Search found 350 matches

by lhl12
Thu Jul 23, 2015 11:04 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I consider Social Security Benefits as Assets
Replies: 44
Views: 2790

Re: Should I consider Social Security Benefits as Assets

For asset allocation purposes, I consider the capitalized value of social security (calculated as an annuity) and the balance in a cash balance pension plan as part of my fixed income allocation. I don't have a defined benefit pension plan or life insurance policy with cash value, but if I had eithe...
by lhl12
Wed Jul 22, 2015 7:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you hate your vehicle infotainment system?
Replies: 73
Views: 5938

Re: Do you hate your vehicle infotainment system?

I have a 2011 VW Touareg and I'm pretty happy with its system. I love Bluetooth in general - both for phone and music - and this car seems to handle it pretty well. Be aware that there have been a number of reports of Bluetooth incompatibility between iPhones and many car systems for the newest vers...
by lhl12
Thu Jul 09, 2015 8:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Family trust woes
Replies: 34
Views: 3469

Re: Family trust woes

This is not about legal issues. This is about the grandmother and the OP's mother had some real personal relationship issues or problems. And those issues are living on even thought one is dead. The OP's mother is getting back at her mother, "You think you are so smart with that generation ski...
by lhl12
Sat Jun 27, 2015 6:43 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Personal accounting software
Replies: 23
Views: 3114

Re: Personal accounting software

I use QuickBooks (rather than Quicken) because I find it gives me a finer level of detail and control over certain things. For example, I like that it lets me set up my chart of accounts and balance sheet exactly the way I want them to look. This would be overkill for most people, though.
by lhl12
Sun Jun 21, 2015 7:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is Private Banking ever useful for simple Bogleheads
Replies: 35
Views: 4325

Re: Is Private Banking ever useful for simple Bogleheads

If you like debt, real Private Banks offer extremely low rates. They will do interest only mortgage loans with a relatively small spread over LIBOR. They will also offer portfolio based loans that are well below broker's call and not subject to Regulation T, as they don't characterize them as margi...
by lhl12
Fri Jun 19, 2015 4:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is Private Banking ever useful for simple Bogleheads
Replies: 35
Views: 4325

Re: Is Private Banking ever useful for simple Bogleheads

I have found that the Private Banking arms of some banks can offer mortgage rates that are a little (0.25%) lower than those offered by the "regular" arm of the same bank.
by lhl12
Wed Jun 17, 2015 7:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Help me choose an EXPENSIVE* red wine for a gift
Replies: 22
Views: 2550

Re: Help me choose an EXPENSIVE* red wine for a gift

Caymus, Silver Oak and Cakebread are all good Cabernet options. I also agree with the suggestion of multiple bottles. If your budget is $250, then I think two bottles at $125 is better than one at $250. That way when he has a special bottle for a special occasion and really likes it, he can repeat t...
by lhl12
Sun Jun 14, 2015 5:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where do you keep your to do list?
Replies: 60
Views: 5681

Re: Where do you keep your to do list?

I use Microsoft Outlook, organized using the "Take Back Your Life" methodology in this book: http://www.amazon.com/Take-Back-Your-Life-Microsoft/dp/0735623430/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1434320239&sr=8-1&keywords=take+back+your+life&pebp=1434320243324&perid=ADEF5A8B80544282...
by lhl12
Mon Jun 08, 2015 3:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are there any merchants that accept only Amex?
Replies: 25
Views: 2403

Are there any merchants that accept only Amex?

Are there any merchants that accept Amex but not Visa or MasterCard? I have had an Amex card as a backup for a number of years, but I can't remember the last time I used it and would like to get rid of it (unless there are some merchants that accept only Amex, at which I could envision myself shoppi...
by lhl12
Sun Jun 07, 2015 12:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Inheritance and Economic Outpatient Care for a Boglehead
Replies: 70
Views: 5124

Re: Inheritance and Economic Outpatient Care for a Boglehead

I am curious to understand approximately how big or small are the components of inheritance and economic outpatient care for a Boglehead. Please do the following for me: 1. Add all your inheritance money you have received throughout your life (inheritance) 2. Add all your economic outpatient care (...
by lhl12
Fri Jun 05, 2015 8:43 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Big life changes and large lump sums about to appear
Replies: 16
Views: 2298

