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Re: VGPMX: anyone contrarian enough to buy it?

madbrain wrote:
3easypayments wrote:I would agree that -37% YTD qualifies this to be called a dog.


The total return is about -6.5% YTD .


That comment (and YTD) was in 2013.
by slbnoob
Mon Oct 27, 2014 2:15 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: VGPMX: anyone contrarian enough to buy it?
Replies: 54
Views: 7293

Re: Why do Engineers Think They’ll Be Good at Picking Stocks

In engineering numbers are only useful as data if there is a covering law that explains the relationship between or among the numbers. ... The stock market does not have a covering law that anyone can find. So numbers are not useful data. This is a wonderful quote. Thank you. Everyone is generating...
by slbnoob
Wed Oct 22, 2014 11:31 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why do Engineers Think They’ll Be Good at Picking Stocks?
Replies: 125
Views: 8797

Re: online shopping for laptop PC

If you're not necessarily looking for a brand new one, may I suggest checking out the 'outlets' of Lenovo and Dell on their website. They have returned/refurbished items there and you may be able to snag an opened/returned one for far less the price of a new one. I own a lenovo bought >5 years ago a...
by slbnoob
Tue Oct 21, 2014 4:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: online shopping for laptop PC
Replies: 23
Views: 1314

Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Just a follow-up to my post above. I got my phones unlocked by ATT. Then I put in an order with CC. Sim arrived 3 days later. I put sim in one phone and called from the other to activate (I also activated online but I still called since WTH). My Galaxy S3 probably had 4G LTE right from the beginning...
by slbnoob
Tue Oct 21, 2014 11:23 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How is Consumer Cellular
Replies: 39
Views: 6945

Re: PhD in Computer Engineering?

After looking at this thread my son is leaning more towards getting a master's degree, but was wondering how that would affect the chances of getting financial support. My experience with PhD programs was that they expect you to plan on getting a PhD, and the department decides whether or not you s...
by slbnoob
Tue Oct 21, 2014 11:04 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: PhD in Computer Engineering?
Replies: 33
Views: 3353

Re: PhD in Computer Engineering?

A lot has already been said in this thread. Of the little I read, I agree with Afty's comments. I am a Ph.D. in a related engineering discipline. From the people I've seen around me, a Ph.D. in CS may not make sense economically; stopping at an MS and getting hired does. Go for a Ph.D. if you'd like...
by slbnoob
Mon Oct 20, 2014 12:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: PhD in Computer Engineering?
Replies: 33
Views: 3353

Re: $400 reward to open Chase accounts

So is there anyone who can confirm that simply making a regular ACH transfer from one bank to another qualify as Direct Deposit?
by slbnoob
Fri Oct 17, 2014 8:25 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: $400 reward to open Chase accounts
Replies: 35
Views: 8211

Re: How is Consumer Cellular

My ATT contract should have got over today. I am going to call tomorrow and unlock the phones. I thought I'd better get started with Consumer Cellular.

How does the number porting thing work? Are they going to contact ATT to stop service immediately?

Thanks.
by slbnoob
Mon Oct 13, 2014 8:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How is Consumer Cellular
Replies: 39
Views: 6945

Re: New 2% cash back Mastercard from Citi

Request for an opinion from board members: should I convert my Citi Forward card to Double Cash? Currently, my card seems to be grandfathered to earn 5 points for restaurants and Amazon (places of relevance). I'm also among the lucky people who still have a forward card with the 5 points bonus. I w...
by slbnoob
Thu Oct 09, 2014 2:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New 2% cash back Mastercard from Citi
Replies: 237
Views: 28272

Re: New B of A visa chip card, no pin needed?

placeholder wrote:Some merchants in the US are moving to chip readers which (as I recall reports here) will reject swipe attempts from chip enabled cards.

Example: Walmart (near me at least)
by slbnoob
Thu Oct 09, 2014 2:07 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New B of A visa chip card, no pin needed?
Replies: 35
Views: 2555

Re: New B of A visa chip card, no pin needed?

