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by magellan
Sun May 24, 2015 1:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: WiFi [Thermostat] - Security Issues?
Replies: 8
Views: 685

Re: WiFi Tstat - Security Issues?

It is either case 2 or case 3. How do I tell the difference? The t-stat is made by Honeywell. The easiest way to tell is to log into your router and disable universal plug n play (UPnP) . Then reboot everything and see if you can still use the cloud app and see updates from the t-stat. If everythin...
by magellan
Sat May 23, 2015 7:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Most effective wifi upgrade for range/speed?
Replies: 17
Views: 1198

Re: Most effective wifi upgrade for range/speed?

I saw a huge improvement in 2.4ghz range going from a g to n. However, I found n's 5ghz range to be very finicky. Unless I was practically in the same room as the router, I often got better range/throughput using 2.4ghz instead of 5ghz. OTOH, the upgrade to ac made a huge difference with 5ghz range ...
by magellan
Sat May 23, 2015 7:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: WiFi [Thermostat] - Security Issues?
Replies: 8
Views: 685

Re: WiFi Tstat - Security Issues?

You mentioned that you access the t-stat using a web interface. Generally, there are three different models for how this can work, and they each have different security issues. In all cases, it's assumed that you use robust passwords. Case 1 - The web interface is provided (served) by the t-stat its...
by magellan
Mon May 18, 2015 9:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Healthcare Sharing Ministry A No Brainer?
Replies: 49
Views: 3109

Re: Healthcare Sharing Ministry A No Brainer?

I think you might have your understanding wrong here. Family deductible is the most the family will have to pay in deductibles. You're right. Thanks for setting me straight on that. I saw that the OP said they'd have a $9k deductible and didn't realize that it works that way now for family policies...
by magellan
Mon May 18, 2015 7:17 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Best Asset Allocation if you've "won the game"
Replies: 86
Views: 8421

Re: Best Asset Allocation if you've "won the game"

The lesson about knowing when enough is enough can be learned from the following incident. In March of 2003, I was in Rochester, Minn., for a seminar based on my book, "Rational Investing in Irrational Times, How to Avoid the Costly Mistakes Even Smart People Make." During my visit, I met...
by magellan
Mon May 18, 2015 10:55 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Best Asset Allocation if you've "won the game"
Replies: 86
Views: 8421

Re: Best Asset Allocation if you've "won the game"

Is your simulation basically on a $1M starting portfolio and $40,000 represents the classic 4% rule? I would think it is because that is what the success rates roughly look like in most of the studies published. Wade Pfau should have similar results in his papers. That was the idea, however I shoul...
by magellan
Mon May 18, 2015 8:37 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Best Asset Allocation if you've "won the game"
Replies: 86
Views: 8421

Re: Best Asset Allocation if you've "won the game"

IMO, the real challenge is in figuring out what it means to have 'won the game'. Most retirees would be happier if they could spend a little more than they're currently spending. The enjoyment folks get out of having more to spend doesn't really decrease that much with their absolute level of spendi...
by magellan
Sun May 17, 2015 4:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Healthcare Sharing Ministry A No Brainer?
Replies: 49
Views: 3109

Re: Healthcare Sharing Ministry A No Brainer?

HCSM payments are in a gray area in regards to the deduction - I will be deducting them though, so there is some risk there. I'm not so sure they are in a gray area in CA. I did a quick google search and I didn't come up with a single source that said a deduction is allowed. https://mychristiancare...
by magellan
Sun May 17, 2015 7:56 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Healthcare Sharing Ministry A No Brainer?
Replies: 49
Views: 3109

Re: Healthcare Sharing Ministry A No Brainer?

I did a quick check at coveredca.com and it looks like a 29 year old can get an individual $4500 deductible bronze HSA plan for between $190 and $220 per month. If you and your wife each get policies, you'll still pay around $400 a month, but you'll each have separate $4500 deductibles. You can then...
by magellan
Sun May 17, 2015 7:35 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Healthcare Sharing Ministry A No Brainer?
Replies: 49
Views: 3109

Re: Healthcare Sharing Ministry A No Brainer?

