Search found 496 matches

by Wolkenspiel
Wed Sep 02, 2015 12:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chip credit cards, do I need to get a PIN?
Replies: 38
Views: 2033

Re: Chip credit cards, do I need to get a PIN?

VictoriaF wrote:Do all unattended stations accept cash? I always carry with me plenty of cash and bring the leftovers home for the next trip.


In Switzerland and Italy they generally accept cash, in France I have seen many that don't (and also don't accept non-Chip&PIN US cards).
by Wolkenspiel
Wed Sep 02, 2015 12:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chip credit cards, do I need to get a PIN?
Replies: 38
Views: 2033

Re: Chip credit cards, do I need to get a PIN?

The vast majority of Chipped cards in the US are Chip and Signature. If you get a PIN it is only used for cash advances at ATMs. If you get overseas to a kiosk or place that actually requires an offline Chip & PIN it probably won't work even with that PIN that you set. That is not correct. I re...
by Wolkenspiel
Mon Aug 03, 2015 7:04 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Enough is enough
Replies: 51
Views: 15327

Re: Enough -- by Jack Bogle

I'm re-reading it. Page XX, in the introduction Mr. Bogle states, that David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital, claims our .gov has changed the way it calculates inflation several times over the last 35 yrs. "Using the pre-1980-methoed {inflation} would be over 9%, compared to about 2% in the offi...
by Wolkenspiel
Wed Jul 15, 2015 10:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: I have a dilemma? Should I provide a concession?
Replies: 20
Views: 2846

Re: I have a dilemma? Should I provide a concession?

I got some feedback today from the property manager regarding reimbursement and it appears that is not an option. I was told the HOA wants to hire their own personnel and will complete the project in Aug/Sept. Since the buyers want the floors fixed or a concession by next week it appears I will hav...
by Wolkenspiel
Wed Jul 15, 2015 9:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Need to Refi 1st Mortgage but under water $110k
Replies: 27
Views: 2367

Re: Need to Refi 1st Mortgage but under water $110k

Lets look at some numbers. $723000 * 0.055 / 12 = $3314 $223000 * 0.0275 / 12 = $511 Total Payment = $3825/month Gross Income = $180000 / 12 = $15000/month Approx Net Income = $15000 * 2/3 = $10000/month Net income - mortgage = $6175 With a net income of $10000/month, I'm wondering why you can't ma...
by Wolkenspiel
Sun Jul 12, 2015 8:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Selling a used car
Replies: 27
Views: 2264

Re: Selling a used car

We sold a car a year ago. Took some decent photos, posted ads on cars.com and craigslist, using a throwaway email address and phone number. We priced the car at the low end of the cars.com asking prices, and sold it within a couple of days. Sale was closed and money wired at our local BoA branch. Ov...
by Wolkenspiel
Fri Jul 10, 2015 11:38 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Does Anyone Plan to Work Past 70 years of Age
Replies: 63
Views: 5934

Re: Does Anyone Plan to Work Past 70 years of Age

I worked to age 70, then retired in good health and good financial shape. It never really occurred to me to retire early, i.e., 50's or early 60's. In my line of work (college professor), very few people retire early. We have our own research agendas as well as good job security once we achieve ten...
by Wolkenspiel
Wed Jul 08, 2015 11:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: No dipstick on a new Audi engine!?!!
Replies: 73
Views: 7424

Re: No dipstick on a new Audi engine!?!!

Some of the reflexive luxury/German car bashing is as tiring as it is unhelpful - no, it doesn't have a dipstick - yes, there is an electronic oil-level measurement - yes, some of the modern engines are prone to using some oil between oil changes - no, it shouldn't end up in a puddle on your drivewa...
by Wolkenspiel
Wed Jul 08, 2015 11:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is it a good idea to travel to Western Europe with kids?
Replies: 39
Views: 2374

Re: Is it a good idea to travel to Western Europe with kids?

We took our daughter (now 4) to Asia every year to visit our family. I understand that some people may say that it is a waste to travel with young kids because they don't remember and may not appreciate as much. But I disagree. I think you are paying for the experience as a family. To help them gai...
by Wolkenspiel
Mon Jun 29, 2015 10:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travel to Greece
Replies: 58
Views: 4956

Re: Travel to Greece

If you want to go to Greece, I'd recommend gobs and gobs of US dollar singles. Stuff your pants, as it were. Have you ever traveled outside of the US? You might want to try some time. To the OP:I would not cancel a Greek trip planned for later this year. Maybe bring some more cash (Euros...) than I...
by Wolkenspiel
Tue Jun 23, 2015 7:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Convince me not to buy Porsche
Replies: 190
Views: 16150

Re: Convince me not to buy Porsche

I spent a lot of money on cars in my 20's and 30's, and unlike the dire predictions from the lovely fellows here, haven't come to regret it. I have extremely fond memories of a few years in a Lotus Elise, about as un-Boglehead as they come. HOWEVER, I think borrowing a significant amount of money fo...
by Wolkenspiel
Wed Jun 03, 2015 1:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?
Replies: 54
Views: 4664

Re: Macbook Air: Spend $ on RAM or Faster Intel HD Graphics?

In the last weeks I upgraded my 2012 Mac mini and my wife's Macbook pro from 4GB to 16GB RAM - the difference is night and day. Go for 8GB.

Edit: Neither of these machines is used for any particularly computing-intensive tasks, and still the improvement was striking.
by Wolkenspiel
Tue Jun 02, 2015 4:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Citizenship and Social Security
Replies: 7
Views: 838

Re: Citizenship and Social Security

While you wait for a definitive answer, you could play with this tool:
http://www.ssa.gov/international/paymen ... ideUS.html
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: 91
Views: 6875

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: 91
Views: 6875

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: 91
Views: 6875

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: 40
Views: 2865

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: 91
Views: 6875

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: 91
Views: 6875

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: 23
Views: 1898

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: 1876

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: 3446

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: 127
Views: 11156

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: 127
Views: 11156

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: 127
Views: 11156

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: 127
Views: 11156

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: 557

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: 3728

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: 62
Views: 10917

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: 9781

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: 1018

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: 20072

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: 4906

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: 20072

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: 17921

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: 9287

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: 9287

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: 15860

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: 1158

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: 4160

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: 4160

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: 4160

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: 4160

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: 2891

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: 9252

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: 7770

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: 945
Views: 197879

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: 10422

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: 17139

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: 17139

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 ...

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