Search found 3775 matches

by john94549
Tue Aug 04, 2015 8:00 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Maturing CDs -- Now What?
Replies: 15
Views: 1789

Re: Maturing CDs -- Now What?

We really won't be needing to draw funds from the portfolio as we live comfortably on social security and pension income. An enviable position. But it does raise the question: "for whom are you saving?" If for heirs or charitable causes, you might consider more risk. If for yourselves (a ...
by john94549
Mon Aug 03, 2015 8:23 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Interest Rate Hike
Replies: 15
Views: 1395

Re: Interest Rate Hike

Should rates turn upwards, as expected, they might "keep" such a trend for ten, twenty, perhaps thirty years (look in the rear-view mirror). Just as the great bond bull market lasted for multiple decades, a great bond bear market might exist for as long. There are no silver bullets in fixe...
by john94549
Mon Aug 03, 2015 7:52 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I be concerned with my Emerging Markets Fund?
Replies: 11
Views: 958

Re: Should I be concerned with my Emerging Markets Fund?

Emerging markets in general have been in a funk of late. That said, long-term investors think not in months, or years, but decades. If your plan calls for a certain percentage in international, perhaps with a tilt to emerging, don't be fazed by a few years of sub-par returns. Indeed, I seem to recal...
by john94549
Sun Aug 02, 2015 8:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Commit to Lifelong Renting in Bay area?
Replies: 18
Views: 2103

Re: Commit to Lifelong Renting in Bay area?

Watty, I was trying to say what you said more eloquently.
by john94549
Sun Aug 02, 2015 7:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Commit to Lifelong Renting in Bay area?
Replies: 18
Views: 2103

Re: Commit to Lifelong Renting in Bay area?

OP, I suspect you read the article in the Chronicle recently about the elderly gent in a rent-controlled apartment he'd lived in most of his life. As his health failed, he needed a 24/7 caregiver. The landlord deemed that a lease violation (the caregiver was a "roommate", forbidden under t...
by john94549
Sun Aug 02, 2015 12:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Retirees: Questions you hate being asked
Replies: 88
Views: 6726

Re: Retirees: Questions you hate being asked

The "work ethic" (Protestant or otherwise) does prompt many to assume "what do you do all day" is a perfectly logical question to ask a retiree. I take no offense. So as not to be rude, I generally respond by saying "whatever strikes my fancy", which is actually fairly ...
by john94549
Sat Aug 01, 2015 11:58 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Rental Car Possible Damaged after I returned it
Replies: 18
Views: 1835

Re: Rental Car Possible Damaged after I returned it

In the "olden days", rental car companies had folks who would actually note existing damage (dents, dings, scrapes, whatever) on your contract before you drove off. Now, the best you can hope for is a cursory once-over by the attendant at the exit (if you demand it) who may, or may not, be...
by john94549
Fri Jul 31, 2015 12:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: CA State Refund Intercepted by DMV
Replies: 12
Views: 1264

Re: CA State Refund Intercepted by DMV

For those contemplating disposal of a vehicle in CA:

http://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail ... es/reg/nrl
by john94549
Mon Jul 27, 2015 6:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ross Root Feeder
Replies: 24
Views: 1656

Re: Ross Root Feeder

that must have been a very thirsty deer. Our drought is so serious, deer take what they can get. I kid you not, Mr. or Ms. deer (I didn't quite catch the gender) actually pushed off the hot tub cover to slurp. And, yes, it's chlorinated. I mean, it was 6 AM, and I looked out the window, and this de...
by john94549
Mon Jul 27, 2015 2:18 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The forgotten inaccuracies of our small predictions
Replies: 18
Views: 1867

Re: The forgotten inaccuracies of our small predictions

I bet on UPRO, and sold my SPXU. Boy howdy, I got it totally backwards. "Hosed" might be an appropriate term.

Win some, lose some, some get rained out.

