Search found 30550 matches

by nisiprius
Sat Aug 27, 2016 9:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can we get by without permanent life insurance?
Replies: 27
Views: 1525

Re: Can we get by without permanent life insurance?

I forgot another life principle. I mentioned that "My own life experience and that of my parents is that you should never, ever, ever get professional services from a friend or relative )." Here's another. Never buy services from someone who has sought you out and found you . Always be the...
by nisiprius
Sat Aug 27, 2016 8:54 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Total Treasury" Fund
Replies: 5
Views: 800

Re: "Total Treasury" Fund

At a quick glance, the iShares Core U.S. Treasury Bond ETF you mention, GOVT, certainly sounds exactly like what you are describing and it has an ER of 0.15%. It is a true index fund, and (like Vanguard Total Bond) it gets its intermediate-term average duration and maturity by mixing bonds of all te...
by nisiprius
Sat Aug 27, 2016 8:41 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Roll Your Own" Longevity Insurance (i.e. Deferred Annuity)?
Replies: 23
Views: 840

Re: "Roll Your Own" Longevity Insurance (i.e. Deferred Annuity)?

ResearchMed wrote:...The people who collect on annuity "claims" are the ones with GOOD luck, I dare say :happy ...
You're right! :oops: :D
by nisiprius
Sat Aug 27, 2016 4:24 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Roll Your Own" Longevity Insurance (i.e. Deferred Annuity)?
Replies: 23
Views: 840

Re: "Roll Your Own" Longevity Insurance (i.e. Deferred Annuity)?

I don't think it can be done. Insurance intrinsically involves the idea of pooling risk among a large group of people. The money to pay the people who have bad luck and make claims, comes out of the premiums paid in by the good-luck people who don't make claims. There's no way for a single individua...
by nisiprius
Sat Aug 27, 2016 11:18 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Are Index Funds Eating the World?"
Replies: 31
Views: 2501

Re: "Are Index Funds Eating the World?"

It really bothers me that mutual funds with intent to maximize profits above all else took over, as vanguard continually votes against environmental responsibility Just for the record, you should be aware that Vanguard does offer the Vanguard FTSE Social Index fund, VFTSX. am not, not, not recommen...
by nisiprius
Sat Aug 27, 2016 10:37 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Savings bonds co-owners and purchase limits
Replies: 9
Views: 465

Re: Savings bonds co-owners and purchase limits

I still haven't gotten this clear, but I don't think you actually can have true "co-owners" of electronic savings bonds.
by nisiprius
Sat Aug 27, 2016 6:46 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Are Index Funds Eating the World?"
Replies: 31
Views: 2501

Re: "Are Index Funds Eating the World?"

John C. Bogle has been warning for a long time about the bad aspects of moving from "owner capitalism to managers' capitalism." He wrote a whole book about this, The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism , which I actually read--but didn't find very helpful and have forgotten most of it, becau...
by nisiprius
Sat Aug 27, 2016 6:22 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What to do with 401K of deceased Dad?
Replies: 5
Views: 797

Re: What to do with 401K of deceased Dad?

I'm sorry for your loss. One of the especially difficult things about death is needing to deal with all kinds of practical complications, including money matters, at a time when you're in emotional distress. Death, money, and inheritance are weird and you will have some very strange thoughts and don...
by nisiprius
Fri Aug 26, 2016 9:51 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: My only fund not in the red today...how about you?
Replies: 23
Views: 1936

Re: My only fund not in the red today...how about you?

I have no idea what my funds did today.
by nisiprius
Fri Aug 26, 2016 8:34 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Passive vs Active Investing
Replies: 17
Views: 1164

Re: Passive vs Active Investing

Did you actually read the piece at the link? Sharpe does not mention the S&P. It applies to any market (total US, small cap, international, etc.). It only applies when the passive option encompass the entire active investment universe. At the moment, I think that the vast preponderance of all &...
by nisiprius
Fri Aug 26, 2016 5:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can we get by without permanent life insurance?
Replies: 27
Views: 1525

Re: Can we get by without permanent life insurance?

