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Re: Riding the Rails--my Amtrak trip

But these middle of the country trips seem just horrible. Is it really that bad? As the Harper's article noted, you have to have a lot of patience to "ride the rails". Schedules are a great work of fiction. Before she died, my MIL took the train from Emeryville to the Empire Builder, then...
by john94549
Wed Jul 23, 2014 9:40 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Riding the Rails--my Amtrak trip
Replies: 28
Views: 1798

Re: VMMXX: Finally Pulled the Trigger

So far, so good. Made a tad over ten bucks on the buy (362 shares of VBIAX) in just one day. Goshamighty, that's beer money. Had I not sat on the funds last year (having moved some, but not all), it might have been cases-of-wine money. That said, had markets tanked, it might have been . . ., well, y...
by john94549
Wed Jul 23, 2014 9:13 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: VMMXX: Finally Pulled the Trigger
Replies: 20
Views: 2558

Re: Riding the Rails--my Amtrak trip

OP: Your hard copy of the article mentioned is now in the post. Bon voyage!
by john94549
Wed Jul 23, 2014 9:01 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Riding the Rails--my Amtrak trip
Replies: 28
Views: 1798

Re: Best High-Yield Savings Acct?

Alliant used to be stellar; then morphed into barely average. These days, anything at or over 1% with no "gotchas" is a pretty good deal. Visit http://www.depositaccounts.com/blog for the "best" deals on savings accounts. It kinda rankles when I know they're paying 1 and charging...
by john94549
Wed Jul 23, 2014 8:51 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Best High-Yield Savings Acct?
Replies: 12
Views: 852

Re: Riding the Rails--my Amtrak trip

Pick up a copy of the July (2014) Harper's. Kevin Baker's piece entitled "21st Century Limited" chronicles his travel cross-country on Amtrak. If you can't find one, PM me with a mailing address for you along the way, and I'll pop a copy in the mail to you.
by john94549
Wed Jul 23, 2014 9:03 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Riding the Rails--my Amtrak trip
Replies: 28
Views: 1798

Re: Sprinklers for the bottom of a sloping lawn

I would combine two good pieces of advice (move the sprinkler heads inward a tad and install a modest gravel trench at the base of the slope) with a third: use the dirt from the installation of the trench to build a smallish (4 inches will do) berm at the bottom of the slope. The "catchbasin&qu...
by john94549
Wed Jul 23, 2014 8:41 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sprinklers for the bottom of a sloping lawn
Replies: 10
Views: 987

Re: Inheritance: Cash or Investments?

If some or all of the assets are in a Trust, check with your CPA (or ask the Executor to do so). Feel free to PM me.
by john94549
Wed Jul 23, 2014 8:13 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Inheritance: Cash or Investments?
Replies: 15
Views: 1161

Re: Will baby boomers retiring spell doom for the markets

Answer this: Has the first wave of retiring boomers (born 1946 - 1949) had any measureable impact on any financial market, anywhere, simply by dint of selling anything to help fund retirement?
by john94549
Tue Jul 22, 2014 10:16 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Will baby boomers retiring spell doom for the markets
Replies: 39
Views: 3586

Re: List of Worst financial advice (what not to do):

Maybe someone else pointed out this gem, and I missed it, but this:

"Put all yours eggs in one basket, but watch it very closely."

When did that ever work?
by john94549
Tue Jul 22, 2014 9:42 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: List of Worst financial advice (what not to do):
Replies: 127
Views: 13907

Re: VMMXX: Finally Pulled the Trigger

It's not a "what took you so long" issue, as I've been moving money from VMMXX to other investments since rates peaked in late 2006. Needless to say, every transfer (whether to IRA CD, Vanguard fund, you name it) has done better than VMMXX. Behavioral economists would have a field day as t...
by john94549
Mon Jul 21, 2014 9:32 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: VMMXX: Finally Pulled the Trigger
Replies: 20
Views: 2558

VMMXX: Finally Pulled the Trigger

After years and years of maintaining a modest residue of VMMXX, I finally transferred the last tranche (a little over $10, 474) to VBIAX. I suspect I am one of the last dinosaurs to fully abandon Vanguard's MMF.
by john94549
Mon Jul 21, 2014 9:16 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: VMMXX: Finally Pulled the Trigger
Replies: 20
Views: 2558

Re: Driving from Rockford, il to Mesa AZ....best route.

