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by Valuethinker
Tue May 26, 2015 10:53 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Explaining Vanguard GNMA Admiral over past month
Replies: 5
Views: 291

Re: Explaining Vanguard GNMA Admiral over past month

This was all after they made a gain distribution on Apr 22nd. SEC 30 day Yield, which Vanguard recalculates daily, has dropped from about 2.3 to about 1.99 Price has dropped from 10.81 to 10.74 Average duration around 3.4 years has held constant. When I bought in 2.3% seemed like a good yield in my...
by Valuethinker
Tue May 26, 2015 10:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Solar Panels
Replies: 6
Views: 523

Re: Solar Panels

Trying to decide on whether to move forward with solar, and hoping for some advice. I live in Maryland. With 30% federal tax credit and Maryland credits, now is the time to consider and decide on moving forward. Lots of houses in our area have solar. For the sake of argument, please assume the foll...
by Valuethinker
Tue May 26, 2015 9:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need to sell old home. Should we spend money to modernize it first?
Replies: 17
Views: 946

Re: Need to sell old home. Should we spend money to modernize it first?

Depending on the location this might even be a candidate for a tear down. If it's an affluent area with high land costs you may find that the offers from builders may be just as good if not better than people looking to live in the house. When my father passed away this is what happened to his home...
by Valuethinker
Tue May 26, 2015 9:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need to sell old home. Should we spend money to modernize it first?
Replies: 17
Views: 946

Re: Need to sell old home. Should we spend money to modernize it first?

- get rid of all the junk. Especially in storage spaces-- let a buyer see the potential in the house when they open up that cupboard or check in the loft. It goes into storage or it gets junked. Pare it back to a liveable amount of furniture, enough books to fill permanent bookshelves etc. This rem...
by Valuethinker
Tue May 26, 2015 9:22 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need to sell old home. Should we spend money to modernize it first?
Replies: 17
Views: 946

Re: Need to sell old home. Should we spend money to modernize it first?

Short answer is no. Your uncle needs to sell and preserve his resources. For your own benefit, in order to minimize your headaches selling it, paying for professional cleaning, lawn spruce up, and walk thru by an inspector or contractor recommended by the realtor for an informal inspection, is sugg...
by Valuethinker
Tue May 26, 2015 9:19 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Upcoming Economic Bubble
Replies: 13
Views: 930

Re: Upcoming Economic Bubble

I really would not put 25% in gold a la the Permanent Portfolio. I can guarantee 90% or more likely 99% of the young men who decide to follow that approach in their 20s will, by their 40s, have changed it. (I know about the impulsiveness of young male investors, having been one, than of women invest...
by Valuethinker
Tue May 26, 2015 8:15 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Upcoming Economic Bubble
Replies: 13
Views: 930

Re: Upcoming Economic Bubble

H He agreed that low cost index funds are a very smart choice... but he recommended that in this period of time I should just buy gold until the currency plummets and recession comes... and then sell gold and buy stock index funds at a discounted price during the recession period. . Shortly after I...
by Valuethinker
Tue May 26, 2015 8:12 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Upcoming Economic Bubble
Replies: 13
Views: 930

Re: Upcoming Economic Bubble

Hello I am 25 years old recent university graduate who just got a stable job last month (living in Canada). I have no debts and currently have $9,500 in my bank savings account that I am planning to invest on canadian stock index funds, U.S stock index funds, and Canadian bond index funds. I did my...
by Valuethinker
Tue May 26, 2015 8:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need to sell old home. Should we spend money to modernize it first?
Replies: 17
Views: 946

Re: Need to sell old home. Should we spend money to modernize it first?

My uncle (mid 80's) owns a very old home (built in early 1900's) that he has lived in most of his life. Due to a recent and sudden health problem, he has moved into an assisted living facility. It looks like this move will be permanent, so he now needs to sell the home. The home is completely paid ...
by Valuethinker
Mon May 25, 2015 12:32 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: another look at dividend paying stocks and valuations
Replies: 61
Views: 3889

Re: another look at dividend paying stocks and valuations

Speaking of bond-like, a bond without a maturity date would in fact have immense volatility, rivaling that of stocks. Such instruments don't exist, to my knowledge, but for an idea of what it would look like, check out the very long fund EDV which is definitely not for the faint of heart despite be...
by Valuethinker
Mon May 25, 2015 11:39 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help me help my retired father -- preferred stocks
Replies: 24
Views: 1664

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

A few facts Mostly its reits and mlps that do not have qualified dividends, almost all other preferred have quailified dividend, being cumulative has nothing doing with being qualified. Its mostly banks and insurance companies that are non cumulative. A good place to check out preferred stock is ht...
by Valuethinker
Sun May 24, 2015 4:54 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Do I really need International equities in my portfolio ?
Replies: 42
Views: 2929

Re: Do I really need International equities in my portfolio ?

