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Re: Restaurant tipping

Honestly, these many debates on tipping never go anywhere. Some posters are self-righteous about tipping, others about not tipping. Morality aside, tipping 20% pre-tax, post-discount for decent service is now the societal norm. We should either accept it, or not eat out at restaurants requiring tabl...
by William Million
Wed Mar 25, 2015 5:08 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Restaurant tipping
Replies: 177
Views: 9748

Re: Restaurant tipping

By increasing the acceptable tip percentage from 15 to 20%, while paying a very low minimum wage for servers, restaurants have sought to attract customers through low menu prices. My experience is it is now backfiring. I know many people who do not go as often to restaurants as they would due to the...
by William Million
Sun Mar 22, 2015 12:08 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Restaurant tipping
Replies: 177
Views: 9748

Re: Legal for Doctor to Cover Insurance Co-pay?

Thanks for the replies so far. I now see there is some literature suggesting it can be illegal: http://www.abramslaw.com/ny_county_medical_society_-_automatic_waiver_of_co-pays%2Fco-insurance%3A_is_your_office_exposed_to_fraud_allegations_or_civil_liability%3F_publication_media_id_1111 However, I su...
by William Million
Sat Mar 21, 2015 9:45 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Legal for Doctor to Cover Insurance Co-pay?
Replies: 40
Views: 2872

Legal for Doctor to Cover Insurance Co-pay?

I've been undergoing treatment to deal with insomnia. Without going into the details of my recommended treatment, the office I''m dealing with has offered to provide an expensive product and service (worth about 2,500 - my insurance pays 90%, so about 250 for me). When I hesitated, they offered to w...
by William Million
Sat Mar 21, 2015 7:37 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Legal for Doctor to Cover Insurance Co-pay?
Replies: 40
Views: 2872

Re: Bernstein: 2% investment returns over next 20 years

Dimson, Marsh, and Staunton found that worldwide, stocks returned about 3% more than twenty year government bonds since 1900. Twenty year TIPs are now at .5%. That means 3.5% real for stocks would be completely unremarkable. It would mean that stocks beat bonds by the historic average. No more, no ...
by William Million
Sat Mar 14, 2015 8:04 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bernstein: 2% investment returns over next 20 years
Replies: 216
Views: 22785

Re: Bernstein: 2% investment returns over next 20 years

Mr Bernstein is a brilliant guy and his investment books are among the best ever written.

However, his predictive ability is no better than any fund manager, ie, less than useless.
by William Million
Sat Mar 14, 2015 11:46 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bernstein: 2% investment returns over next 20 years
Replies: 216
Views: 22785

Re: Buying Euro for Vacations?

I usually use an ATM card from CapitalOne. No fees, no funny business. I have a bank account in Europe and will need a large amount on euros for renovating an apartment, about $80k. Planning to send a wire transfer, so no physical delivery. I would appreciate some advice on the best (cheapest) way ...
by William Million
Fri Mar 13, 2015 7:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying Euro for Vacations?
Replies: 33
Views: 2469

Re: Buying Euro for Vacations?

Very hard to speculate on currencies. Having said that, I think it would be somewhat early to buy euros for speculative purposes at this point. I'd be reluctant to anchor my expectations to the kinds of rates we saw over the past 10 years. These were very unique circumstances, partly related to res...
by William Million
Fri Mar 13, 2015 3:37 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying Euro for Vacations?
Replies: 33
Views: 2469

Re: Buying Euro for Vacations?

Very hard to speculate on currencies. Having said that, I think it would be somewhat early to buy euros for speculative purposes at this point. I'd be reluctant to anchor my expectations to the kinds of rates we saw over the past 10 years. These were very unique circumstances, partly related to resp...
by William Million
Fri Mar 13, 2015 3:11 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying Euro for Vacations?
Replies: 33
Views: 2469

Re: Question about Govt. TSP: G vs. F Funds

Both F and G are outstanding (and extremely low risk). Many non-govt employees wish they had access to them. Can't go wrong with either one. F will do better in a falling rates environment, and G will do better when rates climb. However, it is meaningless to debate the comparative merits of these tw...
by William Million
Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:01 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Question about Govt. TSP: G vs. F Funds
Replies: 97
Views: 9295

Re: 5-year CDs

Here are a few differences between brokered CDs and those purchased directly from a bank or credit union: 1. CDs issued by a bank/CU are "non-negotiable", they cannot be transferred to a third party, with the possible exception of a family member beneficiary. If you decide down the pike t...
by William Million
Sun Mar 08, 2015 7:18 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 5-year CDs
Replies: 22
Views: 2607

Re: Investing in China

mikemath wrote:
William Million wrote:Why mess around with relatively stable China? Why not take a flyer on Brazil ETF EWZ, down 80% from peak?
?

