Search found 137 matches

by MarkBarb
Wed Sep 28, 2016 5:39 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What stocks can I buy when it comes to Marijuana?
Replies: 49
Views: 4740

Re: What stocks can I buy when it comes to Marijuana?

Would the usual suggestion to buy low and sell high apply in this case?
by MarkBarb
Mon Aug 29, 2016 7:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much vacation time do you get at work?
Replies: 155
Views: 10876

Re: How much vacation time do you get at work?

11 holidays, 9/80 schedule (9 hours except Friday; Fridays alternate between 8 hours and not working). 280 hours (7 weeks) of PTO with the ability to carry over a max of 120 hours. I used to take it all, but my kids are teenagers and less interested in travel. I don't typically take staycations and ...
by MarkBarb
Tue Aug 02, 2016 6:23 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: An elite new breed of hedge fund managers
Replies: 4
Views: 964

An elite new breed of hedge fund managers

I saw this article today on a guy breeding rats to make trades. Very amusing. After 12 weeks, we had four very reliable rats: Ms. Kleinworth, Ms. Coutts, Mr. Morgan, and Mr. Lehmann (we were quite surprised that he made it). Their performance was comparable to that of the world's best fund managers....
by MarkBarb
Sat Jul 23, 2016 2:12 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: If everyone saved enough for retirement, wouldn't there just be inflation?
Replies: 38
Views: 4536

Re: If everyone saved enough for retirement, wouldn't there just be inflation?

The return on savings is dependent on supply and demand. If more and more people are saving more and more money, there are relatively fewer profitable opportunities for that money to be put to use, so the returns decline. I think that a surplus of savings relative to uses for that savings has lead t...
by MarkBarb
Tue Jul 19, 2016 6:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Echo & Tap
Replies: 28
Views: 2955

Re: Amazon Echo & Tap

We were also early adopters in the $99 sale days. We like it, but it isn't indispensable. Our primary uses are: 1) Kitchen timer 2) Play music and comedy talk stations 3) Quick reference (popular for the kids doing homework) 4) Random other stuff - coin flips, jokes, etc. Looking at the logs, it loo...
by MarkBarb
Wed Jul 13, 2016 8:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car totaled, no collision insurance
Replies: 78
Views: 7019

Re: Car totaled, no collision insurance

On the positive side, you probably came out of it much better than the deer did. Any accident you walk away from isn't all bad.
by MarkBarb
Sat Jul 02, 2016 2:43 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Low Earner Roth Limit
Replies: 2
Views: 244

Low Earner Roth Limit

My oldest child is going to start a job this summer. I'm working on a deal with him to get money into a Roth IRA. I see vague references to his maximum contribution being limited to his earned income. Exactly what does that mean? Is that his gross wages? His AGI?
by MarkBarb
Mon Jun 13, 2016 7:03 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: HSA- how much do you actually invest?
Replies: 42
Views: 3464

Re: HSA- how much do you actually invest?

I invest it all and wouldn't consider using any of it for medical expenses unless I was truly desperate. It's too valuable not to let it continue to grow tax free.
by MarkBarb
Sun May 08, 2016 1:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Alternatives to Quicken 2016?
Replies: 44
Views: 7465

Re: Alternatives to Quicken 2016?

It appears to be $50 for Quicken Deluxe on Amazon right now. Even Home and Business, which is $94 now, regularly drops below $56 according to CamelCAmelCamel. The reviews for Quicken are always bad. It is complex, buggy software. It always has been. As far as alternatives, there really isn't anythin...
by MarkBarb
Sun Apr 17, 2016 7:52 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HELP! HR Doesn't Believe in Index Funds for 401k
Replies: 64
Views: 6317

Re: HELP! HR Doesn't Believe in Index Funds for 401k

I see three likely reasons for this: 1) Your 401K selection committee has mistaken beliefs about passive vs active funds 2) Your 401K selection committee is just parroting what the fund company is telling them 3) Your 401K selection committee is acting on a financial interest that is opposed to your...
by MarkBarb
Thu Mar 31, 2016 8:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Photography business early stage, tax and other
Replies: 16
Views: 1152

Re: Photography business early stage, tax and other

We're in a slightly different situation. My wife and I have been photography hobbyists for decades. As our kids have grown, we took lots of pictures at school events and sporting events. As I accumulated more studio gear, we took lots of studio shots for friends. We get a lot of requests for paid jo...
by MarkBarb
Wed Mar 30, 2016 7:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you pay for yardwork?
Replies: 61
Views: 6409

Re: Do you pay for yardwork?

