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by kenyan
Thu May 28, 2015 3:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Housing Market in SoCal
Replies: 16
Views: 801

Re: Housing Market in SoCal

LA-area Boglehead, long-time renter, but recent (~2 years ago) first-time purchaser. Curious to know Bogleheads opinions about the housing market in Southern California / San Diego. I'm currently renting a 2bd 1 bath house, all utilities included @ $2200. It's about 42% of net income after taxes, 40...
by kenyan
Thu May 28, 2015 2:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cost of a "free" PhD program is around half a million? How does anyone afford this?
Replies: 86
Views: 5465

Re: Cost of a "free" PhD program is around half a million? How does anyone afford this?

The opportunity cost was significant, but there's no sense crying about it now; I'm doing fine. If I were to try to do it again now, with a wife, children, and mortgage to support, things would be quite different. The "opportunity costs" for a PhD have been mentioned a few times, but it's...
by kenyan
Thu May 28, 2015 11:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cost of a "free" PhD program is around half a million? How does anyone afford this?
Replies: 86
Views: 5465

Re: Cost of a "free" PhD program is around half a million? How does anyone afford this?

Another STEM PhD here - no, it wasn't worth it for the money. I believe that M.S. is the sweet spot in from a monetary standpoint - but as others have noted, the key reasons to pursue the PhD is for the different careers/lifestyles that can open up as a result, as well as the satisfaction of intelle...
by kenyan
Thu May 28, 2015 11:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Looking for a DVR device for antenna TV (Simple.TV?)
Replies: 44
Views: 3061

Re: Looking for a DVR device for antenna TV (Simple.TV?)

There are various devices like this one that I have (don't buy this one anymore since it's discontinued and the price is exorbitant as a result). http://www.amazon.com/NETGEAR-Universal-Ethernet-Adapter-WNCE4004/dp/B008LTPFG6/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1432830013&sr=8-3&keywords=netgear+gami...
by kenyan
Thu May 28, 2015 9:58 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Another look at why it's important to globally diversify
Replies: 14
Views: 2213

Re: Another look at why it's important to globally diversify

Japan is a pretty unique place imo. Small island nation with declining birth rate, extremely low immigration, homogenous society, limited acceptance of outside cultures/people, deep seated and ancient cultural norms and systems which can suffocate innovation and outside the box type thinking. I don...
by kenyan
Wed May 27, 2015 2:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Looking for a DVR device for antenna TV (Simple.TV?)
Replies: 44
Views: 3061

Re: Looking for a DVR device for antenna TV (Simple.TV?)

A couple of other notes about the Channel Master DVR+: It was on sale last year on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday for $175 direct from CM. Don't believe it has gone back down to that price since then, but is something to keep an eye on. For hard drives, supposedly not every drive is a plug-and-p...
by kenyan
Wed May 27, 2015 1:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Looking for a DVR device for antenna TV (Simple.TV?)
Replies: 44
Views: 3061

Re: Looking for a DVR device for antenna TV (Simple.TV?)

I first tried Tablo TV. I was pretty excited about the possibilities, but in practice it was unusable in our place. Buffering times were awful (over Wi-Fi that is fast enough for other devices to stream HD simultaneously without hiccups), especially when trying to fast forward/rewind/skip around. Lo...
by kenyan
Fri May 22, 2015 11:32 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Post tax investing or Pay off 2.95% Mortgage?
Replies: 39
Views: 3638

Re: Post tax investing or Pay off 2.95% Mortgage?

I notice that you are in California, where earthquake insurance is expensive and not very comprehensive. Some friends observed that a big mortgage can be an excellent alternative.... A big mortgage as an excellent alternative to earthquake insurance? I don't think I understand... California purchas...
by kenyan
Thu May 21, 2015 11:11 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pay cash or finance a brand new car? And why?
Replies: 13
Views: 1092

Re: Pay cash or finance a brand new car? And why?

33k is OTD for the dealer, but doesn't include the OP's sales taxes per the other thread. PenFed has 0.99% financing on new car purchases for 48 month loans right now. Also, doing a hypothetical comparison of what you could earn in the stock market versus financing is not the proper comparison. You ...
by kenyan
Thu May 21, 2015 10:58 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much should I pay for a brand new car?
Replies: 14
Views: 1691

Re: How much should I pay for a brand new car?

investingnoob2015 wrote:
also if the values I see on KBB, Edmunds are before taxes.. my guess is they are since it varies by state...


