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Computer Fried By Lightning - Security Question

My desktop was fried by a lightning strike due to a power surge, despite being 'protected' by an expensive surge protector. So much for surge protectors. That said, it is being shipped off for repairs. I have plenty of sensitive information on it, including brokerage, bank and other statements. The ...
by Swampy
Wed Jul 23, 2014 6:36 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Computer Fried By Lightning - Security Question
Replies: 12
Views: 792

Re: Hospital bill negotiation

If any of your bill was applied to a deductible, the hospital will not negotiate that price down - even if it is an outrageous overcharge.
by Swampy
Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:15 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hospital bill negotiation
Replies: 49
Views: 4108

Re: vacation points program

Sounds to me like all you really needed to do was rent a place from VRBO.com. Only pay for the time you use (almost anywhere in the world) with no ongoing maintenance fees...


VRBO did not exist when I began this, nor did AirBNB, etc.
PS - VRBO and AirBNB pricing is not that great.
by Swampy
Tue Jul 15, 2014 8:08 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: vacation points program
Replies: 18
Views: 1552

Re: vacation points program

I went to at least 30-40 timeshare presentations over the years and got well educated in their dirty tactics, usually getting a free meal and $50-100 out of it, then just saying 'NO' over and over and over! I've owned up to four timeshares concurrently over the last 20+ years. I NEVER bought one fro...
by Swampy
Tue Jul 15, 2014 6:45 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: vacation points program
Replies: 18
Views: 1552

Any benefits of a low cost Vanguard Annuity?

I left work early and am taking 72T IRA distributions, so I can't invest excess capital in any other IRA. I have a sizeable nonqualified cash position, which has pro's and con's. I'd like to take some cash and invest it into indexed funds/ETF's, but find I would benefit from tax deferral if I did it...
by Swampy
Tue Jul 15, 2014 6:16 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Any benefits of a low cost Vanguard Annuity?
Replies: 3
Views: 611

Re: Online Ruin Rate Calculator

I'll be playing around with the numbers on the various calculators. I'm looking at a very long time horizon because of a handicapped child that will need lifetime care. The earliest ruin rate I encounter is around the 25 year mark (I'll probably be playing a harp at that point), but am concerned abo...
by Swampy
Thu Jul 10, 2014 4:50 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Online Ruin Rate Calculator
Replies: 19
Views: 2178

Online Ruin Rate Calculator

Is there a decent, preferably backtestable, ruin rate calculator online? I'm looking to be able to plug in amounts, percentages of various asset classes, be able to adjust (and fine tune) withdrawal rates, and see a realistic 'end result,' adjustable for number of years and either future remaining b...
by Swampy
Thu Jul 10, 2014 7:52 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Online Ruin Rate Calculator
Replies: 19
Views: 2178

Re: Retired: When to move?

May I suggest Florida, especially Tallahassee or Gainesville as university towns. Warmer weather, though you still get the seasons in northern Florida and ZERO state income taxes. Since you're from Michigan, may I suggest the I-75 corridor to I-10, then it's your choice of going east toward I-95 or ...
by Swampy
Sun Mar 30, 2014 9:51 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Retired: When to move?
Replies: 43
Views: 5165

Re: Can't get brokerage tax documents from Vanguard

Are you using an Apple computer, like a Mac Mini? If so:

Go to Safari preferences, click security and UNBLOCK popup windows.

You should easily access what you need then to print for your taxes.
by Swampy
Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can't get brokerage tax documents from Vanguard
Replies: 11
Views: 729

Re: Retirement Calculators

This calculator is a fair start. It doesn't take into account taxes. fluctuating returns and appears overly optimistic regarding Social Security income. Here's the kicker: If you have three good years in a row with 10% returns, then one bad year with a 25% loss, you have LESS than you started with i...
by Swampy
Wed Mar 26, 2014 6:57 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Retirement Calculators
Replies: 4
Views: 1099

Best websites for foreign long term rentals

We're headed to Europe this summer and have already made arrangements for short term condo and apartment rentals as we explore an area and move on to the next. We did this a few years ago and found a number of websites dedicated to short term vacation rentals up to 1-2 weeks. What I'm looking for ar...
by Swampy
Tue Mar 25, 2014 5:29 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best websites for foreign long term rentals
Replies: 9
Views: 928

Wealthfront.com? What is your take???