Last I checked, US 54 does not go through Kansas City. That said, it (along with other remnants of the pre-Interstate system) offer unique views of Americana. Most memorable: old barns and Burma-Shave signs, long-weathered and abandoned. Least memorable: speed traps and farm vehicles, which I suspec...
by john94549
Mon Jul 21, 2014 8:34 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Driving from Rockford, il to Mesa AZ....best route.
Replies: 16
Views: 1571

Re: 2 days in San Francisco

Walking tours are great, a pass for the Muni when you get tired. Sometimes just walking in circles. Gosh, I worked in the City for 20-some years and just walked all over the place. For fun, take the Muni (any line will do) and get off at the end of the line. Some areas might be "dicey", bu...
by john94549
Fri Jul 18, 2014 9:08 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2 days in San Francisco
Replies: 25
Views: 1620

Re: Poll - Do You Read Businessweek?

I read 'em all, except for the WSJ. And that's more an issue of time. By the time I've read the NYT and the Chronicle, it's time for a nap. After the nap and lunch, it's periodicals. Then early news and a cocktail, followed by national news (and a cocktail). Round it out with Harper's and/or Vanity ...
by john94549
Fri Jul 18, 2014 8:37 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Poll - Do You Read Businessweek?
Replies: 28
Views: 1825

Re: If you own a car, do you have a car payment?

I doubt this Community is a representative cross-section of American car-buyers. Or leasers. That said, I voted "no".
by john94549
Fri Jul 18, 2014 8:25 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: If you own a car, do you have a car payment?
Replies: 110
Views: 6236

Re: Help me assess whether to refinance

You might wish to consider other options, such as a re-fi into a 7/1. Our daughter and son-in-law just obtained a 2.9% interest rate on same. For a jumbo, no less (around $900K). Pays to shop. Now, while the odds are their rate may re-set higher in seven years, their savings in the interim will be s...
by john94549
Fri Jul 18, 2014 8:08 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help me assess whether to refinance
Replies: 10
Views: 673

Re: Hints on Tri-Tip

Yes, she used Santa Maria dry-rub. However, next time, we'll take it off the grill a tad earlier.
by john94549
Thu Jul 17, 2014 12:46 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hints on Tri-Tip [Cooking]
Replies: 28
Views: 1836

Re: 24 Years Old Looking for Conservative, Inflation Hedged

Assuming the OP is on the "upward path" (beyond student debt and such), I should think the immediate goal would be an emergency fund. While it might be nice to have an inflation-adjusted emergency fund, last I checked, most financial institutions weren't interested. Plop that money in a sa...
by john94549
Wed Jul 16, 2014 10:59 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 24 Years Old Looking for Conservative, Inflation Hedged Port
Replies: 10
Views: 717

Hints on Tri-Tip [Cooking]

Believe it or not, after many years over a Weber, I'd never cooked a tri-tip. Wife marinated it thoroughly for a day. Brought to room temp. Seared as recommended. Used indirect coals, with thickest part to the center, slow cooking. All well and good. Huge mistake was to cover tightly with foil after...
by john94549
Wed Jul 16, 2014 10:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hints on Tri-Tip [Cooking]
Replies: 28
Views: 1836

Re: Living on Dividends

I'm still pondering the term "bulge bracket firm". Although, at my age, it would be nice to . . . never mind.
by john94549
Wed Jul 16, 2014 10:03 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Living on Dividends
Replies: 16
Views: 3559

Re: Driving from Rockford, il to Mesa AZ....best route.

