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Re: Poll: Largest fraudulent charge to your credit card(s)?

I had voted "No fraudulent charges, lucky me" but it turns out my luck had just run out. I just now detected a fraudulent charge on my card for the first time ever. Time to change my vote! The largest individual charge is $40 but they made a bunch of charges totaling over $300. And the fir...
by patrick
Fri Feb 27, 2015 5:14 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Poll: Largest fraudulent charge to your credit card(s)?
Replies: 49
Views: 2236

Re: What do you think of Fidelity's retirement benchmarks?

The vast majority of Americans retire with much less than recommended yet somehow they manage to make do. There is also an issue with changes in salary. If your salary increases dramatically then your retirement readiness would seem to have gotten much worse. Likewise a big pay cut swould make it lo...
by patrick
Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:36 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What do you think of Fidelity's retirement benchmarks?
Replies: 6
Views: 878

Re: How do you invest in Frontier Markets?

Since the original post the MSCI reclassification of Qatar/UAE from frontier to emerging has completed. The FM ETF no longer includes these countries, and as a result it has less concentration in the Middle East than it used to. Currently, less than 40% of FM is in the Middle East, primarily in Kuwa...
by patrick
Tue Feb 24, 2015 7:01 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How do you invest in Frontier Markets?
Replies: 51
Views: 2699

Re: external hard drive - Windows 8 - need assitance

The interface for USB drives is generic. All recent operating system have generic support for it, so you shouldn't need to install a special driver. Even if the device doesn't officially support Windows 8, that shouldn't matter either -- I am using Windows 8 but can still use USB drives that are a d...
by patrick
Tue Feb 24, 2015 6:49 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: external hard drive - Windows 8 - need assitance
Replies: 20
Views: 1290

Re: UGA: Locking in the Current Price of Gasoline

UGA offers commodity exposure without using a commodity futures account," but darn it all, that does not make sense. They say clearly that they are investing in futures contracts, not gasoline itself, and it seems to me that they must be using a commodity futures account. I presume this means ...
by patrick
Sun Feb 22, 2015 2:22 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: UGA: Locking in the Current Price of Gasoline
Replies: 15
Views: 1236

Reward checking account paying 3+% interest -- good idea?

I've been looking at rewards checking accounts, which offer much higher yield than normal checking (and higher than 30 year Treasuries these days!) and trying to figure out if it is worth using them. From what I've looked at it seems the best on offer now is at Consumers Credit Union, as described o...
by patrick
Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:58 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Reward checking account paying 3+% interest -- good idea?
Replies: 5
Views: 853

Re: Ignore the experts but can you invest by consensus?

1) Limited to mutual funds and ETFs (probably not much debate on that).


I think there is debate on that -- many of us would consider using US savings bonds (and of course have some money in a plain bank account too, but I presume that is not thought of as part of the portfolio).
by patrick
Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:24 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Ignore the experts but can you invest by consensus?
Replies: 15
Views: 963

Re: Does Inflation eliminate the Safety of Bonds?

Inflation certainly increases the risk of bonds. You are told this much when you invest in them. OR, interestingly enough, it can reduce return instead, if you buy TIPS. Take your pick. From this very simplistic argument.. that Bonds are like cash.. just not as bad.. "if your bet pays off"...
by patrick
Fri Feb 20, 2015 12:51 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Does Inflation eliminate the Safety of Bonds?
Replies: 42
Views: 3287

Re: Tax Exempt Muni Bond Index for Brokerage Account

Someone who is about to retire (or has recently retired) may be on the verge of a large drop in tax bracket. Wages (or self employment income) are often the large majority of taxable income and so retirement lowers taxable income a lot, possible dropping down multiple tax brackets. This is especiall...
by patrick
Tue Feb 10, 2015 6:15 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Tax Exempt Muni Bond Index for Brokerage Account
Replies: 16
Views: 1359

Re: Emerging markets bonds better than US high yield bonds?

