Search found 483 matches

Go to advanced search

by Wolkenspiel
Thu May 28, 2015 1:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cost of a "free" PhD program is around half a million? How does anyone afford this?
Replies: 90
Views: 5765

Re: Cost of a "free" PhD program is around half a million? How does anyone afford this?

The opportunity cost was significant, but there's no sense crying about it now; I'm doing fine. If I were to try to do it again now, with a wife, children, and mortgage to support, things would be quite different. The "opportunity costs" for a PhD have been mentioned a few times, but it's...
by Wolkenspiel
Thu May 28, 2015 1:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cost of a "free" PhD program is around half a million? How does anyone afford this?
Replies: 90
Views: 5765

Re: Cost of a "free" PhD program is around half a million? How does anyone afford this?

As regards the ~40% 6 year, ~50% 10 year stats I got from these slides on Ph. D. Completion and Attrition: Analysis of Baseline Data Thanks for the link - this obviously doesn't mean that ~35-45% of grad students work on their PhD for 10+ years, but essentially that 35-45% of those who start a PhD ...
by Wolkenspiel
Thu May 28, 2015 1:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cost of a "free" PhD program is around half a million? How does anyone afford this?
Replies: 90
Views: 5765

Re: Cost of a "free" PhD program is around half a million? How does anyone afford this?

This is perfect. I'm defending my life sciences PhD this summer, after 6 years. This is about average at my institution a top 15ish NIH funded university. My stipend is $30k per year, on which I can live comfortably. Could I have done something else right out of school that makes more? Sure. But th...
by Wolkenspiel
Wed May 27, 2015 5:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Money and cell phones when traveling to Canada
Replies: 24
Views: 847

Re: Money and cell phones when traveling to Canada

runner9 wrote:Thanks, both our cards are chip and pin, not sure I have the pin for one right now, something to track down just in case...


There's a million US visitors to Canada every month. I doubt that a chip&pin card is necessary to be a successful tourist in Canada.
by Wolkenspiel
Wed May 27, 2015 4:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cost of a "free" PhD program is around half a million? How does anyone afford this?
Replies: 90
Views: 5765

Re: Cost of a "free" PhD program is around half a million? How does anyone afford this?

I know several Physics and Chemistry PhD's. Tenured professor positions continue to be rare. They are competing against engineering bachelor degree holders for positions in industry with a PhD not really offering any advantage. Comments they receive is that they are over-educated for positions that...
by Wolkenspiel
Wed May 27, 2015 4:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cost of a "free" PhD program is around half a million? How does anyone afford this?
Replies: 90
Views: 5765

Re: Cost of a "free" PhD program is around half a million? How does anyone afford this?

I was talking about someone in his or her thirties returning to school that already has a well paying job. Giving that up for a PhD and potentially lower income upon graduation. That's the fringe of a fringe population - there is zero general lessons to be learned from that example (as from most of...
by Wolkenspiel
Wed May 27, 2015 10:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tips for extended European Trip
Replies: 22
Views: 1289

Re: Tips for extended European Trip

Here are my questions/comments, I am looking for some suggestions, what am I missing? 1. How best to pay for ongoing expenses at home? I am thinking about just prepaying 3 months of water, hoa dues, cell phone, healthcare, etc. Maybe this would be a good opportunity to put all these things on auto ...
by Wolkenspiel
Tue May 19, 2015 8:07 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: American living in Taiwan
Replies: 22
Views: 1623

Re: American living in Taiwan

How do healthcare costs work there? That's, as I'm sure you know, a potential big expense, especially as you get older. No, it isn't. Taiwan has a wonderful "citizen's insurance", and even private health care costs are entirely reasonable. We paid for the birth of our 2nd kid in a private...
by Wolkenspiel
Tue May 05, 2015 9:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying new car
Replies: 21
Views: 3200

Re: Buying new car

Any suggestions on how to negotiate best price when buying new Subaru Forester? And how do you know if lease or purchase is better? Thanks You should definitely use TrueCar. It will get you the best price ever. :wink: But really, pick the model/trim you want, find some at local-ish dealers, and ema...
by Wolkenspiel
Mon May 04, 2015 1:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Truecar -- isn't this just a car buying scam?
Replies: 123
Views: 8325

Re: Truecar -- isn't this just a car buying scam?

