Search found 69 matches

by clown
Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Doctor wants Social Security number
Replies: 78
Views: 10587

Re: Doctor wants Social Security number

There IS a real reason, if the patient is on Medicare. In order for a provider to bill Medicare nowadays, they must do the billing electronically including the patient's social security number. If the patient is not on Medicare, then of course this would not apply. Also, it was previously noted that...
by clown
Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:22 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Best Treasury Bond Fund/ETF for Taxable Accounts
Replies: 17
Views: 1983

Re: Best Treasury Bond Fund/ETF for Taxable Accounts

I think it's simpler than some of the above posts suggest. Analysis Paralysis gets in the way.

Tresury Bond funds (of a similar maturity -- short, intermediate, long) are essentially commodities. Their results will be virtually identical except for fees. Therefore, go for the smallest expense ratio.
by clown
Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Digital alarm clock suggestions?
Replies: 26
Views: 1699

Re: Digital alarm clock suggestions?

Use your cell phone of Fitbit if you have one.
by clown
Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:05 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Is a Brokerage "Redemption Fee" tax deductible?
Replies: 14
Views: 750

Re: Is a Brokerage "Redemption Fee" tax deductible?

I am no tax expert, but would think that you would get $X amount less in your net settlement because of the brokerage fee. Example: if you sold for a gross of $100 and had a brokerage fee of $5 and redemption off of $10, your net received would be $85. The amount received, compared to your cost, wil...
by clown
Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:32 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Did you learn anything from the market correction?
Replies: 160
Views: 11047

Re: Did you learn anything from the market correction?

Retired couple here. 5 years spending amount held in cash. The rest is 100% stocks. We wont have to sell equities in a down market unless it lasts longer than 5 years, which is historically highly unlikely. Watching the market's moves is much like going to a tennis game. You sit in the stands and wa...
by clown
Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:01 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Why are TLT and AGG declining so much?
Replies: 10
Views: 1291

Re: Why are TLT and AGG declining so much?

And have you studied up on "duration" and checked on the duration applicable to a bond fund when considering it? I am neither a mathematician nor an academic; in lay terms, duration is a statistic intended to reveal a bond or bond fund's sensitivity to changes in interest rates. For example, if inte...
by clown
Tue Jan 30, 2018 5:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Riverboat trip on the Danube next October
Replies: 16
Views: 1093

Re: Riverboat trip on the Danube next October

My wife and I have taken many trips with Tauck, including land trips and the cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest. I hope to take the leg from Budapest to Bucharest some day. We prefer Tauck because EVERYTHING is included except your gift shop purchases, and because their cruise directors are so experi...
by clown
Tue Jan 30, 2018 5:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I Do My Own Taxes Or Pay A CPA $500?
Replies: 64
Views: 5527

Re: Should I Do My Own Taxes Or Pay A CPA $500?

I have used Turbo Tax "forever," ever since the program first came out in the 1980s. Talk about the corporate mantra of continuous improvement, they improve the program every year, and it just gets easier to use. Highly recommended. I buy the "Deluxe" version at Costco for about $40; it includes fed...
by clown
Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: BIG ($180k) student debt!! Strategy needed.
Replies: 54
Views: 9541

Re: BIG ($180k) student debt!! Strategy needed.

Curious about the ethics of borrowing money with the strategy of looking for / counting on debt forgiveness from the git-go.. Who else (maybe taxpayers?) ends up paying off the loan walked away from? How about the old-fashioned notion of her paying off the debt she voluntarily incurred?
by clown
Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I join my local Freemasons?
Replies: 31
Views: 4877

Re: Should I join my local Freemasons?

I have been a Freemason for 32 years. In my view, it is an outstanding organization. The purpose is to make good men into better men. If you are interested in the business aspect ONLY, pass. Masonry is specifically not designed to establish or expand business contacts. On the night of initiation int...
by clown
Sun Jan 28, 2018 2:15 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying a house, 15yr vs 30yr loan?
Replies: 29
Views: 2922

Re: Buying a house, 15yr vs 30yr loan?