Are you for real?


no
by William Million
Sun Mar 08, 2015 6:55 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Investing in China
Replies: 8
Views: 762

Re: Investing in China

Why mess around with relatively stable China? Why not take a flyer on Brazil ETF EWZ, down 80% from peak?
?
by William Million
Sat Mar 07, 2015 11:06 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Investing in China
Replies: 8
Views: 762

Re: Investing in China

The VWO ETF is a good option. It diversifies across developing markets. Quite a few of its major holdings are Chinese (and Taiwanese) firms. That's the way I'd go (with a modest portion of your equity portfolio).
by William Million
Sat Mar 07, 2015 8:44 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Investing in China
Replies: 8
Views: 762

Re: interest rate increase looming. what you gonna do ?

Good thing about a CD ladder is you don't have to worry about it.
by William Million
Sat Mar 07, 2015 3:52 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: interest rate increase looming. what you gonna do ?
Replies: 65
Views: 6183

Re: Washing Dress Shirts

I don't think there are any dress shirts that don't show wear after 30 launderings. You can extend it a bit by washing in cold water, or line drying. As a previous poster mentioned, some of the Jos A Bank shirts are quite good,and they come in sizes you won't find in stores. The traveler shirts work...
by William Million
Sat Mar 07, 2015 7:23 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Washing Dress Shirts
Replies: 38
Views: 2691

Re: Legal Fees for Trusts and Wills

$3000 in Calif.
by William Million
Sun Mar 01, 2015 10:45 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Legal Fees for Trusts and Wills
Replies: 37
Views: 2551

Re: Buying a home in SF Bay Area

I'm born, raised in Oakland but agree rents are now too high for what you get. Not worth it for someone facing a daily commute to Palo Alto.
by William Million
Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a home in SF Bay Area [Dumbo]
Replies: 79
Views: 4309

Re: Car Accident Question

SteadyWins wrote:
He lives close to me. Should I be concerned of reprisals at all if I pursue him to court? I have never been the cause of an accident.


No need to "pursue him." Your insurance will take care of it. Unlikely this is ever going to court.
by William Million
Sun Feb 22, 2015 12:33 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Car Accident Question
Replies: 27
Views: 1476

Re: Reward checking account paying 3+% interest -- good idea

Nothing wrong with it, per se, as long as pay off the balance each month. The credit union is obviously hoping you won't pay off the card each month, that you'll end up keeping more than $20,000 in the account, or that you won't notice when they drop the interest rate (after attracting initial depos...
by William Million
Fri Feb 20, 2015 6:20 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Reward checking account paying 3+% interest -- good idea?
Replies: 5
Views: 893

Re: Career changer and choosing best option?

Admire your adaptability. It will serve you well between now and retirement. No point obsessing about people who have more assets; they might have other issues. If you like teaching and have a chance to do it full-time, why not? As you note, trucking carries health as well as relationship challenges...
by William Million
Tue Feb 17, 2015 10:12 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Career changer and choosing best option?
Replies: 41
Views: 3389

Re: 5.6% stable value fund - what allocation?

5.6% guaranteed? If true, I'd do 100% allocation.
by William Million
Sat Feb 14, 2015 5:55 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 5.6% stable value fund - what allocation?
Replies: 29
Views: 2582

Re: TIAA-CREF dramatically increasing Expense Ratios

TIAA-CREF has really fallen off a cliff, sad given its roots. In the past, when a poster brought up the company's downfall, he was blasted by TIAA-CREF afecionados. Not anymore.
by William Million
Sat Feb 14, 2015 5:31 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: TIAA-CREF dramatically increasing Expense Ratios
Replies: 74
Views: 5828

Re: College savings costs / number

"Top" colleges might be one of the most overrated facets of our society. It's the kid who makes it (or doesn't make it). BA/BS from a top college will increase chances of getting into grad school, but that's about it. As for succeeding in the job market, some recruiters actually prefer kid...
by William Million
Fri Feb 13, 2015 6:45 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: College savings costs / number
Replies: 120
Views: 6719

Re: DH and I are buying bicycles

Go to the local bike shop and try out a number of different bikes. You'll probably settle on a hybrid with front suspension (for your needs). Nowadays relatively cheap bikes come in multiple sizes, so you can get the bike to fit you. If you pay less than $500, upgrade to more comfortable seat and gr...
by William Million
Mon Feb 09, 2015 6:46 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: DH and I are buying bicycles
Replies: 39
Views: 1699

Re: The cult of PE10 - so what?

PE10-triggered market timing is pseudo scientific. I fail to see how. Using data to discover relationships between variables is a classic scientific pursuit. One has to be careful to be sure it isn't just curve fitting by using out of sample data but other than that I'm not sure I understand your a...
by William Million
Sun Feb 08, 2015 3:14 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The cult of PE10 - so what?
Replies: 99
Views: 7114

Re: The cult of PE10 - so what?

