Search found 1375 matches

by kramer
Sun Aug 02, 2015 9:19 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Swim Goggles for Near-Sighted People
Replies: 18
Views: 1307

Re: Swim Goggles for Near-Sighted People

I wear disposable soft contact lenses that one puts on each morning and removes each evening and wears for a duration of 2 weeks. I wear regular non-prescription swim goggles with no problem. I have never lost a contact, but each contact is only something like $5 so it would not be a major loss. I d...
by kramer
Thu Jul 23, 2015 2:27 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Truck Stolen
Replies: 30
Views: 2945

Re: Truck Stolen

20 years ago my roommate got his old, small truck with topper on the back stolen from the University of California San Diego parking lot. It was parked right next to shiny new sports car. At first we couldn't understand why someone would take his old truck. Then, a few days later, it was found east ...
by kramer
Thu Jul 16, 2015 9:27 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Rick Ferri & Foreign Bond Funds
Replies: 15
Views: 1469

Re: Rick Ferri & Foreign Bond Funds

Notice, of course, that the question of whether you want foreign currency exposure is controversial, to say the least. Yes, I see what you are saying. I live abroad and so 90% of my spending is non-dollar spending. Even though I hold about 60% foreign stocks and have about a 60% stock allocation, t...
by kramer
Thu Jul 16, 2015 6:32 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Rick Ferri & Foreign Bond Funds
Replies: 15
Views: 1469

Re: Rick Ferri & Foreign Bond Funds

Interesting. Could you elaborate on the hedging Vanguard uses with this fund. I don't know the specifics of this fund without getting into the prospectus, but hedging for this fund would involve entering into currency contracts to provide insurance to protect against movements in the denominated cu...
by kramer
Thu Jul 16, 2015 6:02 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Rick Ferri & Foreign Bond Funds
Replies: 15
Views: 1469

Re: Rick Ferri & Foreign Bond Funds

From the article: Foreign bonds in a portfolio make sense for two reasons. First, they give you more diversification. Second, bonds denominated in foreign currencies provide diversification away from the U.S. dollar . Unfortunately, the Vanguard bond fund is hedged so there is no true foreign curren...
by kramer
Sat Jul 04, 2015 3:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: London Edinburgh by car
Replies: 26
Views: 1662

Re: London Edinburgh by car

Although I did not rent in a metropolis, but in Glasgow where things are a bit slower, I did not have too much trouble switching to left hand side driving and left hand gear shifting. In fact, the shifting part was trivial (the feet are the same). Now, I was an experienced manual shifter in the Stat...
by kramer
Wed Jul 01, 2015 3:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Golf in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, Thailand
Replies: 3
Views: 656

Re: Golf in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai is actually a golfing destination. I can remember seeing guys on the flight up from Kualu Lumpur who would go for the weekend to golf there. However, September is the rainiest month in both Bangkok and Chiang Mai, with about 14 and 10 inches, respectively, that month. I used to live in Ch...
by kramer
Tue Jun 30, 2015 1:40 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Open IRA before moving abroad (to Brazil)?
Replies: 6
Views: 683

Re: Open IRA before moving abroad (to Brazil)?

Once you leave the USA, it is more difficult to open any kind of US account, even with a USA address. I would open anything you might need in the future while still a US resident, including extra checking accounts and credit cards. That is what I did. However, this is less of an issue if you are sur...
by kramer
Wed Jun 24, 2015 5:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Optimize trip to China
Replies: 24
Views: 2533

Re: Optimize trip to China

I am not an expert on China, by any means, but based on your situation (preference for nature over culture, have a native speaker with you) I would suggest what Jane1 suggested as a possibility: " Southwest China (Guilin, Yangshuo, Lijiang, Dali, Kunming)". We flew from to Guilin (which is...
by kramer
Wed Jun 24, 2015 12:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Travel insurance - worth it?
Replies: 50
Views: 4476

Re: Travel insurance - worth it?

