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Re: Is it safe to use a credit card at Target?

Funny story. My wife goes to Target for Toilet Paper and Paper Towels, and little else. After the debacle, she writes a check. All heck breaks loose.
by john94549
Sat Dec 20, 2014 7:11 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is it safe to use a credit card at Target?
Replies: 23
Views: 1707

Re: What "actively" manged funds do you own?

UNSCX (bought for me decades ago by my parents), EVGFX (inherited from my Mother), and FUSGX (same).
by john94549
Sat Dec 20, 2014 6:48 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What "actively" managed funds do you own?
Replies: 81
Views: 4004

Re: 1 rollover per year?

As I read the new rule, the litmus test is "did you get a check?" If you did, and you want to roll that check into another tax-deferred vehicle, fine. You get 60 days to do so. And you can do it once a year. Why folks would have done this in the first place (other than the small sub-set of...
by john94549
Sat Dec 20, 2014 6:12 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 1 rollover per year?
Replies: 17
Views: 997

Re: Moving from growth to a capital preservation portfolio

You might explore building a five-year ladder of 5-yr CDs, one this year, one the next, until the ladder is filled. It's not terribly sexy, but it's safe. Not too hard to find 2%+ on 5-yr CDs. Think of your CD ladder as diversification in your fixed-income. In addition, I hope you have explored opti...
by john94549
Sat Dec 20, 2014 5:50 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Moving from growth to a capital preservation portfolio
Replies: 13
Views: 1271

Re: Outperforming vs Underperforming Investors in 2014

My wife's garden-variety 60/40 with no international exposure did quite well this year, actually. Her 401K options are somewhat limited, so the logical choices were SWPPX and VBTLX. I suspect anyone who had little to no international did well this year.
by john94549
Fri Dec 19, 2014 11:12 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Outperforming vs Underperforming Investors in 2014
Replies: 14
Views: 2195

Re: Online Bank for High-Yield Savings and CDs

Ken Tumin's blog (depositaccounts) is my default resource, and has been for eight years or so. From time-to-time, he fails to pick up a rate here and there (and is chided in the Forum accordingly), but I've found the site quite unbiased. Comments on the site are a tad un-moderated, and can be domina...
by john94549
Fri Dec 19, 2014 10:37 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Online Bank for High-Yield Savings and CDs
Replies: 5
Views: 915

Re: Federal Taxes - Sticker Shock (And how to reduce)

If you have a bit of patience, rental real estate can work, especially in retirement. It's a long-term strategy, hence the comment about "patience". Example (not too far from our own experience): You buy a rental property at age 40 (or thereabouts). You experience actual negative cash flow...
by john94549
Fri Dec 19, 2014 5:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Federal Taxes - Sticker Shock (And how to reduce)
Replies: 58
Views: 5050

Re: Ally 5-year CD from 1.6% to 2%?

Personally, I found the 48-mo Alliant Credit Union 2.1% CD a reasonably good deal a few months back. Compared favorably to other CDs at a 5-yr maturity.
by john94549
Fri Dec 19, 2014 5:26 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Ally 5-year CD from 1.6% to 2%?
Replies: 8
Views: 2225

Re: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios

My only gripe with Schwab is that they sequester dividends (at least they do in SWPPX). I understand the concept of "float", and that they have to pay their bills, but I would prefer quarterly dividends.
by john94549
Fri Dec 19, 2014 4:53 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios
Replies: 13
Views: 1444

Re: Bond Fund vs CDs - which to use?

I have both, with a decided tilt to an IRA CD ladder. In retirement, one big plus is predictability. Equities and bond funds, I think we can all agree, can be unpredictable. It's nice to know you have enough to pay the bills even when Mr. Market zigs and zags.
by john94549
Fri Dec 19, 2014 4:41 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bond Fund vs CDs - which to use?
Replies: 58
Views: 4248

Vinyl (as in old records)

My wife and I have a smattering of old vinyl from the 50's and 60's. Tried to sell some I had as a kid in an estate sale a year or so ago, but all the collection got was a huge yawn. Any thoughts on an appropriate place for a donation? I just hate to think of it all getting melted. Someone, somewher...
by john94549
Thu Dec 18, 2014 9:57 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vinyl (as in old records)
Replies: 10
Views: 933

Re: Where to put cash now? Prefer CD's.