Let's get out of the realm of theory and get down to dollars. Your loan of $800k is referred to as a "jumbo" loan. Even with good credit and 20% down, jumbo rates are higher than rates for lower loans. Let's assume today's jumbo rate is 5.5% for 15 years and 4.5% for 30 years. Actual rates may be di...
by clown
Sun Jan 28, 2018 1:11 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?
Replies: 55
Views: 3719

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

I agree with most of the previous advice. Check the manual, see what it advises. Get a second opinion. But there is one exception. While three of the four symptoms could result in inconveniences, brake failure could result in a collision, bodily injury and even a fatality. Water in the brake lines c...
by clown
Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:41 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Kitces article: A cash bucket in retirement? Nope
Replies: 150
Views: 11883

Re: Kitces article: A cash bucket in retirement? Nope

I have a full FIVE YEARS of net spending requirement (difference between annual spending and income) in VG Prime MM and Ultra Short. Zero in bonds. All the rest in broad market stock index funds. This strikes me like going to a tennis match, watching the ball go back and forth with no personal stake...
by clown
Wed Nov 08, 2017 10:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: PayPal Mastercard decline due to freeze
Replies: 20
Views: 1557

Re: PayPal Mastercard decline due to freeze

As a retired banker, I can assure you that Synchrony is required by federal law to send a decline letter within 10 days of the decision. This is not just a good business practice, it is required by federal law -- no ifs, ands or buts. The letter is required to state the reason for the adverse decisi...
by clown
Wed Nov 08, 2017 8:30 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I open an account with Vanguard?
Replies: 28
Views: 2445

Re: Should I open an account with Vanguard?

I agree that Vanguard is a fine choice. Never have had poor customer service there YMMV. One caveat -- Transferring assets in kind, rather than selling assets and moving cash, would avoid tax impact. Particularly important to do a trustee-to-trustee transfer in kind if there are tax advantaged retir...
by clown
Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:45 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why is Vanguard sending so much junk mail telling me to vote in the proxy election?
Replies: 50
Views: 6089

Re: Why is Vanguard sending so much junk mail telling me to vote in the proxy election?

I wonder whether there is an SEC rule that imposes a strict duty contact shareholders -- no ifs, ands or buts. That would be regardless of the shareholder's expressed desire not to be contacted. You certainly have the right to abstain. Maybe somebody with SEC knowledge will chime in.
by clown
Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Need input: minor rear fender bender with a veteran
Replies: 14
Views: 2056

Re: Need input: minor rear fender bender with a veteran

I am just a regular person, not in the insurance industry. So take my view with a grain of salt. But FWIW, here is an opinion. 1. I believe it is not illegal. In California, you are only required to report when the damage is over $XXX. If the damage is only a minor scratch, you are certainly within ...
by clown
Sat Sep 30, 2017 7:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: I am in the investment advice industry and I'm not sure if I provide any value
Replies: 67
Views: 7207

Re: I am in the investment advice industry and I'm not sure if I provide any value

With courtesy all due respect to poster "CnC" above, I object to the notion that OP can be of use to the "common man" only, together with the implication that the "common man" is not intelligent enough to go it alone. There are some very smart people with plenty of intelligence (certainly more than ...
by clown
Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:05 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: stopped check / holder in due course
Replies: 16
Views: 1788

Re: stopped check / holder in due course

Hold on folks -- let's look at the negotiable instruments law. To the best of my knowledge, Louisiana is the only state that has not adopted the UCC. As a retired banker, my experience is different from several views expressed here. Each person who endorses a check vouches for the endorsers before h...
by clown
Sat Aug 19, 2017 1:39 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 96 percent of stocks are no better then TBills
Replies: 22
Views: 4828

Re: 96 percent of stocks are no better then TBills

I think the prior post (privatefarmer) is one the right track. If the study considered some 26,000 stocks, and there are some 3600 actively traded stocks in the total stock market at this time, that suggests there were over 22,000 others who either: failed - think buggy whips were bought out by some...
by clown
Sat Aug 19, 2017 1:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Did Chase Apply My "Additional Principal" Payment Legally?
Replies: 41
Views: 3268

Re: Did Chase Apply My "Additional Principal" Payment Legally?

