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Re: What to do

You are doing excellent work I think coming down from $250K mountain of debt. I would indeed ramp up pre-tax contributions to TSP/401K. That would reduce tax bill. But I would also continue to pay off the loans with at least 25% of disposable income pool, or even 33%, starting with 5.5% one and only...
by serbeer
Tue Apr 22, 2014 6:52 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What to do [Investing vs. Paying Down Debt]
Replies: 5
Views: 689

Re: Starting an RIA

RIA does not have to be expensive, so the fees can be reasonable. No one on this forum is likely to be interested in becoming your client, but here is how you can start it on less than $10K:
http://www.kitces.com/blog/setting-up-a ... han-10000/
by serbeer
Tue Apr 22, 2014 2:34 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Starting an RIA
Replies: 28
Views: 1618

Re: Solar ovens

Good information on using Solar Ovens here:
http://www.cheaprvliving.com/blog/recom ... ls-part-1/
by serbeer
Tue Apr 22, 2014 2:03 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Solar ovens
Replies: 5
Views: 465

Predictably costly bet for many on short-term maturity bonds

Read the article by Bob Veres on how many financial advisors recently did their clients a huge disservice by recommending switch to short-term maturity bonds to defend again potentially raising interest rates: http://advisorperspectives.com/newsletters14/pdfs/How_to_Avoid_Hidden_Costs_in_Your_Bond_A...
by serbeer
Wed Apr 16, 2014 12:46 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Predictably costly bet for many on short-term maturity bonds
Replies: 0
Views: 202

Re: All-inclusive resort vacation for $2K??

Yes, it is possible and even easy in less expensive April-November months of the year to find week-long all inclusive vacation for under $1,000 per person. I suggest you use Apple Vacations website and look for 3 and 4 Apples-rated properties in Mexico (especially less expensive Puerto Vallarta area...
by serbeer
Tue Apr 15, 2014 5:44 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: All-inclusive resort vacation for $2K??
Replies: 16
Views: 1683

Re: LED bulb prices

Turns out that I have two more brand new CFLs and a box each of 60W, 75W, and 100W incandescents. I think I'll put in the LED once one of the CFL goes bad. I don't understand this type of reasoning. LEDs take less energy than CFLs, turn on faster, have better light spectrum, run no risk of breaking...
by serbeer
Fri Apr 11, 2014 10:52 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: LED bulb prices
Replies: 109
Views: 8478

Re: LED bulb prices

... I'm waiting for LED prices to come down further and for 100W equivalent bulbs to become more widely available and at better prices. You may be pleasantly surprised if you try 60W equivalent LEDs. The ones I purchased as giving as much light output as my old 100W incandescent bulbs, or even a bi...
by serbeer
Tue Apr 08, 2014 11:35 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: LED bulb prices
Replies: 109
Views: 8478

Re: Buying for someone who "has everything"

I am similar and the best gift my wife ever gave me was electronic book reader (sony prs-505 at the time). I love to read but was restraining myself to books on paper and reading on computer screen before that. Since then I always keep a reader with me and went through 3 prs-505 and now switched to ...
by serbeer
Sat Apr 05, 2014 12:05 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying for someone who "has everything"
Replies: 43
Views: 2304

Re: We Don't want to die with Money

With such goal, you are prime candidates for using ESPlanner planning tool http://www.esplanner.com/ Its goal is "consumption smoothing" which is fancy term for "not dying with money". It is built by reputable college professor who is authority in the field, well peer-reviewed, u...
by serbeer
Wed Mar 26, 2014 4:29 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: We Don't want to die with Money
Replies: 45
Views: 3752

Re: Options for the medical grad but no residency

One of my friends was in similar situation when she could not get through residency. She chose to spend several years studying Chineese and herbal medicine through some kind of Oriental medicine academy. Now that she graduated from it, she is in the initial stages of starting her own practice/busine...
by serbeer
Wed Mar 19, 2014 11:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Options for the medical grad but no residency
Replies: 95
Views: 7166

Re: Home Expenses

yes, around 1.5% on average and yes very irregular from year to year
by serbeer
Mon Mar 17, 2014 7:32 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Home Expenses
Replies: 2
Views: 508

Re: Flexible Spending Account Timing Question

I had to deal with it when my child was born. If hospital admission and birth happened on the same date, great, you are all set. If it was overnight stay, you'll have a problem since the money added to your FSA due to qualifying even can only be paid for expenses that, in their entirety, occurred on...
by serbeer
Fri Mar 14, 2014 6:15 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Flexible Spending Account Timing Question
Replies: 15
Views: 504

Re: What's a reasonable composite expense ratio?

