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by MnD
Thu May 28, 2015 10:00 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: American Express sneakery
Replies: 37
Views: 4064

Re: American Express sneakery

The first thing I do when getting a new card is set up Auto-pay in full on the due date . I would never consider paying less than the full amount owed or paying anything earlier than the due date. Being paid (via cash back or rewards) to spend other peoples money, not paying them back until 28 to 58...
by MnD
Wed May 27, 2015 4:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cost of a "free" PhD program is around half a million? How does anyone afford this?
Replies: 76
Views: 4427

Re: Cost of a "free" PhD program is around half a million? How does anyone afford this?

Easily affordable. My daughter is going straight from undergrad physics to a PhD computer science program this fall at a "top 5" ranked institution. Stipend+fellowships+summer internship opportunities are generous and she has zero existing debt. Her living expenses will be very low so she ...
by MnD
Wed May 27, 2015 3:32 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Improving the TSP [for current participants]
Replies: 78
Views: 10365

Re: Improving the TSP [for current participants]

Some financially unsophisticated employees met individually with a financial planner who did some group TSP training recently and all went away from those individual meetings with wanting to move funds out of the TSP at retirement. It did not take detailed shortcomings of the TSP to sway them, just ...
by MnD
Mon May 25, 2015 10:11 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Does Your Fund Manager Consistently Beat the Stock Market?"
Replies: 42
Views: 3313

Re: "Does Your Fund Manager Consistently Beat the Stock Market?"

I've owned many active funds over the years and am down to three Dodge and Cox funds; Stock (20+ years), International (since inception) Global Bond (since inception) plus Fidelity Growth (10 years). Will jettison Fidelity Growth when I move an old 401-K to an IRA in July. I do monitor things, never...
by MnD
Sun May 24, 2015 9:06 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Taking out a TSP loan to fund Roth IRA
Replies: 14
Views: 869

Re: Taking out a TSP loan to fund Roth IRA

Well, the thing is that we want to continue maxing out our TSP and 401k tax deferred space while also maxing out our Roth IRAs. Reducing our 401k/TSP contributions to fund the Roth means we lose that space forever whereas by taking out a loan and paying it back we will only lose it temporarily. Wit...
by MnD
Sat May 23, 2015 10:56 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help me help my retired father -- preferred stocks
Replies: 24
Views: 1703

Re: Help me help my retired father -- preferred stocks

There are a number of preferred stock ETF's and mutual funds. They like your fathers portfolio yield around 6%.
You can compare them on a total return and risk basis to alternatives like balanced funds on Morningstar.
I spent a lazy few minutes and they did not look attractive.
by MnD
Sat May 23, 2015 3:46 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Advice from John Bogle and Warren Buffett
Replies: 35
Views: 2679

Re: Advice from John Bogle and Warren Buffett

My question is why are most BOGLEHEADS on this website going against those recommendations and buying all sorts of other asset classes when the best respected investors are telling America differently? I'm not much of a follower and I enjoy driving the "Jack Bogle says" crowd here crazy! ...
by MnD
Sat May 23, 2015 9:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Not able to max out all the retirement accounts
Replies: 69
Views: 3958

Re: Not able to max out all the retirement accounts

Stop worrying. Seriously, you're doing great. Your husband doesn't need a second job. You're living on 50% of gross, saving another 25% for retirement, paying down a mortgage, and there is some sort of pension. All of this is happening while you're in school and paying for childcare. You're really ...
by MnD
Thu May 21, 2015 10:18 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What if the US stock market was only 25% of the world by market cap?
Replies: 37
Views: 2328

Re: What if the US stock market was only 25% of the world by market cap?

25/75 of course. I don't have any "rules" for diverging from market cap weighting so that's what my equity portfolio would adjust to automatically. No transaction costs, no rebalancing on the basis of ???? Very simple and efficient. Stocks are stocks. House, social security and fixed incom...
by MnD
Thu May 21, 2015 4:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Anyone had the Personal Capital complementary review yet?
Replies: 30
Views: 3778

Re: Anyone had the Personal Capital complementary review yet?

