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Re: My grown up Christmas wish-A Warm House

For the record, many Victorian homes had convection heat, not steam heat. Often, there were grates in the floor open to the room below which allowed warm air to rise. If the OP's house started as a convection heated house and then had duct work added later, the cost of adding any kind of radiator ba...
by ourbrooks
Sun Nov 23, 2014 8:24 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: My grown up Christmas wish-A Warm House
Replies: 22
Views: 2191

Re: Wire transfer from Europe (fees, exchange rate)

Open an Everbank foreign currency account in Euros; have the European bank wire the money to the Everbank account without converting it; Everbank has a SWIFT setup that can be used for that. Generally, there's no fee for that, but it depends on the European bank. At your leisure, have Everbank conve...
by ourbrooks
Sun Nov 23, 2014 8:06 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Wire transfer from Europe (fees, exchange rate)
Replies: 16
Views: 711

Re: Debt vs Taxes

If your plan permits it, one option is to take a loan against the 457b and use the proceeds to pay off the student debt. The interest you pay on the 457b loan goes back to you, not a bank, and is considered an after tax contribution to the 457b account.
by ourbrooks
Sun Nov 23, 2014 7:34 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Debt vs Taxes
Replies: 6
Views: 733

Re: Home equity loan as an asset?

Suppose you follow your scheme and increase your equity allocation and then 2015 turns out to be just like 2000, the beginning of a 10 year period over which stocks had zero total return. How would that fit in with your desire for a bit more buffer on running out of money? A better alternative is to...
by ourbrooks
Fri Nov 21, 2014 7:59 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Home equity loan as an asset?
Replies: 26
Views: 1354

Re: My grown up Christmas wish-A Warm House

To add to my earlier post: Also consider just getting the windows repaired if they're the original ones. Victorian windows had wood frames and single panes of glass. Wood is a very good insulator; premium quality replacement windows are made of wood, so the wood frames are not the problem. What migh...
by ourbrooks
Fri Nov 21, 2014 1:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: My grown up Christmas wish-A Warm House
Replies: 22
Views: 2191

Re: 529 Plan - when to stop contributing?

4 years of full tuition and room&board (if necessary) for flagship state university in-state In my state, that runs about $120K give or take right now :oops: +1 If you look at the various rankings of colleges and universities, there seen to be 20-30 private universities that make it to the top;...
by ourbrooks
Fri Nov 21, 2014 1:00 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 529 Plan - when to stop contributing?
Replies: 15
Views: 1581

Re: My grown up Christmas wish-A Warm House

Find out what your walls are really made of. If you really do have plaster on brick inside, the walls are probably quite thick and consists either of several rows of brick or inner and outer brick walls with some kind of fill inbetween. If it's fill and there are voids in it, it might be possible to...
by ourbrooks
Fri Nov 21, 2014 11:39 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: My grown up Christmas wish-A Warm House
Replies: 22
Views: 2191

Re: smartphone over wifi - still possible?

Keep your dumb phone or get a dumb phone from another carrier. No data plan. Buy an Android tablet. There are $100 7 inch tablets with 1280x800 screens. Nearly all tablets are Wi-Fi only. Yup, you'll have to carry two things around with you. Compensation: It's much easier to do web surfing/mail read...
by ourbrooks
Fri Nov 21, 2014 10:47 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: smartphone over wifi - still possible?
Replies: 31
Views: 2251

Re: Light Bulb Question

You can't say categorically that LEDs are brighter than CFLs or vice versa for the same incandescent equivalent. It depends on how many lumens they think the incandescent is. I've seen 75 watt equivalents anywhere from 900 to 1500 lumens. That's a visible difference. Even the lumen ratings don't see...
by ourbrooks
Wed Nov 19, 2014 9:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Light Bulb Question
Replies: 66
Views: 4467

Re: Pension buyout offer - Accept or reject

Another way to look at it is what it would cost to buy an equivalent annuity on the open market. When I plugged in $57,000 at immediateannuities.com, I got $314 per month. Assuming something like current interest rates, you'd have to more than double your money between ages 53 and 65 to be able to g...
by ourbrooks
Wed Nov 19, 2014 7:16 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pension buyout offer - Accept or reject
Replies: 44
Views: 3672

Re: Will the baby boomer selling effect come to fruition?