To OP - check the fine print your loan agreement. As a retired banker, my experience is that it will typically say that the $5000 payment will be applied as follows -- first, to any interest due as of the date the payment is received, secondly to any principal due as of the date the payment is recei...
by clown
Sat Aug 19, 2017 12:43 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Irrational Despair?
Replies: 39
Views: 6409

Re: Irrational Despair?

Speaking of media coverage, I was disappointed to hear a FOX anchor say the market PLUNGED a couple days ago. The change was about 1.4%. Hardly a PLUNGE by any reasonable definition. And that would apply only if you were 100% in the Dow.
by clown
Sat Aug 19, 2017 12:26 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bond fund SEC yield
Replies: 14
Views: 2023

Re: Bond fund SEC yield

I thought the SEC requires the disclosure of the SEC Yield, and also a prospectus before an investor is allowed to buy a fund. It is my opinion, as a non-expert, that these were SEC rules -- not discretionary decisions on the part of the fund sponsor. Personally, I would pass.
by clown
Sat Aug 19, 2017 12:22 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do I have a computer virus?
Replies: 13
Views: 1830

Re: Do I have a computer virus?

Two thoughts. Firstly, the update procedure should create "restore points" as part of the process. You can revert your computer to the last known good "restore point" when your computer was running well. You may lose the "benefits" of the "update," but I am skeptical that they are worthwhile benefit...
by clown
Sat Aug 19, 2017 12:02 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Lost $7000 today in ONE DAY!
Replies: 183
Views: 17696

Re: Lost $7000 today in ONE DAY!

To OP - you haven't "lost" anything in terms of cash. You have the same number of shares today as you did yesterday. No loss is sustained unless you sell. The only difference is that Mr. Market will pay you less today than yesterday. I suggest you consider the change in value in percentage terms. If...
by clown
Wed Aug 16, 2017 6:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Travelers Checks Question
Replies: 6
Views: 931

Re: Travelers Checks Question

The preceding post contains the correct answer in my experience as a retired banker. That is what we used to do. If TCs are taken to a bank and they don't know what to do, then either it is a minor unsophisticated branch in the middle of nowhere, or you need a better bank.
by clown
Wed Aug 16, 2017 6:46 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Market timing alert !!
Replies: 30
Views: 6695

Re: Market timing alert !!

Since VGTSX is certain to go down significantly, can I short it? :D :oops:
by clown
Wed Aug 16, 2017 6:41 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Dumb, basic question about market-cap weighted funds?
Replies: 57
Views: 4595

Re: Dumb, basic question about market-cap weighted funds?

Two points. First, there is no such thing as a dumb question. No apology is needed. I can assure you that, in this and other areas of life, there are other folks that have the same question but are too timid to ask. Second, jbolden1517 mentions other possibilities that may interest you. How about co...
by clown
Wed Aug 16, 2017 6:17 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Portfolio Review Request
Replies: 14
Views: 1551

Re: Portfolio Review Request

Given all the complexity involved, and the various priorities and life events you have, it may be worthwhile to consider a fee-only financial planner to consolidate and set things up, and you can run the money going forward.
by clown
Wed Aug 16, 2017 6:01 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Exit Strategy from Northwest Mutual Advisor
Replies: 13
Views: 1809

Re: Exit Strategy from Northwest Mutual Advisor

To OP - you mention taking a $7k bath on the insurance policies. Better to take a $7k bath now than to take a bigger bath later. Losses are the price of experience. Rather than focusing on the $7k, think of all the fees you will have saved in the ears you won't be at NWM. Proprietary funds (i.e. tho...
by clown
Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:47 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: SINGLE FUND for retirement
Replies: 11
Views: 2719

Re: SINGLE FUND for retirement

Kudos to you for the fine progress you have made. May I suggest the Vanguard Wellington Fund (VWELX). Created in 1929 (yes 1929), VWELX is Vanguard's oldest mutual fund and the nation's oldest balanced fund. The target is ~66% equities and ~33% fixed income -- which may be more bonds then you want. ...
by clown
Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cheapest way to upgrade iPhones ?
Replies: 37
Views: 4328

Re: Cheapest way to upgrade iPhones ?

