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by MathWizard
Tue May 26, 2015 5:21 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: At what point does 529 make sense
Replies: 24
Views: 2780

Re: At what point does 529 make sense

If you get a state income tax break, they are OK. I put them after 401K to the match, and fully funding our ROTHs, but before maxing the 401K. Generally, income has a much bigger effect on financial aid eligibility than assets. I had zero contribution from assets, but my income well under $100K allo...
by MathWizard
Tue May 26, 2015 5:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Life insurance as college saving
Replies: 13
Views: 704

Re: Life insurance as college saving

I think you are doing OK on saving for college. Remember that if you are saving $6K per year, then you will also have $6K/year while they are in college in addition to any savings you have built up. You can use ROTH contributions to pay for college if needed, if that is a possibility. You are likely...
by MathWizard
Tue May 26, 2015 2:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Church Endowment RFP
Replies: 8
Views: 590

Re: Church Endowment RFP

Having been on the financial board, I found that only the most conservative holdings work. Everyone is appreciative when the endowment grows, but the first time it drops, even by a small amount, all the gains are forgotten, and the integrity/competence of the board members gets questioned. Hard to h...
by MathWizard
Tue May 26, 2015 2:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Friends/Family that don't invest!
Replies: 87
Views: 8627

Re: Friends/Family that don't invest!

I only worry about my family (wife and kids). I discuss with my wife, and advise my kids on saving.investing as well as many other things. I don't push it on anyone, even my kids. My wife sees the gains we have made, and appreciates the work I have done to learn all that I can about finances. My kid...
by MathWizard
Tue May 26, 2015 11:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Once in a life time trip.
Replies: 116
Views: 5519

Re: Once in a life time trip.

I think that you are setting the bar too high. At 8 yrs. old, most everything is going to be forgettable. Time with family, doing something different is probably all you need. One thing my kids remember is walking on a glacier in Canada. (Athabasca Glacier, Jasper National Park) The youngest was abo...
by MathWizard
Mon May 25, 2015 8:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do-it-yourself handy person: How did you learn?
Replies: 33
Views: 3182

Re: Do-it-yourself handy person: How did you learn?

Older brothers, shop and the library.
by MathWizard
Thu May 21, 2015 9:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The end of the nest egg
Replies: 30
Views: 7038

Re: The end of the nest egg

Most projections I do with the worst case analysis.

I'm far more likely to end up with a huge portfolio, than running out.
by MathWizard
Thu May 21, 2015 9:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Teaching maths to a 4 year old
Replies: 31
Views: 2364

Re: Teaching maths to a 4 year old

I bought Legos as the kids loved to build. I also bought a program names sea school, where my boys could "win" fireworks and cheers by fishing for the right answer to a question. They asked to play it, I did not buy nintendo etc until they were much older and had already been given one by ...
by MathWizard
Wed May 20, 2015 2:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much is financial flexibility worth?
Replies: 16
Views: 1531

Re: How much is financial flexibility worth?

By maxing out ROTHs , you have more flexibility. You can stop funding the ROTHs, increasing available cash-flow by $11K/year If you need more, you can withdraw ROTH contributions, though that will reduce your overall retirement funds. But hey, if you are now in the 28% tax bracket, you are doing wel...
by MathWizard
Tue May 19, 2015 4:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much does social security factor into your retirement income?
Replies: 169
Views: 11123

Re: How much does social security factor into your retirement income?

None. I make my decisions based on the assumption that we will get zero from Social Security. Do you do the same for government bonds? And stock dividends? etc Yes. When the value of my retirement accounts reaches $600,000, I will retire then. Not a moment sooner or later than that. With a paid off...
by MathWizard
Tue May 19, 2015 4:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Living on last months income.
Replies: 33
Views: 3300

Re: Living on last months income.

8foot7,

Thanks for the clarification.

I have a first tier EF and short-term savings in a savings account and CDs, but the checking account drops
to under $1000 by the end of the month most months.