Trade only in your "fun money" account. Bet only what you are prepared to lose. As, most assuredly, you might.
by john94549
Mon Jul 27, 2015 8:52 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Can I retire early?
Replies: 25
Views: 4639

Re: Can I retire early?

The trick is to have enough in IRA CDs for the first 15 years. Beyond that, statistically, you're probably investing for your heirs.

After-tax CDs are a plus.
by john94549
Mon Jul 27, 2015 1:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Asking for separate checks?
Replies: 88
Views: 6294

Re: Asking for separate checks?

Anyway, my wife arrives back home from her reunion. The reunion was at the bowling alley. Seriously. She could not stop laughing. The bowling alley and the bars are all that's left. I suspect the bowling alley exists only because it serves beer, brats, and reunions. She picked up the check, as I kne...
by john94549
Sun Jul 26, 2015 3:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ross Root Feeder
Replies: 24
Views: 1656

Re: Ross Root Feeder

Mind you, the weirdest scene was a deer drinking from the hot tub*. Woke up one morning, and there was this deer drinking, slurping, as it were. Yup, we put the cover on after that. That said, it could have been worse. *Of course, a deer drinking "in" the hot tub, say, with a gin and tonic...
by john94549
Sun Jul 26, 2015 9:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ross Root Feeder
Replies: 24
Views: 1656

Re: Ross Root Feeder

(1) Birds, squirrels, etc. eating items with seeds in them or (2) wind. My vote is deer. Bambi and friends tend to visit quite often, eating everything still alive. As the poem goes: "Around here, deer have no fear". Seriously, it's illegal to shoot, or even shoot AT, deer.* Should you sh...
by john94549
Sun Jul 26, 2015 6:26 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Total" Stock No More So than "Total" Bond
Replies: 52
Views: 3812

Re: "Total" Stock No More So than "Total" Bond

Bond funds do what they do, no more nor less. VBTLX might well be a horrid prospect going forward, or it might not. I doubt I'd throw a ton of money in bond funds these days.

If you want certainty, check out IRA CDs. After purchasing, it's just math. Five-year CDs these days compete favorably.
by john94549
Sat Jul 25, 2015 11:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ross Root Feeder
Replies: 24
Views: 1656

Re: Ross Root Feeder

We "had" a lawn in back. Now it's toast. Most everything else is either "native" or "drought-tolerant". That said, our "natives" know we're in for torrential rains.
by john94549
Sat Jul 25, 2015 5:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buy copy of wall street journal in San Jose Bay Area
Replies: 11
Views: 1347

Re: Buy copy of wall street journal in San Jose Bay Area

itstoomuch, you have to be an early bird. The Wall Street Journal sells out early. You are more than welcome to our New York Times. The "fashion" section on Sunday is usually unread. I think they call it "Style". Oddly enough, we used to climb a style in the neighboring farmer's ...
by john94549
Sat Jul 25, 2015 12:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buy copy of wall street journal in San Jose Bay Area
Replies: 11
Views: 1347

Re: Buy copy of wall street journal in San Jose Bay Area

Our local 7/11 has it. I was there this morning, and the person in front of me was purchasing a WSJ. Bottom line: if your local Seven/Eleven doesn't carry it, you probably don't need it. Were I to pick a place to be in the event of an apocalypse, yup, you guessed it, the local 7/11. Food, water, rea...
by john94549
Sat Jul 25, 2015 8:04 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Asking for separate checks?
Replies: 88
Views: 6294

Re: Asking for separate checks?

FedGuy wrote:
So...how'd they handle the check?


As I joked to my wife, she was voted "most likely to pick up the check". The "person most likely to succeed" moved away.
by john94549
Sat Jul 25, 2015 2:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Asking for separate checks?
Replies: 88
Views: 6294

Re: Asking for separate checks?

Funny (but true) story. My wife is back in Wisconsin for her 50th (high school graduation) reunion. Her circle of friends go out for "beer and brats" (bratwurst) and the total tab was less than a Jackson. Yup, less than twenty bucks. She called me, laughing (I suspect she was tipsy), sugge...
by john94549
Fri Jul 24, 2015 10:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Asking for separate checks?
Replies: 88
Views: 6294

Re: Asking for separate checks?