It just sounds too expensive. I have to buy travel insurance when I visit the USA (health coverage) and it comes with trip cancellation, medical evacuation, etc. As with TravelGeek above, my insurance is way way cheaper.
by kramer
Wed Jun 24, 2015 12:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What percent of your spending is "basic" and what percent is "discretionary"?
Replies: 42
Views: 4144

Re: What percent of your spending is "basic" and what percent is "discretionary"?

I found this exercise too difficult to complete. I think I just don't track my spending in a detailed enough fashion. And I find a lot of purchases ambiguous. Also, I don't consider things like internet or trips to visit family in the USA mostly discretionary. I found myself dividing up categories. ...
by kramer
Mon Jun 22, 2015 3:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: My funds are frozen
Replies: 25
Views: 4687

Re: My funds are frozen

Here is the message I got from HSBC bank back in 2007 when I first tried to open an account there. At that time, I had a job and an apartment in the USA and I was opening a new account knowing that I may no longer have the freedom to do so in the future with my upcoming travel abroad plans. Thank yo...
by kramer
Sun Jun 21, 2015 3:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best European Cities for families, the outdoors and cycling
Replies: 58
Views: 5596

Re: Best European Cities for families, the outdoors and cycling

This may sound out of left field, and it might depend on exactly where your extended family is located within Europe, but I would consider Tel Aviv as a possibility. Tel Aviv is bike-friendly, great weather, English speaking, probably visa-friendly for an American, cheaper than most of Europe, beach...
by kramer
Fri Jun 19, 2015 1:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is it worth aspiring to get more?
Replies: 131
Views: 17823

Re: Is it worth aspiring to get more?

It is a conundrum because most jobs have redeeming qualities. I retired pretty early and my issue was that my career did not lend itself to part-time. When I was enjoying my job, I figured that my ideal work-life balance was working 7 months per year for 3 days per week. But that just was not going ...
by kramer
Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax savings of moving to no income tax state
Replies: 24
Views: 3472

Re: Tax savings of moving to no income tax state

One thing to keep in mind is that tax savings are increases to net income and thus have a lot more impact than the same amount in salary increase. So if you are currently taking home $350K out of $500k in one state but you save $35K in taxes in another state, your net income has increased by 10%. A ...
by kramer
Wed Jun 10, 2015 10:50 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bigger phone screen 5.5" or Waterproof Phone 5.0" screen - which is more useful?
Replies: 12
Views: 985

Re: Bigger phone screen 5.5" or Waterproof Phone 5.0" screen - which is more useful?

Sand is one of the few things that can scratch your smartphone screen. I think the idea behind waterproof for these phones is that they will do OK if dropped briefly underwater and quickly retrieved, or they will survive a rainstorm in your pocket. I wouldn't be challenging them to take underwater p...
by kramer
Mon Jun 08, 2015 9:31 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Living Overseas, Currency Risk, and International Funds
Replies: 14
Views: 1184

Re: Living Overseas, Currency Risk, and International Funds

I live in the Philippines (retired), a much, much smaller and less developed economy. Also, because a lot of domestic wealth is kept in dollars, there seems to be an unofficial loose tie with the dollar with the result that currency fluctuations are not as bad for Americans. In my portfolio, I overw...
by kramer
Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Perpetual Travelling
Replies: 73
Views: 10161

Re: Perpetual Travelling

You also have to carry various power adopters that may weigh more than devices themselves. This is one of the reasons I am considering committing to the Microsoft ecosystem. The new series of Surfaces, as well as many Windows Phones use micro-USB cables to recharge. So does the Kindle. So I think I...
by kramer
Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: D-Day message from France
Replies: 27
Views: 3053

Re: D-Day message from France

Thank you.

I never got to meet my great uncle, with whom I share a rather uncommon first name, because he died in France in 1944 during that campaign.

