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Re: Brick patio question

We had a concrete paver patio professionally installed about 15 years ago for around $6k and it still looks great. We later put a hot tub on the patio and I had to remove and replace some pavers to run an electrical conduit. It was a relatively easy job and to this day the rework is completely undet...
by magellan
Fri Jul 04, 2014 10:43 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Brick patio question
Replies: 8
Views: 954

Re: Commodity no longer a good diversifier?

...If you're afraid of inflation, buy TIPS. IMO, if we experience a nasty bout of unexpected inflation, TIPS are unlikely to help much at the portfolio level. They're great at protecting themselves from inflation, but TIPS are unlikely to be volatile enough to protect an entire portfolio against in...
by magellan
Fri Jul 04, 2014 9:48 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Commodity no longer a good diversifier?
Replies: 22
Views: 1860

Re: American Automobile Assn (AAA)

Peterjens wrote:Lodging includes free parking and free breakfast (La Quinta).

Just don't forget your card. You should have it with you anyway, but in my experience, La Quinta's front desk folks always make you show your card at check in.
by magellan
Tue Jul 01, 2014 3:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: American Automobile Assn (AAA)
Replies: 51
Views: 3399

Re: Bernstein: Don’t Bother With International Bonds

I don't know what the optimal allocation to foreign bonds is, but I find Bernstein's logic very unconvincing... I'm in about the same place myself. I'm also troubled by Dr. Bernstein's use of the often repeated slogan to 'take your risk on the equity side.' Many experts say this, but despite trying...
by magellan
Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:54 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bernstein: Don’t Bother With International Bonds
Replies: 112
Views: 9045

Re: N+ Routers

If there is no coax conduit, you can either pull all the new wires (and new coax while you're at it) from the existing coax cable or use it to bring in new conduit. Unless the coax was added after the home was built, it almost certainly has staples that keep it centered on the stud and safe from na...
by magellan
Sun Jun 29, 2014 7:34 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: N+ Routers
Replies: 27
Views: 1697

Re: N+ Routers

In general, is it better to have the router on the first or second floor for best range? I have the best results with the wifi access point in the kitchen on top of a tallish freestanding cabinet. It's out of sight and I get coverage throughout the house, including a room above the garage. When we ...
by magellan
Sun Jun 29, 2014 12:55 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: N+ Routers
Replies: 27
Views: 1697

Re: Bernstein: Don’t Bother With Intnational Bonds

What heavy manipulation do you believe is going on? As I understand it, every central bank is currently managing its yield curve at multiple points along the term axis. This isn't secret or disputed, but rather it's the essence of quantitative easing. Added to this overt manipulation, there's also ...
by magellan
Sun Jun 29, 2014 12:47 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bernstein: Don’t Bother With International Bonds
Replies: 112
Views: 9045

Re: N+ Routers

I think the main issue I would like improve is signal strength throughout my house and backyard. Does AC give a range advantage over N? Generally, you'll get higher speeds and more reliable connections at any given distance, but not more range. Keep in mind that the new capabilities of 802.11ac onl...
by magellan
Sun Jun 29, 2014 8:50 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: N+ Routers
Replies: 27
Views: 1697

Re: Bernstein: Don’t Bother With Intnational Bonds

I am on this camp as well. Give me a premium to TBM, or I am not going to bother. I've long been an advocate of a permanent allocation to foreign bonds and I've held 20 percent of our portfolio's bonds in foreign bonds for over a decade. However in my opinion if there's a sound argument against for...
by magellan
Sun Jun 29, 2014 8:16 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bernstein: Don’t Bother With International Bonds
Replies: 112
Views: 9045

Re: Bernstein: Don’t Bother With Intnational Bonds

And the unhedged currency exposure with unhedged international bonds is very risky. All you have to do is look to what happened to the euro and the yen in the last crisis—they cratered. That’s a risk you simply don’t want to take. I have enormous respect for Dr. Bernstein, but IMO this is way overs...
by magellan
Sat Jun 28, 2014 7:19 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bernstein: Don’t Bother With International Bonds
Replies: 112
Views: 9045

