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Re: Eliminating my tip fund~alternatives?

I used to own VIPSX and sold it when I simplified my bond fund collection, but I'm beginning to think that was a mistake. TIPs funds are Treasuries, so the credit is decent, and they don't behave quite like other Treasuries, or most other bonds. So there's some diversification benefit there. And alt...
by scone
Fri Nov 21, 2014 3:14 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Eliminating my tip fund~alternatives?
Replies: 5
Views: 528

Re: An alternative to alternative investments [QSPIX]

I'm not sure if these articles have been posted before, if so, apologies. The first two articles explain in very simple terms exactly what the fund is supposed to do for your portfolio. Essentially it's the diversification Holy Grail: increase returns while reducing volatility. The price of this mag...
by scone
Thu Nov 20, 2014 4:16 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: An alternative to alternative investments [QSPIX]
Replies: 72
Views: 4464

Re: An alternative to alternative investments [QSPIX]

If Larry is buying individual Treasuries and munis for his bond allocation, which is, IIRC, 70% - 80% of his portfolio, then his weighted average expense ratio is likely pretty low. For someone with high expenses in their 401k, it might be a problem. In any case, if this thing turns out to be a soli...
by scone
Thu Nov 20, 2014 1:16 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: An alternative to alternative investments [QSPIX]
Replies: 72
Views: 4464

Re: Borrowing from TSP for lot purchase

The loan isn't the most important thing, at all. It depends on where the land is located. If it's out in the boonies with lots of land available, and no constraints on development for the foreseeable future, then it's probably not worth it because the land may not appreciate very fast. OTOH if it's ...
by scone
Wed Nov 19, 2014 1:12 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Borrowing from TSP for lot purchase
Replies: 34
Views: 2116

Re: An alternative to alternative investments [QSPIX]

How would you rebalance this fund? Stocks? Bonds? A split between the two? And could you tax loss harvest, or do you always want QSPIX in tax advantaged?
by scone
Wed Nov 19, 2014 12:50 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: An alternative to alternative investments [QSPIX]
Replies: 72
Views: 4464

Re: I may not make my retirement goals! What to do?

Try running this analysis: a tilt to small and value, mostly intermediate treasuries, with 5% -15% in the long bond. :D
by scone
Wed Nov 19, 2014 11:01 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: I may not make my retirement goals! What to do?
Replies: 49
Views: 3339

Re: An alternative to alternative investments [QSPIX]

FWIW, the minimum through my Fidelity BrokerageLink window is $100,000.
by scone
Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:53 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: An alternative to alternative investments [QSPIX]
Replies: 72
Views: 4464

Re: Need help for spending hard-earned money wisely

Go to human resources at your employer and ask if they can put some of your salary in a savings account for you, with the rest going to your checking account. This savings account might even be a stock fund or municipal bond fund. Start saving a decent percentage of your income, and increase it at i...
by scone
Fri Nov 14, 2014 6:15 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Need help for spending hard-earned money wisely
Replies: 18
Views: 2374

Re: Does anyone here make "fun" purchases.

Once you have your expenses covered, and that includes savings, you should spend the rest. That's what money is for. Hoarding is a fear reaction, IMO, and not healthy. But if you are going to spend, get the highest quality you can find. Lots of cheap stuff is just another form of hoarding.
by scone
Fri Nov 14, 2014 12:05 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Does anyone here make "fun" purchases.
Replies: 111
Views: 6362

Re: Food stamps

Well, the program is called SNAP now, rather than food stamps, and in my state it looks like a debit card. The program is regulated at the state level, so you'll have to check at the state office. Here's a list of hotline numbers for each state:

http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/contact_info/hotlines.htm
by scone
Fri Nov 14, 2014 11:40 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Food stamps
Replies: 8
Views: 1663

Re: Speaking with an Aging Relative about care & money

My MIL is like this. She's such a Depression baby she saves tea bags for re-use. We haven't had much luck encouraging her to spend money, even though we have told her pretty clearly that she needn't save it for us. But then her brother, who is in his nineties, got a new car, and so she had to have a...
by scone
Thu Nov 13, 2014 3:53 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Speaking with an Aging Relative about care & money
Replies: 24
Views: 2028

