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by john94549
Thu May 28, 2015 6:29 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: All cash now ($1M) - need advice on entering this lofty market
Replies: 64
Views: 5032

Re: All cash now ($1M) - need advice on entering this lofty market

The gent at 7-11 suggested Canadian coins would not mix. I have yet to find a coinstar which will accept my Canadian.
by john94549
Thu May 28, 2015 3:31 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: All cash now ($1M) - need advice on entering this lofty market
Replies: 64
Views: 5032

Re: All cash now ($1M) - need advice on entering this lofty market

There's nothing wrong with cash. Last I checked, the fellow at the 7-11 took cash. Quarters, dimes, even nickels, not a problem.
by john94549
Wed May 27, 2015 10:47 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Do I really need International equities in my portfolio ?
Replies: 70
Views: 5112

Re: Do I really need International equities in my portfolio ?

Folks who had "zero" in international could chest-bump last year. Folks who have "something" in international can chest-bump this year*. So, what's the point? As I pointed out to the wife (last year), stuff goes up, stuff goes down. I'm comfortable with 15 - 20% international, wi...
by john94549
Wed May 27, 2015 3:16 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Day trading
Replies: 19
Views: 1407

Re: Day trading

A modest profit can be made (see above). The trick is to use settled funds, large lots, and limit orders. For example, I bought 1500 shares of SPXU on May 14 at 32.94. It basically went sideways for 12 days, then (yesterday) Mr. Market decided to do a nose-dive, and my hedge paid off. I sold at 33.7...
by john94549
Wed May 27, 2015 10:31 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Day trading
Replies: 19
Views: 1407

Re: Day trading

Unless you're doing it with insignificant side-money I seldom day-trade with insignificant amounts (see above). Just the opposite. If you want to day-trade, it is much better to trade in large lots, with economies of scale, so to speak. I can trade 20,000 shares for the same price as 20 shares. Whe...
by john94549
Wed May 27, 2015 7:00 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Day trading
Replies: 19
Views: 1407

Re: Day trading

Hints: (1) Carve your day-trading cash into thirds. (2) Trade only the "third" available that day. (3) Always respect the green. If you ever, ever, make a few bucks, after commissions, book the green. Day-trading is just that. Day-trading is more or less like a casino, which is not to say ...
by john94549
Wed May 27, 2015 6:34 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Day trading
Replies: 19
Views: 1407

Re: Day trading

First a few pointers. Itsy bitsy trades, the commissions eat you alive. To make any money, we're talking trading in large numbers. A trade of 1000 shares at Schwab costs the same as 10 shares. Along the same train-track, trading a volatile low-priced equity is much better than, say Berkshire-Hathawa...
by john94549
Wed May 27, 2015 5:33 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Do I really need International equities in my portfolio ?
Replies: 70
Views: 5112

Re: Do I really need International equities in my portfolio ?

I don't think it's helpful to tell them they should avoid international Nor do I. Indeed, I don't think I did. As I noted in my post, I still have my 15 - 20%, with a tilt to emerging. "Actually" (as my eldest grand-daughter would say), I have been selling (and shorting) some domestic equ...
by john94549
Tue May 26, 2015 9:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling home - unexpected competition
Replies: 81
Views: 8453

Re: Selling home - unexpected competition

True story. Fellow buys my Mom's house (needs a bit of work) over a year ago. Puts a lot of time, and a fair amount of money, into the project. Puts it on the market for a fair price, given the up-grades and his sweat-equity. Meanwhile, the house next door comes on the market the same day, at $85K c...
by john94549
Tue May 26, 2015 1:46 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: sierra papa xray uniform [SPXU - ProShares Ultra-Short 3x S&P500]
Replies: 14
Views: 1164

Re: sierra papa xray uniform [SPXU - ProShares Ultra-Short 3x S&P500]

Bailed at 33.70. Nice gain, but, after all, it's a hedge. The point of the hedge position is to guard against market swings (which it did). Not to put too fine a point on it, but the purists will note that a true expert "swing trades" from leveraged short (SPXU) to leveraged long (UPRO). M...
by john94549
Tue May 26, 2015 7:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Still make sense to have AAA membership?
Replies: 72
Views: 5164

Re: Still make sense to have AAA membership?

