Search found 379 matches

by msk
Fri Aug 18, 2017 8:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone have a personal chef?
Replies: 44
Views: 3295

Re: Anyone have a personal chef?

Never had a personal chef, but had a domestic help/maid who did the cooking, cleaning, etc. in various countries, for decades. DW had to make all decisions on menus. None of our maids had driving licenses so shopping was done by DW except at periods when we had a second, male domestic help who drove...
by msk
Wed Aug 16, 2017 8:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is $9000 too much for a sectional sofa ?
Replies: 119
Views: 5729

Re: Is $9000 too much for a sectional sofa ?

I judge sofa costing by the foot, since in recent years I had to purchase a lot. Ikea makes very comfortable, sturdy, child-friendly series. What I consider their most value-for money series is called EKTORP and they go for around $50 to $100/ft. My next favorite brand is ID Design (a Danish company...
by msk
Wed Aug 16, 2017 1:28 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Study: The Rate of Return on Everything, 1870-2015
Replies: 52
Views: 4561

Re: Study: The Rate of Return on Everything, 1870-2015

For those interested in loooong term returns I would heartily recommend the tome "Capital in the 21st Century" by Thomas Piketty, possibly one of the greatest new references for economists. His findings: Productive Real Estate paid 5% real terms p.a. while Trade & Industry paid a percent to two high...
by msk
Wed Aug 16, 2017 12:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Plan for making child pay for part of college
Replies: 111
Views: 5061

Re: Plan for making child pay for part of college

Yet more anecdotes. I have contacts with a huge number of nephews and nieces, all aged < 50. Only two are currently CEOs. They were both problem students, financed entirely by their parents. Both dropped out half way through their post-secondary education. Parents forced them to take menial jobs, si...
by msk
Tue Aug 15, 2017 9:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Experience with Modular/Manufactured Homes
Replies: 14
Views: 1458

Re: Experience with Modular/Manufactured Homes

A friend lived in a factory-built home near Ottawa, Canada that was so high quality I was astonished when he told me it was factory built. This perked my interest and I subsequently visited a show-park presenting numerous designs in Nova Scotia and even a factory in New Brunswick (example here http:...
by msk
Tue Aug 15, 2017 9:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Plan for making child pay for part of college
Replies: 111
Views: 5061

Re: Plan for making child pay for part of college

My experience: I have put 4 kids through college (2 should graduate in 2018) and hundreds of corporate-sponsored scholars. The 100th PhD has graduated just recently from the program I initiated 30 years ago. Approach was identical: the kids can apply to the world's "best" colleges and all their cost...
by msk
Tue Aug 15, 2017 12:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Life insurance policy on toddler
Replies: 19
Views: 1903

Re: Life insurance policy on toddler

Some people are simply not capable of saving diligently for long periods of time. My strong recommendation for such people is either to take a mortgage and purchase a home, or buy a life insurance policy that pays a cash lump sum at some time in the far future. The mortgage payments become savings a...
by msk
Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Due to 8 Year Bull Market, Pay Off Rental Now?
Replies: 35
Views: 3531

Re: Due to 8 Year Bull Market, Pay Off Rental Now?

Obviously the OP is happy with his RE exploits. During my RE days I kept enough mortgage debt so that total expenses on rental property matched the rental income, or such as to give a very small net income; for tax purposes. If RE looks great to the OP, perhaps he should just acquire another propert...
by msk
Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: buying a rental property vs investing more in stocks
Replies: 26
Views: 2707

Re: buying a rental property vs investing more in stocks

Obviously the OP is a believer in capital appreciation for his local area. If he believes that a $950k home can, say, double within two or three years, then all talk as regards renting out at negative net income gets blotted out. Ask the happy owners during past years in any RE-hot city worldwide. B...
by msk
Sun Aug 13, 2017 8:09 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Beneficiaries vs wills
Replies: 9
Views: 1169

Re: Beneficiaries vs wills

Too good to be practical? My kids are dispersed to different countries and tax jurisdictions. At least DW is resident with me and is named as Joint Owner with Survivor Rights. Now, obviously if I add a kid living in, say, Finland as a JOwSR then he would have to tax report to Finland on the portfoli...
by msk
Sun Aug 13, 2017 3:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Struggling with Justifying an Expensive Car Purchase
Replies: 120
Views: 5612

