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Re: Has anyone been to Armenia or "Stans" such as Kazakhstan

Armenia and Georgia are both full of history, and as Christian countries, relatively friendly to westerners-- many Armenians have family in USA. They like to drink. They are mountainous, don't go too early in the spring or too late in the autumn, because snow will make things unaccessible. Of the 's...
by Valuethinker
Sat Apr 25, 2015 5:26 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Has anyone been to Armenia or "Stans" such as Kazakhstan
Replies: 3
Views: 359

Re: Your experiences of high inflation periods

What I haven't experienced (and what few people still living today have experienced) is living through an inflationary period like the 70s as a retiree, when inflation was high but investment returns, pensions, and annuities were not keeping up. That's a really good point. The responses here have c...
by Valuethinker
Sat Apr 25, 2015 5:12 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Your experiences of high inflation periods
Replies: 27
Views: 961

Re: should I add Gold Fund to my portfolio?

I'm new to investing. Just opened a couple index funds last month with Vanguard. I'm 38 years old. MY allocation is 38% S&P 500, 16% International Stock, 32% Bonds, and 15% REIT's. Wondering if i should add Gold/Mining Fund that Vanguard has, to further diversify? Gold is the sort of thing to a...
by Valuethinker
Sat Apr 25, 2015 8:54 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: should I add Gold Fund to my portfolio?
Replies: 21
Views: 1562

Re: should I add Gold Fund to my portfolio?

I think that gold is riskier than people would like to imagine because... 1) secondary gold selling is on the rise [see cash-for-gold and other similar businesses] I don't know if it is 'on the rise'? Seems to go up and then down again with every price cycle of the metal. The big retail buyers are ...
by Valuethinker
Sat Apr 25, 2015 8:52 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: should I add Gold Fund to my portfolio?
Replies: 21
Views: 1562

Re: Any classic car owners here?

This is a hobby. Don't think of it as an investment. Some folks manage to sell their vehicles for what they bought them for. The best shot to do that is to buy the car finished, rather than have one restored. Estates sell off finished cars and since the owner isn't available to help market it, they...
by Valuethinker
Sat Apr 25, 2015 8:45 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any classic car owners here?
Replies: 15
Views: 883

Re: VNQ/other REITS as proxy for hard real estate ?

Similarly again with REIT v typical direct RE investment of relatively small investor, those underlying assets don't necessarily have the same volatility. For example tenant turnover might be higher in some types of large property and market rent might fall more quickly in an economic downturn (say...
by Valuethinker
Sat Apr 25, 2015 4:18 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: VNQ/other REITS as proxy for hard real estate ?
Replies: 26
Views: 1353

Re: Advise For Buying A House From A Big-Box Builder

I remember adding all kinds of wiring years ago: phone cable and speaker wires. The last remodel we moved two outlets and didn't add anything. Phone wires? don't have a landline anymore. Coax cable? don't hardwire anything except one router. Speaker wires? nope. HOWEVER, if you live in OK, TX or an...
by Valuethinker
Sat Apr 25, 2015 4:10 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Advise For Buying A House From A Big-Box Builder
Replies: 9
Views: 1256

Re: VNQ/other REITS as proxy for hard real estate ?

Similarly again with REIT v typical direct RE investment of relatively small investor, those underlying assets don't necessarily have the same volatility. For example tenant turnover might be higher in some types of large property and market rent might fall more quickly in an economic downturn (say...
by Valuethinker
Fri Apr 24, 2015 4:43 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: VNQ/other REITS as proxy for hard real estate ?
Replies: 26
Views: 1353

Re: VNQ/other REITS as proxy for hard real estate ?

Do you get Property Authorised Investment Funds in the US? In the UK these are just portfolios of commercial property, which track capital appreciation and provide a rental yield .. And are effectively exactly like owning property (with the usual ups and downs of the fund structure) .. I'm not 100%...
by Valuethinker
Fri Apr 24, 2015 4:34 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: VNQ/other REITS as proxy for hard real estate ?
Replies: 26
Views: 1353

Re: VNQ/other REITS as proxy for hard real estate ?

