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Re: Negative bond yields

Were I someone in Germany with a few euros kicking around, I would change them, sooner than later, to US Dollars, send them to my nephew in Milwaukee, and have him open a five-year ladder of five-year CDs. I'd comp him for the tax. Why anyone, anywhere, pays anyone, anywhere, to hold their money is ...
by john94549
Thu Mar 05, 2015 3:29 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Negative bond yields
Replies: 14
Views: 1127

Re: Have some cash in Vanguard Prime Money Mkt Fund...

nan24 wrote:Thanks so much John. I will go and study all of the products Vanguard has and then I will check my stomach to see what it can take! :D


Go take a serious peek at VBIAX. It's probably the best "set and forget" option on Vanguard's list.
by john94549
Thu Mar 05, 2015 3:12 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Have some cash in Vanguard Prime Money Mkt Fund...
Replies: 7
Views: 405

Re: Have some cash in Vanguard Prime Money Mkt Fund...

Agreed, that's why I want to invest the cash but VBIAX 's YTD return is 2.39%. I think I have the stomach to invest in something with a higher yield. If you want to go "whole hog", VTSAX will give you the market, 100%, no "ifs, ands, or buts". That said, should Mr. Market stumbl...
by john94549
Thu Mar 05, 2015 3:05 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Have some cash in Vanguard Prime Money Mkt Fund...
Replies: 7
Views: 405

Re: In what form do you keep your emergency fund?

We prefer the appellation "ready reserve fund", as we don't seem to have many "emergencies" these days. Ours is kept in a garden-variety savings account at a Credit Union. The interest isn't stellar (0.9%), but it's better than a poke in the eye. We replenish the fund (as necessa...
by john94549
Thu Mar 05, 2015 2:44 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: In what form do you keep your emergency fund?
Replies: 82
Views: 19566

Re: Have some cash in Vanguard Prime Money Mkt Fund...

If you want safety and security, there are other options which might (at minimum) throw off a bit of yield (FDIC- and NCUA-insured CDs come to mind). With VMMXX, you are basically guaranteed a yield close to zero. So, the larger question is: are you willing to take a bit of risk? If so, VBIAX might ...
by john94549
Thu Mar 05, 2015 2:29 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Have some cash in Vanguard Prime Money Mkt Fund...
Replies: 7
Views: 405

Re: What is your credit score?

Mind you, the "real" FICO scores used by banks and credit unions might differ. Your best bet is a friendly banker. Ask him or her to pull your FICO as if you were applying for a loan. It might cost a few bucks, but it might be more accurate.
by john94549
Wed Mar 04, 2015 10:06 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What is your credit score?
Replies: 54
Views: 2760

Re: Backpedaling: Rising Equity Allocation During Retiremen

The "reverse glide path" has merit for a retiree, if, and only if, the retiree's expected retirement can be funded from a rock-solid, no-risk, ain't-nobody-gonna-touch-me-now, portfolio large enough to last the first fifteen years or so of retirement, starting at age 70 or so. We have this...
by john94549
Wed Mar 04, 2015 9:32 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Backpedaling: Rising Equity Allocation During Retirement
Replies: 29
Views: 2079

Re: Poll: Increasing international equities

My wife and I have been 15 - 20% international "forever", with a modest tilt to emerging. Last year was sub-par, this year somewhat better. I see no reason to change my AA.
by john94549
Wed Mar 04, 2015 9:08 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Poll: Increasing international equities
Replies: 55
Views: 2963

Re: "Americans Aren't Saving Enough for Retirement"

The irony is, the folks most vulnerable probably don't read the New York Times, or any other periodical which might carry the story. Folks who "do" read the New York Times (as do we) were probably saying (sub rosa) "tell me something I don't already know."
by john94549
Wed Mar 04, 2015 8:55 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Americans Aren't Saving Enough for Retirement"
Replies: 41
Views: 4357

Re: How do I learn to like sushi?

There's good sushi, then there's bad sushi. The best sushi I ever had, I kid you not, was in San Francisco Airport, in Terminal Three, down by the gates. The worst sushi I ever had was here in Lafayette, but my wife loves it. Bottom line: you can't or won't love all sushi, no more than you can or wi...
by john94549
Tue Mar 03, 2015 10:04 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do I learn to like sushi?
Replies: 80
Views: 4514

Re: VEU 3.52% vs. 5 year Treasury 1.58%

If you've "hit your number", you wouldn't even be thinking of 70/30. Why is that? If I've hit my number why can't I take more risk with additional contributions? My apologies, I failed to note the "new contributions" aspect. If one's "number" is safely tucked away in C...
by john94549
Tue Mar 03, 2015 9:38 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: VEU 3.52% vs. 5 year Treasury 1.58%
Replies: 29
Views: 1745