I don't think that any of us who have requested a PIN for European travel are under any illusion that it will enable use of the card in a machine that *requires* chip only. All we have is a swipe and PIN card, not a chip and PIN. Ok. I didn't know swipe+Pin also worked. Anyway, my Chip+Pin did fail...
by slbnoob
Wed Oct 08, 2014 8:25 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New B of A visa chip card, no pin needed?
Replies: 35
Views: 2555

Re: New B of A visa chip card, no pin needed?

A credit card usually has a PIN number for cash advance. Can that PIN number be used for this (purchase) purpose? It would be difficult to remember two PIN numbers for a credit card. No. The Pin for cash withdrawals is different than the Pin required to make authorized CC transactions. That Pin (in...
by slbnoob
Wed Oct 08, 2014 12:18 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New B of A visa chip card, no pin needed?
Replies: 35
Views: 2555

Re: New B of A visa chip card, no pin needed?

Weirdly I was not able to use my PenFed VISA with Chip+Pin at the gas stations in Iceland. It kept on telling me "no authorized". I used the card elsewhere with the Pin and it worked fine. Which card did you use? Capital One Venture; PIN by request but no chip yet. So you don't have a Chi...
by slbnoob
Wed Oct 08, 2014 11:49 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New B of A visa chip card, no pin needed?
Replies: 35
Views: 2555

Re: New B of A visa chip card, no pin needed?

Many credit card companies will provide a pin if you ask. I agree that stores and restaurants are fine with a signature....but in Iceland, all the gas stations were set up for a credit card with a pin. In the USA, gas stations tend to use the billing zip code as a pin for credit cards. Weirdly I wa...
by slbnoob
Tue Oct 07, 2014 11:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New B of A visa chip card, no pin needed?
Replies: 35
Views: 2555

Re: Which Employer Health Insurance To Go With? PPO/HSA

I might be totally off the mark here. Are you eligible to change your plan midway through the year due to a "life changing event" such as pregnancy/birth? If that is possible, then you can change the plan only when such an event occurs.
by slbnoob
Fri Oct 03, 2014 2:40 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Which Employer Health Insurance To Go With? PPO/HSA
Replies: 23
Views: 1825

Re: Changing a flight date

I've been bitten twice buying RT international tickets through a website and a travel agency. Changing dates (close to the last moment) was a headache and each time, it was just better to walk away from it since there was essentially no solution. I have promised to myself to buy tickets directly fro...
by slbnoob
Fri Oct 03, 2014 11:08 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Changing a flight date
Replies: 24
Views: 1571

Re: Tell me about Paris

On AirBnB for Paris, there are many options. You should decide which area you would prefer to stay in and then search in that area for places with lot of reviews, majority being reasonably good, decent photos and price. We had stayed here . For Wi-Fi, we observed that all McDonalds have free wi-fi. ...
by slbnoob
Fri Oct 03, 2014 10:39 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tell me about Paris
Replies: 65
Views: 3598

Re: Penfed CDs up rates

I don't have experience with PenFed with the CDs. Is it as convenient as Ally Bank to open/withdraw a CD with PenFed? I am thinking about the scenario where I would need to withdraw the money due to an emergency. Can I get the money wire transferred/ACH to me in a day or two?
by slbnoob
Fri Oct 03, 2014 12:24 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Penfed CDs up rates
Replies: 11
Views: 3020

Re: Tell me about Paris

Just got back from my 2nd trip 3 weeks ago. The area you're describing to stay at would not be my first choice (location and perceived safety). I strongly suggest looking at airbnb.com and staying at an apartment in a more central location. We stayed near the Eiffel Tower area (Avenue de Suffren nea...
by slbnoob
Wed Oct 01, 2014 4:30 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tell me about Paris
Replies: 65
Views: 3598

Re: CNN: 5 investing secrets of the wealthy.

