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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
Fri Nov 21, 2014 10:20 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Oatmeal suggestions
Replies: 133
Views: 8705

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 20, 2014 2:26 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Europe off-season (late Jan), 11 days, $3K budget
Replies: 19
Views: 1400

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
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: 1689

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
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: 7204

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 9:04 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bucket Approach Redux
Replies: 35
Views: 2617

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
Sun Oct 26, 2014 8:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What is the appeal of smart watches?
Replies: 22
Views: 2010

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 Oct 11, 2014 1:39 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Fixed-Fee Advisor in Texas
Replies: 14
Views: 1448

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
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: 3364

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
Mon Sep 22, 2014 4:01 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon.com as a selling service
Replies: 17
Views: 1847

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 2:21 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Guidance moving to Seattle
Replies: 21
Views: 2000

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
Sat Sep 06, 2014 2:17 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Guidance moving to Seattle
Replies: 21
Views: 2000

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
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: 442

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
Sun Aug 31, 2014 6:01 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: table suggests total bond not best as diversifier
Replies: 20
Views: 2098

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
Fri Aug 22, 2014 11:05 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Need another bank besides Capital One
Replies: 24
Views: 2140

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 11:28 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: I don't have enough cash for index funds
Replies: 42
Views: 3951

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
Thu Aug 14, 2014 3:39 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mac Airbook
Replies: 38
Views: 3449

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
Wed Aug 13, 2014 2:44 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard Balanced Index vs. Vanguard Lifestrategy Moderate
Replies: 17
Views: 2316

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 9:42 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Renting forever: financial suicide?
Replies: 92
Views: 11465

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
Mon Aug 11, 2014 1:01 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying
Replies: 24
Views: 5143

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 10:11 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 3.3% Vanguard 10 year CD
Replies: 99
Views: 10464

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
Sat Aug 09, 2014 1:53 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Going 60+% international? (US resident)
Replies: 83
Views: 6251

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 12:41 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Who or what inspired you and your investing approach?
Replies: 93
Views: 4725

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 12:25 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Moving? The US Post Office Offers Discount Coupons
Replies: 11
Views: 2481

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
Fri Aug 08, 2014 12:17 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Telephone Calls! Help! [Stopping telemarketing calls]
Replies: 105
Views: 7898

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
Thu Aug 07, 2014 12:48 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Considering buying a Plug-in Prius or a Volt
Replies: 40
Views: 2821

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)...
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: 1266

Re: Target Date Fund vs. 60/40 Allocation

I wouldn't switch out the Vanguard funds in your 401k for a Wells Fargo one, because of higher prices and what is probably an inferior portfolio, with a high possibility of added fees and expenses when it came time to withdraw. I would hedge my bets and allocation by keeping the Vanguard funds in yo...
by rj49
Wed Aug 06, 2014 1:35 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Target Date Fund vs. 60/40 Allocation
Replies: 9
Views: 1285

Re: Best Coffee Maker? What do you have?

Folks, For people using Aeropress, are you brewing the coffee using the normal Aeropress process or the inverted Aeropress process?? KlangFool I vary between regular and inverted. I had problems with leaking around the filter, but then found a metal filter on Amazon that greatly reduces the problem...
by rj49
Wed Aug 06, 2014 1:17 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Coffee Maker? What do you have?
Replies: 75
Views: 6422

Re: Exchange Explorer (VEXRX) for Small Cap Index (VSMAX)?

Sounds good to me, especially since there won't be tax consequences. If you have the nice luxury of being retired and not needing to touch the IRA for 20 years, you should get some good compounding and returns over the years, while Explorer will have manager changes, times of underperformance, and t...
by rj49
Tue Aug 05, 2014 4:27 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Exchange Explorer (VEXRX) for Small Cap Index (VSMAX)?
Replies: 1
Views: 250

Re: REITS-worth the time to add 10% into portfolio

Ask yourself why you don't add other VG sector funds for diversification, such as Energy, Health Care, or Precious Metals, all which have also had some great returns at times. You can also ask if you would have been so anxious to invest in them in 2007-2008, when they crashed more than the overall m...
by rj49
Tue Aug 05, 2014 4:14 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: REITS-worth the time to add 10% into portfolio
Replies: 33
Views: 2756

Re: I Strayed From The Path...Forgive Me.

