Search found 1524 matches

by kramer
Tue Jul 18, 2017 11:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tumbling USD -- expats
Replies: 27
Views: 2175

Re: Tumbling USD -- expats

I live abroad in the Philippines. The Philippines peso seems to be somewhat more tied to the dollar than the baht and the US is third leading trade partner. The problem with holding money in your local emerging market country is that as a US citizen you can't invest it in much besides bonds due to P...
by kramer
Sat Jul 15, 2017 12:11 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Laptop CD ROM Tray Keeps Ejecting
Replies: 4
Views: 393

Re: Laptop CD ROM Tray Keeps Ejecting

badger42 wrote:Otherwise, it's 2017. I didn't realize laptops still came with optical drives. Consider disabling it and pretending it doesn't exist?
Unfortunately for the OP, this is the truth. It's just complete dead weight and unnecessary size increase on a laptop.
by kramer
Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:09 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: any way to eat healthier at Subway (or any other quick lunch ideas)
Replies: 102
Views: 4661

Re: any way to eat healthier at Subway (or any other quick lunch ideas)

Anytime that I eat out, I NEVER finish the food. If I order a burger, I rip off half of the bread (with the mayo part as that has more calories) and a bit of the meat and cheese and put it to the side. I don't doggybag it either. Yes it is a waste of food, but helps me maintain my weight. If I didn...
by kramer
Sun Jul 09, 2017 8:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does anyone use ANNUITIES for SOME of their retirement funds?
Replies: 61
Views: 4054

Re: Does anyone use ANNUITIES for SOME of their retirement funds?

I am 51 and retired and much too young to consider annuities. I am doing TradIRA to RothIRA conversions each year. But my TradIRA will still have funds when I reach age 70. However, around the age of 70, I have considered getting a deferred annuity (QLAC) with up to 25% of my remaining IRA funds...m...
by kramer
Tue Jul 04, 2017 11:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Playstation 4 Games for Beginners?
Replies: 29
Views: 2908

Re: Best Playstation 4 Games for Beginners?

This thread has been so helpful ... thanks very much! I have been busy researching all these games, some great recommendations. I am thinking of starting with a game in each of several genres to see what I enjoy and gain some skills, combined with PS+ to get exposed to more games.
by kramer
Tue Jul 04, 2017 12:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Playstation 4 Games for Beginners?
Replies: 29
Views: 2908

Re: Best Playstation 4 Games for Beginners?

If you get PlayStation plus, be sure to download the free monthly games, even if you are not sure you want it. You can always delete the game and redownload later. The way I understand it, PlayStation Plus ($60/year) offers some free games for download each month, so I could download them for that ...
by kramer
Mon Jul 03, 2017 12:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Playstation 4 Games for Beginners?
Replies: 29
Views: 2908

Re: Best Playstation 4 Games for Beginners?

Reviving a year old thread ... I am about to purchase a Playstation 4 Pro and wondering what games I should order with it ... I am new to the gaming world ... I guess there have been a lot of new titles released in the past year. Thanks in advance and I found what is already in this thread quite use...
by kramer
Wed Jun 28, 2017 12:10 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Taxes on I Series Bonds negate purchasing power protection?
Replies: 12
Views: 1659

Re: Taxes on I Series Bonds negate purchasing power protection?

You can also cash them in over a series of years to lower your tax bracket if your income is suited for that ... for example, I have 3.4% and 3.0% Ibonds maturing in 2031 ... but I will cash some in in December, 2029, some in December 2030, and the rest in 2031 when they mature ... this will probabl...
by kramer
Sun Jun 25, 2017 4:29 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 5% of portfolio balance a better SWR than 3-4% inflation-adjusted?
Replies: 27
Views: 2974

Re: 5% of portfolio balance a better SWR than 3-4% inflation-adjusted?

My "real life" income needs and wants seem to be pretty steady in retirement. A widely variable withdrawal rate doesn't seem to match my lifestyle.
by kramer
Tue Jun 13, 2017 1:27 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Good school in Mexico for Spanish?
Replies: 23
Views: 1630

Re: Good school in Mexico for Spanish?

