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Re: The Mega Backdoor Roth IRA

I have done this as my former employer allowed after-tax 401k contributions and withdrawals. Sadly, not the current one. My Roth IRA is now 6 figures as a result, despite having been eligible to directly contribute only once. Some of the money is from conversions, some from earnings, and most from t...
by madbrain
Tue Apr 22, 2014 10:13 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: The Mega Backdoor Roth IRA
Replies: 36
Views: 4863

Re: US NEWS 9 Most Affordable Placs 2 Retire

I have been to Nha Trang on vacation, and while it was pleasant, I am not sure that I would want to live there year round. It was not hard for us to spend more than $750 in much less than a month - but we stayed in a 5 star hotel. My husband is Vietnamese, so perhaps some day it would be reality. He...
by madbrain
Tue Apr 22, 2014 10:07 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: US NEWS 9 Most Affordable Placs 2 Retire
Replies: 21
Views: 2388

Re: If you have ACA health insurance, what is your experien

Jack, Believe me, we looked into Medicaid. Didn't qualify. With $21,000 income for two, you fall into the doughnut hole for those states that did not expand Medicaid. You make too much for Medicaid and too little to qualify for subsidies on the exchange. You need to move to a better state. You would...
by madbrain
Tue Apr 22, 2014 8:53 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: If you have ACA health insurance, what is your experience?
Replies: 124
Views: 5311

Re: If you have ACA health insurance, what is your experien

I'm aware of that. Let's see, my spouse and I currently have a combined gross income of $21,000. After the standard deduction and 401k contributions, that should make 1%, what? About $100? At 2.5% it will be $250. Per year. As opposed to $180/month (which will also go up every year) for health insu...
by madbrain
Tue Apr 22, 2014 3:04 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: If you have ACA health insurance, what is your experience?
Replies: 124
Views: 5311

Re: If you have ACA health insurance, what is your experien

I suspect that it will be fixed eventually ...the problem is that our current policy ends in a couple of months and there isn't an available avenue by which small businesses in Washington can obtain reasonably priced health care for its employees NOW . My employer is considering getting rid of heal...
by madbrain
Tue Apr 22, 2014 12:53 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: If you have ACA health insurance, what is your experience?
Replies: 124
Views: 5311

Re: If you have ACA health insurance, what is your experien

That is no longer the case given the inability to exclude coverage for preexisting conditions or to pre-screen employees. Employers were never allowed to screen employees for pre-existing conditions and deny them group health insurance coverage altogether based on those conditions . EDIT: read the ...
by madbrain
Mon Apr 21, 2014 11:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: If you have ACA health insurance, what is your experience?
Replies: 124
Views: 5311

Re: If you have ACA health insurance, what is your experien

And now that I get no discount for being young, healthy, and less of a risk for the insurance company? The 1% uninsured tax is where it's at. You still get discounts for being young under the ACA. Not for the other 2. I hope you enjoy paying that 1% tax to pay for other people's medical costs, and ...
by madbrain
Mon Apr 21, 2014 11:10 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: If you have ACA health insurance, what is your experience?
Replies: 124
Views: 5311

Re: Most solid small car

Why, an all-electric car like the Nissan Leaf or Tesla S.

They have almost no liquids, and are very solid.
by madbrain
Sat Apr 19, 2014 1:08 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Most solid small car
Replies: 25
Views: 3139

Re: Amazon.com prices change quickly

Or maybe you enjoy NASCAR and muscle cars, but drive a basic 140 horsepower car. Your insurance company's internal statistical analyses might say that that still makes you a slightly riskier investment, despite your otherwise safe driving history. However, unlike Amazon prices, the auto insurance c...
by madbrain
Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon.com prices change quickly
Replies: 40
Views: 3877

Re: VTI vs. VTSAX [Vanguard Total Stk Mkt: ETF vs. Mutual Fu

Also, ETF stands for Early Termination Fee.
As a boglehead, i can't recommend paying this fee.
by madbrain
Thu Apr 17, 2014 5:45 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: VTI vs. VTSAX [Vanguard Total Stk Mkt: ETF vs. Mutual Fund]
Replies: 7
Views: 1018

Re: Stocks: How Bad It Can Get

Calm Man, the correction was roughly from 16,600 down to 16,000 on the DOW but the news media really played it up and people scare easily. I know it was roughly 3% but when the media gets a hold of that watch out. A 30% correction will cause some folks to get religion. http://www.investopedia.com/t...
by madbrain
Tue Apr 15, 2014 8:52 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Stocks: How Bad It Can Get
Replies: 72
Views: 5368

Re: Anyone use Fidelity as their bank account?

