s)?
Replies: 49
Views: 2689

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 9:58 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Luxury Car
Replies: 81
Views: 5856

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 22, 2015 9:52 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much was your Tax Refund (or amount DUE)
Replies: 110
Views: 7709

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 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: 2821

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
Sun Jan 25, 2015 1:17 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Rental Car Prices - is this the new normal ?
Replies: 89
Views: 8430

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 10:35 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What do you drive, and why?
Replies: 243
Views: 23252

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
Thu Jan 01, 2015 10:23 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Amazon tax refund bonus offer
Replies: 6
Views: 1928

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
Tue Jun 10, 2014 5:41 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Questions about restricted stock units
Replies: 15
Views: 717

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
Sun Mar 23, 2014 7:36 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Prime Increase
Replies: 185
Views: 10172

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
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: 9701

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
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: 3234

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 2:18 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Form 8606 IRA Basis Question
Replies: 11
Views: 1874

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...
by MarkBarb
Sun Feb 10, 2013 1:21 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Form 8606 IRA Basis Question
Replies: 11
Views: 1874

Re: Form 8606 IRA Basis Question

I agree that the worksheet is the problem. The worksheet is from IRS Pub 590 (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-prior/p590--2011.pdf) and is worksheet 1-5 on page 39. From IRS Pub 590, "To report your nontaxable distribution and to figure the remaining basis in your traditional IRA after distributions...
by MarkBarb
Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:55 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Form 8606 IRA Basis Question
Replies: 11
Views: 1874

Re: 529 v Coverdell v UTM

I use a 529 instead of a Coverdell for two primary reasons. There are income limits on who can contribute to a Coverdell ($95K/year, I think). Also, their are contribute limits (only $2,00/year). Our income is higher than that and we contribute $6,000/year/child. Converdell's do offer more flexibili...
by MarkBarb
Sun Feb 10, 2013 10:21 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 529 v Coverdell v UTM
Replies: 4
Views: 531

Re: Form 8606 IRA Basis Question

I appreciate the attempts at help. It looks like I did a lousy job of explaining the situation, so here is more information. The problem stems from the Taxable IRA Distribution Worksheet. 1. Enter all contributions made to your traditional IRA for 2011, whether or not deductible. Include contributio...
by MarkBarb
Sun Feb 10, 2013 8:25 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Form 8606 IRA Basis Question
Replies: 11
Views: 1874

Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Mine aren't there yet, so my advice is from someone that doesn't have real-world experience yet. One bit of advice I've been given that I think makes sense is to get your kids into schools where they are near the middle of the pack academically. If they are among the least qualified students admitte...
by MarkBarb
Sun Feb 10, 2013 8:10 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Deciding college for High School Graduate
Replies: 65
Views: 4448

Re: How do you find Mrs. Boglehead?

Interesting question. My approach was to date in ways that matched my desired lifestyle. My friends spent lavishly on dates, particularly when they competed for women of "high value". I took my dates on picnics, for hikes, to parks and zoos, and other activities that were inexpensive. My l...
by MarkBarb
Sun Feb 10, 2013 8:02 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do you find Mrs. Boglehead?
Replies: 138
Views: 11480

Re: Compare 2012 Effective Tax rate?

20.85%
by MarkBarb
Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:51 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Compare 2012 Effective Tax rate?
Replies: 36
Views: 2944

Form 8606 IRA Basis Question

I think I filed the wrong basis on my 2011 8606 form and I don't understand how to correct it. Background: Start - Rollover IRA with about $300,000 3/31/2011 - Made a $5,000 after-tax contribution to a new IRA for 2010 12/30/2011 - Converted money from both the rollover and new IRA. The portion from...
by MarkBarb
Fri Feb 08, 2013 7:00 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Form 8606 IRA Basis Question
Replies: 11
Views: 1874

Roth Conversion Avoid IRA Tax

I have a considerable (by my standards) amount of pre-tax money in a traditional IRA. It was originally in a 401K, but I rolled it over after leaving my last employer. I want to make contributions to a Roth IRA, but I am prevented by the income limits. I would like to use the backdoor conversion met...
by MarkBarb
Sun Oct 14, 2012 8:44 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Roth Conversion Avoid IRA Tax
Replies: 7
Views: 886

How I Handle Information Security

I was inspired by the Mint.com thread to write this thread about how I handle electronic security. I have three major components that I secure – my IDs/passwords, my Quicken file, and my documents. I use three major software components for security KeePass, TrueCrypt, and DropBox. One of the biggest...
by MarkBarb
Sun Feb 19, 2012 11:34 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How I Handle Information Security
Replies: 68
Views: 4099

Never buy anything that runs on a battery that you can't replace unless you consider it a disposable device. Batteries wear out.
by MarkBarb
Fri Jan 28, 2011 6:57 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How long should a charge on previous gen. Nano last?
Replies: 13
Views: 1123

There are a lot of books that I really like, but I can only think of one that really changed my life. It was Free to Choose. It caused me to completely reassess my views on many subjects.
by MarkBarb
Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:05 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any books really change your outlook on life?
Replies: 153
Views: 21758

Someone is rich if they have significantly more than I do. They are poor if they have significantly less. Money should be taken from the rich and used to subsidize worthwhile causes (defined as those that I like).
by MarkBarb
Sat Oct 02, 2010 12:39 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What do you consider as very rich?
Replies: 122
Views: 15104

Since we've been married, we've lived in 5 homes. They were a 950 sq foot one bedroom apt, a 2400 sq ft house, a 1700 sq ft house, a 3000 sq ft house, and a 3400 sq ft house. The apt was nice when we had no kids and were rarely home. Since we've had kids, more space has always been better. Our 3000 ...
by MarkBarb
Sun Aug 22, 2010 2:53 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Death of the 'McMansion': Era Of Supersized Homes Is Over
Replies: 135
Views: 13962

I really don't know what I'd recommend. I would have recommended a Mac to a novice a couple of years ago, but several things have changed. First, Vista was supplanted by Win7, so the OS difference is not as extreme. Second, I got an iPhone and iTunes on my PC. I dislike them both, so I don't think I...
by MarkBarb
Tue Aug 03, 2010 7:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: To Mac or not to Mac? That is the question...
Replies: 304
Views: 23766
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