Re: Struggling with Justifying an Expensive Car Purchase

I think the OP is too BH :shock: You can afford it, go ahead and splurge. Tomorrow I am going to put down a deposit for a special order Mercedes going for $165k. Even more silly at my age. You only live once. Looking back over my 73 years, my rules-of-thumb have been, since the 1970s: Never buy a h...
by msk
Sun Aug 13, 2017 2:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why Worry About US Estate Tax for Non-Resident Aliens
Replies: 24
Views: 1576

Re: Why Worry About US Estate Tax for Non-Resident Aliens

I used two routes to purchase the same accumulating ETFs (IWDA and EIMI): one via an omnibus account through a German broker bank (Baader Bank) but this involves commissions of 0.3% for buying and another 0.3% for selling (very high, but structurally protected from interference by most governments),...
by msk
Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:04 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why Worry About US Estate Tax for Non-Resident Aliens
Replies: 24
Views: 1576

Re: Why Worry About US Estate Tax for Non-Resident Aliens

sharukh wrote:One response i had got for a similar question is:

Keep the money in usa in us broker, just buy a life insurance enough to offset the estate taxes.

Does that sound acceptable ?
No way is this reasonable! Check out how much the insurance premium will be when the investor is aged 80+
by msk
Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:56 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why Worry About US Estate Tax for Non-Resident Aliens
Replies: 24
Views: 1576

Re: Why Worry About US Estate Tax for Non-Resident Aliens

I suspect that MOST foreigners who have US brokerage accounts are NOT aware of the possible exposure their heirs have towards US Estate Tax. I certainly did not until recently. Thanks BHs. Most people are law abiding, hence, typically upon the demise of the investor, the heirs will finalize probate ...
by msk
Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Struggling with Justifying an Expensive Car Purchase
Replies: 120
Views: 5612

Re: Struggling with Justifying an Expensive Car Purchase

I think the OP is too BH :shock: You can afford it, go ahead and splurge. Tomorrow I am going to put down a deposit for a special order Mercedes going for $165k. Even more silly at my age. You only live once. Looking back over my 73 years, my rules-of-thumb have been, since the 1970s: Never buy a ho...
by msk
Tue Aug 08, 2017 10:17 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What is an appropriate lower risk asset allocation once one has "won the game"
Replies: 50
Views: 5869

Re: What is an appropriate lower risk asset allocation once one has "won the game"

100% equities age 73 is preposterous When you win the game you need to only thibk about capital preservation(marginal utility of wealth) I am 67 and have 18% of a 5.2 million dollar portfolio in fixed income Happy to get 4-5% yearly income plus 40k SS and not touch principal If you cannot afford to...
by msk
Tue Aug 08, 2017 2:56 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What is an appropriate lower risk asset allocation once one has "won the game"
Replies: 50
Views: 5869

Re: What is an appropriate lower risk asset allocation once one has "won the game"

I am in a somewhat similar situation, COLA pension meets our needs, so all portfolio is in a way superfluous, or purchasing totally unneeded toys. At age 73 my wants are few and getting fewer. I think only you can determine what you wish to do with that excess portfolio. You can pass it to your heir...
by msk
Mon Aug 07, 2017 11:47 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Only Thing Wrong with Active Management is the Fees - Bloomberg Article
Replies: 26
Views: 2897

Re: The Only Thing Wrong with Active Management is the Fees - Bloomberg Article

Indexing is a clear winner? Except when you compare it to Berkshire Hathaway... Yes, it's stock picking a single stock. But I am glad I did it in the 1980s. I had the bulk of my money in SPY and BRK.B. Lucky :mrgreen:
by msk
Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:59 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: wedding fund
Replies: 24
Views: 1974

Re: wedding fund

A couple of my kids came late in life (second marriage). So I put aside $200k for their education/weddings/whatever in case I died while they were still kids. Invested mostly in SPY and Berkshire Hathaway. Twenty years later all I can say is I wish my whole investment career had been as effortless a...
by msk
Thu Aug 03, 2017 12:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Suggestions for Month in the South Pacific?
Replies: 8
Views: 1047

Re: Suggestions for Month in the South Pacific?