If I had a an extra month's income beyond that, it would go into my retirement accounts.
by MathWizard
Tue May 19, 2015 4:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Living on last months income.
Replies: 33
Views: 3300

Re: Living on last months income.

Does this mean you only have one month's buffer? I haven't done that since grad school. Currently I'm living on money from nearly 100 months ago, or maybe from 6 months ago, depending upon how you figure it. A retiree might be living on income from 360 month's ago. Maybe I am missing your meaning co...
by MathWizard
Tue May 19, 2015 4:02 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bonds - Picking up Nickels in Front of a Steamroller?
Replies: 50
Views: 5000

Re: Bonds - Picking up Nickels in Front of a Steamroller?

I would reserve that phrase for complex financial instruments, which are priced so that you get a small
gain almost all of the time, until they don't, when you lose it all.

Think
Long Term Capital Management,
highly leveraged mortgage backed securities based upon liar loans,
naked shorts.
by MathWizard
Mon May 18, 2015 5:07 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Benchmarking - Do you and what is your reference?
Replies: 13
Views: 745

Re: Benchmarking - Do you and what is your reference?

I use Russel 3000 as benchmark for equities.
by MathWizard
Mon May 18, 2015 5:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Net Worth: How do you 'stack up'
Replies: 6
Views: 2105

Re: Net Worth: How do you 'stack up'

The average person with a college degree is worth almost $1,000,000? I'm way behind. Clearly a flawed tool. It is probably collecting statistics based upon what people are entering. Looking at the 2011 excel spreadsheet from the census, https://www.census.gov/people/wealth/data/disttables.html the ...
by MathWizard
Mon May 18, 2015 1:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: To refinance or not to refinance
Replies: 13
Views: 1200

Re: To refinance or not to refinance

A drop in 1% on the loan, yes, I'd go for it. The $4K closing cost seems high. We only have had about $1500 in closing costs, but that was on a smaller mortgage. The $4K likely includes escrow amounts to the new mortgage company, and the previous mortgage company will send you a check for your escro...
by MathWizard
Mon May 18, 2015 12:39 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Time to reach 1M and 2M milestones
Replies: 63
Views: 9358

Re: Time to reach 1M and 2M milestones

For investment portfolio, excludes house and EF, and in today's dollars: $1M expect to be there within 5 years. Total time investing will be 30 years. $2M won't ever make it I found the first 12 to 16 years to be the most important. After that, long-term gains started to outstrip contributions.
by MathWizard
Sat May 16, 2015 9:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much does social security factor into your retirement income?
Replies: 169
Views: 11123

Re: How much does social security factor into your retirement income?

I plan on claiming SS at 70, and plan on 75% of calculated benefits.

I calculate then myself,as the statements assume you work until age 62, FRA or 70. I may
stop working at other times, but claim at 70.

It should be about 1/3 to 1/2 of our income depending on when we retire.
by MathWizard
Wed May 13, 2015 9:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home Internet - Cat 5e or Cat 6
Replies: 49
Views: 3141

Re: Home Internet - Cat 5e or Cat 6

Cat 5e will provide gigabit speeds that should provide plenty of bandwidth for home consumption. cat 6 could support 10 gigabit We stream two 1080p screens at 13gigabit. I'm not sure that my brain can handle sensory input at 10 gigabit. Now if you become a server farm or ISP stream out content you'l...
by MathWizard
Wed May 13, 2015 12:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Can a room with only a toilet be considered a bathroom?
Replies: 28
Views: 2280

Re: Can a toilet alone in a room be considered a bathroom?

I would not count it as a bathroom. I don't think any codes are being violated, but they vary from state to state and city to city. Around here, it was pretty common in the old days to stub in sewer/water in the basement for possibly adding a basement bathroom at a future date. (You aren't going to ...
by MathWizard
Tue May 12, 2015 5:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: I Hate Vacations
Replies: 113
Views: 9195

Re: I Hate Vacations

I understand where you are coming from.
If it weren't for my wife, I wouldn't enjoy traveling that much.