Apologies for bumping up this thread but I recently did my own research on the PE aspect and how can individual investors benefit from PE value. I just want to share my findings and maybe you can help me find some flaws in my thinking. did my own research to understand better the situation. I took ...
by William Million
Sun Feb 08, 2015 2:24 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The cult of PE10 - so what?
Replies: 99
Views: 7114

Re: Am I making the right choice to NOT buy a new car (Volvo

If you can get your money back, then for me it's a no-brainer to buy the new car. You'll never get a better 30,000 than a vehicle's 1st 30,000.
by William Million
Sat Jan 31, 2015 10:32 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Am I making the right choice to NOT buy a new car (Volvo)?
Replies: 6
Views: 786

Re: Is it time to buy the Greek Index or Euro?

Euro is falling but too early for blood on the streets. Might well come.
by William Million
Wed Jan 28, 2015 8:19 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is it time to buy the Greek Index or Euro?
Replies: 8
Views: 1730

Re: Does college tuition indeed keep up with inflation?

Already, creative solutions are popping up. Taking a CLEP test less than $100 and these are accepted as credits at many colleges. A kid could spend his first year working, which itself is an educational experience, while also studying for and testing out of a year's worth of college courses. Immedia...
by William Million
Wed Jan 28, 2015 7:37 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Does college tuition indeed keep up with inflation?
Replies: 15
Views: 1205

Re: Anyone know when CD rates will increase?

Don't sweat it. Put any fixed income funds into 2.25 CDs with maximum penalty of 6 months. If rates fall, you win. If rates rise, you break the CD and also win. And the money is FDIC insured. All in all, not a bad deal.
by William Million
Wed Jan 28, 2015 6:51 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Anyone know when CD rates will increase?
Replies: 70
Views: 5527

Re: Adopting

Please keep in mind that foreign adoption has largely become a business for adoption agencies, that "acquire" access to a child for a certain price and "sell" to prospective adoption parents for a higher price. There are still some really credible agencies not driven by the botto...
by William Million
Tue Jan 27, 2015 7:20 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Adopting
Replies: 29
Views: 2623

Re: Time to stop driving for 85 yo MIL

You could try what we did for spouses father a number of years ago (MIL did not drive)... the battery gave out on the car and we did not replace it...it stays in the garage. Now you may have to find a way to force it to go dead, and if they are not able to charge/replace on their own... it should b...
by William Million
Sun Jan 25, 2015 4:20 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Time to stop driving for 85 yo MIL
Replies: 89
Views: 5884

Re: Time to stop driving for 85 yo MIL

We had my father's doctor write a letter to the DMV. Hated to do it but it might well have saved a life.
by William Million
Sun Jan 25, 2015 3:48 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Time to stop driving for 85 yo MIL
Replies: 89
Views: 5884

Re: Advice on Brokerage CDs?

A brokered CD should pay more than a retail CD because it's an inferior instrument. While both brokered and retail FDIC-insured CDs carry small risk of loss to principal, the risks are greater with brokered CDs. Because brokered CDs are riskier investments, they should compensate with higher interes...
by William Million
Sat Jan 24, 2015 9:43 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advice on Brokerage CDs?
Replies: 25
Views: 1013

Re: Gotta Be a Bear Market Coming

A guy I work with has just dumped some money into stocks, and he knows nearly nothing about the stock market, investing, financial planning, or anything like that. I had to explain what the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 were, to give an indication of his level of financial sophistica...
by William Million
Sat Jan 24, 2015 8:54 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Gotta Be a Bear Market Coming
Replies: 64
Views: 7860

Euro Account in US Bank

Any recommendations for a US bank that will hold a Euro account, later transferring the funds to Europe with minimal cost?
by William Million
Sat Jan 24, 2015 8:45 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Euro Account in US Bank
Replies: 0
Views: 154

Re: What is highest paying cash credit card

As Victoria and others have implied, there are card offers that net you far more than simple cash back, so long as you make use of the "services." For example: - Hyatt Visa. Annual fee $75 (waived for 1st year). 2 free nights at any Hyatt when you sign up, then 1 night per year at 4 stars ...
by William Million
Thu Jan 22, 2015 7:00 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What is highest paying cash credit card
Replies: 24
Views: 2699

Gotta Be a Bear Market Coming

The economy looks strong with growth up and unemployment down. Nonetheless, I'e got to think this bull market is getting somewhat aged. While I won't resort to market-timing, I am bracing - perhaps irrationally - bracing for a major correction or bear market.
by William Million
Thu Jan 22, 2015 6:38 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Gotta Be a Bear Market Coming
Replies: 64
Views: 7860

Re: How Can Short-Term Tax Exempt Make Sense?

