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Re: How much do you plan to save in your 529 plan?

I personally don't think it's worthwhile paying for a "2nd tier' expensive private college if a flagship public college is available. Agreed. Eldest felt differently after the athletic official visit to our best in state. So we could have forced the issue with the very real possibility of a fl...
by ourbrooks
Sun Aug 17, 2014 5:48 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much do you plan to save in your 529 plan?
Replies: 32
Views: 2903

Re: Moving after retirement.

You might be in the right city, but are you in the right house? What happens in 15 or 20 years when you aren't as spry as you are now? If what you have now is a two story house with a large yard and long driveway, then maybe you should consider moving to a one story house or condominium where someon...
by ourbrooks
Sat Aug 16, 2014 1:07 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Moving after retirement.
Replies: 43
Views: 3487

Re: MFA and MLPs

Look up the total return for MFA on Morningstar. As REITs go, MFA is below average. Over the past 10 years, she'd have been better off with the Vanguard REIT index fund. Grandfather is forgetting that there are two elements to REIT/stock return: dividends and price appreciation. Grandfather is not c...
by ourbrooks
Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:28 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: MFA and MLPs [Master Limited Partnerships]
Replies: 11
Views: 576

Re: Should I "super-fund" my 529 for my kids?

What if your kids don't use all of the money? Suppose that your kids turn out to be only "above average" and can't get in to a top private school. Would you want to send them to a second tier private university, just to burn up the money? What if they decide to go to a public university wh...
by ourbrooks
Tue Aug 12, 2014 11:31 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I "super-fund" my 529 for my kids?
Replies: 13
Views: 1316

Re: The Worst Investment You Can Make: Buying a Home

Nah, kids aren't the worst investment; food is. Food is clearly an investment, because it has a return, your health and/or life. Setting a financial value on a human life is done routinely in damage suits and the like. To calculate the return on food, take the value of your life and subtract out wha...
by ourbrooks
Fri Aug 08, 2014 6:19 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Worst Investment You Can Make: Buying a Home
Replies: 75
Views: 7312

Re: Mulch, Rubber Mulch, or Rocks in Landscaping?

I may be wrong about this, but something tells me that the torch weed removal method is not compatible with rubber mulch.
by ourbrooks
Fri Aug 08, 2014 4:07 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mulch, Rubber Mulch, or Rocks in Landscaping?
Replies: 36
Views: 1631

Re: Buying land and building house

If you're thinking of this as a retirement home, and you retire at around 65, you might want to think of something different. Big issues are: Access to medical care How far is it to the nearest doctor's office? Does that doctor even accept Medicare? How far will you have to travel to see a specialis...
by ourbrooks
Fri Aug 08, 2014 2:00 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying land and building house
Replies: 22
Views: 2461

Re: Buy a house with cash and then do cash-out refinance?

Check carefully on the laws of the state in which you live. In Texas, you can't get a mortgage on a property to which you already have title; the best you can do is a home equity loan and those are limited, by law, to 50% of equity. Also, the buyer may want evidence that you do, indeed, have the cas...
by ourbrooks
Fri Aug 08, 2014 1:40 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buy a house with cash and then do cash-out refinance?
Replies: 18
Views: 2266

Re: Mulch, Rubber Mulch, or Rocks in Landscaping?

The problem with rocks or any inorganic material, even with landscape fabric underneath, is that soil gets blown or washed in and weeds take root there. Either you've got to pull the weeds constantly or spray the whole area with weed killer regularly. Look in your buddy's neighborhood in a year or t...
by ourbrooks
Fri Aug 08, 2014 12:39 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mulch, Rubber Mulch, or Rocks in Landscaping?
Replies: 36
Views: 1631

Re: How to Invest Potential Future Home Purchase

If you look at rolling 5 year periods starting in 1926, the U.S. stock market lost money in 14% of them. Only when you get out to 15 years was every period positive but the worst case return was 0.62%. Stocks probably aren't a good idea for your time horizons. How about 5 year CDs, especially if the...
by ourbrooks
Fri Aug 08, 2014 12:28 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How to Invest Potential Future Home Purchase
Replies: 5
Views: 305