From the server's perspective, it's kinda hard. Bottom line: if you want to split the check, throw the cards in the hat. Give the hat to the server. That said, if you consistently go out with folks who consume more than their allocation, you need to adjust.
by john94549
Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ross Root Feeder
Replies: 24
Views: 1656

Re: Ross Root Feeder

For those of you using the root feeders do you circle around the tree Placing the root feeder at or about the drip line makes sense. With drought-tolerant bushes, I just stick it in a bit uphill. After all, in this drought, a little water is better than none at all. Irony abounds, however, as all t...
by john94549
Fri Jul 24, 2015 1:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you hate your vehicle infotainment system?
Replies: 73
Views: 5942

Re: Do you hate your vehicle infotainment system?

Mudpuppy, I guarantee you, "soldering" and my personal skill set will never intersect. I did figure out the difference between Phillips-head screwdrivers and all the others, but still haven't figured out why Mr. Phillips introduced such complexities.* I'm also confused by the concept of &q...
by john94549
Fri Jul 24, 2015 12:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you hate your vehicle infotainment system?
Replies: 73
Views: 5942

Re: Do you hate your vehicle infotainment system?

Too bad the radio croaked I'd suggest a small transistor radio on on the dashboard, if only they were still sold. I tried to buy said aforementioned small transistor radio at Radio Shack (just before Radio Shack went out of business) and the manager didn't have a clue what I was talking about. Some...
by john94549
Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Asking for separate checks?
Replies: 88
Views: 6294

Re: Asking for separate checks?

Splitting the bill always gets someone grumpy. Throwing all the credit cards into the mix, less chance for grumpy.

Total weirdness: someone in the party orders politically-incorrect food and others refuse to pay. Think a sirloin steak sandwich while others are munching on kale.
by john94549
Fri Jul 24, 2015 3:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ross Root Feeder
Replies: 24
Views: 1656

Re: Ross Root Feeder

One thing about "drought-tolerant" plants. If planted properly, their roots will (or should) dive way below the seasonal zone. Then again, it's a "good news, bad news" phenomenon. The roots are so deep, your drip irrigation (installed and maintained at much expense) is useless. B...
by john94549
Thu Jul 23, 2015 8:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Asking for separate checks?
Replies: 88
Views: 6294

Re: Asking for separate checks?

We just throw three credit cards at the waiter and call it a mix. That said, I can remember when I was in college (back in the late 60's) when we'd go to the local burger/beer bar, and argue over who owed what. Person 1: You had a double steakburger. I had a single. Person 2: Yes, but you had three ...
by john94549
Thu Jul 23, 2015 3:22 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Protective Puts
Replies: 8
Views: 1038

Re: Protective Puts

Update: I cashed out my short position when S+P hit 2100. Still scratching my head why any trader would buy stocks at these levels.
by john94549
Thu Jul 23, 2015 1:39 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Is this a cup-with-handle pattern?
Replies: 29
Views: 2325

Re: Is this a cup-with-handle pattern?

I so love the "chartists" when interviewed on CNBC, Fox, or whatever. When asked a straight question, as in "so, would you be buying here?", they never answer. Having a trading account is fun (mind your limits); watching TV shows is fun; trading can actually be fun. In all candor...
by john94549
Thu Jul 23, 2015 1:16 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: going to cash
Replies: 33
Views: 4806

Re: going to cash

Whack off 5% of your Vanguard account, plop it in whatever (I use Schwab), and trade away. Market-timing is wired into our DNA; we're always looking over our shoulders for the predators. Folks with "serious" cash are in laddered IRA CDs. If you get my drift.
by john94549
Thu Jul 23, 2015 12:56 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Is this a cup-with-handle pattern?
Replies: 29
Views: 2325

Re: Is this a cup-with-handle pattern?