We have a 1/4 acre lot. We have a lawn crew that mows, edges, and weeds. We have a lot of flower beds, so there is a lot of weeding. We pay them $40/week.
by MarkBarb
Tue Mar 29, 2016 5:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is your current Cash to Investment ratio?
Replies: 112
Views: 7225

Re: What is your current Cash to Investment ratio?

To my way of thinking, the two don't really compare. My cash on hand is for short term liquidity (paying bills and such) and for my emergency fund. It's split between a little money in checking, some in savings, and some more in a MM account. It totals 3%, but that's not very meaningful. If my job s...
by MarkBarb
Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:13 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Does anyone think the stock market is overvalued?
Replies: 50
Views: 4847

Re: Does anyone think the stock market is overvalued?

Based on what I've seen in the market, it looks like it is perfectly balanced between people thinking it is overvalued and people thinking it is undervalued. As long as the market is free and functioning, I think that balance is inherently true. More seriously, I think it looks overvalued because th...
by MarkBarb
Fri Mar 18, 2016 2:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sedans and kayaks.
Replies: 23
Views: 1850

Re: Sedans and kayaks.

We've used Yakima towers and racks four years on our sedans. There are two things I think are worth mentioning. If you get bars that stick out passed the sides of the car, you will hit your head on them getting in and out of the car. If your boats are really long, the shorter spread between the bars...
by MarkBarb
Fri Mar 11, 2016 5:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Layoff Advice
Replies: 41
Views: 5019

Re: Layoff Advice

Thank you all for the good advice. I was fortunate not to be let go yesterday, but about 1/6 of our employees were. In some cases, those were volunteers looking for early retirement, but most were not. It was a very emotionally difficult day for all of us, but especially for those let go and those w...
by MarkBarb
Wed Mar 09, 2016 8:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Layoff Advice
Replies: 41
Views: 5019

Re: Layoff Advice

livesoft wrote:The STF algorithm is probably a pretty good one to consider in this situation.


Um, what is the STF algorithm?
by MarkBarb
Wed Mar 09, 2016 7:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Layoff Advice
Replies: 41
Views: 5019

Layoff Advice

We were told last month that there would be significant layoffs where I work soon. The rumor is that tomorrow is the day. Any advice on what to do if I'm let go? They are offering a very good severance package. I think it works out to about a years pay in my case, provided that I agree not to sue. I...
by MarkBarb
Fri Mar 04, 2016 6:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How close do you plan on waiting to pay for Income Tax?
Replies: 34
Views: 2827

Re: How close do you plan on waiting to pay for Income Tax?

I owed this year. I filed and paid in mid February. I like to file fast because I've known too many people that have had fraudulent returns filed "on their behalf". When they filed their returns later, they were rejected and it was a hassle to straighten out. Now, I always file fast. If we...
by MarkBarb
Fri Mar 04, 2016 6:13 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Updated: yet another fitness thread
Replies: 68
Views: 6368

Re: yet another fitness thread

My warm-up routine lasts 10-15 minutes. I foam roll and use roller bars with a focus on the muscles I'll be working or anything that is sore. I do a series of static stretches. This is important for me because I have a history of having an unusually limited range of movement. I follow that be a seri...
by MarkBarb
Mon Feb 29, 2016 1:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Watching Oscars with kids
Replies: 34
Views: 3193

Re: Watching Oscars with kids

I'd go with the option of watching it and using it as a teaching moment. When people use profanity, use it as a time to explain why you don't (or do) use those words and how using those words impacts people's opinions of you. I'd also use it as a time management tool. She her how much time she waste...
by MarkBarb
Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bank Accounts
Replies: 66
Views: 5848

Re: Bank Accounts

Layer 1 - My checking account. I use it for normal cash flow. Layer 2 - My savings account at the same bank. I use it in case I need emergency liquidity. Layer 3 - My money market fund in my Vanguard brokerage account. I use it to get a better return on money that I want safe and liquid. When I open...
by MarkBarb
Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:27 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cloud Storage
Replies: 37
Views: 3095

Re: Cloud Storage

I should add that I use TrueCrypt to encrypt the sensitive files that I keep on Dropbox.
by MarkBarb
Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cloud Storage
Replies: 37
Views: 3095

Re: Cloud Storage

I use Dropbox for a few basic things I like to sync because it works well and is easy. I use Google Drive because that's what my kids use and it makes file sharing easy for us as a family. They still live at home, but I have file sharing turned off because we have so many teenage guests on our wifi ...
by MarkBarb
Sat Feb 27, 2016 7:55 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buy a house at age 75?
Replies: 59
Views: 4625

Re: Buy a house at age 75?