Re: Historical question about recessions

This is considered one of the definitive papers on the Great Depression: http://www.nber.org/papers/w4814

Notice the author. Before he entered public office, Prof. Bernanke was know for his economic analyses of the Great Depression.
Was George Bush prescient in nominating him?
by ourbrooks
Fri Aug 08, 2014 12:09 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Historical question about recessions
Replies: 19
Views: 1088

Re: Legality of sending personal information via email

You could, of course, simply refuse to sign until the lawyer sent the documents by USPS, certified mail with signed return receipt. Something fun to think about: Tell the lawyer that your email account has been hacked and then send back an edited version of the document that specifies that the sales...
by ourbrooks
Fri Aug 08, 2014 11:28 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Legality of sending personal information via email
Replies: 38
Views: 1971

Re: Electronic person-to-person payments

Yup, Venmo is the cool, hip young person thing. Paypal is for old foggies. Venmo, LLC is an authorized delegate of PayPal, Inc. If you have a complaint, first contact the consumer assistance division of PayPal, Inc. at the address above; if you still have an unresolved complaint regarding PayPal, In...
by ourbrooks
Thu Aug 07, 2014 6:02 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Electronic person-to-person payments
Replies: 19
Views: 1549

Re: [If over 50] Do you prepare for long term care

Most of the people who have long term care insurance are, in fact, to a great extent self-insuring. According to the Association for Long-term Care Insurance, a "good" level policy provides $164,000 in total benefits. This is less than two years nursing home expense coverage at current rat...
by ourbrooks
Thu Aug 07, 2014 11:50 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [If over 50] Do you prepare for long term care
Replies: 43
Views: 2068

Re: Would you use a HELOC to invest in VTSAX?

If you look at rolling 2 year periods starting in 1926, the U.S. stock market has had a loss in about 19% of the periods; in other words, if you put the money in VTSAX for two years, you have a 19% chance that, in two years, the value of your account would be less than what you borrowed. Over 10 yea...
by ourbrooks
Tue Aug 05, 2014 6:10 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Would you use a HELOC to invest in VTSAX?
Replies: 22
Views: 1361

Re: 2nd marriage: SS, legal marriage vs commitment ceremony?

The lines between civil marriage and religious marriage are very much a gray area; in what other area of life does a religious ceremony have consequences about civil ownership of property? You need to check with an attorney in your particular state, but it may be the case that holding a religious ma...
by ourbrooks
Sat Aug 02, 2014 7:42 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2nd marriage: SS, legal marriage vs commitment ceremony?
Replies: 16
Views: 1382

Re: New smartphone - questions from a nervous upgrader

In the folly of my youth, I used to buy the latest PC with the highest clock rate. Naturally, three years later, even the bargain models ran at a higher clock rate. I learned that a better strategy was to buy frequently but buy at the bottom. Yup, I was always behind the newest top rated models, but...
by ourbrooks
Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New smartphone - questions from a nervous upgrader
Replies: 42
Views: 3171

Re: Retiree Income Investment Question

Very hard problem. Interest rates are very low right now, so anything which is primarily bonds will have a low payout. Anything with stocks in it means selling the stocks to get income out and the stock market goes up and down. Although it's not a sure thing, no one would be very surprised if the st...
by ourbrooks
Thu Jul 31, 2014 2:06 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Retiree Income Investment Question
Replies: 17
Views: 1458

Re: Mortgage on owned home

How about a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)? It allows you to borrow against your home any time you want; the Wells Fargo one actually comes with a debit card. Some banks will actually set it up for free and only charge you if you draw on it. The only drawback I can see is that in some states, th...
by ourbrooks
Thu Jul 31, 2014 1:49 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage on owned home
Replies: 6
Views: 579

Re: Mortgage on owned home

Hope you don't live in Texas. In Texas, you can't take out a mortgage on a house you already own. You can only take out a home equity loan, and there are limits to the amount of equity you can borrow.