Can VNQ or other REITS really be considered as a proxy for invenstment real estate ownership ? I have seen several folks say that this is a no hassle way to invest in real estate and generates comparable long term returns, which might be the case. But in the 2008 crash, VNQ fell from 85 to 21 . I k...
by Valuethinker
Fri Apr 24, 2015 4:33 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: VNQ/other REITS as proxy for hard real estate ?
Replies: 26
Views: 1353

Re: Living in New Hampshire?

WOOD heat is probably more common in lots of NH rather than oil. It's a do-it-yourself thing for lots of New Englanders, myself for instance... Me too ! Both wood stove and pellet stoves for most on my heating needs, 32 here this morning and have the pellet stove on now.Starting to stack my cord wo...
by Valuethinker
Fri Apr 24, 2015 4:30 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Living in New Hampshire?
Replies: 35
Views: 2416

Re: VNQ/other REITS as proxy for hard real estate ?

To deal with a specific OP point, while I believe individual hand-picked REITs may be a reasonable proxy for direct property ownership, I do not believe property index funds are suitable for that purpose. I don't regard most UK companies in the property sector, and even most UK REITs, as part of my...
by Valuethinker
Fri Apr 24, 2015 4:25 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: VNQ/other REITS as proxy for hard real estate ?
Replies: 26
Views: 1353

Re: VNQ/other REITS as proxy for hard real estate ?

This brings up an interesting point of VNQ vs VNQI. Here are the top 5 countries held by VNQI: Japan 22.1% Hong Kong 13.4% Australia 9.3% United Kingdom 8.5% China 7.1% I don't know which of these countries, if any, use US-style highly-leveraged REITS vs other mechanisms. Note that there are a lot ...
by Valuethinker
Fri Apr 24, 2015 4:21 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: VNQ/other REITS as proxy for hard real estate ?
Replies: 26
Views: 1353

Re: VNQ/other REITS as proxy for hard real estate ?

I I recall doing a comparison using US data and finding that during the 2000 bubble US REITS were a much better bet than equities generally. This was largely the value effect at work. All value stocks were, in retrospect, very undervalued relative to the market as a whole in 2000. US REITs were tra...
by Valuethinker
Fri Apr 24, 2015 4:19 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: VNQ/other REITS as proxy for hard real estate ?
Replies: 26
Views: 1353

Re: Living in New Hampshire?

Haven't read the thread carefully, but after the last OP post, glance at Peterborough. Last time I was there an old friend took us to watch Tibetian monks do a sand mandala. Her neighbor used to take his goat for a walk on a leash. Don't commute to Boston unless you like spending time in your car. ...
by Valuethinker
Fri Apr 24, 2015 12:01 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Living in New Hampshire?
Replies: 35
Views: 2416

Re: Living in New Hampshire?

I'm about 25 years from retirement, my wife is a bit younger, and we have no kids. This is one of the drivers behind the decision. New Hampshire would be closer to her family, her brother lives there, and she wants that resource if we start a family. This seems fair. For the record I also think the...
by Valuethinker
Fri Apr 24, 2015 12:00 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Living in New Hampshire?
Replies: 35
Views: 2416

Re: Foreign currency accounts for diversification?

My husband is from a country on the Euro. It's not Greece. Some of the major banks, including one in which he already has an account, are offering savings accounts and 1 year CDs at more favorable rates than you can find in the US at any bank, and much much more favorable rates than you can find fr...
by Valuethinker
Thu Apr 23, 2015 11:23 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Foreign currency accounts for diversification?
Replies: 18
Views: 737

Re: Foreign currency accounts for diversification?

Thanks a lot for your replies. I had the impression that it's not uncommon for people from other countries to invest in US dollars. Is that not true? The reasons we do that are: - often we buy things from the USA and it's convenient to have USD to pay for them - lots of commodities and other goods ...
by Valuethinker
Thu Apr 23, 2015 11:07 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Foreign currency accounts for diversification?
Replies: 18
Views: 737

Re: New Furnace & A/C Unit

For those of us that like to open windows, a/c may run very little in some years in the northern states. Many years ours has been on for only 10-20 days. Others have windows closed and air running even on days with highs in the 70s. This is us to a "T", we don't really care for A/C, would...
by Valuethinker
Wed Apr 22, 2015 8:41 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Furnace & A/C Unit
Replies: 37
Views: 3657

