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Re: Does investing in a 401k actually save any money?

The answer is yes for most people, but it depends. The big benefit is that you contribute at your marginal rate, probably 25 % or higher, but your withdrawals will be at least partially tax free (personal exemptions + standard deduction) and low tax 15 % bracket to 73,000. So lower taxes in retireme...
by bberris
Fri Nov 21, 2014 10:32 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Does investing in a 401k actually save any money?
Replies: 62
Views: 5752

Re: Vacation in France

Money can buy happiness, but you have to spend it. Accumulating wealth is not an end in itself.
by bberris
Tue Nov 18, 2014 2:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vacation in France
Replies: 96
Views: 5024

Re: Mortgage Fraud-People take out mortgage on YOUR property

Suspicious activity does not equal fraud. Maybe the suspicious people have just become more suspicious. Most mortgage fraud involves buyers or refinancers inflating their income and property values. Anyway, wouldn't the bank be the loser in this fraud? It seems pretty easy to prove that you are stil...
by bberris
Tue Nov 18, 2014 11:50 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage Fraud-People take out mortgage on YOUR property???
Replies: 8
Views: 1698

Re: Investing in Chocolate? New to all of this.. need help.

Investing in chocolate! Great. At least this isn't another Tesla thread.
by bberris
Mon Nov 17, 2014 7:47 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Investing in Chocolate? New to all of this.. need help.
Replies: 23
Views: 2416

Re: Can active funds reliably beat the index? Actually, Yes

I am reminded of my engineer colleague who found that his three experiments would precisely fit to a quadratic equation. With zero error!
by bberris
Sat Nov 15, 2014 6:43 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Can active funds reliably beat the index? Actually, Yes.
Replies: 37
Views: 4770

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Oryx and Crake series by Margaret Atwood. She disclaims that they are sci fi, but I think she really means they are not space-opera.
by bberris
Thu Nov 13, 2014 5:55 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Good Modern Science Fiction
Replies: 138
Views: 6923

Re: 22, I want to be rich, looking for a high reward fund

The consumer solar energy market is an uneconomical boondogle driven by two things: government and regulation. OK, thats one thing. If the government pulls the rug out, all these companies are busted. Costs of solar power have been plummeting. Is this due to government and regulation? If so, it's a...
by bberris
Sat Nov 08, 2014 8:40 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 22, I want to be rich, looking for a high reward fund
Replies: 67
Views: 6230

Re: 22, I want to be rich, looking for a high reward fund

The consumer solar energy market is an uneconomical boondogle driven by two things: government and regulation. OK, thats one thing. If the government pulls the rug out, all these companies are busted.
by bberris
Sat Nov 08, 2014 7:16 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 22, I want to be rich, looking for a high reward fund
Replies: 67
Views: 6230

Re: Company stock

Well you know your company better than us. If I worked for Exxon, I would take advantage of that offer, assuming it was a smallish portion of my portfolio.
by bberris
Wed Nov 05, 2014 9:42 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Company stock
Replies: 9
Views: 941

Re: Photos from my recent bicycle ride across Wales

Beautiful photos.

It reminds me of visiting Cheptstow castle a few years ago. There was some kind of reenactment going on with people dressed up as medieval knights and monks. One of the monks was talking on his iphone.
by bberris
Mon Nov 03, 2014 5:38 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Photos from my recent bicycle ride across Wales
Replies: 16
Views: 1696

Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

They don't make money off of you. They make money off of folks who don't use their features as wisely as you do. Furthermore, they prevent the competition from having your money. I agree. I've had a $100K Merrill Edge account for a couple of months, filled with a handful of ETFs I never trade. For ...
by bberris
Sun Nov 02, 2014 8:56 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards
Replies: 33
Views: 2018

Re: RBD for Gold Miners

RBD's for gold miners are RGDs for the rest of us. I realize that some people work in the industry but what does it really accomplish for society?
They dig dirt out of the ground, extract gold with cyanide, melt the gold into bars, and then return the bars to a different hole in the ground.
by bberris
Fri Oct 31, 2014 5:19 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: RBD for Gold Miners
Replies: 12
Views: 1563