I've long suspected the AAA road service (dead battery, jump start, flat tire, etc.) is a major loss leader. I assume they make their money on insurance and trip referrals.
by john94549
Tue May 26, 2015 7:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Still make sense to have AAA membership?
Replies: 72
Views: 5164

Re: Still make sense to have AAA membership?

We have been quite happy with AAA. With an older vehicle which always has periodic battery issues, AAA (in our area Concord Tow) is always jiffy-on-the-spot. Last time the battery crapped out, they were there in a half-hour, replaced the battery in situ (as it were), and that was that. Years ago, wh...
by john94549
Tue May 26, 2015 6:17 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Do I really need International equities in my portfolio ?
Replies: 70
Views: 5112

Re: Do I really need International equities in my portfolio ?

I suspect many of us have asked the same question. For years and years, we were told to diversify, have 15 - 20% in international, maybe with a tilt to emerging. We were told we'd be better off in the long-run. Then Europe went in the dumpster, Putin invaded Ukraine, commodities tanked, and the mid-...
by john94549
Tue May 26, 2015 5:20 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Ally Savings and MMA
Replies: 23
Views: 2880

Re: Ally Savings and MMA

Many on-line banks/credit unions offer at or near 1% on savings with the ability to transfer funds to checking as needed. I use Alliant CU. Alliant isn't the highest in terms of rates (it's but 0.9%), but it is transparent in terms of fees (none, unless you want a paper statement, which will set you...
by john94549
Mon May 25, 2015 8:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do Bogleheads plan to utilize Independent Living facilities?
Replies: 46
Views: 2052

Re: Do Bogleheads plan to utilize Independent Living facilities?

Drawpoker, teehee, so you agree he's still hitting the high notes because he wants to, not because he has to (which was my original point). How he got rich is irrelevant. But you must watch "Jersey Boys", a really good movie.
by john94549
Mon May 25, 2015 8:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do Bogleheads plan to utilize Independent Living facilities?
Replies: 46
Views: 2052

Re: Do Bogleheads plan to utilize Independent Living facilities?

Drawpoker, I'm willing to believe what I both read and see. Which is that the Valli-Gaudio partnership has generated more than either could have anticipated, or that either could spend in a lifetime. Given the number of productions by Gaudio alone (Wikipedia is a good resource) and Valli's incessant...
by john94549
Mon May 25, 2015 8:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do Bogleheads plan to utilize Independent Living facilities?
Replies: 46
Views: 2052

Re: Do Bogleheads plan to utilize Independent Living facilities?

Drawpoker, too funny. Given Frankie Valli's lifetime contract with Bob Gaudio, I doubt either has much to worry about. On a sadder note, Frankie Valli's personal life was pretty much a shambles. So, he might not have much left in life but to tour, and sing. But I seriously doubt it's a money issue. ...
by john94549
Mon May 25, 2015 7:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do Bogleheads plan to utilize Independent Living facilities?
Replies: 46
Views: 2052

Re: Do Bogleheads plan to utilize Independent Living facilities?

Maybe the answer is to emulate Frankie Valli (of the Four Seasons), still touring at 80+ years of age, still hitting (sort of) the high notes. I checked his schedule a couple of weeks ago, and he's still motoring around the country and (presumably) packing us geezers in. Amazing. "Sherry, Sherr...
by john94549
Mon May 25, 2015 6:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do Bogleheads plan to utilize Independent Living facilities?
Replies: 46
Views: 2052

Re: Do Bogleheads plan to utilize Independent Living facilities?

Drawpoker, as best I can tell, the "facility" was designed with assisted living on the first floor as those folks were most likely to "be" ambulatory, and want to go outside and go on field trips, go to the store, have a smoke, go for a walk, etc. Indeed, it seemed as if many on ...
by john94549
Mon May 25, 2015 6:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do Bogleheads plan to utilize Independent Living facilities?
Replies: 46
Views: 2052

Re: Do Bogleheads plan to utilize Independent Living facilities?