Re: Why Not 100% Treasuries if your Risk is on the Equity Si

You aren't missing anything, it's a tradeoff. With Total Bond, you might make a little more money, with Treasuries, your drawdowns might be less. The "take your risk on the equity side" idea suggests that your portfolio should be more efficient with all Treasuries, but it may or may not wo...
by scone
Thu Nov 13, 2014 3:29 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Why Not 100% Treasuries if your Risk is on the Equity Side?
Replies: 40
Views: 3591

Re: Strategies to protect retirement from depressn or long b

scone, I should have put long term Treasuries in the original post. I’d love to own them someday when I feel they provide adequate compensation for the risk. I agree it's not paying very well now, but I don't need the income, so that doesn't bother me. I own a small amount of FLBAX with a duration ...
by scone
Thu Nov 13, 2014 8:32 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Strategies to protect retirement from depressn or long bear?
Replies: 33
Views: 3606

Re: Buying Furniture

Is the 5,000 dollar Arhuas / Ethan Allen sofa really 4,000 dollars better than a 1,000 sofa from another furniture store? I wouldn't pay $1000 for Arhaus or Ethan Allen, they aren't particularly good brands. I might consider paying $5000 for a Hancock and Moore leather sofa, knowing how it's built ...
by scone
Wed Nov 12, 2014 11:31 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying Furniture
Replies: 27
Views: 1836

Re: astonishing performance of US markets vs others

For me, the Callan Table says it all. Simply unpredictable-- sung to the tune of "Simply Irresistable," of course. 8-)

http://www.callan.com/research/download ... %2F757.pdf
by scone
Wed Nov 12, 2014 8:21 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: astonishing performance of US markets vs others
Replies: 50
Views: 4903

Re: Strategies to protect retirement from depressn or long b

In a deep depression, unemployment goes way up, small businesses and corporations go bankrupt. Lots of cheap assets, but few people have the cash to buy them and make them productive. Today, Japan has prevented some of this with zombie corporations. In the U.S. during the Great Depression, cash and ...
by scone
Wed Nov 12, 2014 7:55 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Strategies to protect retirement from depressn or long bear?
Replies: 33
Views: 3606

Re: Things have settled. How do they look?

I think you are doing fine overall. As for the HSA, you could have your cake and eat it too-- put a small amount into stock, and continue to pay out of it. At least that way it should have a chance against inflation. Leaving the HSA in a money market account is a guaranteed loser in that sense. As f...
by scone
Fri Nov 07, 2014 3:47 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Things have settled. How do they look?
Replies: 5
Views: 1052

Re: investment lessons from QE

Thanks. :? What I would like to hope for is a general prosperity, and if there is some way I can help do that in spending or investing, that would be a win. But I don't have a lot of money, and I can't afford to risk a left tail disaster. Maybe you could persuade your wealthy clients to spend more, ...
by scone
Fri Nov 07, 2014 1:06 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: investment lessons from QE
Replies: 34
Views: 3098

Re: investment lessons from QE

That housing crashes tend to make recoveries longer isn't really a controversy. But incomes are flat, and that is the salient fact. It seems to me that economists were expecting QE to overcome this hurdle, but it didn't. They seem to have overlooked the obvious: average people can't spend income the...
by scone
Fri Nov 07, 2014 10:27 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: investment lessons from QE
Replies: 34
Views: 3098

Re: investment lessons from QE

People who are lucky enough to own their homes and have a retirement portfolio may have a higher net worth, if the home is not still underwater, but that's only a fraction of the population. In any case, bigger portfolios and home values haven't automatically led to a spending spree in the real econ...
by scone
Fri Nov 07, 2014 9:46 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: investment lessons from QE
Replies: 34
Views: 3098

Re: investment lessons from QE

"...if you get rising asset prices you typically should also get the wealth effect kicking in, picking up the economy. But you also have outside influences." I don't see that at all. People who have just been through a searing collective experience like this last crash don't go out and sp...
by scone
Thu Nov 06, 2014 3:41 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: investment lessons from QE
Replies: 34
Views: 3098

