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Re: New Furnace & A/C Unit

I am starting to consider replacing our Natural Gas forced air unit including central air. Unit is over 25 years old and working fine(Lennox System), but I know the efficiency is nothing close to the new high efficiency systems. I have checked into local electrical & gas rebate programs. Any co...
by Valuethinker
Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:50 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Furnace & A/C Unit
Replies: 12
Views: 780

Re: New Furnace & A/C Unit

We had our AC and furnace replaced last fall with a high-efficiency model. Our old unit was acting up, so it needed to be replaced anyway. But this winter we've seen NO discernible difference in gas usage this year from last. Our gas company shows us a 3 year comparison, even adjusted for outside t...
by Valuethinker
Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:27 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Furnace & A/C Unit
Replies: 12
Views: 780

Re: Biotechnology to buy and hold or not

IBB is down about 10% since last week. Profit-taking ahead of tax time? A wee breather? Or an omen? Anyway, very sage advice, @Valuethinker. Here is the counterargument. The sector is much more mature than it was in the early 2000s/ late 1990s. Real companies producing real drugs. The market unders...
by Valuethinker
Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:25 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Biotechnology to buy and hold or not
Replies: 15
Views: 1284

Re: New Furnace & A/C Unit

I am for having very efficient kit. Certainly on the AC side, there are big efficiency gains to be had. An old system might have been SEER 8 when it was installed and is now running at SEER 6? I think the law now says SEER 12 (or 13?) and 14-15 is a reasonable number to shoot for. When you do replac...
by Valuethinker
Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Furnace & A/C Unit
Replies: 12
Views: 780

Re: Keep Cash in Yuan?

I'm really thinking about the future and that just maybe the Chinese Yuan may become the world's reserve currency the same way that the previous reserve currency, the GBP gave way to the USD. In my home country, Costa Rica, we can have regular bank accounts in CRC, USD, and Euros. We keep everythin...
by Valuethinker
Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:12 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Keep Cash in Yuan?
Replies: 8
Views: 725

Re: Keep Cash in Yuan?

If you read Barry Eichengreen's history of the dollar (Exorbitant Privilege) and comparisons with the pound (until 1914, the 'dollar' of international finance) I think one can learn alot. Conclusions: - a country can cease to be predominant (as GB did) and yet its currency can remain the numeraire c...
by Valuethinker
Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:10 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Keep Cash in Yuan?
Replies: 8
Views: 725

Re: R.I.P. George-J

Norbert Thank you for letting me know. I had a chance to meet George for the first time during my last visit to T'ranna. A true gentleman and a man of great insight and thought. I remember some of his legendary battles with the University of Toronto Administration-- on the supercomputer and on the p...
by Valuethinker
Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:02 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: R.I.P. George-J
Replies: 3
Views: 1446

Re: Biotechnology to buy and hold or not

I lost a lot of money investing in biotech ... once. The thing to understand is these are basically virtual companies. They outsource *everything* but their core R&D function. And very few of them ever make any money, they just spend it. If they get a drug through Stage 3 approvals with the FDA ...
by Valuethinker
Wed Mar 25, 2015 1:08 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Biotechnology to buy and hold or not
Replies: 15
Views: 1284

Re: Best albums of 2015

There are only three kinds of music in the world: AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, and ZZ Top! Just thought I'd throw that out there :D Spotify just released a remastered Physical Graffiti. I have never been a fan of Zeppelin but will give it a listen. (in the 70s, I was more of a Clash, Elvis Costello, Sex Pi...
by Valuethinker
Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:13 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best albums of 2015
Replies: 43
Views: 2707

Re: Best albums of 2015

My favorite so far: Kendrick Lamar's, To Pimp a Buttterfly . Here's my favorite track, King Kunta : (EXPLICIT LYRICS!!!!) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSEtYNOgWKY I confess to having really liked Taylor Swift's '1989'. Which was both the most popular album of 2014 and aimed at a demographic 1/3r...
by Valuethinker
Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:10 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best albums of 2015
Replies: 43
Views: 2707

Re: Does an electric car make sense for commuting?

