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Re: Checking alternatives to USAA (non-military)

Folks who stick with USAA through "thick and thin" generally do so because they get the SSA and senior bonus (don't ask). Folks starting afresh (without such benefits going forward) might look at Alliant Credit Union (see my comments in other threads). As a general rule, you should receive...
by john94549
Wed Feb 25, 2015 11:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Checking alternatives to USAA (non-military)
Replies: 8
Views: 633

Re: Do we have enough to retire?

Yes. You do.
by john94549
Wed Feb 25, 2015 11:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do we have enough to retire?
Replies: 45
Views: 7433

Re: Breaking up with USAA--banking alternatives welcomed

I basically use USAA for insurance, banking (currently, caveat below), and my credit card (paid off each month, with no annual fee). While I've been a member for quite a few years, I suspect straight-up borrowing, you might do better with PenFed. USAA has not been competitive in CDs (IRA or otherwis...
by john94549
Wed Feb 25, 2015 10:55 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Breaking up with USAA--banking alternatives welcomed
Replies: 13
Views: 1346

Re: Convincing older relative to open online savings account

In his late eighties? I wouldn't force the issue. keep things status quo :happy Toons, when my Mom was in her mid-90's, I finally convinced her that having all her after-tax CDs in short-term instruments (one year or less) was imprudent. Back in 2010, she finally agreed to cash out her 6-mo T-Bill,...
by john94549
Wed Feb 25, 2015 10:30 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Convincing older relative to open online savings account
Replies: 34
Views: 1321

Re: Convincing older relative to open online savings account

Glad to be of help. Alliant is easy to join, their CSRs are quite helpful, and can assist in opening a savings and linked checking account. The first 200 checks are free (or at least they were, when I opened my accounts many years ago). Moving money from your savings to checking is as easy as a clic...
by john94549
Wed Feb 25, 2015 10:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Convincing older relative to open online savings account
Replies: 34
Views: 1321

Re: Convincing older relative to open online savings account

Alliant Credit Union absolutely, positively, does not require anyone to have a computer to have a savings account earning 0.9% APY. OK, I know it's not a huge amount of money, after taxes, but it's (a) holiday gifts to the family, and (b) a splurge here and there, all after taxes, mind you. Withdraw...
by john94549
Wed Feb 25, 2015 9:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Convincing older relative to open online savings account
Replies: 34
Views: 1321

Re: [Protection against fraudulent IRS tax returns]

I've always wondered how fraudsters could amass enough data to even begin to simulate a fraudulent return. Folks say, all they need is your SSN, your name, address, and a place to send the refund. Huh? Last time I assembled all the information for my accountant, it took hours. Would not the IRS comp...
by john94549
Wed Feb 25, 2015 8:36 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [Protection against fraudulent IRS tax returns]
Replies: 39
Views: 1556

Re: Expense Ratio Regarding my Vanguard Prime Money Market F

By-and-large, you can do much better elsewhere.
by john94549
Sun Feb 22, 2015 12:37 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Expense Ratio Regarding my Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund
Replies: 12
Views: 1105

Re: Rental Property Depreciating Items

I threw in the towel many years back and hired a CPA. Trust me, why paint is maintenance and carpet is to be amortized is beyond me. In a funnier vein, I asked the accountant if "really cheap" carpet (wears out in five years or less) was better than "really good" paint (good for ...
by john94549
Sun Feb 22, 2015 12:07 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Rental Property Depreciating Items
Replies: 10
Views: 632

Re: Problems with Internet Explorer

As I noted in another thread, IE stopped working because an update didn't, well, update. It was located somewhere between Mars and whatever. That said, when I searched for "internet explorer not working" in Chrome, the Microsoft fix popped right up. After the solution ran its course, and t...
by john94549
Sat Feb 21, 2015 11:11 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Problems with Internet Explorer
Replies: 24
Views: 1555

Re: Commiting NEW cash to market

I had a few bucks in VMMXX for just the longest time. One day, I woke up and asked myself "what are you waiting for?" So, I plopped it in VBIAX. I now get what the market gives me, up or down. VMMXX just guarantees zero.

My heaven's, you can get 1% in a Federally-insured savings account.
by john94549
Sat Feb 21, 2015 10:26 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Commiting NEW cash to market
Replies: 31
Views: 2034

Re: To Fence ... Or Not?