Don't forget that physicals and other well-care are provided without charges that apply to your deductible. Good point. For a youngish couple, the total cost of annual physicals, well care blood tests, mammography, and other cancer screenings could range from $700-$1000 at insurance company negotia...
by magellan
Fri May 15, 2015 7:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Aren't we overdoing electronic auto safety features?
Replies: 148
Views: 6626

Re: Aren't we overdoing electronic auto safety features?

AAA wrote:I'm all for safety, however, but I'm not sure that I trust software-based automatic systems very much.

Maybe I've got this wrong, but my understanding is that you can't buy a new car today that doesn't have a software controlled engine and braking system.
by magellan
Fri May 15, 2015 6:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Aren't we overdoing electronic auto safety features?
Replies: 148
Views: 6626

Re: Aren't we overdoing electronic auto safety features?

To word the question slightly differently, is it rational to buy a $50k vehicle primarily for its safety features? I think the answer to that is clearly no. I'm not sure such a blanket statement can be supported. Everyone will have their own cost vs. benefit situation. For some, spending $50k for a...
by magellan
Fri May 15, 2015 1:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Aren't we overdoing electronic auto safety features?
Replies: 148
Views: 6626

Re: Aren't we overdoing electronic auto safety features?

So my question is this: if I pay thousands of dollars to add safety options such as lane change monitoring, automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, etc. to my new vehicle, how much will this actually improve my chances of not getting killed in a car accident over my lifet...
by magellan
Thu May 14, 2015 7:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home Internet - Cat 5e or Cat 6
Replies: 49
Views: 3120

Re: Home Internet - Cat 5e or Cat 6

The upgrade will only gain you a few years. I have seen hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on "futureproofing" that has never been used and was eventually abandoned in place. Don't spend money on tech you don't have plans to use immediately. This sounds too pessimistic to me. When we ...
by magellan
Thu May 14, 2015 6:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is the Post Office slowing down First Class Parcel delivery?
Replies: 25
Views: 2367

Re: Is the Post Office slowing down first class parcel delivery?

This google search has lots of links discussing it: https://www.google.com/#q=first+class+parcel+service+slow+down I made an ebay purchase in March that was shipped first class parcel and it took almost 3 weeks to arrive. I had assumed it was lost as the tracking hadn't been updated in almost 2 week...
by magellan
Thu May 14, 2015 5:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: SPIA for mom?
Replies: 33
Views: 1805

Re: SPIA for mom?

Now assuming I had bought the SPIA today with the $130,000. That $680 is worth $584 real after 10 years (assuming 1.5% inflation). $722 - $584 is a difference of $138 a month. However, for the last 10 years mom has been able to spend $680 a month (in nominal terms) vs $300 with the CD ladder (in re...
by magellan
Thu May 14, 2015 4:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: SPIA for mom?
Replies: 33
Views: 1805

Re: SPIA for mom?

But, my impression is that the 2015 SPIA market is way too competitive to allow 15% loads. IMO, it's not quite right to think of this as a load. That implies that the insurance company and salespeople are making that much in profit, which I don't think they are. The fact is, an annuity is a much mo...
by magellan
Thu May 14, 2015 11:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: SPIA for mom?
Replies: 33
Views: 1805

Re: SPIA for mom?

Independent wrote:Somehow, you saw the 80-85% but missed the 90-94%.

I was interpolating. If you look on page 1308, table 3, you'll see that once you take insurer credit risk into account, the present value is around 85% even using the annuitant mortality table.
by magellan
Thu May 14, 2015 9:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home Internet - Cat 5e or Cat 6
Replies: 49
Views: 3120

Re: Home Internet - Cat 5e or Cat 6

One other thought - It might be worth asking the builder if the same installer is used for cat 5e and for cat 6 and whether they use a device to certify that the installation meets spec. Most electricians will run networking cable, but many don't have the gear or the know-how to verify that the inst...
by magellan
Thu May 14, 2015 7:55 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: SPIA for mom?
Replies: 33
Views: 1805

Re: SPIA for mom?

Please provide a cite. There is a vast literature on annuities and I've never seen anything like this. This 1999 research paper by Mitchell, et al. took a crack at the problem and here's what they found: This paper presents new evidence on the expected discounted value of payments for annuity polic...
by magellan
Thu May 14, 2015 7:21 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: SPIA for mom?
Replies: 33
Views: 1805

Re: SPIA for mom?