I've been enjoying solo HOV access since 2012 in my Prius PHEV. Echoing others, I will never go back to a traditional gas engined vehicle. In fact, the government financed my purchase for the first 6 months or so. I received a total of $4000 in rebates. Since it was the end of the year, I was able ...
by Valuethinker
Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:08 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does an electric car make sense for commuting?
Replies: 22
Views: 2451

Re: Best ways to save on electricity bill

You can buy a special meter that plugs into an outlet and the plug the device into the meter. http://www.amazon.com/P3-P4400-Electricity-Usage-Monitor/dp/B00009MDBU I did that a few years back and here's what I got after leaving the device plugged in for few days (admittedly unscientific, but close...
by Valuethinker
Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:57 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best ways to save on electricity bill
Replies: 58
Views: 6951

Re: Best ways to save on electricity bill

Hi Hug401k, i am in midwest area. It was cold, but robe/ microfleece/ slipper along with electronic blanket do well.. I don't know where you live, but it's important. If you live in the Northeast, $212 total for electric and heat in February is very good. Mine was more and I think my house is small...
by Valuethinker
Tue Mar 24, 2015 7:34 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best ways to save on electricity bill
Replies: 58
Views: 6951

Re: Sell farmland or keep?

given the costs of farmland, the volatility, the fact that there is no family connection, I would discuss it with the renter about his feelings, but I would sell.

Better to have cash in the hand and in liquid investable assets like stocks and bonds.
by Valuethinker
Tue Mar 24, 2015 5:27 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Sell farmland or keep?
Replies: 16
Views: 1372

Re: Economist Article on role of government bonds

Rates have fallen from, what 15% or thereabouts since the 80s. A 30-odd year tailwind for bond investors . Even if rates go up slowly from this point, you've got almost no room left for price gains and potential capital losses offset by historically low coupons. F unny thing about that 30-odd year ...
by Valuethinker
Tue Mar 24, 2015 5:07 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Economist Article on role of government bonds
Replies: 10
Views: 1384

Re: Does an electric car make sense for commuting?

Seems to me a key concern here is High Occupancy Vehicle lane? I believe in California that hybrids are no longer eligible? Are PHEVs? As MD drivers click into this, they will restrict it, probably to pure electric cars only (prediction, not certainty and predictions are worth (less) than what you p...
by Valuethinker
Tue Mar 24, 2015 5:03 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does an electric car make sense for commuting?
Replies: 22
Views: 2451

Re: Does an electric car make sense for commuting?

Nobody here has brought up the environmental aspect of an EV. The trouble with EV's is that they are 100% carbon free only when the electricity is coming from something other than coal, gas, or oil fired plants. Since our electric grid is all tied together, if you are charging it from the grid, you...
by Valuethinker
Mon Mar 23, 2015 1:05 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does an electric car make sense for commuting?
Replies: 22
Views: 2451

Re: Foreign stocks/bonds may be less beneficial for retirees

Read a thought-provoking commentary recently which argues that international diversification may be detrimental for retirees who are taking income withdrawals from their investment portfolios. Diversifying internationally may be more beneficial for investors who are accumulating, for the same reaso...
by Valuethinker
Mon Mar 23, 2015 9:46 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Foreign stocks/bonds may be less beneficial for retirees
Replies: 26
Views: 2283

Re: Whats a good Pistol to buy?

If your travels take you into Canada, do your homework. Here's a page from the US Embassy in Canada on Bringing Weapons into Canada: http://canada.usembassy.gov/traveling_to_canada/bringing-weapons-into-canada.html Here's a link to a page at Canada Border Services Agency: http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca...
by Valuethinker
Mon Mar 23, 2015 9:31 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Whats a good Pistol to buy?
Replies: 109
Views: 7580

Re: Whats a good Pistol to buy?

The OP has received a lot of good advice regarding getting training and learning the local laws. Here's my $0.02 on this subject...the conventional wisdom is that new shooters should always start on revolvers, but I have found this to not be universally true. I have experience helping multiple new ...
by Valuethinker
Mon Mar 23, 2015 9:27 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Whats a good Pistol to buy?
Replies: 109
Views: 7580

Re: Economist Article on role of government bonds

What this is saying is that high quality government bonds in particular (Treasuries, Bunds, Gilts) are often the beneficiary of a "flight to safety" in times of financial turmoil, beyond even the fact that bonds in general are less volatile than stocks. Hint: what was the one asset class ...
by Valuethinker
Mon Mar 23, 2015 9:16 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Economist Article on role of government bonds
Replies: 10
Views: 1384

Re: Does an electric car make sense for commuting?