PF raised its one-year a bit ago, but nothing to get weird about. By-and-large, ready cash in MMFs or savings accounts are doomed to lose to inflation these days. Your best bet has been to build that 5-yr ladder of 5-yr CDs, gradually. I know I sound like a broken record (boy, howdy, even that expre...
by john94549
Thu Dec 18, 2014 9:41 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Where to put cash now? Prefer CD's.
Replies: 22
Views: 4281

Re: Gas Prices ($1.99) in North Texas

Below $3 here in Northern California. As noted in another thread, the market for used Prius vehicles in somewhat in the tank.

Was not long ago, pushing $6/gallon hereabouts.
by john94549
Thu Dec 18, 2014 9:16 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gas Prices ($1.99) in North Texas
Replies: 45
Views: 2833

Re: CD or Treasury ladder trade-off

I'm not a huge fan of those "bump up" options. Best to get a good rate, plunk down your money, enter it into a spread-sheet (or on a yellow legal pad), and have done with it.
by john94549
Thu Dec 18, 2014 9:06 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: CD or Treasury ladder trade-off
Replies: 29
Views: 1551

Re: CD or Treasury ladder trade-off

For my purposes, I'd like to try to stick to a single bank for my ladder for simplicity even if it will cost me a few dollars a year. As alluded to in my post above, simplicity might cost you more than you think. You really need to "hunt-and-peck" to get the best deals, especially when cr...
by john94549
Thu Dec 18, 2014 8:33 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: CD or Treasury ladder trade-off
Replies: 29
Views: 1551

Re: CD or Treasury ladder trade-off

Many financial institutions offer tiered CD rates, with somewhat better yields as you go out. Don't be shocked, however, if you find the rates for less than three years under-whelming. For example, Alliant Credit Union's 48-month CD at 2.1% is reasonably competitive, but go down in the tier by 12 mo...
by john94549
Thu Dec 18, 2014 5:19 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: CD or Treasury ladder trade-off
Replies: 29
Views: 1551

Re: Am I in two many investments.

My goodness, you have a slurpy-cup full of funds. Might I suggest VBIAX with a dollop of VTIAX. You might get serious about cash, as in CDs.
by john94549
Wed Dec 17, 2014 10:09 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Am I in two many investments.
Replies: 17
Views: 1768

Re: How do you factor entitlements into your investing plan?

My goodness, before I was nearing the "collection" phase of Social Security, I seldom (if ever) considered it at all in my AA. Now that I'm actually collecting (as is my wife, through "spousal"), might I say, little has changed. We were roughly "age-in-bonds" all along....
by john94549
Wed Dec 17, 2014 9:56 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do you factor entitlements into your investing plan?
Replies: 52
Views: 4547

Re: Hawaii inter island flights and condos

Finding a last-minute condo rental over the holidays might require some leg-work. On Maui, your best bet might be contacting some "off beach" condos on Kaanapali*. A travel agent might have some contacts. Somewhat more expensive, but potentially available, might be the time-share rentals t...
by john94549
Wed Dec 17, 2014 9:03 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hawaii inter island flights and condos
Replies: 7
Views: 1137

Re: With this uncertainty, where to put $200k plus....