I can see from my existing statements and online access very well what I have. If I couldn't, I would simplify. This application solves a problem I don't have, using a method that I view as a dangerous security lapse. I'll never get as far as even considering their complementary review. I wish my e...
by MnD
Thu May 21, 2015 3:46 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Anyone had the Personal Capital complementary review yet?
Replies: 30
Views: 3778

Re: Anyone had the Personal Capital complementary review yet?

It's only been 3 days but I love the application. I will listen politely to the initial call when it comes and be complimentary but will discourage a 2nd virtual meeting. The way I have it set up it is 95% about our investments. I disliked Mint and Yodlee and their emphasis on spending/budgeting. As...
by MnD
Thu May 21, 2015 7:52 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Improving the TSP [for current participants]
Replies: 78
Views: 10365

Re: Improving the TSP [for current participants]

Like Most, if not ALL plans, the TSP is not "One Stop Shopping". I've been in the TSP as far back as you (1988 or so), recently retired @ age 57 in 2012. The Low cost is because of the limited choices. One has the Option of moving to other Fund Carriers. To Increase the options, would be ...
by MnD
Thu May 21, 2015 7:42 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Improving the TSP [for current participants]
Replies: 78
Views: 10365

Re: Improving the TSP [for current participants]

4. Allow TSP account holders to change their withdrawal options at least annually. For example, we should be permitted to take out different lump sum amounts anytime. I took some training recently and the adviser said the way to do this is to select monthly distribution for your recurring desired a...
by MnD
Wed May 20, 2015 12:28 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Thrift Savings Plan Portfolio Review - 30 yr old
Replies: 12
Views: 937

Re: Thrift Savings Plan Portfolio Review - 30 yr old

I say I'm not impressed with the I fund (EAFE) because of the long run real returns are only 4.4% vs 6.5% for U.S. stocks. I've searched some of the forum posts on G fund but I still can't convince myself to go with G fund since the F fund tends to outperform it over the long run (G=5.43% vs F=6.66...
by MnD
Wed May 20, 2015 10:22 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Thrift Savings Plan Portfolio Review - 30 yr old
Replies: 12
Views: 937

Re: Thrift Savings Plan Portfolio Review - 30 yr old

Here's what I'd do at your age if seeking 90% equity: TSP: C Fund - 30% (equivalent to S&P 500) S Fund - 15% (equivalent to US mid and small cap completion index) I Fund - 30% (equivalent to Morgan Stanley Capital International EAFE Index) G Fund - 10% (equivalent to a government insured stable ...
by MnD
Tue May 19, 2015 3:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Proposed Changes in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)
Replies: 4
Views: 734

Re: Proposed Changes in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)

How about a Total International Stock index for the I Fund offering before we start hiring the "goal conversation" folks.
A bridge too far?
by MnD
Mon May 18, 2015 3:32 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What's so great about simplicity?
Replies: 118
Views: 8854

Re: What's so great about simplicity?

Tax gains, two employers incomplete and different indexing options, taxable and IRA account cheapest index options, 529 vagaries, a modest Dodge and Cox Funds habit and a couple individual long-held stocks account for the bulk of our complexity. 18 poistions. In retirement I will probably get that d...
by MnD
Mon May 18, 2015 1:57 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: S&P 500 foreign revenue at 50% - advice on impact of port.
Replies: 28
Views: 2440

Re: S&P 500 foreign revenue at 50% - advice on impact of port.

Japanese companies had and have a huge exposure to outside-Japan markets, sales and profits. Many big global corporations with global reach. So a Japanese investor could have made the very same argument for "100% Japan" equity holdings and no doubt many did. How did that work out for them,...
by MnD
Mon May 18, 2015 8:30 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much does social security factor into your retirement income?
Replies: 169
Views: 11103

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

Doing absolutely nothing till the exhaustion of the SS trust funds and then still doing nothing still yields a system able to pay 70% of benefits. 1982 is a good historical reference as to what happens when benefits exceeded payroll income. Numerous levers were turned to increase contributions, rais...
by MnD
Sun May 17, 2015 5:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does anyone limit available credit on Credit card?
Replies: 34
Views: 2408

Re: Does anyone limit available credit on Credit card?