Hi Everyone, For some reason I am getting tempted by electric cars. My commute is about 30 miles roundtrip. I am intrigued by the $7,500 fed tax credit. I live in MD and believe there may be some other advantages (HOV lane, sales tax credit, and charging station tax incentive). The main choices are...
by Valuethinker
Mon Mar 23, 2015 9:11 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does an electric car make sense for commuting?
Replies: 22
Views: 2451

Re: Buying Canadian Currency

You can't predict currencies. My view is the CAD is going to fall against the USD (more CAD per USD) as the Chinese thing gets worse and the realities of the Vancouver and Toronto housing bubble sink in, and the Bank of Canada cuts interest rates to fight recession. The one sure way to stimulate the...
by Valuethinker
Mon Mar 23, 2015 8:51 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying Canadian Currency
Replies: 4
Views: 365

Re: Any situations car leasing makes sense?

The main reason to lease seems to be an inability to afford a car of that class? ie you'd have to raise a car loan (and maybe you can't do that given other debts) or cash that you don't have? So it's about having a car nicer than you could otherwise afford OR having a car at all? On 'new fangled' ca...
by Valuethinker
Mon Mar 23, 2015 4:35 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any situations car leasing makes sense?
Replies: 63
Views: 4916

Re: To MBA or Not to MBA

Actually I'll be 46, I went back to University at 26 after being kicked out of High School at 16, completing an old fashioned apprenticeship and working in a factory and studying at night to be able to get into University. When I got to the US when I was 29 and got married we were flat broke and ha...
by Valuethinker
Mon Mar 23, 2015 4:27 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: To MBA or Not to MBA
Replies: 37
Views: 4174

Re: VGPMX [Vanguard Precious Metals And Mining Fund]

Garland wrote a good post despite a math error and getting teased a lot about it. I had no idea that a math error in a blog post caused the decline of the British empire! . Actually it was Roman writers who made that point-- and look, they were right! Do kids today speak the Latin of Caesar? They d...
by Valuethinker
Sun Mar 22, 2015 12:57 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: VGPMX [Vanguard Precious Metals And Mining Fund]
Replies: 24
Views: 2321

Re: Proactively replace water heater?

Sometimes a brand new item is no more or less likely to fail than something that has performed flawlessly for decades, especially if the older item was manufactured before planned obsolescence became the norm. . Modern products often follow a 'bathtub curve' on reliability. That's normal for electr...
by Valuethinker
Sun Mar 22, 2015 12:52 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Proactively replace water heater?
Replies: 49
Views: 4344

Re: Proactively replace water heater?

After we bought our house, I had our water heater and washing machine both replaced with more energy efficient options (both electric). We received rebates from our county and tax credits from the govt. To make things even better, replacing these two devices dropped our electricity bills by about $...
by Valuethinker
Sun Mar 22, 2015 11:10 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Proactively replace water heater?
Replies: 49
Views: 4344

Re: Proactively replace water heater?

After we bought our house, I had our water heater and washing machine both replaced with more energy efficient options (both electric). We received rebates from our county and tax credits from the govt. To make things even better, replacing these two devices dropped our electricity bills by about $...
by Valuethinker
Sun Mar 22, 2015 11:06 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Proactively replace water heater?
Replies: 49
Views: 4344

Re: New windows for a new house.