Yes, any general price quotes you see on those or similar sites will be before tax, title, and license.
by kenyan
Mon May 18, 2015 5:46 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Best 401K option in terrible plan
Replies: 8
Views: 560

Re: Best 401K option in terrible plan

Certainly, I would prioritize your (Backdoor Roth) IRA above this 401k, as well as any spousal contributions, if applicable. Now, there are worse plans out there - my wife's plan charges a minimum of 2% on the cheapest options (though I can withdraw the funds as it is a SIMPLE IRA) - but yours certa...
by kenyan
Mon May 18, 2015 5:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 30 years old, baby on the way, just starting out advice...
Replies: 16
Views: 1735

Re: 30 years old, baby on the way, just starting out advice...

A good starting point for retirement savings is 15%, assuming you don't have early retirement plans. You earn ~$200k and are saving $11k/year plus whatever your wife is putting in her 401k. You seem to be hoping that's enough without doing the math, so here I am to tell you: it's not enough. You're ...
by kenyan
Mon May 18, 2015 10:12 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Performance of VGTSX
Replies: 7
Views: 640

Re: Performance of VGTSX

Why would the performance over the last 19 years matter? You're not investing 19 years ago. Nor are you investing 10 years ago, 5 years ago, or at the beginning of this year. You're investing now. Those past performance numbers indicate almost nothing about how your investment will perform starting ...
by kenyan
Sun May 17, 2015 12:46 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard's email "The case for a global portfolio"
Replies: 46
Views: 4111

Re: Vanguard's email "The case for a global portfolio"

The one hesitation I have in jumping on this now seemingly popular bandwagon is the fact international is outperforming this year. I ALWAYS advice not changing one's asset allocation when one wants to put more money into the currently well performing asset class. This often smells to me of market t...
by kenyan
Fri May 15, 2015 8:17 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Installing Solar Panels
Replies: 11
Views: 1184

Re: Installing Solar Panels

50 years is way too optimistic. Also, utility rates may go up, they may go down. The safe thing to do is to just assume they will rise with inflation, so this doesn't factor into the return (since you're using 2015 dollars to pay for it, and their value will rise with inflation). 20 years is probabl...
by kenyan
Fri May 15, 2015 7:43 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Budget allocation between LARGE student loan burden and Retirement_Updated details
Replies: 31
Views: 2762

Re: Budget allocation between LARGE student loan burden and Retirement_Moving Forward to next steps

Thank you again. {Our Larson adviser did help us get set up with disability insurance and home/auto insurance. It has been an expensive lesson, but it has at least forced me and my spouse to get smart about finances.} I will post my questions regarding the next steps in this post as our background ...
by kenyan
Fri May 08, 2015 6:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: buying a new subaru outback
Replies: 25
Views: 2354

Re: buying a new subaru outback

1.94% is probably a bit higher than I'd want to pay, given the choice. Ours is at 0.9%, which is well shy of our current cash-equivalent return (5-year CDs at 2.4%, newly invested might be 2% or just above). 1.94% is a higher rate than an after-tax return on those CDs (for us, 25% fed + 5% Child tax...
by kenyan
Thu May 07, 2015 9:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Monetize Simple IRA or Taxable account
Replies: 12
Views: 471

Re: Monetize Simple IRA or Taxable account

One benefit to a Traditional IRA over a SIMPLE IRA at Vanguard is that you can actually purchase Admiral Shares in a Traditional. Last time I looked into it, you could not in the SIMPLE that they offer - Investor Shares only. Nevertheless, let us know how it goes.
by kenyan
Thu May 07, 2015 2:28 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Monetize Simple IRA or Taxable account
Replies: 12
Views: 471

Re: Monetize Simple IRA or Taxable account

As the above post notes, you do not need to keep your SIMPLE IRA assets in your employer's plan. You can transfer the money out (to your Traditional IRA, for instance) as often as you like, once you've passed the 2-year limit (for the account being open). There is even a way to to transfer money out...
by kenyan
Thu May 07, 2015 1:38 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Budget allocation between LARGE student loan burden and Retirement_Updated details
Replies: 31
Views: 2762