Sure if you can pay cash :happy I'm not sure that I'd apply this advice in all cases. I probably would in the case of someone living off of investments. On the other hand, if someone is getting income from annuities, has plenty of extra money to spend, but doesn't have a lot of extra liquid funds, ...
by MarkBarb
Tue Feb 23, 2016 7:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Finding out about a kid 17 years after the fact
Replies: 59
Views: 10676

Re: Finding out about a kid 17 years after the fact

I'd have my scam detector turned up to 11.
by MarkBarb
Sun Feb 21, 2016 11:21 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: At what rate would you borrow to invest?
Replies: 81
Views: 6984

Re: At what rate would you borrow to invest?

I took a 6 year 0% loan on a car and kept my money in the market so I guess that is sort of like your scenario. The interest was hidden in the price of the car. The car company has to assume borrowing costs to subsidize 0% financing for its customers. Sometimes, though, the car dealer won't agree t...
by MarkBarb
Sun Feb 21, 2016 8:55 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Filing 8606 Annually
Replies: 13
Views: 1155

Filing 8606 Annually

I put aftertax money into a tIRA for several years. Because of a large rollover IRA with lots of pretax income in it, I can't easily convert this to a Roth. Each year that I made contributions, I filed a Form 8606 to show my cost basis. The last two years, I didn't make any contributions and so no 8...
by MarkBarb
Sun Feb 21, 2016 8:31 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Emergency Fund spending assumption
Replies: 13
Views: 1258

Re: Emergency Fund spending assumption

I use current spending. I know that it is a conservative estimate. To me, the harder question is knowing how much to cut during an "emergency". Cuts could range anywhere from ordering cheaper meals when you eat out to selling your home. If the emergency is an unpredictable one, like losing...
by MarkBarb
Sun Feb 21, 2016 8:24 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: At what rate would you borrow to invest?
Replies: 81
Views: 6984

Re: At what rate would you borrow to invest?

I would borrow to invest when the risk adjusted return on my investment was significantly higher than the risk adjust cost of my borrowing. In my life, I have found that to be a pretty rare occurrence. It isn't uncommon to get some offers like 0% interest for 6 months, but when you do the math on th...
by MarkBarb
Sun Feb 21, 2016 8:16 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Don't understand nutrition and exercise
Replies: 340
Views: 30156

Re: Don't understand nutrition and exercise

A few simple truths to always keep in mind: 1) Your weight is essentially determined by calories in vs calories out. Different types of calories will make you feel more full or keep you from getting hungry longer, but it still comes down roughly to calories consumed vs calories burned. 2) You can't ...
by MarkBarb
Sun Feb 21, 2016 6:12 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Engagement Ring Saving
Replies: 68
Views: 5588

It's a very personal decision

Because you plan to spend the money relatively soon, I'd avoid putting it in stocks and stick with something with a more reliable return. I like to think of stocks as where I keep my long horizon money, bonds for mid-term horizon money, and things like money market funds and CDs for shorter term mon...
by MarkBarb
Thu Feb 18, 2016 8:14 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: One sentence financial rule
Replies: 22
Views: 3247

Re: One sentence financial rule

How about "Understand what you are doing and why rather than putting a lot of faith in a few aphorisms." What if the subject is so complex that understanding is not possible, especially for an average person? In that case, how is a person to know which aphorisms to follow? I still remembe...
by MarkBarb
Thu Feb 18, 2016 6:55 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: One sentence financial rule
Replies: 22
Views: 3247

Re: One sentence financial rule

How about "Understand what you are doing and why rather than putting a lot of faith in a few aphorisms."
by MarkBarb
Thu Feb 18, 2016 6:51 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Low Returns Ahead for Stocks Argument
Replies: 19
Views: 3029

Re: Low Returns Ahead for Stocks Argument

Bond rates are really low. Interest rates are really low. If the expected gains on stocks is still high relative to that of your alternatives, shouldn't you still be in stocks?
by MarkBarb
Mon Feb 15, 2016 2:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 10% Mortgage Down payment
Replies: 49
Views: 7262

Re: 10% Mortgage Down payment

If you are going to put 10% down, compare the cost of PMI with taking out a secondary mortgage. We did the math back in the 90s and it worked better for us to do that.
by MarkBarb
Mon Feb 15, 2016 1:57 pm
Forum: Local Chapters and Bogleheads Community
Topic: The Woodlands, Texas Chapter?
Replies: 13
Views: 2170

Re: The Woodlands, Texas Chapter?

