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Re: Are SPIA's fairly priced? - A quick and dirty analysis

If there were a company created with truly mutual ownership, like Vanguard, that was entirely focused on selling SPIA's at cost, perhaps the price would fall. Well, of course it would - there's that gain the ins cos. are "exacting", net costs. But, how much it would fall, would be interes...
by cbeck
Sun Sep 21, 2014 3:52 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Are SPIA's fairly priced? - A quick and dirty analysis
Replies: 75
Views: 3631

Re: Are SPIA's fairly priced? - A quick and dirty analysis

Well the problem actually becomes is that IF they are wrong about their assumptions (such as the longevity) then the risk will get transferred back to you since an insurance company's guarantee is only as good as their ability to pay the claim. If everyone starts living to be 200 then they arent go...
by cbeck
Sun Sep 21, 2014 3:49 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Are SPIA's fairly priced? - A quick and dirty analysis
Replies: 75
Views: 3631

Re: Are SPIA's fairly priced? - A quick and dirty analysis

The OP's analysis fails in the most fundamental aspect: he has converted a problem with a crucial unknown, actual individual lifespan, into a problem that ignores this aspect completely, a fixed period annuity or mortgage. If we actually knew how long we will live, then financial planning would be p...
by cbeck
Sat Sep 20, 2014 12:37 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Are SPIA's fairly priced? - A quick and dirty analysis
Replies: 75
Views: 3631

Re: Travel Insurance for a "trip of a lifetime"

I have never bought travel insurance. The risk of medical evacuation would be worth insuring against if it can be purchased as a stand-alone item. However, in my opnion, insuring the costs of the trip itself doesn't make sense. When we insure a house or a car we are insuring against the loss of the ...
by cbeck
Mon Sep 08, 2014 7:40 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travel Insurance for a "trip of a lifetime"
Replies: 36
Views: 2499

Re: Experience with Snapfon?

You might not be able to get her to wear it, but you can now buy wristwatches that accept SIM cards and offer one-button emergency calling (or any calling) along with GPS-provided location. http://www.amazon.com/Bracelet-Tracking-Quad-band-Handheld-Navigation/dp/B00HN02XEQ/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid...
by cbeck
Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:06 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Experience with Snapfon?
Replies: 3
Views: 732

Re: I am thinking of buying Ooma or Magicjack need help deci

In my experience, the bottleneck for VOIP is not only download/upload speed but also the latency. To get good quality, check the ping time to the VOIP provider IP address. 150ms is acceptable. Higher than that will cause problems in phone dialogue. My experience is that latency doesn't matter. I us...
by cbeck
Sun Jul 06, 2014 10:15 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: I am thinking of buying Ooma or Magicjack need help deciding
Replies: 52
Views: 3698

Re: US citizens abroad cannot invest through [Fidelity]

bpp wrote:
normaldude wrote:To be on the safe side, US citizen expats might need to use a US address (not PO box), US phone number, and US VPN.


...in order to attempt to conceal a false declaration?
That seems like an unusual definition of "safe."


What is false, illegal, or unethical about a mailing address?
by cbeck
Wed Jul 02, 2014 11:32 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: US citizens abroad cannot invest through [Fidelity]
Replies: 97
Views: 8450

Re: US citizens abroad cannot invest through [Fidelity]

normaldude wrote:So it's possible that Fidelity is merely targeting non-US citizens. Like someone who came to USA on a student visa or work visa, opened a Fidelity account, and then a few years later moved back to their home country.