Re: investment lessons from QE

Come to think of it, maybe the "message" of QE is even simpler. QE's mere existence tells me that the world is in very dire straits indeed. So we try out on extraordinary new policy, which may or may not work, and may have unintended consequences. We don't know what will happen, we only ha...
by scone
Thu Nov 06, 2014 12:52 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: investment lessons from QE
Replies: 34
Views: 3098

Re: investment lessons from QE

scone I have the greatest respect for Cochrane, but this sounds like gibberish to me. The only way this could happen is if the QE somehow led to lower money multiplier and lower velocity of money and don't see why that would happen. That is the simple math of it. Why would lower rates lead banks to...
by scone
Thu Nov 06, 2014 11:38 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: investment lessons from QE
Replies: 34
Views: 3098

Re: investment lessons from QE

Thanks, Larry. Have you seen Noahpinion's latest piece on possible QE deflationary effects? http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2014-11-04/reality-might-topple-a-beloved-economic-theory Here's a longer form piece of his that sums up the discussion among economists, FWIW: http://noahpinionblog.blog...
by scone
Thu Nov 06, 2014 10:33 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: investment lessons from QE
Replies: 34
Views: 3098

Re: Paying portfolio fees to Fidelity vs investing on own

If you want to stay with Fidelity, which is the easiest option, just go with the Spartan Advantage series. They are very cheap. Here's a list of them in the wiki, with everything you need for a decent portfolio. http://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Fidelity
by scone
Wed Nov 05, 2014 9:25 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Paying portfolio fees to Fidelity vs investing on own
Replies: 17
Views: 1334

Re: Ashley Furniture

Personally I avoid Criagslist, partly for security reasons and partly because of the possibility of fleas and bed bugs. I would never buy from a hotel liquidator or a flea market. Mattresses should be bought new and sealed in plastic, and preferably not delivered in the same trucks that haul away o...
by scone
Tue Nov 04, 2014 10:50 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ashley Furniture
Replies: 42
Views: 3307

Re: Core bond holding?

Either Total Bond or Treasuries. If you really like mortgage bonds, Total Bond has some of that. Personally I like Treasuries because of the way they balance stock risk. Some people split 50/50 using Total Bond and TIPs (inflation protected Treasuries). Either way should be fine, and you can search ...
by scone
Tue Nov 04, 2014 8:41 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Core bond holding?
Replies: 4
Views: 617

Re: Ashley Furniture

I just looked over the web site and I wasn't terribly impressed. The better brands provide a "specifications sheet" giving details on how the piece was made. There's nothing on Ashley "quality" other than some marketing video which is meaningless. Personally I avoid Criagslist, p...
by scone
Tue Nov 04, 2014 8:33 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ashley Furniture
Replies: 42
Views: 3307

Re: Investing in Art, Antiques, and Collectibles and wines

Because it's a complete crap shoot. At the higher end, the value of art and antiques depends on how fashionable they are-- if high end designers suddenly decide to hate on Abstract Expressionism, the value is lowered. They fell in love with graffiti at one point, and suddenly Jean-Michel Basquiat wa...
by scone
Sun Nov 02, 2014 5:51 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Investing in Art, Antiques, and Collectibles and wines
Replies: 53
Views: 3767

Re: "Why Bother With Bonds" -- A Gem

"The pros and cons of international bonds seem to cancel each other. So when in doubt, choose simplicity. Stick with U.S. bonds." This is likely very true, if you are American, and plan to live only in America. For "foreigners," dual citizens, ex-pats, Americans married to non-A...
by scone
Fri Oct 31, 2014 7:24 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Why Bother With Bonds" -- A Gem
Replies: 29
Views: 6896

Re: Paul Merriman criticism?