Re: N+ Routers

I recently upgraded from an N router to AC. I also bought a $25 Intel 7260AC wifi card for my dell laptop to take advantage AC's faster speeds. I tried an Asus RT-AC66U AC-1750 router first. The laptop with the AC card worked flawlessly and the connection was very fast. Unfortunately, two other lapt...
by magellan
Sat Jun 28, 2014 8:00 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: N+ Routers
Replies: 27
Views: 1697

Re: To HSA or not to HSA

As others have mentioned, if you know what your expenses will be, you can do the math to choose the best option. If you don't have extra knowledge about likely expenses, the best bet is generally to take the plan with the highest deductible/out of pocket max that you can handle without financial rui...
by magellan
Sat Jun 28, 2014 6:47 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: To HSA or not to HSA
Replies: 12
Views: 1508

Re: What is the risk of having too much house

The other option would be to make a larger downpayment by selling some of the stock that you have. You probably want to learn the exact details of California's non-recourse mortgage rules. http://realtytimes.com/agentnews/agentconcerns1/item/728-20121023_antideficiency If you can just walk away fro...
by magellan
Fri Jun 27, 2014 8:26 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is the risk of having too much house
Replies: 51
Views: 4507

Re: What is the risk of having too much house

I don't see a mention of the total monthly carrying cost of the home including taxes, maintenance, insurance and other expenses. Without this number, you can't make an informed decision. I'm particularly interested in the cost of earthquake insurance, even assuming a crazy high deductible. Earthquak...
by magellan
Fri Jun 27, 2014 8:13 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is the risk of having too much house
Replies: 51
Views: 4507

Re: Keeping mold out of bath/shower

As others have mentioned, good ventilation is the key for managing mold and mildew in a shower. However, no matter how much you ventilate and wipe, mold and mildew eventually will gain a foothold unless you apply something to kill it. IMO, you have to pick your poison between very frequent regroutin...
by magellan
Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:57 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Keeping mold out of bath/shower
Replies: 27
Views: 2193

Re: LMP at age 50 (help with TIPS Ladder)

This discussion nicely shows how maintaining the real value of a low-risk taxable portfolio is a very big challenge. TIPS are a special challenge because of immediate taxes due on the inflation adjustments paid out later. But nominal bonds are also a challenge. As inflation increases, the tax bill d...
by magellan
Tue Jun 24, 2014 7:50 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: LMP at age 50 (help with TIPS Ladder)
Replies: 26
Views: 1603

Re: LMP at age 50 (help with TIPS Ladder)

You have a large taxable account. If the very inflation that TIPS are bought to protect against ever rears it's ugly head, you will have a TAXFLATION problem. I agree. Consider a $1m portfolio of TIPS in taxable. When inflation is at 2%, the phantom income on the inflation adjustment of TIPS princi...
by magellan
Mon Jun 23, 2014 9:01 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: LMP at age 50 (help with TIPS Ladder)
Replies: 26
Views: 1603

Re: out of residency since 07 - please advise

Also, you might want to check out EmergDoc's excellent website:
http://whitecoatinvestor.com/
by magellan
Sun Jun 22, 2014 6:40 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: out of residency since 07 - please advise
Replies: 29
Views: 3798

Re: Barron's top 50 annuities

I searched the article text for words like inflation and purchasing power and got zero hits. Perhaps I missed it, but IMO any article about annuities that doesn't even once mention the word inflation is journalistic malpractice. Longevity insurance is a great idea, but only if you can distill it out...
by magellan
Sun Jun 22, 2014 7:50 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Barron's top 50 annuities
Replies: 13
Views: 1925

Re: [Morningstar article] the best fixed income investment

Magellan et al.: I may be dense, but I'm still having trouble understanding whether I ought to readjust my assumptions downward regarding the value of a bond fund (such as VWITX) by looking at the lower (SEC) yield. All you really need to know is that SEC yield is the ONLY yield that matters, excep...
by magellan
Sat Jun 21, 2014 11:21 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: [Morningstar article] the best fixed income investment
Replies: 55
Views: 3743

Re: Best Fixed Income Investment - Morningstar article

What about interest rate risk? When/if the Fed starts raising short-term rates, will that affect the duration of intermediate-term corporate bonds? Fixed income instruments with roughly the same duration have roughly the same interest rate risk. So a bond fund with a duration of 5 years has about t...
by magellan
Sat Jun 21, 2014 9:22 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: [Morningstar article] the best fixed income investment
Replies: 55
Views: 3743

