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by bberris
Thu May 21, 2015 7:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Don't come to Europe with a new chip and sign credit card
Replies: 55
Views: 7838

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

One thing about the Signature vs Pin decision that the credit card companies don't often mention is that the merchant fees for signature based transactions are often higher then Pin based transactions. I am pretty sure that was one of the reasons for not going chip and pin. I am pretty sure you are...
by bberris
Sat May 16, 2015 10:17 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Saltless Water Conditioning or Descaler
Replies: 3
Views: 277

Re: Saltless Water Conditioning or Descaler

I wouldn't call it sludge. The effluent from regeneration is a concentrated sodium chloride solution, maybe 10 gal. I think most people do this once a week. I can't imagine what problem this could cause in a sewer.
by bberris
Thu May 14, 2015 3:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Contingent Offer
Replies: 13
Views: 1509

Re: Contingent Offer

This contingency is essentially a free option to buy your house for 90 days. If they decide to buy a different house, they can refuse every offer on their own. Just say no.
by bberris
Fri Apr 10, 2015 8:41 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Cash out pre-IPO for 5%?
Replies: 8
Views: 1220

Re: Cash out pre-IPO for 5%?

Be very careful here. What if you end up owing the "upside" as a cash settlement but can't sell your shares? (because they are unregistered, or an obligation to continue owning, or some other). Also, you might be in a conflict of interest situation with your employer, since you are conside...
by bberris
Sun Apr 05, 2015 4:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Snorkeling in South Florida
Replies: 4
Views: 490

Re: Snorkeling in South Florida

+1 for Pennekamp.
Depending on the conditions, you might get good fish viewing right at the swimming beach. There are lots of snorkeling tour operators in the Keys.
by bberris
Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:22 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: My Lucky [Trading] Friend
Replies: 13
Views: 2005

Re: My Lucky [Trading] Friend

I have never been to a Gambler's Anonymous meeting, but I'm guessing they begin this way: I am addicted to gambling. It started when I won a few bucks ...
by bberris
Mon Mar 23, 2015 11:12 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Legal for Doctor to Cover Insurance Co-pay?
Replies: 40
Views: 3170

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

And if the patient can't pay the deductible? How much hell should the doc put the patient through in order for it not to be fraud? For office visits, If they can't pay the deductible then they come back when they can pay in my office. I'm not buying their care for them. Who else here buys their goo...
by bberris
Mon Mar 23, 2015 7:41 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any situations car leasing makes sense?
Replies: 63
Views: 5970

Re: Any situations car leasing makes sense?

Thanks to all of you for your dedication in helping people make wise investment decisions. You have certainly helped us by reading all your posts. I was just wondering if it ever makes financial sense to lease a car. My understanding is that for people who want/need a new car every few years, this ...
by bberris
Sat Mar 21, 2015 4:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Legal for Doctor to Cover Insurance Co-pay?
Replies: 40
Views: 3170

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

And if the patient can't pay the deductible? How much hell should the doc put the patient through in order for it not to be fraud?
by bberris
Fri Mar 20, 2015 3:16 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Equity Indexed Annuities
Replies: 12
Views: 600

Re: Equity Indexed Annuities

Yes it is possible. Yes there are no fees. In the same way, there are no fees to buy an apple. The seller's profit margin is built-in. One of the previous posts described how you can do this yourself. Another simple way is to construct a t-bond portfolio and use the interest to buy index call option...
by bberris
Thu Mar 19, 2015 5:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Large Loan Debt, Need some advice
Replies: 24
Views: 1882

Re: Large Loan Debt, Need some advice

SkierMom wrote:
avenger wrote:That being said, I personally (barring any major capital gains) would use my taxable account to pay off some off some of the debt and make an effort to get that debt gone.


No way should the OP be doing this before getting married.


And get a prenup.
by bberris
Tue Mar 17, 2015 8:46 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Barron's article...Closed End Funds Advantage....
Replies: 13
Views: 1412

Re: Barron's article...Closed End Funds Advantage....

