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by Valuethinker
Fri May 29, 2015 4:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How to invest with Euros?
Replies: 7
Views: 563

Re: How to invest with Euros?

Background: One of my sons has been working in Europe and is now coming back to the USA to start a Phd program. He has a few thousand Euros that, in light of the current exchange rate, he is interested in not exchanging at this time. He could bring the cash back.. but that seems foolish. He may at ...
by Valuethinker
Fri May 29, 2015 12:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Housing Market in SoCal
Replies: 18
Views: 1073

Re: Housing Market in SoCal

Curious to know Bogleheads opinions about the housing market in Southern California / San Diego. I'm currently renting a 2bd 1 bath house, all utilities included @ $2200. It's about 42% of net income after taxes, 401k contribution etc. Saving a little bit, but not as much as I'd like. Comparable ho...
by Valuethinker
Fri May 29, 2015 12:21 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Upcoming Economic Bubble
Replies: 33
Views: 3628

Re: Upcoming Economic Bubble

In my experience, people making grandiose market forecasts based upon Fed and central bank "money printing" tend to have a very tenuous understanding of the actual economic forces at work around the globe. Your uncle is probably a smart person. However, what you need to understand as a re...
by Valuethinker
Fri May 29, 2015 12:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Aren't we overdoing electronic auto safety features?
Replies: 162
Views: 7736

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

[...]Lane departure IMO is pretty good unless you're never tired when you drive. Then it's just whatever. I am not speaking about others but 99% of the time, I drive my car when I am not tired (read sleepy). That said, need to relate this incident. A few years back, we were in CA - spent the day in...
by Valuethinker
Fri May 29, 2015 10:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Solar Panels
Replies: 21
Views: 2017

Re: Solar Panels

I"m going to bookmark this post. My husband and I will probably get solar panels in the future. We are looking at ground mount instead of roof mount. One issue I would have with that would be the risk of theft which would be a lot easier for a ground mount. Depending on the size of your lot it...
by Valuethinker
Fri May 29, 2015 9:31 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Solar Panels
Replies: 21
Views: 2017

Re: Solar Panels

To the OP: I recently went through thinking through this as I've had Solar Company after Solar Company knock on my door and a couple of my neighbors now have installations. My conclusion is that I'm holding off for several more years for the following reasons: 1) Selling me on a 10-year ROI is diff...
by Valuethinker
Fri May 29, 2015 9:27 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Solar Panels
Replies: 21
Views: 2017

Re: Solar Panels

Here's a recent opinion piece in the WSJ http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-hole-in-the-rooftop-solar-panel-craze-1431899563 . As it appears to be behind a subscriber paywall, the main point is that rooftop solar transfers wealth from average electric customers to the ones with rooftop solar, to the t...
by Valuethinker
Fri May 29, 2015 8:05 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Are US Gov Bonds "Better" than other Developed Countries' Bonds?
Replies: 11
Views: 868

Re: Are US Gov Bonds "Better" than other Developed Countries' Bonds?

On the other hand, do you really want to take the foreign exchange risk? That is my primary concern. High quality government bonds, especially now, do not return all that much, generally 1% or 2% real. For that sort of return I don't want to add in currency risk. I suppose you could claim you have ...
by Valuethinker
Fri May 29, 2015 7:36 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI
Replies: 744
Views: 107764

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Memorial Day theme: Finished The Boys’ Crusade: The American Infantry in Northwestern Europe, 1944–1945 by Paul Fussell. Fussell was a 2nd lieutenant in 1944, wounded in France (he's written several other books about war, I find, but this was my first book by him). This book is episodic, focusing o...
by Valuethinker
Fri May 29, 2015 3:56 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Are US Gov Bonds "Better" than other Developed Countries' Bonds?
Replies: 11
Views: 868

Re: Are US Gov Bonds "Better" than other Developed Countries' Bonds?

On the other hand, do you really want to take the foreign exchange risk? That is my primary concern. High quality government bonds, especially now, do not return all that much, generally 1% or 2% real. For that sort of return I don't want to add in currency risk. I suppose you could claim you have ...
by Valuethinker
Wed May 27, 2015 11:23 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Do I really need International equities in my portfolio ?
Replies: 78
Views: 5595

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

I suspect many of us have asked the same question. For years and years, we were told to diversify, have 15 - 20% in international, maybe with a tilt to emerging. We were told we'd be better off in the long-run. Then Europe went in the dumpster, Putin invaded Ukraine, commodities tanked, and the mid...
by Valuethinker
Wed May 27, 2015 11:16 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Upcoming Economic Bubble
Replies: 33
Views: 3628