You aren't missing anything. As far as I know, you won't find any disinterested writer who says that you need "permanent" life insurance except in a very few rare situations (which are sufficiently unusual that I can't remember them). The people who praise whole life are connected with the...
by nisiprius
Fri Aug 26, 2016 4:55 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Are Index Funds Eating the World?"
Replies: 31
Views: 2501

Re: "Are Index Funds Eating the World?"

"...you need a deep market of active investors willing to take a view on the valuation of the company..." Right. And how many investors are there who can do that... competently ? There are 90 million people who own mutual funds. Let's suppose that 90% of them index. Don't you think 9 milli...
by nisiprius
Fri Aug 26, 2016 4:03 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: spreadsheet [to organize a portfolio]
Replies: 23
Views: 1895

Re: spreadsheet [to organize a portfolio]

I've used whatever was the current or almost-current version of Excel for the Mac since maybe about 1988. Excel in my opinion is quite good--not great, but good--despite it being from Microsoft. LibreOffice--well, I worked for a Unix-centric company for four years which started out with OpenOffice a...
by nisiprius
Fri Aug 26, 2016 2:20 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Do passive investors need active investors to survive?
Replies: 14
Views: 2117

Re: Do passive investors need active investors to survive?

Put another way, if more and more people see the advantages to passive investing will the advantages start to diminish? There's no reason for them to diminish. The advantages that diminish are the advantages that allow one group of investors to profit at the expense of another. Simple arithmetic sa...
by nisiprius
Fri Aug 26, 2016 11:24 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Passive vs Active Investing
Replies: 17
Views: 1164

Re: Passive vs Active Investing

I often find myself debating passive index investing vs active investing with some colleagues. They argue that active investing will come back and that all things revert to the mean. They are referring to active mutual funds and active hedge funds. I argue that investors in general have gotten smar...
by nisiprius
Fri Aug 26, 2016 11:02 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: SBBI Historical Bond Returns: are they inadequate?
Replies: 28
Views: 1039

Re: SBBI Historical Bond Returns: are they inadequate?

An important point. I think a terminology issue results in a lot of confusion, argument, and IMHO sometimes-willful-misrepresentation of "the risks of bonds." The Treasury calls its fixed-income securities by three different names , "bills," "notes," and "bonds&quo...
by nisiprius
Fri Aug 26, 2016 7:52 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Timing the Stock Market...lol
Replies: 25
Views: 2450

Re: Timing the Stock Market...lol

The other obvious point that can be made is that "what everybody knows is not worth knowing." Everyone knows when the election is and everyone is following the twists and turns and avidly discussing every conceivable possibility (and impossibility). With regard to the effect on the market,...
by nisiprius
Fri Aug 26, 2016 7:42 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Timing the Stock Market...lol
Replies: 25
Views: 2450

Re: Timing the Stock Market...lol

At any rate, from 1940 through 1960, every President elected in a year ending in zero died in office . That's seven in a row. Fortunately for our Presidents, but unfortunately for our belief in chance patterns, it hasn't happened again. I love stuff like that, especially while waiting for the rest ...
by nisiprius
Thu Aug 25, 2016 10:13 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard discouraging investing with Prime MM
Replies: 10
Views: 1905

Re: Vanguard discouraging investing with Prime MM

The new regulation is probably a good thing. Money market mutual funds have been in a strange situation all along. They are providing something that looks and feels just like a high-interest-rate checking account, but are not subject to bank regulation and (currently) aren't backed by FDIC insurance...
by nisiprius
Thu Aug 25, 2016 8:53 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: SBBI Historical Bond Returns: are they inadequate?
Replies: 28
Views: 1039

Re: SBBI Historical Bond Returns: are they inadequate?