The old "River Road" southwest from Rockford through Dixon is very scenic.
by john94549
Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Driving from Rockford, il to Mesa AZ....best route.
Replies: 16
Views: 1571

Re: Moving from Midwest to Coastal Cities: COL Adjustment?

My goodness. Moving from anywhere in the Midwest to anywhere in the NYC Metro area, well it's a culture shock. Back in the Paleolithic era, when I was in the Naval Reserves, my ship was home-ported in Perth Amboy. Even then, we needed to move to Cranbury to find affordable housing.
by john94549
Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:41 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Moving from Midwest to Coastal Cities: COL Adjustment?
Replies: 25
Views: 2485

Re: Auction vs. estate sale to liquidate personal property

I used an estate sale company for my Mom's "stuff". Prepare to be disappointed. The whole process smelled. You will never know if bidders rigged low, only to sell "outside". I suspect that's the case. For example, an heirloom easily appraised at $4000 sells for $100, then sells &...
by john94549
Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:05 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Auction vs. estate sale to liquidate personal property
Replies: 5
Views: 914

Re: What To Do During A Correction In Stocks?

If you have a balanced fund (60/40), it re-balances all by itself. VBIAX comes to mind. If you don't have a balanced fund, then you need to develop a steely resolve and be willing to "pull the trigger" and plow bond money (or cash) into stocks. Easier said than done. I suspect it is mathem...
by john94549
Tue Jul 15, 2014 9:30 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What To Do During A Correction In Stocks?
Replies: 31
Views: 3661

Re: Water Bladders

Might end up being cheaper in the long run to convert your yard to a desert. Having shut down several stations on our irrigation system, much of our acre is converting to dust or scrub. We're watering only "sight-line" plantings. Stated another way, if we (or the neighbors) can't see it, ...
by john94549
Tue Jul 15, 2014 9:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Water Bladders
Replies: 3
Views: 973

Water Bladders

OK, this is not a thread on personal plumbing, rather, the California drought. Does anyone have any experience purchasing, filling, maintaining, and servicing re-cycled water bladders for outdoor irrigation? Interested in cost, water pumps, sources, etc. Some wastewater plants in our area are beginn...
by john94549
Tue Jul 15, 2014 12:10 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Water Bladders
Replies: 3
Views: 973

POLL: Emerging Markets Tilt

Just curious. I augment my international (VTIAX) with a tilt in VEMAX, such that my VTIAX is 75% of my international, and VEMAX 25%. With the internal allocation in VTIAX to emerging, I suspect my final allocation is 1/3 emerging, 2/3 not*. Just curious how this compares, and why. *I just ran the nu...
by john94549
Mon Jul 14, 2014 11:28 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: POLL: Emerging Markets Tilt
Replies: 12
Views: 747

Re: CD ladder emergency fun

As an aside, I should note that starting a five-year ladder (of 5-yr CDs) is a strong incentive for saving. Not only does the ladder itself dissuade one from "poaching", the concept of filling the next rung with an equal or greater amount is somewhat addictive. Five years is an incredibly ...
by john94549
Mon Jul 14, 2014 10:55 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: CD ladder emergency fun
Replies: 22
Views: 2608

Re: CD ladder emergency fun

I'd vote for a modest cash reserve ($20K seems ample) and "dry powder" for a good 5-yr CD "special" with a reasonable EWP. Check to make sure the CD issuer will allow partial withdrawals, and charge you the EWP only on the funds withdrawn. Odds are, you'll never need to dip into ...
by john94549
Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:44 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: CD ladder emergency fun
Replies: 22
Views: 2608

Re: How much do you spend on your hobby annually?