Where I grew up (in Kansas), lots were so big and property lines so ill-marked that encroaching got a "shrug". When I sold my Mom's house (after she died), the buyer asked where the property lines were. I responded "well, over here, it's right about there, in the back, I think it's th...
by john94549
Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:55 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: To Fence ... Or Not?
Replies: 93
Views: 8126

Re: help me speed up my computer

It's amazing how tethered we are. Yesterday, out of the blue, my Explorer died. Just quit. Luckily, the folks at Google had provided me with Chrome. So, I went on Chrome, googled "internet explorer won't open", and found a handy-dandy solution from Microsoft. A recent update didn't, as it ...
by john94549
Sat Feb 21, 2015 7:02 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: help me speed up my computer
Replies: 67
Views: 3424

Re: Anyone ever see a bank advertise CD early withdrawal ter

"Break Strategies" have been pretty much a non-issue these past few years. I doubt most folks would bother to consider breaking a 5-yr CD at 1.9 for another at 2.0. That said, anyone plunking down serious (as in close to FDIC- or NCUA-insurance limits), really should nail down the coffin, ...
by john94549
Fri Feb 20, 2015 4:07 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Anyone ever see a bank advertise CD early withdrawal terms?
Replies: 8
Views: 731

Re: The 8x retirement savings rule

The Fidelity "rule of thumb" has its faults, as others have noted, but if it serves as a "wake-up-call", it has accomplished its purpose. Your basic Boglehead probably has more than "8X". As a two-earner household (before I retired), I took the liberty of multiplying &q...
by john94549
Thu Feb 19, 2015 3:51 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The 8x retirement savings rule
Replies: 83
Views: 7539

Re: Applying tax refund to next year vs 1040-ES

As I recall, overpayments applied to the next year count as if paid with voucher number one (i.e., on April 15).
by john94549
Thu Feb 19, 2015 3:40 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Applying tax refund to next year vs 1040-ES
Replies: 17
Views: 772

Re: Easy Money

My KeyDirect 10-year IRA CD at 5.75% will keep on clicking until January, 2018.
by john94549
Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:32 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Easy Money
Replies: 18
Views: 1814

Re: Who buys short term CDs?

I suspect poster "dm200" explained. Retail investors (as are we) would never. That said, institutional investors (such as represented by "dm200") might. Basis points matter, and all that. For example, if I can walk up to a window and borrow from you at a rate of 25 bps, then walk...
by john94549
Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:54 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Who buys short term CDs?
Replies: 15
Views: 1477

Re: Time to simplify for retirement

birdy, you might consider an IRA CD ladder. We started ours at about your age. While IRA CD rates were much better back in 2006*, the concept is the same. I wanted to carve off enough of our IRA investments (which were essentially in VBIAX, or VBINX, I forget which) to construct a "bulletproof&...
by john94549
Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:05 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Time to simplify for retirement
Replies: 7
Views: 1401

Re: RMD Greater Than Budget

My wife and I have decided to spend all the excess on the grand-children, once we hit 70 (which is not too far away).
by john94549
Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: RMD Greater Than Budget
Replies: 20
Views: 1579

Re: Projecting “Increasing Withdrawal Rates” and not SWR

We simplified matters by setting aside enough in IRA CDs to cover the first fifteen years or so. Our ladder throws off a real return, so inflation is not a big issue.
by john94549
Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:44 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Projecting “Increasing Withdrawal Rates” and not SWR
Replies: 35
Views: 2503

Re: Cap Gains & Divs killed me this year

With a certain amount of tax-planning, LTCG and QDivs need not bite too much, if at all. We did the "catch-up" in my wife's 401K, which brought our taxable down into the 15% marginal. Since we left room in the bucket, our LTCG and QDivs are taxed at zero.
by john94549
Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:36 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Cap Gains & Divs killed me this year
Replies: 61
Views: 5843

Re: Time to simplify for retirement

Is this in a Traditional IRA? 401K? Straight-up taxable?
by john94549
Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:20 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Time to simplify for retirement
Replies: 7
Views: 1401

Re: To all: How have you used your emergency fund?

Our "emergency fund" morphed into a "ready reserve fund" fund some years back. We use it to pay for "extras" not considered standard monthly expenditures. We're 67, pushing 68. I'm retired, my wife not yet. But we're well beyond having to worry about job loss, and such....
by john94549
Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:11 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: To all: How have you used your emergency fund?
Replies: 40
Views: 2820

Re: Who buys short term CDs?

OP: frankly, I can't scratch my head enough times to fathom why anyone would prefer a time deposit yielding less (sometimes much less) than a garden-variety savings account. Maybe if rates on savings accounts plunged to at or near zero? Even then, your short-term CD(s) would also plunge upon maturit...
by john94549
Tue Feb 17, 2015 6:56 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Who buys short term CDs?
Replies: 15
Views: 1477

Re: Tobyhanna (Valor)-did they change conditions of 7 year C

Ouch...that whole too good to be true thing. Now I'm glad I didn't waste my time since I would likely have started with a small deposit. Legalities aside, "new money" after the effective date will still be competitive, even after the "fee". I'm sure they did the math. What would...
by john94549
Mon Feb 16, 2015 6:12 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Tobyhanna (Valor)-did they change conditions of 7 year CD?
Replies: 11
Views: 966

Re: How do you find new clients?