Indeed, it's the flight times that have kept me away so far. Even from one island to another! Time to bite the bullet :happy
by msk
Mon Jul 31, 2017 12:23 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Continue stock picking or invest in index funds
Replies: 26
Views: 2484

Re: Continue stock picking or invest in index funds

I feel that having side bets with a small fraction of your investments tells you very little about how good you are with stock picking. Basically it's play money. Your attitude changes drastically towards conservatism as that fraction in play approaches a 100%. In the early days I was playing with a...
by msk
Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do you decide if you can afford something?
Replies: 63
Views: 3597

Re: How do you decide if you can afford something?

Wise rules-of-thumb from my younger days in the 1970s: Don't buy a house costing more than 3 years income, don't buy a car costing more than 6 months income. In my pauper days I had to take loans and mortgages but because I have always been frugal, saving at least 30% of income, thus not blindly max...
by msk
Mon Jul 31, 2017 1:31 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Investing from Vietnam for non-US persons?
Replies: 5
Views: 409

Re: Investing from Vietnam for non-US persons?

1. Open an account with Interactive Brokers (you may look for others, and there are many, each with its own constraints...) 2. Decide on AA, Stocks: Bonds For well diversified, nil local currency bias, I chose 90% IWDA (World Developed All) + 10% EIMI (Emerging Markets). Neither pay dividends, all i...
by msk
Mon Jul 31, 2017 1:05 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Living Off Dividends
Replies: 285
Views: 21082

Re: Living Off Dividends

Taxes always enter into our affairs, unfortunately. Non-taxpayers like charities, pension funds, college endowments and similar are quite happy with high dividend yields. Individuals tend to get clobbered. Anyway if my objective were to live off dividends I might be tempted to buy household-name sto...
by msk
Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can I afford it ? [A new car]
Replies: 95
Views: 6069

Re: Can I afford it ? [A new car]

To respond to a lot of comments above, it's not correct to say that one can only afford a car that they can pay cash for. Plenty of people - millions and millions of Americans - purchase cars and choose to finance them, and the vast majority of these folks pay back their car loans. So, let's stop w...
by msk
Sat Jul 29, 2017 9:29 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Living Off Dividends
Replies: 285
Views: 21082

Re: Living Off Dividends

I think that the conclusions reached from a lot of these discussions get muddled up because we mix up situations that are in fact very different, e.g. not keeping in mind that there is a huge difference between somebody entering retirement with a million $ portfolio and another entering with a $10 m...
by msk
Sat Jul 29, 2017 3:24 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can I afford it ? [A new car]
Replies: 95
Views: 6069

Re: Can I afford it ? [A new car]

You can afford any car that you are paying cash for and your lifestyle and life-anxiety do not get impacted badly. Not paying cash? You cannot afford it. Only you can decide how secure your current incomes are...
by msk
Sat Jul 29, 2017 3:15 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Philosophy major and future law student
Replies: 93
Views: 4964

Re: Philosophy major and future law student

So you accept that there is a very high probability that he will study beyond an undergraduate degree. Let him major in anything that he wishes. His undergrad degree is simply to "find" himself. One niche I found that pays extremely well for lawyers is being fully bilingual. Law is about w...
by msk
Sat Jul 29, 2017 2:56 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Living Off Dividends
Replies: 285
Views: 21082

Re: Living Off Dividends

Indeed dividends are a distraction. I checked the history of the SP500 for 50 years between 1966 and 2016. My conclusion: you can withdraw 5% of the portfolio value (including the previous year's dividends minus 15% tax) annually and your portfolio should survive 50 years more or less intact, inflat...
by msk
Sat Jul 29, 2017 2:37 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Is this a healthy asset mix for my situation?
Replies: 13
Views: 963

Re: Is this a healthy asset mix for my situation?

