Search found 9353 matches

by The Wizard
Sat Feb 25, 2017 3:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Backpackers- weight vs utility question
Replies: 31
Views: 1548

Re: Backpackers- weight vs utility question

LED-flashlight with built-in solar cell for auto-charging and built-in jack to charge a smart phone. Of course, the smart phone has GPS (no cell signal needed) and pre-installed offline Google maps for the area you will be in. Google maps is the app I use. A built-in solar cell like that seems like...
by The Wizard
Sat Feb 25, 2017 3:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Another milestone post
Replies: 29
Views: 1436

Re: Another milestone post

Let me ask TL another question.
How does your "number" relate to your projected income in retirement?
Compute your net income for 2016 after long-term savings are subtracted. Does your projected retirement income with today's portfolio balance equal or exceed that?
by The Wizard
Sat Feb 25, 2017 2:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Delivering a Large Check
Replies: 37
Views: 2635

Re: Delivering a Large Check

Gill wrote:Just put it in the regular mail. There is no risk.
Gill

Gill = short & succinct...
by The Wizard
Sat Feb 25, 2017 2:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Delivering a Large Check
Replies: 37
Views: 2635

Re: Delivering a Large Check

Assuming there's no state, federal, or bank limits on personal checks, I would just mail those checks via first class mail.
It's hard to tell from outside the envelope whether a check is inside and what the amount is for.
I mail checks all the time with zero issues...
by The Wizard
Sat Feb 25, 2017 11:24 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Annuities vs bonds
Replies: 22
Views: 746

Re: Annuities vs bonds

Don't confuse the use of bonds and and the use of annuities. :!: :!: :!: We have a bunch of annuities and no bonds. We bought pensions with certain features in the form of annuities instead of self managed portfolios of stock/bonds/funds. YMMV We'd have to know more about those particular annuities...
by The Wizard
Sat Feb 25, 2017 11:15 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Oscillating withdrawal rate - OWR
Replies: 10
Views: 765

Re: Oscillating withdrawal rate - OWR

OP needs to clarify whether his portfolio is mostly tax deferred (tIRA and 401k) or mostly taxable. If mostly tax deferred, then withdrawals can be planned to keep taxable income level or slightly increasing each year. The money needn't all be spent in the current year. If a high % of the portfolio ...
by The Wizard
Sat Feb 25, 2017 10:42 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Another milestone post
Replies: 29
Views: 1436

Re: Another milestone post

Incendiary wrote:Congrats! Will you retire now?

Yes!
Please!!
Retire Now!!!
by The Wizard
Fri Feb 24, 2017 12:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The Wall Street Journal to close Google loophole entirely
Replies: 103
Views: 10189

Re: The Wall Street Journal to close Google loophole entirely

That JavaScript workaround doesn't seem to work on my Android smartphone.
Googling the issue, I may need to enable that functionality, so I'll play with that later...
by The Wizard
Thu Feb 23, 2017 7:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?
Replies: 93
Views: 5146

Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

I must admit, I've done this also. Replaced switches with dimmers without turning off the circuit (lazy), and added a circuit to a live panel (no main breaker). Not recommended, but I did them with one hand behind my back, and with insulated tools (plastic grip screwdrivers, rubber covered handles ...
by The Wizard
Thu Feb 23, 2017 7:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?
Replies: 93
Views: 5146

Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

...I never turn off the main breaker if I need to work on something, just the breaker or fuse for that branch circuit... Why not? I also just turn off the branch. However, I verify it is off before working on it. The reason is so the rest of the house operates normally. Same reason for me. I don't ...
by The Wizard
Thu Feb 23, 2017 7:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TIAA financial advisor?
Replies: 39
Views: 2531

Re: TIAA financial advisor?

livesoft wrote:Thanks, then if I do this, I will insist that they take me to lunch first.

They're low budget.
This isn't EJ.
I doubt you'll get fed...
:)
by The Wizard
Thu Feb 23, 2017 12:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: retired but thinking about value of self-employed income
Replies: 13
Views: 733

Re: retired but thinking about value of self-employed income

Medical expenses have to exceed 10% of your AGI to have that excess be deductible.
You have $19,000+ of medical with just that, so what is your approximate AGI?
by The Wizard
Thu Feb 23, 2017 11:13 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Early Soc Sec or spend down investments/assets?
Replies: 28
Views: 2465

Re: Early Soc Sec or spend down investments/assets?