I have Fidelity cash account and it works fine. I have a very basic smartphone (Kyocera) and the camera is not the best, I tried a check deposit but it was illegible to the app. I had to mail them the check. I bought a car last summer and realized I couldn't get a cashier check. I asked the dealer ...
by madbrain
Tue Apr 15, 2014 8:42 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone use Fidelity as their bank account?
Replies: 27
Views: 1758

Re: VTI vs. VTSAX

devotee wrote:For the long term Vanguard investor who periodically invests, does the eft have any advantage over the total stock market mutual fund?


You can't do automatic periodic investments with ETFs. The mutual fund is more convenient.
by madbrain
Tue Apr 15, 2014 8:11 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: VTI vs. VTSAX [Vanguard Total Stk Mkt: ETF vs. Mutual Fund]
Replies: 7
Views: 1018

Re: Stocks: How Bad It Can Get

selftalk wrote:Look at this psychological statement. Isn`t it funny how this question arises after the correction which sort of tells me that people are probably not allocated correctly. No one mentions rebalancing during this correction which the academics suggest.


After what correction ?
by madbrain
Tue Apr 15, 2014 8:09 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Stocks: How Bad It Can Get
Replies: 72
Views: 5368

Re: Anyone use Fidelity as their bank account?

The only downside is I can't walk in and make a deposit with physical cash nor can I go to them for a cashiers check or money order. They have offices in many areas where you can do these transactions. I have one a few blocks from my house although I seldom use it. I'm pretty sure those Fidelity br...
by madbrain
Tue Apr 15, 2014 8:08 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone use Fidelity as their bank account?
Replies: 27
Views: 1758

Re: Stocks: How Bad It Can Get

The graphs are about how bad it got in the past, not about how bad it can get in the future.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
by madbrain
Tue Apr 15, 2014 7:46 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Stocks: How Bad It Can Get
Replies: 72
Views: 5368

Re: heartbleed - widespread internet security problem

Heartbleed hackers have probably already stolen the security encryption keys for hundreds of websites and have and will be able to exploit this going forward. Seems like it's pretty easy to do. Very few sites have changed their possibly compromised keys, so we can expect more Targets down the road....
by madbrain
Tue Apr 15, 2014 7:03 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: heartbleed - widespread internet security problem
Replies: 175
Views: 16462

Re: LED bulb prices

With the tiered electricity pricing in California, it will also show significant savings on your bill. My tier 1 goes to 1000 kWh. Tier 3 starts at 3000kwh. My baseline (also called "tier 1" by PG&E) is below 330 kWh in summer months, and below 351 kWh in winter months. This is per PG...
by madbrain
Mon Apr 14, 2014 8:44 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: LED bulb prices
Replies: 109
Views: 8460

Re: Expensive med. test not covered by insurance

This problem is one reason I love my Kaiser HMO insurance plan . As long as I'm getting care in a Kaiser building, the doctor / lab / etc is always in-network. I have never had an annual deductible on my plan, nor is there any coinsurance (percentage of cost). Just premiums and fixed copays for serv...
by madbrain
Sun Apr 13, 2014 4:53 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Expensive med. test not covered by insurance
Replies: 74
Views: 3853

Re: Why Americans are Retiring Overseas

^ Yes, health care needs to be a consideration if you're thinking about retiring outside the US. There are fine choices. And then there are not. In my medical practice, I am always amazed at how consideration of medical care often is last on a retiree's check list. The most extreme and unfortunate ...
by madbrain
Fri Apr 11, 2014 8:27 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why Americans are Retiring Overseas
Replies: 109
Views: 9005