Yes, overly complicated. It's almost as bad as individual stock picks. Every day some will go up and some will go down. Do you enjoy all that much avoidable anxiety? Should you do anything about it? Depends on how much you get clobbered in taxes if you do. If there are no tax repercussions I would g...
by msk
Thu Jul 27, 2017 2:58 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Retirement investing for EU citizen [Slovenia]
Replies: 8
Views: 482

Re: Retirement investing for EU citizen [Slovenia]

I have no idea as to how much "social security" Slovenian citizens have compared to other EU nations, but if similar to France, Germany, etc., then you do not need to have a sense of insecurity as, say, a non EU resident might have as regards catastrophic health expenses, the terror of pos...
by msk
Sun Jul 23, 2017 5:16 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Can real estate investing (actual properties) be relatively "hands off"?
Replies: 50
Views: 5547

Re: Can real estate investing (actual properties) be relatively "hands off"?

I owned 30 rental units (including single family homes in various countries) over 3 to 4 decades. Looking back; yes, a great way to leverage when you are young and in your pauper days. You cannot entirely trust property managers. Some simply do not put in enough effort to earn their charges. You hav...
by msk
Sun Jul 23, 2017 4:45 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Would you chase down this possible hit and run lead?
Replies: 31
Views: 2882

Re: Would you chase down this possible hit and run lead?

I value my time @ $250/hour. I would never bother doing anything unpleasant, like chasing the character who drives a battered car, unless I had close to 100% probability of success and close to nil probability of damage to my body (never mind the car body!). You can afford a $1k deductible on your p...
by msk
Sun Jul 23, 2017 4:21 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How leveraged should your US market investments have been?
Replies: 16
Views: 1634

Re: How leveraged should your US market investments have been?

selters wrote:If you believed in the theory, how would borrow the money and at what interest rate would you borrow it?

Interactive Brokers offers excellent borrowing rates. Last time I looked: 2.66% declining to 1.41% for large amounts. No hassle at all, just click a tick mark on enabling margin :mrgreen:
by msk
Sun Jul 23, 2017 4:10 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How leveraged should your US market investments have been?
Replies: 16
Views: 1634

Re: How leveraged should your US market investments have been?

It's really all about whether your bond allocation ought to be 30%, 20%, 10%, 0%, -10%,-20%, etc. There is little doubt that -10% would have done extremely well over BHs' entire investing lives. Not many live, current BHs were investing in 1929... It just makes me too nervous. Some choose 30+% in or...
by msk
Sat Jul 22, 2017 1:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 4% mortgage rate vs 2.5% BND yield
Replies: 92
Views: 6872

Re: 4% mortgage rate vs 2.5% BND yield

OP here. Boy, with everyone getting such cheap leverage and mortgages being such a bad deal for the lender, makes you wonder who these dumb dumb lenders are. Oh wait, I think it's largely you and me via our total bond market funds. +1 Perhaps it's simpler if we look at things in black and white: A ...
by msk
Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Denver or Portland for a 2nd home
Replies: 66
Views: 5034

Re: Denver or Portland for a 2nd home

OP at age 60. Just a word of warning regarding Denver, age and altitude. I used to do a number of trips for astrophotography to high altitude sites but gradually I noticed that as I aged towards 70 I found that I got breathless far too easily at altitudes above 6500 ft. DW is 20 years younger than m...
by msk
Fri Jul 21, 2017 4:10 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Continue stock picking or invest in index funds
Replies: 26
Views: 2484

Re: Continue stock picking or invest in index funds

+48% in two years? Hope you are calculating your gains correctly! I.e. if you started out with $10k on July 20 2015 that would have grown to $14.8k by today. That would be a phenomenally high pace if you can even approach maintaining it over the next 30 years. Common mistake with calculating returns...
by msk
Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:39 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: An easy-to-understand withdrawal plan for comments
Replies: 9
Views: 797

Re: An easy-to-understand withdrawal plan for comments

a) you will never convince a doubter who is financially semi-literate as long as your bond interest alone does not cover your full annual needs b) your assumptions are overly conservative. Let me explain: Your stock portfolio alone is $2 million, 70% US, 30% International ex US. US stocks alone can ...
by msk
Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:02 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Investment advice for $4 million - can I do all stocks?
Replies: 72
Views: 5895

Re: Investment advice for $4 million - can I do all stocks?