"Fortunately" for those advocating emerging markets bonds, 1998 was more than ten years ago and thus doesn't show up in the 1-3-5-10 year returns or the usual growth charts. Blue line: Emerging markets bonds as represented by the Fidelity New Markets Income Fund. ("Normally investing...
by patrick
Tue Feb 10, 2015 6:05 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Emerging markets bonds better than US high yield bonds?
Replies: 28
Views: 2503

Re: can someone explain the reasoning behind SEPP?

72(t) refers to a section of the Internal Revenue Code, laws enacted by Congress, not a regulation from the IRS. Sometimes it's not clear what the point of a law is, but presumably it's based around the idea that the IRA is intended for retirement only and shouldn't be used for any other purpose. Al...
by patrick
Tue Feb 10, 2015 4:09 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: can someone explain the reasoning behind SEPP?
Replies: 10
Views: 983

Re: Ten Year Treasuries Up 1.68 to 1.95 This Week

It's very shocking to live in times where yields ending up at 1.95% is actually an increase!
by patrick
Sat Feb 07, 2015 5:37 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Ten Year Treasuries Up 1.68 to 1.95 This Week
Replies: 24
Views: 1952

Re: "770" Account

This is just another name for cash value life insurance.
by patrick
Sat Feb 07, 2015 5:15 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "770" Account
Replies: 4
Views: 582

Re: New Jersey State Employees Deferred Compensation Plan

Here's something interesting from the Tibble decision: Nor is the particular expense ratio range out of the ordinary enough to make the funds imprudent. In Hecker, the court upheld the dismissal of a similar excessive fee claim where the range of expenses varied from .07 to 1% across a pool of twent...
by patrick
Sat Feb 07, 2015 3:05 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New Jersey State Employees Deferred Compensation Plan
Replies: 53
Views: 3826

Re: Met a Vanguard basher TransAmerica Insurance pusher

He was probably talking about equity indexed universal life insurance. It is cash value life insurance (just like whole life insurance) but the returns credited to it are a derivative of stock returns with caps and floors and dividends thrown away (just like equity indexed annuities). There are prob...
by patrick
Mon Feb 02, 2015 7:54 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Met a Vanguard basher TransAmerica Insurance pusher
Replies: 41
Views: 4648

Re: Making sense of my whole life insurance statement number

If you have 1000 dollars in your bank account and then you deposit 499 dollars and you get 1 dollar of interest, your balance becomes 1500 dollars. Did you get 50% return then?
by patrick
Fri Jan 30, 2015 6:27 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Making sense of my whole life insurance statement numbers
Replies: 7
Views: 548

Re: [EU] Considerations for not buying US domiciled ETFs? FA

I don't think FATCA specifically should be a problem for you. As with most European countries, the Dutch government has made an FATCA "intergovermental agreement" with the US government (see for instance http://www.pwc.com/us/en/financial-services/publications/fatca-publications/netherland...
by patrick
Wed Jan 28, 2015 7:57 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: [EU] Considerations for not buying US domiciled ETFs? FATCA?
Replies: 12
Views: 828

Re: data mining vs. historical performance

Would "data mining" or the question of "yes, but can history repeat itself" even have been mentioned had the portfolio not contained a position in gold? Yes, definitely. If you had used any other asset with the same combination of very high returns in the last 42 years and low r...
by patrick
Tue Jan 27, 2015 7:44 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: data mining vs. historical performance
Replies: 39
Views: 1641

Re: Google Chrome: is this a mega security problem?

Yes, absolutely. For the regular PC you have to also keep the system patched, and the non -trojan video viewers (and PDF viewers, let's not forget those) patched, and they have to have good security on their own servers, and, and, and. It's a battle the non-sophisticated user has been losing for mo...
by patrick
Wed Jan 21, 2015 1:46 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Google Chrome: is this a mega security problem?
Replies: 111
Views: 6825

Re: Should I enroll in this 457 plan?

I believe that rollovers are not permitted for a 457(b), unless it's to another 457(b) So, make sure you spend the funds in this expensive 457(b) first, when retiring. From what I've read on http://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/457(b) and elsewhere it looks like you can roll out of the 457 if it is a gov...
by patrick
Tue Jan 20, 2015 10:51 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I enroll in this 457 plan?
Replies: 15
Views: 976

Re: Google Chrome: is this a mega security problem?