These appear to be similar to other high-efficiency european windows. When I built an energy efficient home a few years ago I calculated the energy benefit of the more efficient windows and found that they eventually should pay for themselves. However, there is a much more tangible benefit, that is...
by Valuethinker
Sun Mar 22, 2015 10:43 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need advice on Windows for a New House in New England
Replies: 5
Views: 695

Re: VGPMX [Vanguard Precious Metals And Mining Fund]

Gold and Precious Metals Mining companies are historically among the most poorly managed corporations in the world. In addition they invest in an arena that has a zero expected long term real return and one whose volatility is off the scale. Deflation in much of the developed world, severe recessio...
by Valuethinker
Sun Mar 22, 2015 9:35 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: VGPMX [Vanguard Precious Metals And Mining Fund]
Replies: 24
Views: 2321

Re: To MBA or Not to MBA

First post here but thought I could add some interesting observations to this discussion. I got my undergrad in Manufacturing Engineering & Management from England (Liverpool University) back in 2002 j ust before I emigrated to the US to marry my American wife .... In short I would say if someo...
by Valuethinker
Sun Mar 22, 2015 8:51 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: To MBA or Not to MBA
Replies: 37
Views: 4174

Re: bonds primer

Anybody have a suggestion on resources to better understand bonds and which ones I should be holding in my portfolio? It seems like every "lazy portfolio" I look at has different holdings. How do I make an informed choice? I have essentially a four fund portfolio spread across several tax...
by Valuethinker
Sun Mar 22, 2015 8:46 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: bonds primer
Replies: 14
Views: 1304

Re: VGPMX [Vanguard Precious Metals And Mining Fund]

As a result VGMMX recently sold for $8.50/share, ... It is 470% below its all time high of $40/share in just 8 years ago. Sorry, but the current share price is only 78.75% below it's all time-high. What you meant is that the all time high was 470% of the current price. This casual usage of the perc...
by Valuethinker
Sun Mar 22, 2015 8:43 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: VGPMX [Vanguard Precious Metals And Mining Fund]
Replies: 24
Views: 2321

Re: To MBA or Not to MBA

MBAs part time don't usually get internal recognition within companies and they have less academic prestige than full time programmes. The money for a full time programme is generally only worth it for the top 15 schools and then only if you follow that up with a prestige employer (consulting, bank...
by Valuethinker
Sat Mar 21, 2015 12:39 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: To MBA or Not to MBA
Replies: 37
Views: 4174

Re: To MBA or Not to MBA

I did an executive MBA when I was 30. It was two years of hell because it consumed nearly every hour of available time outside of work. I don't regret it though, and I learned a lot of useful things. The problem is that it sets you up for a management position, and you need to consider if that's ri...
by Valuethinker
Sat Mar 21, 2015 12:36 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: To MBA or Not to MBA
Replies: 37
Views: 4174

Re: To MBA or Not to MBA

(not sure if this is the correct subforum) I am curious to hear stories of those people that has an engineering bachelors and went for an mba. What was your experience, good or bad? Why did you go for an mba? Did you use it as a platform to change careers? If so, what industry did you move into? Di...
by Valuethinker
Fri Mar 20, 2015 8:15 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: To MBA or Not to MBA
Replies: 37
Views: 4174

Re: Tankless Hot Water Heaters

I'm curious if any proponents have an opinion on a hybrid approach, such as a tank-heater for most of the house but a small electric tankless dedicated to the kitchen. Or if you go tankless, to go with two of them instead of one. When we expanded our house two years ago the kitchen ended up farther...
by Valuethinker
Fri Mar 20, 2015 7:55 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tankless Hot Water Heaters
Replies: 29
Views: 2485

Re: Elio Car

miles monroe wrote:5 states require a helmet for everyone.

another 12 states require a helmet until 18 or 21.


I have this sneaking suspicion that states that don't require a helmet are thinking about the shortage of organs for donation. Nothing like having brain dead healthy functioning young bodies ;-).
by Valuethinker
Fri Mar 20, 2015 6:22 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Elio Car
Replies: 47
Views: 4667

Re: Tankless Hit Water Heaters

Only inn USA does one use a hw tank. Everyone else in the world uses tankless. We have tankless for 25+ year's. RVs have been using tankless forever. :moneybag I don't think that is true. I agree in places where homes are small and utilities expensive such as Italy, people use tankless (in the UK t...
by Valuethinker
Fri Mar 20, 2015 6:19 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tankless Hot Water Heaters
Replies: 29
Views: 2485

Re: Possible to use home equity as investment vehicle?