Count me in. I've been here in The Woodlands for a bit over a decade now. Don't know any other Bogleheads here, but I definitely know a lot of very smart, frugal, financially savvy folks. Aside from having a chapter, let me know if there is anything I can do to help you adjust to life here. As far a...
by MarkBarb
Sun Jan 24, 2016 1:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is Nitrogen better than air?
Replies: 86
Views: 10801

Re: Is Nitrogen better than air?

Regular air is safer. If are chased off of the road and into the water, you can use the air in the tires to breath while waiting for the bad guys to go away. If you have nitrogen in your tires, you're toast. Be safe.
by MarkBarb
Sun Jan 24, 2016 6:57 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How bad off are we?
Replies: 24
Views: 4145

Re: How bad off are we?

Are you covered by a pension? If not, your savings seems pretty low relative to your income. Unless something is going to dramatically reduce your expenses, you are going to have a hard time covering your expenses just from SS and your savings. I'd work both directions by lowering your expenses and ...
by MarkBarb
Sat Jan 23, 2016 3:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What was your % pay raise?
Replies: 100
Views: 8551

Re: What was your % pay raise?

Still very much in the early part of my career and for the first time since I graduated Undergrad I did not receive a raise for the year. The Oil patch is rough right now. Everyone (including me) is just trying to stay employed. Same situation. 0% for the second year and delighted to get that much.
by MarkBarb
Mon Jan 11, 2016 8:16 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Who's buying Oil stocks?
Replies: 168
Views: 23151

Re: Who's buying Oil stocks?

As I said on the other thread some analysts think oil is going down to $20 this year and likely to stay in the $10 to $35 range long term. That's possible, but unlikely. The futures market is pricing oil this year in a range from $31 to $40. While not always right, the futures market is generally a...
by MarkBarb
Fri Jan 08, 2016 6:53 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: worst first four opening days in HISTORY for S&P 500
Replies: 125
Views: 14833

Big Stock Sale! Blowout Prices!

I'm still by far a net buyer, so having prices lower relative to values is good for me. It isn't the market that gets me worried but the underlying fundamentals. A recession would be bad.
by MarkBarb
Wed Jan 06, 2016 7:45 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Best 529 with no in-state benefit?
Replies: 8
Views: 873

Re: Best 529 with no in-state benefit?

I also chose UT and NV for the Vanguard relationship. I started with Utah for reasons now forgotten. I switched to Nevada because I could manage everything through my Vanguard account whereas Utah invested in Vanguard but required separate accounts and a different site.
by MarkBarb
Wed Jan 06, 2016 7:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Include 529 in net worth?
Replies: 32
Views: 2798

Re: Include 529 in net worth?

I think it depends on why you are calculating your net worth. If it is to make yourself feel good or for bragging rights, include it. If it is to determine whether you have enough saved for retirement, exclude it. I see some people saying that you should exclude it because it is money spent. If that...
by MarkBarb
Sun Jan 03, 2016 8:22 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Giant Digital Picture Frame
Replies: 7
Views: 790

Giant Digital Picture Frame

We are really into photography and have a huge collection of photos we've amassed over the years. Unhappy with the digital picture frames I see for sale, we bought an LED TV and are using that as a giant digital picture frame. We've had ours for a little over a year and still love it. The TV used fo...
by MarkBarb
Sun Jan 03, 2016 8:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much is your house worth?
Replies: 71
Views: 6911

Re: How much is your house worth?

Seems pretty close for our house. It was a bit less than 1% more than the tax appraised value and a bit less than 5% of what I think we could sell it for.
by MarkBarb
Sun Jan 03, 2016 8:11 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Minivan or not?
Replies: 50
Views: 4902

Re: Minivan or not?

Our mini-van is my wife's daily driver, but she is a SAHM. We chose the Odyssey over the Sienna. We didn't find any of the others to be comparable. We have a history of owning Hondas, so we are more comfortable with them. The Sienna is nice, but the Honda seemed better in most ways. The one thing I ...
by MarkBarb
Sun Jan 03, 2016 8:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Minivan or SUV?
Replies: 24
Views: 2386

Re: Minivan or SUV?

Most people I know wouldn't even consider a minivan. I think it has something to do with being the least cool vehicle possible. It's like wearing a badge that says "Think of me as a parent rather than a cool person." That said, we've always gone the minivan route. They don't tow as well, t...
by MarkBarb
Mon Dec 21, 2015 11:22 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much do you spend on groceries?
Replies: 109
Views: 8964

Re: How much do you spend on groceries?

I don't know anymore. My wife buys groceries at Walmart, but I can't distinguish between those purchases and other household goods. I just worry about my savings rate and don't sweat the categories that much.

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