When it comes to adding international stock exposure to the portfolio I don’t see the logic. I compared the returns and standard deviations of the S&P 500 to the MSCI EAFE Index over the 20-year period 1995 to 2014. The S&P 500 had an average return of 11.64% with a standard deviation of 0....
by Valuethinker
Sun May 24, 2015 1:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Insights into buying a business--
Replies: 12
Views: 1308

Re: Insights into buying a business--

I suspect that that being a business person is a bit of a calling. If you are drawn to it and have always wanted to do it and would relish the challenge, the risk-taking, the complexity, the weight of the world on your shoulders in return for being the decision maker, etc., then it can be a good th...
by Valuethinker
Sun May 24, 2015 12:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI
Replies: 724
Views: 105336

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

The Borders , by Allistair Moffat. The England/Scotland border from pre-history to the 21st Century, interesting myth and then history. Very detailed, and fun to read. http://www.amazon.com/Candlemass-Road-George-MacDonald-Fraser/dp/161608099X George MacDonald Fraser aka the creator of 'Flashman' (...
by Valuethinker
Sun May 24, 2015 12:18 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Emerging market bond funds
Replies: 14
Views: 1211

Re: Emerging market bond funds

Morningstar says this about Fidelity New Markets Income (FNMIX): Over time, Carlson has kept this fund in fighting form through such bets and a keen focus on valuations. Its 12.2% annualized gain from his mid-1995 start date through April 2015, ranked second-best out of the category's six similarly...
by Valuethinker
Sun May 24, 2015 11:26 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Do I really need International equities in my portfolio ?
Replies: 42
Views: 2929

Re: Do I really need International equities in my portfolio ?

Question: Do I really need to have International equities in my portfolio ? I am in the process of re-balancing and did some research on the international category using VGTSX as a proxy. What I found in my research is: a) about 1/3 of revenues of the S%P 500 are derived from overseas sales; b) ove...
by Valuethinker
Sun May 24, 2015 11:23 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: John Nash killed in car crash
Replies: 7
Views: 2529

Re: John Nash killed in car crash

As with David Halberstam (also killed in a crash) a terrible tragedy.

A bright star in the celestial firmament has fallen, and gone dark.
by Valuethinker
Sun May 24, 2015 9:04 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Emerging market bond funds
Replies: 14
Views: 1211

Re: Emerging market bond funds

I dont know why you are comparing EM debt with the us stock market. Thats intersting but doesnt imply any ... anything. EM debt is not a free lunch. You are gaining systemic risk in EM markets. You are better off with a position in EM stocks and high quality short term fixed income. EM debt is high...
by Valuethinker
Sun May 24, 2015 8:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Career Advice: Follow "Passion" or Follow the Money?
Replies: 73
Views: 4154

Re: Career Advice: Follow "Passion" or Follow the Money?

I would join the chorus saying that $100k/year for doing work one enjoys sounds pretty good to me -- especially in one's early 30s. I don't think I would give that up for a mere doubling of salary. I have a PhD in physics, which took 8 years and most of my soul. I'm 35 and saved up a lot in the las...
by Valuethinker
Sun May 24, 2015 5:12 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Career Advice: Follow "Passion" or Follow the Money?
Replies: 73
Views: 4154

Re: Career Advice: Follow "Passion" or Follow the Money?

I have a PhD in physics, which took 8 years and most of my soul. I'm 35 and saved up a lot in the last few years, even after getting reamed by my ex husband in a divorce. I only make $53k so consider yourself lucky. But I love the people I work with and I love my field and I don't have any interest...
by Valuethinker
Sun May 24, 2015 5:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Career Advice: Follow "Passion" or Follow the Money?
Replies: 73
Views: 4154

Re: Career Advice: Follow "Passion" or Follow the Money?