Re: Advice needed on lawyer's retainer agreement

Ah, the notorious "MBU", or "minimum billing unit". That phone call that takes 30 seconds winds up as ".2" hours (i.e., 12 minutes) on the bill, as ".2" is the MBU. Hogwash. My favorite story was learned as a boot associate in BigLaw. An associate was working ...
by john94549
Tue Mar 03, 2015 9:33 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advice needed on lawyer's retainer agreement
Replies: 12
Views: 1048

Re: VEU 3.52% vs. 5 year Treasury 1.58%

If you've "hit your number", you wouldn't even be thinking of 70/30.
by john94549
Tue Mar 03, 2015 9:23 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: VEU 3.52% vs. 5 year Treasury 1.58%
Replies: 29
Views: 1745

Re: "Lessons Learned With Stocks Up 60% From the Precrash Hi

I love it. March 9, 2009, was the exact date my wife's employer match hit in 2009. Best investment she never made on her own. It was serendipity.

She just keeps doing her "catch-up" 401K contributions every pay-check (24% of her annual), at a conservative 60/40.

Over time, it does add up.
by john94549
Tue Mar 03, 2015 9:11 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Lessons Learned With Stocks Up 60% From the Precrash High"
Replies: 10
Views: 2664

Re: Lumber Liquidators Safety Issue

Disclaimer: I neither own nor short Lumber Liquidators. Just an observation: it used to be the "rule of thumb", that if Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes showed up at the front door, you scooted out the back. Why, in heaven's name, did the CEO get caught in Anderson Cooper's headlights (as in the...
by john94549
Mon Mar 02, 2015 11:30 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Lumber Liquidators Safety Issue
Replies: 19
Views: 1855

Re: new car battery

We joined AAA (American Automobile Association) quite a few years back. Now, I don't give batteries a second thought. When I get up to go to the store and the car has a dead battery, I call AAA. If it needs a new battery, they replace it, in my garage (or driveway). They come to me. The last cost fo...
by john94549
Mon Mar 02, 2015 11:17 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: new car battery
Replies: 37
Views: 1988

Re: PBS NewsHour segment on Social Security

Where the male and female are of equal age and earnings, as we are, the male (me) claiming at 62, the wife collecting spousal at her FRA, then deferring to 70, makes all the sense in the world. Surprised more folks don't appreciate this approach. Thank you sscritic, now missing in action.
by john94549
Mon Mar 02, 2015 11:05 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: PBS NewsHour segment on Social Security
Replies: 27
Views: 3612

Re: Want to make $750K into $1m...Help

I will gladly pay if its one of those. Well worth it. As a proud parent, I can attest to that. Bottom line: wherever your kids really, truly, want to go, they will go. Our parents did it for us (back in the 60's), we did it for our kids (in the 70's), and I assume our kids will do the same for our ...
by john94549
Mon Mar 02, 2015 10:49 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Want to make $750K into $1m...Help
Replies: 25
Views: 2462

Re: Want to make $750K into $1m...Help

Definitely no pricey private colleges....unless they get into Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford and alike. Otherwise regular state schools. That's what my parents said. Until I did. Stanford, AB, 1969. You might be blessed with acceptance letters. Of course, Stanford was a tad less expensive back ...
by john94549
Mon Mar 02, 2015 10:35 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Want to make $750K into $1m...Help
Replies: 25
Views: 2462

Re: Want to make $750K into $1m...Help

If you look at the cost of a "pricey" private college or university in today's dollars, you probably have enough for two children, and then some. I'd go for the CD. It might not keep up with the inflation we have seen in educational expenses of late, but you have some wiggle-room. Taxes ar...
by john94549
Mon Mar 02, 2015 10:03 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Want to make $750K into $1m...Help
Replies: 25
Views: 2462

Re: Should I buy VTI and VEA when prices are so high

Many threads on this issue. The consensus appears to be to invest in a lump-sum. Vanguard has a paper on the issue (I'm sure someone has the link). Being "on the sideline", in whole or in part, just hasn't been a winning strategy since March of 2009. That said, it's axiomatic that the mark...
by john94549
Mon Mar 02, 2015 9:41 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I buy VTI and VEA when prices are so high
Replies: 10
Views: 954

Re: Foreign film night recommendations.

YouTube has many films.
by john94549
Fri Feb 27, 2015 9:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Foreign film night recommendations.
Replies: 124
Views: 6155

Re: Buying a House - SF Bay Area [bayareabuyer]

I remain amused by the prices obtained for our little starter house in Sunnyvale, on Sequoia Drive. On the corner, noisy lot. Little Ditz-Crane starter home, 1600 square feet, a sixth of an acre. Crazy.