OP: You are an ideal candidate for a 5-yr IRA CD with no early withdrawal penalty for partial withdrawals for those over 59 1/2. The going rate is over 2%. You can re-invest the interest, have it paid to you, or even whack off a little of the CD (with no early withdrawal penalty). The rest of the CD...
by john94549
Tue Dec 16, 2014 10:33 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: With this uncertainty, where to put $200k plus....
Replies: 26
Views: 2526

Re: AA for Early Retirement

2% is not realistic or required. Then what is realistic or required? A totally-safe, FDIC or NCUA-guaranteed 5 year ladder of 5-yr CDs, generates inception yields roughly 50 bps over inflation, i.e., 2.2%+. Stated another way, you could whack off the interest each year and be above 2%, never touchi...
by john94549
Tue Dec 16, 2014 10:00 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: AA for Early Retirement
Replies: 21
Views: 2288

Re: Why would you invest in a bond fund?

Fixed-income acts as an "anchor-to-windward". Even those of us who tilt to a CD ladder appreciate the need for a modicum in bond fund(s) for re-balancing, if necessary. My wife and I were quite happy she had enough in her bond fund (in her 401K) to re-balance in the swoon of 2008.
by john94549
Tue Dec 16, 2014 9:33 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why would you invest in a bond fund?
Replies: 25
Views: 1969

Re: AA for Early Retirement

I retired at 59 1/2, so I (barely) fit within your range. I had enough salted away after-tax so that I could avoid tapping tax-deferred.
by john94549
Tue Dec 16, 2014 9:17 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: AA for Early Retirement
Replies: 21
Views: 2288

Re: Selling Vehicle of Deceased

Condolences. Laws vary from state-to-state. In Kansas, it's frightful, but just over the line in Missouri, you just sign over the title as an heir. I was lucky; I was able to sell Mom's car in Kansas (with a KS registration and plates) to a guy in MO. Had my signature notarized, end of story. He reg...
by john94549
Tue Dec 16, 2014 9:04 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling Vehicle of Deceased
Replies: 26
Views: 2089

Re: Went "all in" Nov 17-21 in VTTHX (2035) - worried...

Once you've done it, you've done it. That said, when (if ever) you get back to "even", might I suggest a less aggressive approach? Take half off the table. Of that half, plop 20% in 5-yr CDs., the other 80% in a safe, short-term bond-fund. The next year, whack off an equal amount from the ...
by john94549
Mon Dec 15, 2014 8:51 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Went "all in" Nov 17-21 in VTTHX (2035) - worried...
Replies: 26
Views: 3366

Re: Bonds

My goodness, this is a complicated issue. For example, some retirees with but a modest position in "bonds" might have low seven figures in CDs, thinking that they were light on "bonds", not appreciating that CDs are a very serious form of very safe "fixed-income". In ad...
by john94549
Mon Dec 15, 2014 8:30 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Bonds
Replies: 7
Views: 785

Re: Paying Estimated Taxes, Due Date, Paying Monthly/Online?

Everyone has their favorite "system". I prefer to apply any overpayments to the next year's liability, then "boot up" any potential shortfall in January, with a one-shot estimated-tax payment. Works for me. Even with several sources of income/dividends which can't or won't withho...
by john94549
Mon Dec 15, 2014 8:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paying Estimated Taxes, Due Date, Paying Monthly/Online?
Replies: 17
Views: 1693

Re: Vanguard "upgrades" to brokerage accounts

Frankly, I wouldn't have a clue as to whether my account has morphed into a brokerage account or not, nor would I care.
by john94549
Mon Dec 15, 2014 8:07 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Vanguard converting mutual fund accounts to brokerage?
Replies: 252
Views: 16871

Re: Stronger protection against personal lawsuits

One might examine one's insurance to see if the issue could become moot.
by john94549
Mon Dec 15, 2014 8:01 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Stronger protection against personal lawsuits
Replies: 12
Views: 1801

Re: Where to put cash now? Prefer CD's.

A five-year ladder of 5-yr CDs has always been my recommendation. Build it slowly, over five years, with a new purchase each year. Takes a bit of patience, but time flies when you're having fun.
by john94549
Mon Dec 15, 2014 7:41 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Where to put cash now? Prefer CD's.
Replies: 22
Views: 4281

Re: Does it make sense for me to buy EE Bonds?

