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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: 5
Views: 729

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: 8
Views: 732

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: 24
Views: 4331

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: 64
Views: 2934

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: 9201

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: 13
Views: 1031

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: 995

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: 8355

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: 4776

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: 519

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: 13
Views: 1031

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: 13
Views: 1031

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: 13
Views: 1031

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: 13
Views: 1031

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: 2994

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: 13
Views: 1031

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: 563

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: 13
Views: 1031

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: 1905

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: 5651

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: 980

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: 1396

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: 1396

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: 431

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: 431

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: 5651

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: 9751

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).
by john94549
Mon May 11, 2015 8:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New Math for Retirees and the 4% Withdrawal Rule
Replies: 89
Views: 9751

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

Sperry, sequence of returns is always an issue. It's mostly common sense, but it always seems to elicit a technical term. If you start withdrawals when your portfolio is in the dumpster, and use 4%, you might be in deep doo-doo. Deep doo-doo is not a technical term. Interesting that you withdrew at ...
by john94549
Mon May 11, 2015 7:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New Math for Retirees and the 4% Withdrawal Rule
Replies: 89
Views: 9751

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

MnD, not necessarily. We did just that, and have no problem cashing in all those IRA CDs from age 70 - 85. Should we outlive those IRA CDs, well, we'll begin to harvest the balanced stocks and bonds stuff. Insecurity only rears its ugly head when the "corpus" of one's retirement account de...
by john94549
Mon May 11, 2015 7:23 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: BND ? [Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF]
Replies: 4
Views: 560

Re: BND ?

My wife buys VBTLX in her 401K every two weeks through her 401K. It's automatic. I think she finally understands that bonds are for the long-haul. Some days will be good, some horrid. Bond funds aren't exactly my preferred choice for fixed-income, but one doesn't have a lot of choices in a 401K. In ...
by john94549
Sun May 10, 2015 8:46 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Thinking ahead about how to do Social Security
Replies: 29
Views: 2250

Re: Thinking ahead about how to do Social Security

File and suspend with one collecting spousal benefits at his or her FRA is a no-brainer. If you don't do this, you are literally losing tens of thousands of dollars per year from FRA to age 70. We did the claim at 62 => spousal => defer to 70, which is another option for folks who can't quite afford...
by john94549
Sun May 10, 2015 8:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Age 70 1/2: Think through your RMD choices.
Replies: 9
Views: 1790

Re: Age 70 1/2: Think through your RMD choices.

How great that someone loves a job so much, s/he looks for a reason like that not to retire. She does love her job, and the working conditions (flex hours, work from home with an occasional trip to the City for meetings, and intellectual stimulation) are ideal. I find it harder and harder to posit ...
by john94549
Sun May 10, 2015 7:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do banks take loose coinage?
Replies: 55
Views: 3462

Re: Do banks take loose coinage?

The gent at the local 7-eleven loves when I bring in change for purchases, just not over the lunch hour, when there's always a long line. Ditto for the local gas station/mini-mart. They always need boatloads of change for their mart sales. Seems at both places, folks who pay for purchases in cash se...
by john94549
Sat May 09, 2015 7:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New Math for Retirees and the 4% Withdrawal Rule
Replies: 89
Views: 9751

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

Independent wrote:
For example, if I ask FireCalc to give me the highest initial withdrawal with a 95% success rate, over a 15 year horizon, it comes back with 6.2%.


Obviously, that was my "back-of-the-envelope" calculation as well. That said, it might assuage my wife's concerns.

Thank you kindly.
by john94549
Sat May 09, 2015 7:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Age 70 1/2: Think through your RMD choices.
Replies: 9
Views: 1790

Re: Age 70 1/2: Think through your RMD choices.

With tongue firmly embedded in cheek, my wife (who is looking for any reason "not" to retire) pointed out that she would not be required to take any annual withdrawals from her current employer 401K after 70 1/2 should she still be working. I mentioned that I knew that.
by john94549
Sat May 09, 2015 6:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New Math for Retirees and the 4% Withdrawal Rule
Replies: 89
Views: 9751

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

One thing these studies do not address, insofar as I can tell, is how to "calculate" a SWR for folks who defer touching their stock/bond portfolios until age 85 or thereabouts. I might be wrong, but the standard assumption seems to be folks will "withdraw" across their portfolio ...
by john94549
Wed May 06, 2015 10:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Truecar -- isn't this just a car buying scam?
Replies: 123
Views: 8211

Re: Truecar -- isn't this just a car buying scam?

Browser wrote: Truecar doesn't show you a good low-ball price; you still have to figure that out yourself.


