Search found 823 matches

by downshiftme
Wed May 18, 2016 1:50 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The inventor of the 401(k) says he created a ‘monster’
Replies: 28
Views: 4674

Re: The inventor of the 401(k) says he created a ‘monster’

Over the years I have been stuck with 401k plans that had high fees, or that limited my investments to less than the usual amounts. I've never had a plan which allowed after tax contributions or mega-backdoor conversions. I'm unhappy that I'm basically at the mercy of my employer to define the optio...
by downshiftme
Thu May 12, 2016 4:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gifted math program for 1st grade
Replies: 66
Views: 6512

Re: Gifted math program for 1st grade

It seems that too much time and money is spent on helping both tails of the educational distribution curve. This is not at all my experience. In our gifted programs the budget is LESS than the corresponding general education programs. For highly gifted kids there is no programming available at all ...
by downshiftme
Wed May 11, 2016 9:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gifted math program for 1st grade
Replies: 66
Views: 6512

Re: Gifted math program for 1st grade

Gifted programs vary widely. Some are excellent and meet needs of the students that cannot be satisfied in regular classrooms. Simply looking at advanced material isn't the only thing they need. Pace and learning styles are much more important than simply being a few grades ahead. Some gifted progra...
by downshiftme
Wed May 04, 2016 6:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Not at fault Car accident, should I file for Arbitration?
Replies: 26
Views: 1966

Re: Not at fault Car accident, should I file for Arbitration?

I was in an almost identical accident some years ago and it was quickly ruled 100% the other driver's fault. His insurance paid fully and promptly. Even if this was a "merge" and not a "turn" there is no right of way to merge into where another car already is. You need to talk to...
by downshiftme
Wed Apr 27, 2016 6:06 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Any Feedback on Principal as an employer plan custodian?
Replies: 12
Views: 512

Re: Any Feedback on Principal as an employer plan custodian?

Expensive. Check your plan, some Principal plans are even more expensive than others. In my experience they are all high-cost plans.
by downshiftme
Tue Apr 26, 2016 3:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Job Reference Procedure
Replies: 5
Views: 607

Re: Job Reference Procedure

This may be highly dependent on the industry you are in, or the company you are applying to. In my years as a high-tech (computer) hiring manager, we NEVER check references until we are sure we want to hire the person. Often most recent references have a danger to the candidate that news of a job se...
by downshiftme
Sat Apr 23, 2016 10:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Irrevocable Trust - Am I being Bamboozled?
Replies: 50
Views: 5049

Re: Irrevocable Trust - Am I being Bamboozled?

What is the purpose of the trust? It sounds like you are trying to hide her assets so she appears indigent and gets public (veteran benefit) assistance. If not, would a simple power of attorney over her assets be sufficient for what you want and save all the trust fees.
by downshiftme
Thu Apr 21, 2016 11:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: disability insurance: do I really need it?
Replies: 53
Views: 4202

Re: disability insurance: do I really need it?

You hopefully do not need short-term disability insurance because you have sufficient savings to cover any short term disability. At your young age, you do need long term disability insurance. I never had to make a claim on mine, and eventually dropped it when I got very close to retirement age. My ...
by downshiftme
Tue Apr 19, 2016 4:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Got laid off, when can I file for unemployment?
Replies: 44
Views: 4843

Re: Got laid off, when can I file for unemployment?

Unemployment varies by state, so confirm the excellent advice you have been given with your local unemployment office. The termination must be somewhat cordial if they are having you stay on until April 29. If this changes and you are asked to leave earlier with a lump sum payment of 2 weeks pay, th...
by downshiftme
Mon Apr 18, 2016 10:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: baseball-based board games?
Replies: 11
Views: 943

Re: baseball-based board games?