Before jumping ship from AT&T, be aware that you will lose some services available only to AT&T brand clients. Wi-fi calling is an example. AT&T brand SIM chips allow phones to call on wi-fi. AT&T Reseller (technically MVNO companies) SIM chips do NOT allow wi-fi calling. If you need that particular...
by clown
Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:57 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Good article about having the "RIGHT" asset allocation
Replies: 27
Views: 3993

Re: Good article about having the "RIGHT" asset allocation

I have tried without success to access the WSJ article -- both via the OP's link and via the WSJ homepage by on my own. In both cases, the article opens and then greys out. It is as if an opaque screen is placed between me and the article. Does anyone know how to get around this problem? Thanks in a...
by clown
Tue Aug 08, 2017 12:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Metal vs Vinyl sheds
Replies: 25
Views: 2148

Re: Metal vs Vinyl sheds

We also live in the SF Bay Area, and recently purchased a Lifetime brand 8x8 vinyl shed from Costco. The panels are heavy duty and click-lock together and than get screws (included). It has a floor and seems VERY well engineered. It weights just about 500 pounds. After assembly, it feels very solid....
by clown
Sun Aug 06, 2017 6:16 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Is it stupid to consider a defined contribution cash balance pension as part of my bond allocation?
Replies: 18
Views: 2095

Re: Is it stupid to consider a defined contribution cash balance pension as part of my bond allocation?

I too have struggled with this. As opposed to the OP, who has a defined contribution plan, I am retired and have a traditional defined benefit pension plan. I can present-value the cash flows, assuming I live to age 85 and using a reasonable historical rate like 6% (although the rate is not reflecte...
by clown
Sat Aug 05, 2017 6:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why no federal income tax obligation?
Replies: 31
Views: 3227

Re: Why no federal income tax obligation?

OK - getting back to the point - here are numbers from 2016. Interest Income $ 5 Ordinary Dividends $12,350 (Qualified = $7757) Capital loss carryforward ($3,000) Pension Income $22,174 Social Security - taxable portion $15,478 (Total = $47,242) Total Income (line 22) $47,007 Adjusted Gross Income $...
by clown
Sat Aug 05, 2017 1:23 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why no federal income tax obligation?
Replies: 31
Views: 3227

Why no federal income tax obligation?

We are both in our 70's. Because of large medical expenses, our taxable income (after itemized deductions) is small but it IS positive on Form 1040 line 43. We have no special credits on 1040 lines 48 through 54. So how can we have a positive taxable income but no lax liability? We use Turbo Tax, an...
by clown
Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Need to find Loaded Index Funds
Replies: 64
Views: 5306

Re: Need to find Loaded Index Funds

I think we are too far out in the weeds with this discussion. Let's back up. You say that your Compliance Dept requires that you keep all your investments with your employer. I would question that assertion closely. Such a "requirement" does not make sense to me. Don't blindly accept their interpret...
by clown
Sun May 07, 2017 12:20 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Motor Home Financing
Replies: 11
Views: 1414

Re: Motor Home Financing

If you take a loan against your home, you can probably deduct the interest on schedule A and realize some income tax reduction. There are some wrinkles involved (like how big of a mortgage on which you can deduction interest), so it is probably worth a call to your tax advisor or homework on your ow...
by clown
Sun May 07, 2017 12:14 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How to figure out whether my tIRA was funded with pre or post-tax dollars.
Replies: 7
Views: 627

Re: How to figure out whether my tIRA was funded with pre or post-tax dollars.

