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Re: Kaiser vs Blue Shield

Personally, I am not a fan of HMOs. Should I be unfortunate enough to have to deal with a serious illness, I would rather have the flexibility to go to the best doctor I can find for the particular health issue in question and obtain at least some level of reimbursement. With an HMO like Kaiser you...
by madbrain
Tue Aug 19, 2014 6:12 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Kaiser vs Blue Shield
Replies: 33
Views: 1336

Re: Pressure Cookers?

I have a Fagor 10 quart model I bought on amazon a few years ago. Superb piece of stainless steel kitchen technology made in Spain. But not cheap. I use it for a variety of beans, roasts, and stews. Basically anything one might cook in 8 hours in a slow cooker can be done in 20 minutes in a pressur...
by madbrain
Sat Aug 16, 2014 2:36 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pressure Cookers?
Replies: 41
Views: 2670

Re: Considering buying a Plug-in Prius or a Volt

The batteries will likely last THE LIFE OF THE CAR. There are people who use Prius as taxis and have a few hundred thousand miles on their vehicles, and the batteries continue to work just fine. And then of course there is my case. I had to replace the battery on my 2001 Prius in 2009 at 94k miles....
by madbrain
Fri Aug 15, 2014 7:43 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Considering buying a Plug-in Prius or a Volt
Replies: 40
Views: 2553

Re: Considering buying a Plug-in Prius or a Volt

The Prius is a great car. However, IMO the Plug-in Prius is not worth the extra $5k over the regular Prius. Even if you have a relatively short commute, the Prius cannot run 100% electric at freeway speeds. And the battery is too small. IMO, the Plug-in Prius should be considered only if you must ha...
by madbrain
Thu Aug 14, 2014 10:07 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Considering buying a Plug-in Prius or a Volt
Replies: 40
Views: 2553

Re: Vanguard Lost My Account

If this is your current employer 401k plan, talk to your HR / benefits person.

If it is a former employer, contact them. They may have simply changed custodian. They should have notified you of this ahead of time, though.
by madbrain
Thu Aug 14, 2014 6:53 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vanguard Lost My Account
Replies: 85
Views: 8942

Re: I don't have enough cash for index funds

In the past, Fidelity would waive the minimum investment amount on some funds in IRAs if you setup automated recurring monthly deposits of at least $100 or $200. I don't know if they still do that.
You should call them and ask.
by madbrain
Thu Aug 14, 2014 6:50 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: I don't have enough cash for index funds
Replies: 39
Views: 3051

Re: Renting forever: financial suicide?

Yes, but why would they offer their properties for less? Sure there may be anomalies, but I think the assumption should be that the market would determine rent levels, and that any benefit from lower taxes would accrue to the landlord. I can't speak for the landlords in those situations, but I know...
by madbrain
Thu Aug 14, 2014 6:43 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Renting forever: financial suicide?
Replies: 90
Views: 9408

Re: Are these [401k] options terrible?

2.3% ER for cash ? That should be criminal.
by madbrain
Thu Aug 14, 2014 6:03 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Are these [401k] options terrible?
Replies: 27
Views: 1806

Re: Renting forever: financial suicide?

placeholder wrote:
madbrain wrote:
placeholder wrote:And the landlords don't pay tax and insurance?

They do, but long-time landlords in California . . .

The complaint was about the Chicago area.


Yes, but the OP is from California, and that info is highly relevant in the rent vs buy decision there.
by madbrain
Thu Aug 14, 2014 5:47 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Renting forever: financial suicide?
Replies: 90
Views: 9408

Re: Renting forever: financial suicide?

Sounds like you got an exceptional deal when you bought - which in itself may be a form of insurance if the land is worth a substantial part of the $800k. Assuming the land doesn't fall into the earth or something, worst case you could probably sell and take a loss of a few hundred thousand, maybe ...
by madbrain
Wed Aug 13, 2014 10:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Renting forever: financial suicide?
Replies: 90
Views: 9408

Re: Renting forever: financial suicide?