If you live in another state, check the regulations there.
by ourbrooks
Thu Jul 31, 2014 1:07 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage on owned home
Replies: 6
Views: 579

Re: Medicaid look-back

Medicaid programs do in fact cover in home care but the coverage varies from state to state: http://www.caring.com/questions/medicaid-in-home-care (This is not surprising, given how much cheaper it is to care for people at home than in a facility.) One of the problems with financial planning and Med...
by ourbrooks
Thu Jul 31, 2014 12:44 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medicaid look-back
Replies: 9
Views: 1023

Re: Annuities and asset allocation

If you buy annuities which provide substantial parts of your income stream, then you may very well want to increase the proportion of riskier assets in your portfolio. After all, why isn't your asset allocation 100% stocks? As an asset class, stocks have the highest long term expected return. Add mo...
by ourbrooks
Mon Jul 28, 2014 5:20 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Annuities and asset allocation
Replies: 32
Views: 1535

Re: Selling House - Do We Need a Listing Broker?

OP here. I'm a little skeptical that MLS has that much advantage over Zillow. The selling agent on the house we are buying made a pitch to list our house. She stated that she had buyers looking in our subdivision, and she checked Zillow everyday to see if anything came on the market. We were doing ...
by ourbrooks
Sun Jul 27, 2014 10:37 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling House - Do We Need a Listing Broker?
Replies: 61
Views: 2762

Re: Selling House - Do We Need a Listing Broker?

If you don't have a selling broker, there's no way your house will get listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). It won't show up on realtor.com; it might not show up on Redfin. Why do you want your listing there? Well, a lot of buyers still rely on buyer's agents to find likely houses. This is ...
by ourbrooks
Sun Jul 27, 2014 8:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling House - Do We Need a Listing Broker?
Replies: 61
Views: 2762

Re: Vanguard quietly adds longevity annuities

Why couldn't the insurance companies simply buy TIPS that mature in the initial year of the deferred payout?? They are in the unique position to do this and it would allow them to offer an inflation indexed initial payout deferred annuity. They would not expose themselves to inflation risk and woul...
by ourbrooks
Sat Jul 26, 2014 5:01 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard quietly adds longevity annuities
Replies: 85
Views: 6749

Re: Vanguard quietly adds longevity annuities

I wouldn't hold out much hope of inflation indexed annuities that index the initial payout. As nisiprius pointed out, 20 years is a loooong time from the point of view of inflation. How much would you want me to pay you today for an inflation indexed $1000 in 20 years? How good are insurance compani...
by ourbrooks
Sat Jul 26, 2014 4:15 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard quietly adds longevity annuities
Replies: 85
Views: 6749

Re: Android smartphone with physical keyboard

Amazon has generic, capacitive styli starting at $1.38. Seems a cheap experiment. Edit: 5 for $1.29 At that price, I'd pay the $49 for two hour drone delivery, just to settle the question. The FAA hasn't approved the drone delivery yet. I believe Amazon expects the new rules by 2015. I wouldn't pay...
by ourbrooks
Thu Jul 24, 2014 5:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Android smartphone with physical keyboard
Replies: 38
Views: 1864

Re: Please help settle an argument

Historically, over rolling five year periods, the S&P 500 has had a loss 40% of the time. No one can predict in advance in which five year periods the S&P 500 will rise. Is this year a good year to take out a five year loan? What do you think the odds are that five years from now the S&P...
by ourbrooks
Wed Jul 23, 2014 2:11 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Please help settle an argument
Replies: 23
Views: 1976

Re: Android smartphone with physical keyboard

Amazon has generic, capacitive styli starting at $1.38. Seems a cheap experiment.

Edit: 5 for $1.29 At that price, I'd pay the $49 for two hour drone delivery, just to settle the question.
by ourbrooks
Wed Jul 23, 2014 2:02 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Android smartphone with physical keyboard
Replies: 38
Views: 1864

Re: Android smartphone with physical keyboard

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 supports a stylus and has a 5.7 inch screen You might be able to type using the stylus instead of your fingers. There are a lot of external keyboards in the $10-$20 range. Almost all of them are larger than a phone, say, 11 inches long. If you really do a lot of typing, the...
by ourbrooks
Tue Jul 22, 2014 1:22 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Android smartphone with physical keyboard
Replies: 38
Views: 1864