A good traveling companion makes all the difference.
by MathWizard
Tue May 12, 2015 4:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Will you buy self-driving car?
Replies: 235
Views: 9308

Re: Will you buy self-driving car?

it would be a long time before I trusted my life to a software program. You do that every time you get in a commercial air plane. That airplane's software is being babysat by two professionally-trained and highly-experienced human pilots. There's virtually nothing for the plan to crash into, yet it...
by MathWizard
Mon May 11, 2015 5:58 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What regulatory protections apply to IRAs?
Replies: 3
Views: 300

Re: What regulatory protections apply to IRAs?

Thanks for the link in the Wiki Taylor.
by MathWizard
Mon May 11, 2015 12:11 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What regulatory protections apply to IRAs?
Replies: 3
Views: 300

What regulatory protections apply to IRAs?

My wife and I have IRAs at TIAA-CREF. With the recent rise in ER for IRAs at that company (rate of about 0.69%) we are looking at Vanguard for all IRA investment. What regulatory protection does an IRA at Vanguard have, and would it be any different from TIAA-CREF? I'm not talking about losing money...
by MathWizard
Sat May 09, 2015 2:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Somebody hit our parked car today!!
Replies: 21
Views: 3502

Re: Somebody hit our parked car today!!

Let your agent know, and they should deal with the other insurance agency. I'd take pictures right away, and notify the police (not 911) that an accident occurred (they may want a report). I'd guess there will be little you have to do. When you are driving, you usually fill out an accident report, b...
by MathWizard
Fri May 08, 2015 1:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: When to junk a car?
Replies: 27
Views: 1911

Re: When to junk a car?

I think you've gotten the life out of the car.
I would not (and my wife wouldn't let me) sink that much into a 12 yr old
car with 190K on it.

I'd be surprised if you get what you've quoted on trade-in, given the work the car needs.
by MathWizard
Fri May 08, 2015 11:47 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: If you worry about a correction, you shouldn't own stocks
Replies: 50
Views: 5634

Re: If you worry about a correction, you shouldn't own stocks

Tim Cook hasn't succeeded in getting Buffet to use a smart phone...he refuses to stop using his flip phone. This man is legendary in his frugality and simplicity Buffet's good friend Bill Gates had a hard time convincing Buffet to buy/use a personal computer. Buffet bought one so that he could play...
by MathWizard
Wed May 06, 2015 1:39 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Case FOR the Roth 401k
Replies: 46
Views: 4243

Re: The Case FOR the Roth 401k

The usual advice is: 1) 401k to the match 2) ROTH IRA 3) back to the 401k Not everyone has a Roth 401k option. (Heck, some people don't even have a 401k) Once you get to step 3, you could do a mix of 401k and Roth 401k just like steps 1,2. I find that I will be close to retirement before I will have...
by MathWizard
Tue May 05, 2015 3:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Backyard playsets - worth it?
Replies: 22
Views: 2572

Re: Backyard playsets - worth it?

Our got lots of use, mostly the slide, but the swings as well. We got one with a waterproof shade on top of the slide, so the slide platform doubled as a shaded "fort" or "castle". I built my own sandbox, but then had to build a cover as the neighborhood cats loved the deluxe kin...
by MathWizard
Tue May 05, 2015 10:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How are packages delivered to curbside mailboxes?
Replies: 31
Views: 2172

Re: How are packages delivered to curbside mailboxes?

For packages that do not fit in the mailbox:
USPS always leaves a note saying you can pick up package at post-office.

UPS and FedEx leave them by the garage door under an eave.
by MathWizard
Mon May 04, 2015 2:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Will you buy self-driving car?
Replies: 235
Views: 9308

Re: Will you buy self-driving car?