Strat-o-Matic is the king of baseball games. The play is pretty simple and the variations are endless. If you have several teams you can also run a draft with your friends and even mix and match players from different eras.
by downshiftme
Sat Apr 16, 2016 2:27 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Aunt has been investing in collectibles for retirement
Replies: 13
Views: 2141

Aunt has been investing in collectibles for retirement

My Aunt has avoided any retirement accounts such as 401k or IRA, or even just regular savings and investing accounts. She has instead invested in a variety of "collectibles" in hopes that they would increase in value. Well, retirement is looming and it's very unclear how to convert the col...
by downshiftme
Thu Jan 21, 2016 1:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best place for Eyeglasses with Aetna Advantage Medicare Insurance
Replies: 1
Views: 200

Re: Best place for Eyeglasses with Aetna Advantage Medicare Insurance

Consider Zenni Optical or other online source. So inexpensive you don't need your insurance.
by downshiftme
Wed Jan 20, 2016 3:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Insane Notice / Counter Offer Situation
Replies: 61
Views: 5450

Re: Insane Notice / Counter Offer Situation

Extravagant counteroffers (double salary, C-level promotion) are only as valuable as the trustworthiness of the promiser. In this case, these guys sound desperate and unethical. Maybe if you get a good employment contract with defined severance so you can hold them to their promises you could consid...
by downshiftme
Fri Jan 08, 2016 1:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Need Advice - Child Care
Replies: 23
Views: 1398

Re: Need Advice - Child Care

High quality childcare is worth squeezing for. It sounds like the overlap time with two children in care will be relatively short - although you'll likely need afterschool care once the older child reaches school age. Some people opt for a stay at home parent, especially when there are two or more. ...
by downshiftme
Tue Jan 05, 2016 10:57 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Job Prospects for English Majors?
Replies: 73
Views: 5353

Re: Job Prospects for English Majors?

Best Engineering VP I ever worked for was an English major. He didn't want to teach so he got a programming job just out of school. Didn't like it and wasn't very good at it, but he was good at organizing and presenting the work of other better programmers. That put him in a management track, and th...
by downshiftme
Mon Jan 04, 2016 2:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where to rent hard-to-find DVD's or Blu-Ray's?
Replies: 11
Views: 1117

Re: Where to rent hard-to-find DVD's or Blu-Ray's?

There is also the Scarecrow project, but I don't know how their rental or viewing would work. http://blog.scarecrow.com/about-us-3/ Our focus is to complement those changes in ways only we can by providing access to not only what is available from mainstream sources, but to rare, out-of-print, and f...
by downshiftme
Wed Dec 30, 2015 6:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Permanent Life Insurance- Northwestern Mutal
Replies: 42
Views: 2759

Re: Permanent Life Insurance- Northwestern Mutal

Almost in all cases permanent life insurance is a good deal for the salesman and a poor deal for the buyer. If you need insurance, then term insurance is certainly better. If you need investments, then INVESTMENTS are certainly better. The figures you have been given appear to be selective and incom...
by downshiftme
Sun Dec 20, 2015 12:43 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Would you use DFA funds, if available?
Replies: 13
Views: 1121

Re: Would you use DFA funds, if available?

I like DFA funds, but I don't like them more than equivalent funds with lower ER.
by downshiftme
Sat Dec 19, 2015 11:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: dilemma over house division during legal separation
Replies: 98
Views: 9414

Re: dilemma over house division during legal separation

I have had a trusted friend suggest I move out to an apartment for some time and let my family stay in the house Be careful. In many places this establishes HER as the resident of the house and YOU as a resident of the apartment, which will be the starting basis for any divorce agreement. You can e...
by downshiftme
Tue Dec 08, 2015 7:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can an investment company charge a fee to rollover a 401k?
Replies: 14
Views: 703

Re: Can an investment company charge a fee to rollover a 401k?