Re: Why Americans are Retiring Overseas

Of course, I believe my retirement is still a while away, and things could certainly change over time. I haven't run the exact numbers, but I could probably afford to retire today in some low cost of living areas - possibly including Alabama - at age 37 - but I prefer to keep working in Silicon Val...
by madbrain
Fri Apr 11, 2014 8:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why Americans are Retiring Overseas
Replies: 109
Views: 9005

Re: LED bulb prices

How is this possible? The nationally advertised price at Home Depot is $6.97 on sale right now. How did you get this at Home Depot for $4.97? Is anyone else seeing these 60 watt Cree A19 bulbs for less than $6.97? If so, where? Thanks, K.I.S. You might want to read the rest of this thread, and nota...
by madbrain
Fri Apr 11, 2014 8:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: LED bulb prices
Replies: 109
Views: 8460

Re: Getting Passport without specific travel plans?

Write that you want to fly from Buffalo to Pittsburgh. Here is the TSA. Acceptable IDs include: U.S. passport U.S. passport card DHS "Trusted Traveler" cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST) ... I actually lived for several years in the US with just a passport - renewed at the US embas...
by madbrain
Fri Apr 11, 2014 8:10 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Getting Passport without specific travel plans?
Replies: 29
Views: 1800

Re: heartbleed - widespread internet security problem

It gets worse. Now the word is that the heartbleed bug can affect network and internet architecture as well, including your home router, firewall, and VPN. So, even if your favorite website has fixed it's servers your secure information might still be compromised as it is travelling through the web...
by madbrain
Thu Apr 10, 2014 10:44 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: heartbleed - widespread internet security problem
Replies: 175
Views: 16462

Re: Why Americans are Retiring Overseas

Aw, come now. I live in Nashville and am attending an interracial, same-sex wedding this weekend of some close friends. They are both from larger cities and have both fallen in love with Nashville. The trick is finding the "blue cities in red states" -- there are a lot of them down here. ...
by madbrain
Thu Apr 10, 2014 10:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why Americans are Retiring Overseas
Replies: 109
Views: 9005

Re: Why Americans are Retiring Overseas

HomerJ, Yeah, it would be so horrible to retire in Alabama... Oh wait, here's a picture of a house I rented in Alabama for a week a couple of years back... Beautiful lake - 3rd cleanest in America they said. You could see the bottom in 20 feet of water. Man, what a tragedy it would be to have to spe...
by madbrain
Thu Apr 10, 2014 10:11 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why Americans are Retiring Overseas
Replies: 109
Views: 9005

Re: heartbleed - widespread internet security problem

Why not take advantage of the enhanced login options that USAA has been providing for quite awhile - cybercode tokens and cybercode texts? I use the token system (similar to Google Authenticator and provided by Symantec), and it works fine. The texts would work well too. See: https://www.usaa.com/i...
by madbrain
Thu Apr 10, 2014 9:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: heartbleed - widespread internet security problem
Replies: 175
Views: 16462

Re: heartbleed - widespread internet security problem

Why not take advantage of the enhanced login options that USAA has been providing for quite awhile - cybercode tokens and cybercode texts? I use the token system (similar to Google Authenticator and provided by Symantec), and it works fine. The texts would work well too. See: https://www.usaa.com/i...
by madbrain
Thu Apr 10, 2014 9:12 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: heartbleed - widespread internet security problem
Replies: 175
Views: 16462

Re: How to invest my "Emergency Fund"

IMO, if you have a sufficiently large portfolio, a muni bond fund makes a fine emergency fund. That's mostly where mine is. There is some risk, but it's not enormous. With saving accounts rates near 0%, I try to keep my FDIC account balance down to a 4 figure amount, just enough to pay the bills and...
by madbrain
Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:58 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How to invest my "Emergency Fund"
Replies: 20
Views: 1996

Re: Is 0.5% too much for iShares High Yield Bonds (HYG)?