IMO it is a terrible article and doesn't display any new journalism. CNN articles are usually hyped up and this one is no different ("secret"), bandying the same old stuff rehashed from an older article. Especially for us here at this forum, it is all common sense than "secret".
by slbnoob
Tue Sep 30, 2014 1:50 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: CNN: 5 investing secrets of the wealthy.
Replies: 20
Views: 3665

Re: New 2% cash back Mastercard from Citi

Request for an opinion from board members: should I convert my Citi Forward card to Double Cash? Currently, my card seems to be grandfathered to earn 5 points for restaurants and Amazon (places of relevance). Many reports of Citi Forward not being eligible for conversion. I just called and found th...
by slbnoob
Mon Sep 29, 2014 9:23 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New 2% cash back Mastercard from Citi
Replies: 237
Views: 28272

Re: New 2% cash back Mastercard from Citi

Request for an opinion from board members: should I convert my Citi Forward card to Double Cash? Currently, my card seems to be grandfathered to earn 5 points for restaurants and Amazon (places of relevance).
by slbnoob
Mon Sep 29, 2014 7:23 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New 2% cash back Mastercard from Citi
Replies: 237
Views: 28272

Re: PenFed Visa Foreign Transaction Fee

Used the PenFed Visa in Europe. No FTF, 1% back on all purchases. I was hoping for the regular 5/3/1 but I guess it only applies within the US. On a related note, I just got information from PenFed CSR that I can simply split my credit line (Visa) to get an AMEX without a hard pull. I will go ahead ...
by slbnoob
Mon Sep 29, 2014 3:25 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: PenFed Visa Foreign Transaction Fee
Replies: 7
Views: 773

Re: Help-Do I need a chip/pin card in europe?

I returned from a trip to a few places in Europe recently and here is my experience. My PenFed VISA Rewards card was the only card I used everywhere since it has Chip+Pin and 0% FTF and as I now see, reasonable forex rates. Iceland is virtually a cashless country. We didn't exchange $ for kronas and...
by slbnoob
Mon Sep 29, 2014 1:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help-Do I need a chip/pin card in europe?
Replies: 22
Views: 1813

Re: American Express Blue preferred vs Sallie Mae Mastercard

Any considerations to the warranty features of World Mastercard vs AmEx vs VISA Signature?
Assuming the rewards are similar, which card should I prefer to make purchases where I'd like to have warranty protection?
by slbnoob
Mon Sep 29, 2014 1:11 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: American Express Blue preferred vs Sallie Mae Mastercard
Replies: 5
Views: 798

Re: Cricket wireless experience

My ATT contract gets over in 2 weeks. I researched T-Mobile, Cricket (formerly Aio), H2O but finally am settling on Consumer Cellular. I will be looking to port our numbers and phones (iPhone 4s, Galaxy S3). Consumer Cellular seems to come out to be the cheapest since we are not heavy users and don'...
by slbnoob
Sun Sep 28, 2014 10:43 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cricket wireless experience
Replies: 35
Views: 2037

Re: American Express Blue preferred vs Sallie Mae Mastercard

Very timely thread for me as I've been thinking about the same cards. From what I've read online regarding Sallie Mae MC, they do seem to consider Amazong.com as a bookstore, making purchases there eligible for 5%. In fact, I've seen for a long time that Amazon.com purchases made using my Citi Forwa...
by slbnoob
Sun Sep 28, 2014 4:06 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: American Express Blue preferred vs Sallie Mae Mastercard
Replies: 5
Views: 798

Re: Rewards credit card advice

I do the Fidelity Amex 2% everywhere + PenFed (5/3/1 really like 4.1/2.46/0.82% because points are devalued 18%), that hits a nice point on the complexity/return trade off curve without having to pack my wallet with bunches of cards or consult a chart on what card to use where. Which card is that? ...
by slbnoob
Thu Sep 25, 2014 11:28 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Rewards credit card advice
Replies: 66
Views: 58501

Re: Rewards credit card advice

Where does the penfed reward card stand now? I recently got the Penfed Rewards card primarily because it has: 1. Chip + Pin to for an upcoming trip across Europe 2. no foreign transaction fee and (from general consensus) good exchange rates 3. 5% points on gas, 3% on grocery, 1% everything else Not...
by slbnoob
Thu Sep 25, 2014 10:33 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Rewards credit card advice
Replies: 66
Views: 58501