...... (I bought it as it was first offered to the public). It performed poorly and I finally sold the dumb thing. I called it "Global Disaster", I think the fund was called Global Health. ..... I would be interested to read others experience. Your experience was colored because you viola...
by bberris
Fri Mar 13, 2015 9:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Yet Another Roth/Trad 401K Thread
Replies: 15
Views: 1436

Re: Yet Another Roth/Trad 401K Thread

Maybe we are venturing into verboten territory, but this speculation about future tax rates in the Roth/Trad decision involves also a speculation as to what will be taxed heavily in the future (assuming you think there will be high taxes on something or someone in the future). It might not be income...
by bberris
Wed Mar 11, 2015 11:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What are some common misconceptions found in this forum?
Replies: 209
Views: 18742

Re: What are some common misconceptions found in this forum?

Roth accounts are better than tax deductible because of the power of compounding.
Car leases are always a bad deal.
Its better to pledge your house for a loan than to pledge your car.
by bberris
Tue Mar 10, 2015 12:40 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How many really understand how investing works?
Replies: 37
Views: 3312

Re: How many really understand how investing works?

You can buy an airplane ticket without knowing how an airplane flies.
by bberris
Fri Mar 06, 2015 2:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Higher Downpayment a Good Idea?
Replies: 33
Views: 3314

Re: Higher Downpayment a Good Idea?

bertie wooster wrote:Get the nicer house - you won't regret it.

As for your friend, putting more money down significantly reduces the risk of your mortgage being underwater. I don't think his argument holds much merit.

Tell me about the risk of being underwater. There are no margin calls.
by bberris
Fri Mar 06, 2015 10:16 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Negative bond yields
Replies: 25
Views: 2455

Re: Negative bond yields

Remember when banks used to charge fees for checking? Better get used to it.
A negative yield on a govt bond is the same deal. Govt bonds are the govt savings accounts. And I second the previous answer that govt bonds are needed for collateral on derivatives.
by bberris
Tue Mar 03, 2015 8:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Rich dad, poor dad
Replies: 31
Views: 4292

Re: Rich dad, poor dad

Is there someone you really hate that you could give the book to?
by bberris
Sun Mar 01, 2015 8:19 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Citibank Structured Notes
Replies: 3
Views: 517

Re: Citibank Structured Notes

You do realize that these are essentially speculation on relative long and short term rates? The risk is not citigroup (not mainly anyway), the risk is changing relative rates. I didn't read enough to know the details, because I don't need to. But I know if they are paying you 10 % that these crap s...
by bberris
Sun Mar 01, 2015 7:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Small Principal High Rate Debt vs Very Large Principal Low R
Replies: 2
Views: 257

Re: Small Principal High Rate Debt vs Very Large Principal L

Those "many people" (Many, Louisiana?) are correct. While you would possible save more on interest cost in constant dollar terms paying down a long term note, those interest savings are far in the future. Those far-in-the-future dollars need to be discounted to the present day.
by bberris
Fri Feb 27, 2015 11:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Accident in Front Yard
Replies: 34
Views: 3261

Re: Car Accident in Front Yard

Am I right in assuming a tow truck took the car away? In Louisiana the tow truck is responsible for cleaning up the debris, but they usually don't.
by bberris
Mon Feb 23, 2015 7:27 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Employer 401ks with high fees
Replies: 5
Views: 542

Re: Employer 401ks with high fees

Strange that no one pays a fee for an IRA, with the same reporting and record keeping as a 401k which supposedly costs so much to run.
by bberris
Sat Feb 21, 2015 6:53 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Full Faith and Credit
Replies: 37
Views: 2688

Re: Full Faith and Credit

The US cannot default unless it wants to. I don't know how much comfort you take in that, but to me it means the US will never default. In other words, it always has the ability (but the remote possibility that it won't out of I-don't-know-what) to pay its due bills. They do this by changing numbers...
by bberris
Sun Feb 15, 2015 5:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Lexus NX Not an Economy Bargain
Replies: 38
Views: 3311

Re: New Lexus NX Not an Economy Bargain

I think perhaps you are missing the point of driving a luxury car.
by bberris
Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:12 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bill Gross majority shareholder in his own fund?
Replies: 20
Views: 1518

Re: Bill Gross majority shareholder in his own fund?