My only experience with an assisted living facility was as an observer, when my Mom was in skilled nursing (second floor) and I'd meander down to the assisted living units (on the ground floor). I was totally dismayed. Perhaps the deficiencies were site-specific, but I was aghast. The most egregious...
by john94549
Mon May 25, 2015 5:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The end of the nest egg
Replies: 30
Views: 7057

Re: The end of the nest egg

SWRs are probably more helpful in the planning for retirement phase than in the spending in retirement phase. Stated another way, they help folks answer the question "how much would I need to generate to (fill in the blank)". When I actually retired (back in 2006), I didn't take a withdraw...
by john94549
Sun May 24, 2015 8:48 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Taking out a HELOC to invest
Replies: 19
Views: 1701

Re: Taking out a HELOC to invest

Still scratching my head over Grabiner's mortgage. I thought we hit the jackpot with 3.4% fixed, re-fi, 30 years, several years back.
by john94549
Sun May 24, 2015 7:58 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Limited Term Bonds v CDs
Replies: 7
Views: 1010

Re: Limited Term Bonds v CDs

For FDIC- or NCUA-insured savings accounts, 1% is pretty much the "going rate". That said, if you are willing to shop around, you might do a tad better. Sometimes, you'll find "limited-time" specials which might, or might not, be appealing. http://www.depositaccounts.com/blog Thi...
by john94549
Fri May 22, 2015 11:27 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Where to put extra cash? CD's dont make sense
Replies: 7
Views: 1527

Re: Where to put extra cash? CD's dont make sense

A 5-yr CD paying 2% or more is common. The trick is to ladder. Buy a 5-yr CD this year with a bit of that cash, another the following year, and so on. After five years, you have a five-year ladder of 5-yr CDs. If rates rise, the CDs added later will benefit, as will your ladder. What you want to do ...
by john94549
Fri May 22, 2015 10:50 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Investing after Retirement
Replies: 10
Views: 1249

Re: Investing after Retirement

If you can live on that pension, then I'd suggest exploring "spousal benefits" and deferring to 70. For example, I claimed at 62, and my wife filed for spousal at her FRA (age 66), while deferring her own benefit to 70. I get my benefit, she gets her spousal, and she'll get her "age 7...
by john94549
Fri May 22, 2015 9:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The end of the nest egg
Replies: 30
Views: 7057

Re: The end of the nest egg

1982 was the all century champion for the best year to retire. Had to chuckle at that, since that was the year my Dad retired. Since my Mom's portfolio hit the "two comma" club right before she died in late 2013 (age 98 1/2), I'd say I could offer some anecdotal support to your statement.
by john94549
Thu May 21, 2015 9:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Career Advice: Follow "Passion" or Follow the Money?
Replies: 73
Views: 4223

Re: Career Advice: Follow "Passion" or Follow the Money?

Follow your passion, but negotiate for a position which allows outside consulting as well. I knew physicists from Lawrence Livermore who did expert consulting on the side doing accident reconstruction for attorneys. Once you establish a solid CV, in your passion, the other "rewards" will m...
by john94549
Mon May 18, 2015 7:15 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Time to reach 1M and 2M milestones
Replies: 63
Views: 9381

Re: Time to reach 1M and 2M milestones

Once you hit $2 million, it's just keeping score. The key is a million or so in cash, FDIC/NCUA insured cash.
by john94549
Mon May 18, 2015 6:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: sierra papa xray uniform [SPXU - ProShares Ultra-Short 3x S&P500]
Replies: 14
Views: 1164

Re: sierra papa xray uniform [SPXU - ProShares Ultra-Short 3x S&P500]

Today was a perfect example of how imperfect the hedge can be. Mind you, one must hedge the "exact" long position or positions. I'm trying to hedge an actively-managed mutual fund (UNSCX), at its all-time nosebleed high, with SPXU. Can't be done, at least by me. My long position is roughly...
by john94549
Mon May 18, 2015 2:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: liability question for inherited home
Replies: 18
Views: 1016

Re: liability question for inherited home

My experience was similar. After my Mom died, her carrier refused to renew*. Vacant houses are apparently a "no-no" for underwriters. I was fortunate in that the insurance agent cut me some slack and kept the policy in force until the house sold. But he was quite clear that had I not been ...
by john94549
Mon May 18, 2015 1:26 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Best Asset Allocation if you've "won the game"
Replies: 86
Views: 8525

Re: Best Asset Allocation if you've "won the game"