Nope. I am a US citizen and they notified me.
by cbeck
Wed Jul 02, 2014 11:28 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: US citizens abroad cannot invest through [Fidelity]
Replies: 97
Views: 8450

Re: US citizens abroad cannot invest through a US brokerage

What if I already own the funds and then move abroad? Any difference between an IRA and a taxable account? This is probably more fallout from FATCA. :( It wouldn't matter if you moved after opening the accounts. In fact, if you already live abroad you would probably not be able to open an account w...
by cbeck
Wed Jul 02, 2014 9:12 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: US citizens abroad cannot invest through [Fidelity]
Replies: 97
Views: 8450

Re: I am thinking of buying Ooma or Magicjack need help deci

I bought Ooma. It did not work for me. It needs QoS to work properly. That is priority ordering of packets over the internet. Since I had A T&T DSL with a Gateway (combination of router and modem in one box), and it does not support QoS, the outgoing sound was bad. If you have a router that sup...
by cbeck
Wed Jul 02, 2014 9:00 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: I am thinking of buying Ooma or Magicjack need help deciding
Replies: 52
Views: 3698

Re: The Biology of Risk

cbeck, you're speaking to the choir. :happy Hey, risk is actually risky, and it's the reason why I never recommend 100% stock to anyone. The problem with selling in a greatly depressed market locks in losses and converts what Bernstein calls shallow risk into deep and permanent risk. I can say that...
by cbeck
Fri Jun 13, 2014 9:10 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Biology of Risk
Replies: 91
Views: 4705

Re: Annuitizing for retirement - what if the market is down?

However, SPIA rates at the date(s) of annuitization are also affected by current market conditions. The payout by the SPIA depend on the rates prevailing at the time, but those rates are only one factor in determining the payout. The other main factor is the mortality credit which is not affected b...
by cbeck
Fri Jun 13, 2014 12:21 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Annuitizing for retirement - what if the market is down?
Replies: 43
Views: 3986

Re: The Biology of Risk

Having said all this, I can say that investors can train and condition themselves to remain rational. It happened to me. I retired in 1998 and found the Bogleheads (diehards) in 1999. When the tech crash hit, I had an extremely hard time staying the course. I worried, I lost sleep, I got an upset s...
by cbeck
Fri Jun 13, 2014 12:09 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Biology of Risk
Replies: 91
Views: 4705

Re: A $1000 lesson on how manipulative salespeople can be?

I view nearly all salespeople as my enemies. My immediate goal in interacting with them is to break their script. They have strategies for manipulating me which includes getting me to say yes, making me feel like their "friend", creating a sense of urgency with a one-time price reduction, ...
by cbeck
Tue Jun 10, 2014 8:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: A $1000 lesson on how manipulative salespeople can be?
Replies: 107
Views: 17363

Re: Pre-nup at only $1M networth, do I need it?

I teach engineers about defective analogies. You don't have a relationship with an insurance company. Did you have a severance pay discussion at your hiring interview? There's a defective analogy right there. The relationship between a company doing a hiring interview and an interviewee is profound...
by cbeck
Mon May 26, 2014 9:30 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pre-nup at only $1M networth, do I need it?
Replies: 199
Views: 13020

Re: Death of co-worker

This discussion is a good example of availability bias. The OP has encountered an example of unexpected, early death in his workplace and he is making the mistake of overweighting that risk because it is available. The other side of the risk is people who are very old and have outlived their resourc...
by cbeck
Mon Mar 31, 2014 7:44 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Death of co-worker
Replies: 94
Views: 10280

Re: Is The US Stock Market Rigged? ~ 60 Minutes March 30, 20

I saw the 60 Minutes show. A good reason to use index funds and avoid market timing. The rapid traders were front running and skimming a little bit off of every trade made. Even if you held only index funds, you were still impacted, although the low turnover of index funds would lead to fewer trans...
by cbeck
Mon Mar 31, 2014 11:44 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 60 Minutes 3-30-14: Michael Lewis book "Flash Boys"
Replies: 70
Views: 3937

Re: Friend possibly victim of real estate dual agency

A fiduciary obligation would require that the agent not put his own interest before those of his client. RE agents do not have a fiduciary obligation to their clients in NY. In fact, few agency relationships of any kind are held to this very high standard. Brokerage firms were able to fend off attem...
by cbeck
Sat Mar 22, 2014 12:07 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Friend possibly victim of real estate dual agency
Replies: 27
Views: 2774

Re: Has anyone seen the Japanese Stock Market?