It sounds like your mom would like to set up a safe income floor of $300 to last a lifetime. The next task is to figure out the best way to do that. IMO, SPIAs aren't usually the best bet for someone who's only 66 years old. It's often better to wait until age 75 or 80 to purchase an SPIA. These are...
by magellan
Wed May 13, 2015 10:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home Internet - Cat 5e or Cat 6
Replies: 49
Views: 3120

Re: Home Internet - Cat 5e or Cat 6

It might be worth trying to get them to run cat 6 cable, but terminate it to cat 5e standards. As another poster said, the raw cable cost isn't that different. The higher cost may be legit, assuming they actually validate the install to cat 6 or cat 6a standards. Apparently, a cat 5e installation ne...
by magellan
Tue May 12, 2015 4:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Questions on securing house during vacation
Replies: 11
Views: 774

Re: Questions on securing house during vacation

A wifi camera in the basement can be handy too, especially a pan/tilt model so you can remotely scan the entire basement for problems. Most of these cameras have infrared lights so you don't even need to leave a light on. If you have a camera in the main house and you don't have a way to monitor the...
by magellan
Tue May 12, 2015 8:44 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Annuitized so much already ... doubting value of delaying S.S.
Replies: 19
Views: 1807

Re: Annuitized so much already ... doubting value of delaying S.S.

It seems as if you have enough of an investment portfolio that you can spend more in your younger retirement years and delay collecting both SS. IMO, this is key. The amount you can safely spend in your early years of retirement doesn't seem very dependent on whether you take SS sooner or later. Th...
by magellan
Mon May 11, 2015 6:45 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Swedroe: Credit Risk Not Worth It
Replies: 43
Views: 5249

Re: Swedroe: Credit Risk Not Worth It

Could you give a more precise mathematical definition of "this 'smoothing out' magic from diversification" and explanation of how and why it "happens over a period of years or decades, and not days or months"? Otherwise, the way you have been discussing this comes across as bein...
by magellan
Sun May 10, 2015 11:13 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Swedroe: Credit Risk Not Worth It
Replies: 43
Views: 5249

Re: Swedroe: Credit Risk Not Worth It

It is actually possible to build a portfolio that reliably smooths out dips ... You just won't like the resulting income. Of course we don't know what the next crisis looks like or when it will occur or even if it will occur in our investment lifetime. But given that, do we not try and just stick o...
by magellan
Sun May 10, 2015 10:42 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Swedroe: Credit Risk Not Worth It
Replies: 43
Views: 5249

Re: Swedroe: Credit Risk Not Worth It

Bonds let us sleep well. Stocks let us eat well. Worth repeating. This gets repeated a lot, but I've never seen any research to back it up. IMO, bonds are a risk asset and their risks tends to blend well with equities in a portfolio to help investors meet their goals. While it's essential for inves...
by magellan
Sun May 10, 2015 6:29 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Swedroe: Credit Risk Not Worth It
Replies: 43
Views: 5249

Re: Swedroe: Credit Risk Not Worth It

True for accumulators; a bit different if you're dealing with RMD's. IMO, thinking of diversification as an antidote for short-term volatility is a bad idea for both accumulators and retirees, including those taking RMDs. Concerns about volatility affecting RMDs or the availability of liquidity fro...
by magellan
Sat May 09, 2015 6:52 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Swedroe: Credit Risk Not Worth It
Replies: 43
Views: 5249

Re: Swedroe: Credit Risk Not Worth It

During '08 it was nice to have that extra boost from Treasuries price increase to buy the fire sale in equities. It is not a matter of having the total portfolio be "smoothing out short term impacts" but to be able to take advantage of rebalancing opportunities. Sitting on your butt becau...
by magellan
Sat May 09, 2015 12:37 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Swedroe: Credit Risk Not Worth It
Replies: 43
Views: 5249

Re: Swedroe: Credit Risk Not Worth It

I've wondered about this too. Here's a theory. Many investors seem to be irrationally attached to using the stock/bond split of their portfolio as the measure of its riskiness. They feel safer owning 60% stocks and 40% corporate bonds than they would feel owning 70% stocks and 30% treasuries. This ...
by magellan
Sat May 09, 2015 10:46 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Swedroe: Credit Risk Not Worth It
Replies: 43
Views: 5249

