Search found 857 matches

by downshiftme
Sat Feb 18, 2017 10:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Good Modern Science Fiction
Replies: 224
Views: 23218

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson

Blackout / AllClear by Connie Willis

The Name of the Wind / Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

The Martian (movie is good, but the book is a different experience) by Andy Weir
by downshiftme
Tue Feb 14, 2017 6:20 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 24 with a $300,000 trust. Need Advice
Replies: 13
Views: 1084

Re: 24 with a $300,000 trust. Need Advice

I am no expert in trusts, but if I had an extra $300,000 to invest, I would NOT select individual stocks and I would not select two companies in the same business. There is no diversification at all. Are there tax implications if the trustee sells, possibly appreciated, shares? Can you direct the tr...
by downshiftme
Wed Feb 01, 2017 5:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Spendthrift Daughter
Replies: 44
Views: 3368

Re: Spendthrift Daughter

I would think it would only cause a rift between the daughter and deceased father. At first glance, this seems like a possible consequence, but the deceased father is deceased, so there's no point in harboring a rift with him. Instead the cut-off daughter is likely to turn her resentment to her sib...
by downshiftme
Mon Jan 30, 2017 4:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Would you put 1 million dollars in ONE credit union...
Replies: 17
Views: 2986

Re: Would you put 1 million dollars in ONE credit union...

Thanks for all the good suggestions about how to verify that the deposits are in fact insured or not. But I would also add to the discussion, is this one million dollars out of a much larger portfolio, or is this one million pretty much the entire portfolio? If this is just a portion of the portfoli...
by downshiftme
Fri Jan 27, 2017 5:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How Do You Pay Your Monthly Bills?
Replies: 42
Views: 3614

Re: How Do You Pay Your Monthly Bills?

Having a separate card for some bills and a different card (or cards) for other uses will limit the damage if one card is compromised. However, leaving the card at home won't make much difference. The card numbers (and expiration and CVV) are freely given out whenever you make a purchase, so they ca...
by downshiftme
Fri Jan 27, 2017 4:42 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Helping with sisters 401k with principal
Replies: 5
Views: 255

Re: Helping with sisters 401k with principal

This looks like the Principal plan we used to have. Your best option may be to select one of the lower cost equity options like SP500, and then balance with bonds in an IRA. If this isn't a lifetime job, you can roll whatever you own to better funds when you leave this job.
by downshiftme
Fri Jan 27, 2017 4:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Are two in one Washer/Dryer combos a thing?
Replies: 17
Views: 1793

Re: Are two in one Washer/Dryer combos a thing?

Yes, they do make them. In a compact apartment my friend had one, didn't like it and switched to two separate units stacked on top of each other as a better solution. This was perhaps 10 years ago, so maybe the technology has improved.
by downshiftme
Wed Jan 25, 2017 7:04 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Wells Fargo - no more 100 free trades (for new accounts)?
Replies: 26
Views: 13213

Re: Wells Fargo - no more 100 free trades (for new accounts)?

As my kids get old enough to open their own accounts, they have enjoyed the PMA benefits by linking their accounts to mine. For banking, this made Wells Fargo a very attractive proposition to get their business. Now that they are going to open a first IRA account (for tax year 2016) we have discover...
by downshiftme
Wed Jan 04, 2017 7:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!
Replies: 176
Views: 29406

Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

He tricked her into signing over ownership of her IRA to him (evidently so that he could withdraw the money without penalty... he's in his mid-60's As far as I know you cannot just transfer ownership of an IRA. In a divorce settlement, a court can order a transfer or partitioning of an IRA. When yo...
by downshiftme
Sun Jan 01, 2017 2:01 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: ‘Rich Dad’ author says the 2016 market collapse is coming
Replies: 53
Views: 9506

Re: ‘Rich Dad’ author says the 2016 market collapse is coming

I'll make a prediction:

Sooner or later the market will drop steeply, and all the people who predicted crashes will claim they were right all along, but just off by a little bit of timing.
by downshiftme
Tue Dec 13, 2016 2:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Enforcing the terms of a trust
Replies: 42
Views: 3248

Re: Enforcing the terms of a trust

My trust also has "in terrorem" or no-contest clause in it, which prevents the beneficiaries (my kids) from contesting our trust/wills. If the beneficiaries try to contest/change the trust, they lose everything. So what happens if the kids believe that the trustee has acted untrustfully o...
by downshiftme
Tue Dec 13, 2016 2:03 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Trouble w/Vanguard transferring assets due to Divorce
Replies: 6
Views: 963