Re: Budget allocation between LARGE student loan burden and Retirement_Updated details

My final question is re mortgage refinancing: Has anyone used PenFed? I take online reviews w a grain of salt but theirs are quite poor that it makes me nervous about losing money going through the appraisal process then failing to get approved. Best, RKO We refinanced with PenFed about 18 months a...
by kenyan
Thu May 07, 2015 9:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Long term Capital Gains vs Tax loss harvesting
Replies: 13
Views: 900

Re: Long term Capital Gains vs Tax loss harvesting

Aside from the 0% bracket issues people have discussed, another way to think of the benefit is: Deferred taxation = greater compounding. Thought experiment: In Scenario A, you sell off your LTCG each year. In Scenario B, you defer the taxation, and pay it all at the end. 10% annual return, 15% LTCG ...
by kenyan
Thu May 07, 2015 9:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Easy careers to last me to retirement?
Replies: 141
Views: 17031

Re: What job to get to coast to Retirement at age 59 1/2?

Being able to coast and earning $20/hr. are incompatible objectives. Employers simply expect more from people than that. I agree coasting at $10/hr. might be a reasonable objective. There are locations in the country where he could earn $15/hr to coast. Starbucks - and everyone else - pays (at leas...
by kenyan
Wed May 06, 2015 9:06 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Budget allocation between LARGE student loan burden and Retirement_Updated details
Replies: 31
Views: 2762

Re: Budget allocation between LARGE student loan burden and Retirement

Also, don't invest in taxable accounts over your 401k. That might be what your financial planner is recommending, but it's again terrible advice for your interests, meant to increase his fees and Assets Under Management (he doesn't get paid for your assets that are being managed by your 401k plan).
by kenyan
Wed May 06, 2015 9:03 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Budget allocation between LARGE student loan burden and Retirement_Updated details
Replies: 31
Views: 2762

Re: Budget allocation between LARGE student loan burden and Retirement

Your financial planner is giving you bad, self-serving advice that is in conflict with your best interest. I would ditch him, but you should probably get a plan in place (i.e. construct an Investment Policy Statement) first. Definitely prioritize any retirement account matching first. Given your hig...
by kenyan
Tue May 05, 2015 2:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cutting cable cord...
Replies: 14
Views: 1384

Re: Cutting cable cord...

You can get a Tivo Roamio OTA to record OTA tv and it will also allow streaming of Netflix, hulu, and Amazon Prime. It's $15 a month but that's a lot less than cable. We switched a month or two ago. We get 90% of what we had before for $31 a month ($15 tivo, $8, Netflix, $8 Hulu). It's really more ...
by kenyan
Tue May 05, 2015 2:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Truecar -- isn't this just a car buying scam?
Replies: 123
Views: 8304

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

I used Truecar as another reference point when negotiating (late 2013), but never directly brought up the Truecar price. From what I read online, many supposed Truecar dealerships use it as a bait-and-switch where they will not honor it (don't have the exact car with the exact options and accessori...
by kenyan
Tue May 05, 2015 10:01 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: best financial gift for very young child
Replies: 19
Views: 1646

Re: best financial gift for very young child

Thank you. The rate on my EE savings bonds is still at 4.20 % !! It has remained constant from 23 years ago when purchased. It's great! I know that if I buy savings bonds for my kids now, the rate is puny. I called and asked about this. Maybe I will have to open up and Lifestrategy Fund or Star Fun...
by kenyan
Tue May 05, 2015 9:48 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Truecar -- isn't this just a car buying scam?
Replies: 123
Views: 8304

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

I used Truecar as another reference point when negotiating (late 2013), but never directly brought up the Truecar price. From what I read online, many supposed Truecar dealerships use it as a bait-and-switch where they will not honor it (don't have the exact car with the exact options and accessorie...
by kenyan
Tue May 05, 2015 9:40 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do Comcast promotions work?
Replies: 7
Views: 1209

Re: How do Comcast promotions work?

Your speed would probably depend upon your area. Where I live, with Time Warner Cable currently, I have pretty much gotten at or above my rated speed (currently 50 Mbps down/5 up), and never experience slowdowns. As you say, you would have to purchase the cable modem, or lease it from them - but don...
by kenyan
Mon May 04, 2015 8:20 am
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: 4060

Re: Sell in May, go away, and think about it?