Several years ago, I was (at my advanced age) considering learning some Spanish - and I noticed some language immersion programs advertised or promoted in a certain Central American country. In this area, there are a lot of immigrants from many different countries. (With 20/20 hindsight) I made the...
by kramer
Sat Jun 10, 2017 11:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Good school in Mexico for Spanish?
Replies: 23
Views: 1630

Re: Good school in Mexico for Spanish?

I attended the Baden-Powell school in Morelia twice, once in 2006 (2 weeks) and again in 2011 (3 weeks). The school was fantastic with comfortable condo nearby or you can stay with a family (I have done both). http://www.baden-powell.com/home Of course, a lot of time has passed, you would have to do...
by kramer
Mon May 29, 2017 11:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cell phone service abroad
Replies: 79
Views: 6511

Re: Cell phone service abroad

I always buy a sim card abroad when I visit a country, with a generous data plan. I familiarize myself with their system before I leave so I already know what I will be buying before my trip.

Here is a good pre-paid Wiki link for New Zealand:

http://prepaid-data-sim-card.wikia.com/wiki/New_Zealand
by kramer
Sun May 21, 2017 12:51 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What % of your income have you converted to wealth?
Replies: 133
Views: 17170

Re: How many Bogleheads have investment assets that exceed their cumulative lifetime earned income?

It's true for me ... easy to calculate because my main work career was short (< 12 years, finished school at age 29) and I retired at age 41. I think I was over the "net after taxes" lifetime amount when I retired but now, 10 years after retirement with some inflation and portfolio growth,...
by kramer
Sat May 20, 2017 12:48 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?
Replies: 37
Views: 6272

Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

I had to get progressives for the first time last year. With the same prescription, I got a pair shipped from Zenni (maybe $70 all in) and a pair from Costco (maybe $185 including lens and frame). I really can't even wear the pair from Zenni, I don't think they even qualify as a backup pair. The Co...
by kramer
Fri May 19, 2017 11:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?
Replies: 37
Views: 6272

Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

I had to get progressives for the first time last year. With the same prescription, I got a pair shipped from Zenni (maybe $70 all in) and a pair from Costco (maybe $185 including lens and frame). I really can't even wear the pair from Zenni, I don't think they even qualify as a backup pair. The Cos...
by kramer
Tue May 16, 2017 11:36 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Use of Drivers License for air travel
Replies: 20
Views: 1890

Re: Use of Drivers License for air travel

Also, for convenience, when you renew your passport you may want to also get a passport card (30 bucks extra last I checked). That way you can use the card (same size as a driver's license) for ID in the USA as opposed to having to lug your passport around. The passport card has the additional use o...
by kramer
Tue May 16, 2017 12:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone else agree with my logic on silicon valley housing?
Replies: 84
Views: 7496

Re: Anyone else agree with my logic on silicon valley housing?

I was in a similar situation about 13 years ago, albeit a bit older than you at the time. I am OK with living in an apartment in a walkable neighborhood. But I was never a big Bay Area fan. I just sucked it up and saved big dollars and retired early. I got an apartment in an area I enjoyed and alway...
by kramer
Tue May 09, 2017 11:04 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: International REIT
Replies: 31
Views: 2667

Re: International REIT

It looks like all the top country holdings of VNQI have adopted a US-style REIT approach except for China. And China is considering it. Is there a reason you prefer the U.S. style REIT approach? Good question. US style REITs are real estate holding companies and have to distribute 90% of their prof...
by kramer
Mon May 08, 2017 11:16 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: International REIT
Replies: 31
Views: 2667

Re: International REIT

While I like VNQI and own some of it, one thing that worried me about it in the past was that some of the countries had not legislated a distinct REIT structure like the US. In the US, one of the main differentiations of REIT stocks is that they have distinct tax treatment and regulations, they are ...
by kramer
Thu Apr 27, 2017 2:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Will cars be autonomous in three years?
Replies: 225
Views: 13054

Re: Will cars be autonomous in three years?

