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Re: Costco:is it worth it for just two people?

Note that Google shopping express has started making home deliveries from Costco for non-perishable items. The delivery service has been free and very good. Give it a try if you are in their - currently limited - same-day service area . I'm in their "next day" delivery area, which includes...
by madbrain
Tue Sep 02, 2014 4:01 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Costco:is it worth it for just two people?
Replies: 107
Views: 6073

Re: Costco:is it worth it for just two people?

We're members and love the products. The store is located way out in the burbs, so we don't go often. I think we'd get more benefit out of Amazon Prime honestly. Amazon prime >>> Costco for me The time savings from avoiding trips to stores for specific household items is unbelievable whereas Costco...
by madbrain
Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:57 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Costco:is it worth it for just two people?
Replies: 107
Views: 6073

Re: Costco:is it worth it for just two people?

The per-unit price is generally about the same as Target and Walmart, and for groceries more than other private label chains like Trader Joe's and Aldi. That definitely hasn't been my experience whatsoever. I have compared per-unit prices of dozens of items between Costco and Wal-Mart, Costco alway...
by madbrain
Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:49 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Costco:is it worth it for just two people?
Replies: 107
Views: 6073

Ghostbusters

30th anniversary, remastered in 4K. Just came back from it. We were a grand total of 4 people (!) in a gigantic XD theater. I was redeeming some Cinemark prepaid tickets bought at Costco. The XD is supposed to be extra charge for their premium XD with leather seats, but the clerk didn't know much ex...
by madbrain
Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:41 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Movie Have You [Recently] Watched?
Replies: 58
Views: 1910

Re: Once your house appreciates +$250k, sell it?

What's the catch (if you're single, no kids)? Transaction costs. If you sell and then buy another house, about 6% gets paid to real estate agents for each transaction. Someone has to pay for these commissions, and it's you. There are other closing costs as well. Then of course, there are moving cos...
by madbrain
Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:30 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Once your house appreciates +$250k, sell it?
Replies: 17
Views: 1036

Re: Will Bill Gross beat the Total Bond Market Index?

gt4715b wrote:Active bond funds are a horrible idea.


I disagree. Active bond funds have a place. Certainly the Vanguard High yield bond and Vanguard California Intermediate muni bond funds have a place in my portfolio. Both are active funds.
by madbrain
Mon Sep 01, 2014 7:04 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Will Bill Gross beat the Total Bond Market Index?
Replies: 17
Views: 1380

Re: How much money is too much for the 3 fund port?

Just curious, (and I know this is a pretty subjective question), but at what asset level do you think someone may outgrow the 3 fund portfolio and may need to at least supplement it with the assistance of a pro to create a muni bond ladder, etc. $1m, $3m, $5m, $10m 3-fund would probably work fine a...
by madbrain
Sun Aug 31, 2014 6:15 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How much money is too much for the 3 fund port?
Replies: 15
Views: 1589

Re: Recommendations for Cordless Phone System for Home?

I was in the same situation as you a couple of weeks ago. I purchased: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BP7SVEO I like it because: 1. It uses standard rechargeable NiMH AAA batteries available at any drugstore. 2. I've had good luck with Panasonic stuff in the past. 3. It has a 250 number block ...
by madbrain
Sun Aug 31, 2014 6:12 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommendations for Cordless Phone System for Home?
Replies: 14
Views: 1085

Re: Do you have class?

Sure they do, that's why they offer rewards cards, subsidized in part by merchant fees, and also by those who pay interest.
by madbrain
Sun Aug 31, 2014 5:54 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you have class?
Replies: 15
Views: 1544

Re: 18 and Need Help Starting

http://www.belizeretirementguide.com/cost_of_living_in_belize.htm Many of the numbers on that list don't look all that low . New home construction, condos, internet access, home phone service, cell phone, water, tooth cleaning are in the same range as they are in California. Some of the numbers are...
by madbrain
Sun Aug 31, 2014 5:37 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 18 and Need Help Starting
Replies: 19
Views: 1284