If the collective of the boomers starts downsizing, how will that affect the housing market? I have always thought we were "Joe average public" and we have discussed downsizing at some time in the future (I am 57). If we are then I assume more people are (or will) having the same discussi...
by ourbrooks
Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:13 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Will the baby boomer selling effect come to fruition?
Replies: 14
Views: 1993

Re: Robot Rebalancing at Vanguard?

Vanguard has a number of funds which try and keep particular asset allocations; they mostly have "LifeStrategy" or "Balanced" in the fund name. For example, the LifeStrategy Moderate Growth fund is 60% stocks, 40% bonds. If bonds go up, they sell bonds and buy stocks to get back ...
by ourbrooks
Thu Nov 13, 2014 8:40 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Robot Rebalancing at Vanguard?
Replies: 10
Views: 1322

Re: Speaking with an Aging Relative about care & money

Having moved an elderly relative, I know how difficult it is. Even if you get her to move, she may be terribly unhappy in wherever she moves to. Although I believe the argument that the earlier someone moves, the more likely they are to be able make new friends, age 90 is pretty far along. I'd sugge...
by ourbrooks
Thu Nov 13, 2014 8:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Speaking with an Aging Relative about care & money
Replies: 24
Views: 2031

Re: Kitces Sequence of Returns, Bucket Rebalancing

Hmmm, Kitces appears to use a constant lifetime 60/30/10 allocation. Following his approach, a 90 year old would still be 60% in stocks. No "age in bonds" or other glidepath. My unfounded speculation is that age in bonds doesn't work all that well because it biases rebalancing to either ke...
by ourbrooks
Thu Nov 13, 2014 7:46 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Kitces Sequence of Returns, Bucket Rebalancing
Replies: 10
Views: 1509

Re: Whats the expense ratio of this stable value fund ?

There's another advantage to the stable value fund; unless you take money out, the balance will never decline. The PIMCO fund will go up and down as interest rates fall and rise. I don't know when you're planning on taking money out of the 401K, but some people might use the stable value fund as par...
by ourbrooks
Mon Nov 10, 2014 5:23 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Whats the expense ratio of this stable value fund ?
Replies: 16
Views: 1359

Re: Traders Millions By the minute

If you've been following the news lately, you've read that the price of oil has been dropping. So what should you do, buy or sell oil company stocks? The "sell" argument is that, since the price of oil is lower, oil companies will make less money so their stock prices will drop. You should...
by ourbrooks
Sun Nov 09, 2014 3:18 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Traders Millions By the minute
Replies: 44
Views: 5321

Re: Whats the expense ratio of this stable value fund ?

The .95 or .85 items is almost certainly not an administrative expense; one of the common features of Stable Value funds is to buy insurance against loss in value of the underlying investments. Usually, the interest paid is net of the insurance; the fund holds loans paying 5% or 6%, insures the loan...
by ourbrooks
Sun Nov 09, 2014 2:07 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Whats the expense ratio of this stable value fund ?
Replies: 16
Views: 1359

Re: when will self-driving cars be a reality?

Self driving on the highway - 5-10 years. Totally self-driving everywhere - 20+ years. A self-driving car with a 5% error rate might literally prove fatal. A self-driving car with a 5% error rate will prove fatal. A self-driving car needs to have a 0.001% error rate or better. interesting takes. Ho...
by ourbrooks
Sat Nov 08, 2014 4:36 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: when will self-driving cars be a reality?
Replies: 17
Views: 1111

Re: when will self-driving cars be a reality?

Fly your mental time machine back to about 1975 and the earliest days of speech recognition. The holy grail was speaker independent, continuous speech recognition; two people who had never used the system before could walk up to it, hold a conversation with each other, and the system would deliver a...
by ourbrooks
Sat Nov 08, 2014 3:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: when will self-driving cars be a reality?
Replies: 17
Views: 1111

Re: Whats the expense ratio of this stable value fund ?