What do Bogleheads think of the Wealthfront.com website as a source of diversified index fund recommendations based on a short series of questions? I'm not talking about having them manage the funds. I'm just looking to see if the recommendations on their website seem to correlate with your portfoli...
by Swampy
Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:34 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Wealthfront.com? What is your take???
Replies: 12
Views: 1489

Re: 8% ROI needed

8% ROI needed


Really?

I think the statement should read 8% ROI wanted.

What you 'need' or 'want' are not necessarily going to coincide with what you're going to get.
by Swampy
Sun Mar 23, 2014 11:13 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 8% ROI needed
Replies: 28
Views: 4001

Re: Vanguard annuities? Pro's vs cons?

MN Finance wrote: And the other reason is fasfsa? So how many dollars do you have to hide to get a dollar in aid? You have to quantify this to make an intelligent decision. You mention getting only 1% on cash, but in an annuity your cash gets a negative rate, so don't think this has any relevance No...
by Swampy
Sat Mar 22, 2014 5:12 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard annuities? Pro's vs cons?
Replies: 11
Views: 1555

Re: Telephone Harassment

Do what I do, answer the call and say 'Hello,' wait a few seconds then say 'Hello' again. If it takes more than 4-5 seconds to hear a human voice I hang up. If someone gets on the line and starts in with a pitch or questions, I don't even respond or engage them anymore - I just hang up while they're...
by Swampy
Sat Mar 22, 2014 8:18 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Telephone Harassment
Replies: 36
Views: 5172

Re: Have extra cash: Should I pay off the HOUSE or INVEST it

Two things. First: Your home is not an investable asset. It is a place to lay down your head on a pillow at night. Ultimately it is an expense. A rental property IS an investable asset and should have a positive cash flow or at least enough tax deductions on your 1040 to be favorable. Second: Nothin...
by Swampy
Sat Mar 22, 2014 8:01 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Have extra cash: Should I pay off the HOUSE or INVEST it?
Replies: 31
Views: 3001

Vanguard annuities? Pro's vs cons?

Does anyone have a Vanguard variable annuity out there and can they educate me about the pro's and con's of having assets in one? For tax reasons it may seem prudent to shift a fair amount of the cash I hold into a tax deferred product. I am already retired and have a steady income stream, so I do n...
by Swampy
Sat Mar 22, 2014 7:35 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard annuities? Pro's vs cons?
Replies: 11
Views: 1555

Re: [ALERT: Affordable Care Act Phishing Calls]

I answer phone calls, even from those numbers I don't recognize, because I've got kids away at college.

Usually I hang up on the caller if it's a solicitation for practically anything.

This call was, unfortunately, quite different.
by Swampy
Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:55 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [ALERT: Affordable Care Act Phishing Calls]
Replies: 16
Views: 872

Re: Rolling Fidelity to Vanguard

Initiate with the receiving institution, wherever it may be.
by Swampy
Thu Mar 20, 2014 8:20 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Rolling Fidelity to Vanguard
Replies: 12
Views: 1001

[ALERT: Affordable Care Act Phishing Calls]

This is NOT a political posting. This is a TRUE cautionary story. I had pretty lousy insurance with a high deductible for years. After the Affordable Care Act was implemented, I chose an insurance plan for the family in December and have been paying for it monthly. Since then, I've seen a physician ...
by Swampy
Thu Mar 20, 2014 8:08 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [ALERT: Affordable Care Act Phishing Calls]
Replies: 16
Views: 872