Re: Trouble w/Vanguard transferring assets due to Divorce

Most custodians will NOT act on divorce changes in accounts until they get signed paperwork by BOTH parties. Has your ex filed the necessary papers in addition to whatever you provided?
by downshiftme
Mon Dec 12, 2016 1:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Age to Take Social Security: The Ideal and the Reality
Replies: 83
Views: 12226

Re: Age to Take Social Security: The Ideal and the Reality

Bacchus01 wrote: I honestly don't fully understand the "wait" decision from a financial standpoint. You are taking a lot of risk by not taking the money. And the payback timeline for a breakeven analysis for most people is in their early 80s, which is at roughly the current mortality age ...
by downshiftme
Mon Dec 12, 2016 1:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Movie Have You Recently Watched?
Replies: 2424
Views: 613762

Re: What Movie Have You Recently Watched?

I think Arrival will be better on the big screen. It's a thinking movie, so it may be good outside of theaters, but it will probably be best viewed on the full size screen. Also, this may not be everyone's idea of a good movie. I loved it. Really thought it was terrific, but overhearing the reaction...
by downshiftme
Thu Dec 08, 2016 12:11 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I go for the 2K+ flying squirrel solution?
Replies: 36
Views: 2995

Re: Should I go for the 2K+ flying squirrel solution?

I had a squirrel problem in the attic that took several visits of trapping and repairing damage before they were completely gone. I'm in a fairly high cost of living area, but the entire job was a lot closer to $1000 than $2000. This was only 2 years ago, so squirrels shouldn't have inflated that mu...
by downshiftme
Thu Dec 08, 2016 12:04 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Retiring in a Decade after Graduation
Replies: 131
Views: 15526

Re: Retiring in a Decade after Graduation

There are small groups of people your age trying to do what you suggest. Some internet searches may turn up special interest groups targeting very early retirement. Many people have been leery of putting too much into retirement plans with age 59 (or 55) limitations. In fact there are several ways t...
by downshiftme
Sat Dec 03, 2016 3:51 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Employer incentive stock options, asking the right questions
Replies: 3
Views: 389

Re: Employer incentive stock options, asking the right questions

I thought that a company WAS obligated to disclose this to option holders. How else can option holders decide whether to exercise options or not. In fact, I believe there is an obligation for the company to do a valuation regularly, even if it is privately held, if there are employee options outstan...
by downshiftme
Thu Dec 01, 2016 7:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Reasonably cheap reading glasses with different strengths?
Replies: 20
Views: 1626

Re: Reasonably cheap reading glasses with different strengths?

I like Zenni for inexpensive eyeglasses. I get separate (different) prescription in each eye. I also used them for my kids glasses. Usually ordered several at a time for kids because the glasses were so cheap it was easy to have a spare on hand. Kids both lose and damage glasses (think sports injuri...
by downshiftme
Wed Nov 16, 2016 7:17 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Justifying after-tax 401K and backdoor ROTH capability to megacorp
Replies: 6
Views: 496

Re: Justifying after-tax 401K and backdoor ROTH capability to megacorp

You can always try the argument that this is a recruiting and employment advantage. The best companies do offer this feature and it strongly appeals to the best and the brightest employees. Unless you want to lose people to other companies that have a better 401k, there's every reason to add this (s...
by downshiftme
Wed Nov 16, 2016 2:20 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?
Replies: 155
Views: 15694

Re: Monthly grocery costs? How do you keep it low?

Diet is a very big part of my health. I work hard to figure out the healthiest food I can reasonably make or get, and then I try to get the right amount so I don't have to throw much of it away. Aside from that, I do not worry about the cost. Good healthy food like fresh vegetables and fruits is rel...
by downshiftme
Mon Nov 14, 2016 7:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to give a young traveller in France some "walking-around money?"
Replies: 25
Views: 2426

Re: How to give a young traveller in France some "walking-around money?"

If you do decide to give paper Euros as the gift, consider also giving a security wallet, like a passport holder on a neckstrap that is worn under the clothes. Pick-pocketing is rife in Paris and on the Metro she is almost certain to be targeted.
by downshiftme
Mon Nov 14, 2016 5:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to give a young traveller in France some "walking-around money?"
Replies: 25
Views: 2426

Re: How to give a young traveller in France some "walking-around money?"