Re: Big life changes and large lump sums about to appear

First I would pay off mortgage, credit cards, car, and set aside cash for her education. . What is the benefit of paying off a 0% car loan? I'm certainly not Warren Buffet but I'm pretty sure that I can come up with investments that can beat 0% over the 2 1/2 years remaining on the loan. Am I missi...
by lhl12
Tue Jun 02, 2015 6:58 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should you pay down mortgage if you think home value will drop?
Replies: 13
Views: 1450

Re: Should you pay down mortgage if you think home value will drop?

The only scenario in which it might make sense not to pay down the mortgage would be if you think the value of the house will fall lower than the value of the mortgage and you then intend to declare bankruptcy and turn the house over to the bank. In that scenario, you might be better off not paying ...
by lhl12
Mon May 25, 2015 7:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do Bogleheads plan to utilize Independent Living facilities?
Replies: 61
Views: 4338

Re: Do Bogleheads plan to utilize Independent Living facilities?

Munir wrote:$3K/month for a CCRC unit is pretty low. We pay close to $5k/m in Independent Living with an 80% refundable huge entry fee. Maybe it's location, location, location- I dunno.


Similar pricing for my mother's (in Massachusetts).
by lhl12
Sun May 17, 2015 8:40 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Post tax investing or Pay off 2.95% Mortgage?
Replies: 39
Views: 4081

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

I would refinance into a HELOC, with the same balance drawn to start. Your interest rate will be lower, and you can pay off (or re-draw) the debt whenever you'd like in the future. If interest rates rise to an uncomfortable level, then pay off the HELOC in full.
by lhl12
Wed May 13, 2015 7:41 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: NYT: 2% rebate credit cards; will they last?
Replies: 30
Views: 3804

Re: NYT: 2% rebate credit cards; will they last?

If you're going to consider cards with an annual fee, as the author does, then Fidelity VISA should be in the mix too. If you spend at least $15,000 per year, the rewards structure is equivalent to a 2% card with a $75 annual fee. For those seeking a non-AMEX card @ 2% the Citi MasterCard at 1% + 1...
by lhl12
Fri May 08, 2015 11:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What are the Pro's and Con's of Retiring in Amarillo, TX
Replies: 89
Views: 6412

Re: What are the Pro's and Con's of Retiring in Amarillo, TX

OP, as I said earlier, there are some nice, very livable communities in Texas. For the big cities, Austin, San Antonio and Fort Worth (FW really is a great place to live, for a big city.) are possibilities, while Dallas and Houston are out of the question. For smaller towns that might work for you,...
by lhl12
Fri May 08, 2015 10:57 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What are the Pro's and Con's of Retiring in Amarillo, TX
Replies: 89
Views: 6412

Re: What are the Pro's and Con's of Retiring in Amarillo, TX

I love how distances get shrunk in the west because there's nothing else in between. Upstream someone mentioned proximity to Santa Fe as a plus. In point of fact, the distance to Santa Fe from Amarillo is about 280 miles which is about 65 miles farther than the distance between Boston and New York....
by lhl12
Tue May 05, 2015 3:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What are the Pro's and Con's of Retiring in Amarillo, TX
Replies: 89
Views: 6412

Re: What are the Pro's and Con's of Retiring in Amarillo, TX

You get to go hiking in and around the Palo Duro Canyon.

Also, you're only about a 1:45 drive from Lubbock so you can go watch Texas Tech games.

And, you're about a 4:00 drive from Santa Fe, which is a wonderful place to visit.
by lhl12
Tue May 05, 2015 11:40 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Merrill Edge anyone?
Replies: 98
Views: 16836

Re: Merrill Edge anyone?

Similar story here - I have the relationship just for the 2.625% credit card. No complaints on any front so far...
by lhl12
Mon Apr 27, 2015 12:47 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Retiring in two months - what to do with TSP?
Replies: 11
Views: 1518

Re: Retiring in two months - what to do with TSP?