Nothing says you have to keep buying EEs forever, but if held for 20 years, they tend to beat the competition these days. When 5-yr CDs get up to around 4%, I suspect EEs will lose some of their luster.
by john94549
Mon Dec 15, 2014 7:33 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Does it make sense for me to buy EE Bonds?
Replies: 6
Views: 776

Re: Should CASH be counted in allocation planning

Folks with substantial positions in CDs (IRA or otherwise) might well count them as part of fixed-income. Cash as part of a "ready-reserve" fund, well, not so much.
by john94549
Mon Dec 15, 2014 7:27 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should CASH be counted in allocation planning
Replies: 15
Views: 1095

Re: Umbrella Liability Insurance - Need it or not?

The point of umbrella insurance is to have enough to cover those "swans". Never been a fan of matching umbrella coverage to net worth. I just worry about a carload of folks plowing into a downed tree which fell from our property. Or driving the proverbial bus off the road. The point is to ...
by john94549
Sat Dec 13, 2014 8:36 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Umbrella Liability Insurance - Need it or not?
Replies: 49
Views: 4513

Re: Car accident lawsuits: do plantiffs know insurance limit

Insurance availability (including excess and umbrella) is easily available in discovery. That said, when "they" sue you, they don't already know. But they can guess.
by john94549
Fri Dec 12, 2014 8:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Car accident lawsuits: do plantiffs know insurance limits?
Replies: 7
Views: 1057

Re: Umbrella Liability Insurance - Need it or not?

I purchased a $1M umbrella from USAA for about $22/mo. The problem with most limits these days, they haven't been indexed to inflation. Best to check out your limits.
by john94549
Fri Dec 12, 2014 8:55 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Umbrella Liability Insurance - Need it or not?
Replies: 49
Views: 4513

Gutters, drains and such

While we in Northern California are quite happy to see the return of precipitation, it comes as a reminder to clean those gutters, area drains, and such. Folks are also encouraged in some areas to clear neighborhood storm drains to minimize flooding.
by john94549
Thu Dec 11, 2014 9:17 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gutters, drains and such
Replies: 2
Views: 1067

Re: Goal: 1% real. Does this portfolio work?

You should be able to achieve a 50 bps real return on a 5-yr ladder of 5-yr CDs without breaking a sweat*. The other 50 bps, up to you.

*For example, your garden-variety 5-yr CD these days yields roughly 50 bps over inflation. And, historically, that's a tad low.
by john94549
Thu Dec 11, 2014 8:58 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Goal: 1% real. Does this portfolio work?
Replies: 14
Views: 1649

Re: (Poll) Did you tap into emergency fund in the past 10 ye

Isn't it ironic, we all have them, then 70% of us don't use them. It's even more ironic when the first question we seem to ask new posters is "do you have an adequate emergency fund?"
by john94549
Thu Dec 11, 2014 8:24 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: (Poll) Did you tap into emergency fund in the past 10 years?
Replies: 62
Views: 4563

Re: Investing 100K for the next 3-5 years? Where?

This came up, tangentially, in another thread. A five-year CD with a modest break strategy might fill the bill. If you need the money in three to five years, you can do the math. If you need the money at five years, you get the benefit of the relatively tasty yields on five-year CDs these days. Five...
by john94549
Wed Dec 10, 2014 8:50 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Investing 100K for the next 3-5 years? Where?
Replies: 13
Views: 2095

Re: What is the best meal you've had at a restaurant?

This dates me, but it was the Caesar salad and veal piccata at the North Beach Restaurant in SF, with garlic toast. Favorite spot to take clients before I retired. Strong runner-up was the Deem Sum at Yank Sing in the SF Financial District (now closed, as I understand). Also in the running, sand dab...
by john94549
Wed Dec 10, 2014 8:32 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What is the best meal you've had at a restaurant?
Replies: 88
Views: 6591

Re: Poll: Dividend income to match annual salary?