I assume you belong to various and sundry professional organizations. One source of referrals might well be from other attorneys looking to "partner" on a particular project. Hint: never, ever, try to poach the client(s). Before I retired, I "associated in" various lawyers/law fi...
by john94549
Mon Feb 16, 2015 5:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do you find new clients?
Replies: 6
Views: 742

Re: Maintenance free landscaping a front yard

We did this many years back, after having experienced "mega-drought number one" back in the late 70's. All our "stuff" in the front is drought-tolerant. We don't even water it in the summer; it goes totally dormant, and looks like it's dead. But it's not. With the first rain, it ...
by john94549
Sun Feb 15, 2015 9:37 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Maintenance free landscaping a front yard
Replies: 37
Views: 2423

Re: Buying As Is Home

Perhaps one "belts and suspenders" solution might be what I employed when I sold my Mom's house (in Kansas). Not only did I market it "as is", I specifically left the offering price in the listing blank, as in "make offer". Lest that be somehow vague, I basically went o...
by john94549
Sun Feb 15, 2015 9:17 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying As Is Home
Replies: 27
Views: 2002

Re: 5-year CD ladder versus One 5-year CD

By-and-large, if building a 5-yr ladder "from scratch", it's best to buy one this year, one next year, and so on, until the ladder is filled. You do have to have a bit of patience, and you do sacrifice liquidity (to a degree). As noted in the other thread, if you start by buying 1,2,3,4 an...
by john94549
Sun Feb 15, 2015 8:53 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 5-year CD ladder versus One 5-year CD
Replies: 9
Views: 997

Re: Where would YOU place 50k for intermediate term savings?

I can tell what I did. I plopped that amount in a 4-yr CD (at 2.1%). The 5-yr at 2.25% is also worthy. If it's money you know you'll "need" in 4 - 5 years, shoot for a modest real return (above inflation) and safety. I budget about $10K/yr for "extras", Christmas expenses, the v...
by john94549
Sun Feb 15, 2015 8:05 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Where would YOU place 50k for intermediate term savings?
Replies: 24
Views: 2208

Re: Buying As Is Home

I'm not familiar with "sort of" "as is". I mean, if a property is marketed "as is", it's just that. That said, if a particular State does allow one to back out of an offer and acceptance on an "as is" property, due to an inspection, then the whole concept of &...
by john94549
Sun Feb 15, 2015 7:43 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying As Is Home
Replies: 27
Views: 2002

Re: Where would YOU place 50k for intermediate term savings?

I can tell what I did. I plopped that amount in a 4-yr CD (at 2.1%). The 5-yr at 2.25% is also worthy. If it's money you know you'll "need" in 4 - 5 years, shoot for a modest real return (above inflation) and safety. I budget about $10K/yr for "extras", Christmas expenses, the va...
by john94549
Sun Feb 15, 2015 7:28 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Where would YOU place 50k for intermediate term savings?
Replies: 24
Views: 2208

Re: Graduating law student portfolio and loan questions

In terms of job stability, in my experience BigLaw firms that are very profitable but lack large institutional clients and advocate "lean staffing" cannot and will not carry underperforming associates for more than a year or so and you need to hit the ground running. It's worth pointing o...
by john94549
Sat Feb 14, 2015 8:27 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Graduating law student portfolio and loan questions
Replies: 32
Views: 2549

Re: How much is a pension worth?

As I recall, union benefit counselors do this sort of calculation all the time.
by john94549
Sat Feb 14, 2015 8:19 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How much is a pension worth?
Replies: 12
Views: 2036

Slow and Steady (but, dang!)

My wife and I were joking about all our classmates from Stanford. We were just laughing at those, like us, who just led boring and predictable lives, and are now on the cusp of or in retirement. Then, the "superstars", who somehow linked up to or were, in their own rights, on or in the cut...
by john94549
Sat Feb 14, 2015 8:11 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Slow and Steady (but, dang!)
Replies: 5
Views: 1233

Re: [Is it worth getting an] AARP [membership]?