Yes, they can charge a fee. Not only that but they can structure the fee so you pay more or less depending on what positions you are terminating. You might find that if you understand the fee structure you can minimize your cost by selling positions and then terminating the resulting money market ac...
by downshiftme
Tue Dec 08, 2015 2:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Creating a will with or without a lawyers help?
Replies: 31
Views: 2000

Re: Creating a will with or without a lawyers help?

100% on the side for having the lawyer do it. The $300 fee is cheap insurance that the format and legal requirements of your state are met. Make sure this includes any witnessing and registration required in your state. With a professionally prepared will, you will not be around to make sure it oper...
by downshiftme
Wed Dec 02, 2015 9:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Statistics "R" [Programming language for portfolio analysis]
Replies: 25
Views: 2534

Re: Statistics "R"

Here is a link to a free online course which includes how to install and use some tools, including R.

https://www.coursera.org/course/datascitoolbox
by downshiftme
Wed Dec 02, 2015 5:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vanguard TurboTax - Not Available 2015?
Replies: 327
Views: 39513

Re: Vanguard TurboTax - Not Available 2015?

Well, no need to be a Flagship client anymore! The free TT was the only use I had in the Flagship level. I was a previous Tax Act customer, and now they will get me back, though their prices are up this year. I also find this quite frustrating. I switched from my longtime TaxACT use to TT, based on...
by downshiftme
Thu Nov 26, 2015 2:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Comparative negligence (car accident)
Replies: 35
Views: 3748

Re: Comparitive negligence (car accident)

so wait....she made a right turn, but swung so far to the left that she left a whole lane free to her right side -- perhaps even into the opposite direction lane? On a narrow street, trying to squeeze a second lane of travel when the lead car drifts over the center is absurdly aggressive driving. T...
by downshiftme
Wed Nov 11, 2015 8:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does it matter when you claim Social Security?
Replies: 43
Views: 4877

Re: Does it matter when you claim Social Security?

The actuarial neutrality is with respect to lifespan, not with respect to claiming age. The effect you describe (lifespans are slightly longer) might be more obvious with 100% late claimants, but it would still be the same effect as it was before.
by downshiftme
Wed Nov 11, 2015 12:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Whole Life. Can someone sum up why its a sucker scam (in as few words as possible)
Replies: 60
Views: 6362

Re: Whole Life. Can someone sum up why its a sucker scam (in as few words as possible)

You have to pay for the insurance part. You have to pay for the (fairly generous) commissions to the agent that sold it. You have to pay for the insurance company profit. What's left gets invested. The investment gains are divided and you get part and the company/agent gets part. Compared to your ow...
by downshiftme
Tue Nov 10, 2015 1:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying Prescription Eyeglasses Online
Replies: 31
Views: 4154

Re: Buying Prescription Eyeglasses Online

With Zenni, I just took a guess and found that the frames fit me well enough. When I buy frames from the fancy optician, they didn't suggest I try any particular size or not, I just picked one that looked good. I suppose you could order a couple $6 pairs in different sizes and then you'd know, but i...
by downshiftme
Fri Nov 06, 2015 8:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I tell my advisor to take a hike?
Replies: 35
Views: 3751

Re: Should I tell my advisor to take a hike?

Dutch wrote:One quibble: A fee-only adviser doesn't charge a percentage of AUM. So, you have a different type of adviser (a worse kind) Years ago, we called an adviser "fee-only" if they charged an hourly fee (or rarely a flat fee) and no commissions or AUM fee. Advisers have seen all the...
by downshiftme
Tue Nov 03, 2015 11:20 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help Young 23 year old investor with poor 401k fund choices!
Replies: 23
Views: 1559

Re: Help Young 23 year old investor with poor 401k fund choices!

