Search found 99 matches

by MarkBarb
Sun Jan 24, 2016 1:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is Nitrogen better than air?
Replies: 86
Views: 9781

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: 3758

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: 6962

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: 20186

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: 12962

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: 676

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: 2379

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: 659

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: 5468

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: 3840

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: 1940

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: 7404

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.
by MarkBarb
Sun Dec 13, 2015 8:41 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "American Greed" Question
Replies: 35
Views: 4001

"American Greed" Question

I sometimes watch a TV show called American Greed. It focuses on stories of people that have committed significant financial crimes. The most common is some for on Ponzi scheme. It always leaves me curious about what the perpetrators were thinking. I'm confused by them running schemes that seem like...
by MarkBarb
Sat Oct 24, 2015 4:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Steel vs Fiberglass [entry door] - which is stronger?
Replies: 35
Views: 2873

Re: Steel vs Fiberglass - which is stronger?

If it is for a house in a cold enough area, you might consider Pykrete. Ships were made out of it, at least for testing purposes.
by MarkBarb
Sat Oct 24, 2015 3:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Leave charger plugged in?
Replies: 14
Views: 2460

Re: Leave charger plugged in?

The easiest way to see if it is using any appreciable amount of power is to feel it. If it is warm, it is using energy. If it isn't warm, it isn't or it is using very little.
by MarkBarb
Sun Jul 19, 2015 6:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: honda civic or Prius?
Replies: 86
Views: 7823

Re: honda civic or Prius?

I rented a Prius once. It was one of the worst cars I've driven. The dash was a nightmare of distracting and useless information presented tastelessly. The worse part, though, was the handling. I was in Denver during a storm and keeping the car planted in its lane was an amazing amount of work. I th...
by MarkBarb
Thu Jul 16, 2015 7:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do Bogleheads carry thin wallets? What's in your wallet?
Replies: 34
Views: 2191

Re: Do Bogleheads carry thin wallets? What's in your wallet?

2 personal credit cards
Corporate credit card
ATM card
DL
Zoo membership
Health insurance
2 car insurance cars (I have two different carriers)
Cash
by MarkBarb
Sun Jul 12, 2015 1:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Password Management
Replies: 75
Views: 5726

Re: Password Management

I should add that in addition to storing long, randomly generated passwords in my vault, I generate long, random user names for sites like banking and investing. That and 2-factor authentication. Some key principals: 1) Don't be someone that hackers want to hack. If you are, you need to be even more...
by MarkBarb
Sun Jul 12, 2015 1:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Password Management
Replies: 75
Views: 5726

Re: Password Management

I'm a KeePass/Dropbox user. Very convenient. Very secure. I've considered LastPass, but I don't see a compelling advantage to it. With KeePass, I also store a lot of non-password info that is nice to have secure but available.
by MarkBarb
Sat Jul 11, 2015 6:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: who do you have your term life insurance with?
Replies: 32
Views: 2332

Re: who do you have your term life insurance with?

I have a 1.5mil policy and wife has a 0.25mil policy both with Banner through SelectQuote. At the time (10 years ago), they were the cheapest offering with a AA or better rating.
by MarkBarb
Mon Jul 06, 2015 8:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What is the best meal you've had at a restaurant?
Replies: 119
Views: 12029

Re: What is the best meal you've had at a restaurant?

Panjo's Pizza in Rockport, TX. I love pizza and theirs is my favorite.
by MarkBarb
Fri Jul 03, 2015 11:35 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: financial adviser told me not to invest too much in 401k
Replies: 92
Views: 10616

Re: financial adviser told me not to invest too much in 401k

The motivation of the adviser has been heavily (and accurately) commented on, so I'll leave that alone. I'd like to reply about the tax increase debate. Given demographics and modern spending patterns, it seems extremely likely that taxes will rise over the next few decades. That doesn't mean that i...
by MarkBarb
Fri Jul 03, 2015 11:28 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Average raises for promotions
Replies: 32
Views: 4485

Re: Average raises for promotions

That's a complicated question to answer. Our "typical" raise for promotion is around 8%, but that also puts the person lower in their "compensation ratio range", which means that they'll probably get larger raises in future years than they otherwise would have received. It also m...
by MarkBarb
Fri Jul 03, 2015 11:22 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Will you pay to not have ads?
Replies: 35
Views: 3468

Re: Will you pay to not have ads?