If you buy, you are betting that rents will go up more. If you rent, you are betting that prices will go up more. I disagree. It is much more complicated than this. I think you are missing an important variable that is essential in your conclusion (there are a lot more other variables). You talked ...
by madbrain
Wed Aug 13, 2014 8:30 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Renting forever: financial suicide?
Replies: 90
Views: 9408

Re: Renting forever: financial suicide?

Bungo, It's not the greatest insurance policy in the world, but I wouldn't call it "totally inadequate." My policy covers about $400k for the structure, which is probably about what it's worth, keeping in mind that much of the value is in the land. Deductible is $60k, premium is $1400/year...
by madbrain
Wed Aug 13, 2014 8:13 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Renting forever: financial suicide?
Replies: 90
Views: 9408

Re: Renting forever: financial suicide?

And that's why homeownership makes sense in some situations and not others. In more affordable markets, it's usually cheaper to own than to rent. But where I live, just outside of Chicago, property taxes on a modest home can easily run into the 5 figures. That means an extra $1000 every month for i...
by madbrain
Wed Aug 13, 2014 8:00 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Renting forever: financial suicide?
Replies: 90
Views: 9408

Re: Renting forever: financial suicide?

I disagree. It is much more complicated than this. I think you are missing an important variable that is essential in your conclusion (there are a lot more other variables). You talked about Price per rent ratio, but you are missing inflation of house and rent. Rent goes up more means Price per ren...
by madbrain
Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:37 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Renting forever: financial suicide?
Replies: 90
Views: 9408

Re: Renting forever: financial suicide?

Buying or rent, it is a huge gamble. At the Bay Area with such a high price/rent ratio and historical long term growth in price over inflation, you are gambling either way. If you buy at such high price/rent ratio means unless the price continue to rise significantly faster than inflation, you migh...
by madbrain
Tue Aug 12, 2014 11:11 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Renting forever: financial suicide?
Replies: 90
Views: 9408

Re: Renting forever: financial suicide?

Financial suicide for most folks would be reaching retirement age and not having a house that's paid for. Housing is never really paid for, even if there is no mortgage. Property taxes are recurring expenses. Their increase is capped with Prop 13 in California however, which is an incentive to buy ...
by madbrain
Tue Aug 12, 2014 10:35 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Renting forever: financial suicide?
Replies: 90
Views: 9408

Re: Affording a 1.3 million home?

Land has zero or negative value? That seems wrong. Unless the house is a wreck (and you've told us quite the opposite) that has to be demolished, then land has a positive value in most places. The other negative value on land is the long term cost of taxes: that's why Detroit houses sell for $5k et...
by madbrain
Fri Aug 08, 2014 7:50 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Affording a 1.3 million home?
Replies: 105
Views: 10940

Re: Affording a 1.3 million home?

Keep in mind that for earthquakes, you're insuring the building, not the land. 1.3M homes in the bay area are typically 200K homes located on 1.1M land plots. Clearing and rebuilding after an earthquake will presumably be expensive due to high labor costs and shortages of tradesmen in the aftermath...
by madbrain
Fri Aug 08, 2014 5:26 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Affording a 1.3 million home?
Replies: 105
Views: 10940

Re: Affording a 1.3 million home?

Yeah, I know. Mine was an oblique reference to this very learned post from a ways back: A lawyer friend mentioned that the easiest way to maintain earthquake insurance with a 10% deductible is to take out a 90% mortgage. If your house drops into the ground, then you give it back to the bank and wal...
by madbrain
Thu Aug 07, 2014 11:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Affording a 1.3 million home?
Replies: 105
Views: 10940

Re: Affording a 1.3 million home?

Here's how I look at it. With interest rates so low, I'd do only 20% down to get rid of PMI, invest the remainder. In a high tax bracket, with low interest, mortgage deduction and inflation, it's basically a 0% loan at that point. +1. Minimum downpayment also obviates need for earthquake insurance....
by madbrain
Thu Aug 07, 2014 8:29 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Affording a 1.3 million home?
Replies: 105
Views: 10940

Re: Drought Management

Some are painting their grass.

