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Re: BND or a CD

I would agree it's not "either/or". Many folks have bond funds and CDs.
by john94549
Thu Oct 30, 2014 11:35 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: BND or a CD
Replies: 23
Views: 1391

Re: Assumptions on inflation and buying/selling tips

I'm a huge fan of a 5-yr CD ladder. Based on my somewhat limited experience (over the past 8 years or so), obtaining a real rate of return in CDs has not been terribly difficult. Indeed, even today, your garden-variety 5-yr CD (through State Farm, at 2.25%) bests inflation by 55 bps. If you ladder, ...
by john94549
Thu Oct 30, 2014 11:27 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Assumptions on inflation and buying/selling tips
Replies: 6
Views: 370

Re: Which bond fund is best?

vseqx wrote:>I thought VAIPX had a $50K buy-in.

Not if you buy it within a 401k that has collectively already passed the 50k mark


Never knew that. Learn something new every day.
by john94549
Thu Oct 30, 2014 10:49 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Which bond fund is best?
Replies: 7
Views: 556

Re: Total World Fund - Under appreciated?

For a number of reasons on a number of levels, we have always felt more comfortable with the bulk of our equities in domestic (USA) companies. My wife and I have roughly 15 - 20% of our equity holdings in international, with an ever-so-slight tilt to emerging. But 50% of equity in international? Not...
by john94549
Thu Oct 30, 2014 10:36 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Total World Fund - Under appreciated?
Replies: 11
Views: 1252

Re: Bond Distribution Yield and SEC Yield ?

As a total simpleton, I have always compared SEC yields (stuff "in the door") to CD rates. Stated another way, if the fund is buying 2% "stuff", and I can buy 2.25% "stuff", I buy the latter.

Putting on my crash helmet.
by john94549
Thu Oct 30, 2014 10:19 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Bond Distribution Yield and SEC Yield ?
Replies: 8
Views: 393

Re: Which bond fund is best?

Of your 401K options, VBTLX is best. FWIW, it's in my wife's 401K and it's her "40" in her 60/40.

I thought VAIPX had a $50K buy-in.
by john94549
Thu Oct 30, 2014 9:53 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Which bond fund is best?
Replies: 7
Views: 556

Re: Vinyl Siding over wood

I would not leave the wood. Remove all wood showing evidence of rot. If necessary, install new backing for the vinyl. Make sure what you're screwing into isn't also rotted, as can be the case.
by john94549
Thu Oct 30, 2014 8:32 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vinyl Siding over wood
Replies: 6
Views: 750

Re: Best approaches to accumulating in a down market

My wife just keeps plopping her 401K contribution in every pay period. With the S+P in a bit of a funk in mid-October, she snagged an extra share or so of SWPPX than normal. Same contribution, lower price, 18 more shares versus 17 more shares.

Yippee!
by john94549
Wed Oct 29, 2014 10:37 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Best approaches to accumulating in a down market
Replies: 23
Views: 1803

Re: 5 year warranty? [on existing appliances]

OP: All things considered, their cancellation provision seems quite reasonable. The provision for a credit towards a replacement, not so much. For example, if they give you roughly 25% "credit" towards a new refrigerator, it might work like this: "Here's a $2000 refrigerator*! We're g...
by john94549
Wed Oct 29, 2014 9:02 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 5 year warranty? [on existing appliances]
Replies: 16
Views: 991

Re: What online banks do you like for savings or MMA?

I've used Alliant CU (easy to join). Savings rates are not stellar, 0.8% last I checked, but you can move money from savings to checking with the click of a mouse, checks are free (first batch, at least), no per-check charge, no fees for a zero balance. CSRs are quite knowledgeable and helpful. Web ...
by john94549
Wed Oct 29, 2014 8:13 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What online banks do you like for savings or MMA?
Replies: 41
Views: 2168

Re: I want to put some of my savings in bonds, good idea?