Re: Consumer Cellular with 4G-LTE android smartphone

I checked out the rates and it seems you can get 600 minutes for $20 per month, plus $10 per month per line added. And then $20 per month for 5000 texts and 1GB data. Are the texts are data shared between the two phones, without any additional charges for sharing on the second line? If yes that com...
by slbnoob
Sun Sep 21, 2014 1:03 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Consumer Cellular with 4G-LTE android smartphone
Replies: 51
Views: 6487

Re: 2014/2015 Honda Accord vs. 2014 Toyota Avalon

Pardon the lack of clarity in my post. I was indeed referring to the length of the cars and their relatively large turning radii. When the parking spot is narrow, it becomes difficult to maneuver it in. The Avalon is a bit too big for city driving, I feel. Even the Camry isn't too fun to park in nar...
by slbnoob
Tue Aug 26, 2014 11:05 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2014/2015 Honda Accord vs. 2014 Toyota Avalon
Replies: 54
Views: 5386

Re: 2014/2015 Honda Accord vs. 2014 Toyota Avalon

You may consider the Camry Hybrid XLE, which is a nicer, quieter, more loaded version of the base model. I had managed to snatch a good deal for under 30K back in 2012. But you already said that your DW doesn't want a Camry. The Avalon is a bit too big for city driving, I feel. Even the Camry isn't ...
by slbnoob
Mon Aug 25, 2014 9:59 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2014/2015 Honda Accord vs. 2014 Toyota Avalon
Replies: 54
Views: 5386

Re: Which Vanguard BOND Fund ?

larryinnewyork wrote:...
the higher return on the Corporate Bond Index has me thinking if I should transfer my money to it.

...
Normally I would have done the switch, but I don't want to be chasing the higher returns (like people do with stock funds).

The above sounds contradictory to me.
by slbnoob
Wed Aug 20, 2014 4:17 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Which Vanguard bond Fund ?
Replies: 36
Views: 3299

Re: New Investor... Where to put my money.

I'm fairly new here too. Regarding your minimum investment, here is some info. I'll defer to others with more experience to help you out. One can open an IRA at Schwab for as little as $100/month: https://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/investing/accounts_products/accounts/ira/roth_ira Am I reading th...
by slbnoob
Thu Aug 07, 2014 5:04 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: New Investor... Where to put my money.
Replies: 10
Views: 1010

Re: New Investor... Where to put my money.

I'm fairly new here too. Regarding your minimum investment, here is some info. I'll defer to others with more experience to help you out. One can open an IRA at Schwab for as little as $100/month: https://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/investing/accounts_products/accounts/ira/roth_ira Am I reading th...
by slbnoob
Thu Aug 07, 2014 2:36 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: New Investor... Where to put my money.
Replies: 10
Views: 1010

Re: Memory foam mattresses - any insight?

I paid 3500 for a Tempurpedic 2 years ago and it indeed money well spent. I would not go into the pros of which many have been expounded many times here. Some cons are that it is not the most desirable mattress to do anything else than sleep on and it can be temperature dependent. If you're very war...
by slbnoob
Thu Jul 24, 2014 3:54 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Memory foam mattresses - any insight?
Replies: 64
Views: 5626

Re: Millennials (with jobs) are super-saving their retiremen

I just turned 30. I have been working for less than 2 years after finishing grad school. I try to save up reasonably even though it may be a lot when compared to my colleagues. We are living in an uncertain world where the jobs/economy are not guaranteed; I have no pension (like they used to have ba...
by slbnoob
Thu Jul 17, 2014 1:57 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Millennials (with jobs) are super-saving their retirement
Replies: 65
Views: 9851

Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

I recently got a Penfed CU Platinum Rewards VISA Signature card. I paid $15 to Voices of America to gain membership, $5 to open a 'Regular Shares' account and this allowed me to open a CC account with them. There was no other requirement to submit pay stubs etc. I got this card primarily for no fore...
by slbnoob
Wed Jul 16, 2014 11:23 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why does anyone use American Express?
Replies: 146
Views: 30953

Re: Best website for airfare?