Re: Swedroe: Credit Risk Not Worth It

When it comes to bonds, Mr. Swedroe knows his stuff. In just a few paragraphs he gets right to the heart of the matter and enumerates clear counters to the paper's conclusion. However, despite my great respect for Larry's knowledge of the subject, I don't agree with his conclusion that credit risk i...
by magellan
Sun May 03, 2015 3:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What to use to clean car
Replies: 45
Views: 3452

Re: What to use to clean car

Don't underestimate the power of a bucket of warm water and a damp cloth for detailing an auto interior (and lots of cleaning jobs). Many cleaning products leave behind residues and odors, but usually not water. If your tap water has chlorine in it, you might want to try distilled or bottled instead...
by magellan
Sun May 03, 2015 12:39 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Annuities: Bad in principle or practice?
Replies: 75
Views: 4198

Re: Annuities: Bad in principle or practice?

...IMO, that's a recipe for a death spiral. There was congressional testimony to this effect during the AIG bailout hearings. IIRC, I think the consensus was that without an AIG bailout, every state guaranty association would go bust because of the dynamics described above... ...I'm saying please e...
by magellan
Sun May 03, 2015 9:27 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Annuities: Bad in principle or practice?
Replies: 75
Views: 4198

Re: Annuities: Bad in principle or practice?

I should clarify that even with the above risk, I believe immediate annuities often make sense. The key is to defer the purchase until the value of annual mortality credits exceeds the overhead costs of the annuity (including the credit risk). Because the costs are impossible to know, you have to ma...
by magellan
Sun May 03, 2015 9:11 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Annuities: Bad in principle or practice?
Replies: 75
Views: 4198

Re: Annuities: Bad in principle or practice?

You claim was that eh state would "try". In Md the State orders the industry. You have to have an industy wide collapse. That is far more than "try" IMO, the design of the guaranty system is fatally flawed. If there's a systematic failure, the state can order anything it wants, ...
by magellan
Sun May 03, 2015 7:46 am
Forum: Forum Issues and Administration
Topic: What's new and changed in phpBB 3.1
Replies: 69
Views: 3301

Re: What's new and changed in phpBB 3.1

Any way to change the font size on an android tablet or smartphone where you "squeeze" to make the font smaller? I'm not sure if this will help because there's a limit to how small you can get the font, but I use the Opera browser on Android and IMO it's the best browser for resizing text...
by magellan
Wed Apr 29, 2015 5:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to invest funds in business checking account?
Replies: 15
Views: 878

Re: How to invest funds in business checking account?

One thing to note is that business bank accounts are not covered by the Electronic Funds Transfer Act Regulation E, which protects consumer bank accounts from unauthorized electronic transfers. The maximum liability for fraudulent transfers from a consumer bank account is very small as long as the a...
by magellan
Wed Apr 29, 2015 12:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Thinking about a new desktop PC.
Replies: 55
Views: 3916

Re: Thinking about a new desktop PC.

I generally leave it plugged in to my desktop, attached with velcro to the top of the tower. If it's not too much hassle, it's safer to keep backup drives unplugged when you're not using them. In addition to the risk of voltage spikes, ransonware viruses, which encrypt your data and demand a large ...
by magellan
Wed Apr 29, 2015 9:35 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Thinking about a new desktop PC.
Replies: 55
Views: 3916

Re: Thinking about a new desktop PC.

My approach is to create an os and a data partition on the SSD. That allows you to image the os partition for backups and replace if needed with minimal headache. For data, I'd put stuff that you use the most on an ssd data partition. Usually, 256gb will be plenty for everything but photos and video...
by magellan
Tue Apr 28, 2015 8:39 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Thinking about a new desktop PC.
Replies: 55
Views: 3916

Re: Thinking about a new desktop PC.