You guys are missing something. He pays the fund management fee to himself. Every other shareholder foots the bill. There is a huge conflict of interest here.
by bberris
Thu Feb 05, 2015 12:14 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Ultra-low or Negative Mortgage Rates and Retirement?
Replies: 1
Views: 309

Re: Ultra-low or Negative Mortgage Rates and Retirement?

They are probably offering teaser rates on a floating rate loan.
My guess is its just not true. What happened is that the index has gone below zero, but retail mortgages have a margin above the index.
This sound byte is a nothing burger.
by bberris
Sun Feb 01, 2015 8:09 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are car loans really that bad?
Replies: 86
Views: 7485

Re: Are car loans really that bad?

A loan is a loan. Whether you borrow money to buy a car, or a house you still owe the same amount of money. The only difference is the collateral for the loan, and that would only matter if you are in such severe default that they take the collateral. So the argument that borrowing against a car is ...
by bberris
Wed Jan 28, 2015 4:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Term Life - Return of Premium
Replies: 13
Views: 860

Re: Term Life - Return of Premium

It sure looks like whole life to me. It has a savings account built in. Its just that the return is 0 % on the savings part, and there is a severe penalty (100 %) for lapse. In return, the cost is not as high as "whole whole" life. It could be called "Half-Life".
by bberris
Wed Jan 28, 2015 6:26 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Need serious help regarding my company's retirement plan
Replies: 19
Views: 1651

Re: Need serious help regarding my company's retirement plan

Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. I don't really see much bad here; the fees are paid by the company. Remember that waiting til the end of the year means an average 6 mo delay; not really that significant. The main problem is that the investing is one-size fits all; not appropriate for...
by bberris
Tue Jan 27, 2015 1:32 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: TD Ameritrade HSA Options
Replies: 13
Views: 925

Re: TD Ameritrade HSA Options

I made one trade before I saw that you need to sign up. I signed up after, sent an email, and they refunded the commish.
by bberris
Thu Jan 22, 2015 6:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: $7 gas - what would you do?
Replies: 125
Views: 19105

Re: $7 gas - what would you do?

Try to stop taking hallucinogens.
by bberris
Sat Jan 17, 2015 2:50 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Dave Ramsey's bad advice at an all time high!
Replies: 40
Views: 6617

Re: Dave Ramsey's bad advice at an all time high!

This may come as a surprise to you, but Dave is in it for the money. and Vanguard is not? I've got a bridge to sell you. It's true that Vanguard is the low-cost provider, so is Wal-Mart, you think Wal-Mart is in it to be nice? How about any other low-cost providers (insert here). We are a capitalis...
by bberris
Fri Jan 16, 2015 5:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Inflation-Indexing Wish List
Replies: 12
Views: 948

Re: Inflation-Indexing Wish List

The thresholds for taxation of social security benefits.. but don't hold your breath for this one. The trust fund needs all it can get. Do ordinary income taxes go into the SS Trust Fund? I thought only SS taxes did, and only when there's a surplus (as was designed in with the 1983 rescue), setting...
by bberris
Sat Jan 10, 2015 8:03 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Vanguard Group execs say deflation a real risk..."
Replies: 61
Views: 6472

Re: "Vanguard Group execs say deflation a real risk..."

To really bet on deflation, 30 year zero coupon treasuries are your chip.
by bberris
Fri Jan 09, 2015 6:17 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: I see rental properties as bonds. Am I completely off base?
Replies: 28
Views: 2516

Re: I see rental properties as bonds. Am I completely off b

These posts are all of a pattern:

My (job, social security, dividend stocks, rental property, house I live in, trust fund ...) pay like bonds. Interest rates have to go up.