I use matrix.itasoftware.com to figure out the optimum travel time for my trips.
by slbnoob
Tue Jul 15, 2014 1:37 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best website for airfare?
Replies: 20
Views: 3079

Re: "Chip" credit card for foreign travel

After a lot of 'paralysis by analysis' I went with the Penfed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature.
by slbnoob
Tue Jul 08, 2014 3:16 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "Chip" credit card for foreign travel
Replies: 98
Views: 13602

Re: stocks about to plunge

There was some weakness in 2013 but by September my indicators were suggesting it was still too early to call, which looks to have been correct. My current data suggests we're still in a period of market order that started July 2011. Latest crash indicator reading is only 14.29/100 (over 30 is usua...
by slbnoob
Tue Jul 08, 2014 3:15 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: stocks about to plunge
Replies: 39
Views: 8041

Re: "Chip" credit card for foreign travel

I want to get an AmEx card just because I have none. (I only have 1 Citi VISA). But seems like AmEx isn't as widely accepted in Europe. Any opinions?
by slbnoob
Mon Jun 30, 2014 2:39 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "Chip" credit card for foreign travel
Replies: 98
Views: 13602

Re: No Foreign Transaction Fee, No Annual Fee

I am considering an unorthodox plan. I will get the Delta Skymiles Gold AmEx card. It has no FTF, $95 annual fee waived for the first year. I'd keep it for the first year, then ask AmEx to downgrade it to the Blue Cash Everyday which has good rewards and no annual fee. My rationale is that I need a ...
by slbnoob
Fri Jun 27, 2014 4:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: No Foreign Transaction Fee, No Annual Fee
Replies: 33
Views: 4775

Re: Electronic person-to-person payments

I use my credit union's online Bill Pay system to even pay individuals where a check is mailed out to them by the bank.
by slbnoob
Thu Jun 19, 2014 1:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Electronic person-to-person payments
Replies: 19
Views: 1577

Re: My HSA Investments Suck

i consider my hsa account as prefunding a future expense. would never consider investing it in stocks. i take whatever interest they pay and consider it as part of the cash part of my overall portfolio. That approach might make sense if the cash flow is constrained leading you to withdraw from the ...
by slbnoob
Wed Jun 18, 2014 1:22 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: My HSA Investments Suck
Replies: 7
Views: 823

Re: Iceland [for vacation]

Bump.

Any pointers on how to arrange for accommodation while I'm driving along Route 1 early September?
by slbnoob
Sun Jun 15, 2014 12:42 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Iceland [for vacation]
Replies: 35
Views: 4970

Re: Are hybrid cars a good idea yet?

Ford hybrids do not use Toyota drive trains. Ford developed their own system, realized they probably infringed on some Toyota patents (and vice versa) and licensed them. At one point they were going to do coop work on an SUV hybrid platform. Not sure whatever happened. You're right. I checked that ...
by slbnoob
Fri Jun 13, 2014 1:37 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are hybrid cars a good idea yet?
Replies: 105
Views: 8615

Re: Are hybrid cars a good idea yet?

Another recent example why Ford cannot be trusted with their gaming of the EPA mileage claims.
http://www.autoblog.com/2014/06/12/ford ... -vehicles/
by slbnoob
Fri Jun 13, 2014 1:35 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are hybrid cars a good idea yet?
Replies: 105
Views: 8615

Re: Engagement Ring - Diamond Help

I shopped around for the diamond ring with my (now) wife. She picked out something she liked and we ended up spending more than I had initially hoped for. Keep in mind that a diamond is really a worthless piece of stone in terms of resale if you consider it as an investment which it is not. The diam...
by slbnoob
Fri Jun 13, 2014 10:53 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Engagement Ring - Diamond Help
Replies: 61
Views: 4574

Re: New homeowner: lawn care advice

I would strongly advise against using Trugreen, whose chemicals have been linked to birth defects, cancer, asthma, and allergies in children. When I was a grad student, the university was using Chemlawn/Trugreen in the family housing area. The Chemistry PhD students, with their entire families in t...
by slbnoob
Wed Jun 11, 2014 7:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New homeowner: lawn care advice
Replies: 87
Views: 26937
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