My goodness, I am a reader, invariably print periodicals* (e.g., newspapers, magazines, and such). Not so much books. I spend a good three to four hours a day in my "hobby". Now, the New York Times, the Chronicle (SF), the Economist, Bloomberg Business Week, Vanity Fair, Harper's, I could ...
by john94549
Sat Jul 12, 2014 10:24 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much do you spend on your hobby annually?
Replies: 77
Views: 6931

Re: POLL: Are You Re-Balancing?

I suspect both a certain recency bias and "why am I doing this"? with respect to re-balancing. For example, one might wonder why one was selling perfectly-fine equities to buy tanking bond funds. Of course, the perfectly-logical answer is that one might be swapping perfectly-horrid equitie...
by john94549
Thu Jul 03, 2014 11:18 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: POLL: Are You Re-Balancing?
Replies: 70
Views: 4948

Re: Are You Re-Balancing?

Just curious, since, obviously, some funds do it automatically. For other, we need to punch it in. I must admit a certain procrastination with respect to re-balancing the wife's account (supposedly 60/40, but now closer to 62.5/37.5)*. Really hard to justify selling stocks and buying bonds in a risi...
by john94549
Thu Jul 03, 2014 10:45 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: POLL: Are You Re-Balancing?
Replies: 70
Views: 4948

POLL: Are You Re-Balancing?

With recent market gains, are you?
by john94549
Thu Jul 03, 2014 9:49 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: POLL: Are You Re-Balancing?
Replies: 70
Views: 4948

Re: stamp collection

My dad thought that collecting plate blocks from stamps issued in the 50's and 60's was going to be his special retirement booster. As others noted, it was a waste of time and effort. . . As I am one of those "dads", kids from the 50's and early 60's who were avid stamp collectors, I shar...
by john94549
Thu Jul 03, 2014 9:30 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: stamp collection
Replies: 19
Views: 1109

Re: Money Mkt vs. Savings Acct.

As others have noted, money market funds were kind to us through early 2007, when rates peaked. I began to rotate out of VMMXX in late-2006 (into laddered CDs) and haven't looked back.
by john94549
Thu Jul 03, 2014 9:12 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Money Mkt vs. Savings Acct.
Replies: 9
Views: 1195

Re: POLL: What is your weighted average duration in FI?

Surprised how few were <1 (as I voted). Guess there are but few of us with CD ladders as their primary holdings for FI. When it seems to be getting easier and easier to start a 5-yr ladder at or above 2% (with 5-yr CDs), I'm still surprised at folks' reluctance. Finding 2.5% deals for a 5-yr is hard...
by john94549
Thu Jul 03, 2014 8:44 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: POLL: What is your weighted average duration in FI?
Replies: 16
Views: 1001

Re: Mortgage: Variable 7 vs Fixed 30.

LongerPrimer wrote:Still here and reading.

This is a starter home for a bachelor and a home to protect his future purchasing power, and for the next home which spouse will chose.


So, we're talking Instagram "Here's my house (see photo), will you marry me?"
by john94549
Sun Jun 29, 2014 11:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage: Variable 7 vs Fixed 30.
Replies: 47
Views: 3388

Re: Bucket Strategy for Retirement. Please comment

I noted in another thread the possibility of a cash reserve in retirement, totally distinct from that to which a SWR might apply. Sort of an end-of-life bucket.
by john94549
Sun Jun 29, 2014 11:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bucket Strategy for Retirement. Please comment
Replies: 34
Views: 3784

Re: Ideas on how deal with estate with tons of items

I sold my Mom's "stuff" in an estate sale, the company's percentage was 40%, and I still ponder whether the sales were rigged. That said, unless you are willing to warehouse the inventory, sell it piece-by-piece, and clean out the house for prospective buyers, an estate sale is the path of...
by john94549
Sun Jun 29, 2014 11:00 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ideas on how deal with estate with tons of items
Replies: 29
Views: 2379

Re: The Millionaire Next Door: Are You One?