For your garden-variety, two-income folks, attempting to replace income with dividends alone would be a stretch. For example, a two-income family earning $200,000/year would need $10 million at a 2% dividend. Moving right along, it's an entirely different issue in retirement. To replace $200,000 in ...
by john94549
Tue Dec 09, 2014 11:25 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Poll: Dividend income to match annual salary?
Replies: 39
Views: 3650

Re: What's wrong with VTIAX?

I chose the path of least resistance long ago (15 - 20% international, with a bit of a tilt to EM). This year's been a bit of a bust, but my domestic exposure has done quite well. And, of course, my CD ladder just keeps compounding. Win some, lose some, some get rained out.
by john94549
Tue Dec 09, 2014 10:47 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What's wrong with VTIAX?
Replies: 63
Views: 7471

Re: GEICO vs. USAA auto insurance

Poster Dude2's observations are well-taken. As a USAA member for over 43 years (commissioned in the early 70s), I can attest to the somewhat subtle yet substantial differences. For example, the bonus dividend and Subscriber Savings Account dividends, available to the "officer members". Our...
by john94549
Tue Dec 09, 2014 10:08 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: GEICO vs. USAA auto insurance
Replies: 29
Views: 3148

Re: Best way to use HELOC for home remodel?

Another option might be to have the house appraised today. Might cost a few bucks, but real estate values have come back a bit. After the appraisal, see if you can obtain a new/improved HELOC (with a higher amount on the line) at or about the same rate. Our HELOC is at prime minus 20 basis points (i...
by john94549
Tue Dec 09, 2014 9:52 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best way to use HELOC for home remodel?
Replies: 3
Views: 407

Re: CD ladder vs accepting EWP and getting a new CD

There are various types of CD ladders. The ladder I suspect you're comparing (theoretically) to a "break strategy" is taking a lump sum and buying equal amounts (20%) in 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5-yr CDs. Then, as each CD matures, you would use the proceeds to buy a new 5-yr CD. These days, not onl...
by john94549
Tue Dec 09, 2014 12:02 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: CD ladder vs accepting EWP and getting a new CD
Replies: 4
Views: 465

Re: Got earthquake insurance?

Epsilon Delta wrote: Plate tectonics is largely powered by nuclear decay.


So I guess any earthquake is excluded "by definition". Well, that's comforting.
by john94549
Sat Dec 06, 2014 9:39 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Got earthquake insurance?
Replies: 35
Views: 2065

Re: Investing Emergency Funds?

"Laddered" emergency funds are often discussed, but they seldom get "bang for the buck". Garden-variety savings accounts will get you at or less than 1%. Unless you go out 5-yrs, CDs will yield 2%. So, the choice is simple: garden-variety at 1% (or thereabouts) or a CD.
by john94549
Sat Dec 06, 2014 9:29 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Investing Emergency Funds?
Replies: 12
Views: 1155

Re: Better at making than investing

You could take your liquid, buy a 30-year, clip coupons and live happily ever after.
by john94549
Sat Dec 06, 2014 9:20 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Better at making than investing
Replies: 17
Views: 2007

Re: Why So Many Used Prius for Sale?

Have you looked at gas prices lately? This is not new news. Anytime gas prices spike, alternative fuels become more attractive*. As I recall, this last occurred a few years back. Those alternative vehicles are now wearing out, the marginal advantage of a prius is less, so they are hitting the market...
by john94549
Sat Dec 06, 2014 9:05 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why So Many Used Prius for Sale?
Replies: 51
Views: 6848

Re: Who Paid for the wedding?

It was never an issue in our family, but I certainly could see one where the bride's folks were challenged financially and the groom's folks were "bucks up" and wanted a society wedding. I suspect folks will decide what fits best for them. If the groom's parents want a lavish extravaganza,...
by john94549
Sat Dec 06, 2014 8:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Who Paid for the wedding?
Replies: 94
Views: 6508
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