Re: Take the plunge on long term treasuries vs. market timin

Currently, there's lots being written about how the market is over valued and how a major crash, or, at least, a correction is coming soon. A lot of people are pretty convinced this is going to happen. What if they're right? Then, right now is an extremely good time to buy long term Treasuries for t...
by ourbrooks
Mon Jul 21, 2014 2:21 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Take the plunge on long term treasuries vs. market timing?
Replies: 5
Views: 574

Re: oil companies more risky

There must be something wrong with your analysis. Everyone knows that oil imports in China fell in May and are flat the last five months. If people thought that it was likely that the price of oil were vulnerable to a sharp drop, oil futures would have dropped. If anything they've risen. If people t...
by ourbrooks
Sun Jul 20, 2014 4:59 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: oil companies more risky
Replies: 8
Views: 1019

Re: NPR: Net Price Of Private Non-Profit College

even the average score an Aggie is 1220 and A&M has an honors program that is even more selective. Because A&M must accept top 10% students, the average SAT score of admitted students isn't as high as it would be without the 10% mandate. I'd say that even with the 10% rule, A&M students...
by ourbrooks
Sat Jul 19, 2014 8:23 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: NPR: Net Price Of Private Non-Profit College
Replies: 36
Views: 3304

Re: NPR: Net Price Of Private Non-Profit College

While I do think public colleges are a good way to go financially, the one that we toured has a program for higher SAT score students. The score.....1200. My son and I looked at each other like they just said dragons are admitted. His score was 1650 and he was about average for his high school. I'm...
by ourbrooks
Sat Jul 19, 2014 7:43 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: NPR: Net Price Of Private Non-Profit College
Replies: 36
Views: 3304

Re: NPR: Net Price Of Private Non-Profit College

I have to disagree to the statement that a child's educational path can be determined by 1st or 2nd grade. My youngest self-taught how to multiply by age 3 and was in a gifted program in elementary school. Now a lazy freshman who barely passes classes but pulls out As and Bs on finals. It was not l...
by ourbrooks
Sat Jul 19, 2014 4:49 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: NPR: Net Price Of Private Non-Profit College
Replies: 36
Views: 3304

Re: retirement fund or college fund?

If your child is academically gifted enough to get into Yale, for example, where you put the money now may not matter: Every family’s financial situation is different. Some families are not able to contribute financially towards their student’s college education at all. Others can afford the full co...
by ourbrooks
Thu Jul 17, 2014 10:33 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: retirement fund or college fund?
Replies: 15
Views: 884

Re: SAT preparation

I presume that we're talking about here is the SAT general ability tests, not the subject area tests. Yes, the Kaplan and Princeton programs do increase SAT scores, by 21 to 34 points total ( http://research.collegeboard.org/sites/default/files/publications/2012/7/researchreport-1998-6-effects-coach...
by ourbrooks
Sat Jul 12, 2014 6:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: SAT preparation
Replies: 30
Views: 2446

Re: NPR: Net Price Of Private Non-Profit College

As the podcast makes clear, there's more to the story of private college costs than sticker versus net price; the distribution of who pays has also changed. More scholarship dollars are now going to attract the top students and less is going to the average student. This is a widespread national tren...
by ourbrooks
Sat Jul 12, 2014 5:49 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: NPR: Net Price Of Private Non-Profit College
Replies: 36
Views: 3304

Re: Longevity Annuities

Lots of press recently on Longevity Annuities....drawing on payments starting around 80? Seems like a crap shoot of a gamble with odds going to the insurance companies...what do the bogleheads think? It's less of a crap shoot if you wait until 80 to buy one. By then you can estimate your remaining ...
by ourbrooks
Wed Jul 09, 2014 9:54 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Longevity Annuities
Replies: 18
Views: 2675

Re: Asset Allocation At or Near Retirement?

If you look at the studies in the Wiki, anywhere from 30% stocks to 70% stocks is about equally likely to sustain a 4% withdrawal rate for 30 years. There's some evidence that higher equity percentages are more likely to be effective for very long retirements (more than 30 years) or if you wan to le...
by ourbrooks
Wed Jul 09, 2014 2:09 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Asset Allocation At or Near Retirement?
Replies: 51
Views: 4696

Re: Is Market on "Wrong Side of History"?