Bought a DVR back in 2000. I've hardly ever watched commercials since then. I even DVR sporting events. For online stuff, I've used AdBlockers for many years because the ads are too annoying. I've even started playing with an ad-blocking proxy on my phone because the game I've been playing lately ha...
by MarkBarb
Fri Jul 03, 2015 11:19 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How to play Europe
Replies: 11
Views: 1699

Re: How to play Europe

Seems incongruous to see a post on "playing" a situation on a forum of "investing advice inspired by Jack Bogle". My "play" will be to rebalance my Intl Index fund if it drops significantly below my preferred allocation.
by MarkBarb
Fri Jul 03, 2015 11:16 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: excellent summary of the Greek crisis by U of Chicago Professor
Replies: 45
Views: 8907

Re: excellent summary of the Greek crisis by U of Chicago Professor

Great post, but if we are going to keep throwing around Paul Krugman's opinions as facts, we should probably at least acknowledge that he hasn't done serious economic work in 20 years, and writes a column titled "The Conscience of a Liberal." He's not exactly unbiased. I lost any faith in...
by MarkBarb
Fri Jul 03, 2015 11:10 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What age did you become debt free and what opportunities did it create?
Replies: 95
Views: 10359

Re: What age did you become debt free and what opportunities did it create?

Paid off our house at age 45. It didn't really change anything. Income that was going to pay down the mortgage loan now went into long-term savings. It made my wife really happy, but the truth is that it made about as much financial difference as switching types of bonds.
by MarkBarb
Fri May 22, 2015 2:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Friends/Family that don't invest!
Replies: 112
Views: 14848

Re: Friends/Family that don't invest!

I just don't talk to them about it unless they raise the topic. To me, it would be like telling overweight people that they need to lose weight, sedentary people that they need to exercise, smokers that they need to quit, etc. I assume that they all know it already and just don't have the willpower ...
by MarkBarb
Mon May 04, 2015 7:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Insurance Claim Question
Replies: 7
Views: 653

Car Insurance Claim Question

We had a minor accident in our driveway this weekend in which one car scraped the other. The repair estimate is about $1,300. My wife called the insurance company and they said that our deductible is $500. Should we file the claim and get our $800 or will we end up paying more in the long run in hig...
by MarkBarb
Sun Apr 12, 2015 12:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How should I name my home Wi-Fi network?
Replies: 55
Views: 5695

Re: How should I name my home Wi-Fi network?

I don't think hiding your SSID helps at all against a hacker with even low levels of sophistication. And while I recommend WEP2, don't think of it as secure. Consider it more like the difference between leaving your house unlocked vs using a deadbolt. It is still pretty easy for someone to break in,...
by MarkBarb
Sun Apr 12, 2015 12:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Password manager recommendations?
Replies: 86
Views: 9088

Re: Password manager recommendations?

Whatever option you go with, use a secure passphrase for your main password. Not so long that you hate typing it on your phone, but not a simple 8 character word. Something like "bogleHeads.readjoy!
by MarkBarb
Sun Apr 12, 2015 12:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Password manager recommendations?
Replies: 86
Views: 9088

Re: Password manager recommendations?

LastPass is a great, low cost ($12/year, I think) offering that is cloud based so you can access it anywhere. It is what I recommend to non-technical people. My personal favorite is KeePass. It is free. The problem with it is that your encrypted password file is stored locally. In order to access it...
by MarkBarb
Sat Apr 11, 2015 5:41 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is Sammy Savers net worth?
Replies: 41
Views: 4140

Re: What is Sammy Savers net worth?

I'd ask him what he wants the number for. If he's looking for bragging rights, he could include the NPV of his pension and even SS. If he's trying to sound as poor as possible, he would ignore the income streams and use the after tax value of his savings. If he's trying to assess his retirement inco...
by MarkBarb
Thu Apr 09, 2015 7:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Poll: What is the credit limit of your credit card?
Replies: 56
Views: 5611

Re: Poll: What is the credit limit of your credit card?

adamthesmythe wrote:There is no option for "I don't know."

I'm not even sure where to find out.


Add me into the "don't know" category as well. I'm guessing something like $15,000, but it has never come up. I also have no idea what the interest rate is.
by MarkBarb
Thu Apr 09, 2015 7:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best US city to spend Xmas
Replies: 40
Views: 3009

Re: Best US city to spend Xmas

That totally depends on personal preferences. Some people loathe the cold and snow and others wouldn't consider XMas season complete without them. It might be better for you to describe what you would like your XMas trip to be like before asking for where it should be.
by MarkBarb
Tue Apr 07, 2015 6:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When to give adult children their inheritance?
Replies: 57
Views: 8123

Re: When to give adult children their inheritance?

I like splitting it. Early for a stipend that can be used for some travel. Later for the bulk. My worry is that they would be tempted in their 20's to use it to buy more house than is appropriate at that age. Just as important is stressing to them that they should never commingle a significant inher...
by MarkBarb
Sun Apr 05, 2015 5:30 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buy riding mower or hire service to cut grass?
Replies: 56
Views: 5096

Re: Buy riding mower or hire service to cut grass?