A lot of us dipped out toes into the water of buying individual stocks, especially during the latter 1990s when the direction of everything was up. Then 1999 came along and we that stocks drop too. There's nothing wrong with playing around a bit if you have sufficient resources, though, and even sev...
by rj49
Mon Aug 04, 2014 9:48 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: I Strayed From The Path...Forgive Me.
Replies: 34
Views: 5694

Re: Suze Orman - Doesn't Like Target Date Funds

In terms of the retail arena, VG is about the only company one should do target date/balanced funds with. In 401Ks, there seem to be better options in some cases. The non-VG target date funds in my 401K charge .12%. I have to disagree here; T. Rowe Price has one of the absolute best assortments of ...
by rj49
Sun Aug 03, 2014 10:40 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Suze Orman - Doesn't Like Target Date Funds
Replies: 26
Views: 4020

Re: planning to travel a lot soon...how to build up points?

https://www.penfed.org/PenFed-Premium-Travel-Rewards-American-Express-Card/ This one has travel rewards,an initial spending bonus, and no foreign transaction fees. On the other hand, if have enough money to travel widely, why not just use something like the Capital One card that pays back 1.5% on ev...
by rj49
Sat Aug 02, 2014 4:49 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: planning to travel a lot soon...how to build up points?
Replies: 14
Views: 1462

Re: How does car trade-in work?

You might look at finding a reputable auto broker to just deal with all the hassles and haggling for you. I think one I looked at in Seattle charged $400, had good reviews on yelp, and arranged purchasing a new car and selling the old one, so you don't have to even set foot in a dealership. To me it...
by rj49
Sat Aug 02, 2014 3:09 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How does car trade-in work?
Replies: 71
Views: 4794

Re: Dividend Strategy Ain't For Everyone

The dividend strategy is being used by advisors and finance professionals to assuage the fears of those trying to find an alternative to miserable bond yields. They promote dividend stocks as an equivalent to bonds, neglecting to mention to what happened to dividend funds that were loaded with high-...
by rj49
Fri Aug 01, 2014 10:58 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Dividend Strategy Ain't For Everyone
Replies: 149
Views: 11727

Re: Are utility stocks no longer safe?

I just read an article about how utilities will be one of the areas hardest hit by a rise in interest rates. The reason is pretty simple--people flock to them for high dividends, as they have to REITs, so if bonds raise their dividends then people will go for the safer bet with a competitive yield. ...
by rj49
Fri Aug 01, 2014 10:39 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Are utility stocks no longer safe?
Replies: 22
Views: 2188

Re: Cheap Carnival Cruises

If you want a short cruise in a sunny area, you might look at the ones out of LA to Baja California. They have ones as quick as 3 days, with a stop in Ensenada and Catalina Island. Prices are very cheap. You can get a longer cruise that goes to Cabo as well. There don't seem many cruise lines going ...
by rj49
Fri Aug 01, 2014 10:35 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cheap Carnival Cruises
Replies: 21
Views: 2938

Re: Dave Ramsey still defending 12% and still angry at "nerd

I just finished a good book about personal finance authors, "Pound Foolish" by Helen Olen. She goes through the inconsistencies, conflicts of interest, and money-making empires created by Ramsey, Suze Orman, David Bach, Kiyosaki, and others, as well as the power and devious methods of the ...
by rj49
Fri Aug 01, 2014 12:30 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Dave Ramsey still defending 12% and still angry at "nerds"
Replies: 194
Views: 23516

Re: New smartphone - questions from a nervous upgrader

You might look at the Virgin Mobile $30/mo iphone plan, with no added fees or taxes other than state sales tax. The limitation is 300 minutes a month (or $45 for 1200 minutes), but you can use Google voice or Facetime audio calls without using minutes. They also offer discounted iphones (currently $...
by rj49
Thu Jul 31, 2014 5:52 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New smartphone - questions from a nervous upgrader
Replies: 42
Views: 3505

Re: How would retiring at 45 change investment strategy?

