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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: 9293

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: 2533

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: 2557

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: 6266

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: 2956

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: 561

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: 7129

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: 5927

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: 3486

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: 2841

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: 1808

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: 1661

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: 582

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: 1560

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: 17539

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: 1967

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: 4502

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: 4502

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: 2531

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: 5206

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: 20805

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: 914

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: 914

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: 934

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: 20805

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: 1934

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: 2817

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: 7303

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: 2364

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: 9341

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: 5342

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: 4505

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: 1957

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: 15650

Re: Moving brother out of Mom's house

I would start with the assumption that 100% of the mother's estate should be allocated to take care of the brother, who is, effectively, 100% disabled. From the description none of the other siblings needs the inheritance. The will gets rewritten or the siblings agree to disclaim their shares. Put t...
by cbeck
Tue Aug 27, 2013 12:14 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Moving brother out of Mom's house
Replies: 26
Views: 4367

Re: "Read Only" Access to Bank and Investment Accounts?

Both Fidelity and Vanguard permit assigning account inquiry-only access to another user. At Vanguard it is on the account maintenance screen.
by cbeck
Wed Aug 14, 2013 8:41 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "Read Only" Access to Bank and Investment Accounts?
Replies: 3
Views: 568

Re: Forbes Article: Why Don't Retirees Buy Annuities?

A disappointingly vague article. I'll read the original paper, but the article has these problems: 1. Seems to assume that the retiree's decision is to annuitize all of his assets or none. ("So if you shouldn’t hand all your retirement savings over to an insurance company, what should you do?&q...
by cbeck
Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:07 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Forbes Article: Why Don't Retirees Buy Annuities?
Replies: 66
Views: 7994

Re: Japan, 1989

Some of the earlier posts give the impression that the problems in the Japanese economy are the result of some kind of failure of collective psychology. IMO, such a view would be reversing cause and effect. Japanese household savings rates have declined, but with the same trajectory as in the US. Du...
by cbeck
Mon Aug 12, 2013 2:44 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Japan, 1989
Replies: 106
Views: 22355

Re: Why must 401Ks be company specific?

The short (historical) answer is that in the USA labor unions went after companies for benefits like pensions and health insurance. In Europe, they went after governments, perhaps because of the level of nationalized (government-owned) industries due to the two World Wars. So, in the USA, companies...
by cbeck
Sat Aug 10, 2013 11:19 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why must 401Ks be company specific?
Replies: 27
Views: 2064

Re: Hearing Aids

The hearing aid market is one that suspiciously skewed. HA use digital signal processors, a technology that is so widespread by now that some computer mice incorporate them, to say nothing of every cell phone. Nevertheless, unlike other electronics goods, the prices of HA have climbed in recent year...
by cbeck
Fri Aug 09, 2013 11:05 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hearing Aids
Replies: 72
Views: 4974

Re: "Man On Wire"...what a great movie!

The film and its subject matter are an utter delight and fascinating in many ways. By contrast with the failed celebrity who sole claim to fame is suicide by grizzly bear, Petit is a highly disciplined, determined and creative individual. One of the scenes that I found most interesting in the film i...
by cbeck
Mon Aug 05, 2013 1:14 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: "Man On Wire"...what a great movie!
Replies: 27
Views: 4178

Re: Best E-Reader: Kindle, Nook or?

Forget the Nook. It's history. The Kindle paperwhite is that best reading experience that I have had on a device.
by cbeck
Fri Aug 02, 2013 9:56 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best E-Reader: Kindle, Nook or?
Replies: 46
Views: 3715

Re: thinking aloud...SPIA?

OP, I think an SPIA makes a lot of sense in your situation. There is a very good book about retirement funding, "Unveiling the Retirement Myth" by Jim C. Otar that makes the case that buying an SPIA is exactly the right step for you because you simply cannot fund the risk of living past 90...
by cbeck
Fri Aug 02, 2013 9:53 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: thinking aloud...SPIA?
Replies: 7
Views: 517

Re: Kindle for Personal Books Only

I have used the kindle for non-Amazon ebooks, but not exclusively. Although I like the kindle very much, there are disadvantages: 1. kindle device is not very durable. I have replaced one under warranty and had others fail after just more than a year, the warranty period. So, replacement is frequent...
by cbeck
Fri Aug 02, 2013 9:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: .....
Replies: 12
Views: 914

Re: Larry Kotlikoff

I just listened to Jim Lange's podcast with Larry Kotlikoff on Social Security timing (when to take it etc). An excellent listen. Here: http://www.retiresecure.com/radioshow/LMH-061913.mp3 That being said, they mentioned a book by Kotlikoff and Scott Burns called "THE CLASH OF THE GENERATIONS&...
by cbeck
Fri Jul 12, 2013 1:22 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Larry Kotlikoff
Replies: 17
Views: 2113

Re: Capital One Card - No Foreign Transaction Fees

I used to use Capital One for overseas. That was until they kept harassing us by letting us know someone was using the card overseas. They were notified we would be over seas and the dates. Now we just use penfed and no issues. Cap One and some others seem to flag CC users more for deviating from e...
by cbeck
Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:17 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Capital One Card - No Foreign Transaction Fees
Replies: 13
Views: 1500

Re: Article -Will US workers ever be able to retire

Can you provide a citation that "both military pensions and the military itself, that is fully funded for the next 20 years..."? http://comptroller.defense.gov/defbudget/fy2014/FY2014_Budget_Request.pdf I'd be interested in seeing a citation proving budget authority for the next 20 years....
by cbeck
Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:31 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Article -Will US workers ever be able to retire
Replies: 26
Views: 2078

Re: Article -Will US workers ever be able to retire

There is only one problem with your surplus, it doesn't exist except on paper. Since the late Johnson administration we have been operating with a unified budget. What that means is that all those surplus SS funds have been used to fund general revenues. All of that surplus exists as essentially IO...
by cbeck
Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:41 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Article -Will US workers ever be able to retire
Replies: 26
Views: 2078

Re: Full Time RVer - Mail and Internet

Check out http://www.virtualpostmail.com/ and https://www.mailboxforwarding.com - they will scan all of your postal mail to pdf. And you can choose to forward the mail to anywhere. Very convenient! VirtualPostMail is a bit better then MailboxForwarding. I wouldn't use virtualpostmail.com because th...
by cbeck
Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:01 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Full Time RVer - Mail and Internet
Replies: 53
Views: 4541
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