It is more than funny when the "TA" folks get interviewed on CNBC. They whip out their charts, draw their lines, make their predictions, and that's that. It's just noise.

My predictions are as valid as theirs. I just bet real money.
by john94549
Thu Jul 23, 2015 9:00 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Is this a cup-with-handle pattern?
Replies: 29
Views: 2325

Re: Is this a cup-with-handle pattern?

While some folks "trade" pursuant to "charting" (aka technical analysis), I just go with my tummy. In my trading account (which is miniscule compared to everything else), I just look for what I perceive as over-reactions, one way or the other. The past few weeks, it just seemed f...
by john94549
Thu Jul 23, 2015 8:13 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you hate your vehicle infotainment system?
Replies: 73
Views: 5942

Re: Do you hate your vehicle infotainment system?

Cars are too complicated these days. I would love to buy a new car, but I'm confident I would never be able to figure out all the new "gizmos". I envision a scenario where it's pushing 100 degrees F., I'm trying to turn on the A/C, and the heater is on full blast. Adding insult to injury, ...
by john94549
Thu Jul 23, 2015 7:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home improvement: french drain or dry well?
Replies: 13
Views: 1510

Re: Home improvement: french drain or dry well?

I'd lean to the French drain. Make sure it's sized properly and remember "perfs down". The drain pipe has perforations to allow the introduction of water. Many "DIY"ers install the pipe with "perfs up", which defeats the whole purpose*. You want the water to rise in the...
by john94549
Thu Jul 23, 2015 7:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ross Root Feeder
Replies: 24
Views: 1656

Re: Ross Root Feeder

island wrote:Where did you get your Ross Feeder?


Ace Hardware.
by john94549
Wed Jul 22, 2015 8:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ground cover alternatives for large, sloping areas
Replies: 5
Views: 771

Re: Ground cover alternatives for large, sloping areas

Here in California, we basically gave up. We whacked it all off. The roots are still there, and when the rains come back, so might the ground cover. That failing, there's always weeds. Also known as "native plants." Seriously, we went to one of those "native plant" expos, and the...
by john94549
Wed Jul 22, 2015 7:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ross Root Feeder
Replies: 24
Views: 1656

Re: Ross Root Feeder

I have been using a root feeder for years now. My feeder is about 14" in length and you can feed fertilizer if you attach the fertilizer jar. Good idea to get the water direct to the depth desired where the roots are. Don't forget to come out to the drip line of the tree where the absorbing ro...
by john94549
Wed Jul 22, 2015 6:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ross Root Feeder
Replies: 24
Views: 1656

Ross Root Feeder

Our arborist suggested it for our trees during this horrid drought. If you (as we) are letting the lawn go brown, it's easy to forget that all those trees and bushes planted adjacent thereto derived much of their moisture from lawn watering. The root feeder augers down to the root zone, so you can a...
by john94549
Tue Jul 21, 2015 8:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommend a magazine with good writing like the New Yorker
Replies: 53
Views: 3328

Re: Recommend a magazine with good writing like the New Yorker

Economist. From time-to-time, our postal person mis-delivers our subscription to another address, and I go into a deep funk until it finds its way home. Some of the best writing comes from the caption writers, the "punsters" on the photo inserts. Captured irony, as it were. Only folks who ...
by john94549
Tue Jul 21, 2015 7:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wedding north of San Francisco
Replies: 13
Views: 1017

Re: Wedding north of San Francisco

Larkspur ferry is optimal. Scofflaws often park at Larkspur Landing, right across the street. You might come back to (a) a nasty note on your windshield, (b) nothing at all, or (c) a towed car. Another option would be to park in a visitor spot at the adjacent apartment complex. Put a note under the ...
by john94549
Mon Jul 20, 2015 7:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bridge loan vs paying cash
Replies: 21
Views: 1731