Re: 18 and Need Help Starting

Interesting that the time frame is only 29 years. I'm 18 .... I can do school/work or whatever I like until I turn 33. That is 15 years. I think basspond meant that the retirement period is 29 years. From 33-62 I have to live off of savings or investments. Presumably, this is because one would be a...
by madbrain
Sun Aug 31, 2014 5:27 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 18 and Need Help Starting
Replies: 19
Views: 1284

Re: Playing Apple Lossless music files on android

Convert the rips to a more commonly supported format like FLAC. Lots of tools for that. If you have a Windows PC dbPoweramp is great and has a 21 day free trial. I know how to convert them - I use Jriver media center on my PC, which can do that. But I also have an iPod - old model, non touch, which...
by madbrain
Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:22 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Playing Apple Lossless music files on android
Replies: 9
Views: 629

Re: I'd buy an S&P 500 index fund in a pinch

[ ...Greater exposure to small-cap stocks has made a difference in performance relative to VFINX. According to Morningstar, a $10,000 investment in VTSMX at its inception on April 27, 1992, would have grown to $77,317.94 by August 24, 2014, while the same amount invested in VFINX over the same peri...
by madbrain
Fri Aug 29, 2014 7:54 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: I'd buy an S&P 500 index fund in a pinch
Replies: 45
Views: 5458

Re: Playing Apple Lossless music files on android

I haven't tried it, but this was the first google hit: https://code.google.com/p/andless/ Presumably you'd have to turn on the setting to install apps not from the app store. It looks like this program hasn't been updated in a while. My LG G3 Android device is on Android 4.4.2 But Andless is report...
by madbrain
Fri Aug 29, 2014 7:02 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Playing Apple Lossless music files on android
Replies: 9
Views: 629

Re: Playing Apple Lossless music files on android

I haven't tried it myself, but PowerAmp says that it does. And PowerAmp's main feature is that it doesn't use the Android system for processing music, but instead uses its own code for music processing. There's a 15 day free trial, so you can test it yourself. https://play.google.com/store/apps/det...
by madbrain
Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Playing Apple Lossless music files on android
Replies: 9
Views: 629

Re: Playing Apple Lossless music files on android

LowER wrote:I play m4a on my android phone using Doubletwist which is available in the Play Store. I think that there is a free version of it.


I tried it, and it did not work for my m4a files. Were your m4a actually encoded with the Apple Lossless codec ?
by madbrain
Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:57 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Playing Apple Lossless music files on android
Replies: 9
Views: 629

Playing Apple Lossless music files on android

I have a large legit collection of about 700 CDs which I ripped into Apple Lossless File in m4a format extension a long time ago with iTunes. I have an Android 4.4 mobile device (LG G3). I can't seem to be able to play any of those files. I have downloaded 10+ apps from the Google Play store that cl...
by madbrain
Thu Aug 28, 2014 4:42 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Playing Apple Lossless music files on android
Replies: 9
Views: 629

Re: What are you up YTD?

Right, I understand, I have options and RSUs as well. But if you are stating that you are up 96%, you need to have a proper denominator for the value of the work contributions. Otherwise, that return is not meaningful. What denominator are you using to value said work contributions ? Denominator = ...
by madbrain
Wed Aug 27, 2014 4:40 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What are you up YTD?
Replies: 94
Views: 6295

Re: What are you up YTD?

OK, so the return wasn't from a financial investment, but a return on human capital. I would not count that in the same bucket, just like I don't count my salary as an investment return. I got stock options and RSUs in exchange for my work contributions. They went up in value. Right, I understand, ...
by madbrain
Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:21 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What are you up YTD?
Replies: 94
Views: 6295

Re: What are you up YTD?