Some colleges take credit cards without a fee. If it's for a semester of tuition, fees, room and board that can get up there. If you have a 2% back card the the IRS credit payment providers are under 2% (one is 1.8%) I think. That charge could get significant. African photo safari's for two can run ...
by MnD
Sun May 17, 2015 12:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2 different Cree LED Daylight 60W equivelent bulb options
Replies: 25
Views: 1893

Re: 2 different Cree LED Daylight 60W equivelent bulb options

The one that is open for airflow ventilation cooling would seem guaranteed to periodically fill up with dust and also spider and other insect mess.
I buy these things thinking they will last 20 years, even if they were cleanable do you want a maintenance task associated with every bulb in the house?
by MnD
Sun May 17, 2015 11:59 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Dodge and cox foreign-anyone use it?
Replies: 11
Views: 1036

Re: Dodge and cox foreign-anyone use it?

Yes, I've owned it (DODFX) since the funds inception as well as Dodge and Cox Stock (DODGX) for 20+ years and most recently Dodge and Cox Global Bond Fund (DODLX) purchased near inception date. I'm about 80% index funds, 15% Dodge and Cox funds and 5% other. Should end up in retirement in a few year...
by MnD
Sun May 17, 2015 8:11 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much does social security factor into your retirement income?
Replies: 169
Views: 11103

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

One million sounds awfully high. When he proposed counting the value of SS as a bond, J Bogle estimated the average SS value per person at about $300K. Using admittedly simplified math, I have estimated my benefit to be worth about $450K, assuming I draw income between the ages of 70 and 85. I thin...
by MnD
Sat May 16, 2015 9:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much does social security factor into your retirement income?
Replies: 169
Views: 11103

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

I sometimes wonder if those who plan to retire in their late 40s to mid 50s understand the effect they will have on their SS benefit and the long term effect that can have on their retirement. It is very easy to look at your SS statement and think "Wow, I have a great benefit I don't need to c...
by MnD
Sat May 16, 2015 8:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much does social security factor into your retirement income?
Replies: 169
Views: 11103

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

I don't understand the zero assumptions for SS but then again i don't get 2% SWR's, 0% real returns, sharply discounting vested pensions........ If I chained together a bunch of negative assumptions I'd be very disappointed in when we could retire and what our lifestyle would be and in how much more...
by MnD
Sat May 16, 2015 7:09 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much does social security factor into your retirement income?
Replies: 169
Views: 11103

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

We use her estimate for age 62 in our planning which will provide around 12% of our income. I have some post-employment income of a similar amount that runs from our planned mid-50's retirement till around then, so her SS fills in nicely for income smoothing. (SWR+pension+my post employment income (...
by MnD
Fri May 15, 2015 5:01 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: University of California Retirement Plan
Replies: 28
Views: 2876

Re: University of California Retirement Plan

I spoke to a Fido person today Re: Brokerage Link. I was under the impression that you could purchase ETF's with Brokerage Link and thus could get access to all of the ishares ETF's for free, but was told today that you can only buy mutual funds. I'm too lazy to google it, but there is a list of al...
by MnD
Wed May 13, 2015 3:54 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Poll: Average E/R [Expense Ratio]
Replies: 49
Views: 3158

Re: Poll: Average E/R [Expense Ratio]

Weighted average ER = .18%
Highest: Fidelity Growth K Class .71%
Lowest: TSP funds .03% (plus two .00% individual securities positions)
Median holding: (unweighted) 0.40% (GWX)
N = 18 positions
by MnD
Tue May 12, 2015 5:38 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: margin account
Replies: 5
Views: 467

Re: margin account

I've had a margin account for ~25 years.
Don't have to worry about settlement dates was the main reason.
One time I used it to borrow $30K for a few days when remodeling when some funds didn't arrive right when expected.
by MnD
Tue May 12, 2015 2:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Which Company Do You Have Auto Insurance With?
Replies: 105
Views: 5330

Re: Which Company Do You Have Auto Insurance With?

Safeco. I recently shopped my Safeco policies with Geico, Amica, Progressive and Costco/Amerprise and all were somewhat to dramatically higher than Safeco. Amica was almost double. I suspect nobody wants to write a new policy with teen drivers on it but Safeco still gives a decent rate based on many...
by MnD
Tue May 12, 2015 11:07 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 529 plans- Are they part of your overall A.A?
Replies: 22
Views: 1114

Re: 529 plans- Are they part of your overall A.A?