Before I joined the Foreign Service, I was "recruited" by Booz Allen Hamilton for a management consultant job, I guess you could say. This was seven years ago. The truth is that I had no idea what it was about. I had met someone from Booz Allen at a social function, and we hit it off. All...
by Valuethinker
Sun May 24, 2015 4:57 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help me help my retired father -- preferred stocks
Replies: 24
Views: 1664

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

If PREFERRED STOCKS are really preferred, why are they not more prevalent in the financial markets? Seems that all companies would want to sell a desirable product and all investors would want to buy a desirable product. I vaguely recall studying about preferred stocks 50 years ago in college as a ...
by Valuethinker
Fri May 22, 2015 11:35 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Paying down high interest debt
Replies: 17
Views: 1803

Re: Paying down high interest debt

Great progress in the last year! What's your minimum mental requirement for the emergency fund? I'd be tempted to spend down that emergency money somewhat to pay off the (former) credit card balance and get it out of the way. Of course, leave enough in savings to keep you feeling comfortable. I wou...
by Valuethinker
Fri May 22, 2015 11:30 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: W. Buffett can earn 50% return, why don't you?
Replies: 31
Views: 3151

Re: W. Buffett can earn 50% return, why don't you?

And let's just say, you find out you can sit and read SEC's Edgar filings for hours on end and understand the Prospectus, SAI, 10K, 8K, 485apos, etc. will you have the confidence to act on them in a big way. I personally can't understand the SEC Edgar documents, but if I was able to, I know I would...
by Valuethinker
Fri May 22, 2015 11:26 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: W. Buffett can earn 50% return, why don't you?
Replies: 31
Views: 3151

Re: W. Buffett can earn 50% return, why don't you?

You can find private equity funds which return in that region - SVG Capital's averaged about 50%/annually since the crash - but of course the best aren't usually publicly traded ... I think the Renaissance Technologies hedge fund was returning around 44%/year for a long time .. I'm not very up to d...
by Valuethinker
Fri May 22, 2015 10:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Career Advice: Follow "Passion" or Follow the Money?
Replies: 73
Views: 4154

Re: Career Advice: Follow "Passion" or Follow the Money?

If someone says 'not a people person' then management consulting is quite likely not for them. It depends on the firm, but MCs are *smooth* by and large-- have to be, because they work with the client constantly. Also compared to Investment Banking, say, there is a huge premium placed upon leadershi...
by Valuethinker
Fri May 22, 2015 10:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Career Advice: Follow "Passion" or Follow the Money?
Replies: 73
Views: 4154

Re: Career Advice: Follow "Passion" or Follow the Money?

Some of my friends who also has PhDs in Physics ended up working as quants. Have you thought about that route? You mentioned that you are not a people-person and also have no experience in management consulting, I think quants may be a better fit since it can make good use of your mathematical skil...
by Valuethinker
Fri May 22, 2015 10:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Career Advice: Follow "Passion" or Follow the Money?
Replies: 73
Views: 4154

Re: Career Advice: Follow "Passion" or Follow the Money?

Work for a big name consultancy because the type of work and people excites you NOT because you think it will be lucrative. To be honest, those places take their pound of flesh. The grind of being on a flight every night to spend the week at the client (industrial sites in the middle of Indiana, or ...
by Valuethinker
Fri May 22, 2015 10:04 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help me help my retired father -- preferred stocks
Replies: 24
Views: 1664

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

Compare one of the preferred stock funds to the S&P500 over the period of the crash, 2008-09? And compared to say VG Total Bond Market?

If you can go back that far, 1994 was the real bear market for bonds. If you could find a pref stock fund that was available at that time?
by Valuethinker
Fri May 22, 2015 9:39 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI
Replies: 724
Views: 105336

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Finished Lest Darkness Fall , a 1938 L. Sprague de Camp SF-unless-alternate-history-isn't-SF "classic." I read a lot of 1960s SF in the 1960s but have only sporadically resd the 1940s John-W-Campbell era stuff. It was OK. It was readable. I didn't love it or find it totally convincing. No...
by Valuethinker
Fri May 22, 2015 9:28 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Emerging market bond funds
Replies: 14
Views: 1211

Re: Emerging market bond funds

Not an 'informed' picture per se. Consider: it has been a bull market for bonds, with QE and with interest rates falling to all time lows (even below 1930s levels). Since the 1998 Crash many EMs 'got religion' and built up large surplus reserves to defend currencies and credit ratings. Thus the 2008...
by Valuethinker
Wed May 20, 2015 10:12 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Flash options trading by robot?
Replies: 12
Views: 557

Re: Flash options trading by robot?