Poster "Clive" recently discussed (in another thread) UK CD-like alternatives.

viewtopic.php?f=10&t=149778&p=2240618#p2240512
by john94549
Wed Oct 29, 2014 7:57 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: I want to put some of my savings in bonds, good idea?
Replies: 1
Views: 403

Re: Tips on winning a small claims court case in California.

Even if you went to small claims court and won, what are the chances you will collect anything? I won a small claims case against 2 men who co-owned a repair shop but was never able to collect anything Exactly (my post above refers). Most folks (and many lawyers, for that matter) don't understand h...
by john94549
Wed Oct 29, 2014 7:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tips on winning a small claims court case in California...
Replies: 17
Views: 1691

Re: Possible Relocation to San Francisco - Advice?

Our son and his wife, and our daughter and her husband, both rented in the City. When a child came along, they bought, our son and family in the City, daughter and family in Alameda. Both families have since moved a tad further out (for schools, mainly), but son and son-in-law commute to the City (G...
by john94549
Wed Oct 29, 2014 7:07 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Possible Relocation to San Francisco - Advice?
Replies: 23
Views: 1513

Re: How should we invest if interest rates never go up?

BradMajors wrote:
john94549 wrote:ZIRP is a tad misleading. You can get 2.25% APY on a 5-yr CD these days. It's only 55 bps over inflation, but it's not zero.

Return is negative after-tax.


Depends on what your brackets are.
by john94549
Wed Oct 29, 2014 11:59 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How should we invest if interest rates never go up?
Replies: 17
Views: 1678

Re: Tips on winning a small claims court case in California.

Poster "Madbrain"'s link is excellent. Be sure to review the link on that site for "property/money collection". Stated another way, assuming you can navigate the waters (including a likely appeal and "trial de novo" in Superior Court), you will have a judgment, no more,...
by john94549
Wed Oct 29, 2014 11:06 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tips on winning a small claims court case in California...
Replies: 17
Views: 1691

Re: How should we invest if interest rates never go up?

ZIRP is a tad misleading. You can get 2.25% APY on a 5-yr CD these days. It's only 55 bps over inflation, but it's not zero.
by john94549
Wed Oct 29, 2014 10:10 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How should we invest if interest rates never go up?
Replies: 17
Views: 1678

Re: POLL: Gross Annual Retirement Income Before Taxes

I answered the poll exactly as asked. That said, gross income for rentals and royalties (without regard to expenses) is somewhat meaningless.
by john94549
Tue Oct 28, 2014 10:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: POLL: Gross Annual Retirement Income Before Taxes
Replies: 25
Views: 1900

Re: 5 year warranty? [on existing appliances]

OP: If you really, truly, think the purchase of the extended warranty was rash ("buyer's remorse"), check to see if a three-day cancellation (from purchase) is allowed. It might be in fine print on the purchase agreement. If you purchased the contract Monday, there might still be time to c...
by john94549
Tue Oct 28, 2014 8:50 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 5 year warranty? [on existing appliances]
Replies: 16
Views: 991

Re: 5 year warranty?

dbh25 wrote: Not sure about replacing the appliance, perhaps if the price of the repair exceeds a cost for a new unit, you get the new one.


I hope you don't have to find out. I chronicled our experience in another thread.

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=148995#p2229206
by john94549
Tue Oct 28, 2014 9:21 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 5 year warranty? [on existing appliances]
Replies: 16
Views: 991

Re: Credit Union CD Ladder: What to do with interest payment

OP: You might consider plopping it all into a 5-yr, then buying another next year, etc., until your ladder is filled.* Given rates these days, you won't get much more on 1- and 2-yr CDs than in a garden-variety savings account. Also, on rates, pays to shop around. Your local CU may (or may not) be c...
by john94549
Mon Oct 27, 2014 9:24 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Credit Union CD Ladder: What to do with interest payments?
Replies: 7
Views: 748

