Search found 305 matches

by rj49
Tue May 19, 2015 12:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How fast should I ride my bicycle?
Replies: 64
Views: 5006

Re: How fast should I ride my bicycle?

I second the idea of mixing up your riding. You might try a mountain bike and go for a heavier workload and not worry about speed, especially if it might get you riding in different terrains and in colder/wetter weather, or running errands or other rides that don't require special shoes or clothing....
by rj49
Thu May 14, 2015 12:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 60W eq. LED bulb deal alert...
Replies: 35
Views: 3321

Re: 60W eq. LED bulb deal alert...

You might check out your energy company as well. Puget Sound Energy offers 20 or so free LED bulbs as part of a free home energy assessment, as well as free shower attachments.
by rj49
Thu May 14, 2015 12:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I buy a lighter bicycle or lose body weight?
Replies: 53
Views: 4405

Re: Should I buy a lighter bicycle or lose body weight?

One idea might be to go in a different direction and diversify your riding with a mountain bike, which is easier to ride year-round and in bad weather, aiming towards hills and mountains could help keep weight down instead of spinning on roads on a light bike, and instead of focusing on speed and mi...
by rj49
Sat Apr 25, 2015 11:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: My New Car Buying Tips
Replies: 108
Views: 19585

Re: My New Car Buying Tips

Thanks, Great thread. You realize that this process can be applied to other major purchases that we do several times in our lifetime. The one that comes to mind is the purchase of a mattress (we seem to buy one every 10-15 years) that has been discussed several times on BH.Org. We buy a car every 5...
by rj49
Mon Apr 06, 2015 5:52 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Switching 40% of my portfolio to bonds: just can't do it.
Replies: 52
Views: 7651

Re: Switching 40% of my portfolio to bonds: just can't do it

There are other alternatives to traditional bonds and bond funds, especially if you're worried about capital losses in the case of rising interest rates. The safest way to do that would be to put in the max of $10k a year into ibonds, which will at least keep up with inflation, and taxes are deferre...
by rj49
Sun Mar 29, 2015 7:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car buying services - recommendations?
Replies: 14
Views: 2294

Re: Car buying services - recommendations?

You might try a local auto broker, especially someone with yelp or other recommendations. The advantage is that for a fee they'll do everything for you, including delivering the car to you, so the car sales vultures can't get you on a lot. They probably know local dealers better than a national chai...
by rj49
Mon Mar 23, 2015 1:04 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Military TSP and/or IRA?
Replies: 36
Views: 1763

Re: Military TSP and/or IRA?

The most important reason is to have access to the G fund. I rolled over a VG IRA into it and took a SEPP after retiring at 42, so it's like an extra ultra-safe pension for me, designed to tide me over until age 60, when I can use other retirement accounts, and then I plan to use it as a sort of ann...
by rj49
Sat Mar 14, 2015 2:50 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bernstein: 2% investment returns over next 20 years
Replies: 216
Views: 25315

Re: Bernstein: 2% investment returns over next 20 years

Mr Bernstein is a brilliant guy and his investment books are among the best ever written. However, his predictive ability is no better than any fund manager, ie, less than useless. Actually he doesn't really set himself up as a guru and is certainly not a perma-bear (read Grantham or Jon Hussman or...
by rj49
Fri Feb 27, 2015 8:27 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: International increase in Target Retirement & LifeStrategy
Replies: 235
Views: 26520

Re: International increase in Target Retirement & LifeStrate

For those upset with VG for not staying the course, how many of you were invested at even 30% foreign stocks in 2000, if at all? How many were invested in REITS? Small value? Ibonds when they were paying over 3% plus inflation? How many kept their stock/bond allocation static from 1999-2007, say? Th...
by rj49
Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Need Income-Wellesley & Wellington or just Wellesley
Replies: 38
Views: 7235

Re: Need Income-Wellesley & Wellington or just Wellesley

Bill Bernstein had a good quote, that more money has been lost reaching for yield than at the point of a gun. Investors in Wellesley/Wellington will find this out if and when the 40-year bull market in bonds is reversed, especially with its high proportion of longer-duration corporate bonds. Harold ...
by rj49
Thu Feb 26, 2015 2:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cell Phone in Canada
Replies: 5
Views: 583