Comparing a stable value fund to the PIMCO bond fund is liking comparing an FDIC insured CD to a stock fund. The stable value fund makes the promise that the value of your investment will never drop but will only increase. The PIMCO fund goes up and down. Stable value funds are almost invariably off...
by ourbrooks
Fri Nov 07, 2014 5:45 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Whats the expense ratio of this stable value fund ?
Replies: 16
Views: 1359

Re: Should I still have bonds in my portfolio if I have debt

Suppose I have a 90/10 portfolio worth $10,000 and the market goes down 60%; I now look at my balance and see that I've got $4,600 left. Suppose I have a 100% stock portfolio worth $9,000 and the market goes down 60%; I now have $3,600 left. Yes, in my most rationale moments, I know that I used the ...
by ourbrooks
Thu Nov 06, 2014 10:09 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I still have bonds in my portfolio if I have debt?
Replies: 6
Views: 616

Re: Questions about TIAA-CREF account

That particular allocation during the accumulation period should also be known as a Bernanke allocation; from what I can tell from the public disclosure documents during his term as Fed chair, that's about what he has in TIAA/CREF. Many people convert the accumulation phase TIAA Traditional annuity ...
by ourbrooks
Thu Nov 06, 2014 9:39 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Questions about TIAA-CREF account
Replies: 14
Views: 1148

Re: Should I still have bonds in my portfolio if I have debt

Stocks have the highest expected returns. Anything that you add to your portfolio which has a lower rate of return will lower your overall return. So why would anyone want to lower their returns? The answer is volatility. Stocks go up and down a lot. Most people do not react well to loosing half the...
by ourbrooks
Thu Nov 06, 2014 9:21 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I still have bonds in my portfolio if I have debt?
Replies: 6
Views: 616

Re: Oil and Gas investments

You probably should steer clear of these drilling deals. The thing that most people have no frame of reference for is that the difference between a drilling fund sponsor and a real oil company like Exxon or Texaco is much more vast than you can grasp. The amount of expertise and "science"...
by ourbrooks
Sat Nov 01, 2014 9:48 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Oil and Gas investments
Replies: 15
Views: 1281

Re: Lincoln MKC - anyone tried this one out?

They're made in the Ford Louisville plant which also makes Ford Escapes. Sometimes, differently branded cars are even made on the same line. I recall visiting Chrysler's Sterling Heights plant and seeing Dodge Stratus, Chrysler Cirrus and Plymouth Breese all made on the same line. I can't find out w...
by ourbrooks
Fri Oct 31, 2014 8:22 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Lincoln MKC - anyone tried this one out?
Replies: 12
Views: 1565

Re: Annually Recalculated Virtual Annuity

Well, I at least scanned the article. The use of the word, "annuity," while technically correct, is very, very misleading for this article. What the article is really about is a variable withdrawal scheme: So, in light of the fact that most people are going to hold mixed portfolios having ...
by ourbrooks
Tue Oct 28, 2014 4:47 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Annually Recalculated Virtual Annuity
Replies: 9
Views: 923

Re: Elder Law attorney (Trusts, Medicaid, nursing homes)

I don't know whether this is an option, but the cost of all kinds of long term care, including in home care, varies by a factor or two or more from state to state. https://www.genworth.com/corporate/about-genworth/industry-expertise/cost-of-care.html Houston, Texas averages one third the cost of the...
by ourbrooks
Sat Oct 25, 2014 12:57 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Elder Law attorney (Trusts, Medicaid, nursing homes)
Replies: 30
Views: 2004

Re: Elder Law attorney (Trusts, Medicaid, nursing homes)

The reason why a person needs to be in a nursing home is because they require care 24/7. Most people who require care 24/7 are in the end stages of a terminal illness and don't live very long. More than 50% of people die in the hospital or at home and never enter a nursing home: http://www.forbes.co...
by ourbrooks
Sat Oct 25, 2014 11:14 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Elder Law attorney (Trusts, Medicaid, nursing homes)
Replies: 30
Views: 2004

Re: How to buy oil in the stock market?

Your best bet in a publically traded vehicle is a Master Limited Partnership that has assets in oil production or oil pipelines. Some of them own producing oil wells and make their money by selling the oil. When the price of oil goes up, so do their profits. Most of these involve the dreaded K-1 tax...
by ourbrooks
Thu Oct 23, 2014 9:19 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How to buy oil in the stock market?
Replies: 32
Views: 2145

Re: EverBank

Maybe not of much interest to the OP, but EverBank offers foreign currency accounts and doesn't charge for SWIFT wires into the accounts. For converting foreign currencies back to dollars, they claim they offer market rates less a 1% fee. If you've ever had someone try and send Euros and the convers...
by ourbrooks
Thu Oct 23, 2014 8:54 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: EverBank
Replies: 13
Views: 1943

Re: Monty Carlo Simulation

I'm not sure why you're using a Monte Carlo simulator at all. The prebuilt ones in the financial area are all intended to answer the question of whether or not a specific amount of money will last a specific amount of time, usually, 30 years. The calculator on annuitycalc.org also assumes a fixed ti...
by ourbrooks
Thu Oct 16, 2014 9:09 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Monte Carlo Simulation
Replies: 9
Views: 814

Re: How to wrap my head around downsizing my home?