We took a very conservative approach around ten years ago and moved quite a bit to laddered IRA CDs. Cash is hardly sexy, but it's predictable. When your goal is asset preservation, prudently-managed IRA CDs might be worth a peek. Interest rates these days aren't exactly stellar, but you can find FD...
by john94549
Mon May 18, 2015 2:19 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Huge Problem With First Home
Replies: 28
Views: 4837

Re: Huge Problem With First Home

Before I retired, I was involved in many such cases. By and large, they were never resolved successfully. The transaction costs (read legal fees) almost always exceeded the recoverable damages. Unless you have "prevailing party attorneys fees" in your contract, and you prevail (which is ha...
by john94549
Sat May 16, 2015 6:32 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: comparing Stable Value to Bond funds
Replies: 4
Views: 533

Re: comparing Stable Value to Bond funds

No silver bullets in fixed income these days. 2% is the going rate, and anything better is worth a nod. A tip of the cap, as it were.
by john94549
Fri May 15, 2015 10:13 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: sierra papa xray uniform [SPXU - ProShares Ultra-Short 3x S&P500]
Replies: 14
Views: 1164

Re: sierra papa xray uniform [SPXU - ProShares Ultra-Short 3x S&P500]

The purpose of the hedge is to be as close to neutral as possible. Stated another way, one says "I'm really happy" and then tries to match one's long and short positions. The point is not to make money. The point of a hedge is to avoid losing one's gains, without multiple commissions. Math...
by john94549
Fri May 15, 2015 9:29 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: sierra papa xray uniform [SPXU - ProShares Ultra-Short 3x S&P500]
Replies: 14
Views: 1164

Re: sierra papa xray uniform [SPXU - ProShares Ultra-Short 3x S&P500]

Commissions, they eat you alive. If you have ten or more positions in a trading account, and you are up in all ten positions, to whack off your gains is, like $9 X 10. On the other hand, to hedge those gains is but $9 X 1. Granted, your positions seldom match the SPX, nor (inversely) the 3X SPXU. Th...
by john94549
Fri May 15, 2015 5:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: sierra papa xray uniform [SPXU - ProShares Ultra-Short 3x S&P500]
Replies: 14
Views: 1164

Re: sierra papa xray uniform [SPXU - ProShares Ultra-Short 3x S&P500]

Looks like you caught almost the highest price of the week to buy.... When one buys a hedge, by definition, one's purchase is or should be neutral. The cost of neutrality is the trading cost, in and out. As noted above, when a person wishes to "cash in" at a perceived market top (in a tra...
by john94549
Fri May 15, 2015 5:26 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: sierra papa xray uniform [SPXU - ProShares Ultra-Short 3x S&P500]
Replies: 14
Views: 1164

Re: sierra papa xray uniform [SPXU - ProShares Ultra-Short 3x S&P500]

It's just a hedge, as I said. Up a bit, down a bit. If I could, I would, but I can't, so I hedge.

It's just a hedge. Nothing to take seriously. SPXU is not an investment vehicle.
by john94549
Fri May 15, 2015 12:17 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Talk me out of Timing the Market!
Replies: 30
Views: 3029

Re: Talk me out of Timing the Market!

There's "investing", and then there's "trading". If you dedicate a small portion of your investable assets to a "fun money" or "trading" account (i.e., money you can afford to lose), you can assuage your gambling urges without betting the ranch.
by john94549
Fri May 15, 2015 12:49 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: sierra papa xray uniform [SPXU - ProShares Ultra-Short 3x S&P500]
Replies: 14
Views: 1164

Re: sierra papa xray uniform [SPXU - ProShares Short S&P500]

Re-title as you wish. It's ultra-short. 3X. Inasmuch as margin is unavailable in an IRA trading account, it is impossible to "short", unless you pay someone else to do it for you (e.g., an inverse ETF). If you want to lock in ill-gotten gains, you face a choice: (a) sell your positions (an...
by john94549
Thu May 14, 2015 6:48 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Where to go for CD's?
Replies: 4
Views: 579

Re: Where to go for CD's?