Re: becoming a snowbird

mephistopheles wrote: Five to ten minutes inland won't keep you safe from a hurricane. Of course not. It's the FLOOD ZONE that matters more than the wind on whether you evacuate or not. I've experienced Cat 1 and 2 hurricanes. No way would I stay in the path of anything Cat 3 or higher. Mel Lindauer...
by Swampy
Fri Feb 14, 2014 8:09 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: becoming a snowbird
Replies: 21
Views: 3359

Re: becoming a snowbird

Mel Lindauer wrote: Realized that if we were going to move to Florida, we didn't want to have to pack the car up to go to the beach, so we ended up buying directly across the street from the ocean. Yes, that may be fine and good. I once considered that and actually did it for a while. Unfortunately,...
by Swampy
Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:14 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: becoming a snowbird
Replies: 21
Views: 3359

Re: What are you paying for your personal tax prep?

When I was working, the CPA was worth it. He seemed to do the job and it appeared to cost me less in taxes than I expected most years. After all, that's all he does, day in and day out, year after year, and states up to date with all this IRS tax code nonsense. I'm not sure if staying with him for a...
by Swampy
Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:01 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What are you paying for your personal tax prep?
Replies: 28
Views: 1559

Re: What are you paying for your personal tax prep?

Maybe I should bite the bullet and let the CPA have one final go at it, then I should also do the taxes with either Tax Act or Turbo Tax to see what, if any, differences the taxes end up being (but not file it with the IRS) while developing confidence. I used to do my own taxes until I got married a...
by Swampy
Wed Feb 12, 2014 9:57 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What are you paying for your personal tax prep?
Replies: 28
Views: 1559

What are you paying for your personal tax prep?

When I was working, I paid $600-$1000 to the accountant every year to complete my tax return and associated forms. Since I no longer work and have simplified my style of investing since becoming a Boglehead, it seems that I should probably be paying less for the tax prep as there is less work for th...
by Swampy
Wed Feb 12, 2014 7:20 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What are you paying for your personal tax prep?
Replies: 28
Views: 1559

Re: becoming a snowbird

mhalley wrote: Thinking of retiring at the end of the year, and interested in becoming a snowbird... my wife's friend has some type of relative that is a realtor... This is the best way to become former friends. You have NO business even thinking about buying - yet. Slow down. Rent for a season or t...
by Swampy
Tue Feb 11, 2014 8:35 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: becoming a snowbird
Replies: 21
Views: 3359

Re: Expatriation or International Snowbirding

Thank you.
by Swampy
Thu Feb 06, 2014 3:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Expatriation or International Snowbirding
Replies: 40
Views: 3661

Re: Expatriation or International Snowbirding

protagonist, could you please change the color of your message to make it easier to read? I had an extremely difficult time reading it.
by Swampy
Thu Feb 06, 2014 9:01 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Expatriation or International Snowbirding
Replies: 40
Views: 3661

Re: What is your definition of "Financially Wealthy?"

Yes, agree'd travellight ant TomatoTomahto, There is a fundamental difference between Financial Independence and Financial Wealth. Funny thing is, when I was working my @$$ off, I thought it was one and the same thing. Saving for that day when I had 'enough' to say good bye to a dangerous work envir...
by Swampy
Wed Feb 05, 2014 9:46 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is your definition of "Financially Wealthy?"
Replies: 110
Views: 10074

Re: BoA Cash Rewards (1.5%+) Privileges VISA - worth a look?

I have a BOA card which gets 3% back for gas. If you have an account with BOA, they bump it up to 3.3%! I have an AMEX card that gets 3% back for groceries. Another card that gets 6% back for telecommunications (I pay my cell phone bill with this). I have a Discover card that lets me monitor my cred...
by Swampy
Wed Feb 05, 2014 9:32 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: BoA Cash Rewards (1.5%+) Privileges VISA - worth a look?
Replies: 14
Views: 1400

Re: Any other travel freaks?