Re: Upcoming Economic Bubble

It sounded to me like VT suggested market cap weighting. (I.e., if you look at what stocks are held, globally, match that. Don't over-weight towards Canadian stocks.) . Yes. OP can control currency risk by holding Canadian dollar bonds but the Canadian market is only 5% of world equity markets (dev...
by Valuethinker
Wed May 27, 2015 11:14 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Upcoming Economic Bubble
Replies: 33
Views: 3628

Re: Upcoming Economic Bubble

- How much international exposure. Can either just go with global market capitalization, which almost no one seems to recommend, or go with less international exposure. People seem to recommend increasing exposure to your home currency to help mitigate currency risks, but I haven't looked into it e...
by Valuethinker
Wed May 27, 2015 11:07 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Upcoming Economic Bubble
Replies: 33
Views: 3628

Re: Upcoming Economic Bubble

It sounded to me like VT suggested market cap weighting. (I.e., if you look at what stocks are held, globally, match that. Don't over-weight towards Canadian stocks.) As it so happens, there is an ETF with the ticker symbol 'VT' which is for the entire world's equity, weighted by market cap. (You c...
by Valuethinker
Wed May 27, 2015 11:04 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Upcoming Economic Bubble
Replies: 33
Views: 3628

Re: Upcoming Economic Bubble

kenner wrote:
VT,

You are a treasure.


You are too kind. I have the unfair advantage of having been interested in investing for a long time and having made many stupid and egregious mistakes.

That's the basis of the 'wisdom' that I have, such as it is.
by Valuethinker
Wed May 27, 2015 11:03 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 60W eq. LED bulb deal alert...
Replies: 32
Views: 2342

Re: Found a great LED deal...$2.49 each.

Bought several of these a week or two ago. Of note, their estimated life is only 10 years (compared to some LEDs that claim 20 years). Still, 10 years is a long time, and I for one am skeptical of the 20 year claims anyway. I will say, however, that these do emit a small humming sound. Not enough t...
by Valuethinker
Wed May 27, 2015 11:02 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: HVAC Questions - Straight AC vs Heat Pump
Replies: 9
Views: 737

Re: HVAC Questions - Straight AC vs Heat Pump

Bengineer wrote:
Swampy wrote:Considering the system is 11 years old and it needed to be 'charged up' with 3 pounds of Freon, my question is:

Does Freon pressure have a tendency to drop over time as a natural consequence? ...


No. You have a leak.


+1 I think a good system needs a recharge about every 25 years?
by Valuethinker
Tue May 26, 2015 11:04 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Upcoming Economic Bubble
Replies: 33
Views: 3628

Re: Upcoming Economic Bubble

- How much international exposure. Can either just go with global market capitalization, which almost no one seems to recommend, or go with less international exposure. People seem to recommend increasing exposure to your home currency to help mitigate currency risks, but I haven't looked into it e...
by Valuethinker
Tue May 26, 2015 11:03 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Upcoming Economic Bubble
Replies: 33
Views: 3628

Re: Upcoming Economic Bubble

Thought #2. As an illustration of predictions and reality, in 2012 Peter Schiff said[/url] that runaway public spending combined with excessively loose monetary policy by the Federal Reserve and other global central banks will push gold to $5,000 per ounce within the next two years. One problem is ...
by Valuethinker
Tue May 26, 2015 10:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Solar Panels
Replies: 21
Views: 2017

Re: Solar Panels

With oil and gas so cheap for the next few years, the pressure will mount to be rid of them. It's a fair argument and I agree subsidies are not 'risk free'. See Spain and Italy. However a big part of retail electricity costs is the transmission and distribution costs- - about 50% say? That will ris...
by Valuethinker
Tue May 26, 2015 10:53 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Explaining Vanguard GNMA Admiral over past month
Replies: 11
Views: 1117

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: 21
Views: 2017

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: 38
Views: 2873

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: 38
Views: 2873

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: 38
Views: 2873

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: 33
Views: 3628

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: 33
Views: 3628

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: 33
Views: 3628

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: 38
Views: 2873

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: 63
Views: 4434

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: 1714

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: 78
Views: 5595

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: 1336

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: 744
Views: 107764

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: 1290

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: 78
Views: 5595

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: 11
Views: 3353

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: 1290

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: 4223

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: 4223

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: 4223

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: 1714

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: 1812

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: 3205

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: 3205

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: 4223

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: 4223

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: 4223

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: 1714

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: 744
Views: 107764

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...

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