I see Vanguard's VWSTX Short-Term Tax Exempt Bond Fund is now yielding just .35 with an expense ratio of .20. In my view, the expense ratio is eating up too much of the (already paltry) interest. Nice to save taxes, but if you earn almost no interest, there's not much to save. As best I can tell, t...
by William Million
Sun Jan 18, 2015 10:58 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How Can Short-Term Tax Exempt Make Sense?
Replies: 13
Views: 1651

How Can Short-Term Tax Exempt Make Sense?

I see Vanguard's VWSTX Short-Term Tax Exempt Bond Fund is now yielding just .35 with an expense ratio of .20. In my view, the expense ratio is eating up too much of the (already paltry) interest. Nice to save taxes, but if you earn almost no interest, there's not much to save. As best I can tell, th...
by William Million
Sun Jan 18, 2015 9:39 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How Can Short-Term Tax Exempt Make Sense?
Replies: 13
Views: 1651

Re: Should I Declare Victory and Pack It In?

"I'm tired." That says it all. 2 houses and 2.7 million is not bad. You're probably at a stage where time is worth more than additional money. Just resign yourself to a 3.5 SWR and live within your means. If after a year you find retirement is not what you planned, then look for some lower...
by William Million
Sat Jan 17, 2015 1:23 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I Declare Victory and Pack It In?
Replies: 173
Views: 17094

Re: Should I now take advantage of the low euro?

Not sure I would assume the euro is "cheap" right now simply because it has traded higher over the past decade.
by William Million
Sat Jan 17, 2015 9:59 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I now take advantage of the low euro?
Replies: 8
Views: 1122

Re: Learning a NEW language - Foreign Service Inst

The Foreign Service process accompanies intensive classes for State Department officers. Using the materials without the instruction will not yield the same results. For most people, I don't believe it is possible to learn a foreign language without instruction by an actual teacher. You can pick up ...
by William Million
Sat Jan 17, 2015 9:13 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Learning a NEW language - Foreign Service Inst
Replies: 56
Views: 4782

Re: What do you drive, and why?

2006 Jeep Commander

I'm at a stage where safety trumps fuel efficiency, and it's a good car for the slopes and hauling bikes. Bought last year and will have to sell later this year. Fortunately, Jeeps don't depreciate much.
by William Million
Wed Jan 14, 2015 11:55 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What do you drive, and why?
Replies: 205
Views: 18203

Re: Is a Sub-4% SWR a Boglehead Quirk?

Again, the ultra-low SWR crowd steers the discussion into low bond returns and high PE10 (as I mentioned in the initial post). As I said in the opening post, low bond returns could just as well portend higher than average returns for those with a balanced portfolio (given the low cost of borrowing)....
by William Million
Mon Jan 12, 2015 3:52 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is a Sub-4% SWR a Boglehead Quirk?
Replies: 177
Views: 10964

Re: Is a Sub-4% SWR a Boglehead Quirk?

As discussed earlier in the thread, there is a Boglehead characteristic - spend conservatively - that serves him/her well during the accumulation phase, but often less well during the drawdown phase. Several posters here expressed a strong desire to die with as much money as possible. Others said th...
by William Million
Mon Jan 12, 2015 12:23 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is a Sub-4% SWR a Boglehead Quirk?
Replies: 177
Views: 10964

Re: Israel bonds [how to evaluate political risk?]

2.76 is a bit low for single country in a dangerous neighborhood. You can get an FDIC insured CD for 2.25 or slightly more.
by William Million
Mon Jan 12, 2015 8:07 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Israel bonds [how to evaluate political risk?]
Replies: 17
Views: 1546

Re: Is a Sub-4% SWR a Boglehead Quirk?

When I run a 4% SWR for a 40 year retirement, Vanguard tells me I've got an 86% chance of never running out of dough with a 50/50 portfolio. That's pretty darn good. I know some Bogleheads want it closer to 100% but I'll take 86%, knowing I can readjust lifestyle if necessary. https://retirementplan...
by William Million
Sun Jan 11, 2015 10:57 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is a Sub-4% SWR a Boglehead Quirk?
Replies: 177
Views: 10964

Re: Is a Sub-4% SWR a Boglehead Quirk?

In the most extreme cases, we've even seen a few Bogleheads advocating sub-3% withdrawal rates. Makes very little sense for anyone retiring in their 60s. In sum, this might be a quirk of the conservative nature of Bogleheads who have vigilently denied gratification by saving all those years during ...
by William Million
Sun Jan 11, 2015 1:34 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is a Sub-4% SWR a Boglehead Quirk?
Replies: 177
Views: 10964
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