Another reason to be in the city is easier access for care providers and services. Suppose that, at some point, shopping becomes difficult. You want to be somewhere where groceries and ready made food (for those days you don't want to cook) can be delivered. Perhaps, you'll want someone to come in a...
by ourbrooks
Wed Oct 15, 2014 9:16 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to wrap my head around downsizing my home?
Replies: 47
Views: 3629

Re: Roll Over Old TIAA CREF Account?

Roll the rest of the funds into the TIAA Traditional fund. If nothing else, when you go to cocktail parties, you will be able to honestly say that you keep your investments in the same fund that Janet Yellen and Ben Bernanke use. The only work you have to do to "manage" the fund is update ...
by ourbrooks
Wed Oct 15, 2014 6:36 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Roll Over Old TIAA CREF Account?
Replies: 15
Views: 788

Re: Maximum Number of Medicare Hospital Days

My reading of this page: http://www.medicare.gov/coverage/inpatient-hospital-care.html#1347 For each separate hospital admission, there's a separate 90 days of coverage. The clock starts over if you've been out of the hospital for 60 days. There's also an additional pool of 60 days which are spread ...
by ourbrooks
Wed Oct 15, 2014 6:22 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Maximum Number of Medicare Hospital Days
Replies: 10
Views: 798

Re: Want to Convert Tape and Vinyl to Digital

The Behringer UCA202 is about $30. It converts an analog input coming in via RCA phono jacks to a digital signal which enters the computer via a USB port. It will work with any turntable or cassette deck that has RCA jack output. Some older turntables have what is called a phono output which is a l...
by ourbrooks
Mon Oct 13, 2014 7:43 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Want to Convert Tape and Vinyl to Digital
Replies: 23
Views: 1006

Re: Want to Convert Tape and Vinyl to Digital

The Behringer UCA202 is about $30. It converts an analog input coming in via RCA phono jacks to a digital signal which enters the computer via a USB port. It will work with any turntable or cassette deck that has RCA jack output. Some older turntables have what is called a phono output which is a lo...
by ourbrooks
Mon Oct 13, 2014 5:31 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Want to Convert Tape and Vinyl to Digital
Replies: 23
Views: 1006

Re: Mortgage question (yes another)

There's no way you can afford to keep the house after you retire. You haven't said in what part of the country you live in, but, assuming a 1.5% tax rate, on the low side for a state with no income tax, your home will cost you $39,000 a year in taxes alone. If you withdraw at the recommended 4% rate...
by ourbrooks
Sun Oct 12, 2014 4:49 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage question (yes another)
Replies: 8
Views: 1233

Re: Long term care insurance in NYC for Arthritis?

Does her current home have stairs? If so, the highest priority should be fixing that, long before you spend any money on insurance of any kind. Alternatives range from moving to one story dwelling to adding a stair lift/elevator. More generally, how suitable is her current living arrangement for som...
by ourbrooks
Sat Oct 11, 2014 2:01 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Long term care insurance in NYC for Arthritis?
Replies: 10
Views: 908

Re: Will Investment Returns Ever Revert to "Normal"?

Paradoxically, lower, less volatile returns could mean that investors can save less for retirement. Depending on which of the previous posts you read, the real return on stocks has been around 8%. Because of the sequence of returns problem, a result of volatility, the safe withdrawal rate considered...
by ourbrooks
Sun Sep 28, 2014 12:59 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Will Investment Returns Ever Revert to "Normal"?
Replies: 56
Views: 4623

Re: What is your best estimate of the SWR (Safe Withdrawal R

How do you make reasonable assumptions about the returns of stocks and bonds going forward without look at past returns? All the predictions I've read about lower returns in the future are based on something like PE10 and make the claim "when things looked like this in the past, here's how the...
by ourbrooks
Fri Sep 26, 2014 6:46 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What is your best estimate of the SWR (Safe Withdrawal Rate)
Replies: 77
Views: 4068