Yes, I include all investment accounts to come up with what our overall AA is. I also didn't stress over our 529's always being in the "moderate growth" type allocation even when college was near-approaching. It was a good low-cost Vanguard-run growth and income type pick for the funds and...
by MnD
Mon May 11, 2015 4:43 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: International - Who really is at 40%
Replies: 93
Views: 6686

Re: International - Who really is at 40%

Floating global market cap allocation, now around 50% ex-US and it will shift automatically to whatever future market cap growth brings it to. New money is small relative to balances so floating global market cap is pretty well "self-adjusting". I'm not smart enough to allocate and hold X ...
by MnD
Mon May 11, 2015 4:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New Math for Retirees and the 4% Withdrawal Rule
Replies: 89
Views: 9837

Re: New Math for Retirees and the 4% Withdrawal Rule

I think a certain % of folks who spent decades diligently building a big pile of money are going to struggle with switching gears to any sort of deaccumulation, and are going to have an especially hard time with a planned spending rate greater than interest and dividends, now both at around 2% for t...
by MnD
Mon May 11, 2015 12:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Philosophies of frugality.
Replies: 60
Views: 5820

Re: Philosophies of frugality.

For 30+ years we have alway first saved first an amount we thought adequate to meet our long-term goals (house, kids colleges, retirement etc.), paid our bills on time and spent the remainder on whatever we wanted to. Never budgeted and never relished in or sought to be frugal. But we both like to m...
by MnD
Mon May 11, 2015 11:12 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Poll: Increasing international equities
Replies: 70
Views: 5576

Re: Poll: Increasing international equities

Switched to floating global market cap for equities years ago and intend to use that for life. I'm not smart enough to know what countries or regions are going to outperform or under-perform in the years and decades ahead. I want to go along for the ride whatever that may be and see no rational appr...
by MnD
Thu May 07, 2015 6:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you get non-zero peak values on your CO detector?
Replies: 11
Views: 886

Re: Do you get non-zero peak values on your CO detector?

Measurements of CO ppm made directly in the various gas appliances exhaust stream by my furnace repair guy using his very expensive CO gauge. Hot water heater 45ppm Furnace #1 20 ppm Furnace #2 24 ppm Gas oven 3000+ ppm (maxed out his detector). Guess we found the problem :shock: Dacor repairman com...
by MnD
Sun May 03, 2015 8:39 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?

Financial reasons to get a summer job?

Money in exchange for work. The sooner one experiences this the better.
Some people never seem to get this concept. So I'd encourage others to get first-hand experience in it.
by MnD
Tue Apr 28, 2015 7:39 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Improving the TSP [for current participants]
Replies: 78
Views: 10365

Re: Improving the TSP [for current participants]

4. Allow TSP account holders to change their withdrawal options at least annually. For example, we should be permitted to take out different lump sum amounts anytime. I took some training recently and the adviser said the way to do this is to select monthly distribution for your recurring desired a...
by MnD
Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:25 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "How much of your portfolio is in index funds, and why?"
Replies: 91
Views: 8581

Re: "How much of your portfolio is in index funds, and why?"

85:15 but I count TSP G fund as an index fund. My goal by early retirement in 3 years is to: 1) reduce the number of index funds. I have a few small % index funds and one active Fidelity Fund that are "fine" but meaningless in the big scheme of things. 2) Boost holdings in my three Dodge a...
by MnD
Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:14 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What would happen if everyone at Fidelity went Boglehead?
Replies: 42
Views: 3553

Re: What would happen if everyone at Fidelity went Boglehead

People are always predicting that higher fees are just around the corner at Fidelity and Schwab and meanwhile, extremely low-fee options at these brokerages continue to expand and multiply.
If fees went bonkers at Schwab or Fidelity, the fee-sensitive customers would simply move their accounts out.
by MnD
Sun Apr 26, 2015 9:34 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: International Stock Poll: Emerging vs Developed Ratio
Replies: 55
Views: 2805