I was disappointed with USAA car buying service (which turned out to be TrueCar), as I really thought it might be an on-line alternative to dealer haggling. Hint: it ain't.
by john94549
Wed May 06, 2015 10:00 pm
Forum: Forum Issues and Administration
Topic: Slow speed
Replies: 12
Views: 762

Re: Slow speed

As the old saying goes "was it me, or was it Memorex?" In the last fifteen minutes or so, everything speeded up substantially.
by john94549
Wed May 06, 2015 9:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit union: "once a member, always a member"?
Replies: 22
Views: 1627

Re: Credit union: "once a member, always a member"?

Mind you, this expression generally refers to initial eligibility. For example, if you join through an affinity group which requires a one-time sign-up (and membership fee), you are free to drop your membership with said affinity group after one year. You'll still be a member of the credit union. Al...
by john94549
Wed May 06, 2015 8:27 pm
Forum: Forum Issues and Administration
Topic: Slow speed
Replies: 12
Views: 762

Slow speed

Not that I'm complaining, but whatever you folks did to "new and improve" did slow down everything to folks only we retirees can appreciate. Loading is slower, posts are slower, replies are slower. Of course, I am slower, as well.
by john94549
Wed May 06, 2015 8:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: CD ladder at Ally - multiple durations or just one
Replies: 20
Views: 2528

Re: CD ladder at Ally - multiple durations or just one

Several years ago, while visiting my local StateFarm agent, I asked her if she marketed the "no EWP for partial withdrawals" on IRA CDs to her local clients at Rossmoor (a local 55+ community). She wasn't even aware of the proviso. I've come to the conclusion that this exception is not onl...
by john94549
Wed May 06, 2015 7:41 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: move to cash for upcoming bear market?
Replies: 68
Views: 7946

Re: move to cash for upcoming bear market?

Back in 2006 - 2007, it was easier to rationalize building a cash stash (CD rates were around 5.5%+). Hard to justify building these days, though maintaining what one already has does offer a modest real return, if managed properly. Even in my fun money trading account, I haven't been generating man...
by john94549
Tue May 05, 2015 11:02 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Moving to cash until clear plans formed [formerly Sell in May, Go Away, and Think About It]
Replies: 39
Views: 4040

Re: Moving to cash until clear plans formed [formerly Sell in May, Go Away, and Think About It]

Reading between the lines, sounds like you have a stable value fund yielding 3% or thereabouts. Leave half there, then plunk the rest in a balanced stock/bond fund. You'll get triple the yield of garden-variety savings accounts on that stable value fund, trust me.
by john94549
Tue May 05, 2015 10:43 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: CD ladder at Ally - multiple durations or just one
Replies: 20
Views: 2528

Re: CD ladder at Ally - multiple durations or just one

It should be emphasized that certain financial institutions offer IRA CD partial withdrawals for those over 59 1/2 without penalty, and most do for those over 70 1/2 (for RMDs). Thus, there is absolutely no reason to plunk down your money at less than the going rate for the longest term at the highe...
by john94549
Tue May 05, 2015 10:00 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: When - and how - to relax about retirement assets?
Replies: 18
Views: 3987

Re: When - and how - to relax about retirement assets?

We only relaxed when we had enough in cash (laddered CDs) for our expenses (above and beyond other sources of income) for age 70 - 85. We're both pushing 68. Our 60/40 balanced funds, and other assets*, those get to grow (or not) until we start to tap them at age 85 (should we live that long). Cash ...
by john94549
Tue May 05, 2015 9:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wisconsin vacation ideas
Replies: 34
Views: 2323

Re: Wisconsin vacation ideas

Third the Dells.
by john94549
Tue May 05, 2015 9:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Truecar -- isn't this just a car buying scam?
Replies: 123
Views: 8211

Re: Truecar -- isn't this just a car buying scam?

The USAA car buying service was basically TrueCar. While I wouldn't call it a scam, the price quote from one dealer was very high, another a bit high, and another apparently a "bait and switch". The latter seemed too good to be true, inasmuch as they would never "put it in writing&quo...
by john94549
Tue May 05, 2015 9:30 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 18 months from retirement and cash heavy
Replies: 7
Views: 1581

Re: 18 months from retirement and cash heavy

Have them examine their S/S options so as to maximize (I agree with poster Watty). Beyond that, any Vanguard retirement fund entails risk, unlike cash. That said, in this interest-rate environment, even a well-laddered CD cash stash will offer but a modest real return. One option might be for one sp...
by john94549
Sat May 02, 2015 10:45 pm
Forum: Forum Issues and Administration
Topic: What's new and changed in phpBB 3.1
Replies: 69
Views: 3255

Re: What's new and changed in phpBB 3.1

testing one two
by john94549
Thu Apr 30, 2015 11:38 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I pay off the mortgage before I quit my job?
Replies: 30
Views: 3385

Re: Should I pay off the mortgage before I quit my job?

We still have a mortgage well into our 60's (68, actually). We could pay it off, but at 3.4% with many years to go (a re-fi a couple of years back), inertia has set in.

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