Re: Cell Phone in Canada

For those who go crazy without internet and email, I found that one free way (other than hunting for free wifi) to get internet access throughout Canada was through an old Kindle Keyboard (3G version, not wifi). It gets free 3G internet through the experimental browser on the Kindle, which is slow a...
by rj49
Thu Feb 26, 2015 2:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Breaking up with USAA--banking alternatives welcomed
Replies: 23
Views: 3292

Re: Breaking up with USAA--banking alternatives welcomed

I keep USAA for insurance, but I don't want to get sucked into their other offerings. My problem with them was several years ago when their chairman sent out emails when some financial legislation was going through congress, urging USAA members to contact their congress members to vote the way USAA ...
by rj49
Mon Feb 23, 2015 7:23 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard Wellesley Income Fund a Buy?
Replies: 37
Views: 4276

Re: Vanguard Wellesley Income Fund a Buy?

Or you could just buy the composite indices that have beaten both Wellesley and Wellington over the past year, getting higher returns, lower costs, and lower taxes from portfolio turnover (over 108% for Wellesley for last year and 70% or so for Wellington). Wellington has lagged its benchmark over t...
by rj49
Mon Feb 23, 2015 7:11 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Withdraw TSP to Convert Traditional to Roth?
Replies: 13
Views: 1335

Re: Withdraw TSP to Convert Traditional to Roth?

Even though it may not seem like a huge deal now, maintaining access to the 'free lunch' of the TSP G fund would seem like a worthwhile advantage to keeping it open. Someday interest rates will climb, and then having G fund as an option will seem well worth it (although it's difficult to hold onto i...
by rj49
Tue Feb 17, 2015 12:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cloud based storage for tax documents
Replies: 7
Views: 704

Re: Cloud based storage for tax documents

If you're going to scan, you might also put them all on a USB thumb drive and keep them in your paper financial files (my escrow agent did that for all my real estate paperwork). I seem to remember reading that 3 years is the recommended number of back returns to keep paper copies of, but you can do...
by rj49
Mon Feb 16, 2015 10:20 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: PRIMECAP and Contrafund
Replies: 7
Views: 838

Re: PRIMECAP and Contrafund

With Contrafund you're running into single-manager risk, especially since the current manager has been on board since 1990, so after 25 years with one fund he might choose to move on. With Primecap you have multiple managers, each responsible for sub portfolios, so there's less risk theoretically of...
by rj49
Tue Feb 03, 2015 10:01 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Are TIPS the ultimate inflation hedge?
Replies: 27
Views: 2355

Re: Are TIPS the ultimate inflation hedge?

One of the problems with TIPS is investor behavior, namely the urge to flee when you're not getting rewarded through inflation adjustments--I sold a lot of the old 3% ibonds when inflation was so low and the market was booming. Then there's the complexity, especially in taxable accounts, and figurin...
by rj49
Fri Jan 30, 2015 7:36 pm
Forum: Local Chapters and Bogleheads Community
Topic: Boglehead Fitbit group
Replies: 33
Views: 3339

Re: Boglehead Fitbit group

My Fitbit was broken for about a week. I called the customer service and they sent me a new one no questions asked. People who have one, on average, supposedly walk 43% more. Now that I have one, I believe it. I am on the site as "Robert C." You'd think the technology would be built into ...
by rj49
Fri Jan 30, 2015 7:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Good Wines
Replies: 54
Views: 4932

Re: Good Wines

You might check a site called the Reverse Wine Snob (just google to find it). He rates wines in the $10-20 category and puts out a top 10 list for Costco and Trader Joes wines. He evaluates taste, but then deducts points based on price, a nice Boglehead-ish approach.
by rj49
Wed Jan 21, 2015 1:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Closing unused credit cards - should I do it?
Replies: 16
Views: 1428

Re: Closing unused credit cards - should I do it?

The other argument for closing an unused card is the risk of identity theft and card fraud. Since a lot of stolen card numbers are resold, it could be used much later, when you might have a different address or phone number or email. I decided that sign-up bonuses aren't worth the hassles of card ro...
by rj49
Sun Jan 18, 2015 12:45 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why no cult/theory/strategy of US regional stock investing?
Replies: 21
Views: 1707

Re: Why no cult/theory/strategy of US regional stock investi

I actually tried something like this in the late 90s, when I dipped my toe into a few individual stocks through Sharebuilder. I decided to just follow Peter Lynch's advice to invest in what you know, so I had a very extreme home bias of only Seattle companies: Amazon, Starbucks, and Boeing. Actually...
by rj49
Thu Dec 04, 2014 11:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon product restricted to Prime members. Is this new?
Replies: 34
Views: 4711

Re: Amazon product restricted to Prime members. Is this new?