Re: How much do you keep in bucket one for those that use th

OP: Working on your initial premise (retiring at 55), 7.5 years would posit 100% equities at age 62 1/2. I, for one, would not regard that as "safe". You might consider the impact of "sequence of returns" (many threads and posts herein). If you have a FI "bucket" which ...
by john94549
Mon Oct 27, 2014 8:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much do you keep in bucket one for those that use the
Replies: 7
Views: 1274

Re: How much do you keep in bucket one for those that use th

Age 55 might be a tad early for this approach. Theoretically, at age 74, you might be 100% equities with many years ahead. That said, we have enough in FI (mostly a CD ladder), but we're 67 and haven't yet made any substantial withdrawals.
by john94549
Mon Oct 27, 2014 5:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much do you keep in bucket one for those that use the
Replies: 7
Views: 1274

Re: What funds are negatively correlated with stocks?

Many threads (and posts) on why inverse ETFs are, at best, inelegant and inefficient hedges. Chart and compare UPRO and SPXU with, say, SWPPX. Or, for that matter, SH with SWPPX. Over the past 12 months, SWPPX is up 11.93% while SH is down 13.68%.
by john94549
Sat Oct 25, 2014 10:04 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What funds are negatively correlated with stocks?
Replies: 24
Views: 2902

Re: Refinancing Advice - is cash out refinance good or bad

You should compare rates on "classic" re-fi's (where you re-finance only the amount currently owed) with "cash-out" re-fi's. Rates and points might differ. An aggressive pay-down of consumer debt (if that is the point of the "cash" in the "cash-out") might sav...
by john94549
Sat Oct 25, 2014 8:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinancing Advice - is cash out refinance good or bad
Replies: 11
Views: 1169

Re: Elder Law attorney (Trusts, Medicaid, nursing homes)

I find it implausible that anyone in his or her mid-60s (my wife and I are both 67) would consciously devise an estate plan to "lock" into Medicaid nursing home eligibility in five years or so. In any event, last I checked, the operative word is "eligibility". Does not one need b...
by john94549
Sat Oct 25, 2014 10:24 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Elder Law attorney (Trusts, Medicaid, nursing homes)
Replies: 30
Views: 1951

Re: Subpoena

Call them and ask. They may want you to sign a "declaration under penalty of perjury" (which they should prepare) to that effect.
by john94549
Sat Oct 25, 2014 12:21 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Subpoena [Received subpoena, how to proceed?]
Replies: 13
Views: 2224

Re: Hedge CDs with long-term Treasurys?

OP: would not a 5-yr ladder of 5-yr CDs accomplish? Maybe pick up a few tasty "outliers" (those 3%+ brokered 10-yr CDs as they pop up, from time-to-time)? Before you take the plunge, I'd suggest you run through various scenarios. After all, the 30-yr Treasury does not compare favorably wit...
by john94549
Fri Oct 24, 2014 9:31 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Hedge CDs with long-term Treasurys?
Replies: 8
Views: 771

Re: Building a New House, Advice please.

As alluded to by others, change orders can kill any project's budget. Your contract with the builder, if of the "fixed price" variety (i.e., the builder will build the home as designed for "X"), will no doubt have provisions for "changes" or "changed conditions&quo...
by john94549
Wed Oct 22, 2014 10:11 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Building a New House, Advice please.
Replies: 66
Views: 5545

Re: "You're invited to...." (nonsense talk and dinner)

It's more than disconcerting to think that one of the "guests" at the table might be a stealth salesperson. Given folks' propensity to be polite, I can imagine how table conversation might be steered.
by john94549
Wed Oct 22, 2014 9:48 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: "You're invited to...." (nonsense talk and dinner)
Replies: 68
Views: 4183

Re: [Best Option for Early Termination] of Apartment Lease

Check your state and local laws on tenants' rights and eviction. I guarantee you that your apartment landlord has. The costs of evicting (actual and imputed) are already built into your monthly rental. In effect, good tenants subsidize bad ones. Whether you co-sign or sub-let, there is risk. Pay the...
by john94549
Wed Oct 22, 2014 9:28 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [Best Option for Early Termination] of Apartment Lease
Replies: 21
Views: 1330

Re: Why are 401k plans expensive?