Re: Overinflating Tires

I used to calculate the required pressure using tire pressure load tables. Now, I just slack off and add about 1 or 2 pounds because I'm usually the only driver in the car and carry almost no extra cargo. When I check my pressure, it's almost always near 59 deg F - the temperature used to create th...
by Valuethinker
Mon Apr 20, 2015 4:03 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Overinflating Tires
Replies: 31
Views: 2765

Re: Thoughts on private equity investing

I have access to private equity funds (Blackstone etc) through a friend. First question what does this mean? "access to ... through a friend". Is your friend acting as an investment adviser within the legal meaning of the term? If not, how do you 'access' funds through him. He may be 'fri...
by Valuethinker
Mon Apr 20, 2015 6:28 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Thoughts on private equity investing
Replies: 4
Views: 510

Re: Anyone built a Leer rated green house?

Most of those things you posted are more akin to "green bling" than the actual best energy efficiency technologies. Especially consumer wind power, which is probably an order of magnitude less efficient in terms of watts/dollar as compared to solar. Geothermal is also usually a big waste ...
by Valuethinker
Sun Apr 19, 2015 4:36 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone built a [LEED] rated green house?
Replies: 13
Views: 750

Re: Anyone built a [LEED] rated green house?

To gain from the advantage of high R walls, R-30+, you need to have smaller windows and a smaller total amount of glass. Good glass windows are only R-2 or R-3. I wonder if glass blocks insulate well, or just offer better privacy and security with the light? You should be able to get R5-6 on a wind...
by Valuethinker
Sun Apr 19, 2015 4:31 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone built a [LEED] rated green house?
Replies: 13
Views: 750

Re: New HVAC

It's a carrier performance unit. After reading everyone's thoughts I'm leaning toward doing it now. I live in texas so July/August with no AC would be brutal. Also, I learned their offering 0% for 36 months. No need to pass up the free money Electricity prices in Texas are not cheap? So that's anot...
by Valuethinker
Sun Apr 19, 2015 11:44 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New HVAC
Replies: 21
Views: 1510

Re: Less liquid counterpart to stocks?

If you invest in small cap value stocks you are arguably reaping an illiquidity premium. We had a whole thread about illiquid asset classes a couple of months ago. Art. Wine. Collectibles. Houses. All pretty illiquid compared to stocks. I suspect the market makers extract a lot of the value though i...
by Valuethinker
Fri Apr 17, 2015 2:24 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Less liquid counterpart to stocks?
Replies: 7
Views: 792

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

I have been reading FDR and the Jews by Richard Breitman and Allan J. Lichtman, two history professors at American University. Nearly seventy-five years after World War II, a contentious debate lingers over whether Franklin Delano Roosevelt turned his back on the Jews of Hitler's Europe. Defenders ...
by Valuethinker
Wed Apr 15, 2015 6:59 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI
Replies: 648
Views: 91411

Re: Nikkei with reinvested dividends

bpp says the blue line is the TOPIX with reinvested dividends, but after performing a highly precise eyeing of charts I looked up on google images, the blue line looks awfully similar to the TOPIX without reinvested dividends. It is with dividends reinvested, and inflation corrected. Here are the r...
by Valuethinker
Wed Apr 15, 2015 6:16 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Nikkei with reinvested dividends
Replies: 8
Views: 1069

Re: Gifts to take to Scotland.

Thank you for all your input. I guess my main concern is the weight of all the gifts we think we would like to give to the all the families. We live in SF and I'm not sure how sourdough bread would hold up. I remember my folks going to China about 25 years ago to visit their old village and brought...
by Valuethinker
Wed Apr 15, 2015 3:57 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gifts to take to Scotland.
Replies: 33
Views: 2136

Re: How smart are thermostats?

I work in this very industry - I hope you all learn to enjoy being able to control every light bulb and appliance from your phone! :D For myself, this is a solution looking for a problem, or a "First world problem." There's data showing that a smart thermostat can save 10% of energy bills...
by Valuethinker
Tue Apr 14, 2015 1:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How smart are thermostats?
Replies: 43
Views: 3030

Re: Vehicle for tall people/Spouse wants 50k car help!