I browse Amazon a lot and buy many things from them, but I've not seen that before check elsewhere. I have increasingly found Amazon to be no better in term of price than other sites (and B&M stores like Target). I rarely use Amazon any more. That is correct, their prices for smaller items aren...
by rj49
Thu Dec 04, 2014 11:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon product restricted to Prime members. Is this new?
Replies: 34
Views: 4711

Re: Amazon product restricted to Prime members. Is this new?

In our household Amazon Prime is a no-brainer. The UPS guy stops by at least 3 times a week with Amazon purchases. And we are always streaming a movie or tv show or something from their web streaming service (included with Prime). I don't see how they can afford it. Although I did see a headline ye...
by rj49
Sun Nov 23, 2014 11:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Movie dialog, "The Social Network." Hard to hear?
Replies: 15
Views: 2764

Re: Movie dialog, "The Social Network." Hard to hear?

A large part is due to actor Jesse Eisenberg's quiet monotone. Another bad one is Heath Ledger in "Brokeback Mountain", incomprehensible mumbling. The worst, though, has to be Christian Bale and Tom Hardy's Bane in "Dark Knight Rises" (made worse by me watching it on a plane). He...
by rj49
Fri Nov 21, 2014 10:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Oatmeal suggestions
Replies: 149
Views: 15072

Re: Oatmeal suggestions

I find a nice balance between the blandness/mushiness and the preparation pains of steel-cut: Trader Joe's Organic Multigrain Hot Cereal. It has rye, barley, oats, and wheat, so you get a variety of grains, and it has a nice texture, and is quick to make. I also like almond milk with my cereal, whic...
by rj49
Thu Nov 20, 2014 2:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Europe off-season (late Jan), 11 days, $3K budget
Replies: 19
Views: 2241

Re: Europe off-season (late Jan), 11 days, $3K budget

Spain might be a good option, with both off-season and tough-economy savings, and lots of interesting larger and smaller cities to choose from. I heard Rick Steves lecture last night, and his books and website are a great source for inexpensive but central lodging and meals, and for any country you ...
by rj49
Thu Nov 13, 2014 6:51 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard ETF vs. Mutual Fund when expenses equal
Replies: 27
Views: 2162

Re: Vanguard ETF vs. Mutual Fund when expenses equal

I have found that mutual funds are better at making me approach investing long-term, instead of obsessing over sales price, looking for trendy and hot ETF asset classes, and the temptation to go from ETFs to individual stocks (since you already have a brokerage account, why not?). I also found with ...
by rj49
Fri Nov 07, 2014 1:42 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: I'm Scared! Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 - What to do!
Replies: 39
Views: 8286

Re: I'm Scared! Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 - What to d

Your investment seminar experience and investment fears reminded me of this very good book I recently read as my Amazon Prime free monthly read: http://www.amazon.com/What-When-Get-Stupid-Radically-ebook/dp/B00EDWTFU2 It pointed out how many get tempted into the 'free lunch' seminars and throw away ...
by rj49
Sun Oct 26, 2014 9:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bucket Approach Redux
Replies: 35
Views: 3282

Re: Bucket Approach Redux

I've been practicing a sort of bucket approach, adapted to the work of William Sharpe on lockbox investing and withdrawals. I divided my portfolio into 5-year increments and invested them in TR funds based on withdrawal ages for me. Then every five years I'll have a fund invested in the TR income fu...
by rj49
Sun Oct 26, 2014 8:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What is the appeal of smart watches?
Replies: 22
Views: 2473

Re: What is the appeal of smart watches?

