Search found 1448 matches

by ourbrooks
Fri Aug 28, 2015 6:04 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Tax free income
Replies: 8
Views: 1230

Re: Tax free income

Go look at what happened to VWALX in 2008. High yield bonds tend go up and down along with stocks. What makes up VWALX are all kinds of special purpose bonds used for things like stadiums and paid back out of the stadium revenues, not real estate taxes. If the economy hits a bad patch and people qui...
by ourbrooks
Wed Aug 26, 2015 8:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Aloha Shirt: Yes or No
Replies: 78
Views: 6371

Re: Aloha Shirt: Yes or No

All of the Authentic 'Hawaii Shirts' I've seen are 100% Silk. The cheaper knockoffs are Cotton, Rayon. (Some of these are nice and I have a few), but if you want the 'real thing' you have to go 100% Silk. Like this one .... http://www.tommybahama.com/TBG/Men/Shirts/Camp_Shirts/PRD_T311896/Keep+Palm...
by ourbrooks
Wed Aug 26, 2015 5:24 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Using the signaling power of treasury bonds
Replies: 10
Views: 1348

Re: Using the signaling power of treasury bonds

I looked for tests of statistical significance and didn't find any. What did I overlook?
by ourbrooks
Sat Aug 15, 2015 6:22 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: College savings
Replies: 40
Views: 2203

Re: College savings

A major factor (the major factor?) in the rise in college costs has been the increase in the student population. Between 1965 and 2005, the number of college students tripled because of a combination of Baby Boomers reaching college age and an increased rate of college attendance. This meant that th...
by ourbrooks
Thu Aug 13, 2015 4:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a "dinosaur" laptop
Replies: 28
Views: 3520

Re: Buying a "dinosaur" laptop

Look at a refurbished Dell from their business line, not their home, line, e.g., a Latitude or OptiPlex, not an Inspiron. Some of the "refurbished" machines are, in fact, new overstock. Regardless of the history, most of them come with a 3 year ON-SITE warranty. After staying on the phone ...
by ourbrooks
Sun Aug 02, 2015 6:57 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Is Is Wise Not To Factor Social Security/Medicare Into Your Retirement Plans?
Replies: 20
Views: 1638

Re: Is Is Wise Not To Factor Social Security/Medicare Into Your Retirement Plans?

If you want to model what happens if both Social Security and Medicare disappear, you could start out using their current value and projecting forward using an assumed inflation rate. 1. Right now, Social Security of $20,000 for a couple is worth about $600,000 at present. I know John Bogle has gues...
by ourbrooks
Sat Aug 01, 2015 1:07 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Ready to Give Up on Emerging Market Stocks?
Replies: 47
Views: 4890

Re: Ready to Give Up on Emerging Market Stocks?

At least as its summarized in the original post, the underlying basis for the authors' prediction remains a mystery. There's a common misconception that emerging market companies grow because emerging market economies grow. To have a large market cap and be in the index, a company has to have lots o...
by ourbrooks
Fri Jul 31, 2015 2:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Router Upgrade
Replies: 42
Views: 2992

Re: Router Upgrade

The 50 Mbps figure is usually qualified by the phrase, "up to." Often, the typical speed is much lower; you may already be getting the maximum speed you can get from your ISP. If this is so, buying a new router won't help. Do you have a separate router connected to the ISP box? If so, plug...
by ourbrooks
Sun Jul 26, 2015 7:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: prepaid phone less than $50 with Android Lollipop 5.0
Replies: 10
Views: 1046

Re: prepaid phone less than $50 with Android Lollipop 5.0

I hope that your desire to use a physical device is not standing in the way of learning to use the emulator really well. From the Android developer web site: Note: When developing on a device, keep in mind that you should still use the Android emulator to test your application on configurations that...
by ourbrooks
Sun Jul 26, 2015 10:25 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Edelman -- best days, worst days
Replies: 26
Views: 2048

Re: Edleman -- best days, worst days

It should be obvious that no market timer could capture all the highs and miss all the lows Paul Enter: algorithmic market software equations that take care of that ..(afaik) :| Not likely. People have been trying literally for centuries to predict markets. In the pre-computer era, they used charts...
by ourbrooks
Sat Jul 25, 2015 1:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: CrashPlan NOT a whole-drive system backup solution?
Replies: 33
Views: 2475

Re: CrashPlan NOT a whole-drive system backup solution?