Re: Bridge loan vs paying cash

My math might be screwed up, but it sounds like the carrying cost on the bridge is roughly $2000/mo. Whether that interest is, or is not, tax-deductible, it sure sounds like a heck of a lot less than those taxes. Take the loan, keep the stocks as they are, and give your heirs a step-up in basis. As ...
by john94549
Mon Jul 20, 2015 6:50 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: High Rate Savings
Replies: 9
Views: 1552

Re: High Rate Savings

Some rewards checking accounts still offer rates in the "hard to believe" range, but with "gotchas". Garden-variety savings accounts, 1%+/- is about as good as it gets. Not too hard to ladder 5-yr CDs (which do offer a real return), but I'd advise against going "whole hog&qu...
by john94549
Mon Jul 20, 2015 6:42 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: High Rate Savings
Replies: 9
Views: 1552

Re: High Rate Savings

Edited; they're called "rewards checking".
by john94549
Sun Jul 19, 2015 5:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: VBIAX Index Admiral Fund for retirement portfolio?
Replies: 5
Views: 787

Re: VBIAX Index Admiral Fund for retirement portfolio?

VBIAX is an excellent "set-and-forget" fund. It is the core of my wife's TIRA with Vanguard, along with a tad of VTIAX. I sold off the lion's share of my VBIAX over the past decade (in order to rotate into VTSAX and an IRA CD ladder), but still own some. Should you want to "lighten up...
by john94549
Sat Jul 18, 2015 5:16 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Is now a decent time to buy gold? [Portfolio help]
Replies: 88
Views: 6864

Re: Is now a decent time to buy gold?

I used to think "pork bellies" (think "Trading Places"). At least if you bought a truckload of pork bellies, you could make a whole lot of bacon cheeseburgers. Or at least sell to someone who did. My wife might disagree, but the whole concept of gold, to me, is silly. It's an ado...
by john94549
Sat Jul 18, 2015 12:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Has anyone used Costco car buying service?
Replies: 35
Views: 6073

Re: Has anyone used Costco car buying service?

Regrettably, TrueCar has hijacked many of the old-fashioned "car-buying" services. Based on my recent experience with USAA's "USAA car-buying, brought to you by TrueCar", I'd rather suck ragweed. Maybe Consumer Reports still has some independence. I actually sent a blistering e-m...
by john94549
Sat Jul 18, 2015 12:29 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Percentages of stocks/bonds
Replies: 7
Views: 723

Re: Percentages of stocks/bonds

Target retirement funds bounce all over the place. As a general rule, I'd avoid them. You can really craft your own with a few minutes of effort, once a year. As an example, I read one article that had a "target fund" for folks retiring this year (average age 65) as 70% equities/30% bonds....
by john94549
Sat Jul 18, 2015 12:13 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Lump sum investment v. DCA v. Waiting
Replies: 53
Views: 6041

Re: Lump sum investment v. DCA v. Waiting

I still have a modest hedge against this market euphoria, although still being net long. I track "euphoria" as best I can. Netflix was the latest canary in the coal mine. As in, "we really don't make money, but we're gaining more subscribers every day". Right up there with Amazon...
by john94549
Fri Jul 17, 2015 9:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why did you take SS at FRA instead of delaying until 70?
Replies: 69
Views: 7602

Re: Why did you take SS at FRA instead of delaying until 70?

We did the 62=>spousal=>defer to 70. My wife, the higher earner by a tad, gets her spousal while collecting DRC's. As I suspected, collecting my S/S at 62 (rather than tapping 60/40 IRA funds) was a calculated risk. Mind you, I'm 68, so do the math. Harvesting 60/40 IRA funds for living expenses bac...
by john94549
Fri Jul 17, 2015 4:02 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Whatever happened to the advocates of CDs vs Bonds?
Replies: 58
Views: 5621

Re: Whatever happened to the advocates of CDs vs Bonds?

On a related note, has anyone gone through the CDARS process? I would love to hear how it actually works and how much time and effort is involved. Having read about (but never having bought) CDARS, it seems like you are paying at least two (maybe three) intermediaries for the privilege of rather &q...

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