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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: 79
Views: 3698

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: 24
Views: 1602

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: 181
Views: 7627

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: 181
Views: 7627

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: 181
Views: 7627

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: 181
Views: 7627

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: 5339

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: 2164

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: 3896

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: 8860

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: 2722

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: 7427

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: 2558

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: 5674

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: 7427

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: 2697

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: 8067

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: 205
Views: 18214

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: 1850

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: 716

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: 10024

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: 9404

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: 3228

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: 1798

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: 1798

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: 1798

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: 515

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: 1798

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: 4403

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: 11391

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: 2934

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: 1798

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: 885

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: 4084

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: 1121

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: 21722

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: 15090

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: 13958

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: 23754

I switched from a 2hp pump to the Pentair Intelliflo variable speed pump. I set my pump to run at 20 gpm, the minimum for our heater. Comparing the rated power usage of the 2hp pump with the measured usage of the new pump (it tells me on my pool control panel), it looks like I'm saving a lot of ener...
by MarkBarb
Sun Aug 01, 2010 8:38 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Energy efficient swimming pool pumps? No!
Replies: 17
Views: 2435

Houston, TX
3,300 Square Feet
2 ACs, Pool, 4 people in the house (1 worker, 1 SAHP, 2 kids on summer vacation)
AC set to 78 day, 79 night downstairs. Upstairs varies from 80 in the day to 78 in the evening.

3,749 KWh or 937/person
Cost was $400 or 10.7 cents per KWh
by MarkBarb
Sun Aug 01, 2010 8:23 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Kilowatts in the Summer [Electricity Usage]
Replies: 95
Views: 8797

1982 Honda Civic GL (bought 1984)
1992 Honda Accord DX
2000 Honda Accord DX (hand-me-down from wife in 2003)
2006 Acura RL (bought in 2009)
by MarkBarb
Sun Jun 27, 2010 10:30 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vehicles you have owned...
Replies: 162
Views: 24480

Many electric clocks today come with a battery backup. The clock is powered with AC most of the time and the rechargeable battery is only used during blackouts. I don't think that the battery is even replaceable as it should probably last for a generation or more.
by MarkBarb
Thu Jun 24, 2010 9:44 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wind up Alarm Clocks for the night table......
Replies: 66
Views: 16487

We don't use alarms at my house. I don't leave for work until 6:30 and always wake up well before then. In each of our bedrooms we have simple, cheap, reliable, accurate clocks that plug into the wall and have battery backups. Given how much cheaper it is to make electronic clocks and how much bette...
by MarkBarb
Thu Jun 24, 2010 8:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wind up Alarm Clocks for the night table......
Replies: 66
Views: 16487

They look cool. If they allow ME to choose whether I want flash and add multi-tasking, I'll buy one. A removable battery would be nice too.
by MarkBarb
Sat May 01, 2010 6:01 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: iPad Users: Is it revolutionary or Over Hyped
Replies: 83
Views: 10070

I live in the Houston area and have seen property taxes vary from 2.5% to just over 5%. With exemptions ours works out to 2.75% for us. That's less than a 5% income tax would be. It's simpler to pay. And I can pay it in December or January for deduction timing purposes. As for no basements, we don't...
by MarkBarb
Fri Feb 19, 2010 6:33 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Another good reason to like Colorado.
Replies: 28
Views: 3908

I still find this discussion odd. I do one of two things with the money I earn - I save it or I spend it. I determine how much I save based on some personal guidelines. I spend everything else. It's just a question of timing, not whether I'll spend it. For example, I was stuck in meetings almost all...
by MarkBarb
Fri Feb 19, 2010 6:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do credit cards increase your spending?
Replies: 94
Views: 10373

From memory: 3 in my office - 1 for my computer and peripherals, 1 for my wife's computer and peripherals, and one for the printer and network switch. 4 in the kids computer room - 6 computers, a DVR, two network switches, two NASes. 2 for the downstairs TV - TV, computer, Xbox 360, Wii, PS3, receiv...
by MarkBarb
Fri Feb 19, 2010 5:50 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you have any power strips in your house?
Replies: 45
Views: 5538

I think that looking for a low work to pay ratio is the wrong approach. It assumes that work is odious and should be minimized. A better approach is to look at things that you enjoy doing and find which ones pay the best. I'm about to go to "work" today despite the office being closed. Why...
by MarkBarb
Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:31 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: FW thread: Jobs with the best ratio of actual work/salary
Replies: 108
Views: 13317

I work off of a simple budget. I determine how much I need to save and save that automatically every month. I spend everything else. I would spend everything else whether I did it using cash or credit cards. That's not to say that I spend it all right away every month, but I generally always find a ...
by MarkBarb
Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:03 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do credit cards increase your spending?
Replies: 94
Views: 10373
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