My neighbors are a mixed bag. Those who have moved in over the past five years or so, I'd say they're uber-rich techies. Those of us who bought back in the 70's and still live here (read: old farts), we mostly drive old Buicks. Being a millionaire isn't what it used to be. Ask the folks next door. A...
by john94549
Sun Jun 29, 2014 10:51 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The Millionaire Next Door: Are You One?
Replies: 187
Views: 22162

Re: Anyone use Wells Fargo Bank?

I use Wells Fargo for my modest savings account (minimum balance $300 to avoid service charge, with ATM access). Basically, it's just a no-fee ATM account.
by john94549
Sun Jun 29, 2014 10:37 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone use Wells Fargo Bank?
Replies: 57
Views: 7573

Re: Cash Reserve in Retirement

Whether or not people leave that emergency fund untouched as their retirement assets decline later in retirement is a different issue. If good health/ long life is accompanied by a declining portfolio and/or increased expenses -- current needs may easily trump possible later expense emergencies. Ex...
by john94549
Sun Jun 29, 2014 10:23 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Cash Reserve in Retirement
Replies: 13
Views: 2028

Cash Reserve in Retirement

With a modicum of experience, I'd offer a few observations. All those retirement calculators, take them with a grain of salt. Once you get to the "crunch" (age 80 and upwards), your biggest issue will be end-of-life dying expenses. Based on simple math, and my Mom's experience before she d...
by john94549
Sat Jun 28, 2014 10:54 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Cash Reserve in Retirement
Replies: 13
Views: 2028

Re: Paid off home as LTC Insurance?

john94549 wrote:
StarbuxInvestor wrote:
You need to look at modern* assisted and independent living facilities.


As I did. Should you find an outlier, good for you.

*Ironically, the more modern, the more expensive.

by john94549
Sat Jun 28, 2014 10:27 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paid off home as LTC Insurance?
Replies: 38
Views: 2002

Re: Paid off home as LTC Insurance?

StarbuxInvestor wrote:
You need to look at modern assisted and independent living facilities.


As I did. Should you find an outlier, good for you.
by john94549
Sat Jun 28, 2014 10:23 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paid off home as LTC Insurance?
Replies: 38
Views: 2002

Re: Paid off home as LTC Insurance?

Starbux, I can assure you I spent over four months visiting a nursing home back in 2010 while my Mom was therein recuperating from the first of her "declines". I visited the "upstairs" (the nursing section), the "downstairs" (the assisted living section), and each sub-s...
by john94549
Sat Jun 28, 2014 10:00 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paid off home as LTC Insurance?
Replies: 38
Views: 2002

Re: Paid off home as LTC Insurance?

Starbux, the very word "facility" sends shivers down my spine.
by john94549
Sat Jun 28, 2014 9:33 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paid off home as LTC Insurance?
Replies: 38
Views: 2002

Re: Paid off home as LTC Insurance?

Not a flaw, but an an observation. Late in life, it became obvious my Mom needed enhanced care. The options were simple. Custodial care in a nursing home (private pay) versus in-home care (again, private pay). Her home was all paid-off. That said, the concept of actually selling the home, selling of...
by john94549
Sat Jun 28, 2014 9:22 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paid off home as LTC Insurance?
Replies: 38
Views: 2002

Re: Safe draw down %?

Think like a squirrel. If your pile of 1000 acorns must last 20 years, take 50 acorns per year. If you're a squirrel worried about inflation (I doubt few are), invest in something which throws off a yield thereby matched. Such as a Treasury Inflation Protected Squirrel, or TIPS. A totally risk-avers...
by john94549
Sat Jun 28, 2014 8:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Safe draw down %?
Replies: 21
Views: 2071

Re: How much to retire

Twenty-seven years is a long time. I would guess I revised our retirement projections at least five or six times over the past three decades. We are now both 67. I am retired; my wife chooses to continue to work, as she loves her job and her employer loves her. That said, we have crunched the number...
by john94549
Sat Jun 28, 2014 8:35 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much to retire
Replies: 21
Views: 2919
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