See this article from the same website, which describes how beneficial it is to wait until age 70 before commencing SS: http://www.nasi.org/discuss/2012/04/world’s-best-investment-delaying-social-security You should examine how/whether this might be possible for you. It might make sense to live off ...
by lhl12
Sat Apr 25, 2015 12:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taxes are killing me
Replies: 21
Views: 3136

Re: Taxes are killing me

Sounds like you need to make estimated tax payments. Join the club. Second that. Many on this forum pay a lot of taxes. Maximize tax advantaged space. Focus on tax avoidance. After that pay your fair share. Third that. "Rightful taxation is the price of social order. In other words, it is that...
by lhl12
Tue Apr 21, 2015 2:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Single best piece of personal finance advice ever received?
Replies: 90
Views: 7686

Re: Single best piece of personal finance advice ever receiv

"Never a lender or borrower be." W.S. This is dangerous advice! "Don't be a borrower" is very sound, conservative advice, but "don't be a lender" means having a 0% allocation to fixed income and (by implication) having a 100% allocation to equities. That might be an ap...
by lhl12
Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Need some help please with Estate question
Replies: 23
Views: 2613

Re: Need some help please with Estate question

My father recently passed away .... ... He has a large estate (4 M) at least we believe. ... ... We currently have an elder care attorney who we established with prior to Dad's death. ... For a $4 million estate, a trusts and estates lawyer might be a better fit. +1. You will likely consult with th...
by lhl12
Mon Mar 23, 2015 8:20 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Investing in the medium term say 15 years. Same principles?
Replies: 7
Views: 983

Re: Investing in the medium term say 15 years. Same princip

I think it depends in part on why your time horizon is 15 years. For example, if you were saving for a child's college tuition that you knew would start in 15 years, that would be one asset allocation. If you were saving for a house purchase, that might be another. If, on the other hand, you were se...
by lhl12
Sun Mar 22, 2015 9:32 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Merrill Edge Question
Replies: 21
Views: 1993

Re: Merrill Edge Question

One nice benefit of Merrill Edge is that if you have $100,000 in assets there, then you get a 75% bonus on your rebate for a Bank of America Travel Rewards card, which makes your effective cash rebate 2.625% (with no upper limit). This is the best deal around (by a lot) for credit card rebates, so i...
by lhl12
Fri Mar 06, 2015 9:29 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does My Daughter Need A Prenup?
Replies: 175
Views: 7743

Re: Does My Daughter Need A Prenup?

Why don't her parents and grandparents provide for her in trusts that she can control, rather than outright. This will protect her inheritance against her creditors and spouses, and will also keep it out of her estate for estate tax purposes. Almost all of our clients do this. Exactly. You and her ...
by lhl12
Mon Mar 02, 2015 8:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Lumber Liquidators Safety Issue
Replies: 19
Views: 2164

Re: Lumber Liquidators Safety Issue

Although I have never met or spoken with him, I believe Whitney Tilson is a first-rate individual who does an enormous amount of research on his companies and operates his business in a first-class, highly ethical way. Yes, he is short the stock of LL, but that is because he believes it is a complet...
by lhl12
Sat Feb 28, 2015 1:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Inheritance to be held in expensive trust for ~10 years
Replies: 55
Views: 7101

Re: Inheritance to be held in expensive trust for ~10 years

If you're serious about removing the current bank as Trustee, why not first approach them and see if they will lower their annual fees? If they know they really can lose the accounts, they may well be willing to give you a better deal.
by lhl12
Wed Feb 25, 2015 6:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: List of favorite accounts
Replies: 44
Views: 11123

Re: List of favorite accounts

Credit Card: Bank of America Travel Rewards card combined with maximum possible bonus from Merrill Lynch or US Trust. Net result is a 2.625% rebate on all charges, as long as you have travel charges (airfare, hotel, etc.) to apply the rebate against. If you charge a lot to your card annually, then t...
by lhl12
Sat Feb 21, 2015 6:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Citi Cash Rewards vs. Fidelity Amex
Replies: 23
Views: 3345

Re: Citi Cash Rewards vs. Fidelity Amex

If you're getting an average of $75/month deposited into your Fidelity account then you are spending $45,000/year on the card. At that spending level, you could use the Fidelity Visa instead of the Fidelity Amex. You get the same 2% rebate/month as the Fidelity Amex, except that you get only 1.5% on...
by lhl12
Sat Feb 21, 2015 10:12 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What is Risk?
Replies: 27
Views: 1680

Re: What is Risk?