I use a Pebble smart watch, which has an e-ink screen, so the battery life is long enough not require nightly charging, and it mostly just does notifications of email, calls, and other things from my iphone, so it's not a major techie distraction. That means I don't have to constantly check and turn...
by rj49
Sat Oct 11, 2014 1:39 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Fixed-Fee Advisor in Texas
Replies: 14
Views: 1653

Re: Fixed-Fee Advisor in Texas

Scott Burns has a company in Plano, TX, called AssetBuilder. He was a personal finance columnist in a Dallas newspaper for some time and originated the Couch Potato Portfolio of 50/50 stocks/bonds. He also wrote a lot about downsizing in retirement (he even tried living in an Airstream trailer for a...
by rj49
Sat Sep 27, 2014 9:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Time to go back to cash and ditch the Credit Card?
Replies: 39
Views: 3523

Re: Time to go back to cash and ditch the Credit Card?

There are several studies that show that people using credit cards spend much more than those using cash. Target's RedCard led to a big increase in store spending (I've overspent there because of the card), and McDonalds customers spent much more per visit when they put in credit card machines. The ...
by rj49
Mon Sep 22, 2014 4:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon.com as a selling service
Replies: 17
Views: 1896

Re: Amazon.com as a selling service

For niche items, eBay is your best bet, I think, since you're more likely to come in contact with niche buyers, particularly for collectibles, antiques, clothing, and dishes (my sister just sold her wedding china on there, which has languished on craigslist for years). Amazon is best for popular ite...
by rj49
Sat Sep 06, 2014 2:21 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Guidance moving to Seattle
Replies: 21
Views: 2165

Re: Guidance moving to Seattle

To follow up on carless life, the most popular way to visit Vancouver and Portland for the young and carless is BoltBus, which is a nice clean bus with wifi with no stops except the big cities, no odd Greyhound types, and fares as low as $1. For skiing, there are various bus services also that go to...
by rj49
Sat Sep 06, 2014 2:17 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Guidance moving to Seattle
Replies: 21
Views: 2165

Re: Guidance moving to Seattle

Both lower Queen Anne (around Seattle Center) and Ballard have dozens of new apartment complexes going up, which might push prices down a bit. The former is a 5-minute bus ride from downtown, and Ballard has a Rapid Ride bus that can take a bit longer, but not as long as the bus routes from Green La...
by rj49
Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:58 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How to avoid REITs in index funds for taxable?
Replies: 3
Views: 464

Re: How to avoid REITs in index funds for taxable?

Whatever changes you make will have more impact than the negligible tax costs of REITs in the TSM (possibly higher ER for a cobbled-together portfolio, along with potential gains passed over). The correlation between the SP500 and TSM is fairly high, so REITs aren't going to really have any major ef...
by rj49
Sun Aug 31, 2014 6:01 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: table suggests total bond not best as diversifier
Replies: 20
Views: 2256

Re: table suggests total bond not best as diversifier

You have to ask yourself how much benefit you could get in a downturn that would benefit LT Treasuries versus the severe losses that could result if and when interest rates climb. Looking at the past doesn't really account for the cost/benefit analysis of interest rates starting at such a low level....
by rj49
Fri Aug 22, 2014 11:05 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Need another bank besides Capital One
Replies: 24
Views: 2436

Re: Need another bank besides Capital One

DiscoverBank gives a 10-cent cashback for checks, ATM card usage, and other things, as well as sign-up bonuses that would probably surpass whatever interest you'd get from another bank. For those who live in WA, BECU gives 4% back on the first $500 in checking and savings. I also like Penfed for the...
by rj49
Thu Aug 14, 2014 11:28 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: I don't have enough cash for index funds
Replies: 42
Views: 4044

Re: I don't have enough cash for index funds

I personally would avoid ETFs, especially for a new investor. It's just too easy to chase what's hot, to constantly fiddle with your portfolio or follow some popular portfolio (remember not too long ago when everyone was gaga over Harry Browne?). If you read Mr. Bogle on ETFs, he'll give good reason...
by rj49
Thu Aug 14, 2014 3:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mac Airbook
Replies: 38
Views: 3885

Re: Mac Airbook

Have you considered an imac? I bought an open-box model for $1200 on MacMall a few months ago, with a glorious 27" screen and impossibly-thin edges, and it has 1TB of memory, so you'd never run out of storage. If you search on imac on MacMall, you can see all their options (and they give free s...
by rj49
Wed Aug 13, 2014 2:44 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard Balanced Index vs. Vanguard Lifestrategy Moderate
Replies: 17
Views: 3106

Re: Vanguard Balanced Index vs. Vanguard Lifestrategy Modera

You might look at Wellington as compared to Balanced index. Agree that 50 years is a long time and balanced funds perhaps too conservative. investor One of the problems with Wellington over a 50-year period is that it has completely changed its investing philosophy and focus over the past 50 years,...
by rj49
Mon Aug 11, 2014 9:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Renting forever: financial suicide?
Replies: 92
Views: 12444

Re: Renting forever: financial suicide?