Interesting. I'm not too surprised as I remember trying to worry through their description of the data series myself. Eventually I just shrugged and said "Everybody uses it, it must be the right thing to use." I've played around enough to be fairly sure that the behavior of the SBBI series...
by nisiprius
Thu Aug 25, 2016 4:19 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Timing the Stock Market...lol
Replies: 25
Views: 2450

Re: Timing the Stock Market...lol

Because elections only happen once every four years, they present a good opportunity to look at a small enough number of data points that you can get chance coincidences that look amazing but are just pure luck. To give one example that doesn't have anything to do with finance, consider an effect th...
by nisiprius
Thu Aug 25, 2016 4:06 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Timing the Stock Market...lol
Replies: 25
Views: 2450

Re: Timing the Stock Market...lol

DaftInvestor wrote:With every election everyone thinks there will be some major change - but there never has been.
Here's a recent article (there are many others):
http://time.com/money/page/2016-preside ... -finances/
That's a good article, thanks for pointing it out.
by nisiprius
Thu Aug 25, 2016 2:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Extension cord's amp and tools
Replies: 25
Views: 1481

Re: Extension cord's amp and tools

It melted inside the 3 holes and was bad enough where I had difficulty unplugging the trimmer. Once it was unplugged, the 2 prongs of the trimmer were covered with some plastic/rubber. I don't know much about electricity and don't feel comfortable playing with damaged cord. A 50 ft with 12 gauge is...
by nisiprius
Thu Aug 25, 2016 1:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Extension cord's amp and tools
Replies: 25
Views: 1481

Re: Extension cord's amp and tools

By the way, how does the outlet look? Another thing that can happen is that the contacts on the outlet or the plug become loose, oxidized, dirty, or all of the above, and arcing happens inside the outlet . On the whole, given the relative pricing of 16-gauge and 12-gauge extension cords, I think you...
by nisiprius
Thu Aug 25, 2016 1:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Extension cord's amp and tools
Replies: 25
Views: 1481

Re: Extension cord's amp and tools

You should be able to trust whatever ratings are printed on the package. 4.2 amps is a pretty light load. If it says it will handle 10 amps then 4.2 amps should be fine. I think something must have happened to damage something inside the cord. My personal guess is that flexing near the plug might ha...
by nisiprius
Thu Aug 25, 2016 10:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Office Chair
Replies: 31
Views: 2077

Re: Office Chair

About five years ago I bought a $130 Staples-house-brand chair at Staples that has four adjustments: back height, seat height, seat angle, and back angle. The back is full height (not just a narrow little support) and made of taut mesh. I haven't had any back problems since then. I'm not saying it's...
by nisiprius
Thu Aug 25, 2016 10:03 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Decisionmaker asking if we're in correct investment lineup
Replies: 12
Views: 960

Re: Decisionmaker asking if we're in correct investment lineup

My main piece of advice is to phrase it in terms of choice. Say there are some employees who want to use low-cost index funds and are not being given that choice. They might be right, they might be wrong, but it's what they want. You might also point out that 0.72% for an S&P 500 index fund is j...
by nisiprius
Thu Aug 25, 2016 9:58 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Decisionmaker asking if we're in correct investment lineup
Replies: 12
Views: 960

Re: Decisionmaker asking if we're in correct investment lineup

1) The CEO might well be the right person... if he uses the 401(k) himself. 2) An 0.72% expense ratio isn't trivial. The important thing is to look at the expense ratio, not as a seemingly-negligible percentage of the total, but as a not-at-all-negligible percentage of your expected growth each year...
by nisiprius
Wed Aug 24, 2016 5:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Aug. 2017 US total eclipse hotel reservations.
Replies: 39
Views: 3089

Re: Aug. 2017 US total eclipse hotel reservations.

I'm no astronomer, but I feel like we have eclipses all the time. What's so special about this one? And what's so special about Nashville? Solar eclipses, even total solar eclipses are fairly common, but the path of totality is narrow, no more than about 100 miles wide. So when an eclipse occurs, o...
by nisiprius
Wed Aug 24, 2016 3:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Help explain: bond prices and interest rate link
Replies: 23
Views: 1527

Re: Help explain: bond prices and interest rate link

Say I buy a ten-year bond for $1,000 with a 2% interest rate. It will pay me $10 every six months and then your $1,000 back in 2026. Now it is 2021. Suppose interest rates have risen, to the point where people can buy five year bonds that pay 3% interest. I want to sell my bond to you. You know you ...
by nisiprius
Wed Aug 24, 2016 12:53 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why Does Wealthfront Allocate So Much To Emerging Markets?
Replies: 9
Views: 1203

Re: Why Does Wealthfront Allocate So Much To Emerging Markets?