The riskiness of an investment is not measured by beta (a Wall Street term encompassing volatility and often used in measuring risk) but rather by the probability – the reasoned probability – of that investment causing its owner a loss of purchasing-power over his contemplated holding period. Asset...
by lhl12
Sat Feb 21, 2015 10:07 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: why do some people like Fidelity?
Replies: 92
Views: 11410

Re: why do some people like Fidelity?

And let's not forget the 2% cash back AMEX credit card and the no fee ATM card. +1 and the 1.5% cash back Visa (Actually, it's a 2% cash back Visa for all charges except the first $15,000/year, which only give 1.5% cash back. If you charge more than $15,000/year, this is equivalent to 2% cash back ...
by lhl12
Wed Feb 18, 2015 3:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommend a general U.S. history book
Replies: 22
Views: 1414

Re: Recommend a general U.S. history book

"The American Pageant" is one of the standard AP US History textbooks. They make an abridged version, which would probably be a better choice for your purposes.
by lhl12
Thu Feb 12, 2015 7:03 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Social Security as a bond?
Replies: 47
Views: 3693

Re: Social Security as a bond?

I would happily buy the Social Security revenue stream of anyone who wanted to sell. Similarly, I'd happily buy the pension revenue stream of anyone who wanted to sell. I doubt the price I'd be willing to pay is a price that the seller would accept, but I'd certainly pay more than zero. Said another...
by lhl12
Tue Feb 10, 2015 12:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pensions and Asset Allocation - How to Balance?
Replies: 17
Views: 1282

Re: Pensions and Asset Allocation - How to Balance?

A pension is an income stream, it is not part of your portfolio. SS is an income stream, it is not part of your portfolio either. Your budget requires an income stream to provide you with the funds you need for your retired life. As an example, if you need $80K a year for expenses and your pension ...
by lhl12
Sun Feb 01, 2015 8:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Rules Of Thumb For Personal Finance?
Replies: 20
Views: 2945

Re: Rules Of Thumb For Personal Finance?

When it comes to personal finance, I've always taken a by the book approach. So I am wondering in addition to the things I below. What other rules thumb can you think of as it relates specifically to personal finance? Note: I am not referring to investing in this post. 1. Live below your means 2. S...
by lhl12
Sun Jan 25, 2015 1:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: large cash gift from parent - tax considerations
Replies: 32
Views: 2748

Re: large cash gift from parent - tax considerations

I assume "us" includes your spouse, and that you are buying the apartment jointly. She could make you a gift of $28,000 ($14,000 to each of you and your spouse) and lend you the remaining $72,000 as an unsecured loan (fully documented, with interest). Then, beginning in 2016 and for each y...
by lhl12
Sun Jan 25, 2015 12:57 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Its Time To End Financial Advisers 1% Fees"
Replies: 102
Views: 9053

Re: "Its Time To End Financial Advisers 1% Fees"

I don't buy it and I don't agree. The more I learn about human nature, the more I realize that it is pure folly to expect the average American to successfully devise and execute a 75 year plan for financial success, including education, careers, marriage/divorce, kids, college savings, medical expe...
by lhl12
Sat Jan 24, 2015 9:26 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Grandfather wanting to transfer portfolio to kids. Question
Replies: 67
Views: 3565

Re: Grandfather wanting to transfer portfolio to kids. Ques

I'm 80, and I have all my money in a simple 3-fund Vanguard portfolio... I want to give my money to my kid now, and I tried to explain why the 3-fund portfolio was simple, easy to manage, generates a decent return, and is less volatile. My daughter (and her son-in-law) told me that they have no int...
by lhl12
Sat Jan 24, 2015 7:21 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Annual Home Maintenance Expenses
Replies: 47
Views: 8783