Re: Gas Water Heater Upgrade worth the $$$

The builder is thinking of tankless, condensing water heater? :annoyed My thought as well. $1400 sounds just about right for a whole house tankless. Indulge yourself. With the tankless, you can take a shower any time you want without worrying that your spouse has just started a tub of laundry or is...
by ourbrooks
Fri Sep 26, 2014 6:25 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gas Water Heater Upgrade worth the $$$
Replies: 31
Views: 1946

Re: What is your best estimate of the SWR (Safe Withdrawal R

Basing withdrawal rates on past history (ala the Trinity Study) doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Will the next 30 years resemble the historical past? A better approach, in my view, is to make reasonable assumptions about the returns of stocks and bonds going forward and plan from there. How do yo...
by ourbrooks
Fri Sep 26, 2014 5:08 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What is your best estimate of the SWR (Safe Withdrawal Rate)
Replies: 77
Views: 4068

Re: What is your best estimate of the SWR (Safe Withdrawal R

Professor Cooley responded: You have hit the nail on the head! I've tried to explain that thought to journalists but they don't seem to get it. You've got it. Stay flexible my friend!, which is the advice we should give to retirees. That's one of the least content quotations I've ever read. What doe...
by ourbrooks
Fri Sep 26, 2014 2:18 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What is your best estimate of the SWR (Safe Withdrawal Rate)
Replies: 77
Views: 4068

Re: What's Your Takeaway from 2014 High Valuation

Whenever I read about high valuations, I go back and read this article: http://www.philosophicaleconomics.com/2013/12/the-single-greatest-predictor-of-future-stock-market-returns/ The best 10 year predictor of stock market returns is not PE10; it's the percentage of stocks in investor's portfolios. ...
by ourbrooks
Wed Sep 24, 2014 8:52 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What's Your Takeaway from 2014 High Valuation
Replies: 52
Views: 4338

Re: Engineered Hardwood

If the underside of the engineered wood flooring is pressboard, then you're buying at the low end of the market. The better quality engineered flooring has 5 or 7 layer plywood. If you look at the edge of the board and can only see 2 or 3 layers and one of them is very thick, then it's the less expe...
by ourbrooks
Sat Sep 20, 2014 4:46 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Engineered Hardwood
Replies: 13
Views: 1192

Re: Engineered Hardwood

As the others have already said, laminate is not the same as engineered hardwood. If the flooring store is telling you it's the same, find another store ASAP. If you have small children still spilling things all over the place, then I would not go with laminate or engineered hardwood. Since the flo...
by ourbrooks
Sat Sep 20, 2014 3:53 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Engineered Hardwood
Replies: 13
Views: 1192

Re: Stable value funds with tickers?

Stable values funds operate by a variety of different mechanisms, but one common mechanism is to buy longer term bonds and insure them against loss if sold. Note the "if sold" part. What makes the insurance reasonable is that stable value funds almost never sell their bonds; they hold them...
by ourbrooks
Tue Sep 16, 2014 8:42 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Stable value funds with tickers?
Replies: 8
Views: 760

Re: Help with annuity questions

Okay, let's see if I can recast things into terms I'm more familiar with. I think "IRA annuity" is a term the insurance company made up. IRAs are structures for holding assets. You can put a wide range of assets into them. Some people put collectables into the their IRAs. You can also mix ...
by ourbrooks
Sat Sep 13, 2014 8:18 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help with annuity questions
Replies: 14
Views: 1176

Re: Help with annuity questions

I don't think that you can legally put an Individual Retirement Account inside an annuity; more likely, it's the other way around. One of the investments in the IRA just happens to be a deferred annuity. If an investment inside an IRA makes regular payments for the life of the beneficiary and follow...
by ourbrooks
Sat Sep 13, 2014 6:47 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help with annuity questions
Replies: 14
Views: 1176

Re: VDE [for 5% "casino money"?]

Note that VDE holds only oil/gas companies which do their finances in dollars. This removes currency factors from returns but it leaves out companies like British Petroleum and Royal Dutch Shell. The Vanguard Energy mutual fund (VGENX) would give you broader exposure.
by ourbrooks
Sat Sep 13, 2014 12:40 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: VDE [for 5% "casino money"?]
Replies: 11
Views: 975
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