Purchase price in 1973, $43,000.
by john94549
Thu Feb 26, 2015 9:17 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a House - SF Bay Area [bayareabuyer]
Replies: 25
Views: 2353

Re: Checking alternatives to USAA (non-military)

Folks who stick with USAA through "thick and thin" generally do so because they get the SSA and senior bonus (don't ask). Folks starting afresh (without such benefits going forward) might look at Alliant Credit Union (see my comments in other threads). As a general rule, you should receive...
by john94549
Wed Feb 25, 2015 11:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Checking alternatives to USAA (non-military)
Replies: 8
Views: 737

Re: Do we have enough to retire?

Yes. You do.
by john94549
Wed Feb 25, 2015 11:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do we have enough to retire?
Replies: 45
Views: 7873

Re: Breaking up with USAA--banking alternatives welcomed

I basically use USAA for insurance, banking (currently, caveat below), and my credit card (paid off each month, with no annual fee). While I've been a member for quite a few years, I suspect straight-up borrowing, you might do better with PenFed. USAA has not been competitive in CDs (IRA or otherwis...
by john94549
Wed Feb 25, 2015 10:55 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Breaking up with USAA--banking alternatives welcomed
Replies: 16
Views: 2144

Re: Convincing older relative to open online savings account

In his late eighties? I wouldn't force the issue. keep things status quo :happy Toons, when my Mom was in her mid-90's, I finally convinced her that having all her after-tax CDs in short-term instruments (one year or less) was imprudent. Back in 2010, she finally agreed to cash out her 6-mo T-Bill,...
by john94549
Wed Feb 25, 2015 10:30 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Convincing older relative to open online savings account
Replies: 34
Views: 1470

Re: Convincing older relative to open online savings account

Glad to be of help. Alliant is easy to join, their CSRs are quite helpful, and can assist in opening a savings and linked checking account. The first 200 checks are free (or at least they were, when I opened my accounts many years ago). Moving money from your savings to checking is as easy as a clic...
by john94549
Wed Feb 25, 2015 10:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Convincing older relative to open online savings account
Replies: 34
Views: 1470

Re: Convincing older relative to open online savings account

Alliant Credit Union absolutely, positively, does not require anyone to have a computer to have a savings account earning 0.9% APY. OK, I know it's not a huge amount of money, after taxes, but it's (a) holiday gifts to the family, and (b) a splurge here and there, all after taxes, mind you. Withdraw...
by john94549
Wed Feb 25, 2015 9:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Convincing older relative to open online savings account
Replies: 34
Views: 1470

Re: [Protection against fraudulent IRS tax returns]

I've always wondered how fraudsters could amass enough data to even begin to simulate a fraudulent return. Folks say, all they need is your SSN, your name, address, and a place to send the refund. Huh? Last time I assembled all the information for my accountant, it took hours. Would not the IRS comp...
by john94549
Wed Feb 25, 2015 8:36 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [Protection against fraudulent IRS tax returns]
Replies: 39
Views: 1657

Re: Expense Ratio Regarding my Vanguard Prime Money Market F

By-and-large, you can do much better elsewhere.
by john94549
Sun Feb 22, 2015 12:37 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Expense Ratio Regarding my Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund
Replies: 12
Views: 1124

Re: Rental Property Depreciating Items

I threw in the towel many years back and hired a CPA. Trust me, why paint is maintenance and carpet is to be amortized is beyond me. In a funnier vein, I asked the accountant if "really cheap" carpet (wears out in five years or less) was better than "really good" paint (good for ...
by john94549
Sun Feb 22, 2015 12:07 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Rental Property Depreciating Items
Replies: 10
Views: 659

Re: Problems with Internet Explorer

As I noted in another thread, IE stopped working because an update didn't, well, update. It was located somewhere between Mars and whatever. That said, when I searched for "internet explorer not working" in Chrome, the Microsoft fix popped right up. After the solution ran its course, and t...
by john94549
Sat Feb 21, 2015 11:11 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Problems with Internet Explorer
Replies: 24
Views: 1591

Re: Commiting NEW cash to market

I had a few bucks in VMMXX for just the longest time. One day, I woke up and asked myself "what are you waiting for?" So, I plopped it in VBIAX. I now get what the market gives me, up or down. VMMXX just guarantees zero.

My heaven's, you can get 1% in a Federally-insured savings account.
by john94549
Sat Feb 21, 2015 10:26 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Commiting NEW cash to market
Replies: 31
Views: 2113

Re: To Fence ... Or Not?