Re: Annual Home Maintenance Expenses

I would plan on 2% annually, but as you can see from others' experience it could be 1% or it could be 3%, depending on a lot of things. Regardless, the most important thing is to plan for the lumpiness of the expenses. If you assume 2%, then I would literally set aside 2% each year into a segregated...
by lhl12
Thu Jan 22, 2015 7:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What is highest paying cash credit card
Replies: 24
Views: 2974

Re: What is highest paying cash credit card

If you charge a lot and if you travel, the very best is the Bank of America Travel Rewards Card combined with the 75% bonus that you get for being either a Merrill Edge or US Trust customer. This configuration gives an unlimited 2.625% rebate on all charges so long as the rebate is applied to travel...
by lhl12
Thu Jan 15, 2015 9:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Amex Fidelity CC 2% Cash Back
Replies: 60
Views: 21755

Re: Amex Fidelity CC 2% Cash Back

Actually the Fidelity 1.5% Visa pays 2% after the first $15,000... effectively being a 2 percent card with a $75 annual fee. Worth it to me to not have to deal with Amex not being accepted everywhere. I do the same thing. I have both the Amex and Visa but put the Amex in the drawer a few years ago ...
by lhl12
Mon Jan 12, 2015 8:15 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should pension plans be relied upon for retirement?
Replies: 35
Views: 3335

Re: Should pension plans be relied upon for retirement?

There is a type of pension plan called a "Multiemployer Pension Plan" which can be problematic. These types of plans (often union-related) typically have multiple different companies paying into them, which can create problems for the strong members if some of the weaker members go bankrup...
by lhl12
Fri Jan 02, 2015 2:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help with spouse and finances (read: lots of debt)
Replies: 108
Views: 15969

Re: Help with spouse and finances (read: lots of debt)

I just read this whole thread for the first time. I will leave financial advice to the side for now, and just say that you are an extraordinary woman. You have been through a lot and have managed things better than almost anyone else could have. You deserve a ton of credit and moral support, and I f...
by lhl12
Mon Dec 29, 2014 3:48 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Smartest Financial Move Right now for my 1 Year old ?
Replies: 17
Views: 1166

Re: Smartest Financial Move Right now for my 1 Year old ?

I would send her to Vanguard and deposit her into one of their low-ER day care accounts. She will develop at the average rate of all other kids (with very little cost) and when you get her back at age 18 she will have compounded into a terrific young woman, free from a lot of the excess emotional co...
by lhl12
Mon Dec 29, 2014 10:47 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much more do rebate cards cost than checks?
Replies: 13
Views: 855

Re: How much more do rebate cards cost than checks?

If someone receives a physical check then they have the ability to deposit it into their bank account whether they purchase something or not. With online check deposits on smartphone, it is trivially easy to deposit a check from home, so I suspect that the percentage of people who fail to deposit th...
by lhl12
Mon Dec 29, 2014 9:47 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying gasoline
Replies: 7
Views: 1381

Buying gasoline

Certain credit cards offer particularly high reward points for buying gasoline. Several offer 3% and I believe that one or two others (PenFed?) offer as high as 5% or 6%. Meanwhile, many gas stations charge two different prices for gasoline - one if you pay using a credit card and another (typically...
by lhl12
Sat Dec 27, 2014 10:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Investing inheritance money for elderly motherr
Replies: 70
Views: 4732

Re: Investing inheritance money for elderly motherr

If you do decide to move the funds to a bank, do not lock them up in a long-term CD. You will want to leave the funds in a highly liquid account for a reasonable period of time - at least a few months - that allow you to grieve and also figure out how you want to invest the money. If you lock it up ...
by lhl12
Sat Dec 27, 2014 5:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Need help with trust problem, huge tax bill possible (CA)
Replies: 8
Views: 1418

Re: Need help with trust problem, huge tax bill possible (CA

You need to consult an attorney. You will need counsel with expertise in California property tax matters and also trusts and estates. If these happen to be the same person, that's fine, but you need both expertises regardless.

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