Having read the posts herein, I can only say I am (a) happy my wife's 401K seems fair, and offers low-cost options, but (b) unhappy so many others are put-off by presumably unfair and high-cost plans. The solution at my wife's company was a major lobbying effort by highly-compensated individuals, i....
by john94549
Sun Oct 19, 2014 9:54 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why are 401k plans expensive?
Replies: 39
Views: 3053

Re: Diy managed payout fund?

Your Mom might have been smarter than you suspect. A well-managed CD ladder can yield a "managed payout". For example, nibbling away at $200K over 20 years, or whatever. Any target-retirement fund entails some risk. By definition, they invest in equities (which could go down) and bonds (di...
by john94549
Sun Oct 19, 2014 9:22 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Diy managed payout fund?
Replies: 6
Views: 432

Re: 2nd Opinions on Bond Alternatives?

Stick with TBM. At your age, modest dips in any Total Bond Fund will be invisible as you approach retirement.

The purpose of TBM in your AA is to offer an "anchor-to-windward" and provide ballast for re-balancing, if necessary.

I wouldn't change a thing.
by john94549
Sun Oct 19, 2014 9:03 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 2nd Opinions on Bond Alternatives?
Replies: 35
Views: 2177

Re: Buying a house without a realtor

We bought our very first house (back in 1973) on a handshake. No realtors on either side. We hired a title company to help with the paperwork, and that was that. My oh my, how times have changed. The "paperwork" involved these days is much more complicated. As a first-time buyer, knowing t...
by john94549
Sun Oct 19, 2014 8:44 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a house without a realtor
Replies: 43
Views: 2811

Re: Help Create a Portfolio Generating 2,500 a month on 600K

One might suspect the best scenario would be an annuity on $600K and the rest invested. Of course, to be safe, you might want to chop up the annuity into amounts "protected" under your state's "whatever" fund. Mind you, annuities are merely "protected", not "guaran...
by john94549
Sat Oct 18, 2014 9:10 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help Create a Portfolio Generating 2,500 a month on 600K
Replies: 22
Views: 3796

Re: Anyone cancelling travel plans?

Two points: (a) I had no travel plans; and (b) even if I had same, rest assured they would not have been to West Africa.
by john94549
Sat Oct 18, 2014 8:36 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone cancelling travel plans?
Replies: 117
Views: 6321

Re: which bond is good to buy in this market

A five-year CD ladder is optimal.
by john94549
Sat Oct 18, 2014 8:29 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: which bond is good to buy in this market
Replies: 4
Views: 690

Re: Cash in liquid savings

The key verb is "survive". Don't mess with success. Once you get past a nice comfort level, then invest in an asset allocation with which you feel comfortable. Mind you, my wife and I are both 67, and our comfort level is 20 -25 years in cash/cash equivalents. I suspect we are outliers. Bu...
by john94549
Sat Oct 18, 2014 8:05 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Cash in liquid savings
Replies: 13
Views: 1223

Re: Safety net - VBMFX, PRPFX, VIPSX, VWINX, or Pimco

Every month, I get these "e-mail alerts" reminding me that "X" has been added to my CDs. Clockwork.
by john94549
Sat Oct 18, 2014 8:03 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Safety net - VBMFX, PRPFX, VIPSX, VWINX, or Pimco
Replies: 12
Views: 1949