My household composite is 0.16 0.4 seems high in comparison and especially given all-Vanguard funds. I'd expect such ratio if majority of funds were in 401K accounts and you/spouse worked for medium-sized companies. Not bad in absolute terms though, anything under 0.5 is not going to do major damage...
by serbeer
Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:36 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What's a reasonable composite expense ratio?
Replies: 62
Views: 2882

Re: Turn spare change into big bucks?

Will not be "big bucks" for sure. "Turn spare change into high-ER investments?" would be a better title for the thread.
by serbeer
Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:26 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Turn spare change into big bucks?
Replies: 29
Views: 2216

Re: Is Roth annuity to Roth IRA rollover possible?

Thank you sscritic. Now that I think about it, you may be right about me having to open a regular Roth IRA and roll-over into it. Rollover IRAs are still special in respect of asset protection: they contain money coming out of ERISA accounts, such as 401K, and, thus, have unlimited asset protection ...
by serbeer
Fri Mar 14, 2014 12:40 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Is Roth annuity to Roth IRA rollover possible?
Replies: 5
Views: 376

Re: Is Roth annuity to Roth IRA rollover possible?

Thank you for the detailed response Alan!
Hopefully, I can interpret "limit of 1 indirect rollover from each IRA account" as "limit of 1 indirect rollover from each Roth Fixed Annuity account"
by serbeer
Thu Mar 13, 2014 10:52 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Is Roth annuity to Roth IRA rollover possible?
Replies: 5
Views: 376

Is Roth annuity to Roth IRA rollover possible?

Folks, one of my family member purchased qualified fixed annuity with Roth money a few years back, but realized it is not as great of a deal as originally thought, so now decided to follow my suggestion and use the annual penalty-free 10% annual withdrawal rider to move the money from the annuity in...
by serbeer
Thu Mar 13, 2014 5:27 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Is Roth annuity to Roth IRA rollover possible?
Replies: 5
Views: 376

Re: Tipping for a haircut at Great Clips

I always go to Great Clips for my haircuts and I always tip $2. But I NEVER pay full $14 price. I always use coupon that takes the price down to at least $8.99, and sometimes $6.99. If I don't find Great Clips own coupon in MoneyMailer and such during the month (frequently for $6.99-$8.99), I use co...
by serbeer
Mon Mar 10, 2014 2:48 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tipping for a haircut at Great Clips
Replies: 56
Views: 3966

Re: LED bulb prices

Just purchased 4 (40W-equivalent) LED bulbs at less than $3.50 per bulb with tax and free shipping from Staples: http://dealnews.com/Brighton-Professional-6-W-A19-LED-Light-Bulb-2-Pack-for-7-free-shipping/997920.html Thanks for this. Out of stock online, but have few pack on hold at my local store....
by serbeer
Thu Mar 06, 2014 12:03 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: LED bulb prices
Replies: 109
Views: 8478

Re: LED bulb prices

Just purchased 4 (40W-equivalent) LED bulbs at less than $3.50 per bulb with tax and free shipping from Staples: http://dealnews.com/Brighton-Professional-6-W-A19-LED-Light-Bulb-2-Pack-for-7-free-shipping/997920.html I am nearly done with converting all my regular light bulbs in the house to LEDs, i...
by serbeer
Wed Mar 05, 2014 5:44 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: LED bulb prices
Replies: 109
Views: 8478

Re: Alternatives to MINT.com

Yodlee Moneycenter or Fidelity Fullview if you are customer of Fidelity (based on Yodlee engine too btw)
by serbeer
Wed Mar 05, 2014 5:37 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Alternatives to MINT.com
Replies: 33
Views: 3179

Re: Will this affect your Tipping?

I suppose if I did not read this and would be caught off guard by such system, I would be inclined to tip $1 for the reason mentioned, though normally I would not leave the tip under these circumstances. However, now that I read this and mentally prepared to encounter something like this in the futu...
by serbeer
Wed Mar 05, 2014 3:11 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Will this affect your Tipping? [Suggested Tip Amounts]
Replies: 123
Views: 7559

Re: Smart way to transfer current mortgage to new house?

Usually, there is not. It is not in the best interests of bank to allow such transfers, as they give up control over collateral, as new propery may not satisfy their requirements.
by serbeer
Sun Mar 02, 2014 5:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Smart way to transfer current mortgage to new house?
Replies: 4
Views: 321

Re: Avoiding VNQ due to interest rate

It is mathguy against the Market!
My money are on the Market, no offence. Market is not rational and, hence, not logical either.
I would follow livesoft's advice and not waste time on trying to beat it.
by serbeer
Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:53 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Avoiding VNQ due to interest rate [Vanguard REIT]
Replies: 28
Views: 2279

Re: Snow Removal Service Surcharge?