I alluded to this in my posting entitled "Expatriation or International Snowbirding" http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=131691 We haven't been able to travel much until relatively recently. As described, it is exhausting and invigorating at the same time - usually req...
by Swampy
Wed Feb 05, 2014 9:25 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any other travel freaks?
Replies: 92
Views: 5814

Re: What is your definition of "Financially Wealthy?"

Abe is on to something. After decades of working like a slave, saving, doing without, deferring gratification and always paying attention to the costs of daily living, I doubt that I would enjoy spending like DC (after all, the money they spend wasn't earned by them in the first place). I have far t...
by Swampy
Sat Feb 01, 2014 9:29 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is your definition of "Financially Wealthy?"
Replies: 110
Views: 10074

Re: What is your definition of "Financially Wealthy?"

Financially Wealthy - picking up the phone and getting plane tickets to Cancun for tomorrow (as the weatherman forecasts a blizzard to hit your area the day after tomorrow) ! Price be damned. Ultra wealthy? Call for your private $50 million Gulfstream to be fueled and ready to depart in an hour for ...
by Swampy
Sat Feb 01, 2014 6:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is your definition of "Financially Wealthy?"
Replies: 110
Views: 10074

Re: What is your definition of "Financially Wealthy?"

Quasimodo, according to US poverty guidelines, http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/13poverty.cfm, a couple earning $15510, is technically poor in the US, but wind up in the top 7.23% in the World according to your website. A person earning minimum wage ($7.25/hr) working 40 hours a week, only getting weeken...
by Swampy
Sat Feb 01, 2014 1:25 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is your definition of "Financially Wealthy?"
Replies: 110
Views: 10074

Re: Keeping track of expenses, early retirement?

Figure out what you need, then add at least 25% to that figure - to be safe. In your case - at least $45,000. Determine your total assets and see if you can live off of 3% of that amount (as an annual withdrawal rate) and whatever rent and other income you have. Once you stop working, you don't have...
by Swampy
Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:43 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Keeping track of expenses, early retirement?
Replies: 35
Views: 4650

Re: Expatriation or International Snowbirding

I see no reason to renounce citizenship, even if choosing an expat lifestyle. I paid far too much in FICA and Medicare taxes to ever give that up. Considering the costs of a nursing home or group home in the US running at $6000+ a month, which is not covered under most insurance, Medicaid would step...
by Swampy
Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:04 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Expatriation or International Snowbirding
Replies: 40
Views: 3661

Re: What is your definition of "Financially Wealthy?"

As I said, I was just looking at what others define financial wealth as. It's different from financial independence - for me anyway. Independence addresses needs. Wealth addresses wants. Being healthy, happy and having loved ones goes without saying. A lonely, miserly billionaire recluse in poor hea...
by Swampy
Sat Feb 01, 2014 11:52 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is your definition of "Financially Wealthy?"
Replies: 110
Views: 10074

Re: What is your definition of "Wealthy?"

The term "All hat, no cattle" comes to mind with some high earners.

I know a former MLB player who is living in a house that is undergoing foreclosure, yet insist on the finest clothes, cars, etc.

They just squandered their money.
by Swampy
Sat Feb 01, 2014 8:57 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is your definition of "Financially Wealthy?"
Replies: 110
Views: 10074

Re: France with a 10 month old

Four things: http://www.parisaddress.com Kids don't remember anything before the age of 4-5 years - and very little even at that age. The rest of the people on the plane are going to be less than sympathetic listening to a fussy baby for the 7 hour flight. Experience is the best teacher, you'll find...
by Swampy
Sat Feb 01, 2014 8:45 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: France with a 10 month old
Replies: 30
Views: 1946

Re: What is your definition of "Wealthy?"

