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Re: If you had an extra $100,000

We chose to pour it into our house (many years of deferred maintenance, a not-so-old roof which was failing*, the deck, a bathroom up-date).

*One of those "lifetime warranty" roofs where the company declared bankruptcy two years after we installed the roof. Long story.
by john94549
Sat Aug 30, 2014 9:51 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: If you had an extra $100,000
Replies: 52
Views: 3873

Re: When is a trust worth it for an inheritance?

The settlor of the Trust (the person with the assets) sets up the Trust with the thought of passing the assets outside Probate. Cheaper and cleaner, as a general rule. And, having recently been through the process (as successor Trustee/heir), it is much cleaner and simpler.
by john94549
Sat Aug 30, 2014 9:29 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When is a trust worth it for an inheritance?
Replies: 3
Views: 590

Re: Anyone used Vanguard Flagship Services With Portfolio $1

When we were pushing $1M, I asked Vanguard whether we should pull some goodly chunk out and invest in retail CDs (this was back in 2006) or push for the $1M. The guy suggested CDs.
by john94549
Sat Aug 30, 2014 9:12 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Anyone used Vanguard Flagship Services With Portfolio $1M+
Replies: 34
Views: 2809

Re: Asset allocation between taxable and non-taxable account

That's what I thought. To calculate AA, just gross-up your taxable at your effective rate. Caveat: it's a tad simplistic, but should be workable. If you want to get ultimate precision, you have to calculate capital gains on the taxable and apply the tax, then compare to ordinary income tax on the ta...
by john94549
Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:53 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Asset allocation between taxable and non-taxable accounts
Replies: 4
Views: 147

Re: Asset allocation between taxable and non-taxable account

Might you mean "tax-deferred" (as opposed to "non-taxable")?
by john94549
Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:49 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Asset allocation between taxable and non-taxable accounts
Replies: 4
Views: 147

Re: Do you mix inheritance and earned money?

If inherited assets are in a Trust, there may be some logic keeping the assets separate until all extraordinary Trust administrative expenses are used as offsets to Trust income. If ongoing expenses are anticipated (e.g., accountant and/or attorney fees), one might consider keeping at least one inco...
by john94549
Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:25 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you mix inheritance and earned money?
Replies: 23
Views: 1577

USAA Credit Card Offer

OK, I've been a member for quite some time (early 70's), and I 've never seen anything similar. USAA is offering me a $25 credit (woo hoo) if I go out and spend $1500 on my USAA MasterCard in the next thirty days. Aside from the fact that there is absolutely, positively, nothing I want to buy in the...
by john94549
Thu Aug 28, 2014 10:50 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: USAA Credit Card Offer
Replies: 12
Views: 1036

Re: Acorns - Automatic Investing

I keep all my change in a dish. Once a month, or so, I go down to the 7-Eleven and dump all the change on the counter. The guy knows me, thinks it is sort of funny, and says he can use the change anyway. I try to pick times of day he's not real busy. I used to count it out beforehand, but he didn't ...
by john94549
Thu Aug 28, 2014 10:23 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Acorns - Automatic Investing
Replies: 5
Views: 581

Re: Goldman-Sachs: bonds to 4%, 6% stock returns

I will continue to obey inertia. My next CD rolls next week. The rate is not stellar, but it's competitive.
by john94549
Thu Aug 28, 2014 10:07 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Goldman-Sachs: bonds to 4%, 6% stock returns
Replies: 20
Views: 2776

Re: A Low-Return Future? Are We Prepared?