Can you provide any trustworthy sources for your assertion that Truecar data represents anything more than dealer-supplied pricing information? And from which dealers? If you are a dealer and sign up with Truecar, do they put a bug in the computer that automatically reports sales prices to Truecar?...
by Wolkenspiel
Sun May 03, 2015 11:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Truecar -- isn't this just a car buying scam?
Replies: 123
Views: 8325

Re: Truecar -- isn't this just a car buying scam?

Nowadays, the numbers you see on TrueCar are the numbers the dealers want you to see. The data for "what others paid" distribution are not dealer-supplied. If someone uses Truecar for nothing else but to figure out what prices the average buyer paid, they've already received a valuable se...
by Wolkenspiel
Sun May 03, 2015 11:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Truecar -- isn't this just a car buying scam?
Replies: 123
Views: 8325

Re: Truecar -- isn't this just a car buying scam?

I just checked BMW X5 on Truecar for two large cities (Phoenix and Kansas City) to see how good their target price is, and their fabulous target price is now $3K above invoice in KC and a terrific $250 below MSRP in Phoenix. The deal you got doesn't seem to be anywhere near the Truecar price now, s...
by Wolkenspiel
Sun May 03, 2015 7:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Truecar -- isn't this just a car buying scam?
Replies: 123
Views: 8325

Re: Truecar -- isn't this just a car buying scam?

I figure it's nothing more than a bait-and-switch scam. If you go to a dealership with a Truecar price you won't get that price unless it's a lousy deal to begin with. Well, you figure incorrectly. I used the Truecar quote to purchase a 2012 BMW X5, and am still convinced that the final deal (a few...
by Wolkenspiel
Tue Apr 21, 2015 4:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Fidelity ATM card overseas
Replies: 5
Views: 480

Re: Fidelity ATM card overseas

I don't believe their is a 1% conversion fee, if there is you are getting an excellent exchange rate with the Fidelity ATM card. I use mine and always check in the evening what the rate was and it always seems very close to the spot rate at the time. Its so close I never think about the rate. I hav...
by Wolkenspiel
Wed Apr 15, 2015 9:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: noise-blocking headphones
Replies: 39
Views: 3195

Re: noise-blocking headphones

I've had an old version of the bose noise canceling over the ear headphones. the black ear pieces disintegrated over time.? The mid-2000s Bose over-the-ear headphones indeed had a problem where the plastic over time became brittle and disintegrated (I've seen many held together by zip-ties and duck...
by Wolkenspiel
Tue Apr 14, 2015 7:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Don't come to Europe with a new chip and sign credit card
Replies: 60
Views: 8810

Re: Don't come to Europe with a new chip and sign credit car

I think it depends a lot on the country. So far I've used my chip and signature card in Iceland, Spain, Portugal, the UK, Ireland, and Mexico, and not had any significant problems. Absolutely correct. I used various chip+sig cards in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Spain, Portugal, the UK et...
by Wolkenspiel
Mon Apr 13, 2015 8:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Am I part of the problem??
Replies: 73
Views: 8985

Re: Am I part of the problem??

ddurrett896 wrote:Think about it like this - your company and position isn't going anywhere, someone HAS to do it and if your doing fine then forget about it.


Difficult to think of a lazier/more convenient argument when abdicating responsibility for one's actions.
by Wolkenspiel
Mon Apr 13, 2015 7:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Health insurance claim denied -Need tips on filing an appeal
Replies: 9
Views: 892

Re: Health insurance claim denied -Need tips on filing an ap

Just to echo what others have said: In past disputes on insurance coverage (involving significant sums), assistance from our doctor's office, such as letters from my kid's specialist, was essential.
by Wolkenspiel
Mon Apr 13, 2015 7:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cost of College & Weighing the Merits of Top Schools
Replies: 304
Views: 17624

Re: Cost of College & Weighing the Merits of Top Schools

I'm curious, and I'm not trying to start an argument, but what situations do you see where spending that amount of money for an undergraduate degree is a prudent choice? Just like it's obvious to you that an expensive undergrad degree is a ripoff, it's obvious to me that giving my kids the best pos...
by Wolkenspiel
Mon Apr 13, 2015 11:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Input wanted from BMW owners
Replies: 44
Views: 4502