Re: Stocks as long term investments

I remember joking with a co-worker over lunch back in the very late 1999s/early 2000s that, had I plopped all my lunch money into Cisco, I could have bought the sandwich shop. Hint: the sandwich shop is still there. And still serves a good tuna on whole wheat, or so I am told. Point being: Some stoc...
by john94549
Sat Oct 18, 2014 7:42 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Stocks as long term investments
Replies: 57
Views: 4802

Re: Dry Powder

I suspect the general consensus is to limit "trading" to one's "fun money" account (no more than 5% of investable assets). You can satisfy that gambling urge without "betting the farm", as it were. I have a SEP-IRA with Schwab. It was (and is) established as my "fu...
by john94549
Sat Oct 18, 2014 7:16 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Dry Powder
Replies: 49
Views: 3528

Re: How does one hedge against deflation?

Shed debt. Once you are debt-free, invest in federally-guaranteed instruments of debt (i.e., where you are the creditor).

An entirely different question is "should you."
by john94549
Sat Oct 18, 2014 6:53 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How does one hedge against deflation?
Replies: 52
Views: 3873

Re: Employer 401(k) vs. Vanguard IRA investments

Problem solved: plop the VMMXX into VGTSX. There's your international. * Fidelity 401k (4% employer match): $5,000 25%: OIBYX, expense ratio = 0.75% 25%: OIGYX, expense ratio = 0.90% 25%: FLVIX, expense ratio = 0.82% 25%: FINSX, expense ratio = 0.68% These expense ratios, as it were, seem a tad high...
by john94549
Fri Oct 17, 2014 9:34 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Employer 401(k) vs. Vanguard IRA investments
Replies: 17
Views: 1265

Re: Employer 401(k) vs. Vanguard IRA investments

At age 35, I would seriously consider an asset allocation of 70% (equities) and 30% (bonds). You have two menu choices which leap out. FUSVX and FSITX. I would ignore all the others. The "international" options seem to have quite high ERs. If you really, truly, want to invest in "inte...
by john94549
Fri Oct 17, 2014 9:18 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Employer 401(k) vs. Vanguard IRA investments
Replies: 17
Views: 1265

Re: Home Depot Warranty not honored

Our experience with extended warranties has been a mixed bag. When we re-modeled our kitchen, we purchased an extended warranty which covered all the new appliances, including the Jenn-Air Refrigerator. Several months prior to the expiration of the extended warranty (ironically enough, quite similar...
by john94549
Fri Oct 17, 2014 8:20 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home Depot Warranty not honored
Replies: 27
Views: 3350

Re: Market Slide Percentages?

As I pointed out to the wife, declines in Mr. Market matter based only on asset allocation. They matter even less if retirement withdrawals are based solely on non-market allocations. Stated another way, if you have enough in cash, CDs, or other fixed-income, to fund retirement, above-and-beyond S/S...
by john94549
Thu Oct 16, 2014 9:39 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Market Slide Percentages?
Replies: 28
Views: 1870

Re: Balanced Index vs. TSM and TBM

VBIAX has always been a "no-brainer" for us.
by john94549
Thu Oct 16, 2014 9:26 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Balanced Index vs. TSM and TBM
Replies: 10
Views: 1052

Re: Question - Being a Trustee

Ordinarily, a business owner wants to run his or her business, until (a) he or she doesn't, or (b) he or she is incapable of doing so. If the idea of the trust is to deal with (b) (incapacity), then you should have an attorney look long and hard at the trust agreement. Are you prepared to "run ...
by john94549
Thu Oct 16, 2014 9:10 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Question - Being a Trustee
Replies: 19
Views: 1260

Re: Estate planning - big firm or solo practitioner?

I am pondering this as well. I am concerned that a small firm may not survive long enough to help me update my estate plan if needed or when my family may need them in the future. Thoughts? Hire the lawyer, not the firm (old saying). As a general rule, hire an estate planner who is old enough to kn...
by john94549
Thu Oct 16, 2014 8:52 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Estate planning - big firm or solo practitioner?
Replies: 17
Views: 1381
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