I'll bite. The time period covers the Tech Wreck and the Great Recession, so various slices of the UB&H were repeatedly taken out and shot. Whereas Wellington benefited from its "safe" image and great track record, attracting assets because it's easy to "grab" in your 401k. S...
by scone
Fri Oct 31, 2014 7:10 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Paul Merriman criticism?
Replies: 59
Views: 4503

Re: your advisor should act like a good doctor

Scone I basically agree. If you could make these predictions like in science with say gravity, then there would be no risk. But investing isn't like that. There are always unpredictable events that occur, so all we can do is understand the nature of risks and expected returns, the sources of return...
by scone
Thu Oct 30, 2014 10:39 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: your advisor should act like a good doctor
Replies: 48
Views: 3704

Re: your advisor should act like a good doctor

It would be great if investing had a stronger intellectual foundation. But trying to make it "look and feel" like a hard science is jumping way ahead of the game, in my view. Just for example, science helps us predict in great detail the behavior of the world around us, but investors and e...
by scone
Thu Oct 30, 2014 5:46 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: your advisor should act like a good doctor
Replies: 48
Views: 3704

Re: Paul Merriman criticism?

I think he sometimes oversimplifies his approach in his podcasts and writings. If he were here I would say, "hey Paul, I'm a big girl, I use big words. You can present the science and research, it won't scare me off." This is one of the reasons I like Larry Swedroe-- he's not afraid to pus...
by scone
Tue Oct 28, 2014 8:37 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Paul Merriman criticism?
Replies: 59
Views: 4503

Re: Stock Index or Geared Property (buy to let)

Phrases like "geared property" and "buy to let" make me think the OP is Likely British or Australian. IIRC gearing refers to a mortgage. So likely a comparison between mortgaged rental property returns and the Total Stock index returns is wanted.
by scone
Mon Oct 27, 2014 7:16 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Stock Index or Geared Property (buy to let)
Replies: 3
Views: 405

Re: If holding cash, do you want a Great Depression?

No, not at all. Cash is all about liquidity, and liquidity is all about "optionality." That's often useful, in investing and other areas of finance. Let's say you want to buy real estate-- an "all cash" offer can be more appealing to a seller, and that might give you an edge in a...
by scone
Mon Oct 27, 2014 4:51 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: If holding cash, do you want a Great Depression?
Replies: 50
Views: 4050

Re: What is the recommended amount of international holdings

IIWY, I'd ask myself "what purpose do international holdings serve in my particular portfolio?" In other words, do you need more exposure than average? Less exposure? Are you looking for general diversification, or do you want a special tilt toward or away from certain countries? Any other...
by scone
Fri Oct 24, 2014 9:09 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What is the recommended amount of international holdings?
Replies: 15
Views: 1713

Re: 100% of [surveyed] economists were dead wrong about yiel

In retrospect, the economists were giving the opinion that their education and training would naturally lead them to. In their minds, the narrative was something like, "pump money into the economy, and you get inflation." That seems perfectly plausible to me, but it didn't work out that wa...
by scone
Fri Oct 24, 2014 8:54 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 100% of [surveyed] economists were dead wrong about yields
Replies: 33
Views: 4071

Re: Need help - selling stocks and buying funds today

Stop worrying about it, as these things are not under your control. Just buy the mutual funds and leave them alone. That's the whole point of the 3-fund portfolio. Take off your stock picker's hat, put on your passive investor hat.

Then take the stock picker's hat and burn it.
by scone
Fri Oct 24, 2014 11:28 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Need help - selling stocks and buying funds today
Replies: 6
Views: 523

Re: Reserve Primary Fund, Final Distribution

I don't know, and I don't even know what I don't know. But this incident played into my decision to put my "safe money" into Treasuries and Stable Value. Treasuries are about as liquid as you can get, but I do have some doubts about our SV, which has a weird mixture of safe stuff and creat...
by scone
Fri Oct 24, 2014 11:18 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Reserve Primary Fund, Final Distribution
Replies: 9
Views: 742

Re: More funds = more "efficient" rebalancing?