Uber (and its competition) will become a lot more convenient with driverless tech: * shorter wait time, broader geographic coverage, 24 hours service, much broader customer base and a *lot* cheaper: * fewer real drivers, much higher vehicle utilization, more ride sharing options, much broader custom...
by kramer
Thu Apr 27, 2017 11:55 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Phone For Japan?
Replies: 16
Views: 1060

Re: Phone For Japan?

My understanding is that if you want to get a Japanese sim card, you have to be a resident to get a sim card that can talk and text. Tourists are allowed data only. There is some kind of registration process for a Japanese sim card that can talk and text. Here is a good place to start your research:...
by kramer
Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:14 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Larry Swedroe says "Goodbye."
Replies: 336
Views: 39378

Re: Larry Swedroe says "Goodby."

Thanks for all your contributions, Larry ... they are deeply appreciated ... and your depth of knowledge and willingness to share is a good example for all of us.
by kramer
Mon Apr 17, 2017 1:24 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: I got a FACTA-related form from my home country?
Replies: 24
Views: 1264

Re: I got a FACTA-related form from my home country?

To directly answer the OP's question, many and probably most banks abroad now automatically require that you state whether you are a US Person and/or US Citizen as a matter of doing business with them. This is usually even for opening a small account since that account could later grow above the thr...
by kramer
Thu Apr 13, 2017 12:19 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: STRIPS ladder to buy my retirement home?
Replies: 13
Views: 1446

Re: STRIPS ladder to buy my retirement home?

You probably know this already but just in case ... don't forget to include Texas property taxes ... from what I have read they may be as much as $800/month (?) on a purchase of that size.
by kramer
Sun Apr 09, 2017 11:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Malpractice tail
Replies: 8
Views: 1488

Re: Malpractice tail

I am sure it is heavily dependent on your specialty.

My brother-in-law was an ENT surgeon/doc in Southern California for a group and moved to the Midwest around 2005 (I think). He paid 76K for the malpractice tail. And he had a good record.
by kramer
Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:19 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: More Zenni Optical Questions
Replies: 13
Views: 1763

Re: More Zenni Optical Questions

I got progressive lenses for regular glasses on Zenni and they were not done very well. At almost the same time, I got a pair at Costco that were done much better. My lesson is that I would only do a simple prescription through Zenni. I have gotten single prescription glasses for myopia on Zenni and...
by kramer
Fri Apr 07, 2017 11:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Packing cubes for travel
Replies: 60
Views: 4538

Re: Packing cubes for travel

I use cubes for clothes and ziploc bags for smaller things (mostly quart bags). I tried rolling clothing before putting it into the cubes but it just didn't work for me, I just fold them in approximately the same rectangular shape of the cube. I use the bigger cubes mostly for pants and shorts. If a...
by kramer
Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:56 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Hit my # for retirement, how do I protect it until ready to quit?
Replies: 15
Views: 2451

Re: Hit my # for retirement, how do I protect it until ready to quit?

I retired at age 41 and what I did is shift my investments to my desired portfolio before I retired. I couldn't do it entirely due to not being willing to generate any capital gains while working but within reason I could, especially my stock/bond balance which is the most important figure (It's bee...
by kramer
Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Flights with limited pre-assigned seating benefits
Replies: 49
Views: 3108

Re: Flights with limited pre-assigned seating benefits

I don't go anywhere for any length of time without getting connectivity via a local sim. There are many ways my smartphone enhances my travel experience and safety. http://prepaid-data-sim-card.wikia.com/wiki/Hong_Kong It's cheap and easy to do in Hong Kong. They even have an easier sim option for t...
by kramer
Wed Apr 05, 2017 10:44 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Early retirees - how did you inform your loved ones and friends?
Replies: 54
Views: 6029

Re: Early retirees - how did you inform your loved ones and friends?