The economist that Paul Krugman recommends reading on the Japanese economy is Richard C. Koo. For instance, his book, "The Holy Grail of Macroeconomics: Lessons from Japan's Great Recession." http://www.amazon.com/The-Holy-Grail-Macroeconomics-Recession/dp/0470824948/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&...
by cbeck
Sat Feb 22, 2014 11:35 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Has anyone seen the Japanese Stock Market?
Replies: 73
Views: 6944

Re: Any less expensive sources for Lipitor?

[Medical claim (vitamin) removed by admin LadyGeek]
by cbeck
Sat Feb 08, 2014 9:50 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any less expensive sources for Lipitor?
Replies: 54
Views: 3521

Re: Movers in NYC?

flatratemovers.com Great company. They give you price and move you for that price. Used them several times including across the world. Good job every time.
by cbeck
Thu Feb 06, 2014 6:14 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Movers in NYC?
Replies: 6
Views: 578

Re: The inevitability of rising inflation--is it so?

After 30 years without high inflation and in the midst of a global economic slowdown where deflation remains the greater risk, you have to wonder what does it take for people to stop being afraid of inflation? http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-NQAuKUEl4Y0/T3EjXaTS-2I/AAAAAAAABUQ/k21b2SrBnZQ/s320/U.S.+Yearly...
by cbeck
Tue Dec 31, 2013 8:27 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The inevitability of rising inflation--is it so?
Replies: 130
Views: 7616

Re: Target Credit/Debit Card Hacks - what to do?

I give up. As a consumer, why do people care so much about this? Over 10 years, I have had fraudulent charges a handful of times and it took about 30 seconds on my CC's website to mark them as fraudulent and that was it. This thread is not far off from someone suggesting to wear a tin foil hat. I a...
by cbeck
Sat Dec 28, 2013 2:06 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Target Credit/Debit Card Hacks - what to do?
Replies: 94
Views: 6844

Re: Shorting your own employer

I am youngish (29) and I work in the software industry. Right now this is a hot field and pay is accordingly quite good. However, I have concerns that this won't always be the case and this industry in particular has had dramatic ups and down over the last 20 years. I was in a similar position when...
by cbeck
Tue Dec 24, 2013 9:44 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Shorting your own employer
Replies: 48
Views: 3656

Re: NC Introduces "Flat Tax"

NC is estentially putting a 5.8% flat tax on all income and only allowing for exemptions based on mortgage interest and propety taxes. Gone are personal exemptions and the such. The goal is to move to a consumption-based tax structure in the long term. Sounds confused. A tax (flat or otherwise) on ...
by cbeck
Tue Dec 17, 2013 1:20 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: NC Introduces "Flat Tax"
Replies: 26
Views: 2907

Re: Poll - Use password vault for Vanguard password?

Someone in another thread about security brought up an interesting point about what if someone does gain access to your Vanguard account. What's the worst they can do? Can they transfer all of your Vanguard funds to your checking account? One way that a thief who gains access to your Vanguard accou...
by cbeck
Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:21 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Poll - Use password vault for Vanguard password?
Replies: 27
Views: 1982

Re: Free Cloud storage

Download the free backup program duplicati from here: http://www.duplicati.com/ Set it up to backup files to one or more of a number of cloud services like skydrive, google, etc. for which you have login accounts. Typical schedule would be full backup once a month and daily incrementals going off at...
by cbeck
Wed Dec 04, 2013 11:13 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Free Cloud storage
Replies: 23
Views: 1715

Re: Quicken Strategies

A huge waste of time and effort to reconcile all the discrepancies from a full import. Just keep the Money installation and start the Quicken fresh, maybe at the turn of the year. Other than cost and acquisition dates, you don't really need all the history anyway.
by cbeck
Fri Nov 29, 2013 9:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quicken Strategies [Migration from MS Money]
Replies: 5
Views: 706