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/drought- ... d=24719035

It can't imagine what this does to the environment and why this is legal.
by madbrain
Mon Aug 04, 2014 5:23 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Drought Management
Replies: 60
Views: 2981

Re: Drought Management

I do. That's why I do #4 and #5. Quite plainly, there is no rainwater to capture around here in San Jose pretty much from April through October. It's the way it has been in recent years. As to someone's post about replacing grass with artificial turf, I have to think that damages the ecosystem. No ...
by madbrain
Mon Aug 04, 2014 5:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Drought Management
Replies: 60
Views: 2981

Re: Is Medigap insurance really needed?

It could be a LOT more costly. If you're discovered to have a serious medical condition or illness you might not be able to find a Medigap insurer who will accept you. Are you saying that Medigap insurers can still screen for pre-existing conditions ? I thought the ACA did away with all that. Not d...
by madbrain
Mon Aug 04, 2014 3:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is Medigap insurance really needed?
Replies: 83
Views: 4130

Re: Is Medigap insurance really needed?

cheese_breath wrote:It could be a LOT more costly. If you're discovered to have a serious medical condition or illness you might not be able to find a Medigap insurer who will accept you.


Are you saying that Medigap insurers can still screen for pre-existing conditions ?
I thought the ACA did away with all that.
by madbrain
Mon Aug 04, 2014 3:15 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is Medigap insurance really needed?
Replies: 83
Views: 4130

Re: HUFF POST: How Financially Literate Is the Investing Pub

And on 12 option d can be correct too; "I don't know". Well, if you actually don't know then that statement is true, which is what they're asking. :? Sure, but since it wasn't a test of financial non-literacy, I don't think you would be expected to get credit for that answer ;) IMO, there...
by madbrain
Fri Aug 01, 2014 8:42 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Huff Post: How Financially Literate Is the Investing Public?
Replies: 52
Views: 4542

Re: Huff Post: How Financially Literate Is the Investing Pub

boroc7 wrote:So I probably should have gotten #10, but when are 401(k) contributions taxed (a)?


Some (non-Roth) 401k plans allow after-tax contributions.
Pre-tax contributions are only taxed when withdrawn.
by madbrain
Fri Aug 01, 2014 8:26 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Huff Post: How Financially Literate Is the Investing Public?
Replies: 52
Views: 4542

Re: Is rebalancing worth having bonds?

Taylor, Yes, even as a 38-year old I still have a 15+ year horizon . madbrain: Assuming you live to my age (90), you have 52 years of investing ahead. Best wishes. Taylor I will be very lucky to live to your age ! The only reason I mentioned 15+ years is because it's the longest term option offered ...
by madbrain
Thu Jul 31, 2014 11:46 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Is rebalancing worth having bonds?
Replies: 26
Views: 1901

Re: HUFF POST: How Financially Literate Is the Investing Pub

Bracket wrote:Question 12 also seems to ignore the fact that not all traditional IRA contributions are pre-tax. Ironic that a quiz claiming to assess financial literacy has such an error.


Yes, and I pointed that out already twice in this thread.
by madbrain
Thu Jul 31, 2014 11:44 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Huff Post: How Financially Literate Is the Investing Public?
Replies: 52
Views: 4542

Re: HUFF POST: How Financially Literate Is the Investing Pub

laughlinlvr wrote:So I think answer (b) is wrong and I feel entitled to a perfect score.


12 b is just wrong, because you can make non-deductible contributions to a traditional IRA. And some non-Roth 401k plans allow after-tax contributions, as well.
by madbrain
Thu Jul 31, 2014 9:10 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Huff Post: How Financially Literate Is the Investing Public?
Replies: 52
Views: 4542

Re: HUFF POST: How Financially Literate Is the Investing Pub

You can take the quiz here . Not to brag but I got 17/17 8-) Then you were wrong on the answer to number 12 . The b answer to that question is incorrect. Not all traditional 401k or IRA contributions are pre-tax. Edit: and 14 c is wrong too, it ignores 72t SEPP withdrawals. Edit2: and hardship with...
by madbrain
Thu Jul 31, 2014 8:54 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Huff Post: How Financially Literate Is the Investing Public?
Replies: 52
Views: 4542