My point was that the cloud-based machine is internally simpler and (perhaps most importantly) doesn't see many apps installed. So many avenues of attack into your computer have closed, in exchange for the server-side avenue being open. Again, a pretty good tradeoff for most people. If the computer...
by patrick
Tue Jan 20, 2015 10:45 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Google Chrome: is this a mega security problem?
Replies: 111
Views: 6825

Re: Google Chrome: is this a mega security problem?

A big mitigating factor is that these are not random pieces of software, but they have to be approved extensions from the Chrome web store. Google is known to watch over those, remove malware and analyze them on an ongoing basis with automated detection -- a bit like a pro-active antivirus which do...
by patrick
Tue Jan 20, 2015 6:35 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Google Chrome: is this a mega security problem?
Replies: 111
Views: 6825

Re: Why invest in International funds? It's a mystery

We can look at various risk premia based on historical data, such as small cap, value, etc. and establish their validity by doing out of sample tests. Moreover, we have reasonable confidence that stocks have a higher ERP than bonds using the same methodology. But in all of these cases, we have obse...
by patrick
Sun Jan 18, 2015 3:45 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why invest in International funds? It's a mystery
Replies: 121
Views: 10708

Re: Why invest in International funds? It's a mystery

Another confirmation bias arises from the crowd that firmly believes in American exceptionalism, that the US "system" is simply better than anywhere else in the world and will continue to be so well into the future. If that's the premise someone is operating under, I think it would be ext...
by patrick
Sun Jan 18, 2015 3:14 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why invest in International funds? It's a mystery
Replies: 121
Views: 10708

Re: Does strategy even matter?

It might help to make a distinction between things that don't matter and things we don't know. Some of the details discussed here indeed will not matter much. On the other hand, US versus non-US stocks is something we don't know. There is a good chance that the performance of US stocks over the next...
by patrick
Sat Jan 17, 2015 6:07 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Does strategy even matter?
Replies: 12
Views: 1702

Re: Why is it wrong to think individual bonds are safer vs f

A bond fund is composed of individual bonds, and will only lose money if the individual bonds within it lose money. If you actually did construct a portfolio of individual bonds that matched all of your future spending exactly, then (ignoring defaults) there might well be no risk in the sense you ca...
by patrick
Fri Jan 09, 2015 7:38 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Why is it wrong to think individual bonds are safer vs funds
Replies: 30
Views: 2035

Re: Busting the "myth" of the small cap / size premium ?

All indexes have the survivor bias problem. Do you really think the S&P 500 should continue to list Enron, Washington Mutual, and Worldcomm to account for big companies going bad? I think this is a bit of a red herring. Most of the losses from such companies are in fact included in standard ind...
by patrick
Wed Jan 07, 2015 9:59 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Busting the "myth" of the small cap / size premium ?
Replies: 14
Views: 1765

Re: Immediate payable annuity is a bad investment?

...and immediate annuities are not indexed for inflation... Yes, you are correctly relaying the statement of the author, David Marotta, A fixed annuity has a preset withdrawal amount that does not adjust for inflation That sort of thing drives me me crazy . No, immediate annuities are not adjusted ...
by patrick
Fri Jan 02, 2015 6:43 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Immediate payable annuity is a bad investment?
Replies: 61
Views: 4701

Re: Immediate payable annuity is a bad investment?

The concept of an annuity is a good one. The point of the Forbes’ article is that SPIA product currently offered is not very good. I like insurance if it is properly priced and covers an event that has a decent percentage of taking place. The odds of a fire completely burning down a house are small...
by patrick
Fri Jan 02, 2015 6:32 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Immediate payable annuity is a bad investment?
Replies: 61
Views: 4701

Re: Should I even be in bonds?