It's just a matter of time before computers take over short term trading. Imagine what IBM Watson can do - these advanced machines can learn and react. Computers are perfect for the financial markets -- take the emotion out of the equation. AI has made some unbelievable strides in the last decade. ...
by Valuethinker
Wed May 20, 2015 10:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should we upgrade our living situation (HCOL area)?
Replies: 8
Views: 584

Re: Should we upgrade our living situation (HCOL area)?

Thank you for the replies, they are very helpful. I agree if we are going to move, moving sooner than later is probably better. The rule of thumb is you want to be able to say you have realistic plans to stay in the next place for 10 years. Of course life may change (and it will) but as a general p...
by Valuethinker
Wed May 20, 2015 9:24 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Paying down high interest debt
Replies: 17
Views: 1803

Re: Paying down high interest debt

An update 12 months later. My income is now 87k per year, plus received 25k bonus in March as well 12k in company stock that vests 33% per year. Emergency Fund went from 5k to 20k. Retirement funds went from 168k to 228k. 2015 401k contribution will be $35,282 matched....company matches 100% up to ...
by Valuethinker
Wed May 20, 2015 9:21 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Paying down high interest debt
Replies: 17
Views: 1803

Re: Paying down high interest debt

Welcome. It sounds like you're generally on the right track--especially your recent success paying down high-interest credit card debt. Two things jumped out at me. The first is that your emergency fund is too small for someone in your situation. I would grow that while paying off the debt. I know ...
by Valuethinker
Wed May 20, 2015 9:17 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Aren't we overdoing electronic auto safety features?
Replies: 148
Views: 6669

Re: Aren't we overdoing electronic auto safety features?

[...]I don't think you understand how capable many adaptive cruise controls are. For most systems, you can be doing 100 mph and the ACC will bring the car to a complete stop well before a collision.[...] Chris I don't claim to understand driverless cars so have abstained from the discussion; howeve...
by Valuethinker
Wed May 20, 2015 9:12 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Aren't we overdoing electronic auto safety features?
Replies: 148
Views: 6669

Re: Aren't we overdoing electronic auto safety features?

I'm just glad we survived 10 years driving a 1970 VW Bus which had only sheet metal between the passengers and anything coming from the front. Now, old and wiser, I want and will pay for any and all safety features, with adaptive cruise control being high on the list for the next vehicle. the Dear ...
by Valuethinker
Wed May 20, 2015 8:12 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should we upgrade our living situation (HCOL area)?
Replies: 8
Views: 584

Re: Should we upgrade our living situation (HCOL area)?

Hello Bogleheads, Just curious what people would do in our situation. We are located in the California bay area (Santa Cruz, CA). Here is a brief summary of our financial situation: Martial Status: Married, no kids yet, but hoping for one within a year or two Ages: 35&33 Combined Income: 220k (...
by Valuethinker
Wed May 20, 2015 8:07 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I sell my company's stock and exchange it for an SP500 index fund?
Replies: 60
Views: 3497

Re: Should I sell my company's stock and exchange it for an SP500 index fund?

Besides Enron, other distinguished cos we should mention: - Nortel, once Canada's largest company and highest market cap stock (over 20% of the index) - RIM (Blackberry) - Worldcom - Citigroup (once worth a lot more than it is now) - Lehman Brothers - insiders held something like 20% of the company ...
by Valuethinker
Wed May 20, 2015 8:04 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I sell my company's stock and exchange it for an SP500 index fund?
Replies: 60
Views: 3497

Re: Should I sell my company's stock and exchange it for an SP500 index fund?

- Isn't a 20% tax a pretty high transaction cost that should be avoided?. its not the 20%, its the return on the 20%. You already owe the government 20 % payable when you sell the stock. until you sell you only have a Paper gain' You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table. There'll...
by Valuethinker
Wed May 20, 2015 8:03 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I sell my company's stock and exchange it for an SP500 index fund?
Replies: 60
Views: 3497

Re: Should I sell my company's stock and exchange it for an SP500 index fund?