Re: International Stock Poll: Emerging vs Developed Ratio

I've stopped using fixed percentages both for EM:developed and even US:International. I have no idea what percentage of the overall pie EM or international is going to constitute going forward. I want to be exposed to the growth of various equity asset classes at market cap. Fixing percentages and f...
by MnD
Sat Apr 25, 2015 4:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Nice Round Number reached tonight
Replies: 32
Views: 4972

Re: Nice Round Number reached tonight

This week we hit and went over $1.6M net worth, $1.2M financial net worth and $750k in my 401-K.
I was rather excited about this trifecta of intermediate milestones but wife's reaction was "so when do we get to redo the office and laundry room"? :mrgreen:
by MnD
Sat Apr 25, 2015 1:11 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What I learned at my mandatory employee 403(b) info meeting
Replies: 52
Views: 5964

Re: What I learned at my mandatory employee 403(b) info meet

Two career federal employees in our work group of around 10, both with graduate degrees in hard sciences did not know we had a defined benefit pension coverage.
One is in her 40's and the other is close to her earliest retirement age, although she plans to work about 10 more years.
:shock:
by MnD
Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:21 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tough to get a mortgage while retired?
Replies: 26
Views: 2606

Re: Tough to get a mortgage while retired?

i know a banker who just had to deny a $40K loan to a early-retired couple worth 2M+.
They withdrew funds irregularly as needed so the bank concluded they didn't have demonstrated "regular" income.
If they had regular cash deposits from those assets it would have been no problem.
by MnD
Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:16 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help with letter from IRS about 2013 529 distribution
Replies: 32
Views: 2851

Re: Help with letter from IRS about 2013 529 distribution

We never got an IRS letter on this during the 5 years we have been making 529 plan withdrawals. Maybe we will get lucky in the future? I never got the letter for 2010-12 but did get it just recently for 2013. They were asking about another matter mainly (incorrect 1099-misc sent by past employer) s...
by MnD
Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:05 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Study Recommends Keeping Status Quo for TSP Fund Offerings
Replies: 26
Views: 2244

Re: Study Recommends Keeping Status Quo for TSP Fund Offerin

About what I expected except the 5% I fund especially compared to 38% in total US. We actually had some "free" brown-bag training from a private financial advisor on the TSP and she described the I fund as the high risk fund where you find stocks from Egypt and whatnot. So both incorrect a...
by MnD
Sat Apr 25, 2015 9:10 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Study Recommends Keeping Status Quo for TSP Fund Offerings
Replies: 26
Views: 2244

Re: Study Recommends Keeping Status Quo for TSP Fund Offerin

The I Fund would be improved by a broader index though. Due to this omission my taxable is 90% emerging markets and small cap international and her 401-K is 65% in that. I doubt I'm the only one in this situation. By avoiding "risk" and/or a couple basis point expense in the I fund, they ...
by MnD
Fri Apr 24, 2015 5:04 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Study Recommends Keeping Status Quo for TSP Fund Offerings
Replies: 26
Views: 2244

Re: Study Recommends Keeping Status Quo for TSP Fund Offerin

What about broadening the I Fund more generally (which is not the same thing as adding Emerging Markets)? I've read that the I Fund doesn't even include Canada, and that the dollar/Euro exchange rate is pretty much the most significant driver of the I Fund's returns. The biggest complaints I've see...
by MnD
Fri Apr 24, 2015 3:13 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Study Recommends Keeping Status Quo for TSP Fund Offerings
Replies: 26
Views: 2244

Re: Study Recommends Keeping Status Quo for TSP Fund Offerin

What about broadening the I Fund more generally (which is not the same thing as adding Emerging Markets)? I've read that the I Fund doesn't even include Canada, and that the dollar/Euro exchange rate is pretty much the most significant driver of the I Fund's returns. The biggest complaints I've see...
by MnD
Fri Apr 24, 2015 2:36 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bernstein: A Decade of Super-Low Returns [1.4% for 60/40]
Replies: 232
Views: 24021

Re: Bernstein: A Decade of Super-Low Returns

So it sounds like the argument is that American accounting standards have changed for the worse, earnings are no longer reported as accurately as they used to be, therefore we should be less worried by an earnings yield of 1/29 (=3.4%) than we would have been before standards slipped. We don't need...

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