Re: Airline Ticket Price Differences

Did you actually click through to buy the ticket? Try it on Orbitz. You get to the final page and they say "the price is now $135 more than it was 2 minutes ago." I don't believe an agent can get you cheaper tickets than the airline. The OLTAs may be able to show you some more flights than...
by bberris
Mon Oct 27, 2014 6:51 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Airline Ticket Price Differences
Replies: 6
Views: 1048

Re: Lump Sum vs Pension

You can check the websites to price an annuity with the lump. I'll give you 10:1 that you are better off continuing to take the pension.
by bberris
Sun Oct 26, 2014 6:31 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Lump Sum vs Pension
Replies: 15
Views: 1482

Re: What funds are negatively correlated with stocks?

nisiprius wrote:
parsi1 wrote: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.
by bberris
Sat Oct 25, 2014 7:47 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What funds are negatively correlated with stocks?
Replies: 24
Views: 3038

Re: Athens and London, what to do and where to stay?

I loved using audio walking guides. There were a great series of these from Robert Wright, available for free. but sadly gone now. I wish I could find the files!
Here is something similar, that I haven't done yet:

http://www.theguardian.com/books/audio/ ... heart-city
by bberris
Sat Oct 25, 2014 10:34 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Athens and London, what to do and where to stay?
Replies: 36
Views: 2050

Re: How does one hedge against deflation?

But it *is* a contradiction to say there could be prolonged deflation and no impairment of government debt quality, also starting with today's high debt load and already slow growth... With Japan's decades-long struggle with deflation and many large European countries poised on the brink of deflati...
by bberris
Wed Oct 22, 2014 7:12 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How does one hedge against deflation?
Replies: 52
Views: 4126

Re: Debit Card was hacked. Should I just use cash from now

Who is going to cover your losses if the cash in your wallet gets "hacked".
by bberris
Sat Oct 18, 2014 4:48 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Debit Card was hacked. Should I just use cash from now on?
Replies: 56
Views: 3927

Re: Former employee patent compensation

You won't get it unless you ask. Negotiate a contract, keep track of your hours, and send a bill every month.
by bberris
Fri Oct 17, 2014 5:57 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Former employee patent compensation
Replies: 5
Views: 718

Re: Young Professional Looking to Consciously Invest

I would (and do) go with the standard pretax 401k with a 31 % marginal tax rate.
by bberris
Thu Oct 16, 2014 2:20 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Young Professional Looking to Consciously Invest
Replies: 7
Views: 1183

Re: Index usage error in Mortgage Document.

cheese_breath wrote:
LongerPrimer wrote:This carp needs to end.

Yes. There's definitely something fishy going on here.

Good catch!
by bberris
Wed Oct 15, 2014 6:05 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Index usage error in Mortgage Document.
Replies: 13
Views: 745

Re: First RMD Divisor - 27.4 or 26.5

Thanks all for the help. It looks like a person only has to know their birth date to determine their first RMD Divisor. With the time value of money, it's not clear if the two groups are treated equally. Those born July through December get to wait until age 71 to take their first RMD. As if that w...
by bberris
Tue Oct 14, 2014 9:00 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: First RMD Divisor - 27.4 or 26.5
Replies: 11
Views: 1105

Re: Securities lending

You didn't say whether this was in a taxable account or not. If you lend securities, the dividend payments become "in lieu" of dividends and they are ordinary income, not qualified for the reduced dividend tax rate. So I would say pass if this is a taxable account. If its an IRA, the borro...
by bberris
Mon Oct 13, 2014 8:33 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Securities lending
Replies: 16
Views: 1283

Re: Need Help Responding to Debt Collector (for invalid requ

You need to write a dispute letter. Directions here: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/writing-your-debt-collection-dispute-letter.html Great article bberis. Thanks for the link. I'll put it together tonight, and let you all know how it goes. :sharebeer Your welcome. Also, be sure to follow the...
by bberris
Mon Oct 13, 2014 4:49 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need Help Responding to Debt Collector (for invalid request)
Replies: 11
Views: 1013

Re: What to do about my wash sale

I just gave a simple and obvious example. Whatever rules they come up with, someone would find a way around it. Maybe IRS says you can't have offsetting positions. (I think that is current law.) Then someone would buy Delta and short American. They would be highly negatively correlated.
by bberris
Sat Oct 11, 2014 1:24 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What to do about my wash sale
Replies: 22
Views: 967

Re: What to do about my wash sale

The $3000 max deduction for capital losses... That's another one I've always wondered about. Why $3000 and why independent of tax bracket and stays fixed every year? Some people will have loss carryforward for their entire life at that pace. Without that limit you could use offsetting positions to ...
by bberris
Sat Oct 11, 2014 12:02 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What to do about my wash sale
Replies: 22
Views: 967

Re: Lending club interest rate risk

Ganacel wrote:Would someone mind explaining exactly how this works?