Well, that's helpful information for people who have 200 years until retirement. Why show a chart that goes back to 1802? It's not as if the investment markets and instruments of the 19th century were directly comparable to what we have now, let alone the regulatory environment. I smell cherry-pick...
by patrick
Fri Jan 02, 2015 6:14 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I even be in bonds?
Replies: 40
Views: 3699

Re: International - good for diversification, bad for return

Ouch, what an answer: - "17 years is short term". 17 years is a long time, and about half the productive saving years for most people. For people who are in fields requiring long education (doctors, lawyers, PhDs), 17 years could be the entire life of the saving years, Perhaps for a lawye...
by patrick
Thu Jan 01, 2015 6:22 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: International - good for diversification, bad for returns?
Replies: 43
Views: 4903

Re: Do commodities provide a real return?

I would suggest it depends on the commodity. For consumables like oil or copper, then "investing" in them would be no different than investing in, say, light bulbs. For something like gold that is mainly just held by investors and has a relatively fixed supply, you could argue that it's a...
by patrick
Wed Dec 31, 2014 10:33 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Do commodities provide a real return?
Replies: 25
Views: 1022

Re: Predicting Long Term Returns After Costs In Taxable

7% return before costs is probably too high an estimate. From https://publications.credit-suisse.com/tasks/render/file/?fileID=0E0A3525-EA60-2750-71CE20B5D14A7818 the average real return of global stocks since 1900 has been only 5.2% per year. There may be reason to expect below average returns in t...
by patrick
Wed Dec 31, 2014 10:17 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Predicting Long Term Returns After Costs In Taxable
Replies: 6
Views: 641

Re: Paul Merriman takes John Bogles $5.00 Bet!

No, he isn't. The data you look at in order to come up with an hypothesis to test doesn't count as evidence for the hypothesis. Only the data you obtain after you formulate the hypothesis accounts. In investing, nobody seems to let their hypotheses stand still for long enough to test them. The cloc...
by patrick
Wed Dec 31, 2014 10:04 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Paul Merriman takes John Bogles $5.00 Bet!
Replies: 61
Views: 8650

Re: International - good for diversification, bad for return

17 years is surely too short a period to look at. However, the US outperformance seems to have lasted much longer than that. The Credit Suisse Yearbook at https://publications.credit-suisse.com/tasks/render/file/index.cfm?fileid=88F22B53-83E8-EB92-9D555B7A27900DAC shows global stock returns from 190...
by patrick
Wed Dec 31, 2014 6:43 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: International - good for diversification, bad for returns?
Replies: 43
Views: 4903

Re: Bond SEC yield, credit rating

A lower price (i.e. a higher yield) would indicate that the market judges the bond to be of higher risk. The market's judgment usually resembles that of the rating agencies but not always.
by patrick
Mon Dec 29, 2014 9:36 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bond SEC yield, credit rating
Replies: 10
Views: 617

Re: Int'l Value vs Int'l Small Caps?

Value can mean several different things. Academic studies on the value premium, as well as DFA value funds, focus on having a low price to book ratio as the definition of value. Morningstar's style charts, EFV, and SFNNX, use broader definitions that measure value using a combination of price to boo...
by patrick
Sun Dec 28, 2014 6:04 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Int'l Value vs Int'l Small Caps?
Replies: 32
Views: 4052

Re: Protecting your Windows system from malware

In 2014, Cryptolocker infected over thousands of well-protected PCs. Any bleeding edge new virus will meet that criteria, meaning new enough that the patch has not yet been released. There are quite a few browser zero-day exploits revealed every year at security conferences that by definition (zero...
by patrick
Sat Dec 27, 2014 3:30 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Protecting your Windows system from malware
Replies: 44
Views: 5208

Re: An ETF on a futures contract? Can someone explain this t

Even normal ETFs require exemptive relief because they dont allow redeeming individual shares at NAV. The really troublesome products are ETNs. An ETN is really a debt security. The difference from a normal bond is that the iissuer promises to pay the index minus fees instead of a fixed amount. An E...
by patrick
Sat Dec 27, 2014 2:36 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: An ETF on a futures contract? Can someone explain this to me
Replies: 41
Views: 2111

Re: An ETF on a futures contract? Can someone explain this t

My understanding is that if you buy USO that your risk is limited to the purchase price, whereas if you bought the futures contract yourself your risk of loss would be much higher. This seems be closer to the individual buying an option rather than a future contract, even though USO is buying the f...
by patrick
Sat Dec 27, 2014 1:32 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: An ETF on a futures contract? Can someone explain this to me
Replies: 41
Views: 2111

Re: Protecting your Windows system from malware

The same site has an update article published last year that indicates fairly similar results:

https://www.csis.dk/en/csis/news/3981/
by patrick
Sat Dec 27, 2014 12:37 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Protecting your Windows system from malware
Replies: 44
Views: 5208

Re: Protecting your Windows system from malware

VictoriaF wrote:The linked article is dated 2011-09-27. Many new exploits have been invented since then.