Re: Best Fixed Income Investment - Morningstar article

... However, that leaves us in the same position we started in, which is that the fund is paying out what it receives in payments from the bonds it holds. It doesn't matter if it is one bond or 1000. Fund income less expenses equals the payout to the funds shareholders... I'm not doing a very good ...
by magellan
Sat Jun 21, 2014 9:11 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: [Morningstar article] the best fixed income investment
Replies: 55
Views: 3743

Re: Best Fixed Income Investment - Morningstar article

What the fund pays out is what it collects. If the fund has a NAV of $100 and pays out $3.00 in dividends annully thats a 3% distribution. You can cite any accounting rules you like but at a $100 NAV if I'm paid $3.00, cash in hand, on a fund that sells for $100, that is a 3% dividend yield (distri...
by magellan
Fri Jun 20, 2014 8:34 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: [Morningstar article] the best fixed income investment
Replies: 55
Views: 3743

Re: Best Fixed Income Investment - Morningstar article

In my Vanguard IRA I have short term investment grade fund and intermediate term investment grade fund. Does it make sense to replace either of these with 5 year CDs from Vanguard in the IRA brokerage account? IMO, it depends on your overall investment plan and how much extra work you're up for. Ow...
by magellan
Fri Jun 20, 2014 3:37 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: [Morningstar article] the best fixed income investment
Replies: 55
Views: 3743

Re: Best Fixed Income Investment - Morningstar article

Just so I'm a bit clearer Jim... you are saying the income that the fund pays out is not from the income from it's holdings? It's complicated, but distributions are determined by rules about how bond premiums and discounts have to be amortized by the fund. The best way to understand this is with a ...
by magellan
Fri Jun 20, 2014 3:01 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: [Morningstar article] the best fixed income investment
Replies: 55
Views: 3743

Re: Best Fixed Income Investment - Morningstar article

Not to mention that the actual dividend yield of the Intermediate Term Tax-Ex is >3.0% Dividend yield isn't relevant for this comparison. The income that a fund pays out as dividends is determined by arcane tax laws and isn't always indicative of the actual SEC yield of the fund's holdings (as we s...
by magellan
Fri Jun 20, 2014 2:45 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: [Morningstar article] the best fixed income investment
Replies: 55
Views: 3743

Re: American Automobile Assn (AAA)

We save $10 or more on each night's hotel reservations so that generally covers the cost of the membership for us. We use the tow service rarely, maybe every third year but the peace of mind seems worth the price. Another benefit of AAA that I use and not yet covered here is that at local Outlet Ma...
by magellan
Fri Jun 20, 2014 1:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: American Automobile Assn (AAA)
Replies: 51
Views: 3399

Re: Short Term Bonds or 2 Year CD's

As with any CD play, if you have a multiple of $250k to put to work, you would have to spread it among more than one bank, but Everbank and CIT now have the same rate, per Bankrate.com It's generally easy to get FDIC coverage well over $1m per bank by titling your accounts carefully. With just a sp...
by magellan
Thu Jun 19, 2014 2:22 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Short Term Bonds or 2 Year CD's
Replies: 13
Views: 1346

Re: Will adding returns cool the upstairs bedrooms?

I talked to my HVAC guy about it and he suggested to keep it cooler during the day, 74-75 and then it will not take as long to cool down. That makes sense, however especially with an older system, doing this will tend to increase cooling costs, perhaps significantly. Newer systems are usually much ...
by magellan
Tue Jun 17, 2014 4:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Will adding [air duct] returns cool the upstairs bedrooms?
Replies: 60
Views: 4813

Re: Annuitizing for retirement - what if the market is down?