Wow. I wish I had a 401k as good as yours. I'd put 100% in the SP500 index fund at wonderful ER and ignore all the higher fee funds. I can get International and bonds in my IRA. This is an excellent plan for an investor who chooses the just the index and has any money elsewhere.
by downshiftme
Tue Nov 03, 2015 12:24 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: CD Beneficiary Name Wrong
Replies: 24
Views: 1839

Re: CD Beneficiary Name Wrong

My brother and I just learned our great aunt left us funds in a CD. The problem is that she listed our names wrong. She gave my brother our mother's maiden name and gave me my domestic partners last name, thinking we were married. Provided all sorts of evidence proving identity and reasons why she ...
by downshiftme
Sat Oct 31, 2015 5:12 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help for MIL - 50 Year Marriage Ends In Divorce
Replies: 23
Views: 4455

Re: Help for MIL - 50 Year Marriage Ends In Divorce

As I stated in my original post, my MIL knows nothing about money. She never remembers passwords, account numbers, can't write a check on her own yet, can't figure out how to login to her email alone, It sounds like she needs to live with you until she develops some independence skills or until eve...
by downshiftme
Sat Oct 31, 2015 5:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Helping others become like us...
Replies: 44
Views: 3158

Re: Helping others become like us...

ryman554 wrote: I have no interest in getting a CFA or any other TLA to prove "I know something". I do take issue with the above statement and I'll address it separately. I DO have some of these licenses and professional designations. I saw firsthand the others in the classes and licensin...
by downshiftme
Sat Oct 31, 2015 3:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Helping others become like us...
Replies: 44
Views: 3158

Re: Helping others become like us...

Have you inquired if local high schools or community colleges would be interested in allowing you to "volunteer" to teach an afterschool class in personal finances. Kids can use a lot of basics like how checkbooks work, how car loans work, how rent and/or savings accounts work. Then you ca...
by downshiftme
Fri Oct 30, 2015 5:23 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Forced to changed investments in 401k...
Replies: 6
Views: 627

Re: Forced to changed investments in 401k...

During the blackout period, the two providers should coordinate to move account balances from the old funds to the new funds. There should be a mapping provided, and hopefully with index funds tracking identical indexes your funds should be mapped as you likely want. Check to be sure, but in any san...
by downshiftme
Fri Oct 30, 2015 11:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 401k blackout period
Replies: 23
Views: 1917

Re: 401k blackout period

I went through a 401K conversion once and saw similar very high expense ratios for the index funds on the internet when I went to the new companies public web site. When we actually got the paper plan literature the index funds actually had pretty good ER's although the other junk funds were still ...
by downshiftme
Thu Oct 29, 2015 3:39 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Company is Reevaluating 401k Options
Replies: 12
Views: 1333

Re: Company is Reevaluating 401k Options

Having suffered through two different Principal 401k plans, I can say yours is better than any other Principal Plan I've ever seen. Yes they do jack up the ER of funds, but you have a small cap, mid cap and SP500 all at 0.31 These are excellent and better than any Principal plan I had. Principal Glo...
by downshiftme
Thu Oct 29, 2015 11:54 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 401k blackout period
Replies: 23
Views: 1917

Re: 401k blackout period

Ask your colleagues how they feel about this as well and get them to create a small uproar. This is a small company and while I have been polite and respectful in all my dealings with HR, they are well aware that I am very unhappy with our 401k plan. If I start to foment unrest and create a small u...
by downshiftme
Thu Oct 29, 2015 11:44 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 401k blackout period
Replies: 23
Views: 1917

Re: 401k blackout period

None of the current funds map to the new SP500 fund. After the transfer is complete and the blackout is lifted, then we can ask for a transfer to whatever funds we want, but not until the blackout ends December 30th.
by downshiftme
Thu Oct 29, 2015 9:23 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 401k blackout period
Replies: 23
Views: 1917

Re: 401k blackout period

No stable value fund, but I can see why that would at least be safe during the transition. There will be one index fund SP500 at 0.79 ER, but everything else is 0.96 to 1.76 with most around 1.36 ER I guess I'll just put everything in SP500, but I cannot do that until after the blackout ends. No exi...
by downshiftme
Wed Oct 28, 2015 7:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 401k blackout period
Replies: 23
Views: 1917