Periodic selling in May and then buying back in September/October is not a good plan. However, If I understand correctly, you're not actually espousing the "Sell in May and go away" strategy, but are just suggesting going to cash while you figure out a plan? If that's the case, your thread...
by kenyan
Thu Apr 30, 2015 9:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New car every 5 years instead of 10?
Replies: 129
Views: 9928

Re: New car every 5 years instead of 10?

My sister uses the same logic to lease every 3 years. She never has to change tires, belts, brakes, or anything. She doesn't even pay for oil changes because it is rolled into the lease. No worries whatsoever and a brand new car to show off every 1.5 years (rotation with hubby). And she thinks she ...
by kenyan
Thu Apr 30, 2015 9:19 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New car every 5 years instead of 10?
Replies: 129
Views: 9928

Re: New car every 5 years instead of 10?

It was long enough ago that the results might no longer apply, but I saw a very careful analysis that showed that, just as you'd expect, the most economical way to drive was to get a new car every ten years. A very interesting finding in that study was that repairs peaked at about 5 years and then ...
by kenyan
Wed Apr 29, 2015 2:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 529 for grandkid: fund quick or slow?
Replies: 6
Views: 646

Re: 529 for grandkid: fund quick or slow?

Will you be my parents? Ahem...yes, as noted there is nothing hard about the caps - they are specific by state/plan, and per beneficiary. Nothing mandated by the IRS or anything, and you should probably expect it to grow with inflation, though one never knows for sure. You could probably check your ...
by kenyan
Wed Apr 29, 2015 12:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Thoughts on 529
Replies: 15
Views: 919

Re: Thoughts on 529

I have them both in age based aggressive domestic Utah right now. Thanks everyone for the advice and the college calculator was very helpful! I've been wrestling with this for a while now and obviously up to this point have not been personally funding it. It seems like if I contribute about $300/mo...
by kenyan
Wed Apr 29, 2015 9:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What do you tip a valet?
Replies: 54
Views: 3995

Re: What do you tip a valet?

I'm not normally an overly generous tipper (I give what's expected, but generally don't tip in optional situations like to-go food pickup or airport parking/hotel shuttles who don't handle my bags), so I was surprised to discover that I was being generous to valets with my typical $5 tip. I will adj...
by kenyan
Wed Apr 29, 2015 9:17 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Thoughts on 529
Replies: 15
Views: 919

Re: Thoughts on 529

With your children already pretty close to college, it won't make a huge difference either way. It is unlikely that you are going to over-fund the accounts at this point, unless the 'gifts' you mentioned have been exceptionally generous. On the other hand, there's not a great deal of time for capita...
by kenyan
Tue Apr 28, 2015 2:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: engineers - please help with engineering school selection
Replies: 185
Views: 12077

Re: engineers - please help with engineering school selectio

Statistically, aren't 50%-60% of the female 20% REALLY nerdy as well? And with 70-90% between "REALLY nerdy" and "halfway normal", does that mean there may be as few as 10% normal males? Or did I miss another category? And what does normal mean anyway? Is this a math SAT type qu...
by kenyan
Tue Apr 28, 2015 9:12 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: lost a bid for questionable practice of seller's agent
Replies: 28
Views: 3360

Re: lost a bid for questionable practice of seller's agent

People seem to be assuming that the agent was a Realtor(TM). This is not necessarily true. Realtors(TM) are a subset of real estate agents, and they may have different governing ethics. Check into that before you call the NAR.
by kenyan
Tue Apr 28, 2015 9:07 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: engineers - please help with engineering school selection
Replies: 185
Views: 12077

Re: engineers - please help with engineering school selectio

It's way more fun to go to Mines if you're a girl. My daughter had zero problem finding dates and a boyfriend but even she got tired of the "bro" culture towards the end. I wouldn't have been admitted, but I probably wouldn't have attended if I was because of the gender demographics. Mine...
by kenyan
Thu Apr 23, 2015 2:49 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Where Should I Put Savings for a Future House Downpayment?
Replies: 7
Views: 948