What I'm not sure about is if a computer goes belly up, and can't be revived, can the system files be put onto a *different* computer, or would anti-piracy protections interfere? And would this be a problem for other full imaging programs? My only experience restoring a disk image is with a replace...
by ourbrooks
Sat Jul 25, 2015 1:07 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 529 Asset Allocation
Replies: 20
Views: 1707

Re: 529 Asset Allocation

Time frame is very important in asset allocation, particularly for shorter terms. The stock market has had a NEGATIVE return in about 14% of historical, rolling five year periods. Even over 15 years, there's still a small probability of a loss. When you are withdrawing for retirement, the withdrawal...
by ourbrooks
Fri Jul 24, 2015 6:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: CrashPlan NOT a whole-drive system backup solution?
Replies: 33
Views: 2475

Re: CrashPlan NOT a whole-drive system backup solution?

I love CrashPlan, but yeah it does not do image level backups. I don't think I'd want it to anyway. A full image level backup is quite large and would take too long to download from the cloud. I back up everything except Program Files and the Windows folders with CrashPlan: documents, mp3s, movies,...
by ourbrooks
Mon Jul 20, 2015 6:42 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard Energy Mutual Fund or ETF?
Replies: 11
Views: 907

Re: Vanguard Energy Mutual Fund or ETF?

I would have thought the two returns would be fairly comparable. They are general in the same direction, but year by year there have been large variations. The ETF, VDE tracks (MSCI) US Investable Market Energy Index (domestic energy.) The mutual fund VGENX, is benchmarked to MSCI All Country World...
by ourbrooks
Sun Jul 19, 2015 4:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replacing wireless router - advice needed
Replies: 21
Views: 2170

Re: Replacing wireless router - advice needed

There's also the smart phone problem. Nearly all smartphone users use Wi-Fi when available. If you've got four people in a household, each with a laptop or desktop, and they each have a smartphone, you've got 8 Wi-Fi devices. Alas, only the newest/highest end smartphones offer 5 Ghz support. For And...
by ourbrooks
Sun Jul 19, 2015 1:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replacing wireless router - advice needed
Replies: 21
Views: 2170

Re: Replacing wireless router - advice needed

It's highly likely that your router is working just fine, but that you have too many neighbors also using WiFi in the same (or close by) channels on the 2.4GHz band. This will cause interference and essentially everyone slows down so that everyone gets a turn. It's like having too many cars on a ro...
by ourbrooks
Sat Jul 11, 2015 4:21 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Wade Pfau on Asset Allocation Using PE10
Replies: 83
Views: 6240

Re: Wade Pfau on Asset Allocation Using PE10

Regardless of whether or not it is "data mining," on backtesting, the strategies Wade Pfau describes substantially outperform a 100% equities buy-and-hold strategy, with lower risk. (Of course, since they outperform 100% equities, they outperform any strategy with a lower percentage of equ...
by ourbrooks
Fri Jul 10, 2015 2:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medicaid look back
Replies: 19
Views: 2842

Re: Medicaid look back

Let's take a look at the real question, whether or not you should pay off your mortgage. There are lots and lots of threads on this topic. As far as I'm concerned, the only defensible reason for not paying off your mortgage is because you have some other investment which pays more. Such investments ...
by ourbrooks
Tue Jul 07, 2015 5:00 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Best way to invest in OIL
Replies: 66
Views: 5324

Re: Best way to invest in OIL

Right now, about 84% of U.S. energy comes from fossil fuels. Use of renewables would have to triple to even reach half. The dominant renewables are wind energy, which is actually cheaper than nuclear and competitive with natural gas on life time cost, and solar. The big problem with wind power is th...
by ourbrooks
Tue Jul 07, 2015 4:42 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Best way to invest in OIL
Replies: 66
Views: 5324

Re: Best way to invest in OIL

Ah hah! It's "energy" the OP wants to invest in, not in particular the OIL ETN. In particular, I'd guess that the OP wants to invest in hydrocarbons, such as oil or natural gas so the question becomes what's the best way to invest in hydrocarbons? If by "best" you mean most close...
by ourbrooks
Tue Jul 07, 2015 2:12 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Best way to invest in OIL
Replies: 66
Views: 5324