Re: IPS for french national living in Taiwan

Life expectancy: 90 years old French life expectancy is currently at 82 . And if you retire in a cheap country in Asia as you want to, it would well be less due to substandard healthcare, depending on where you end up. You can plan for longer of course, but that's not the same as what's expected. A...
by madbrain
Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:35 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: IPS for french national living in Taiwan
Replies: 14
Views: 951

Re: IPS for french national living in Taiwan

About Me (6/07/2014) Age: 28 Job: Moderate Stable Annual Income: USD 36,000.00 (After Taxes excluding bonuses) Savings Rate: USD 24,000.00/annually. How do you manage to save 66% of your after-tax income ? Is it really that cheap to live in Taiwan ? $1000/month seems extremely low. Do the taxes cov...
by madbrain
Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:15 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: IPS for french national living in Taiwan
Replies: 14
Views: 951

Re: Is rebalancing worth having bonds?

Taylor and Aptenodytes - I don't think I entered in a rare situation for a 20-something year old and got 100% stocks, as well. I don't mind risks, I accept volatility, I don't sell during a decline, 15+ year horizons, stable job, etc. I think Vanguard's recommendation has changed in the last year o...
by madbrain
Wed Jul 30, 2014 11:23 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Is rebalancing worth having bonds?
Replies: 26
Views: 1901

Re: Vanguard Asset Allocation Tool

Taylor Larimore wrote:
I am also surprised. You must have inserted a rare situation.



It recommended the same for me. I don't think it was a rare situation. I think the tools' recommendations are overly aggressive.
by madbrain
Wed Jul 30, 2014 11:20 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Is rebalancing worth having bonds?
Replies: 26
Views: 1901

Re: Can we afford a home (little more than $500K)

With that kind of income, of course you can afford it. Why is that even a question ? If you can't afford it, then who can ? Your savings will be reduced somewhat, of course, but it may be worth it if you are getting a nice property in a good location, ie. something better than what you are currently...
by madbrain
Wed Jul 30, 2014 11:13 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can we afford a home (little more than $500K)
Replies: 28
Views: 4314

Re: Solar Farm, anybody buy in?

IMO at 12 cents/kWh regular rate, it doesn't make sense. 14-16 years payback with 3 to 5% assumed appreciation in electricity rates is crazy. You should estimate the payback with zero appreciation. I think the panels are overpriced, also. You can get something for less. But I don't think they will m...
by madbrain
Wed Jul 30, 2014 9:38 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Solar Farm, anybody buy in?
Replies: 53
Views: 3642

Re: Where to put money after maxing out 401k

laphlaw wrote:I don't qualify to open up a traditional IRA,


As long as you have at least $5500 of earned income, you can make non-deductible contributions to a traditional IRA. Then convert to Roth.
See: backdoor Roth.
by madbrain
Wed Jul 30, 2014 12:48 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Where to put money after maxing out 401k
Replies: 7
Views: 915

Re: Which bond ETFs do you have?

Not a one.
by madbrain
Tue Jul 29, 2014 11:30 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Which bond ETFs do you have?
Replies: 14
Views: 1244

Re: With Rates Likes These, Why Would Anyone Go for a Mortga

Is this legitimate? The rate seems lower than a traditional 15 or 30 year mortgage so question is why wouldn't everyone go for a HELOC instead of a traditional mortgage? I don't know if the offer is legitimate - it may be - but consider the following : - the rate on the HELOC is variable . The prim...
by madbrain
Tue Jul 29, 2014 11:30 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: With Rates Likes These, Why Would Anyone Go for a Mortgage?
Replies: 12
Views: 2856

Re: Tell me why I shouldn't buy individual muni bonds

The spreads would be the biggest problem, IMO. Unless you buy only new individual issues, you will never know how much commission you are paying. http://investorsolutions.com/knowledge-center/investment-vehicle/should-you-invest-in-individual-bonds-or-bond-mutual-funds/ Costs While individual bonds ...
by madbrain
Tue Jul 29, 2014 9:23 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Tell me why I shouldn't buy individual muni bonds
Replies: 32
Views: 2350

Re: How to handle a company that won't honor a warranty?

blevine wrote:Why I NEVER buy extended warantees. They are worthless.