Part of my uneasiness is that I don't want to exchange a very nice stock with a bulletproof balance sheet for the SP500 which has (in my opinion) some really not great, overvalued companies. With no disrespect intended, I'll bet the employees at Enron felt just the same way. Obviously it's your cal...
by Valuethinker
Wed May 20, 2015 8:03 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I sell my company's stock and exchange it for an SP500 index fund?
Replies: 60
Views: 3497

Re: Should I sell my company's stock and exchange it for an SP500 index fund?

One alternative may be to hedge (go short a proportion of the stock you hold) as you sell over time. This will lock in today's price for a portion of the stock and you can think of this as part of your fixed income allocation until you sell. The biggest issue I see with selling today is taxes. If y...
by Valuethinker
Wed May 20, 2015 8:01 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I sell my company's stock and exchange it for an SP500 index fund?
Replies: 60
Views: 3497

Re: Should I sell my company's stock and exchange it for an SP500 index fund?

About 50% of my financial assets are in my company stock (grants and stock purchase plan) and the rest is in a diversified mix of US/intl stock. It makes me a little nervous to have so much in my company's stock because it goes against recommended advice. Should I start gradually selling my company...
by Valuethinker
Wed May 20, 2015 7:58 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [What is safest vehicle on the road today that I can buy?]
Replies: 108
Views: 7331

Re: [What is safest vehicle on the road today that I can buy?]

It continues to surprise me how much SUV's have improved in the past fifteen years, now with a 50% lower probability of driver and occupant death than cars in 2013. (http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/vehic ... eath-rates) It shouldn't. The original SUVs were basically 2 compartment vehicles (ie lig...
by Valuethinker
Wed May 20, 2015 5:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2 different Cree LED Daylight 60W equivelent bulb options
Replies: 25
Views: 1877

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

a while ago I bought CREE and LSCG stock (lost $). Came to a realization that these are truly tech stocks with a downside: Their products are improving on the order of Moore's Law, but the product's longevity makes the replacement market terrible. Initial cost of product is secondary to how fast is...
by Valuethinker
Tue May 19, 2015 8:11 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Investing on Margin
Replies: 74
Views: 4960

Re: Investing on Margin

It's also worth noting (as others note) that margin requirements can change, suddenly, sometimes due to regulatory decisions. And margin interest rates are not constant, either. The described strategy is actually in effect what some hedge funds do. They make great money (for their managers) and not ...
by Valuethinker
Tue May 19, 2015 8:08 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Investing on Margin
Replies: 74
Views: 4960

Re: Investing on Margin

Is it ever a good idea to invest on margin? I know it'd be risky for a single stock, but what about these two scenarios? #1 - Initially invest $100,000 in an S&P 500 index fund (taxable account), leave it for 40 years. #2 - Initially invest $150,000 ($100,000 own money + $50,000 margin) in an i...
by Valuethinker
Tue May 19, 2015 7:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [What is safest vehicle on the road today that I can buy?]
Replies: 108
Views: 7331

Re: [What is safest vehicle on the road today that I can buy?]

Care safety matters (airbags, antilock brakes etc.). SUVs were very bad (rollover protection, 2 compartment rather than 3 compartment design etc.) and have vastly improved. It continues to surprise me how much SUV's have improved in the past fifteen years, now with a 50% lower probability of driver...
by Valuethinker
Tue May 19, 2015 7:39 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [What is safest vehicle on the road today that I can buy?]
Replies: 108
Views: 7331

Re: [What is safest vehicle on the road today that I can buy?]

What is the safest vehicle on the road today? Why do you believe it is the safest? [The OP has clarified the intent to purchase a vehicle, with safety as the primary concern. See my post below. --admin LadyGeek] EDIT: Thanks LadyGeek. I am seeking to purchase a vehicle and will be using safety as a...
by Valuethinker
Tue May 19, 2015 5:22 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [What is safest vehicle on the road today that I can buy?]
Replies: 108
Views: 7331

Re: [What is safest vehicle on the road today that I can buy?]

Coming up on Memorial Day weekend, I think of the Indy 500. I grew up in Indianapolis and remember as a kid that in those days speedway crashes were disastrous. It seemed that every year there were several drivers seriously injured and one or two killed during practice, qualification runs, or the r...

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