I am waiting to age 70 to start SS. I suggest you do the same if you can afford it. Isn't this really a no brainer? Depends on the OP's level of assets. You have to look at your projected spenddown and then monitor it. In some cases, investment returns will exceed your withdrawals and the portfolio...
by The Wizard
Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:33 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Retiree Accumulation/Withdrawal Phase -- How many funds do you have? Allocation? Withdrawal strategy?
Replies: 90
Views: 6876

Re: Retiree Accumulation/Withdrawal Phase -- How many funds do you have? Allocation? Withdrawal strategy?

...I have a professor friend that is nearing 80. He also annuitized in TIAA long ago. Yes. The question of "how much to annuitize: 30%, etc." has my attention. :shock: As for SPIA's, My spouse feels more comfortable with it (very important) as a stable/reliable/consistent lifetime income ...
by The Wizard
Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:01 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: $50,000 to invest...How would you invest it in this market the Jack Bogle way!!!
Replies: 8
Views: 1420

Re: $50,000 to invest...How would you invest it in this market the Jack Bogle way!!!

Of that $50K, put $30K in total stock market and $20K in a tax exempt bond fund...
by The Wizard
Thu Feb 23, 2017 8:34 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: S&P at 22 times multiple
Replies: 40
Views: 4517

Re: S&P at 22 times multiple

You're saying the next crash or correction is coming at some point?
Hard to disagree with that...
by The Wizard
Thu Feb 23, 2017 8:13 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?
Replies: 93
Views: 5146

Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

I still have the 1978 version of the NEC upstairs. Time to retire that. It's closer to the age of knob and tube than the present day. I'd suggest a Viking funeral using some steel wool and a 9-V battery. Perhaps. For people who plan to do more extensive wiring, this textbook is arguably indispensab...
by The Wizard
Thu Feb 23, 2017 7:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?
Replies: 93
Views: 5146

Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

mindboggling wrote:Want a good laugh? Ask an electrician how electricity works!

steve

I don't see how that would be particularly funny,
Explanations that get into ampacity, ground faults, and AC phases would make some folks' eyes glaze over...
by The Wizard
Thu Feb 23, 2017 6:49 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Contribute additional $10k to 403b to convert $10k to Roth?
Replies: 5
Views: 357

Re: Contribute additional $10k to 403b to convert $10k to Roth?

You would effectively be putting $10k additional into your Roth IRA rather than your taxable account.
Sounds like a no brainer, especially if your tax bracket could rise to 25% in coming years...
by The Wizard
Wed Feb 22, 2017 12:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone here knowledgeable about heating degree days?
Replies: 9
Views: 633

Re: Anyone here knowledgeable about heating degree days?

HDDs will vary if your house has a solar design.
My GF's house has a wall of South facing picture windows and it gets nicely warm inside when mid 30s outside but sunny...
by The Wizard
Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:32 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: For people who think the market is going to crash, where along the continuum are we?
Replies: 104
Views: 6977

Re: For people who think the market is going to crash, where along the continuum are we?

Toons wrote:You would have to travel to,,,,,
"Oz'
to get the answer
The Wizard knows
:mrgreen:

Actually, he doesn't know...
:(
by The Wizard
Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: starting social security question
Replies: 5
Views: 537

Re: starting social security question

I've heard that some SS personnel automatically include retroactive payments for 6 months prior to your 70th BD, which results in a reduction in the max monthly benefit. This was a training issue that may have been resolved, but it may be something to specifically mention when you do file for benef...
by The Wizard
Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: starting social security question
Replies: 5
Views: 537

Re: starting social security question

I've heard that some SS personnel automatically include retroactive payments for 6 months prior to your 70th BD, which results in a reduction in the max monthly benefit. This was a training issue that may have been resolved, but it may be something to specifically mention when you do file for benef...
by The Wizard
Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?
Replies: 93
Views: 5146

Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

FWIW, I've replaced a number of the push-in spring connectors over the years because the connections failed. I won't use them. If you want a good connection but don't want to wrap wires around screws, look for outlets that have clamps - you strip a length of wire, push it in the back, and tighten a...
by The Wizard
Tue Feb 21, 2017 7:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to stop AMEX card offers being mailed to me?
Replies: 11
Views: 932

Re: How to stop AMEX card offers being mailed to me?