I understand the concern about privacy and I don't think net worth numbers are necessary exactly. However, it would be helpful to know what percent of your total portfolio you plan to annuitize. Also, what's your plan in terms of overall risk-level glide path? In particular, on the day you retire, w...
by magellan
Mon Jun 16, 2014 9:46 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Annuitizing for retirement - what if the market is down?
Replies: 43
Views: 3897

Re: Will adding [air duct] returns cool the upstairs bedroom

A trip into the attic with the unit running to check for leaks in the duct work might make sense. I had a few smallish leaks in my system that were easily found just by passing my hand across the duct work with the unit running. There are some great youtube videos that show how to fix the leaks once...
by magellan
Sun Jun 15, 2014 3:03 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Will adding [air duct] returns cool the upstairs bedrooms?
Replies: 60
Views: 4813

Re: HSA as an investment vehicle for retirement income

I think only part of Medicare premiums are qualified. Think Part B is and Medigap is not although I could have that reversed That sounds right. I think everything except premiums on medigap policies is qualified. Question 27 (page 9) in this IRS doc from 2004 says part A and part B premiums are ok....
by magellan
Sun Jun 15, 2014 2:50 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA as an investment vehicle for retirement income
Replies: 15
Views: 1267

Re: HSA as an investment vehicle for retirement income

My guess is that most people will have enough in medical expenses to draw down their HSA accounts tax-free during retirement. Medicare premiums are qualified expenses as well as dental and eye care expenses. That's probably $2k-3k per person per year of guaranteed expenses before the first medical i...
by magellan
Sun Jun 15, 2014 8:20 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA as an investment vehicle for retirement income
Replies: 15
Views: 1267

Re: Health Insurance for physician - HSA?

Differences in provider networks and drug formularies can easily result in premium differences of 25-30% for otherwise identical plans. Many insurers are restricting provider networks and formularies to make their premiums seem more competitive. Sometimes, different plans offered by an insurer will ...
by magellan
Sun Jun 15, 2014 7:47 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Insurance for physician - HSA?
Replies: 5
Views: 359

Re: Annuitizing for retirement - what if the market is down?

I don't know how to optimize these contradictory factors, but it would be a mistake to assume that waiting for higher interest rates is a strategy that is necessarily going to payoff even if interest rates actually do rise. I agree that delaying a purchase in hopes of higher interest rates doesn't ...
by magellan
Sat Jun 14, 2014 3:35 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Annuitizing for retirement - what if the market is down?
Replies: 43
Views: 3897

Re: Annuitizing for retirement - what if the market is down?

IMO, buying an immediate annuity before age 70 or even 75 isn't a good idea. Buying an annuity at an early age is like buying a whole life insurance policy. With whole life, you're mixing life insurance with an investment. Pure life insurance (term life) is a much better deal. With an early annuity ...
by magellan
Sat Jun 14, 2014 3:29 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Annuitizing for retirement - what if the market is down?
Replies: 43
Views: 3897

Re: CPA Advice - Understanding Owner Equity/Owner Loan

I am going to disagree with some other earlier posters. You have neither a loan, nor an equity arrangement here... From a tax return filing standpoint, I tend to agree. Schedule C doesn't care about your business checking account balance (or any other part of your balance sheet). A sole-proprietors...
by magellan
Fri Jun 13, 2014 8:00 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: CPA Advice - Understanding Owner Equity/Owner Loan
Replies: 13
Views: 757

Re: Will adding returns cool the upstairs bedrooms?

Can you get up into your attic easily? On my system, each of the room vents has an inline damper installed in the duct in the attic. It's something like this one. http://www.amazon.com/HVAC-Damper-Manual-Volume-Sleeve/dp/B00AVRIZBS/ref=pd_sim_sbs_hi_9?ie=UTF8&refRID=1NC1TE1EAAZK9S1ZG79C They als...
by magellan
Fri Jun 13, 2014 5:12 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Will adding [air duct] returns cool the upstairs bedrooms?
Replies: 60
Views: 4813

Re: Remodeling for 4th bedroom

Our idea is to add 2 (covered) french doors, install a closet where we currently have a large shelving unit/bookcase, and close 2 half-walls which awkwardly identify the perimeter of the living room and hallway. IMO, the answers to three questions should help point you in the right direction: 1) Wh...
by magellan
Fri Jun 13, 2014 7:14 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Remodeling for 4th bedroom
Replies: 6
Views: 717

Re: Is your computer protected?

Regarding Anti-Virus software, is it possible the scans would not reveal some infections? I've always wondered about that, so to be cautious I run both Avast and Malwarebytes in the hope that one will catch what the other missed. Does running two AV programs work better or differently than just one...
by magellan
Tue Jun 10, 2014 8:31 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is your computer protected?
Replies: 39
Views: 4315

Re: Is your computer protected?