A web site connects people who can't get a bank loan with people who would like to lend money to such.
by bberris
Fri Oct 10, 2014 7:44 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Lending club interest rate risk
Replies: 12
Views: 934

Re: Why Hold Cash in Retirement Account

Cash, or a bank balance, or short term tbills lower your risk. You might ask, why do people leverage their portfolio on margin? To increase the risk. Its about adjusting the portfolio to the risk level you say you want. (Which might also be the risk level you really want, but not necessarily.)
by bberris
Wed Oct 08, 2014 6:58 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why Hold Cash in Retirement Account
Replies: 21
Views: 1695

Re: Portfolio advice: US citizen expat in France

I'm curious about living in no state. Where are you registered to vote? If there was a state income tax there, they may try to tap you. I always thought the strategy was to "move" to a hotel room in Texas or Florida, get a driver's license and register to vote, and then move again.
by bberris
Tue Oct 07, 2014 7:11 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Portfolio advice: US citizen expat in France
Replies: 11
Views: 714

Re: Buffett Has 100% Equities in his Pensions Funds

To state the obvious, but I guess it must be said: A pension fund is not a person. A pension fund does not risk retirement when the market is down. It is diversified with respect to cash disbursement. And this is the problem with individual retirement accounts versus pension funds. Pensions are bett...
by bberris
Sun Oct 05, 2014 9:11 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Buffett Has 100% Equities in his Pensions Funds
Replies: 39
Views: 2809

Re: JPM Chase hacked

Chase website has a link to "Cybersecurity Tips". What next, dieting advice from Refrigerator Perry?
by bberris
Sun Oct 05, 2014 8:06 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: JPM Chase hacked
Replies: 13
Views: 1944

Re: Aspiring Personal Finance Advisor

Bonds? I don't want any bonds.
I just saw someone on CNBC. Sell everything.
Why aren't we fully invested?

I want some facebook, apple, tesla, gopro...


Are you ready for that?
by bberris
Thu Oct 02, 2014 5:52 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Aspiring Personal Finance Advisor
Replies: 8
Views: 1443

Re: Tell me about Paris

The thing about airbnb is how do we communicate with the host and meet up with them, because we arrive late in the evening. Plus, I have no clue how to use a phone there. What popular phone(s) work there, and what plan can you purchase for use over there? The AirBnB host will explain everything, an...
by bberris
Wed Oct 01, 2014 7:26 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tell me about Paris
Replies: 65
Views: 3795

Re: Tell me about Paris

You are looking at places that are kind of out there and it gets a little rough. Clignancourt has the big flea market which you might want to shop but I don't think you'd want to stay there. How about 14th?
by bberris
Wed Oct 01, 2014 12:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tell me about Paris
Replies: 65
Views: 3795

Re: Chase Ultimate Rewards Program

For maximum flexibility keep your points as UR until you want to fly. They transfer instantly to United or British Airways. I use BA points (avios) to fly domestic American airlines flights, which is a really good deal. United has good availability for flights to Europe for 60000 miles.
by bberris
Sat Sep 27, 2014 5:24 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chase Ultimate Rewards Program
Replies: 27
Views: 12332

Re: Time to go back to cash and ditch the Credit Card?

If there is a security breach of the cash in my wallet, I'm SOL. If there is a security breach of my credit card, I haven't lost anything.
by bberris
Thu Sep 25, 2014 12:43 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Time to go back to cash and ditch the Credit Card?
Replies: 39
Views: 3374

Re: Where does money come from?