Re: Input wanted from BMW owners

I think it is summed up by the comment one of my repair gurus related: The Motto of German Car engineers, "why make it simple when you can make it complicated?" "Warum einfach wenn's auch kompliziert geht". I admit that for a German the thought of not re-engineering things for d...
by Wolkenspiel
Mon Apr 13, 2015 10:16 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cost of College & Weighing the Merits of Top Schools
Replies: 304
Views: 17624

Re: Cost of College & Weighing the Merits of Top Schools

Here is a datapoint on CEO's and their alma maters: http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB115853818747665842 Calling this a "datapoint" is rather charitable. Comparing the total number of CEOs from populations that differ in size by an order of magnitude (or more) seems more like an incompetent h...
by Wolkenspiel
Sat Apr 11, 2015 4:19 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The $1 Million Goal: Source of Motivation or Discouragement?
Replies: 172
Views: 16472

Re: The $1 Million Goal: Source of Motivation or Discouragem

Originally I told myself that when I crossed each $100k mark, I would get myself a little something as celebration. So far I haven't done that because when compared to what many people have, another $100k isn't anything great. $100k is the median 401k balance at retirement. Good to see the Boglehea...
by Wolkenspiel
Thu Mar 12, 2015 12:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where to retire in New England?
Replies: 101
Views: 8337

Re: Where to retire in New England?

Cambridge, MA within walking distance to MIT, Harvard and a T stop would be nice. I visited it a couple times last year and liked it a lot. That was in spring and summer. And then there was a winter... Victoria Typing this from Cambridge, MA: It is nice - I never get tired of the view across the Ch...
by Wolkenspiel
Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where to retire in New England?
Replies: 101
Views: 8337

Re: Where to retire in New England?

So you want to retire in New England? Let me ask you one question. Do you like cold, snowy winters? If the answer is no then I wouldn't even consider moving here. Winter in New England is no joke. Up until two months ago, I though I didn't mind "cold, snowy winters". I may have changed my...
by Wolkenspiel
Fri Feb 27, 2015 11:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much did you have saved up for retirement at age 30?
Replies: 173
Views: 14343

Re: How much did you have saved up for retirement at age 30?

By 30, a couple of years after getting my PhD, I had zero retirement savings and a net worth oscillating around zero. It took another five years to start any systematic saving, retirement or otherwise. I focussed on developing an exciting career - it never occurred to strive for early retirement. If...
by Wolkenspiel
Sat Feb 14, 2015 2:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is your hedge fund run by a werewolf?
Replies: 10
Views: 1063

Re: Is your hedge fund run by a werewolf?

So you've invested six figures in this fund, you decide you want to pull your money out. You request it and you get this reply: ""Mr. Malik has been passed away with the heart attack after accident. We will dissolve the fund shortly" How are you feeling after reading that? :shock: Si...
by Wolkenspiel
Wed Jan 28, 2015 10:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: .
Replies: 37
Views: 3892

Re: US citizen vs green card

Doesn't the same "expatriation tax" apply to (long term) green card holders as for citizens? With significant US assets (401k's, IRAs) one can't just hand in the green card and wire the money to wherever. LOL, and exactly what stops that? Presumably whatever would stop a dual citizen from...
by Wolkenspiel
Wed Jan 28, 2015 6:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: .
Replies: 37
Views: 3892

Re: US citizen vs green card

Doesn't the same "expatriation tax" apply to (long term) green card holders as for citizens? With significant US assets (401k's, IRAs) one can't just hand in the green card and wire the money to wherever. LOL, and exactly what stops that? Presumably whatever would stop a dual citizen from...
by Wolkenspiel
Wed Jan 28, 2015 12:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: .
Replies: 37
Views: 3892

Re: US citizen vs green card

2. Avoid filing US income tax return for life! Point 2 is a big one for many people. For example, let's say (I am not suggesting it will happen) you will get divorced, and she decides to return back home to Canada and spend the rest of her days there. She will still be obligated to file a US income...
by Wolkenspiel
Wed Jan 28, 2015 11:47 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: .
Replies: 37
Views: 3892

Re: US citizen vs green card

Don't have to apply for a new GC every 10 years. Cost of citizenship ~= cost of GC. Con: Taxed on all income everywhere in the world. Leaving and never coming back = some fee to "rescind" citizenship otherwise the tax-man cometh. CC holders are also taxed on world-wide income, and it is u...
by Wolkenspiel
Fri Jan 09, 2015 7:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Changes (mostly bad ones) to my 401k. Who benefits?
Replies: 34
Views: 2793

Re: Changes (mostly bad ones) to my 401k. Who benefits?