Funny this question came up because I have been reminiscing about it as my 10 year early retirement anniversary is next week, I retired at age 41. Giving notice when you have a good job and no other job lined up and you are making a lifetime change is terrifying. If I was not so burned out on my jo...
by kramer
Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:29 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Early retirees - how did you inform your loved ones and friends?
Replies: 54
Views: 6029

Re: Early retirees - how did you inform your loved ones and friends?

Funny this question came up because I have been reminiscing about it as my 10 year early retirement anniversary is next week, I retired at age 41. I couldn't just say nothing ... I was well known and a high achiever at my large computer company with a large professional network ... and my immediate ...
by kramer
Thu Mar 30, 2017 4:10 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Moving money between countries
Replies: 14
Views: 1252

Re: Moving money between countries

Ideally, you have a US dollar account to receive the funds, at least for the US to India transfer. I don't know if this is possible in India. Here in the Philippines they have US dollar accounts at banks and moving that kind of money would probably only cost the wire transfer fee (say less than 50 d...
by kramer
Fri Mar 24, 2017 10:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)
Replies: 149
Views: 11719

Re: Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)

+1 for PIA. I have gotten tens of megabits per second sustained speeds with them (on a 60mb connection). +1 here too for PIA. However, one downside was my inability to log onto my Schwab account when using PIA. After a phone call to Schwab technical support, I learned Schwab blocks access via a VPN...
by kramer
Fri Mar 17, 2017 11:31 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Endless Job Interviews (with same company)
Replies: 61
Views: 6745

Re: Endless Job Interviews (with same company)

What industry are you in and what type of position?
by kramer
Thu Mar 16, 2017 3:12 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Trying to transfer a Roth IRA and this Medallion Signature requirement is driving me nuts!
Replies: 67
Views: 5026

Re: Trying to transfer a Roth IRA and this Medallion Signature requirement is driving me nuts!

A few years ago (2010?) I thought I was going to need a Medallion Signature Guarantee to transfer my HSA from a credit union. I called Schwab to ask if they could do it if I went to one of their offices (I am a long time Schwab brokerage account holder) and they said they would only do it if they we...
by kramer
Thu Mar 16, 2017 12:52 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Early Retirement - what to do about healthcare?
Replies: 228
Views: 24875

Re: Early Retirement - what to do about healthcare?

I retired early in 2007 at age 41 and acquired a private health insurance plan in the US, $5000 domestic deductible, $10,000 international deductible. The premiums went up quickly but were never that bad by today's standards...I started living abroad (because I wanted to, nothing related to health i...
by kramer
Fri Mar 03, 2017 9:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Actual physical ATM access internationally, and then changing notes
Replies: 26
Views: 1600

Re: Actual physical ATM access internationally, and then changing notes

Usually before entering a new country, I have made myself aware of the maximum ATM withdrawal in their currency. I am not that picky about which ATM I use, and I almost always try to use one at the airport. For my first ATM pull, I typically use an odd amount. Let's say the max in country X is 1000 ...
by kramer
Thu Feb 16, 2017 5:52 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Never-Ending Foreign Tax Credit Problem
Replies: 42
Views: 3996

Re: Never-Ending Foreign Tax Credit Problem

Kramer, you have echoed my situation completely. And as fortune would have it, I have also been considering doing the T-IRA to Roth IRA conversion in these low effective tax rate years. So your suggestion may take care of two birds, the FTC carryforward and the eventual tax liability of the T-IRA. ...
by kramer
Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:44 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Never-Ending Foreign Tax Credit Problem
Replies: 42
Views: 3996

Re: Never-Ending Foreign Tax Credit Problem

My foreign tax credit carryover increases every year and I do NOT have $20,000 in foreign source dividend income (all from Vanguard ETFs). The answer lies with the fact that my US tax rate is lower than the taxes paid on my foreign dividends AND that I exceed the $300/$600 threshold in foreign taxes...
by kramer
Mon Feb 13, 2017 7:56 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is 130k a good salary in IT?.
Replies: 40
Views: 6538

Re: Is 130k a good salary in IT?.