Read the contract. If there is nothing about surcharge in it, I would not pay it. What's the point of seasonal contract otherwise? They cannot benefit from good seasons and try to evade responsibility in bad seasons unless it is built into contract (which I, personally, would not sign in such case).
by serbeer
Thu Feb 27, 2014 6:53 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Snow Removal Service Surcharge?
Replies: 5
Views: 390

Re: Social Security Cards

Not sure about nowadays, but I was asked my SS card every time I changed my employment, which was about 3 or 4 times in my life. Because that used to be the way to confirm that the person has the right to work in US--some cards have restrictions: http://www.ssa.gov/ssnumber/cards.htm Perhaps it is d...
by serbeer
Tue Feb 25, 2014 7:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Social Security Cards
Replies: 33
Views: 1679

Re: Good article on not using a CFP

Good article about importance of watching investments' total costs.
But CFPs are not even mentioned, for god's sake.
by serbeer
Tue Feb 25, 2014 5:02 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Good article on not using a FA that charges a high AUM %
Replies: 8
Views: 932

Re: Do children become less expensive as they grow up?

Roadhog wrote:8. They had allowances equal to their age and that was it.

Thanks for the useful tips.
Were those weekly allowances?
by serbeer
Tue Feb 25, 2014 2:46 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do children become less expensive as they grow up?
Replies: 93
Views: 6507

Re: Do children become less expensive as they grow up?

...Another reason we are not comfortable funding the 529 to the max is what if they get scholarships and end up not having to pay much out of pocket? It seems the money would go to waste. Not true. You can take out amount equivalent to scholarship out of 529 accounts without penalty. So that would ...
by serbeer
Tue Feb 25, 2014 2:34 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do children become less expensive as they grow up?
Replies: 93
Views: 6507

Re: What is the usual time to do your taxes?

...Now I file as early as possible especially if I'm getting a refund. Does not matter if you are getting a refund. If identity thieves get hold of your personal info and file the return before you do, they will make sure that numbers they put in return result in a very nice refund, regardless of w...
by serbeer
Thu Feb 13, 2014 7:38 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is the usual time to do your taxes?
Replies: 29
Views: 1881

Re: What is the usual time to do your taxes?

...Now I file as early as possible especially if I'm getting a refund. Does not matter if you are getting a refund. If identity thieves get hold of your personal info and file the return before you do, they will make sure that numbers they put in return result in a very nice refund, regardless of w...
by serbeer
Thu Feb 13, 2014 3:38 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is the usual time to do your taxes?
Replies: 29
Views: 1881

Re: What is the usual time to do your taxes?

I wait till beginning of April. Periodically I get revised 1099, W-2, etc. One year I had to file 1040-X because of such revision coming after Apr. 15. Hey, once I triggered revision of bunch of W-2 in my wife's company myself after finding issue on it and reporting it to her payroll! We usually owe...
by serbeer
Wed Feb 12, 2014 2:53 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is the usual time to do your taxes?
Replies: 29
Views: 1881

Re: ETF Bid/Ask Spread Costs. What is Acceptable?

I avoid trading ETFs in the first and last 30 mins of the day as spreads tend to be larger during that time--as I leaned from previous discussions on this website.
by serbeer
Wed Feb 12, 2014 2:24 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: ETF Bid/Ask Spread Costs. What is Acceptable?
Replies: 18
Views: 1322

Re: POLL: Do you do you own taxes?

The first year I had income, I did it myself with pencil and paper at the time, 1040-EZ was nothing special really. By the time I had to use 1040, Turbo Tax was around, so I've done my first 1040 with pencil and paper the first time to learn the form, and in Turbo Tax every year thereafter. Much eas...
by serbeer
Wed Feb 12, 2014 2:22 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: POLL: Do you do your own taxes?
Replies: 54
Views: 3112

Re: How did you find Vibram Five Finger shoes?

Spouse purchased a pair and had to return them, said it was not at all comfortable in toes area
by serbeer
Tue Feb 11, 2014 3:52 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How did you find Vibram Five Finger shoes?
Replies: 10
Views: 662

Re: Best Credit Card Promos 2014

I am starting to think that all of these credit cards that offer extra rewards for groceries, gas, etc. may not actually end up being worth it in the long-run. It seems that some of these cards have their offers rescinded over the long run or have extra hoops for you to jump. Well, my HSBC Platinum...
by serbeer
Thu Feb 06, 2014 7:32 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best Credit Card Promos 2014
Replies: 24
Views: 3478

Re: Best Credit Card Promos 2014

Just in time thread as yesterday I received a notice that my 5 years old HSBC Platinum Cash card--that has no annual fee and been faithfully giving me 5% on groceries/gas/drug store purchases (and 0.5% on everything else but I did not use it for anything else)--is being converted to "1% back on...
by serbeer
Thu Feb 06, 2014 3:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best Credit Card Promos 2014
Replies: 24
Views: 3478

Re: When to stop tax-deferred savings?