Burton Malkiel has been an emerging markets fan. For example, in the 2013 update of The Elements of Investing , which is supposed to be aimed at novices, Malkiel and Ellis withdrew their recommendation for Total Bond and suggested a "surrogate bond portfolio" for the "age of financial...
by nisiprius
Wed Aug 24, 2016 10:05 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Diversification
Replies: 8
Views: 730

Re: Diversification

The correlation between U.S. stocks and international stocks, from 1972 to 2015, according to Portfolio Visualizer (which accords well with other sources), has been 0.66. Nisiprius, some more info please. I am not familiar with portfolio visualizer. It's well worth becoming familiar with it. There ...
by nisiprius
Wed Aug 24, 2016 7:34 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: TIPS ladder - Have experience?
Replies: 11
Views: 873

Re: TIPS ladder - Have experience?

As to how I bought them: for years I bought them at auction by filling out purchase forms and mailing them with a check to Treasury Direct. Then for several years I bought them through Vanguard Brokerage Services despite the fact I was buying them into an IRA, could only buy $2000 or $3000 worth... ...
by nisiprius
Wed Aug 24, 2016 7:10 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: TIPS ladder - Have experience?
Replies: 11
Views: 873

Re: TIPS ladder - Have experience?

I bought my first TIPS in 1998 about a year after they were first issued. I bought individual TIPS, with the intention of hold them to maturity, from 1998 through 2014. I have to say that they were never a well-structured ladder, although back around 2009 or so I started cleaning up the collection a...
by nisiprius
Tue Aug 23, 2016 9:12 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Approximating VTSMX
Replies: 11
Views: 770

Re: Approximating VTSMX

I have thought about going 80/20 as you suggest. However the Vanguard Institutional Index isnt exactly the S&P 500. Its the 500 largest companies in the US. I realize that this may be splitting hairs but I want to think through this allocation once and set it in motion going forward. You sure? ...
by nisiprius
Tue Aug 23, 2016 6:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Eyeglasses Problem - how to fix? Any Opticians Out There?
Replies: 24
Views: 1959

Re: Eyeglasses Problem - how to fix? Any Opticians Out There?

Where I live it is extremely common for unified office space to be shared by an optician and an "independent" optometrist, and indeed I think they truly are separate businesses... It is still useful in a situation like that because the optometrist is on the premises and it should be pretty...
by nisiprius
Tue Aug 23, 2016 3:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Gold in what form?
Replies: 38
Views: 5948

Re: Gold in what form?

... Tulving filed for bankruptcy and had all kinds of problems... What was the experience for Tulving's customers? I started to ask some questions about whether it was like the failure of an FDIC-insured bank (not even inconvenience for depositors), like Reserve Primary (people eventually got over ...
by nisiprius
Tue Aug 23, 2016 3:02 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Diversification
Replies: 8
Views: 730

Re: Diversification

There are lots of numbers there, but the one they don't give you is how much additional diversification, by any measure, international stocks give you. The correlation between U.S. stocks and international stocks, from 1972 to 2015, according to Portfolio Visualizer (which accords well with other so...
by nisiprius
Tue Aug 23, 2016 12:27 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Approximating VTSMX
Replies: 11
Views: 770

Re: Approximating VTSMX

The S&P 500 is an index of the stocks of "leading companies in leading industries," chosen by an S&P committee. It is not a systematic sample of the 500 largest companies, and although it is mostly large-caps, about 12% of it is mid-caps. The market itself is only 19% mid-caps, hen...
by nisiprius
Tue Aug 23, 2016 11:02 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Long wait on Vanguard Phone Lines-What's going on?
Replies: 52
Views: 5064

Re: Long wait on Vanguard Phone Lines-What's going on?

I've often been disappointed by the responses to "secure email" from my account. I'd hoped that being in writing, and with time to respond, the responses to difficult questions would be better than I get over the phone. In my experience, they aren't. This is nothing new, it's always been t...
by nisiprius
Tue Aug 23, 2016 9:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Long wait on Vanguard Phone Lines-What's going on?
Replies: 52
Views: 5064

Re: Long wait on Vanguard Phone Lines-What's going on?