Ken Tumin's blog (noted above) is about as good as it gets.

http://www.depositaccounts.com/blog

Every other week, Ken posts the "best" CD offerings out there.
by john94549
Thu May 14, 2015 5:58 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: sierra papa xray uniform [SPXU - ProShares Ultra-Short 3x S&P500]
Replies: 14
Views: 1164

sierra papa xray uniform [SPXU - ProShares Ultra-Short 3x S&P500]

Hedged today. 1500 at 32.94 (not afraid to post my trades). Inside joke. I get all nervous and jerky when folks tell me it's an all-time whatever, especially in May. Seriously, in May? Just my trading (fun money) account. You can either sell in May, or go waaaaay short in May. Today, I did both. All...
by john94549
Thu May 14, 2015 2:30 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do I need umbrella coverage?
Replies: 15
Views: 1922

Re: Do I need umbrella coverage?

We (finally) bought an umbrella several months ago. Having umbrella coverage makes you no more, nor less, a target. After all, you don't walk around with a sign on your back which says "sue me, I have lots of insurance". For us, the deciding factor was cost/benefit. For less than a dollar ...
by john94549
Wed May 13, 2015 9:07 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Are we experiencing a bond correction or crash?
Replies: 34
Views: 5689

Re: Are we experiencing a bond correction or crash?

Just my luck, I rebalanced into more bonds last week and my bond funds immediately lost more value than the stock funds. Sheesh. Mike You and me both... a few weeks ago I sold off some stocks to put towards a future home down payment. Already down almost a thousand dollars on VBTLX =(. Guess I had ...
by john94549
Wed May 13, 2015 8:49 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Taking out a HELOC for a rental...
Replies: 16
Views: 1001

Re: Taking out a HELOC for a rental...

Aside from the fact my mother-in-law passed away many years ago, are you sure anyone would consider living in a garage? I doubt my MIL would have appreciated an offer to live in our garage. Aside from San Francisco, where people convert just about anything (including garages), well you get my drift.
by john94549
Wed May 13, 2015 5:24 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Living in LA but working in SF
Replies: 12
Views: 1406

Re: Living in LA but working in SF

Years ago, it was much easier to fly than drive. When my wife commuted to LA, her car service would pick her up an hour before her flight*, she'd arrive at Oakland fifteen minutes before take-off, and that was that. She'd remark about all the "regulars" on her commuter flight. These days, ...
by john94549
Tue May 12, 2015 9:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Living in LA but working in SF
Replies: 12
Views: 1406

Re: Living in LA but working in SF

This is not a huge issue. Motor on over to I-5, set the cruise control, and stop for lunch at Harris Ranch. My wife commuted to LA from the Bay Area for years; mostly by air, but often by car.
by john94549
Tue May 12, 2015 9:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I get condo earthquake insurance (California)?
Replies: 15
Views: 440

Re: Should I get condo earthquake insurance (California)?

Get a copy of the HOA earthquake insurance and go to your agent, and find out what coverage you have now, and will have if you buy or do not buy earthquake insurance. One concern you should have is Loss Assessment. See if you can afford to cover Loss Assessment without buying earthquake insurance. ...
by john94549
Tue May 12, 2015 8:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I get condo earthquake insurance (California)?
Replies: 15
Views: 440

Re: Should I get condo earthquake insurance (California)?

This gets really complicated. Does your insurance cover "your part" of the structure? You really need to dig deep into the policy and see what you're paying for. Odds are, when the Big One hits, folks will be scrambling to see what is, and is not, covered. Worst case: you get a letter from...
by john94549
Tue May 12, 2015 2:25 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Are we experiencing a bond correction or crash?
Replies: 34
Views: 5689

Re: Are we experiencing a bond correction or crash?

5) If you don't agree, bank CDs are a completely plausible alternative to bond funds. Don't think you are required to invest only in things that brokerage houses can sell you. The reasons I am sticking with Total Bond and not moving to bank CDs are that in my personal life, going to bank CDs would ...
by john94549
Tue May 12, 2015 9:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New Math for Retirees and the 4% Withdrawal Rule
Replies: 89
Views: 9857

Re: New Math for Retirees and the 4% Withdrawal Rule

555 wrote:
I think you have this exactly backwards.


You are correct. What I was thinking (but did not type, I agree) was if you calculate and budget for what you presume to be a "safe" amount and then your portfolio plunges and you then "start" withdrawals (etc).

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