There has been some previous discussion of that, but very thinly spread over multiple threads. Here are a few pointers you can use as starting point to find the discussions: http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=126984 http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=130744...
by serbeer
Tue Feb 04, 2014 4:11 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When to stop tax-deferred savings?
Replies: 12
Views: 1725

Re: New Amica discounts available

jeffyscott wrote:They sent me a magazine saying on the cover "go paperless - get a discount", but there is no discount until my renewal.

Did you call and ask them for this discount specifically?
by serbeer
Fri Jan 24, 2014 7:48 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New Amica discounts available
Replies: 15
Views: 1282

Re: New Amica discounts available

I currently am billed semi-annually for my current automobile insurance. Is that the way Amica bills? Does the "Paid in Full Discount" apply to the semi-annual payment or to the yearly total? Amica policies are for 1 year period. They usually bill in monthly installments. They would, of c...
by serbeer
Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:23 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New Amica discounts available
Replies: 15
Views: 1282

Re: Spreadsheet for backtesting (includes TrevH's data)

M1garand30064 wrote:Has this been updated to reflect the CPI data released a few days ago? Thanks again. This is a wonderful achievement by the members here! :sharebeer

Just posted 13c update, sorry for delay, enjoy
by serbeer
Thu Jan 23, 2014 3:59 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Spreadsheet for backtesting (includes TrevH's data)
Replies: 587
Views: 351591

New Amica discounts available

From Amica newsletter I just learned last night about 2 new discounts available on Amica policies. They may not be available in all states, but I called and they are available in mine (IL). One is E-policy and E-bill discount . They will give you 2% off any policy premium for use of email in lieu of...
by serbeer
Thu Jan 23, 2014 2:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New Amica discounts available
Replies: 15
Views: 1282

Re: What happens to FSA when you change jobs?

Wanted to bump to see if I could get anyone to answer this question. I couldn't seem to find a direct answer with an online search... Say we have procedures done (or order a bunch of glasses and contacts, or whatever) and then next week you leave your job, before actually paying the bills for these...
by serbeer
Mon Jan 20, 2014 3:45 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What happens to FSA when you change jobs?
Replies: 8
Views: 595

Re: Employer 401k no longer matching. What to do?

Thanks for all your tips. The only reason I'd lean towards Vanguard is because I use them already and like them a lot. Vanguard is a fine choice IMO (unless you have complicated matters that require significant customer service involvement--from what I heard--and I'll leave it at that since it is h...
by serbeer
Wed Jan 15, 2014 6:07 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Employer 401k no longer matching. What to do?
Replies: 36
Views: 1378

Re: Employer 401k no longer matching. What to do?

My IRAs are in Ameritrade. They have great list of over 100 commission-free ETFs, many of them with very low ER that cover all of my needs (well, I wish VPL ticker was on the list too)--Vanguard index ETFs including. Excellent website (with ability to select flexible specific share identification po...
by serbeer
Wed Jan 15, 2014 5:28 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Employer 401k no longer matching. What to do?
Replies: 36
Views: 1378

Re: What happens to FSA when you change jobs?

That's how it works. If you spend your entire FSA amount for the year in January, then leave the company, you win. That's awesome! ... But also consider that if you contributed significant amount during the course of the year using paycheck deductions, have not had a chance to use it up yet (say, p...
by serbeer
Wed Jan 15, 2014 3:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What happens to FSA when you change jobs?
Replies: 8
Views: 595

Re: Turbo Tax Audit Defense Coverage

I never purchased it. But never been audited either so cannot comment on how useful it could be. The thing is, if I filled out my own taxes all my life, I think I should be able to handle my own defense if something went wrong. I would have to give all the documentation to whoever represents me, so ...
by serbeer
Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:27 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Turbo Tax Audit Defense Coverage
Replies: 10
Views: 1155

Re: Fidelity 2% Amex Cardholders: Autopay the Bill?

I autopay mine for several years now. I vaguely recall that it took a paper form, and that there were issues with the first payment, it did not kick in on time, but they waved the fees and since then I had no issues with autopay.
by serbeer
Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:02 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Fidelity 2% Amex Cardholders: Autopay the Bill?
Replies: 31
Views: 2684

Re: Poll: Understanding the average forum member age

So what did we learn from this poll? That bogleheads are pretty evenly distributed between 25 and 70? That all ages are nearly equally concerned about making their money work as efficiently as possible? I guess a negative result is also a result. I guess there is a light spike in pre-retirement grou...
by serbeer
Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:23 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Poll: Understanding the average forum member age
Replies: 56
Views: 4832
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