Given you get a deduction from investment income for tax purposes for the higher interest, this is a 'problem but a quality problem'. I would tend to keep the 2 separate: - estate issues might occur if you died for your inheritors (don't know, just thinking aloud) - tax issues might become more comp...
by Valuethinker
Fri Mar 20, 2015 6:09 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Possible to use home equity as investment vehicle?
Replies: 4
Views: 553

Re: Tesla S

The experience of owners on this thread is invaluable. Teslas have just arrived over here (UK) and although driving distances are not great, we don't have a lot of charging stations (and half the london ones don't work, apparently :oops: :? ). Tesla's success has surprised me. I think electric cars ...
by Valuethinker
Thu Mar 19, 2015 7:02 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tesla S
Replies: 627
Views: 77269

Re: Book on Economics

Hazlitt is quite a skewed book. Any of the general texts (Krugman and Wright, Mankiw) will give you the fundamentals. That may be a bit technical. http://www.amazon.com/Brief-Principles-Macroeconomics-Gregory-Mankiw/dp/0538453079/ref=pd_sim_b_9?ie=UTF8&refRID=1KT4JSPEH7S4M3E29XNK Wheelan's book ...
by Valuethinker
Thu Mar 19, 2015 5:05 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Book on Economics
Replies: 2
Views: 441

Re: Tesla Motors Stock

Epsilon Delta wrote:
calmaniac wrote:
Stan Dup wrote:Energy density at an acceptable price....

Really the only thing that matters. Everything else is just packaging.

Which is why uranium is the preferred power source for cars.


You mean dilithium?
by Valuethinker
Wed Mar 18, 2015 12:25 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Tesla Motors Stock
Replies: 253
Views: 22939

Re: Please help select a "safe" bond fund

I have always kept 6-8 months of living expenses in a money market fund. The return on money market funds has been close to nothing in the past 3-4 years and certainly not come close to keeping up with inflation. I am looking to move my funds to something other than a money market fund in hopes of ...
by Valuethinker
Wed Mar 18, 2015 12:14 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Please help select a "safe" bond fund
Replies: 22
Views: 2284

Re: Tesla S

kenyan wrote:I believe that's a bollard.


This is hilarious.

Doubtless 'Ballard' was a misstyping of 'bollard'?

But I read it as a 'Ballard' as in the fuel cell company
. Ballard Power Systems BLDP .
by Valuethinker
Wed Mar 18, 2015 11:48 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tesla S
Replies: 627
Views: 77269

Re: Who's buying Oil stocks?

What is interesting is that while T. Boone Pickens has been buying oil stocks, Warren Buffett has sold out of the huge Exxon position. Pickens is a perma bull (and not a young one, either). He has huge positions. Buffett? Buffett is a professional skeptic, and he seems to have heard pretty clearly ...
by Valuethinker
Wed Mar 18, 2015 6:28 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Who's buying Oil stocks?
Replies: 106
Views: 11381

Re: Who's buying Oil stocks?

The RE market in the US is complex, varying state by state, is much debated, and is OT. I do not have a solar-compatible site, so would ideally buy into a neighborhood solar co-op, but such are only now beginning to emerge. In the meantime I pay a market-determined premium for wind, currently 1.5 c...
by Valuethinker
Wed Mar 18, 2015 6:13 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Who's buying Oil stocks?
Replies: 106
Views: 11381

Re: Barron's article...Closed End Funds Advantage....

Another good reason to invest is that you can often buy these funds at a discount to Net Asset Value. Of course a closed-end fund can trade at a discount for years and years. Not only can a closed end fund trade at a discount to NAV for years and years, but the discount can get bigger after you buy...
by Valuethinker
Wed Mar 18, 2015 3:47 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Barron's article...Closed End Funds Advantage....
Replies: 13
Views: 1289

Re: when did/would you terminate disability insurance?

There is no specific age at which I would terminate disability insurance. Being close to retirement age isn't the trigger I would use to decide to carry or terminate disability insurance. AFAIK the policy will only cover *current* earned income. Once you retire, one does not have a current earned i...
by Valuethinker
Wed Mar 18, 2015 3:37 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: when did/would you terminate disability insurance?
Replies: 35
Views: 2644
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