Re: Best way to invest in OIL

If it is specifically the OIL ETN that the OP is asking about, then here's what the issuer has to say: The Index is a sub-index of the S&P GSCI® Commodity Index and reflects the returns that are potentially available through an unleveraged investment in the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oi...
by ourbrooks
Sun Jul 05, 2015 6:59 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Chart: The World's Stock Markets in the Year 2050
Replies: 32
Views: 5682

Re: Chart: The World's Stock Markets in the Year 2050

Siegel makes an absolutely classic error: he presumes that stock market equity associated with a country is somehow associated with the GDP of a country. Particularly for large cap stocks, the relationship is weak at best. For example, the largest holding of the Vanguard Developed Markets fund is Ne...
by ourbrooks
Sat Jul 04, 2015 6:04 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Funds that exclude one country
Replies: 27
Views: 1373

Re: Funds that exclude one country

Countries are put in an index based on where they are "domiciled," usually, where they have their corporate headquarters. Particularly for large caps, that has very little to do with where they make their money. Nestle is a company which does more business in the U.S. than anywhere else, y...
by ourbrooks
Sat Jul 04, 2015 2:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Elder planning
Replies: 6
Views: 964

Re: Elder planning

On the slim chance that she does develop dementia and does need permanent nursing care, she won't need the house. With her pension + SS, she can probably do 10 years or more in a private nursing home; I'd call that a lot more than a "couple". I note that many of the cases of long nursing h...
by ourbrooks
Wed Jul 01, 2015 2:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to predict state taxes to help decide where to live
Replies: 20
Views: 1975

Re: How to predict state taxes to help decide where to live

Taxes are probably the last thing I'd look at in determining retirement costs. San Angelo, Texas has an average house listing price of $248,507. Austin, Texas has an average house listing price of 681,842. Both cities are in Texas; both have no income tax and about the same sales tax rates. I haven'...
by ourbrooks
Sun Jun 28, 2015 3:09 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: AA for 529s that will be used for college and grad school
Replies: 16
Views: 1413

Re: AA for 529s that will be used for college and grad school

1. Over rolling, five year historical periods, stocks have lost money in 14% of the periods. 2. Over rolling, 20 year historical periods, there has never been a period with a loss, although the worst gain was a real 19%. Nearly all of your college expenditures occur within the next five years. How w...
by ourbrooks
Sat Jun 27, 2015 1:30 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Will Demographics Be Destiny for Stocks and Bonds?
Replies: 23
Views: 3197

Re: Will Demographics Be Destiny for Stocks and Bonds?

If you do want to overweight emerging market equities, then the Vanguard funds are probably not the best choices. If you look at the top 10 in the Vanguard Emerging Markets Fund, 8 of the 10 are China based companies; 2 are banks and 2 are insurance companies. What about India, which some pundits pr...
by ourbrooks
Sun Jun 21, 2015 7:04 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Role of annuities in low SWR situations
Replies: 29
Views: 3524

Re: Role of annuities in low SWR situations

Anyone who is 50% cash now is highly risk adverse. Why make them suffer through even the modest market swings of a 25% stock portfolio? The odds are high that even if they went to all cash, they'd have enough for the rest of their lives. They've won the game; why do they need to keep playing? Effect...
by ourbrooks
Fri Jun 19, 2015 7:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I open up floor of very old home to search for old coins?
Replies: 35
Views: 5157

Re: Should I open up floor of very old home to search for old coins?

Chances are there is a subfloor under the surface floor boards. In new houses that is plywood (or in cheaper construction particleboard), in older houses it would be planks running across joists, and then the flooring running with joists. At least that is how it was done in my house, and my underst...
by ourbrooks
Tue Jun 16, 2015 5:45 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help - Leveraged ETF's and Natural Gas.
Replies: 21
Views: 1756

Re: Help - Leveraged ETF's and Natural Gas.