I won't buy the first ones, but I hope to buy an affordable one before someone takes my keys away. Hopefully cars will be built for easy passenger access, and maybe the interior could be made so that you can lay down and sleep. Imagine, you'd have the equivalent of a chauffeur at minimal cost. I've ...
by MathWizard
Mon May 04, 2015 2:01 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Financial reasons to get a summer job?
Replies: 36
Views: 1847

Re: Financial reasons to get a summer job?

Wildebeest wrote:
Another vote for getting a summer job in the field of study or future job.

We actually paid for "an internship" for our son and he feels it was worth more that the pretty penny it cost and/or a year of college.


How did you go about this?
by MathWizard
Fri May 01, 2015 5:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Powerwall: The Arrival of Home Battery Backup System
Replies: 53
Views: 5014

Re: Powerwall: The Arrival of Home Battery Backup System

One big caveat: There is still a big issue with wealthy people being able to afford these types of system and poor people not, while the utilities continue to increase baseline fixed costs, which they do in order to recoup losses associated with selling less electricity because of increased use of ...
by MathWizard
Fri May 01, 2015 9:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: College Tuition for Sibling
Replies: 7
Views: 844

Re: College Tuition for Sibling

The fees for the Maryland 529 seem high to me. A $10 fee just for having an account? The fees and costs link near the bottom of the page on http://www.collegesavingsmd.org/plan-comparison-chart.aspx show .13% on top of the underlying fund ERs (which are high compared to Vanguard) and these are in ad...
by MathWizard
Fri May 01, 2015 7:55 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Value of personal time
Replies: 24
Views: 2000

Re: Value of personal time

Ah, what about angst and the potential multiple errors if you do it yourself vs having a professional do the task? We hire a good tax cpa instead of doing our own taxes. We pay him for his time and knowledge. I'm not positive how long it would take us to prepare our returns rather than him doing it...
by MathWizard
Wed Apr 29, 2015 9:36 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: RE Social security being taxed--new chart by Scott Burns
Replies: 41
Views: 4684

Re: RE Social security being taxed--new chart by Scott Burns

There is a similar article on the wiki, showing the marginal tax rates: Taxation of Social Security benefits Correct. The Scott Burns article is just a rehash of something that's been known for a while. A good way to avoid that 39%, or even 46%, marginal tax is to have a high enough taxable income ...
by MathWizard
Wed Apr 29, 2015 9:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Free Vacation but It Will Cost Me
Replies: 13
Views: 1875

Re: Free Vacation but It Will Cost Me

I'm not sure what the others are suggesting is very nice to the gentleman who made the original offer. It is co-opting his gift Isn't this like saying to someone who gave each of you in the group a birthday gift: "I'll accept your gift, but I'm going to upgrade it to something better, and I'm g...
by MathWizard
Wed Apr 29, 2015 9:17 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Manager consistently crushing the market [calculation error]
Replies: 27
Views: 3686

Re: Manager consistently crushing the market

460% which i just divided by 18 years (and shouldn't have since it is compounded). If by 460% you mean that £1000 grew to £5600 in 18 years, my crude math put that at about 10.1% annually. Not sure how that compares to whatever the appropriate benchmarks are. Your math is good. This agrees with pre...
by MathWizard
Tue Apr 28, 2015 8:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Summer college credit courses for high school students
Replies: 24
Views: 1557

Re: Summer college credit courses for high school students

AP classes are in the minor leagues. One year of an AP class might cover a quarter's worth of material in college. Things may have changed. My son's year long AP Calc class covered about 3/4 of a year of Calc at a Teir-1 Research Univ. With some extra study guide from the instructor, he tested out ...
by MathWizard
Tue Apr 28, 2015 11:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need tips on taking HS student on college tour
Replies: 34
Views: 2000

Re: Need tips on taking HS student on college tour

Campus tours are typically given by students. If he is going into the Honors program, he will see either a Prof or the head of the program (which is probably a Prof) The engineering labs where my son went (large instate land-grant) had impressive engineering labs. Much more specialized equipment tha...
by MathWizard
Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:03 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Who's holding cash?
Replies: 86
Views: 6505

Re: Who's holding cash?