I feel your pain on height. My relation who is 6'5" makes do with a BMW X3 (small SUV). In marriage it's generally best to get the spouse the car they want. (you can't reverse that and let Dad have his sports car-- doesn't work like that). Otherwise if you get a cheaper car, and there's somethi...
by Valuethinker
Tue Apr 14, 2015 8:28 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vehicle for tall people/Spouse wants 50k car help!
Replies: 77
Views: 5525

Re: Career and college advice for current HS students

Yes to your thoughts re vocational qualifications. How does one become a nurse in USA? Nurses are always in short supply here. If they have creative abilities then take some courses on website design etc, whatever the qualifications are in that. There's a huge demand for people who can build good lo...
by Valuethinker
Tue Apr 14, 2015 7:07 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Career and college advice for current HS students
Replies: 34
Views: 2592

Re: Negative interest rates in Europe

If the question is 'could the US get to this point'? The answer is, indeed it could. The strengthening dollar is, in effect, an importation of Euro deflation. One of the reasons the oil price is low is because the dollar is appreciating (it's not the whole or even the majority of the explanation by ...
by Valuethinker
Tue Apr 14, 2015 6:57 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Negative interest rates in Europe
Replies: 9
Views: 1360

Re: Negative interest rates in Europe

Given that you can still buy CDs with >= 1.5% rates, I am at a loss to understand why any investor would accept negative rates....what am I missing? Brian 1. large investors can't buy FDIC insured CDs 2. currency. Show me the Swiss Franc bank account paying 1.5%? 3. expectations of deflation in the...
by Valuethinker
Tue Apr 14, 2015 6:56 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Negative interest rates in Europe
Replies: 9
Views: 1360

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

At 56 and myopic all my life, now I can only make out the print in most books in bright light (preferably sunlight) or by holding the book about six inches away from my face. I'm loving my Kindle, and audiobooks. Recently finished Ken Follett's "Winter of the World", the second volume of ...
by Valuethinker
Mon Apr 13, 2015 1:39 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI
Replies: 648
Views: 91411

Re: Sell rental property early?

All: Our family is planning a cross-country move from Midwest to Pacific Northwest once wife or myself finds suitable employment in the new region. We have accumulated a medium-sized rental portfolio and want to know whether to sell prior to the planned move even though nothing is imminent -- we ar...
by Valuethinker
Sun Apr 12, 2015 8:34 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Sell rental property early?
Replies: 13
Views: 855

Re: Engineering as a career for a graduating HS student ?

It's an excellent degree but way to many assume just the degree guarantees a job. Particularly out of school you have to hustle to find work. I have a masters in Civil/Structural engineering and graduated in 2005 with just a BS. I quickly found out if you want to be a civil/structural engineer most...
by Valuethinker
Sun Apr 12, 2015 8:31 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Engineering as a career for a graduating HS student ?
Replies: 60
Views: 4360

Re: Engineering as a career for a graduating HS student ?

Whereas having gone to a big urban university, I would say the presence of the city detracted from the university experience . Plus there was the commuter problem (half your classmates commuted long distances). Valuethinker, Conversely, it may add to the university, REAL LIFE EXPERIENCE. Instead of...
by Valuethinker
Sun Apr 12, 2015 8:29 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Engineering as a career for a graduating HS student ?
Replies: 60
Views: 4360

Re: How smart are thermostats?

There's data showing that a smart thermostat can save 10% of energy bills (I've heard of higher numbers). So it's a problem in need of a solution not just a" First World Problem". What sort of data and do you have a link? The article that I read said the difference between smart and progr...
by Valuethinker
Sun Apr 12, 2015 4:32 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How smart are thermostats?
Replies: 43
Views: 3030

Re: Engineering as a career for a graduating HS student ?

Valuethinker. My thoughts are mainly focused on your comments about finding a school where he will blossom. My BH mentality says flagship in state, spend 20k/yr so he can figure out if this is right for him. But our flagship state Us are in locations i know my son will be unhappy. Best options for ...
by Valuethinker
Sun Apr 12, 2015 4:26 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Engineering as a career for a graduating HS student ?
Replies: 60
Views: 4360

Re: Engineering as a career for a graduating HS student ?