So where did the other $650k come from ? "Investments" that went up. :) Not all investments that we make are index funds. Those are just the ones that are easiest/most fun to talk about on this board. But it sometimes causes us to be a bit myopic :). The biggest investment we make is usua...
by madbrain
Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:11 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What are you up YTD?
Replies: 94
Views: 6295

Re: Husband rear-ended, driver ignoring his insurance

That's not correct. The deductible applies regardless of who is at fault, unless you elected Waiver of Collision Deductible, and the other driver is uninsured or in hit-and-run cases, in which case you don't have to pay the deductible. If you want to recover the deductible and the other party is at...
by madbrain
Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:02 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Husband rear-ended, driver ignoring his insurance
Replies: 44
Views: 4858

Re: What are you up YTD?

AlohaJoe wrote:
madbrain wrote:
AlohaJoe wrote:My spreadsheet says I am up 96.93% since January 1.


I am guessing you are including some contributions in there.


Sure, some but only maybe $50,000 of the $700,000.


So where did the other $650k come from ?
by madbrain
Tue Aug 26, 2014 9:28 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What are you up YTD?
Replies: 94
Views: 6295

Re: Best way to refinish a garage floor

I have always wanted to use these, but could never justify it due to cost.

http://www.costco.com/MotoFloor%C2%AE-M ... 09181.html

These go on sale regularly, about once a year.
by madbrain
Tue Aug 26, 2014 9:27 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best way to refinish a garage floor
Replies: 17
Views: 1452

Re: What are you up YTD?

AlohaJoe wrote:My spreadsheet says I am up 96.93% since January 1.


I am guessing you are including some contributions in there.
by madbrain
Tue Aug 26, 2014 9:25 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What are you up YTD?
Replies: 94
Views: 6295

Re: Where to put money while waiting for 401k

Save enough cash to pay your bills in December and contribute your whole paycheck to the 401k in December. Reset to your normal pace in January. You may not be allowed to contribute the whole paycheck. Usually there is a maximum percentage for 401k contributions. It can never be 100% anyway because...
by madbrain
Tue Aug 26, 2014 8:46 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Where to put money while waiting for 401k
Replies: 6
Views: 461

Re: What are you up YTD?

Quicken says about 6% total return for the year. I have about 30% domestic equity, 30% foreign equity (including overweight EM), 8% junk bonds, 32% other bonds (muni, stable value, cash).
Just not too much change this year, but that's good.
by madbrain
Tue Aug 26, 2014 8:42 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What are you up YTD?
Replies: 94
Views: 6295

Re: California residents - do you have earthquake insurance?

Thanks Is 10-15% deductible standard? Seems different than other types of insurance where it's a set amount. Yes, that deductible is standard. Also is that percentage based on current market value? If so how do they determine it? They can't use zillow, can they? No, it's not based on market value a...
by madbrain
Tue Aug 26, 2014 8:31 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: California residents - do you have earthquake insurance?
Replies: 49
Views: 2557

Re: Husband rear-ended, driver ignoring his insurance

I don't understand why your State Farm policy isn't paying immediately. You should go to a repair facility approved by State Farm. They will repair your car and only charge you the deductible. It's that easy. Yes but we don't want to pay the $500 deductible right now when we don't need to use the c...
by madbrain
Tue Aug 26, 2014 6:49 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Husband rear-ended, driver ignoring his insurance
Replies: 44
Views: 4858

Re: 18 and Need Help Starting

I'm super new to investing and I found this forum on a random google search. Is this even possible? Or, as I suspect, is the prof just a nutcase? I'm pretty sure I'm going to die in this scenario! LOL. The topic seems so out of left field. Investing requires capital. You can't invest money what you...
by madbrain
Tue Aug 26, 2014 6:43 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 18 and Need Help Starting
Replies: 19
Views: 1284

Re: Telling my friends I paid off my houses was a mistake.

My biggest mistake came when a small group of us were talking about a friend's bonus. They asked me what should they do. I told them they could invest it or pay down their mortgage. I mentioned to them that I paid off my property. Why shouldn't they be at least a little "upset"? You reall...
by madbrain
Mon Aug 25, 2014 10:44 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Telling my friends I paid off my house was a mistake.
Replies: 73
Views: 10157

Re: Banking on VPN or off for Man in the Middle issue?