I'm holding enough cash for short-term cash-flow and for a 1st tier, 4 month Efund (the rest of the
Efund is invested).

Unless you count that, I'm not holding cash.
by MathWizard
Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:45 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Been invited to wedding in Disney World. My cost?
Replies: 58
Views: 5956

Re: Been invited to wedding in Disney World. My cost?

Co-worker? No way. If this was your business partner, maybe. If it were me, when I got the invite, I would decline with regrets, and send a check . Weddings are for family and very close friends. This sounds like the couple have plenty of money (or think they do) and are out of touch with the econom...
by MathWizard
Thu Apr 23, 2015 12:21 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Can activist funds "beat the market"?
Replies: 8
Views: 680

Re: Can activist funds "beat the market"?

If you own a cap weighted piece of every public company, then you own the market. If an activist fund invests in a company, and increases its value, then that fund has also increased the value of your fund, because you owned a piece of that company (you owned the market). The exception to this would...
by MathWizard
Wed Apr 22, 2015 3:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What age did your Net Worth first equal 10,000x your Weight?
Replies: 48
Views: 3566

Re: What age did your Net Worth first equal 10,000x your Wei

Given that excess weight likely will lessen lifespan, and hence $ needed, the NW you'd need
should go down with weight, not up.

At least that would work better for me. :sharebeer
by MathWizard
Mon Apr 20, 2015 6:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car advice needed
Replies: 18
Views: 2535

Re: Car advice needed

Apparently they make some AWD Chargers, but every Charger I ever test-drove was RWD.

I would never get a RWD anymore. It's been a long time since I've been sliding sideways down
snow-covered roads at 50 MPH, and I'd like to keep it that way.
by MathWizard
Sun Apr 19, 2015 11:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: how to deal with it [regret over past investing choices]
Replies: 74
Views: 5922

Re: how to deal with it [regret over past investing choices]

You are sitting on money and have to make decisions on what to do with it and getting frozen by indecision. One of my wisest decisions was to make fewer decisions. I set my contributions at work and have them automatically invest for me. (Back when the ROTH limits were only $2K, I also had contribut...
by MathWizard
Sat Apr 18, 2015 12:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New York City Tours
Replies: 11
Views: 974

New York City Tours

Planning on a trip to NYC this July, maybe about 5 days. (Work is limiting time and duration for me this year, next year we'll take a big vacation.) For such a short trip, I prefer to have a planned tour. (With longer we plan our own.) I've done hop-on hop-off buses and they work well, and I like be...
by MathWizard
Fri Apr 17, 2015 3:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Career and college advice for current HS students
Replies: 34
Views: 2676

Re: Career and college advice for current HS students

I'd add one to stay away from: Sports Management A nephew and niece, both good students and athletes in HS, got sold on Sports Management. They both graduated, but there were no jobs available, but plenty of loans to pay back. Both are working full-time (not in Sports Management), and one is also ta...
by MathWizard
Thu Apr 16, 2015 10:50 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Is it ok to NOT have significant taxable investments?
Replies: 48
Views: 4821

Re: Is it ok to NOT have significant taxable investments?

Of course it is OK not to have significant taxable investments. I would prefer to have ALL my retirement money in a Roth IRA if I could, but the US government would not allow me to do that. The contribution limits for 401(k) and 403(b) are much, much higher than they used to be. In the old days, wi...
by MathWizard
Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:13 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How to (diplomatically) challenge wife's active mgmt funds
Replies: 90
Views: 5402

Re: How to (diplomatically) challenge wife's active mgmt fun

I doubt you will win any such argument, and for such a small percentage, it isn't worth it. You'd like her to invest your way, but how would you like it if the reverse were true? To answer you question though: Part of why there has not been a big difference in performance is likely due to incorrect ...

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