This is about manufacturer warranty, not an extended warranty.
by madbrain
Tue Jul 29, 2014 9:17 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to handle a company that won't honor a warranty?
Replies: 23
Views: 1480

Re: How to handle a company that won't honor a warranty?

Correct, I got it from woot.com, which is a deal-a-day website instead of a dealer. I bought the treadmill for half price which was great at the time, though I now see the difficulty that can arise when buying from such a site. Woot.com is more of a one-time reseller, and only have a window of 21 d...
by madbrain
Tue Jul 29, 2014 9:04 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to handle a company that won't honor a warranty?
Replies: 23
Views: 1480

Re: Should I use margin to buy a balanced fund?

Now you add to this the extra complexity, the expenses of non-Admiral Wellesley, and the chance of margin call, small as it may be, and I don't see how it can be worth it. If you find cheaper margin as suggested in some posts above, you might be able to pull this off. But my strong feeling is that ...
by madbrain
Tue Jul 29, 2014 6:43 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Should I use margin to buy a balanced fund?
Replies: 254
Views: 16450

Re: Should I use margin to buy a balanced fund?

market timer, I don't carry a margin balance like OP is considering. Rather, like Johno has been discussing, I have an unlevered position in futures, and park the excess cash in a high yield savings account or savings bonds to create what is effectively a negative expense ratio. If equity and bond v...
by madbrain
Tue Jul 29, 2014 6:39 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Should I use margin to buy a balanced fund?
Replies: 254
Views: 16450

Re: Bloomberg rates Large Company 401k plans

Google shows a score of 37 for match - but then the mouse-over text indicates it is 50% match up to 6%. Elsewhere in the rankings, a 37 is given for 100% match up to 6%. Apparently no one bothered to proof read the text and check it against the graphic! :oops: Also who decided on the weightings of ...
by madbrain
Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bloomberg rates Large Company 401k plans
Replies: 22
Views: 2325

Re: POLL: My home is worth less/more in 2014 than in 2007?

My previous townhome in Santa Clara is still about 15% below the peak in 2006-2007 . I did not vote because I no longer own it.
by madbrain
Sun Jul 27, 2014 9:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: POLL: My home is worth less/more in 2014 than in 2007?
Replies: 94
Views: 5690

Re: Is tax deferment overvalued?

Another benefit that isn't mentioned in this thread with tax deferment is that you can avoid state income tax in some situations, if your earnings are in a state with high income tax, and you retire in a state with lower or no income tax.
by madbrain
Sun Jul 27, 2014 8:59 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is tax deferment overvalued?
Replies: 20
Views: 2483

Re: Should I use margin to buy a balanced fund?

market timer, For futures that are settled daily, an ACH pull with a 3 day clearing delay might not work. It seems a wire has to be initiated from the sending side. TDAmeritrade actually credits my account with ACH transfers the same day they are initiated, provided they are initiated by 5pm NY time...
by madbrain
Sun Jul 27, 2014 6:07 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Should I use margin to buy a balanced fund?
Replies: 254
Views: 16450

Why people believe index fund managers

Though the Bogleheads might like this one . https://medium.com/the-nib/why-people-believe-hedge-fund-managers-a15749bc1a93 https://d262ilb51hltx0.cloudfront.net/max/800/1*Thb7JdyAyd9lgkQJnirTJQ.png https://d262ilb51hltx0.cloudfront.net/max/800/1*ArQVypZr_G6X50ae6RVy5w.png https://d262ilb51hltx0.clou...
by madbrain
Sun Jul 27, 2014 4:58 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Why people believe index fund managers
Replies: 0
Views: 461

Re: Should I use margin to buy a balanced fund?

My futures broker, ThinkorSwim, has the daily sweep type of setup with my equity broker, TDAmeritrade. Cash is swept from one account to the other based on how futures move during the day. If cash is not available, TDAmeritrade will borrow against other holdings. A margin call is issued when the co...
by madbrain
Sun Jul 27, 2014 4:42 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Should I use margin to buy a balanced fund?
Replies: 254
Views: 16450
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