I have a recycle bin.
Actually, I have a paper grocery bag in a particular place where all junk mail and other paper goes until it's time for the recycle bin.
I try to focus on the bigger issues, not the little stuff...
by The Wizard
Tue Feb 21, 2017 4:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?
Replies: 93
Views: 5146

Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

I would turn off all power to the house at the main breaker and not just individual circuits. You'll occasionally find a multi-gang switch box that has multiple different circuits in it. This is why it's a good idea to check all hot wires in a box (if more than one) with a voltmeter before going fu...
by The Wizard
Tue Feb 21, 2017 3:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?
Replies: 93
Views: 5146

Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

This reminded me of a time I was pouring a concrete pad inside a electrified livestock enclosure with 50,000+ volts flowing through the wires. I was carrying 20 feet long stick of rerod and made sure to lift it over the wire, was very careful to step over the wires myself (they were only about two ...
by The Wizard
Tue Feb 21, 2017 3:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: starting social security question
Replies: 5
Views: 537

Re: starting social security question

Go to your local SS office in person to make sure they do it right.
But your thinking is right. With your birthday in July, your first maximal payment will be in August...
by The Wizard
Tue Feb 21, 2017 3:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?
Replies: 93
Views: 5146

Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

I'm also an engineer who did all the work to double the size of my house a few decades ago, including adding about a dozen branch circuits, none of which have burst into flame yet. :) But I'm hesitant to recommend to just anybody to just become an amateur electrician. One needs an aptitude, proper t...
by The Wizard
Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:51 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Trying to understand TIAA Traditional
Replies: 25
Views: 1027

Re: Trying to understand TIAA Traditional

The word "annuity" has two different meanings at TIAA. During the accumulation phase, they act mostly like mutual funds. This includes TIAA Traditional, TIAA Real Estate Account, CREF Stock, and the other CREF VAs. Trad, as we call it, has three features that differ from mutual funds: 1) s...
by The Wizard
Mon Feb 20, 2017 8:58 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: When do you need an annuity?.
Replies: 25
Views: 2334

Re: When do you need an annuity?.

Dave Jay wrote: If you have 30X expenses in your retirement portfolio you do not need an annuity. If you have a marginal portfolio, the mortality credit of an SPIA provides greater payouts for very long longevity and a guaranteed income stream. " Toons agreed. So do I. I would just modify that...
by The Wizard
Mon Feb 20, 2017 5:51 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Best way to Improve TIAA 403b R1
Replies: 8
Views: 418

Re: Best way to Improve TIAA 403b R1

Do you have TIAA-CREF S&P 500 Index Fund (Institutional) TISPX available in your 403b? My accounts with TIAA are both R3, but my expense ratio on that one is only .06 ... might be easiest for your employer to add some of the cheaper funds within TIAA. Yes, find out what class of TIAA mutual fun...
by The Wizard
Mon Feb 20, 2017 2:58 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: When do you need an annuity?.
Replies: 25
Views: 2334

Re: When do you need an annuity?.

"Need" an annuity makes it seem like possible desperation. When might you WANT an annuity is a more levelled question. And the answer is: when you would prefer to have a higher taxable income in retirement rather than a lower income. This applies to traditional IRAs , 401k's and 403b's, wh...
by The Wizard
Mon Feb 20, 2017 10:40 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How are prices determined?
Replies: 18
Views: 782

Re: How are prices determined?

And, the "fund" generates lots and lots of excess cash if there are tons of folks buying high and selling low, and thus, the "fund" can grow exponentially (Billions) based on the original IPO of, for example, 1 Billion. If so, it seems similar to paper money not backed by equiv....
by The Wizard
Mon Feb 20, 2017 8:59 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How are prices determined?
Replies: 18
Views: 782

Re: How are prices determined?

Not sure I understand what either of you guys are saying? Where does the money go if not to the companies involved in the fund? It goes to some of the thousands of fractional OWNERS of those companies, some of which are willing to sell you a portion of their stock so you can be an owner, too! Now t...
by The Wizard
Mon Feb 20, 2017 8:45 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How are prices determined?
Replies: 18
Views: 782

Re: How are prices determined?

For Vanguard Life Strategy and funds like that, how are prices determined for units? What happens to the money we invest, does it go directly to all the companies immediately, or whats the process? It doesn't go to "the companies" in the S&P 500 (or the total market) at all. It goes t...
by The Wizard
Sun Feb 19, 2017 2:49 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Does monthly vs annual valuation of an annuity alter total payout?
Replies: 11
Views: 418

Re: Does monthly vs annual valuation of an annuity alter total $?

Pondering further, it's not possible to make a totally accurate comparison of monthly vs annually revaluation. Reason being, the new May 1 monthly payout is revalued for annual adjusters based on 3/31 NAV But monthly adjusters are based on the NAV of the 20th of the preceding month. And a lot can ha...
by The Wizard
Sun Feb 19, 2017 2:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Does monthly vs annual valuation of an annuity alter total payout?
Replies: 11
Views: 418

Re: Does monthly vs annual valuation of an annuity alter total $?