Re: Man Throws Away 7,500 Bitcoins

Just a modern update to Keynes suggestion to bury banknotes as an economic stimulus: If the Treasury were to fill old bottles with banknotes, bury them at suitable depths in disused coalmines which are then filled up to the surface with town rubbish, and leave it to private enterprise on well-tried ...
by cbeck
Fri Nov 29, 2013 9:56 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Man Throws Away 7,500 Bitcoins
Replies: 11
Views: 1590

Re: William Bernstein: the paradox of wealth

This discussion comes down to little more than whether one has an optimistic or pessimistic temperament. Sure, the upward tide of history is plain to see from a point of Olympian detachment. But just how comforting would that view have been to you in the Late Classical period as you looked forward t...
by cbeck
Sat Nov 23, 2013 2:00 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: William Bernstein: the paradox of wealth
Replies: 83
Views: 18312

Re: Fama or Shiller on Bubbles, my take

^^^ I don't see the page link. OTOH, I'm on a widescreen monitor. In any case, I think Larry's article underscores a key point about market timing: You need to be right twice. When to get out and when to get back in. Those are two separate events. That doesn't make sense to me. You only need to be ...
by cbeck
Sat Nov 23, 2013 12:08 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Fama or Shiller on Bubbles, my take
Replies: 14
Views: 2270

Re: Medical/Dental Tourism?

Doctors are always going on about how special they are: special knowledge, special training, special responsibilities, etc. Maybe. But when we look at the marketplace for medical services at the pinnacle of which doctors are perched, what we see doesn't look that special: anti-competitive restraint ...
by cbeck
Fri Nov 22, 2013 11:16 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Medical/Dental Tourism?
Replies: 91
Views: 4809

Re: Medical/Dental Tourism?

It's true that anecdotes are woefully inadequate at evaluating the quality of medical care. The average patient usually has no alternative though, whether in the US or abroad. However, the World Health Organization rated the US health care system as number 37 out of 191 countries. The best rated wer...
by cbeck
Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:27 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Medical/Dental Tourism?
Replies: 91
Views: 4809

Re: Online Banking

Be careful however, because if one beneficiary passes before you - your FDIC insurance drops immediately (but of course if you remember, you can change the PODs immediately thereafter). To clarify, the FDIC coverage for the portion of the funds that the beneficiary would inherit drops on the death ...
by cbeck
Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:46 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Online Banking
Replies: 29
Views: 2665

Re: Elope to Save Money?

By all means elope. Expensive weddings are an extraordinary waste of money. It's just a party. Parties are not the important part of life. And they're usually miserable affairs with people pissed off at each other because this or that is not perfect or someone is not filling a role the way it is sup...
by cbeck
Fri Oct 25, 2013 9:13 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Elope to Save Money?
Replies: 79
Views: 5590

Re: Shiller Thinks Owning a Home is a Terrible Investment

I notice an effect among myself and friends and family, which I call the Pride of Ownership cost of owning a home. Those of us avoiding this pitfall find that we can be perfectly happy living in a house or apartment whose quality of construction, layout, etc. would not be acceptable if we were the o...
by cbeck
Mon Oct 21, 2013 9:36 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Shiller Thinks Owning a Home is a Terrible Investment
Replies: 255
Views: 21925

Re: Closed end funds

The OP might take a look at the Templeton Global Income Fund (GIM) which is a closed-end, unhedged foreign bond fund that does not use leverage. It currently sells at a discount of 5.5% with an ER of 74 bps which is high, but not especially high for a foreign bond fund. It currently pays a 5% yield ...
by cbeck
Sun Oct 20, 2013 11:35 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Closed end funds
Replies: 13
Views: 1004

Re: Closed end funds

Wow. This is the first thread I recall where "closed end fund" was considered an investment class or strategy. Do you also consider sold out movies, plays, and concerts because hey, it wouldn't be sold out if it wasn't a good show? Reading the feedback, apparently there's some aspect to s...
by cbeck
Sun Oct 20, 2013 11:21 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Closed end funds
Replies: 13
Views: 1004