I think it's OK. I would say it depends on how much you are investing. I don't hold this ETF, because I dislike ETFs, and there are better choices out there. I do have a lot of high-yield bonds in my portfolio. They used to be almost all the bonds I owned, but I have reduced my allocation lately and...
by madbrain
Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:51 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Is 0.5% too much for iShares High Yield Bonds (HYG)?
Replies: 6
Views: 539

Re:

A Roth IRA has two types of "basis": direct contributions and conversions . Everything else is earnings. That's not the case. There is a third type of basis - those that results from rollovers of 401k after-tax contributions to the Roth IRA. Unfortunately, it appears that Turbo Tax does n...
by madbrain
Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:25 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Roth IRA basis
Replies: 11
Views: 3632

Re: heartbleed - widespread internet security problem

dmcmahon wrote:Maybe it's time VG offered two-factor auth? And every other bank/broker site...


I agree, but that wouldn't really have done anything against this particular attack, though.
by madbrain
Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:21 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: heartbleed - widespread internet security problem
Replies: 175
Views: 16462

Re: heartbleed - widespread internet security problem

Security researchers disclosed the flaw before patches were ready which is not a good thing but such is life. Not true. The vulnerability was released to many security companies via responsible disclosure distro lists before being made public. Most operating systems had updates to fix the issue con...
by madbrain
Wed Apr 09, 2014 8:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: heartbleed - widespread internet security problem
Replies: 175
Views: 16462

Re: Why Americans are Retiring Overseas

Really, you would rather live in Thailand than the Southern US? Absolutely. Someone in an interracial, same-sex marriage just isn't going to feel at home in the Southern US in this lifetime, I am afraid. While the LGBT rights are still not great in Thailand, I would still prefer to live there . Tha...
by madbrain
Tue Apr 08, 2014 8:46 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why Americans are Retiring Overseas
Replies: 109
Views: 9005

Re: Why Americans are Retiring Overseas

greg24 wrote:If you think the culture shock of Alabama is big, wait till you move to Thailand.


Having visited both, I'll pick the Thai culture shock . Heck, my body clock is still on Thai time from my vacation to Thailand 2 years ago.
by madbrain
Tue Apr 08, 2014 8:18 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why Americans are Retiring Overseas
Replies: 109
Views: 9005

Re: Why Americans are Retiring Overseas

Puff piece or not, it is intriguing - for those thinking of Florida, Arizona, Palm Springs etc. it just might be worth considering Costa Rica or Panama or other destinations (written by a guy who just bought in Florida 8-) There is a middle tier that I would consider well before another country: [*...
by madbrain
Tue Apr 08, 2014 6:13 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why Americans are Retiring Overseas
Replies: 109
Views: 9005

Re: LED bulb prices

I just bought a couple BR30/65w equivalent recessed bulbs at Costco today at $12.99 minus an $8 instant discount for a total of $4.99 per bulb. They are 13 watts, so I save 52 watts. I save 1 kwh hour every 19.23 hours. Given that I pay $.117/kwh, I save $0.0061 per hour. Based on $4.99 per bulb, t...
by madbrain
Tue Apr 08, 2014 7:48 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: LED bulb prices
Replies: 109
Views: 8460

Re: Do I take the separation package offer?

* They are also offering a year of Cobra at company expense. I figure this is pretty much meaningless for me because I am medicare eligible and Cobra doesn’t count as a qualified plan, so I would have to sign up for medicare. The plan is the HDHP I started in January and on medicare I would not be ...
by madbrain
Tue Apr 08, 2014 6:13 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do I take the separation package offer?
Replies: 50
Views: 4650

Re: Why pay off your house?

Because HSA funds can only be spent if you have an HDHP plan, your HSA funds might get exhausted relatively quickly in that situation, in a few years. This is incorrect. You can only contribute to an HSA if you have an HDHP plan. You can spend the HSA funds on any qualified medical expense tax-free...
by madbrain
Mon Apr 07, 2014 10:09 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Why pay off your house?
Replies: 119
Views: 8590

Re: LED bulb prices

While you can make an economic argument for the concept (and I don't want to go off into politics), it does get a bit fuzzy around the edges. People throwing out CFLs to replace them with better-working LEDs probably means that the power companies double-count the energy saved based on the theoreti...
by madbrain
Mon Apr 07, 2014 8:09 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: LED bulb prices
Replies: 109
Views: 8460