Really if you don't want to own bonds no one is forcing you. But don't delude yourself into this kind of thinking.
by bberris
Mon Dec 29, 2014 8:07 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What's Driving LT Treasuries This Year?
Replies: 17
Views: 1954

Re: What's Driving LT Treasuries This Year?

Rate hikes have been imminent for the last 4 years. I have a feeling they will continue to be imminent as long as I live and then some.
by bberris
Sat Dec 27, 2014 9:49 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Boglehead theory on p2p lending?
Replies: 53
Views: 7885

Re: Boglehead theory on p2p lending?

Besides, I already use an index-like strategy for P2P lending. You mentioned buying shares of a particular type or class of loan. My (simplified) filters invest me into borrowers with 110k+ income and who are refinancing debt. I have been buying every single note that fits this criteria for the pas...
by bberris
Thu Dec 25, 2014 2:43 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Corperate Bonds vs Muni Bonds (for short term Roth account)
Replies: 10
Views: 1352

Re: Corperate Bonds vs Muni Bonds (for short term Roth accou

There are taxable muni bonds and bond funds (build america bonds) and you are allowed to put them in a tax deferred account. Also you are allowed to put tax free bonds in a sheltered account but it's not advisable.
by bberris
Wed Dec 24, 2014 8:21 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Travel Insurance
Replies: 30
Views: 3187

Re: Travel Insurance

Maybe you are already insured and don't realize it. Did you check your credit card benefits? Mine covers up to $10,000. I'm pretty sure that usually only covers stuff like the tour gets cancelled or interrupted. Not that you need to renege because your elderly parent is in the hospital. Chase Sapph...
by bberris
Sun Dec 21, 2014 2:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Travel Insurance
Replies: 30
Views: 3187

Re: Travel Insurance

Maybe you are already insured and don't realize it. Did you check your credit card benefits? Mine covers up to $10,000.
by bberris
Mon Dec 15, 2014 1:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Foreign tax credit if I sell?
Replies: 14
Views: 1430

Re: Foreign tax credit if I sell?

If you are thinking of hanging on just to get the foreign tax credit, don't. Lets assume $51 NAV and a $3 dividend soon. After the dividend, you will have a $48 NAV, $2 in cash, and a $1 tax credit. Still $51.
by bberris
Thu Dec 11, 2014 10:13 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: An interesting way I just thought about debt
Replies: 18
Views: 2775

Re: An interesting way I just thought about debt

There's nothing special about spending on your debt service. Whether you spend the money on debt service for your previous consumption, or spend it today for current consumption makes no difference in after tax terms. All of your expenses are after tax. So if you go out to eat and pay the $100 bill ...
by bberris
Tue Dec 09, 2014 8:07 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bond fund that pays no taxable interest?
Replies: 12
Views: 1547

Re: Bond fund that pays no taxable interest?

A CEF (and open end fund as well) has to follow certain rules to be a pass-through entity. If they retain taxable earnings, you and irs get a form imputing the income to you. Very few CEFs do that, I remember it happening only with capital gains. A fund that holds taxable instruments will either pay...
by bberris
Sun Dec 07, 2014 9:45 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Zion National Park
Replies: 16
Views: 1267

Re: Zion National Park

I don't see why you would need a guide. There are probably significant restrictions on guiding in the park. The best hike ever, I have done it twice is orderville canyon. Park at the visitor center, get a permit the day before, and hire a shuttle service (their cards are next to the permit desk) to ...
by bberris
Sun Dec 07, 2014 8:22 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dealing with unauthorized (lawyer) bill
Replies: 61
Views: 9975

Re: Dealing with unauthorized (lawyer) bill

Phone? And miss two pages of deliberately obfuscated threads? What would be the point of that?
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: 75
Views: 10868

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
Tue Nov 18, 2014 2:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vacation in France
Replies: 96
Views: 12538

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 11:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage Fraud-People take out mortgage on YOUR property???
Replies: 8
Views: 2234

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
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: 4635

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
Sat Nov 15, 2014 6:43 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Can active funds reliably beat the index? Actually, Yes.
Replies: 41
Views: 8018

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!

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