Suffice it to say, I had always planned retirement as a squirrel might. Acorns in the ground, and all that. That said, low (or no) returns coupled with above-average inflation might get my attention. At 67, our acorns are "OK".
by john94549
Thu Aug 28, 2014 10:02 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: A Low-Return Future? Are We Prepared?
Replies: 132
Views: 6185

Re: I'd buy an S&P 500 index fund in a pinch

sdsailing, merely providing a tad of anecdotal support for his thesis. Moving right along, I found it ironic that my wife's 401K offered a "proprietary" Vanguard 60/40 fund (whose ER remains a mystery) but which lagged VBIAX materially. Not just ten or twenty basis points, but much more.
by john94549
Thu Aug 28, 2014 9:52 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: I'd buy an S&P 500 index fund in a pinch
Replies: 35
Views: 3752

Re: I'd buy an S&P 500 index fund in a pinch

The problem arises for 401K contributors when VBIAX (or a similar low-cost balanced fund) is simply unavailable. Then, the best might well be that S+P500 (SWPPX) and the Vanguard Bond (VBTLX). My wife has those set at 60% SWPPX and 40% VBTLX. Both have extremely low ERs. The return has been virtuall...
by john94549
Thu Aug 28, 2014 9:44 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: I'd buy an S&P 500 index fund in a pinch
Replies: 35
Views: 3752

Re: When, if ever, should an annuity be used in retirement p

I must say I am tempted by the "longevity annuity" that one might purchase at 70 or so, but which kicks in (if at all) at 85. Seems a viable alternative to LTCI. I've always balked at LTCI because of the subjectivity of it all and the payout caps.
by john94549
Thu Aug 28, 2014 9:14 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: When, if ever, should an annuity be used in retirement plans
Replies: 32
Views: 2165

Re: Own the same fund in multiple accounts?

My wife has VBIAX in her Vanguard Rollover IRA and so do I. We also both hold VTIAX. That said, I wanted a bit of emerging market tilt for the two of us, and accomplished solely in my IRA. I always try to aggregate our accounts for purposes of AA.
by john94549
Thu Aug 28, 2014 9:07 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Own the same fund in multiple accounts?
Replies: 9
Views: 910

Re: California residents - do you have earthquake insurance?

As noted in my other thread "Earthquake Preparedness", the biggest hurdles are deductibles and rates. Unless/until mortgage lenders require earthquake insurance*, and the risk pool is enlarged, little will change. Folks in Merced can't or won't; folks in Orinda do or wish they could. Indee...
by john94549
Thu Aug 28, 2014 12:36 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: California residents - do you have earthquake insurance?
Replies: 49
Views: 2531

Re: Cell phone plan on cruise - direct experience?

Funny. My wife and I took our first "cruise" on our 35th Anniversary, in 2003. Well within ship-to-shore telephones. Two days out, the office began ringing with new files, problems, you name it. I told the ship to disable whatever it was that enabled the phone to ring.
by john94549
Thu Aug 28, 2014 12:20 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cell phone plan on cruise - direct experience?
Replies: 5
Views: 427

Re: Can/do you sell bonds to purchase stocks?

Sciray wrote:A million by 40 isn't unrealistic


We have neighbors who hit that at 25. That's not the issue.
by john94549
Thu Aug 28, 2014 12:09 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Can/do you sell bonds to purchase stocks?
Replies: 19
Views: 915

Re: Chase savings account bonus deposit

Read the offer closely. I suspect you will have to keep the $15K in the account for six months in order to keep the bonus. Or, maybe not. If OP and/or kaneohe is correct, one might be able to cycle the money in and out, many times over, with multiple accounts, keeping the minimum balance ($300) and...
by john94549
Wed Aug 27, 2014 11:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chase savings account bonus deposit
Replies: 16
Views: 1055

Re: No car for 10 years - should I scratch the itch?