My 6-year old Mac that was the cheapest ibook laptop you could get at the time, is STILL so fast on everything that I use it for (which is 98% of what normal users use computers for - web browsing, video streaming, office, photos) that you can't tell the difference between it and the $20k workstati...
by magellan
Tue Apr 28, 2015 7:58 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Another reason NOT to use (free) Wifi
Replies: 53
Views: 6235

Re: Another reason NOT to use (free) Wifi

IMO, the biggest issue with this sort of thing is that often the data doesn't goes away and tends to get aggregated over time thanks to legal collaborations and illegal hacking. What seems like innocuous and trivial information can become a critical missing puzzle piece. There's a huge infrastructur...
by magellan
Tue Apr 28, 2015 7:09 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Thinking about a new desktop PC.
Replies: 55
Views: 3916

Re: Thinking about a new desktop PC.

My old Core 2 Duo laptop easily and dramatically outpaced the brand new Core i5/i7 machines other students I worked with had a year or two ago. The secret was a Samsung SSD. That 2008 ThinkPad W500 was a true workhorse. An SSD is the most dramatic upgrade you can give a modern computer. Old fashion...
by magellan
Mon Apr 27, 2015 12:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Traveling light up to 2 weeks - ditch the laptop, use phone?
Replies: 54
Views: 3573

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

I have a OnePlus One phone (similar size to Moto X) and it's a great stand-in for a tablet or laptop when I'm out and about during the day. I used to tote a tablet most days, just to have it, but I find the larger phone makes the tablet seem bulky and redundant. I haven't used my tablet since I got ...
by magellan
Mon Apr 27, 2015 6:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Thinking about a new desktop PC.
Replies: 55
Views: 3916

Re: Thinking about a new desktop PC.

I have no desire for a touchscreen, which is why I find Win8 kind of silly on a desktop. I can see the advantage on a tablet, but not a desktop. Have you tried using Windows 8 with Classic Shell installed? Windows 8.1 can be configured to boot directly to the desktop and Classic Shell gives it a 'S...
by magellan
Sun Apr 26, 2015 3:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Thinking about a new desktop PC.
Replies: 55
Views: 3916

Re: Thinking about a new desktop PC.

I agree with others that you should shop based on hardware specs and cost and not the OS version. For me, Windows 8.1 is slightly preferable to windows 7. Despite the early headaches, at its core 8 is a more modern OS than 7. The Metro problems are easy to avoid and 8 is a tad quicker, has slightly ...
by magellan
Sun Apr 19, 2015 6:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New HVAC
Replies: 21
Views: 1559

Re: New HVAC

One factor to take into account is how you use your AC. If you work all day and turn down the temp when you get home at night, causing your unit to run at maximum output for most of its duty cycle, a high SEER system might not be much more efficient than your current system. SEER measures how effici...
by magellan
Fri Apr 17, 2015 6:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I purchase an Umbrella policy?
Replies: 54
Views: 5648

Re: Should I purchase an Umbrella policy?

A related question. If one has $1M in Umbrella insurance and about $1M in assets, can't the courts settle for $2M and you still lose all your assets? Yes. Umbrella insurance only indirectly protects assets by providing a buffer of insurance coverage that makes it unnecessary for a plaintiff to go a...
by magellan
Fri Apr 17, 2015 1:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I purchase an Umbrella policy?
Replies: 54
Views: 5648

Re: Should I purchase an Umbrella policy?

Not to be too preachy, but there's also a non-financial angle here. We all make mistakes and it only takes a moment of carelessness to cause unthinkable tragedy. Part of being a responsible member of society is reducing the chance that you'll cause uncompensated harm to someone else. $1M seems like ...
by magellan
Fri Apr 17, 2015 12:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do you quickly cool food?
Replies: 34
Views: 2551

Re: How do you quickly cool food?

When I want to quickly make iced coffee from a pot of hot coffee, here's what I do: 1) find two large round metal cake pans that fit inside each other (thin conductive metal is best). 2) fill one pan with ice cubes and water in the bottom of the sink. 3) Set the second pan inside the first pan so it...
by magellan
Thu Apr 16, 2015 1:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Can anyone recommend a good low cost generator?
Replies: 35
Views: 2168

Re: Can anyone recommend a good low cost generator?

I guess I am the poster child for doing things the opposite of what you say Magellan. I have never had a problem. Running my sump on the 700W/900W surge genny does a big pull down, and true I have no other loads at all. Running all my loads the refrigerator will cause a little pull down when it kic...

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