Where I grew up (in Kansas), lots were so big and property lines so ill-marked that encroaching got a "shrug". When I sold my Mom's house (after she died), the buyer asked where the property lines were. I responded "well, over here, it's right about there, in the back, I think it's th...
by john94549
Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:55 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: To Fence ... Or Not?
Replies: 93
Views: 8173

Re: help me speed up my computer

It's amazing how tethered we are. Yesterday, out of the blue, my Explorer died. Just quit. Luckily, the folks at Google had provided me with Chrome. So, I went on Chrome, googled "internet explorer won't open", and found a handy-dandy solution from Microsoft. A recent update didn't, as it ...
by john94549
Sat Feb 21, 2015 7:02 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: help me speed up my computer
Replies: 67
Views: 3513

Re: Anyone ever see a bank advertise CD early withdrawal ter

"Break Strategies" have been pretty much a non-issue these past few years. I doubt most folks would bother to consider breaking a 5-yr CD at 1.9 for another at 2.0. That said, anyone plunking down serious (as in close to FDIC- or NCUA-insurance limits), really should nail down the coffin, ...
by john94549
Fri Feb 20, 2015 4:07 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Anyone ever see a bank advertise CD early withdrawal terms?
Replies: 8
Views: 740

Re: The 8x retirement savings rule

The Fidelity "rule of thumb" has its faults, as others have noted, but if it serves as a "wake-up-call", it has accomplished its purpose. Your basic Boglehead probably has more than "8X". As a two-earner household (before I retired), I took the liberty of multiplying &q...
by john94549
Thu Feb 19, 2015 3:51 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The 8x retirement savings rule
Replies: 83
Views: 7766

Re: Applying tax refund to next year vs 1040-ES

As I recall, overpayments applied to the next year count as if paid with voucher number one (i.e., on April 15).
by john94549
Thu Feb 19, 2015 3:40 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Applying tax refund to next year vs 1040-ES
Replies: 17
Views: 791

Re: Easy Money

My KeyDirect 10-year IRA CD at 5.75% will keep on clicking until January, 2018.
by john94549
Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:32 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Easy Money
Replies: 18
Views: 1833

Re: Who buys short term CDs?

I suspect poster "dm200" explained. Retail investors (as are we) would never. That said, institutional investors (such as represented by "dm200") might. Basis points matter, and all that. For example, if I can walk up to a window and borrow from you at a rate of 25 bps, then walk...
by john94549
Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:54 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Who buys short term CDs?
Replies: 15
Views: 1492

Re: Time to simplify for retirement

birdy, you might consider an IRA CD ladder. We started ours at about your age. While IRA CD rates were much better back in 2006*, the concept is the same. I wanted to carve off enough of our IRA investments (which were essentially in VBIAX, or VBINX, I forget which) to construct a "bulletproof&...
by john94549
Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:05 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Time to simplify for retirement
Replies: 7
Views: 1418

Re: RMD Greater Than Budget

My wife and I have decided to spend all the excess on the grand-children, once we hit 70 (which is not too far away).
by john94549
Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: RMD Greater Than Budget
Replies: 20
Views: 1604

Re: Projecting “Increasing Withdrawal Rates” and not SWR

We simplified matters by setting aside enough in IRA CDs to cover the first fifteen years or so. Our ladder throws off a real return, so inflation is not a big issue.
by john94549
Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:44 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Projecting “Increasing Withdrawal Rates” and not SWR
Replies: 35
Views: 2542

Re: Cap Gains & Divs killed me this year

With a certain amount of tax-planning, LTCG and QDivs need not bite too much, if at all. We did the "catch-up" in my wife's 401K, which brought our taxable down into the 15% marginal. Since we left room in the bucket, our LTCG and QDivs are taxed at zero.
by john94549
Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:36 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Cap Gains & Divs killed me this year
Replies: 61
Views: 5908

Re: Time to simplify for retirement

Is this in a Traditional IRA? 401K? Straight-up taxable?
by john94549
Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:20 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Time to simplify for retirement
Replies: 7
Views: 1418

Re: To all: How have you used your emergency fund?

Our "emergency fund" morphed into a "ready reserve fund" fund some years back. We use it to pay for "extras" not considered standard monthly expenditures. We're 67, pushing 68. I'm retired, my wife not yet. But we're well beyond having to worry about job loss, and such....
by john94549
Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:11 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: To all: How have you used your emergency fund?
Replies: 40
Views: 2869

Re: Who buys short term CDs?

OP: frankly, I can't scratch my head enough times to fathom why anyone would prefer a time deposit yielding less (sometimes much less) than a garden-variety savings account. Maybe if rates on savings accounts plunged to at or near zero? Even then, your short-term CD(s) would also plunge upon maturit...
by john94549
Tue Feb 17, 2015 6:56 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Who buys short term CDs?
Replies: 15
Views: 1492

Re: Tobyhanna (Valor)-did they change conditions of 7 year C

Ouch...that whole too good to be true thing. Now I'm glad I didn't waste my time since I would likely have started with a small deposit. Legalities aside, "new money" after the effective date will still be competitive, even after the "fee". I'm sure they did the math. What would...
by john94549
Mon Feb 16, 2015 6:12 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Tobyhanna (Valor)-did they change conditions of 7 year CD?
Replies: 11
Views: 979
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