No expert here, but I would check with the financial firm that presently holds your IRA. To the best of my knowledge, they usually keep track of that so they can report withdrawals to the IRS and generate your tax reporting forms.
by clown
Fri Apr 21, 2017 5:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Choices
Replies: 45
Views: 4540

Re: Car Choices

Have you looked at Chevy? They have majorly improved in the past couple years. According to the automotive press, reliability is as good as any European brand and virtually as good as the Japanese cars. Many GM cars have a higher made-in-America content than Ford, Chrysler, or the European or Japane...
by clown
Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:10 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Larry Swedroe says "Goodbye."
Replies: 336
Views: 45965

Re: Larry Swedroe says "Goodby."

Larry - At age 71, I look back and ask how many people I have positively impacted (outside of immediate family). For some of us, me included, the answer is "very few" and the impact was quite small -- leading to a disappointing view of one's life. You, however, are in a totally different place, havi...
by clown
Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:56 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Did anything surprise you in your 2016 taxes?
Replies: 83
Views: 8543

Re: Did anything surprise you in your 2016 taxes?

After all deductions and exemptions. Sorry I wasn't clear in earlier post.
by clown
Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Did anything surprise you in your 2016 taxes?
Replies: 83
Views: 8543

Re: Did anything surprise you in your 2016 taxes?

We are in our 70s. Depending on medical expenses, our taxable income is $4,000 to $7',000. We do not claim any special credits (e.g. renters credit). Why do we have a zero federal taxliability? The tax table seems to say we should have 10% tax.
by clown
Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:14 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: why bond funds are sharply up today?
Replies: 13
Views: 2547

Re: why bond funds are sharply up today?

My favorite news leads are of the format "Dow dropped 80 points today on news of XYZ".[/quote]

I hear them say the market PLUNGED 80 points today --- let's see 80 points is what percentage? And that is PLUNGED? Give me a break. They should report in percentages, maybe percentages only.
by clown
Sat Apr 15, 2017 8:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Dealership rejecting rebate after contract signed
Replies: 118
Views: 17092

Re: Dealership rejecting rebate after contract signed

In California, a car must be "cashiered" at the DMV by the dealer within 10 days of the transaction. Cashiering means that the sale is reported to DMV and the taxes are paid. I recommend finding out your state's requirements. After the car is cashiered at DMV, the title is issued and plates are assi...
by clown
Sat Apr 15, 2017 7:56 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Public School Teacher: Need help with 403b
Replies: 41
Views: 2576

Re: Public School Teacher: Need help with 403b

I have the utmost respect for public school teachers (aka heroes). It is unfortunate that virtually all our public schools do not offer high school students courses in personal finance. That said, I recommend mobilizing your fellow teachers and lobbying both the union and the district to offer less ...
by clown
Sat Apr 15, 2017 7:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you have an umbrella policy?
Replies: 191
Views: 22503

Re: Do you have an umbrella policy?

Yes, $1MM policy. The price is cheap compared to a lot of things in our life -- sporting event tickets, lattes, etc. $2MM coverage was not twice as expensive as $1MM coverage, and so would be a relative bargain, but I only needed $1MM. There is a bit of a hidden cost, at least with my insurer. Befor...
by clown
Tue Apr 11, 2017 12:52 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: one last stupid question [What are "cash equivalents"?]
Replies: 44
Views: 4770

Re: one last stupid question [What are "cash equivalents"?]

OP - the only dumb question is the question that doesn't get asked. Given the number of differing answers you have received, it is clear that (1) the question is not at all dumb and (2) there are several different answers depending upon the person's individual perceptions. Yes, accounting standards ...
by clown
Tue Apr 11, 2017 12:24 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: VA loan with negative points, quick low cost refinance to ARM?
Replies: 5
Views: 516

Re: VA loan with negative points, quick low cost refinance to ARM?

Two point to consider: 1) In some states, a lender making a "purchase money loan" (a loan whose proceeds are used to make the actual home purchase) can only seek recovery from the property itself -- not the borrower's other assets. In these situations, the lender (NFCU in your case) cannot sue the b...