401k blackout period

My employer is in the process of changing 401k plans. Unfortunately the new plan is not an improvement over the old plan and there are less low fee funds and lots more high fee funds. They have released the automatic map of what investments in the old plan will be converted into what funds in the ne...
by downshiftme
Mon Oct 26, 2015 2:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?
Replies: 111
Views: 11803

Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

For many years, the maximum that my plan permitted was well below the maximum that the law allows. I guess I did "max out" in those years, although the total amount contributed was quite small compared to what might have been allowed in a different plan.
by downshiftme
Fri Oct 23, 2015 7:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mountain cabin's exterior colors not approved by local home committee
Replies: 41
Views: 4519

Re: Mountain cabin's exterior colors not approved by local home committee

As a new owner in an established community with some kind of HOA committee, you started off by knowingly defying their rule about getting a painting permit, then when they called you on it, you finished the job and figuratively thumbed your nose at them. Now, you are talking about going to war with ...
by downshiftme
Wed Oct 21, 2015 3:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much info. to share with estate planning attorney
Replies: 20
Views: 2498

Re: How much info. to share with estate planning attorney

I'm with OP on this one. If this is the initial meeting to see if you even want to use this person as an attorney, I see no reason to provide SSN, account numbers and detailed breakdown of every holding. A basic summary of assets should be enough to understand the scope of the estate and have a thou...
by downshiftme
Tue Oct 20, 2015 7:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying Prescription Eyeglasses Online
Replies: 31
Views: 4154

Re: Buying Prescription Eyeglasses Online

In the range of -6 in both eyes, with astigmatism correction too. Am 100% happy with Zennioptical for online glasses. I'm careful with a lifetime of habits to take very good care of eyewear and a pair of glasses lasts me a long time, but Zenni was especially great for my kids playing sports. A few s...
by downshiftme
Tue Oct 20, 2015 11:01 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 401k - how often do you check it?
Replies: 53
Views: 4045

Re: 401k - how often do you check it?

Every single time there's any kind of change. It's almost always messed up. They fix it quickly enough, but would have let it be wrong if I didn't show them the mistake. Almost every single time! Change to amount contributed. Have to check. Change to allocation. Have to check. Rebalance some funds i...
by downshiftme
Sun Oct 18, 2015 6:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HELOC draw period ending - HELP!
Replies: 101
Views: 6226

Re: HELOC draw period ending - HELP!

Any new HELOC will likely have higher rate than your very favorable prime - 0.75. I'd strongly consider taking the maximum draw at this favorable rate. Beware the end of the draw period and if you decide to do this, be sure you are comfortably before the draw period ends.
by downshiftme
Fri Oct 16, 2015 7:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Book: The Bank on Yourself Revolution - Comments?
Replies: 11
Views: 1865

Re: Book: The Bank on Yourself Revolution - Comments?

I'm not familiar with your particular incarnation, but the concept was invented by insurance agents who wanted to sell more high commission whole life products. The basic idea is that you buy a huge insurance contract, as large as you can, and they arrange it to stay just inside the legal limits. Th...
by downshiftme
Wed Oct 14, 2015 8:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Home Escrow Loan, Line of Credit, or Reverse Mortgage?
Replies: 9
Views: 846

Re: Home Escrow Loan, Line of Credit, or Reverse Mortgage?

A lot depends on how much of a loan you intend to take and when to pay it back. One advantage of a HELOC is that you only pay for what you use. Even if that's a slightly higher interest rate, the lower amount and time might still work out to your advantage.
by downshiftme
Mon Oct 12, 2015 7:55 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Transamerica 403b Help
Replies: 2
Views: 238

Re: Transamerica 403b Help

Just because you have a fund name doesn't mean that you are getting the retail expense version of that fund. Transamerica retirement plans often have added fees. Get the published ER from Transamerica to know for sure what you are choosing.

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