It's way way more important that he is happy in his job (or at least not miserable or feeling desperate or totally insecure) than whether he earns a few extra dollars. If his job seems stable and he is not being driven crazy, leave well enough alone. This is absolutely the case in IT. If you have n...
by kramer
Mon Jan 30, 2017 10:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Utilizing a trainer to maintain fitness in retirement
Replies: 39
Views: 2887

Re: Utilizing a trainer to maintain fitness in retirement

I am 51 and have been retired for 10 years, I only got serious about exercise after retirement. I stay in top physical shape now, mixing gym and running. I have never used a trainer, but I think a trainer could have helped me in the gym initially. I had almost no gym experience. I don't think a trai...
by kramer
Tue Jan 24, 2017 10:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cell service abroad, what did I do wrong
Replies: 29
Views: 2566

Re: Cell service abroad, what did I do wrong

Yes, my modus operandi is to research online ahead of time so I know what brand of sim card to buy, have a prepaid phone plan in mind, and where the sim cards are generally available: http://prepaid-data-sim-card.wikia.com/wiki/Prepaid_SIM_with_data Then I have the shop set it up for me. I don't cou...
by kramer
Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Will foreign banks file 1099INT for 2016.
Replies: 2
Views: 425

Re: Will foreign banks file 1099INT for 2016.

No, I don't think they do. In fact, where I live, there doesn't seem to be any such thing as 1099 reporting even to locals as there is withholding at the source for all interest bearing accounts. And many foreign banks may have only your USA person info (passport number, for instance) but not your U...
by kramer
Mon Jan 16, 2017 12:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best DNA genealogy testing kits
Replies: 118
Views: 15593

Re: Best DNA genealogy testing kits

I think these tests when used for genealogical purposes are not particularly informative as the field is so young. At some point in the future there will probably be interesting and specific and actually accurate things the tests can tell us, but not yet. It's more important to just save the DNA da...
by kramer
Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where Can a Self-Supporting Retiree Move?
Replies: 32
Views: 3894

Re: Where Can a Self-Supporting Retiree Move?

I know a lot of retired American's who live in the Philippines and it is usually ranked in the top 25 of countries U.S. citizens retire too. You do have to have a $10,000 to $20,000 deposit in a Philippine bank depending on whether or not you have a pension and number of dependents going with you. ...
by kramer
Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:03 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where Can a Self-Supporting Retiree Move?
Replies: 32
Views: 3894

Re: Where Can a Self-Supporting Retiree Move?

Almost all of southeast Asia fits your criteria and much of Latin America. Also, there is probably no need to move much wealth to your new country of residence. Things to look out for: * If land ownership is important to you, many countries don't permit it, so check that ahead of time * If you have ...
by kramer
Tue Dec 27, 2016 10:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: anyone living in central america?(Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Belize...)
Replies: 30
Views: 5029

Re: anyone living in central america?(Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Belize...)

I don't live in Central America but I do live outside of the US in a developing country. I know dozens of people who have lived happily in developing countries for years or decades. I know people who liked it at first but got tired of it after a few years. I know people who hated it immediately and...
by kramer
Sat Dec 24, 2016 3:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax gain harvesting
Replies: 21
Views: 2048

Re: Tax gain harvesting

I am in my 50's, retired, and in a low tax bracket with no earned income. The majority of my assets are in taxable accounts with large cap gains. Each year, I convert traditional IRA up to the top of the 10% bracket, maybe a little more, and tax harvest cap gains up to the top of the 15% bracket. Th...
by kramer
Thu Dec 22, 2016 10:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: WSJ $99 for 6 months -- worth it?
Replies: 62
Views: 6534

Re: WSJ $99 for 6 months -- worth it?

I would be happy to pay for a no-BS WSJ digital-only subscription, say as $12 to $15 per month, no hidden price increases, no snail mail, no physical newspaper, no calling retention officers to turn off auto-charge, no changing e-mails to try to get a different introductory priced digital subscripti...

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