Have you thought about getting a goat?
by MarkBarb
Sat Apr 04, 2015 3:32 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Zweig's Latest Blog Post/Column (Bogle vs. Grant Debate)
Replies: 16
Views: 3465

Re: Zweig's Latest Blog Post/Column

Do a Google search on "zweig blog david goliath" and you'll see a link to the article that doesn't require a subscription.
by MarkBarb
Sun Mar 29, 2015 10:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hate where we live, do we make major changes?
Replies: 132
Views: 14273

Re: Hate where we live, do we make major changes?

I like in the Houston, TX area. It's an area well known for its miserable climate. I know a lot of people here that complain that there is nothing to do. My wife and I have a different perspective. It's hot, so we embrace things that work with the weather. We have a pool. We go to the beach. During ...
by MarkBarb
Sun Mar 29, 2015 10:18 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How many of you invest in individual stocks?
Replies: 70
Views: 6562

Re: How many of you invest in individual stocks?

I am granted stock by the company at which I work. When I receive a grant (generally an annual event), it vests in thirds each year. When it vests, I sell the shares and transfer the proceeds to an index fund. That's the only individual stock that I hold today. On rare occasions I will by an individ...
by MarkBarb
Sat Mar 28, 2015 6:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The random stock portfolio bogey - beating the monkey
Replies: 152
Views: 10989

Re: The random stock portfolio bogey - beating the monkey

I'm working on a website called "Monkeystar". It looks at the past performance of each monkey so that you know which ones to pick and what to expect from them.
by MarkBarb
Thu Mar 26, 2015 8:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: WSJ Delivery Record - Dismal
Replies: 25
Views: 2258

Re: WSJ Delivery Record - Dismal

Mine is delivered online. I almost never have a problem with delivery.
by MarkBarb
Thu Mar 26, 2015 8:07 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: When does a 529 plan make sense to me?
Replies: 194
Views: 11490

Re: Why 529 plan makes any sense??

Understood. You are from the group of parents that believe children's college tuition are part of the parents' responsibility. I am not. :shock: Not shocked that you don't want to pay for your kid's college. That doesn't seem unreasonable. It just seems a bit surprising that, given that criteria, y...
by MarkBarb
Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:04 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: When does a 529 plan make sense to me?
Replies: 194
Views: 11490

One more reason...

I just remembered one more reason why I liked using a 529 instead of a taxable account. My plan was to start with 100% stocks, slowly add bonds, and slowly move to money market funds. Being able to reallocation my college savings asset allocation without tax consequences is another nice benefit to h...
by MarkBarb
Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:58 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: When does a 529 plan make sense to me?
Replies: 194
Views: 11490

Re: Why 529 plan makes any sense??

Isn't the best reason to use a 529 instead of your Roth because you need it to help retire someday. The 529 is another vehicle to save money on a tax advantaged basis? Use both and a 401k if it presents itself to you. You can't save to much! fourwedge, <<you need it to help retire someday. >> Retir...
by MarkBarb
Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:55 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: When does a 529 plan make sense to me?
Replies: 194
Views: 11490

My Approach

First, I already max out my 401K, my HSA, and my Roth contributions each year, and still have money to save. I used 529 plans for many years to save for the children's college expenses. When they were very young, my thought was that I was extremely likely to spend at least some money on their colleg...
by MarkBarb
Sun Mar 22, 2015 12:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How Do You Watch Television?
Replies: 81
Views: 7520

Re: How Do You Watch Television?

Mostly satellite. More and more streaming. Just canceled disc service from Netflix. We'll use Redbox for new movies. Overall, TV viewing has steadily declined at our house. Better Internet content, better computer games, and easy access to books on our Kindles have all steadily eroded TV viewing. I'...
by MarkBarb
Mon Mar 16, 2015 10:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gaming amazon product reviews
Replies: 16
Views: 2476

Re: Gaming amazon product reviews

When reading reviews, I focus most of my attention on the middle reviews (2-4 stars on Amazon). The 1 star reviews are often just haters and the 5 star reviewers are often fanboys. The middle reviews usually do a better job of representing the strengths and weaknesses of the product.
by MarkBarb
Sat Mar 07, 2015 4:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Traits of Happiest Retirees
Replies: 29
Views: 4624

Re: Traits of Happiest Retirees

This looks like a good example where it is important to understand the difference between correlation and causation.
by MarkBarb
Sun Feb 22, 2015 3:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What age do you guys plan to retire?
Replies: 143
Views: 10818

Re: What age do you guys plan to retire?

I'm turning 50 this year. I think I'll work about 10 more years. I've been saying "10 more years" for the last 5 years. Maybe one day I'll wake up and it will be sooner. My youngest doesn't head off to college for another 6 years, so it would seem odd to do it before then.

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