I'm doing a SEPP 72T out of the TSP G fund, which functions like an early annuity, since it can't lose value and has done a good job over time of keeping up with inflation and will offer substantial protection in case stocks and bonds lose value with rising interest rates. The early withdrawal is ve...
by rj49
Wed Jul 30, 2014 1:36 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How would retiring at 45 change investment strategy?
Replies: 12
Views: 1703

Re: my quarterly hedge fund update

Lobster is an example of a product people buy because of exclusivity. But with supply up 80% over the past 5 years, it's appearing in chain restaurants and other places that destroy the cachet of exclusivity. Fancy restaurants tried to keep prices up to make customers feel they were getting somethin...
by rj49
Mon Jul 28, 2014 11:54 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: my quarterly hedge fund update
Replies: 11
Views: 1668

Re: AMZN's magical status

Special Amazon Fresh deal just for you, 10-year supply of gourmet chai, expiration date in 2 weeks, delivered to your door in 30 minutes by drone (other Amazon attack drones are busy strafing Hachette Publishing headquarters and bombing the few remaining insurgent independent bookstores until they a...
by rj49
Sat Jul 26, 2014 6:28 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: AMZN's magical status
Replies: 26
Views: 2856

Re: Help me save my parents from Merrill Lynch

If they take comfort in having someone looking out for them and managing things and protecting them from bad times, then you might steer them towards either Wellesley, Wellington, or a combination of the two. You can show them the impressive returns over time, the history of Wellington going back to...
by rj49
Sat Jul 26, 2014 1:06 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help me save my parents from Merrill Lynch
Replies: 54
Views: 6767

Re: Here's another "where should I retire" thread

I left Seattle for Bellingham, WA, which seems to fit most of your criteria. There are running/biking trails all over the city, including one that goes along and over Puget Sound on a boardwalk. There are at least 3 large lakes that I know of with housing around them, and all are within 5-10 miles o...
by rj49
Sat Jul 26, 2014 12:48 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Here's another "where should I retire" thread
Replies: 104
Views: 6686

Re: Treasury Direct--just blowing off steam

At least you don't have to find your secret decoder card to input the super secret password to access your account any longer. And your Treasury bonds are guaranteed by the full faith and internet site efficiency of the US Government. The awful website was one of the main reasons why I sold all my i...
by rj49
Fri Jul 25, 2014 4:48 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Treasury Direct--just blowing off steam
Replies: 58
Views: 4516

Re: Advice wanted on first computer purchase since 1982!

I would go for a Macbook with retina display, if you do a lot of eye-straining data work. You can compare different ones in a store that sells Macs, and then choose one with the best processor for meeting your needs, but I think sufficient memory will be just as important if you're doing a lot of co...
by rj49
Fri Jul 25, 2014 1:43 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Advice wanted on first computer purchase since 1982!
Replies: 105
Views: 7119

Re: 2014 Honda Civic EX-L vs 2014 Acura ILX(Base)

If you want to wait until later in the year, you could check out the upcoming crossover Honda HR-V. It's based on the new Fit, but with greater size, and presumably it will have all the current features that might appeal to you, including the Magic Seat of the Fit with incredible internal storage. I...
by rj49
Fri Jul 25, 2014 1:30 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2014 Honda Civic EX-L vs 2014 Acura ILX(Base)
Replies: 49
Views: 3900

Re: Seeking sample retirement portfolios

If you're MIL is an unsophisticated, risk-averse investor, as my mother is, then talking slice and dice and a complex portfolio would probably just baffle her, and if she saw the stock portion getting hammered she might rush to bonds, cash, or a slick annuity salesperson. At the same time, all-in-on...
by rj49
Thu Jul 24, 2014 11:49 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Seeking sample retirement portfolios
Replies: 13
Views: 1450

Re: Which kind of bike for recent retiree?

If you want a fun experience where you get some exercise at the same time, you might try an electric bike. I've been a tourer, a mountain biker, and an urban commuter, but a sore knee encouraged me to get an electric bike that has the best features of a moped and a bike (meaning it pushes you along,...
by rj49
Mon Jul 21, 2014 1:27 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which kind of bike for recent retiree?
Replies: 48
Views: 2926

Re: Buy a condo for college?

Stuff happens, too. Maybe one won't want to go to the 'family university', and there's no guarantee that both will finish, especially not in the usual 4 years. Maybe they'll want to spend a junior year abroad also, or take time off before finishing, or transfer elsewhere. Then having a dorm meal pla...
by rj49
Sun Jul 20, 2014 2:04 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buy a condo for college?
Replies: 29
Views: 2587
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