That's why I qualified it with "financial" wealth.
by Swampy
Sat Feb 01, 2014 8:38 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is your definition of "Financially Wealthy?"
Replies: 110
Views: 10074

Re: Expatriation or International Snowbirding

half nine wrote it is certainly feasible that your child will have better, cheaper long term care as a resident in a different country This is exactly what I was thinking, too. Thank you for your insights. It has not occurred to me that getting the citizenship for my mentally handicapped son at/afte...
by Swampy
Sat Feb 01, 2014 8:37 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Expatriation or International Snowbirding
Replies: 40
Views: 3661

What is your definition of "Financially Wealthy?"

It seems that the worldwide media, leaders, politicians and governments have a common misperception. They believe that one's income defines one's wealth. Often it helps, but it doesn't define the whole picture. A 50 year old person earning $300,000 a year with expenses of $300,000 and less than a mo...
by Swampy
Sat Feb 01, 2014 8:21 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is your definition of "Financially Wealthy?"
Replies: 110
Views: 10074

Re: Expatriation or International Snowbirding

Will do good wrote: To make it easy, maybe all we need is to keep this subject open and add to it? I agree. VictoriaF wrote: Then I started having second thoughts: (1) I've learned about the Schengen constraints that limit the European stay to 3 months/year. The Schengen zone does not include the B...
by Swampy
Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:16 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Expatriation or International Snowbirding
Replies: 40
Views: 3661

Re: Expatriation or International Snowbirding

I spent nearly two months in Europe recently. I plan on spending two more months there later this year. Because I travelled with my entire family, we spent about 7-10 days in one location before moving on, as we will do this year. It was a far superior way to travel than going on a guided tour and s...
by Swampy
Wed Jan 29, 2014 8:10 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Expatriation or International Snowbirding
Replies: 40
Views: 3661

Re: Annual gifting to children

coffeedrinker said: We have decided to gift our two children, mid-30’s, the annual maximum allowed, $14,000 in 2014. The gift is directed to our children through both are married. What should we be aware of? Pitfalls to avoid? There is nothing wrong with helping and assisting your children become se...
by Swampy
Wed Jan 29, 2014 7:41 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Annual gifting to children
Replies: 30
Views: 2974

Re: Expatriation or International Snowbirding

I've been in contact with L. Martin when she first started this. Sorry, I think she's a relative newbie and more into peddling her book and blog. I've been studying this on and off for 20+ years and have lived in foreign lands back in the 70's and 80's. After a 30 year hiatus from foreign exploratio...
by Swampy
Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:11 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Expatriation or International Snowbirding
Replies: 40
Views: 3661

Re: Do Retirees have Emergency Funds ?

I currently have five years worth of living expenses as backup in cash reserves. If there is a market meltdown, I would shift some into index funds and eventually hope to just have about 18-24 months worth of living expenses in cash at all times.

I am not yet at Social Security age.
by Swampy
Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:15 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Do Retirees have Emergency Funds ?
Replies: 36
Views: 2269

Expatriation or International Snowbirding

One long held dream of mine has been to seasonally travel to foreign lands for extended periods, 30 to 180 days, at a time. An example would be heading to Europe in May and either staying put in one country for the entire time, or possibly move from one location to the next after being in one place ...
by Swampy
Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:09 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Expatriation or International Snowbirding
Replies: 40
Views: 3661

Re: Car Decision - Switching Worth it?

$2000 will pay for 500 gallons of gas at $4 a gallon. At 25 MPG, that's $2000 for 12500 miles of driving. Put another way, it'd cost $3200 in the coming year for fuel costs. At 45 MPG, that's $2000 for 22500 miles of driving. Put another way, it's cost $1778 in the coming year for fuel costs (a savi...
by Swampy
Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:13 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Car Decision - Switching Worth it?
Replies: 8
Views: 886

Re: Early Retirement

$3.5 million at 2.5% = $87,500 a year to start, adjusted for inflation. Having $3.5 million at age 45 insinuates that you were either a high earner, inherited a lot, or had some other windfall. If you were a high earner, is $87,500 a year going to be enough to maintain what you were accustomed to? P...
by Swampy
Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:00 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Early Retirement
Replies: 19
Views: 3328
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