You are confusing money with wealth. Wealth can be all kinds of assets. Money is a medium of exchange. An economy can get wealthier even with the same amount of money.
Strictly speaking money is created by bank loans and federal government deficit spending.
by bberris
Mon Sep 22, 2014 9:13 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Where does money come from?
Replies: 4
Views: 749

Re: Why is there no mutual fund that truly behaves like rent

Because with a mutual fund you can withdraw your cash in three days. It takes months to sell a house and the transaction costs are huge. That could lead to a cash crunch. You want a reit as others have pointed out. But they are not mutual funds and they are not forced to cash you out, you can only s...
by bberris
Sat Sep 20, 2014 1:44 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why is there no mutual fund that truly behaves like rental?
Replies: 36
Views: 3195

Re: Learning a NEW language - Foreign Service Inst

duolingo
Free smartphone app
Research shows it's better than rosetta stone.
by bberris
Sun Sep 14, 2014 7:11 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Learning a NEW language - Foreign Service Inst
Replies: 37
Views: 2526

Re: 401(k) 20% Mandatory Tax Withholding

Only rollover distributions have mandatory withholding. For regular distributions, if you file the w-4p form with the trustee, you can have withholding at any rate you want, including 0. This is for both 401k and IRA. IRS says: Withholding on Periodic Payments Generally, periodic payments are pensio...
by bberris
Sat Sep 13, 2014 7:23 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 401(k) 20% Mandatory Tax Withholding
Replies: 24
Views: 2013

Re: Future direction of U.S. stock market

It goes up all the time, except when it goes down. It rarely stays the same.
by bberris
Wed Sep 10, 2014 7:43 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Future direction of U.S. stock market
Replies: 23
Views: 2346

Re: invest in this 401K or not

Since the job is temporary, don't fret the fees. It looks like it costs less than a big mac per month. Contribute what you can, put it in the lowest fee available (maybe stable value, bank account, or money fund). Roll it over to an IRA when you leave.
by bberris
Wed Sep 10, 2014 10:52 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: invest in this 401K or not
Replies: 22
Views: 1116

Re: Injury on MBTA: Financially worth it to hire an attorney

Wait, your friend was injured, but you want a lawyer?
Loss of consortium?
by bberris
Sun Sep 07, 2014 1:23 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Injury on MBTA: Financially worth it to hire an attorney?
Replies: 27
Views: 2094

Re: Paying back my 401K loan: Am I thinking correctly?

Question 1: Does the repayment get allocated based on my fund contribution breakdown? Yes. Question 2: Very obvious but I'd like someone to spell it out for me ---> With the market at an all time high, I'm most likely repurchasing stock at a higher price than when I sold it to take out the loan, co...
by bberris
Fri Sep 05, 2014 5:25 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Paying back my 401K loan: Am I thinking correctly?
Replies: 8
Views: 715

Re: chip credit cards

The chip-and-sig cards still have a magnetic stripe, so they are still clonable and hackable. The chip might make it easier to use outside the US. Chip and pin may be more secure in person. Does nothing for internet fraud. I am not understanding all the gnashing of teeth here over fraud. It doesn't ...
by bberris
Thu Sep 04, 2014 5:27 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: chip credit cards
Replies: 25
Views: 1652

Re: Variable annuity 100k in fees help (UPDATE)

Please don't leave this guy. We need the laughs. Got any more good ones?
by bberris
Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:16 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Variable annuity 100k in fees help (UPDATE)
Replies: 45
Views: 3310

Re: Trip to the Caribbean - Suggestions

I'll chime in with a couple good points about my home Island of Aruba - it's very easy to get around, and it is VERY safe, especially compared to the rest of the Caribbean Natalee Holloway. I have two reasons not to go to LA. Ron Goldman and Nicole Simpson. Actually three, it's not easy to get arou...
by bberris
Sun Aug 31, 2014 4:09 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Trip to the Caribbean - Suggestions
Replies: 39
Views: 2794

Re: The Power of Zero: Controversial New Book About Taxes

Wouldn't politicians rather choose the hidden tax method -- i.e. inflation -- rather than outright taxes? That seems rather more likely to me. Inflation is like a tax on savers because it reduces their spending power. But it's not a tax on everyone. It's a benefit for debtors. Since every dollar is...
by bberris
Sat Aug 30, 2014 12:04 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Power of Zero: [Book and tax planning for retirement]
Replies: 52
Views: 5716

Re: What if there were only index funds?

It's not going to happen. When indexing gets too big, active investors will be able to pick off a few bucks from indexers. Then that will attract more active managers. Then they won't be able to outperform the index anymore. We will just get to an equilibrium point where active management is just ma...
by bberris
Sun Aug 24, 2014 4:58 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What if there were only index funds?
Replies: 23
Views: 2330
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