The market would probably be 1,000 or 2,000 points lower right now if not for extreme Fed policies. So, a plunge followed by a long flat if not down market is sure to happen when the Fed is forced to reverse course by some event such as an unexpected spike in inflation. The boglehead approach is to...
by ourbrooks
Wed Jul 09, 2014 1:58 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is Market on "Wrong Side of History"?
Replies: 22
Views: 2728

Re: Is Market on "Wrong Side of History"?

Assuming for the moment that the author's analysis is correct, there are too many "what ifs" to take sensible action: 1. What if U.S. economic growth and corporate profits slowly increase? Will the stock market move even higher or will it stay level until valuations catch up? 2. What if al...
by ourbrooks
Wed Jul 09, 2014 1:07 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is Market on "Wrong Side of History"?
Replies: 22
Views: 2728

Re: Retirement age for software engineers

The reason there's a lot of controversy is that it doesn't match ANYBODY'S experience ANYWHERE. It would be one thing if some people said "yeah, that sounds about right" but others say "no, that doesn't sound right." But there is literally nobody anywhere standing up for these m...
by ourbrooks
Sun Jul 06, 2014 10:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retirement age for software engineers
Replies: 94
Views: 9759

Re: Retirement age for software engineers

Unfortunately, the company you work for makes a big difference here. If you are using something like C++ or Java to write desktop apps, you'll probably never have occasion to learn the new web-based technologies, and that's a problem, because the web is the future. The only real solution is to get ...
by ourbrooks
Sun Jul 06, 2014 4:32 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retirement age for software engineers
Replies: 94
Views: 9759

Re: Retirement age for software engineers

Unfortunately, the company you work for makes a big difference here. If you are using something like C++ or Java to write desktop apps, you'll probably never have occasion to learn the new web-based technologies, and that's a problem, because the web is the future. The only real solution is to get ...
by ourbrooks
Sat Jul 05, 2014 7:40 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retirement age for software engineers
Replies: 94
Views: 9759

Re: Who will be the Vanguard of the annuity world?

The problem with any inflation indexed product is that whoever sells it must be able to increase how much they are paying out over time by an amount which depends on the rate of inflation. This is not like other insurable events, like life insurance, in which the payable event occurs after people ha...
by ourbrooks
Fri Jul 04, 2014 2:50 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Who will be the Vanguard of the annuity world?
Replies: 27
Views: 3682

Re: Market Timing with the PE10

Here's another approach to market timing with PE10: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1876225 The problem with this approach is it may leave you entirely in bonds for decades at a time, hoping that there'll be a big enough stock market crash to make it worthwhile to switch to stocks.
by ourbrooks
Thu Jul 03, 2014 9:51 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Market Timing with the PE10
Replies: 18
Views: 2296

Re: I'm worthless [Net worth is zero]

Is the sum of your mortgage + HELOC equal to the value of your home? If not, then your net worth includes the remaining equity in your home. Also, you need to consider the value of your cars. If you can get loans on them, chances are that the value of the cars exceeds the value of your car loans. Ge...
by ourbrooks
Thu Jul 03, 2014 11:11 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: I'm worthless [Net worth is zero]
Replies: 33
Views: 5091

Re: Building a home

If by "building a home," you mean a custom home, it's a huge amount of work and very, very difficult to keep the price under control. First, you will pay an architect to come up with a plan. He/she will be guided by your budget but won't be able to give an exact figure. You'll also need a ...
by ourbrooks
Tue Jul 01, 2014 5:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Building a home
Replies: 17
Views: 1505

Re: N+ Routers

Again, keep in mind that the more devices you have, the less the range of your router is likely to be. That's because the devices interfere with each other and the weaker signal from the router when you're far from it gets lost in the noise. You can be heard quit a distance shouting when you're the ...
by ourbrooks
Sun Jun 29, 2014 8:32 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: N+ Routers
Replies: 27
Views: 1721
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