Cars are merely major appliances. Treat them as such.
by john94549
Wed Aug 27, 2014 11:43 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: No car for 10 years - should I scratch the itch?
Replies: 28
Views: 2004

Re: Ally Bank CD

Making any sort of a real return these days on FI is a challenge. I have found that shooting for a 5-yr CD paying at or above stated inflation (2%) is about as good as it gets, unless you're willing to take risk. I'm more than happy to do so, just not in that portion of my AA dedicated to CDs. My bo...
by john94549
Wed Aug 27, 2014 11:17 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Ally Bank CD
Replies: 12
Views: 1536

Re: Chase savings account bonus deposit

I got the idea to open one for me and one for my wife and it wasn't my idea to do that. Possibly the bankers get rewarded on how many new accounts they open so it may be a win-win situation. Moving right along, you (that's one), your wife (that's another), you with POD wife (that's three), wife wit...
by john94549
Wed Aug 27, 2014 10:40 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chase savings account bonus deposit
Replies: 16
Views: 1055

Re: What are you up YTD?

Considering that my wife and I are both 67, but she insists on working (I'm retired), it's academic. Suffice it to say: more than enough.
by john94549
Wed Aug 27, 2014 10:25 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What are you up YTD?
Replies: 94
Views: 6134

Re: Ally Bank CD

I've had a 1 year CD Ladder ( 4 CD's ,3 Mo. apart ) for several years w/NP. Given current very low rates for CD's ,I would recommend the Online Saving Account instead. I would agree that a one-year ladder will under-perform in this rate environment. I would recommend a savings account for ready cas...
by john94549
Wed Aug 27, 2014 10:11 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Ally Bank CD
Replies: 12
Views: 1536

Re: Can/do you sell bonds to purchase stocks?

If you feel comfortable with an asset allocation of 80% equities/20% bonds, then make life (and your contributions) simple. Just buy the 80/20. Vanguard aggressive fund.* No re-balancing required. Vanguard does it automatically. *If not available in your 401K (it is in my wife's 401K), then combine ...
by john94549
Wed Aug 27, 2014 9:28 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Can/do you sell bonds to purchase stocks?
Replies: 19
Views: 915

Re: Chase savings account bonus deposit

For laughs, ask if you can open multiple accounts under your SSN but with different "PODs", assuming you scarf up enough coupons on e-bay.
by john94549
Wed Aug 27, 2014 8:44 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chase savings account bonus deposit
Replies: 16
Views: 1055

Re: Ally Bank CD

You might want to check Ken Tumin's blog (http://www.depositaccounts.com/blog). It's about time for his weekly CD rate update. I'd suggest shopping around for the best 5-yr CD, then buy another next year, and so on. After five years, you'll have that ladder. Last week's CD rate update listed eight o...
by john94549
Wed Aug 27, 2014 8:14 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Ally Bank CD
Replies: 12
Views: 1536

Re: Earthquake Preparedness

Madbrain, how CEA underwrites is and shall always be a mystery. Why somebody parked close to the San Andreas is a bigger risk than somebody atop the Calaveras, go figure. That said, I am still puzzled why each and every mortgage lender mandates fire insurance, yet seems oblivious to earthquake. If o...
by john94549
Mon Aug 25, 2014 7:33 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Earthquake Preparedness
Replies: 39
Views: 1993

Re: How Does Vanguard Re-Balance VBIAX

Too funny. I'll relay that to my wife. It's proprietary.
by john94549
Mon Aug 25, 2014 4:25 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How Does Vanguard Re-Balance VBIAX
Replies: 4
Views: 545

Re: Earthquake Preparedness

As I suggested in my initial post in this thread, whether (or not) to purchase earthquake insurance is a very personal decision. We have it, others do not. At minimum, it should at least be considered. Crunch the numbers, as it were. The CEA numbers are dismal, at best. Ideally, lenders should requi...
by john94549
Mon Aug 25, 2014 4:12 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Earthquake Preparedness
Replies: 39
Views: 1993

Re: Is it me, or are "collectibles" worthless in 2014?