I admit I don't quite get how the 4% Assumed Investment Return works or if it affects the total dollars distributed. Month-to-month the AIR provides a 4%/12 (a third of a percent) set point, with income going up or down relative to this figure. But since it goes up or down, not sure how this affect...
by The Wizard
Sun Feb 19, 2017 2:20 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Does monthly vs annual valuation of an annuity alter total payout?
Replies: 11
Views: 418

Re: Does monthly vs annual valuation of an annuity alter total $?

Aha, key point: annually adjusted VAs are not adjusted per the average performance over the past year, but on the NAV of the account on 3/31 compared to the NAV on 3/31 a year ago.
Note that VA NAVs include reinvested dividends...
by The Wizard
Sun Feb 19, 2017 1:20 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Does monthly vs annual valuation of an annuity alter total payout?
Replies: 11
Views: 418

Re: Does monthly vs annual valuation of an annuity alter total $?

And why do you have five years left?
Are you "checking out" then?
Or more likely, did you choose period certain rather than lifetime payout?
by The Wizard
Sun Feb 19, 2017 1:09 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Does monthly vs annual valuation of an annuity alter total payout?
Replies: 11
Views: 418

Re: Does monthly vs annual valuation of an annuity alter total $?

My CREF Stock and TREA payouts are adjusted monthly, yes. It makes sense to do monthly if you feel long term trend is upward, which I do. I would have to do some homework to answer your real question, which concerns the summation of all payouts being equal or not. My vote is that they are NOT equal....
by The Wizard
Sun Feb 19, 2017 9:13 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Older parents advice.
Replies: 29
Views: 2609

Re: Older parents advice.

Post #1 in this thread confused most people.
OP should go back and fix it.
25/75 isn't the same as 75/25.
The convention in this forum is to list stock percentage first, hence Stocks/Bonds...
by The Wizard
Sun Feb 19, 2017 8:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Long Day Trip: Drive Old Car or Rent Car?
Replies: 59
Views: 3407

Re: Long Day Trip: Drive Old Car or Rent Car?

emoore wrote:...Way to call someone's thoughts bogus. Renting a car for a road trip would be fun.

There are probably people in southern California who drive 275 miles as a daily round trip commute...
by The Wizard
Sun Feb 19, 2017 8:30 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What to do? [fearful of potential losses]
Replies: 6
Views: 653

Re: What to do?

Adjust your AA to somewhat lower stocks and learn to take advantage of volatility...
by The Wizard
Sat Feb 18, 2017 10:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit Karma vs H&R Block - significant discrepancy
Replies: 10
Views: 1215

Re: Credit Karma vs H&R Block - significant discrepancy

CK is not mature and I agree about not trusting so blindly. They didnt handle my dependant care credit correctly. Additionally for my State return they missed my property tax credit and didnt even ask about 529 contributions which are deductible in my state. Turbo Tax Federal Return $327 State Retu...
by The Wizard
Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:51 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Who would quit playing if they already won?
Replies: 106
Views: 10380

Re: Who would quit playing if they already won?

Wricha has an interesting metric, the comparison of withdrawal rate to annuitization percentage. My annuity payout rate with TIAA at age 63 was 6.5%, so 31% of my portfolio to get same cash flow as a 2% withdrawal rate. At age 67 my payout rate is up to just over 7% so even less of the ole portfolio...
by The Wizard
Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:39 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Who would quit playing if they already won?
Replies: 106
Views: 10380

Re: Who would quit playing if they already won?

AlohaJoe wrote:I agree with another poster that you are always playing the game and can never stop. I don't think it is a useful metaphor.

Yes indeed, you win!!!
by The Wizard
Sat Feb 18, 2017 6:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to Split $10K Fed Tax Bill Between Husband and Wife
Replies: 38
Views: 2013

Re: How to Split $10K Fed Tax Bill Between Husband and Wife

MFS will increase your total tax.
Stay with MFJ and split the tax the way Gill said...
by The Wizard
Sat Feb 18, 2017 7:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "With $15 Left in the Bank, a Baby Boomer Makes Peace With Less" -- A cautionary tale
Replies: 37
Views: 4528

Re: "With $15 Left in the Bank, a Baby Boomer Makes Peace With Less" -- A cautionary tale

2pedals wrote:So many people buying things beyond their means. This makes me really sad. :(

I have no idea what other people's means are and I don't really have any concern about it.
I just focus on my own situation...

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