Since I am still accumulating, I can use new money to rebalance, in part. More funds means I've almost always got something doing poorly, so I can put my money there. In some sense I'm "buying low" relative to the choices available at the time I make the trade. I'm not sure it's more "...
by scone
Fri Oct 24, 2014 11:10 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: More funds = more "efficient" rebalancing?
Replies: 28
Views: 1872

Reserve Primary Fund, Final Distribution

It looks like this sorry episode is coming to an end. At least, I hope so. The update on 09-23-14 says they plan on making the final distribution in December of this year. So if you've had this thing sitting in your 401k for years, like I have, I suppose it will disappear and the money, if any is le...
by scone
Fri Oct 24, 2014 10:57 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Reserve Primary Fund, Final Distribution
Replies: 9
Views: 742

Re: Thoughts on Paul Merriman's Portfolio

This is what I use. I don't find it complicated as I don't rebalance often, and I only have a 401k plus two Roths to work with. Also, the rest of my financial life is extremely simple-- one checking account shared with my husband, one credit card. So the greater number of funds, to me, is no big dea...
by scone
Sat Oct 18, 2014 6:38 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Thoughts on Paul Merriman's Portfolio
Replies: 38
Views: 2335

Re: U.S. stocks in freefall

Headed for another big down day. Gains for the year just about wiped out for US large caps. Anybody hitting their rebalance bands? Hang in there everyone. Maybe by the end of the next day or two. I was at 27% stock this morning, and I have to get to 25%, that's my lower band. If so, it will be the ...
by scone
Wed Oct 15, 2014 12:33 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: U.S. stocks in freefall
Replies: 941
Views: 158362

Re: Headed for a 300+ point loss today?

Anything is possible. But if a relatively small correction like this is too scary for you, then your stock allocation is too high. Simple as that. My asset allocation is built to handle a 50% decline in the S&P that doesn't recover in < 10 years. Sorry, I don't do doomy apocalyse tinfoil hat st...
by scone
Wed Oct 15, 2014 10:29 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Headed for a 300+ point loss today?
Replies: 461
Views: 34337

Re: Headed for a 300+ point loss today?

Strange to say, I'm almost excited. After 2000, S&P went to 815 After 2008, S&P went to 798 That is immediately in the rear view mirror. Is this really a great buying opportunity? Overlay the Nikkei. That's an impossible scenario? Even if there's another 50% drop in the S&P, we're all g...
by scone
Wed Oct 15, 2014 9:50 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Headed for a 300+ point loss today?
Replies: 461
Views: 34337

Re: Headed for a 300+ point loss today?

I must have gotten an attitude transplant somewhere along the line, because I'm feeling pretty good about this. Stocks are on sale, and soon I will hit my band. My Treasuries are up, so I'm not even losing a lot of money. Emotionally, I feel relieved that the other shoe has dropped-- it's as if ever...
by scone
Wed Oct 15, 2014 9:20 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Headed for a 300+ point loss today?
Replies: 461
Views: 34337

Re: Am I on track? Please take a look.

I think you're doing very well overall. IIWY, at your age, I'd max out the 401k instead of paying off the mortgage early. That 401k money has a long time to compound, so it's likely to do you good in the long run. But the mortgage money might go down the tubes, if you get a new job, and you have to ...
by scone
Tue Oct 14, 2014 4:06 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Am I on track? Please take a look.
Replies: 4
Views: 700

Re: Sale of house-closing tomorrow, buyer is backing out

I've been in this situation, not quite this close to closing, and it sucks. I question the "emotional issues" excuse-- my suspicious mind thinks the lender may have backed out, for whatever reason. In any case, take the earnest money, and don't take any bull from the opposing realtor abou...
by scone
Tue Oct 14, 2014 10:26 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Sale of house-closing tomorrow, buyer is backing out
Replies: 60
Views: 5299

Re: Fidelity Investments Hacked

Time to relax. Fido carries insurance to reimburse you in case of cyberattack. It's no worse than bank robbery, if you think about it, and at least you're not getting shot at. And in any case, the financial industry is probably more of a danger to capitalism than hackers-- look what happened in 2008...
by scone
Mon Oct 13, 2014 11:48 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Fidelity Investments Hacked
Replies: 21
Views: 2585
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