Great sacrifices should not be forgotten.
by kramer
Thu Jun 04, 2015 9:27 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Perpetual Travelling
Replies: 73
Views: 10161

Re: Perpetual Travelling

I perpetual traveled for about 5 years in my early 40's after retiring. My style was to travel through a region and then later go back and try living in a place that I really liked and I ended up trying living in 4 different countries. This ended when I decided to stay in the Philippines. I really h...
by kramer
Thu May 14, 2015 10:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retiring in your 40's
Replies: 21
Views: 2983

Re: Retiring in your 40's

I retired 8 years ago when I was 41, but I am a single guy. Assuming that you are somewhat dissatisfied with your career at this point, one thing I would really think about is how to avoid burnout at work. This can really sneak up on you, even in a career you used to love. One of lthenderson's point...
by kramer
Mon May 11, 2015 9:43 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: International - Who really is at 40%
Replies: 93
Views: 7701

Re: International - Who really is at 40%

I am 63% equities. I only have 58% of that in foreign. I have maintained a pretty similar allocation ever since I started investing about 15 years ago.
by kramer
Sun May 03, 2015 11:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Will you buy self-driving car?
Replies: 235
Views: 11643

Re: Will you buy self-driving car?

I would not buy a self-driving car but I definitely look forward to using Uber-like services for self-driving cars and giving up vehicle ownership. It means I won't need parking at my residence for a car. It means downtown areas especially will need far less parking, creating the ability to build-in...
by kramer
Fri May 01, 2015 1:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Can you see the Mayweather fight for less than $99?
Replies: 39
Views: 3964

Re: Can you see the Mayweather fight for less than $99?

Yes, for US military members overseas supporting our great country, the fight is free! But, it's on at 0300 of course on AFN (Armed Forces Network)..but the promoters are allowing military members overseas to watch it for free! Yes, many of my friends here in the Philippines are retired military an...
by kramer
Tue Apr 28, 2015 11:17 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Q re pay Cap Gains Tax at zero income level?
Replies: 12
Views: 629

Re: Q re pay Cap Gains Tax at zero income level?

In addition to considering taking capital gains to the top of the 15% bracket, you could consider using part of that space for converting a traditional IRA to a ROTH. I am early retired like you and most of my income is qualified dividends, along with a bit of interest and unqualified dividends. Eac...
by kramer
Tue Apr 28, 2015 11:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Getting the stink out of running clothes
Replies: 34
Views: 2549

Re: Getting the stink out of running clothes

I think it is important to dry the clothes out after a workout by hanging them up. Have you been doing that? I have not had the stinky problem, I use synthetic type running shirts, not expensive but more like the kind you buy at Walmart, and they don't smell even after many, many uses. They get soak...
by kramer
Mon Apr 27, 2015 12:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Traveling light up to 2 weeks - ditch the laptop, use phone?
Replies: 54
Views: 4203

Re: Traveling light up to 2 weeks - ditch the laptop, use ph

I have trouble doing any kind of serious travel research or ticket purchases on a phone screen. On my last 2 week trip, I took a smart phone and a tablet (8.5 inches, 13 ounces). For most of the trip, including in my hotel room, I used my phone for 3G/4G tethering my tablet to the internet and it wo...
by kramer
Fri Apr 24, 2015 10:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best touristy places to live in the world?
Replies: 36
Views: 5003

Re: Best touristy places to live in the world?

I really enjoyed living in Chiang Mai, Thailand for a year. Because it is not a large city (maybe 500,000), its economy is dominated by tourism.

I visited there again a few months ago and had forgotten just how good the food was, both local food and international food.
by kramer
Wed Apr 22, 2015 9:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Handling cash in Vietnam
Replies: 13
Views: 1356

Re: Handling cash in Vietnam

Find a bank with a surcharge free ATM policy. Also, have her call the bank and let them know that she'll be out of country. Otherwise, she may find herself with a cancelled card and no access to money. I learned the hard way when I was deployed to Iraq. She should probably have a second backup card...
by kramer
Mon Apr 20, 2015 12:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Just got contact lenses. Should I buy backup glasses?
Replies: 22
Views: 1316