Re: Benford's law. The math behind a tool for fraud detecti

If you think about it in a certain way, it makes common sense. Small numbers occur more frequently (in your average day to day life) than large numbers. How often have you seen the number 837,521 ? How often have you seen the number 12 ? The smaller the number, the more likely it starts with "...
by cbeck
Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:10 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Benford's law. The math behind a tool for fraud detection.
Replies: 9
Views: 977

Re: Shiller Thinks Owning a Home is a Terrible Investment

I learned long ago not to look at my home as an investment, but rather as a lifestyle choice. This statement is only true if you can afford to regard any loss of value on your home with indifference, in the same way you might view such a loss in value of some shoes that you have bought. If a loss o...
by cbeck
Thu Oct 17, 2013 12:24 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Shiller Thinks Owning a Home is a Terrible Investment
Replies: 255
Views: 21925

Some of the non-Shangrila aspects of Bhutan

It's always worthwhile to look beyond the image of a society one doesn't understand:


http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/29/opini ... wanted=all
by cbeck
Sun Oct 06, 2013 9:32 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bhutan
Replies: 21
Views: 2058

Re: Online bill pay: shot myself in the foot.

I always schedule the bill payment for a few days after the day I am entering it so that I have time to repent.
by cbeck
Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:51 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Online bill pay: shot myself in the foot.
Replies: 18
Views: 2888

Re: Wife: Surprise, we now have a cat.

For some, part of the charm of having a cat is toxoplasmosis gondii, aka "cat lady syndrome."

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/09/magaz ... tcoat.html
by cbeck
Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:13 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wife: Surprise, we now have a cat.
Replies: 89
Views: 8104

Re: Considering a Bread Machine

I loved my Zojirushi bread machine, but threw it away after reading about the consequences of the teflon lining. It used to be thought that the toxic gases were produced at frying temperatures, but not baking. However, current estimates of dangerous temperatures do fall into the baking range. All br...
by cbeck
Wed Sep 11, 2013 12:38 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Considering a Bread Machine
Replies: 38
Views: 2665

Re: Why can US citizen expats not invest w/Vanguard?

I am a US citizen who is planning to move to India for some extended period. I have a condo in New Jersey that I have rented out for the past 5 years - I am living in California now. Can I give the condo address as my permanent address (hoping I will never ever get mail there), and give my Indian a...
by cbeck
Sun Sep 08, 2013 9:03 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why can US citizen expats not invest w/Vanguard?
Replies: 63
Views: 12087

Re: Take SS Early and Invest it? No

thx1138 has it right. Leaving aside those who can't afford to defer, will never need to rely on SS at all, or have more than usual information about their time of death, the fundamental mistake that the take-SS-early crowd makes is thinking at the wrong level of abstraction. As successful investors ...
by cbeck
Sat Sep 07, 2013 11:41 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Take SS Early and Invest it? No
Replies: 70
Views: 5669

Re: Best medium for long-term digital storage?

And then there is format obsolescence to worry about.
by cbeck
Sat Sep 07, 2013 9:31 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best medium for long-term digital storage?
Replies: 65
Views: 5002

Re: Moving to Japan Self Employed.

You will face a large and continuing currency risk. If your assets are in US brokerages the best you can do is invest in foreign stock ETFs, and unhedged bond funds to diversify your USD exposure.
by cbeck
Fri Sep 06, 2013 11:36 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Moving to Japan Self Employed.
Replies: 20
Views: 2030

Re: It’s the income, stupid!

I always recall the following when contemplating using insurance products for part of the income floor: ... I take zero, absolutely zero, comfort that few insurance companies have failed thus far, just as the wise person took should have taken no comfort about the security of the United States on D...
by cbeck
Fri Sep 06, 2013 12:59 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: It’s the income, stupid!
Replies: 139
Views: 16841
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