Re: Where Should I Put Savings for a Future House Downpaymen

If you don't mind me asking, what kind of an annualized return did you generate with this allocation? I earned between 4-5% annualized vs. a high-interest savings return of ~1%. Some of that was luck (timed muni bonds successfully), and different times. I wouldn't necessarily expect that in the fut...
by kenyan
Thu Apr 23, 2015 2:40 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: VNQ & VNQI
Replies: 22
Views: 2326

Re: VNQ & VNQI

10% of my AA goes to REITs. This is a hard rule for me. Then I split 50/50 between US and International, but this is a soft rule, I don't plan to be anal about it. I chose this split because: 1. it is simple and well diversified 2. it is consistent with my US vs International equity split 3. it giv...
by kenyan
Thu Apr 23, 2015 12:58 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Home purchase = sell REIT?
Replies: 12
Views: 796

Re: Home purchase = sell REIT?

Hi Kenyan, In the excellent investment book "Unconventional Success" by David Swensen, REITs are recommended for additional diversification and also inflation protection. Best. I admit that I did not delve deeply into the numbers, and that seems to be the conventional wisdom. A quick goog...
by kenyan
Thu Apr 23, 2015 9:37 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Where Should I Put Savings for a Future House Downpayment?
Replies: 7
Views: 948

Re: Where Should I Put Savings for a Future House Downpaymen

Also, I would prioritize a Roth IRA over a taxable down payment fund. You could withdraw Roth contributions (and some earnings if you wished due to the first-time house buyer exception) without penalty down the road, but you can't stuff your taxable account back into your Roth if circumstances change.
by kenyan
Thu Apr 23, 2015 9:33 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Where Should I Put Savings for a Future House Downpayment?
Replies: 7
Views: 948

Re: Where Should I Put Savings for a Future House Downpaymen

Very common question on these forums, and for good reason. I tend to lean more aggressive than most here in the recommendation when: (a) You have a moderate amount of time to invest (>3 years or so) (b) You have flexibility in your purchase date (c) You have flexibility in your purchase price Your s...
by kenyan
Thu Apr 23, 2015 8:48 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Home purchase = sell REIT?
Replies: 12
Views: 796

Re: Home purchase = sell REIT?

There is no right answer. REITs and houses are both exposure to the real estate sector. That said, they are extremely different instruments to gain exposure to that sector, and by and large do not move in tandem. REITs are primarily commercial real estate investments that are income-producing. Publi...
by kenyan
Wed Apr 22, 2015 3:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance: 5/5 ARM or 30-year fixed?
Replies: 5
Views: 458

Re: Refinance: 5/5 ARM or 30-year fixed?

We refinanced into a PenFed 5/5 ARM a bit over a year ago. Our savings was a lot higher than yours potentially could be, going from a 4.75% 30-year fixed (only 4 months old at the time of refinance) to a 2.625% 5/5 with no closing costs. That rate is a bit of a teaser, with the true indexed rate cur...
by kenyan
Wed Apr 22, 2015 9:07 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Using Zillow/Zestimate to value a home?
Replies: 43
Views: 4865

Re: Using Zillow/Zestimate to value a home?

Another reason that zillow isn't accurate on older houses is that houses that have sold recently have the purchase price as public record and zillow can use that. But other similar houses may not have sold for 10, 20, or 30 years and part of their zillow estimate is likely based on outdated purchas...
by kenyan
Tue Apr 21, 2015 2:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much do you pay in Property Taxes?
Replies: 188
Views: 11117

Re: How much do you pay in Property Taxes?

I'm on the flip side of Prop 13 in California - the disproportionately burdened new owner. Around $7k.
by kenyan
Mon Apr 20, 2015 3:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Using Fraud Alert or Security Freeze at credit bureaus
Replies: 3
Views: 409

Re: Using Fraud Alert or Security Freeze at credit bureaus

He's a thread on freezing your credit:

http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtop ... 2&t=131599

I froze mine a couple of months ago.
by kenyan
Mon Apr 20, 2015 3:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Just got contact lenses. Should I buy backup glasses?
Replies: 22
Views: 1102

Re: Just got contact lenses. Should I buy backup glasses?

My eyes aren't quite as bad as yours, but I can't function effectively without correction (I can walk around the house without bumping into things, but can't read and certainly can't drive). I always have a backup pair of glasses, but it's primarily for pre-bedtime reading or iPad use, not for carry...

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