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

Good answers here. In several decades of wearing daily use soft contact lenses (removed each evening), I have never needed a replacement pair when I was away from home and out for the day. However, it is not a bad idea to have a cheap pair of glasses when out (like in the car). Zenni is a great sugg...
by kramer
Sun Apr 19, 2015 4:46 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: long term capital gain tax vs. roth conversions
Replies: 41
Views: 2670

Re: long term capital gain tax vs. roth conversions

Another small note is that you need to pay some taxes in order to take full advantage of your foreign tax credit.
by kramer
Thu Apr 16, 2015 11:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Would you buy a house without AC?
Replies: 60
Views: 5140

Re: Would you buy 1.5 M house without AC?

I would be a lot more concerned about not having central heating. It's actually much more important in that climate than A/C.
by kramer
Thu Apr 16, 2015 11:17 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Friend not filed taxes for years but owes no money
Replies: 15
Views: 1906

Re: Friend not filed taxes for years but owes no money

Thanks for all the feedback. It sounds like he is probably OK and should start filing for tax year 2015 due to receiving social security (although he may not get his first check until January, 2016). And so there is no need to go back and file old returns and possibly open up a can of worms. He meet...
by kramer
Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:09 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Friend not filed taxes for years but owes no money
Replies: 15
Views: 1906

Friend not filed taxes for years but owes no money

I have a good friend who lives off a US military pension of about $26,000 per year. He will start taking social security later this year at age 62. He has not filed income taxes for years. The amount taken out of his pension is just slightly more than he owes each year. So he is losing out on a tiny...
by kramer
Mon Apr 13, 2015 5:36 am
Forum: Local Chapters and Bogleheads Community
Topic: Favorite Boglehead Avatar?
Replies: 89
Views: 6831

Re: Favorite Boglehead Avatar?

Cosmo wrote:This thread is over 1 page long and no one still did not choose my avatar. I am in utter disbelief.

-The real Cosmo Kramer
Are you sure about that?? :happy I am offering the Real Kramer Tour here in the Philippines . . .
by kramer
Sun Apr 12, 2015 12:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: protecting passport from damage
Replies: 23
Views: 1849

Re: protecting passport from damage

Just so it is clear, the Passport card is not valid for any international air travel. It is OK for land and sea-based travel to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean. Even in the land/sea case, I wouldn't trust it for more than short trips to any particular country. I did get one, however, just ...
by kramer
Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:16 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Probability question for math wizzes
Replies: 7
Views: 1463

Re: Probability question for math wizzes

Also, take a look into Dempster-Shafer Theory. http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Expert_Systems/Dempster-Shafer_Theory The idea is that not only are you dealing with probabilities, you are dealing with uncertainty about what the probabilities are in the first place (e.g., in situations more complicated t...
by kramer
Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Renting in Retirement - Considerations?
Replies: 53
Views: 4762

Re: Renting in Retirement - Considerations?

I retired 8 years ago and I have never owned a place in my entire life and have no regrets. Part of it is a personality issue, I dislike working around the house doing improvements or maintenance and consider it a burden rather than something enjoyable. Everyone is different. Also, one of my goals f...
by kramer
Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:42 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bernanke's Blog: why are interest rates so low?
Replies: 52
Views: 7613

Re: Bernanke's Blog: why are interest rates so low?

What a great country this is! This reminds me of the photo of the new US ambassador to China. He was at the airport, getting ready to fly to China. He was getting a coffee at Starbucks and he had a piece of luggage with him. The photo made huge news in China because their officials wouldn't be getti...
by kramer
Sun Mar 15, 2015 11:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you still use currency or have you gone all-plastic?
Replies: 47
Views: 3687

Re: Do you still use currency or have you gone all-plastic?