A MITM attack in this scenario requires two things: 1. Access to an X.509 certificate ("SSL certificate") for the bank's site, signed by a trusted certification authority (CA) The legitimate X.509 SSL certificate is public, and contains the public key. Either the attacker would need to ha...
by madbrain
Mon Aug 25, 2014 9:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Banking on VPN or off for Man in the Middle issue?
Replies: 10
Views: 988

Re: Anybody using dash cameras?

I really wish I had one this weekend, I was driving slowly (50ish) on a freeway in the right lane to conserve the battery because I had forgotten to plug my car in the night before. Sure enough as I expected, somebody cut off right in front at an unsafe distance. However, there was a cop were right ...
by madbrain
Mon Aug 25, 2014 9:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anybody using dash cameras?
Replies: 12
Views: 2757

Re: Earthquake Preparedness

Figuring out how you might rebuild after a major disaster is tricky even if you have good insurance. In addition to your house, the place where you work could have damage and at least temporarily be closed so you might not have any income from a job which could make it hard to afford to rebuild. Yo...
by madbrain
Mon Aug 25, 2014 8:38 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Earthquake Preparedness
Replies: 39
Views: 2000

Re: Earthquake Preparedness

john94549 wrote:Stated another way, rich folks in Los Altos Hills and Orinda buy earthquake insurance.


I'm not sure that the even the rich in Los Altos Hills buy it.

Rich folks in Vacaville don't.


The level of wealth in Vacaville is also different.
by madbrain
Mon Aug 25, 2014 8:34 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Earthquake Preparedness
Replies: 39
Views: 2000

Re: Earthquake Preparedness

As I suggested in my initial post in this thread, whether (or not) to purchase earthquake insurance is a very personal decision. We have it, others do not. At minimum, it should at least be considered. Crunch the numbers, as it were. The CEA numbers are dismal, at best. Ideally, lenders should requ...
by madbrain
Mon Aug 25, 2014 7:06 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Earthquake Preparedness
Replies: 39
Views: 2000

Re: Earthquake Preparedness

I think a $1.8 million loss will be a much bigger killer when it comes. People are just gambling I think but it wouldn't be kosher per forum policy to say what they might be gambling on. It's easy to say, but the cost of the premium is so unaffordable that there is no just way we could afford it gi...
by madbrain
Mon Aug 25, 2014 7:04 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Earthquake Preparedness
Replies: 39
Views: 2000

Re: Earthquake Preparedness

How uneconomical? My policy has (I think) a 30% deductible: it's only for a major loss. But such a loss would have a substantial impact on my finances and so I insure it, and the cost is almost unimportant. I think I pay $500 or so on top of a $1200 homeowner's policy. This is for a home worth ~$60...
by madbrain
Mon Aug 25, 2014 8:50 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Earthquake Preparedness
Replies: 39
Views: 2000

Re: Earthquake Preparedness

Didn't feel anything in San Jose, and in fact I learned about the quake only when relatives thousands of miles away called early this morning. I was awake at the time already and reading a magazine, and felt it strongly in the East San Jose hills. One of my cats was on the table and barely blinked,...
by madbrain
Mon Aug 25, 2014 8:46 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Earthquake Preparedness
Replies: 39
Views: 2000

Re: Android smartphone with physical keyboard

I use a Samsung Galaxy Note 3. It has a really large screen and the stylus is built into the phone - i.e. it has a slot where you can pull it out. I love it. I considered the Note 3, but the Note 4 is supposed to be right around the corner and I didn't want to buy last year's device. http://www.pho...
by madbrain
Mon Aug 25, 2014 8:25 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Android smartphone with physical keyboard
Replies: 44
Views: 2403

Re: Android smartphone with physical keyboard

madbrain wrote:No, it doesn't come with Swype.


Well, it has a setting for "Path input" - "enter a word by drawing a path all through the letters" which I think does something like Swype.
by madbrain
Mon Aug 25, 2014 8:19 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Android smartphone with physical keyboard
Replies: 44
Views: 2403

Re: Android smartphone with physical keyboard

No, it doesn't come with Swype.