Re: LED bulb prices

I just bought a couple BR30/65w equivalent recessed bulbs at Costco today at $12.99 minus an $8 instant discount for a total of $4.99 per bulb. They are 13 watts, so I save 52 watts. I save 1 kwh hour every 19.23 hours. Given that I pay $.117/kwh, I save $0.0061 per hour. Based on $4.99 per bulb, t...
by madbrain
Mon Apr 07, 2014 8:05 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: LED bulb prices
Replies: 109
Views: 8460

Re: LED bulb prices

I believe it is this bulb: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Philips-100W-Equivalent-Soft-White-2700K-A21-Dimmable-LED-Light-Bulb-E-432195/204384620 Though that link is to a store in W Spfld, MA and it states there are only 6 in stock, I found mine in a Home Depot in Hadley, MA and they seemed to have qui...
by madbrain
Mon Apr 07, 2014 8:02 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: LED bulb prices
Replies: 109
Views: 8460

Re: Why pay off your house?

physicsgal, I had decided to pay an extra 10% to my mortgage payment, just to shorten the life of the loan a bit as I want to retire early and be mortgage free when I do (I'm 33 now). But I met with a Vanguard rep at my work for a "check up" recently and she suggested I stop doing that and...
by madbrain
Mon Apr 07, 2014 7:57 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Why pay off your house?
Replies: 119
Views: 8590

Re: Inexpensive Win7 laptop that will support 2 to 3 monitor

You can add displays to any USB 3.0 capable laptop by using USB 3.0 video cards.
by madbrain
Mon Apr 07, 2014 6:46 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Inexpensive Win7 laptop that will support 2 to 3 monitors?
Replies: 21
Views: 1070

Re: Why pay off your house?

Isn't housing a life-long cost? No, it is not. When I had a $2000/month mortgage payment.. I needed $8000 a month to live... Now that the house is paid off, I only need $6000 a month to live. Generating $6000 is easier than generating $8000. That is why I paid it off. That doesn't really refute his...
by madbrain
Mon Apr 07, 2014 6:41 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Why pay off your house?
Replies: 119
Views: 8590

Re: LED bulb prices

I believe it is this bulb: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Philips-100W-Equivalent-Soft-White-2700K-A21-Dimmable-LED-Light-Bulb-E-432195/204384620 Though that link is to a store in W Spfld, MA and it states there are only 6 in stock, I found mine in a Home Depot in Hadley, MA and they seemed to have qui...
by madbrain
Mon Apr 07, 2014 12:30 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: LED bulb prices
Replies: 109
Views: 8460

Re: LED bulb prices

protagonist wrote:I bought 100W equivalent (over 1600 lumens) Soft White (2700 K) PhilipsLED bulbs at Home Depot in MA yesterday for under $15. List price was, I think, about $33.


Do you mind sharing the model of this bulb ? What kind of base ?
by madbrain
Sun Apr 06, 2014 7:23 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: LED bulb prices
Replies: 109
Views: 8460

Re: HD video projector vs. multiple monitors for design?

Thanks MadBrain for all the detailed information. Appreciate the time you took to write this. Will take all you wrote into consideration. However: * No screen. I want to start out projecting onto a typical white / off-white wall. Hadn't factored in a screen at all. Screens can be really inexpensive...
by madbrain
Sat Apr 05, 2014 6:08 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: HD video projector vs. multiple monitors for design?
Replies: 27
Views: 1642

Re: Help me understand Michael Lewis' "Flash Boys"

Jack Bogle has no problem with HFT. People from the institutional world have only very, very slowly come to know what occurs in market microstructure. So Michael Lewis knows more than Jack bogle about how stock markets work? LOL Jack Bogle hasn't worked in the industry for quite a while, has he ? W...
by madbrain
Fri Apr 04, 2014 9:56 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Help me understand Michael Lewis' "Flash Boys"
Replies: 164
Views: 8688

Re: Help me understand Michael Lewis' "Flash Boys"

...cram the whole thing within a few miles of Wall Street... One of the fascinating little things I hadn't quite realized was that glamorous Wall Street is really in unglamorous-sounding Mahwah, NJ, Weehauken, NJ, and Carteret, NJ. Here's part of it, I think. http://goo.gl/maps/eH59d http://s15.pos...
by madbrain
Fri Apr 04, 2014 9:52 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Help me understand Michael Lewis' "Flash Boys"
Replies: 164
Views: 8688
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