We used a US bank account with an ATM debit card. The card was accepted many places in France and getting Euros at local ATMs was simple and fast. In my case we also set up the account so I could see the balance online and locally transfer funds in as needed, but if this is a more distant relative, ...
by downshiftme
Mon Nov 14, 2016 5:03 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Age 92 Dad Wants to Boost stocks
Replies: 52
Views: 5261

Re: Age 92 Dad Wants to Boost stocks

At age 92, actually probably well before age 92, I expect that I will have enough portfolio to sustain my modest wants, especially with SS, pension, annuity payments making up a large part of my monthly budget. At that point I expect to invest the rest of the portfolio for the benefit of my children...
by downshiftme
Thu Nov 10, 2016 5:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Would a Computer Science certificate benefit my career?
Replies: 29
Views: 2020

Re: Would a Computer Science certificate benefit my career?

The program is free (paid for by my employer). I haven't done much programming. Almost no employer will care about a certificate that's sort-of like half a master's degree. The software world seems to like Computer Science and similar degrees, but disregards all the certificate and related credenti...
by downshiftme
Thu Nov 10, 2016 5:49 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: After Tax 401k Contributions
Replies: 30
Views: 2607

Re: After Tax 401k Contributions

Only a few 401k plans include the ability to contribute after-tax up to the 53k limit. Only very few 401k plans allow in-service rollovers, and especially very few allow in-service rollovers to segregate after-tax from all contributions. Those that are fortunate enough to have them should strongly c...
by downshiftme
Sun Nov 06, 2016 10:45 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gaming system for kids?
Replies: 53
Views: 4730

Re: Gaming system for kids?

We ended up getting a WiiU for our kids for a few reasons. 1. Many of the games require getting off the couch and moving around. 2. Their seem to be more family friendly games and fewer shoot-em up type games. 3. It has a pretty good exercise program for the adults to use in the winter months. 4. I...
by downshiftme
Wed Oct 26, 2016 8:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advisor worth 3%?
Replies: 18
Views: 1860

Re: Advisor worth 3%?

Numerous studies are showing that financial advisors usually earn their keep by functioning as behavioral coaches for their clients rather than from active asset management This claim is completely false. If you select "good" advisors in retrospect by identifying only those who kept their...
by downshiftme
Wed Oct 26, 2016 12:59 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advisor worth 3%?
Replies: 18
Views: 1860

Re: Advisor worth 3%?

Any info about what's on the other end of this blind link? Usual etiquette is to at least include a summary or description of why people might be interested in clicking through.
by downshiftme
Tue Oct 25, 2016 1:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Thoughts on sleep apnea possible problem
Replies: 7
Views: 1136

Re: Thoughts on sleep apnea possible problem

Snoring is only the tip of the iceberg for problems caused by sleep apnea. Even if you find a way to stop the snoring, you are still at risk for myriad health issues if the underlying apnea is untreated. Go get tested and you will know more about the extent of the problem. If a CPAP machine is recom...
by downshiftme
Sat Oct 22, 2016 11:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Side gig: proposed payment in shares of LLC. Run toward or away?
Replies: 21
Views: 1151

Re: Side gig: proposed payment in shares of LLC. Run toward or away?

So the "owners" have an idea. They want your DH to actually make them a product for free, then they will try to sell the company to someone who thinks the product is worthwhile. I don't see any good reason to do this. The "owners" will own all the technology and product and will ...
by downshiftme
Sat Oct 22, 2016 9:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Does it matter what type of college one goes to?
Replies: 250
Views: 15839

Re: Does it matter what type of college one goes to?

I would think it is all about the interview. Would a supervisor who went to Yale hire an applicant that went Yale solely based on that fact? What if he liked the personality more of the applicant that went to a middle of the road state school? I would say he would hire the person that went to the m...
by downshiftme
Sat Oct 22, 2016 9:42 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How to know phone call from mutual fund company is legitimate?
Replies: 18
Views: 1723

Re: How to know phone call from mutual fund company is legitimate?

I've received phishing calls. The best practice is to NEVER divulge any information to someone who calls you. If you think they actually sound legit, ask for a name or issue number - then call back on a number YOU find, never one that they supply. You don't even need to confirm your name, last 4 soc...
by downshiftme
Fri Oct 21, 2016 10:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When have you given enough?
Replies: 65
Views: 5458

Re: When have you given enough?

I sincerely hope my parents regard their money as their money and use it to enhance and improve their lives as much as possible. If I were ever aware of a situation in which they were deferring a cruise in order to improve my inheritance, I hope I would gift them a suitable cruise as soon I discover...
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: 5315

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: 7626

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: 7626

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: 2330

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: 647

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: 676

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: 5764

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: 5014

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: 5464

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: 1130

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: 2293

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: 253

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: 6054

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: 1576

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: 6193

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...

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