I would be very surprised if those new, complicated, higher-cost funds were added because the employees were clamoring for them. Somebody must have made a sales pitch and bamboozled the company into accepting the new fund choices because "more choices" and "potential for market-beati...
by Wolkenspiel
Fri Jan 09, 2015 7:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Thinking about retirement - it's depressing
Replies: 80
Views: 8964

Re: Thinking about retirement - it's depressing

Personally, I love being pampered in hotels, dressing in nice clothes, going to Broadway, trying new wine and 10 course menu restaurants, traveling in luxury cars, flying around the world, or sitting at home playing video games. I thought your living expense level for the family was "$60k net ...
by Wolkenspiel
Sat Dec 27, 2014 9:07 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What price are you planning to pay for your next car?
Replies: 91
Views: 7446

Re: What price are you planning to pay for your next car?

Another year or so, and mid-80's should get a nice '13 CPO 911 C4S. We'll see how the car fund does until then.
by Wolkenspiel
Sat Dec 27, 2014 8:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best watch for around $5,000?
Replies: 942
Views: 192105

Re: I think I just got a $5,000 watch for Christmas

Petrocelli wrote:It is absolutely gorgeous.


Congratulations! And :sharebeer for posting here (to a predictably mixed reception).
by Wolkenspiel
Sun Dec 21, 2014 8:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do you define "being rich"?
Replies: 127
Views: 9825

Re: How do you define "being rich"?

Obviously, compared to a large part of the world, anyone who is not worried about getting his next meal, having shelter from the wet and cold, getting medical care when needed, etc. is rich, but I don't think that's the context in which OP asked the question. My personal taxonomy: Wealthy have at l...
by Wolkenspiel
Thu Dec 04, 2014 12:17 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Giving money to your alma mater: Have to vent
Replies: 166
Views: 16893

Re: Giving money to your alma mater: Have to vent

Before giving a donation....I would consider this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_colleges_and_universities_in_the_United_States_by_endowment My concern is colleges and universities building up huge endowments that would more than cover any financial aid and other needs, yet they still ask fo...
by Wolkenspiel
Wed Dec 03, 2014 3:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Giving money to your alma mater: Have to vent
Replies: 166
Views: 16893

Re: Giving money to your alma mater: Have to vent

You know this isn't true, I'm sure. Your tuition only pays a fraction of the cost of an education. If others hadn't given before you, your tuition would have been far greater. Gill I'm quite certain the profits from the football program at my alma mater alone covered a majority of the university's ...
by Wolkenspiel
Mon Nov 24, 2014 7:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Trading in a car - worth it to fix cosmetic issues?
Replies: 8
Views: 1137

Re: Trading in a car - worth it to fix cosmetic issues?

if you were selling privately then cosmetic issue would matter, but to a dealer, they don't really care. I once traded in a car that had a slightly scratched/deformed rear lower bumper from a light rear impact. The dealer didn't say a word about it and the trade-in value was more or less in line wi...
by Wolkenspiel
Mon Nov 24, 2014 6:53 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Making money/career in Trading
Replies: 25
Views: 2796

Re: Making money/career in Trading

Johno wrote:But bottom line, by far the easiest way to make money trading is to get a job doing it with OPM.


Using other people's money also means your "edge" can be in PR/salesmanship/obfuscation, rather than in actual trading. Much easier.
by Wolkenspiel
Mon Nov 24, 2014 6:46 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How to Plan for an Unknown Future
Replies: 23
Views: 2126

Re: How to Plan for an Unknown Future

What do you do? Just assume status quo (same tax rates, soc sec exists,...)? Assume worst case? Model 2,3, or 4 different scenarios? I don't think it makes much sense to plan for doomsday "worst case" scenarios (for every scenario your plan survives there will be N equally likely/unlikely...
by Wolkenspiel
Mon Nov 24, 2014 5:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 23 year old... Can I afford a Rolex?
Replies: 167
Views: 18154

Re: 23 year old... Can I afford a Rolex?