The tool I downloaded from Microsoft found it and did a partial removal. Then I ran another complete scan with MSE and it reported removal. Besides changing my passwords, what else should I do? IMO, if you know the date/time when an infection happened and have a recent system restore point from bef...
by magellan
Mon Jun 09, 2014 9:51 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is your computer protected?
Replies: 39
Views: 4315

Re: TrueCrypt possibly compromised/unsafe to use.

If we're going to partake in rampant speculation, I'm going to throw the idea of a dead-man's switch out there. A dead man's switch could also be an indirect signal that the creators have been gagged. There was talk with Lavabit about whether shutting down the service was itself a violation of the ...
by magellan
Thu May 29, 2014 1:44 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: TrueCrypt possibly compromised/unsafe to use.
Replies: 56
Views: 5076

Re: Snowbirds: Best Mail Forwarding Options?

This year we are considering the more expensive "Premium Forwarding Service Residential" option that cost $16 to enroll and $17/week. Does anyone have experience with this service or other thoughts/recommendations? DW and I used premium forwarding this year and it worked great for us. We ...
by magellan
Fri May 09, 2014 8:16 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Snowbirds: Best Mail Forwarding Options?
Replies: 24
Views: 1969

Re: bathroom exhaust fan placement

Investigate a Panasonic bath vent fan, quietest I've encountered. By comparison, everything at the big box stores is much louder. Ditto the recommendation on above timer. Works great. I only have it connect to the fan, as I don't forget to turn off the light, so timer's job is to continue to vent s...
by magellan
Thu May 08, 2014 6:05 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: bathroom exhaust fan placement
Replies: 18
Views: 1117

Re: Deferred Income Annuity/Longevity Insurance

IMO, it's probably better to wait until the mortality credits really kick in to buy any annuity. By waiting until age 80-85, mortality credits should be high enough to offset the high costs and other downsides that come with combining an investment product and an insurance product. Also, waiting as ...
by magellan
Thu May 01, 2014 3:08 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Deferred Income Annuity/Longevity Insurance
Replies: 42
Views: 3058

Re: Malwarebytes Anti-malware advises it will expire shortly

myself and Many others have had trouble with viruses when downloading from CNET. This may seem like a distinction without a difference, and I too try to avoid cnet these days, but AFAIK they usually do ok keeping the viruses out. The problem is all the crap utilities, toolbars, search and homepage ...
by magellan
Sun Apr 27, 2014 7:07 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Malwarebytes Anti-malware advises it will expire shortly
Replies: 22
Views: 5239

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

My wife and I are middle aged and healthy and our experience with ACA has been mixed. Both Healthcare.gov and the Anthem website were extremely frustrating to deal with. Also, the uncertainly introduced by the constant stream of on-the-fly rule changes and the political infighting has been a major s...
by magellan
Fri Apr 25, 2014 10:27 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: If you have ACA health insurance, what is your experience?
Replies: 222
Views: 16231

Re: Avast loaded malwhere with updated "protection".

Malware pushers are getting very good at producing fake antivirus popups that are launched by your browser or by other malware running on your computer. If you're using windows, be very careful about responding to the windows popup asking for permission escalation. This is one protection that works ...
by magellan
Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:58 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Avast loaded malwhere with updated "protection".
Replies: 20
Views: 4283

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

I have some other interesting anecdotal info: For calendar year 2013, my premium for a $5000 deductible, no co-pays, HDHP was $152 per month. When BCBS sent my premium notice for 2014, this same policy (now called a "bronze" policy and compliant with the new ACA regs) was going to cost $3...
by magellan
Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:08 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: If you have ACA health insurance, what is your experience?
Replies: 222
Views: 16231

Re: Which budget heating oil plan?

Any thoughts? Keep in mind that these plans generally turn you into an unsecured creditor of your oil delivery company. Here in the northeast, hardly a winter goes by without reports of an oil delivery firm that either didn't hedge fuel prices or just didn't manage their finances well. Some states ...
by magellan
Tue Apr 22, 2014 4:02 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which budget heating oil plan?
Replies: 4
Views: 335
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