And one anecdote. My friend, who graduated from a public university with a 2.6 GPA in Mechanical engineering and had little work experience, was hired straight out of college in 2013 as a plant engineer. The starting salary was $58,000 in California. I read Petroleum engineers can make close to 100...
by Valuethinker
Sun Apr 12, 2015 4:21 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Engineering as a career for a graduating HS student ?
Replies: 60
Views: 4360

Re: Engineering as a career for a graduating HS student ?

My youngest thinks he wants to study engineering. He likes Physics class, and participated in the FIRST robotics competition, performing some of the mechanical design of a robot (not the electrical nor programming). He concluded he likes Mech Eng and wants to go to undergrad to study that major. Ye...
by Valuethinker
Sat Apr 11, 2015 1:24 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Engineering as a career for a graduating HS student ?
Replies: 60
Views: 4360

Re: How smart are thermostats?

I work in this very industry - I hope you all learn to enjoy being able to control every light bulb and appliance from your phone! :D For myself, this is a solution looking for a problem, or a "First world problem." My thermostat is currently turned off and house stays at 70-73F. During t...
by Valuethinker
Sat Apr 11, 2015 1:13 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How smart are thermostats?
Replies: 43
Views: 3030

Re: Gifts to take to Scotland.

I'll tell you what one friend from the States did give us for our wedding. A Tiffany clock. That's bouth very 'American' and a thoughtful gift we would not have bought ourselves. That may be outside OP's price range. It's normal for a UK couple to 'register' at one or more stores, with a list of sug...
by Valuethinker
Sat Apr 11, 2015 1:05 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gifts to take to Scotland.
Replies: 33
Views: 2136

Re: Gifts to take to Scotland.

http://www.johnlewis.com/men/levi%27s/c600001826?rdr=1 Levis are not difficult to find in the UK. Most things cost a lot more in the UK than in the US *but* remember our 20% VAT is included (ie no sales taxes). Children's clothes and shoes are exempt, as is food (but not food bought for consumption ...
by Valuethinker
Sat Apr 11, 2015 1:03 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gifts to take to Scotland.
Replies: 33
Views: 2136

Re: Gifts to take to Scotland.

Definitely maple syrup, but be sure it's real. Also maple sugar candy, like the maple leaves. What about something made from cranberries? Are there going to be problems with airport security/customs, with liquids or foods? Not in packed luggage. AFAIK Heathrow is still on not more than 100ml of liq...
by Valuethinker
Sat Apr 11, 2015 8:20 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gifts to take to Scotland.
Replies: 33
Views: 2136

Re: Propane Heating and Septic Tanks

Propane - three simple words: own your tank! My house came with a (too) small tank, leased from the supplier who would charge outrageous rates in winter. I bought that tank (16 years old and in great condition) and added a 1000 gal tank (tied together) and now fill once a year in june/july when the...
by Valuethinker
Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:29 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Propane Heating and Septic Tanks
Replies: 36
Views: 1917

Re: explanation of interest rates and bonds

lumberingc wrote:ok; that makes a lot of sense. thanks OGD and JSL

How do you guys know so much anyways?


Reading all the wikis here is a good place to start.
by Valuethinker
Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:24 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: explanation of interest rates and bonds
Replies: 6
Views: 736

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Get What's Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security Hardcover by Laurence J. Kotlikoff , Philip Moeller , Paul Solman The book is too small. By that I mean it's dimension are much smaller than a typical hardcover book. To make things worse, the print is too small. They really cheaped o...
by Valuethinker
Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:22 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI
Replies: 648
Views: 91411

Re: Cash out pre-IPO for 5%?

It doesn't seem like there is that much downside risk for me other than the fee as I would get cash up front, they claim it would be treated as a standard disposition subject to long term capital gains, and then I'd pay them money (presumably by selling to cover) when an IPO happens. But what happe...
by Valuethinker
Sat Apr 11, 2015 6:14 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Cash out pre-IPO for 5%?
Replies: 8
Views: 1172

Re: Propane Heating and Septic Tanks

Is the following an issue with oil? Basically you do not want to have an oil tank below ground - any future buyer of house will insist on clean removal and certification *before* closing? The risk of contamination via undetected leak is too high. I imagine also it is excluded from all insurance pol...
by Valuethinker
Sat Apr 11, 2015 6:10 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Propane Heating and Septic Tanks
Replies: 36
Views: 1917
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