Just an aside on estate sales. I used one for the "heirlooms" (and everything else) after my Mom died. Prepare to be amazed. Example: 1940 hand-made Grandfather clock. Beautiful piece, 8 feet tall. We didn't want it; kids didn't want it. Apparently, nobody else wanted it, either. Out-the-d...
by john94549
Mon Aug 25, 2014 3:55 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is it me, or are "collectibles" worthless in 2014?
Replies: 79
Views: 6000

Re: International allocation

For better or worse, about 20%, with a tilt to EM.
by john94549
Mon Aug 25, 2014 3:37 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: International allocation
Replies: 73
Views: 4049

How Does Vanguard Re-Balance VBIAX

A couple of days ago, I re-balanced my wife's 401K account back to 60/40. Which prompted my wife's question: "Should you re-balance my VBIAX in my Vanguard IRA account?" After I explained to her that VBIAX was, by definition, a 60/40 balanced fund, I realized I had no idea how to explain t...
by john94549
Mon Aug 25, 2014 3:31 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How Does Vanguard Re-Balance VBIAX
Replies: 4
Views: 545

Re: Earthquake Preparedness

Watty, kindly read the entire sentence. For those of a tender age (born post Loma Prieta), this might have been their first (semi) big one. My post was so directed. I was not suggesting this was a (or "the") biggee.
by john94549
Sun Aug 24, 2014 11:30 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Earthquake Preparedness
Replies: 39
Views: 1993

Re: Agreement Regarding Vacation Property

Ouch! Don't do it. Getting into an investment partnership with another couple just invites trouble. Let's work this through. The property needs new carpet, says the management company. You and your wife say "OK", the other folks say "not OK". Or they say, "OK, but brown"...
by john94549
Sun Aug 24, 2014 10:41 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Agreement Regarding Vacation Property
Replies: 21
Views: 1521

Re: What is your experience managing a 8 or 9 digit portfoli

Last I counted, I had ten digits on hands (when counted in the aggregate), same on feet, somewhat less in the portfolio.
by john94549
Sun Aug 24, 2014 10:18 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What is your experience managing a 8 or 9 digit portfolio
Replies: 11
Views: 2187

Re: Paying off house in cash

Reading between the lines, I would assume you expect to sock away enough in five years to pay for a house free-and-clear, and want to know where to stash the money. I'd think about buying a "reverse" CD ladder. Buy a five-year this year, a four-year the next, etc., so that all funds mature...
by john94549
Sun Aug 24, 2014 10:10 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Paying off house in cash
Replies: 6
Views: 1723

Earthquake Preparedness

Napa served as a wake-up. It dawned on me, as folks began to be interviewed, that for many folks in the Bay Area (especially those born post Loma Prieta), this might have been their first (semi) "big one". Time to take stock. Are your slippers under the bed, the "go bag" ready, m...
by john94549
Sun Aug 24, 2014 9:40 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Earthquake Preparedness
Replies: 39
Views: 1993

Re: need birth certificate to file for SS?

When I initially applied online for S/S benefits, the "computer" at the SSA determined, in its wisdom, that I was "in the system." Since I have been receiving benefits for some five-plus years, and never had to submit a birth certificate, I guess I was, indeed, "in the syste...
by john94549
Sun Aug 24, 2014 9:22 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: need birth certificate to file for SS?
Replies: 14
Views: 1415

Re: Power of Attorney

afan, I noted the NYT article, but would take exception to the NYT's notion that a Trust is a solution (see my prior post, above). Conditions for "springing" in a POA are often identical to empowerment of a successor trustee under the Trust. This is especially true when the estate plan doc...
by john94549
Sun Aug 24, 2014 9:03 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Power of Attorney
Replies: 32
Views: 2614

Re: Is it me, or are "collectibles" worthless in 2014?

We had a funny thread on stamps some time ago. Turns out, many early Boomers (myself included) were avid stamp collectors. Ahem, ever try to fit an appropriate number of Ramon Magsaysay 8 cent stamps on an envelope while still leaving room for the address, not to mention the return address? Kids don...
by john94549
Sat Aug 23, 2014 10:07 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is it me, or are "collectibles" worthless in 2014?
Replies: 79
Views: 6000

Re: 87 Year Old Grandmother Has $600,000 In the Bank

Watty wrote:

It was not clear if you had been asked for help so any suggestions might not be very well received.