50-year history from 1966 to 2016: SP500 compounded at 6.6% p.a., paying dividends of 2.17% after deduction of 30% tax. No major reason why the next 50 years would not have some resemblance to the past 50. We did have Vietnam and Iraq in there... Put in $6 million now and it is not excessively optim...
by msk
Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:13 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Investment advice for $4 million - can I do all stocks?
Replies: 72
Views: 5895

Re: Investment advice for $4 million - can I do all stocks?

I have the view that many BHs are overly risk-averse. Frankly, the biggest, nastiest risk we all run is that we drop dead today, and no amount of AA towards bonds will insure against that All the other risks, like losing one's job, suddenly becoming incapacitated, stock market collapse, etc. are rea...
by msk
Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Suggestions for Month in the South Pacific?
Replies: 8
Views: 1047

Suggestions for Month in the South Pacific?

I have seen most parts of the world that I actually wish to visit, but not the South Pacific islands. Age 73, not interested in water sports or sunbathing. Ideal vacation would be some sightseeing then curling up with a nice book in the shade at some fabulous beach with a nice breeze. Accommodation ...
by msk
Sun Jul 16, 2017 6:15 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is now time to move into international stocks?
Replies: 57
Views: 6566

Re: Is now time to move into international stocks?

+1 for this, well worth a read: https://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21720134-japan-dominated-index-late-1980s-didnt-end-well-americas Why I index: There is no way that I would have stock-picked early the low-profit US internet titans of today, like Google, Amazon, etc. I have always...
by msk
Sun Jul 16, 2017 3:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying beach bungalow in San Diego for Winters
Replies: 55
Views: 4682

Re: Buying beach bungalow in San Diego for Winters

I have numerous friends who owned vacation homes in various far away locations (and countries). I also did myself. Invariably everyone seems to find remote homes burdensome (and boring) after 3 years or so and sells off within 5 to 7 years. Everyone I know paid cash, so they never counted on any fan...
by msk
Sat Jul 15, 2017 3:22 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Does pension change allocation of funds?
Replies: 30
Views: 2226

Re: Does pension change allocation of funds?

At age 46 you have some 20 years to build wealth. You can squander that opportunity by putting all your savings into 1 to 2% bonds, or you can actually invest the savings in the hope of getting wealthier. Safety costs. A lot. Your employer may go bust, etc. etc. One of you may get incapacitated, wha...
by msk
Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Evaluating housing and longer commutes
Replies: 20
Views: 1286

Re: Evaluating housing and longer commutes

I found that a 45 minute commute each way was tolerable for 2 to 3 years. After that I just hated it! Cost never entered my equation. Danger with looking for a house around a HCOL city is that if you start far out, where the nice houses are, you'll never settle for the lousy houses closer in. Best i...
by msk
Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:54 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Jewelry insurance. Is it ever worth it?
Replies: 35
Views: 3088

Re: Jewelry insurance. Is it ever worth it?

My 90 year-old mother kept all her jewellry ln a safe in her bedroom, and moved it all to a bank safety deposit box whenever she went abroad. Except once a year ago. Forgot to move her stuff; and the whole safe got stolen. All 100+ lbs of it, in one piece! Loss amounted to over $250k, uninsured. At ...
by msk
Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:28 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Personal loan to a family member
Replies: 114
Views: 6843

Re: Personal loan to a family member

Perhaps you could give a bank guarantee to the mortgage lender to raise the mortgage ceiling? That way your money earns interest (as in a CD) and the house cannot be sold or refinanced without the knowledge of the mortgage lender. Presumably you can also have a written guarantee that once the mortga...
by msk
Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:33 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: tell me about real estate investment
Replies: 36
Views: 2989

Re: tell me about real estate investment

Of course RE depends on astuteness and luck; picking the right property, etc. But and this is important for most people who are not BHs by genetic mutation! When you have a mortgage to meet each month it forces you into a discipline of monthly savings. Most of the world are nonBHs in attitude. My si...