Cash only here in the Philippines, so I only use a credit card for purchasing international plane tickets or using Agoda to prepay an international hotel reservation. When in the USA, I use credit cards for most large purchases (anything over $30).
by kramer
Sun Mar 15, 2015 12:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retirement Issues: Life Expectancy
Replies: 24
Views: 2497

Re: Retirement Issues: Life Expectancy

I only took a few minutes on this topic to come up with a life expectancy (explained below) and mostly use that number for planning purposes . By the time I am nearing that age, much of my money will be annuitized (mostly via Social Security, definitely waiting to age 70 to mitigate longevity risk) ...
by kramer
Sat Mar 14, 2015 11:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Oneplus One phone- experience?
Replies: 20
Views: 2347

Re: Oneplus One phone- experience?

The OnePlus One is bigger and heavier (5.71 oz) than the Samsung S3 (4.69 oz). So make sure you are OK with that. The OnePlus One is out of my range with regards to weight, but everyone has different preferences.
by kramer
Sun Mar 08, 2015 12:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Choosing between learning a language/learning martial art
Replies: 20
Views: 1235

Re: Choosing between learning a language/learning martial ar

Since you're looking for practical self-defense, a traditional martial art may not be your best bet, depending on the teacher. It can be like signing up for ballet when what you want is to learn how to dance with your girlfriend: learning a wide range of movements compiled over centuries and practi...
by kramer
Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:09 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Aging Populations and Stock/Bond Market Returns
Replies: 31
Views: 3906

Re: Aging Populations and Stock/Bond Market Returns

What is unique about this point in history is that the working age population is decreasing rapidly AND people are living much longer. There has been working age population devastation before, like wars and plagues and even the 1918 flu epidemic, but it was never accompanied by a permanently lowered...
by kramer
Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:01 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Aging Populations and Stock/Bond Market Returns
Replies: 31
Views: 3906

Re: Aging Populations and Stock/Bond Market Returns

3. China and Brazil must be mixed up in that second graph. I think it is correct but confusing. Each country is plotted against its own working age population in the year 1950. So, for instance, China now has a working age population about 3.0 times as large as the Chinese working age population in...
by kramer
Thu Feb 26, 2015 9:24 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Expat Roth IRA Rollover
Replies: 7
Views: 717

Re: Expat Roth IRA Rollover

Someone will give you a good reference, but since about 2006 or 2007 there is something called the stacking rule. Basically, income outside of the FEIE exemption is taxed as if you earned your foreign earnings in the USA. As an example, say they earned $70,000 overseas, well under the FEIE exemption...
by kramer
Wed Feb 25, 2015 11:04 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Foreign Stocks in Taxable - Gotcha w/ foreign tax credit
Replies: 58
Views: 8119

Re: Foreign Stocks in Taxable - Gotcha w/ foreign tax credit

That's the tricky part in this whole exercise. Because we have more than $20k in foreign dividends, the fine print for form 1116 says to adjust gross foreign income to account for the preferential tax treatment of qualified dividend income (QDI). Doing so according to IRS rules dramatically reduces...
by kramer
Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:28 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Foreign Stocks in Taxable - Gotcha w/ foreign tax credit
Replies: 58
Views: 8119

Re: Foreign Stocks in Taxable - Gotcha w/ foreign tax credit

In most years, as someone who derives most of their taxable income from qualified dividends and capital gains, I can't use most of my FTC because I am well over the $300/$600 foreign tax paid and my US income tax rate is normally at zero or near zero. Since the average foreign tax rate on dividends ...
by kramer
Mon Feb 23, 2015 6:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pick-Pockets
Replies: 63
Views: 6298

Re: Pick-Pockets

Since I moved out of the USA last decade, I don't ever carry a wallet. I just have cash and driver's license, and sometimes an ATM/credit card in my front pockets. Or side pockets when I am wearing shorts. For protecting your stuff when you are traveling, the "secret pocket" idea, somewher...
by kramer
Thu Jan 29, 2015 10:10 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: .
Replies: 37
Views: 4130

Re: US citizen vs green card

wxz76 wrote:Could be deported if convicted of a crime
I live abroad and try hard not to break any laws. But this problem has certainly crossed my mind and it is a non-theoretical risk. And it does not even take a conviction. Non-deportability (is that a word?) is a real benefit to being a citizen.

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