I bought a replica Rolex GMTII for ~$350. No one can tell the difference. Post some pictures of your fake, and I'm sure someone will be happy to dispel that notion. Without a clearer picture of the OPs finances and motivation, I don't see how one could give meaningful advice. Although I personally ...
by Wolkenspiel
Wed Nov 19, 2014 8:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Poll: Net cost of your checking account annually?
Replies: 44
Views: 4013

Re: Poll: Net cost of your checking account annually?

Fidelty's fine print reads as follows: Please note, there is a foreign transaction fee of one percent that is not waived, which will be included in the amount charged to your account. Fidelity's fine print does not match reality, based on my experience looking at exchange rates for the days I made ...
by Wolkenspiel
Wed Nov 19, 2014 6:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: how to make money like a billionaire
Replies: 116
Views: 16432

Re: how to make money like a billionaire

Real Estate is special because property values although can drop a lot will never go down to zero. land and buildings have inherent value in them. In the last three years I've travelled to downtown Detroit for some meeting each summer. Every year, some more blocks of apartment buildings have disapp...
by Wolkenspiel
Sat Nov 08, 2014 9:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Merc or BMW?
Replies: 60
Views: 7561

Re: Merc or BMW?

jsl11 wrote:
randomguy wrote: If quality is a major concern, it is pretty much Lexus and then everyone else.

This.
In addition, repairs and even routine maintenance for Merc and BMW can be very expensive.


Neglecting of course that maintenance if free on BMWs for the first four years.
by Wolkenspiel
Sat Nov 08, 2014 9:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Merc or BMW?
Replies: 60
Views: 7561

Re: Merc or BMW?

Louis Winthorpe III wrote:I thought I heard that Mercedes finished dead last among all brands in the most recent Consumer Reports quality ranking, but I'm not sure.


Well, you heard or thought wrong. Don't let that keep you from contributing further...
by Wolkenspiel
Sun Oct 26, 2014 1:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How often do you change your car's oil?
Replies: 168
Views: 14008

Re: How often do you change your car's oil?

I'm shocked that in a crowd that fights for the last fraction of a per mille on their investment expenses so many decide to waste money and time, unnecessarily consume resources and pollute the environment for evidently zero benefit. In Europe, where very few people lease their cars and hence have g...
by Wolkenspiel
Sun Oct 26, 2014 12:23 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What funds are negatively correlated with stocks?
Replies: 24
Views: 3605

Re: What funds are negatively correlated with stocks?

ProShares Short S&P500 (SH) or if you want stronger negative correlation: ProShares UltraPro Short Dow30 (SDOW) I believe parsi1 is telling a joke with a straight face. That joke went over my head. OP wants a hedge. These are hedges. Trivially anti-correlated, yes, but not a good hedge if the e...
by Wolkenspiel
Sun Oct 26, 2014 7:04 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I use 50k Delta miles for a $600 flight?
Replies: 73
Views: 5223

Re: Should I use 50k Delta miles for a $600 flight?

I usually use my AA miles on flights to east asia, particularly including a JAL direct Boston-Tokyo flight. Economy tickets for that flight cost about $2k roundtrip or 70k miles, so close to 3cent per mile. I think 50k miles for a $600 ticket is not a good deal. Of course nominally you'll get the be...
by Wolkenspiel
Thu Oct 23, 2014 6:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Gross Yearly Income needed in Retirement (Speculation)
Replies: 159
Views: 14389

Re: Gross Yearly Income needed in Retirement (Speculation)

How are people coming up with these numbers? 90K? 120k? Even $180k??? What kinds of savings rate does one need to take $100k/year in retirement? It seems unattainable without a two income high earning (physician level +) people. $100k/year retirement household income doesn't seem that far-fetched. ...
by Wolkenspiel
Sun Oct 19, 2014 6:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone cancelling travel plans?
Replies: 117
Views: 6798

Re: Anyone cancelling travel plans?

I'm going to be on four international flights in the next 7 days. I'm mostly worry about some fat guy sitting next to me and spilling over in my seat.

Go to advanced search