We never felt AARP was any better than USAA, AAA, or various credit card discounts. Insofar as I have researched, AARP is now basically a front for advertising materials. Their core mission (advocating for seniors) seems to have been abandoned. Sad.
by john94549
Sat Feb 14, 2015 7:38 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Is it worth getting an] AARP [membership]?
Replies: 58
Views: 3944

Re: Graduating law student portfolio and loan questions

OP: You already must know that, in Big Law, there are no firms too big, or important, to fail. Bingham McCutchen appears to be the latest casualty (ironically, I started at MDB&E as an associate in 1976; sad to hear of its demise). As a boot associate, you may have little choice in assignments. ...
by john94549
Sat Feb 14, 2015 6:14 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Graduating law student portfolio and loan questions
Replies: 32
Views: 2549

Re: What to do with 5M?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but was this a major "you've been punk'd" post? Mind you, I've been sucked into a few.
by john94549
Fri Feb 13, 2015 7:29 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What to do with 5M?
Replies: 52
Views: 8679

Re: why stocks outperform other asset classes in the long ru

good explanations, thanks. But bottomline is : the few winners have to more than make up for the huge number of poor performers in our total stock market index fund. I guess our market cap weighting helps us in that ... I heard today that over 90% of the stocks in the S+P 500 hit all-time highs tod...
by john94549
Fri Feb 13, 2015 7:18 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: why stocks outperform other asset classes in the long run ?
Replies: 51
Views: 3338

Re: why stocks outperform other asset classes in the long ru

Generally speaking, companies that "make" something or "do" something, make a profit (or else go out of business). If they survive, they "grow" as a result of growth in their business acumen/market share, growth in the overall GDP, and growth as a result of inflation. A...
by john94549
Fri Feb 13, 2015 6:48 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: why stocks outperform other asset classes in the long run ?
Replies: 51
Views: 3338

Re: In Defense of International Allocations

Yes, it's kind of making the whole "rebalancing" thing worthwhile. Of course, we're only in February.... The point is, you never know. Just when one thinks a particular sector is marked for sub-par returns as far as the eye can see, it snaps back. Some folks call it "sector rotation&...
by john94549
Fri Feb 13, 2015 6:34 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: In Defense of International Allocations
Replies: 4
Views: 744

Re: Cost of a car paint job?

If it's just one or two spots on an old beater (like I have), just sand ever so lightly to get the bubbles/blisters off, then brush on the primer from one of those paint kits sold at auto stores everywhere (they look like fingernail polish). When dry, brush on the color in smooth, short strokes. Whe...
by john94549
Fri Feb 13, 2015 5:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cost of a car paint job?
Replies: 19
Views: 1975

Re: In Defense of International Allocations

fortyofforty wrote:I found my 30% stake in international ended up around 25% by the end of last year, and I rebalanced back to 30%.


Last I checked, you're bucks up.
by john94549
Thu Feb 12, 2015 8:48 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: In Defense of International Allocations
Replies: 4
Views: 744

Re: Social Security as a bond?

Social Security is no more a bond than the (currently) tax-free income thrown off by our rental condo. It's an income stream. If you want "apples-to-apples", it's probably "worth" the cash-surrender value of an equivalent annuity. Which might be considered as a "bond". ...
by john94549
Thu Feb 12, 2015 8:37 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Social Security as a bond?
Replies: 47
Views: 3171

Re: Better to leave qualified or non-qualified money to kids

As a general rule, you would prefer to have heirs inherit assets with a step-up in basis. The rule suggests you harvest all tax-deferred while alive to cover your living expenses in retirement, leaving taxable "assets" intact, so far as possible.

This is exactly our estate plan.
by john94549
Thu Feb 12, 2015 8:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Better to leave qualified or non-qualified money to kids?
Replies: 14
Views: 1346

Re: Overweight cash?

As you get further into your program, you might want to consider an IRA CD ladder. Cash "does" have a place in tax-deferred accounts, if you can rotate some to IRAs. As you get closer and closer to actual retirement, you will sleep much easier if you know a certain number of years of retir...
by john94549
Thu Feb 12, 2015 8:03 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Overweight cash?
Replies: 13
Views: 1889

In Defense of International Allocations

As one who experienced sub-par returns in international last year, I was buffeted by queries from my wife, as in "why don't we dump it?" I suggested we had a modest, but reasonable, exposure to international in our AA (VTIAX and VEMAX), and that one year did not an investing horizon make. ...
by john94549
Thu Feb 12, 2015 7:52 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: In Defense of International Allocations
Replies: 4
Views: 744

Re: Day trading and capital gain tax nightmare

Don't day trade in an IRA account because one cannot fill it up as easily after it loses money since there are annual contributions limits. And one cannot get other taxpayers to pay for your losses either. Was really talking about money already in an IRA. investor I read "livesoft"'s comm...
by john94549
Thu Feb 12, 2015 7:22 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Day trading and capital gain tax nightmare
Replies: 37
Views: 2942
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