Natural gas companies were NOT hit particularly hard when the price of oil dropped; natural gas prices dropped in 2008 and haven't come back since. They're actually higher now than they were at the beginning of 2012. Geologically, oil and natural gas are just points on a continuum; both can come out...
by ourbrooks
Mon Jun 15, 2015 7:18 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: VDE or Vanguard Energy Fund
Replies: 8
Views: 902

Re: VDE or Vanguard Energy Fund

VGENX has an expense ratio of 0.37% as versus 0.12% for VDE. The wider exposure has to be worth at least 0.25% for it to be worthwhile to buy VGENX. I'm presuming that you're expecting several percentage points of outperformance for the energy sector; if it's a point or less, it hardly seems worth it.
by ourbrooks
Mon Jun 15, 2015 6:03 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: VDE or Vanguard Energy Fund
Replies: 8
Views: 902

Re: VDE or Vanguard Energy Fund

Energy companies as a class are relatively underrepresented in the U.S. market; many of the largest, most important energy companies are domiciled outside the U.S., for example, BP and Shell. I can't think of any reason why U.S. companies in this sector should outperform non-U.S. companies and I can...
by ourbrooks
Sat Jun 13, 2015 8:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Coffee - just starting out
Replies: 43
Views: 5948

Re: Coffee - just starting out

A cheap experiment is to get yourself a jar of Mexican or European instant coffee. Why Mexican or European? Because they use a darker roast than for the instant coffee intended for the American market. Given the other stuff you're adding to your drink, it'll be hard to detect the difference between ...
by ourbrooks
Thu Jun 11, 2015 7:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dilemma Selling and Buying House
Replies: 19
Views: 2198

Re: Dilemma Selling and Buying House

I might be somewhat reluctant to tell the agent that you were going to take your time buying, least the agent assume that you will be one of those people who burns up their time but never buys anything. Got it but what, in your opinion should I tell them? I feel I need to just be upfront. Negotiate...
by ourbrooks
Thu Jun 11, 2015 6:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dilemma Selling and Buying House
Replies: 19
Views: 2198

Re: Dilemma Selling and Buying House

Feel free to negotiate commission with any agent. It's rarer and rarer for seller's agents to get the full 3%. You don't have to dangle the prospect of a buyer's agent commission to get a lower rate. In fact, I might be somewhat reluctant to tell the agent that you were going to take your time buyin...
by ourbrooks
Thu Jun 11, 2015 5:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any opinions of the Vanguard Fixed Deferred Annuity?
Replies: 19
Views: 2236

Re: Any opinions of the Vanguard Fixed Deferred Annuity?

A Vanguard Fixed Deferred Annuity may not be the same as a Vanguard Deferred Fixed Annuity. The latter is described here:
https://personal.vanguard.com/vlip/Pdf/z144.pdf.

It is NOT a life annuity; it's much more like a bank CD.
by ourbrooks
Wed Jun 10, 2015 7:42 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Elderly in-laws portfolio advice with low funds
Replies: 3
Views: 413

Re: Elderly in-laws portfolio advice with low funds

Consider an SPIA (Single Premium Immediate Annuity). At their ages, you can even get an inflation adjusted one that will pay out more than 5%. The payouts continue as long as they live but there's nothing left when they die, like a pension.
by ourbrooks
Tue Jun 09, 2015 8:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Floor Tiles or Ice Skating Rink?
Replies: 9
Views: 1403

Re: Floor Tiles or Ice Skating Rink?

Do a web search for "anti-slip floor coating." I have no personal experience with any of the products that come up but some of them make reasonable claims.

If the coatings fail, take very fine sandpaper to the floor.
by ourbrooks
Tue Jun 09, 2015 7:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mobile Phone SIM to use in Austria/Switzerland
Replies: 6
Views: 576

Re: Mobile Phone SIM to use in Austria/Switzerland

T Mobile has relatively inexpensive international roaming that covers Austria and Switzerland. Data and texting have no additional charges; voice calls are 20 cents a minute. You can use any unlocked phone which handles the frequencies in Austria and Switzerland; just put the T Mobile SIM card in it.
by ourbrooks
Sun Jun 07, 2015 8:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Putting off Social Security until 70
Replies: 89
Views: 8295

Re: Putting off Social Security until 70

Many here plan to delay until age 70 due to the 8% per yr increase. I don't agree,however, because the amount at age 62 and 70 are actuarialy equivalent. If I recall correctly, one has to live to ~81 to break even Tis absolutely true that, actuarialy, the expected amounts received are identical for...
by ourbrooks
Sun Jun 07, 2015 6:31 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: I-ORP Vs. Cfiresim.com
Replies: 21
Views: 2369