My thoughts, exactly.
by john94549
Sat Aug 23, 2014 8:58 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 87 Year Old Grandmother Has $600,000 In the Bank
Replies: 42
Views: 5462

Re: is short term disability worth it?

Before purchasing commercial disability insurance, do a little research on State and Federal disability benefits. My wife qualified for CA SDI a few years back (she was eligible for right around six months, as I recall) and the amount was quite ample.
by john94549
Sat Aug 23, 2014 8:43 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: is short term disability worth it?
Replies: 13
Views: 1114

Re: Do you tip on the tax? [Restaurants]

Nisiprius, those familiar with foreign toilet service well understand. In certain countries, a moist, wet, cloth is worth a tip. Without getting too graphic, many countries have "facilities" where one must have, especially when elderly, a certain amount of assistance to avoid falling backw...
by john94549
Fri Aug 22, 2014 9:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you tip on the tax? [Restaurants]
Replies: 124
Views: 4969

Re: Do you tip on the tax? [Restaurants]

crowd79 wrote:Tip 5-10% on the bill minus tax.


Even for those of us seniors, seems a tad extreme. Antipathy in general to the concept? Even I (admittedly a cheapskate, see above) would consider 15%.
by john94549
Fri Aug 22, 2014 9:05 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you tip on the tax? [Restaurants]
Replies: 124
Views: 4969

Re: 3% Max Checking…instead of bonds?

If you can jump through all the hoops, Rewards Checking is a wonderful option for certain folks. When RCA first came out, folks were almost giddy. Balance caps were high (as were rates), the hoops easy to navigate, and the only downside was keeping track of those purchases. Indeed, some folks over a...
by john94549
Fri Aug 22, 2014 8:50 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 3% Max Checking…instead of bonds?
Replies: 14
Views: 1264

Re: Tax on house sell in trust

My Mom died late last year; the family home was in the Marital Trust. I sold it early this year. There a number of issues (not the least of which being deductible expenses to the Trust) which warrant assistance from a CPA. There should be a Trust Tax ID, Trust tax returns, and K-1s. For example, giv...
by john94549
Fri Aug 22, 2014 8:03 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax on house sell in trust
Replies: 4
Views: 720

Re: Do you tip on the tax?

I learned the quick mental calculation while studying abroad: move the decimal point to the left, divide that by 2; add. Once my wife figured out I was still doing that, some 47 years later, she started paying the tabs.
by john94549
Fri Aug 22, 2014 7:34 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you tip on the tax? [Restaurants]
Replies: 124
Views: 4969

Re: Downsizing emergency fund

Whatever its name, an after-tax "cash stash" is always a good thing to have. Each person has his or her own comfort level, and hoarding cash just to "keep score" is probably unwise (in this interest-rate environment). An easy test is the "worry-ometer". If you constantl...
by john94549
Fri Aug 22, 2014 7:15 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Downsizing emergency fund
Replies: 12
Views: 1285

Re: HELOC + Margin = $200k to play with

Mortgage the farm, mortgage the house, mortgage or margin the other assets, then buy leveraged ETFs. UPRO comes to mind. Sounds like fun. Unless we're at a market top. If so, oops.
by john94549
Thu Aug 21, 2014 10:08 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: HELOC + Margin = $200k to play with
Replies: 24
Views: 1760

Re: When to put money into bond fund rather than home princi

This comes up periodically, given folks (such as OP) with reasonably-cheap mortgages these days. My option was that 3.3% 10-yr CD. Two observations: (a) the mortgage is the mortgage; (b) investments are variable. If you find something even close to balancing the mortgage, it's a procrastinator's dre...
by john94549
Thu Aug 21, 2014 9:46 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: When to put money into bond fund rather than home principal
Replies: 14
Views: 1659
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