I guess I am fairly old school, I was typing every single character with my physical keyboard, just like I do on a computer keyboard. I had all predictive features turned off.

Still wish I had a physical keyboard, this will take getting used to...
by madbrain
Mon Aug 25, 2014 7:11 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Android smartphone with physical keyboard
Replies: 44
Views: 2403

Re: Android smartphone with physical keyboard

Yesterday, I received a pack of 3 stylus (stylii) ordered on amazon on July 24 for 65 cents. They came straight from China. I am happy to report that I am able to use the stylus just fine with my Galaxy S Relay touch screen. It is not as fast as typing with a physical keyboard, but it is at least us...
by madbrain
Sun Aug 24, 2014 9:24 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Android smartphone with physical keyboard
Replies: 44
Views: 2403

Re: Kaiser vs Blue Shield

As much as I like Kaiser, as well as never having experienced (or perceived) being denied appropriate care/treatments/etc. because the cost would be too much (as determined by Kaiser), I believe there is that possibility. Why would this problem more likely to occur with Kaiser, as opposed to any ot...
by madbrain
Sun Aug 24, 2014 5:03 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Kaiser vs Blue Shield
Replies: 83
Views: 5091

Re: Which 4 door with 250+ hp

So now I'm looking for something used under $15k that isn't embarrassing to drive (like a Prius). Probably won't be able to get the acceleration I'm looking for at this price, but maybe there is still something that is kinda fun as a manual transmission and high tech interior with a good sound syst...
by madbrain
Thu Aug 21, 2014 9:27 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which 4 door with 250+ hp
Replies: 83
Views: 6011

Re: Shiller P/E nearly guaranteed to be lower in 5 years

The fifty fifty solution. As I understand, Doctor Jeremy Siegel is not buying his friend Doctor Robert Shiller's stock valuations and is calling for a Dow 18,000 by the end of 2014. If you listen to Doctor Shiller there is a good possibility that you will SELL your equity mutual funds. If you liste...
by madbrain
Thu Aug 21, 2014 8:46 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Shiller P/E nearly guaranteed to be lower in 5 years
Replies: 19
Views: 3312

Re: HELOC + Margin = $200k to play with

Is this the market top ?
by madbrain
Thu Aug 21, 2014 8:07 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: HELOC + Margin = $200k to play with
Replies: 24
Views: 1761

Re: Enough retirement income to avoid Medicaid

Buy junk bonds, which have a higher interest rate.
Or leveraged close-ended muni funds with high distributions (return of capital).
by madbrain
Thu Aug 21, 2014 8:04 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Enough retirement income to avoid Medicaid
Replies: 30
Views: 2912

Re: How to weather market downturn with a high chance of lay

Given the boom-and-bust cycle, isn't that more certain? Or should one think that the stock market will never in the future be lower than today? Some people have waited for years, or decades, and remained out of the stock market waiting for it to go lower. Even if it does go lower eventually, you ne...
by madbrain
Wed Aug 20, 2014 10:55 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How to weather market downturn with a high chance of layoff
Replies: 42
Views: 3185

Re: How to weather market downturn with a high chance of lay

Could you explain where this dividend may be coming from if the US S&P 500 index is exactly the same (at some point) in 2006 and in 2008? It comes from the companies that are part of the index. Every year that you own an S&P 500 index fund, you will receive your pro-rated share of dividends...
by madbrain
Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:25 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How to weather market downturn with a high chance of layoff
Replies: 42
Views: 3185

Re: How to weather market downturn with a high chance of lay

Looking at the US S&P 500, which had a high peak in 2007. That means that the index has the same value at two points, one in 2006 and one in 2008. If I have $10,000 to invest, it does not matter whether I invest early (2006) or late (2008), since at both points $10,000 can buy the same share of...
by madbrain
Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:02 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How to weather market downturn with a high chance of layoff
Replies: 42
Views: 3185
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