Re: I-ORP Vs. Cfiresim.com

Let me correct a few common misconceptions about Monte Carlos simulation: 1. There is no requirement whatsoever that a Monte Carlo simulation use a known or continuous distribution. In fact, you can take any set of observed data points and call that a distribution, with or without interpolation func...
by ourbrooks
Wed Jun 03, 2015 9:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Kitces - The Ratcheting Safe Withdrawal Rate
Replies: 51
Views: 5828

Re: Kitces - The Ratcheting Safe Withdrawal Rate

VPW doesn't work for me at all. VPW requires either that you have a low return, nearly all bond portfolio, or that you're willing to adjust your spending to follow the gyrations of the stock market. For example, if, in 2008, you held a conservative 50/50 portfolio, the asset allocation used in the o...
by ourbrooks
Wed Jun 03, 2015 5:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Kitces - The Ratcheting Safe Withdrawal Rate
Replies: 51
Views: 5828

Re: Kitces - The Ratcheting Safe Withdrawal Rate

Seems to me that there's a much simpler approach than Kitces which will allow you to start increasing spending sooner if the market does well: Start out with 4% of your initial balance and adjust it for inflation each year. Every five years, calculate 4% of your current portfolio. If it's more than ...
by ourbrooks
Sun May 31, 2015 4:41 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Asset Allocation and withdrawal rate for short life remaining?
Replies: 21
Views: 1755

Re: Asset Allocation and withdrawal rate for short life remaining?

Okay, here's something entirely different: buy her an SPIA. There's something called "medical underwriting" in which the payout is based on the life expectancy of the particular person, rather than the age cohort. In this case, she'd probably get the same payout rate as someone in their 90...
by ourbrooks
Sat May 30, 2015 6:01 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is SPIA income fully taxable?
Replies: 16
Views: 1564

Re: Is SPIA income fully taxable?

Alas, we’ve gotten to the heart of the SPIA. Advertised as the single most tax advantaged product since the advent of poverty, the secret sauce is this: most of that payout is return of your own money! But, watch out Comrade, the income equalizers have their eyes on levying a tax on principal. I’m ...
by ourbrooks
Sat May 30, 2015 12:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Home Equity as part of your Net Worth?
Replies: 25
Views: 2970

Re: Home Equity as part of your Net Worth?

Focus on costs, not on fixed assets. Consider someone who lives on $100,000 a year in income and has $3,000,000 in investable assets. If they're retired that's more than enough investable assets to provide their full retirement income for at least 30 years. Suppose they buy a $5,000,000 home without...
by ourbrooks
Fri May 29, 2015 3:39 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Will Single Premium Immediate Annuities be better with higher interest rates?
Replies: 49
Views: 4060

Re: Will Single Premium Immediate Annuities be better with higher interest rates?

Roughly, the payout rate on a fixed payout life annuity is 1/remaining-life-expectancy + 10-year-Treasure-rate. Yes, as interest rates rise, the payouts will increase, but what always has a much bigger effect is age. Suppose you're in your 80's so that your remaining expectancy is around 8 years. Yo...
by ourbrooks
Wed May 27, 2015 7:01 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Worried about longevity risk...this isn't good news
Replies: 22
Views: 3683

Re: Worried about longevity risk...this isn't good news

The actual reason is probably pretty simple. As a financial vehicle, SPIAs depend on some people dying earlier and some people dying later than their expected lifespans; the ones who die earlier provide funds for the payouts to the ones who die later. The number of people dying earlier and the numbe...
by ourbrooks
Tue May 26, 2015 6:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cellular/wifi traveling to Scotland
Replies: 14
Views: 1004

Re: Cellular/wifi traveling to Scotland

T Mobile's Simple Choice Plan offers both U.S. coverage and "unlimited" international data/text and $.20 phone calls for $50 a month. In the U.K., T Mobile is EE. I put the "unlimited" in quotes because I believe it's the same deal as in the U.S.; the first Gbyte is at high speed...
by ourbrooks
Sun May 24, 2015 6:15 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: At what point does 529 make sense
Replies: 24
Views: 3402

Re: At what point does 529 make sense

If you don't use a 529 plan for educational expenses, not only are the gains taxed as ordinary income, but there's an additional 10% penalty.

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