Victoria


If you follow that article's advices you will install the new updates released since then which will stop the new exploits.
by patrick
Fri Dec 26, 2014 6:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Protecting your Windows system from malware
Replies: 44
Views: 5208

Re: Do you have or recommend a Financial Only PC?

It doesn't need to exploit flash or a browser. It's downloading programs and running them. If the updater is hosed the updatee is hosed. That would mean not only taking over the server that sends out the updates, but also stealing the key needed to sign them. That is rather scary indeed. But on the...
by patrick
Tue Dec 23, 2014 12:06 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you have or recommend a Financial Only PC?
Replies: 84
Views: 7419

Re: Do you have or recommend a Financial Only PC?

You're also going to have to access a bunch of sites to update software, maybe Microsoft, Mozilla or Google, your BIOS vendor, your anti-virus vendor. I've seen paranoid lists with about 20 "must" dos. Accessing these safely is not trivial. Windows, Firefox, Chrome, and most anti-virus so...
by patrick
Mon Dec 22, 2014 10:42 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you have or recommend a Financial Only PC?
Replies: 84
Views: 7419

Re: Do you have or recommend a Financial Only PC?

Just connecting to the web can get you compromised. Estimates of the time to owned for an unpatched XP machine are as short as 4 minutes, that's without the user doing anything. Newer software may be better but there's no guarantee there are no similar holes. Actually I'll guarantee there are simil...
by patrick
Mon Dec 22, 2014 9:48 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you have or recommend a Financial Only PC?
Replies: 84
Views: 7419

Re: Do you have or recommend a Financial Only PC?

This advice stems from the fact that browsers and PCs, even ones with anti-virus, anti-malware, and up-to-date patches, can fall prey to malware. Even if you are cautious with your browsing habits, legitimate websites can and have been compromised in the past. The most notorious was the Zeus trojan...
by patrick
Mon Dec 22, 2014 8:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you have or recommend a Financial Only PC?
Replies: 84
Views: 7419

Re: Bond Fund vs CDs - which to use?

I don't want to get into an argument about SEC yield and effective returns at duration (instead of returns at maturity). This won't help our new member. Why not? Of course, the yields aren't the only thing to consider. There are also more subtle matters regarding the yield curve, the level of risk ...
by patrick
Fri Dec 19, 2014 9:06 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bond Fund vs CDs - which to use?
Replies: 59
Views: 5920

Re: Bond Fund vs CDs - which to use?

Choosing one or the other based not on need (FDIC protection, liquidity, etc.) but on metrics (SEC yield, interest rates) is factually a form of market timing (tactical fixed income allocation). The last few years have proved that choosing the right product (bond fund or CD) based on these metrics ...
by patrick
Fri Dec 19, 2014 6:52 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bond Fund vs CDs - which to use?
Replies: 59
Views: 5920

Re: What desktop should I buy.

And nothing will really last 10 years (unless you install a lightweight linux distro on it). If you try to make it 10 years with a Windows or Mac OS (without timing it perfectly) you are either going to get left behind and no longer receive security updates (windows 8.1 end of life is 8 years from ...
by patrick
Wed Dec 17, 2014 10:20 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What desktop should I buy.
Replies: 36
Views: 2737

Re: "Gold to tank in 2014: Goldman Sachs"

The current price of $1196 is shockingly close to the average prediction of $1209 ... of course there are still 15 days left in which anything can happen.
by patrick
Tue Dec 16, 2014 11:28 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Gold to tank in 2014: Goldman Sachs"
Replies: 112
Views: 10788
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