I'm not going to call Vanguard just to test, but the waiting times mentioned in this thread are, in my opinion, way too long. If they have become typical at Vanguard, that's a problem. I'm used to brokerages picking up within fractions of a minute or at most a minute or two. I'm not going to call an...
by nisiprius
Tue Aug 23, 2016 9:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Eyeglasses Problem - how to fix? Any Opticians Out There?
Replies: 24
Views: 1959

Re: Eyeglasses Problem - how to fix? Any Opticians Out There?

Usually, opticians are cheerful about re-doing glasses that don't satisfy you, and go to great lengths making new glasses, etc. I assume the cost of that is baked into the cost of the glasses. The problem here is that, as you've told the story, this particular optician sounds flaky and incompetent. ...
by nisiprius
Tue Aug 23, 2016 8:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best/safest/easiest way to send sensitive files to another person over the internet?
Replies: 40
Views: 2542

Re: Best/safest/easiest way to send sensitive files to another person over the internet?

I think "password-protected Word documents" are worth considering. You should be able to email them up to maybe 5 MB without problems, and things like small images can be included in the document. Here's my meta-advice. Sooner said than done, about as useful as "buy low, sell high,&qu...
by nisiprius
Mon Aug 22, 2016 8:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI
Replies: 1786
Views: 426897

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Still working on Eiffel's Tower, but also starting Show Boat by Edna Ferber, the more or less forgotten novel on which the musical was based. For some reason I'm on a Show Boat kick recently; it may be just because I've heard the songs so often I've gotten familiar with them, but it really seems to ...
by nisiprius
Mon Aug 22, 2016 3:15 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Seemingly Too Good To Be True Investment Opportunity: Invest or Don't?
Replies: 85
Views: 6277

Re: Seemingly Too Good To Be True Investment Opportunity: Invest or Don't?

There's a pretty good slew of web pages saying "You Can Make Money Easy At Home Just By..." doing various things, and this looks like one of them:

Image
by nisiprius
Mon Aug 22, 2016 3:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How do you view debt?
Replies: 101
Views: 5465

Re: How do you view debt?

Image
by nisiprius
Mon Aug 22, 2016 10:28 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Seemingly Too Good To Be True Investment Opportunity: Invest or Don't?
Replies: 85
Views: 6277

Re: Seemingly Too Good To Be True Investment Opportunity: Invest or Don't?

One thing you should absolutely should do is to buy something from his Amazon business for yourself (in a way that disguises your identity slightly). That's just simple due diligence. Can he execute on the simple nuts and bolts of selling something on Amazon? He probably can, but try it. Does it al...
by nisiprius
Sun Aug 21, 2016 6:37 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Seemingly Too Good To Be True Investment Opportunity: Invest or Don't?
Replies: 85
Views: 6277

Re: Seemingly Too Good To Be True Investment Opportunity: Invest or Don't?

One thing you should absolutely should do is to buy something from his Amazon business for yourself (in a way that disguises your identity slightly). That's just simple due diligence. Can he execute on the simple nuts and bolts of selling something on Amazon? He probably can, but try it. Does it all...
by nisiprius
Sun Aug 21, 2016 10:49 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Seemingly Too Good To Be True Investment Opportunity: Invest or Don't?
Replies: 85
Views: 6277

Re: Seemingly Too Good To Be True Investment Opportunity: Invest or Don't?

1) You describe it as "seemingly too good to be true." That means you yourself think it's too good to be true. Therefore, you should pass on it. 2) I have a problem with these words, "To run his business he requires a large amount of capital investment." I am not an accountant, b...
by nisiprius
Sun Aug 21, 2016 7:40 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much do you spend on coffee/tea?
Replies: 58
Views: 2518

Re: How much do you spend on coffee/tea?

... Please do not associate "Coffee Fanatic" with Starbuck. A coffee fanatic would not believe that Starbuck is good enough... Now that Starbuck's has Veranda blend, I at last can stand to drink their stuff. To my taste, I like it just as much as McDonald's and it only costs three times a...

Go to advanced search