The unstable and uncertain status of marriage, employment, and other factors are good arguments to support a renting lifestyle, especially in a place where most housing is unaffordable for most. Either if you could lose a job, which could jeopardize paying a mortgage, but if you needed to move elsew...
by rj49
Mon Aug 11, 2014 1:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying
Replies: 24
Views: 8759

Re: PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying

If you live in a larger city, you might be able to find a reputable, capable auto broker who will do everything for you, without all the hassles. Most people pay 6% of a home price to have realtors do the negotiation and we pay a yearly fee to have Vanguard experts buy and sell the stocks and bonds ...
by rj49
Sat Aug 09, 2014 10:11 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 3.3% Vanguard 10 year CD
Replies: 99
Views: 11111

Re: 3.3% Vanguard 10 year CD

You could have had up to 7 years at 3% last January through Penfed, and every year around that time they've offered superior long-term CD rates, with the penalty of a year's worth of interest for breaking it early. I had a ladder set up of 6.25% in 2007, then 5% or so a few years later, so if you st...
by rj49
Sat Aug 09, 2014 1:53 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Going 60+% international? (US resident)
Replies: 85
Views: 7246

Re: Going 60+% international? (US resident)

Buying low makes sense, unless you were investing internationally in the 1990s, when Japan dragged down the international indices. There's some cultural/home bias to rationalize all the underweighting of international, such as Europe being all geriatric socialist societies (when China, Japan, and ev...
by rj49
Fri Aug 08, 2014 12:41 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Who or what inspired you and your investing approach?
Replies: 93
Views: 5061

Re: Who or what inspired you and your investing approach?

Joe Dominguez, in his "Your Money or Your Life" book, who along with Thoreau, gave me the inspiration to save for early retirement in my early 40s. His investing approach, not a bad one at the time, was to invest in LT Treasury bonds, then yielding well over 10% (I suppose a LT Treasury bo...
by rj49
Fri Aug 08, 2014 12:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Moving? The US Post Office Offers Discount Coupons
Replies: 11
Views: 3707

Re: Moving? The US Post Office Offers Discount Coupons

I don't know if it's still offered, but for a move last October I got a 10% Target coupon on the change-of-address site, good for anything in the store, with no purchase limit. So I not only got some stuff for my new place, but I also got 15% off an ipad and other things (combined with the 5% Target...
by rj49
Fri Aug 08, 2014 12:17 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Telephone Calls! Help! [Stopping telemarketing calls]
Replies: 107
Views: 9973

Re: Telephone Calls! Help!

Get a pay-by-the-minute cell phone to use as your 'landline' and then simply keep it turned off. T-Mobile pay-as-you-go stores phone messages online, so I can see who called and listen to messages that way, instead of being bothered by telemarketers. If it's a repeat solicitor, I just delete the mes...
by rj49
Thu Aug 07, 2014 12:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Considering buying a Plug-in Prius or a Volt
Replies: 40
Views: 3153

Re: Considering buying a Prius or a Volt

Have you looked at the Honda Accord plug-in hybrid? It seems more family-car oriented, and since it also allows running just on electricity, might give higher fuel savings over a Prius. It's also eligible for HOV in CA, along with the usual tax credits. The next-generation Prius is supposed to have ...
by rj49
Wed Aug 06, 2014 12:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Current Relevance of Short Term Bonds - Bill Bernstein Q
Replies: 11
Views: 1301

Re: Current Relevance of Short Term Bonds - Bill Bernstein Q

A safe alternative that would satisfy Dr. BIll's criteria would have been investing in 7-year Penfed CDs starting in 2007. It would have brought a 6.25% compounded yield from 2007-20014, and it could have been reinvested in January for another 7 years at 3%. No clothespin needed (except at tax time)...

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