Search found 348 matches

by rj49
Tue Jun 27, 2017 12:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any Reason to Stay With USAA?
Replies: 15
Views: 672

Re: Any Reason to Stay With USAA?

I like their 2.5% cashback visa card, and you can redeem rewards easily for any amount, and it has no foreign exchange fee. The only requirement is a monthly direct deposit into one of their checking accounts. It's only available in certain states now. You can also get USAA insurance if you have a r...
by rj49
Sat Jun 17, 2017 8:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Metropcs iPhone SE $200
Replies: 32
Views: 1758

Re: Metropcs iPhone SE $200

The cheapest plan I've found for the most data is on Mintsim, which uses TMobile's network. The only catch is you prepay for a year of service to get the best deal, which right now is $20 a month for unlimited everything with 5GB at high speed (using a 20% off code from retailmenot.com). Their lower...
by rj49
Sat Apr 15, 2017 9:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: radio alarm clock that projects the time on the wall or ceiling
Replies: 18
Views: 1561

Re: radio alarm clock that projects the time on the wall or ceiling

I have a Sony Dream Machine. It has multiple nature sounds to fall asleep to or be woken by, the time on the wall can be adjusted based on nearness and angle of the light, or you can just tap a button on top which will illuminate the clock (two settings, bright and dim), and it has a decent radio. T...
by rj49
Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best way to expand my vocabulary?
Replies: 102
Views: 5913

Re: Best way to expand my vocabulary?

The danger of trying to interject seemingly-sophisticated vocabulary is that you'll sound foolish and seem pretentious, like the Colonel in my office who was the butt of constant jokes for his attempt to speak beyond his educational level, so it was all jargon and funny malapropisms (like saying 'at...
by rj49
Sat Feb 25, 2017 12:09 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Peer-to-peer lending as an investment?
Replies: 52
Views: 4541

Re: Peer-to-peer lending as an investment?

I'm not familiar with P2P lending as an asset class either. What are it's characteristics and how does it fit into a portfolio? It sounds like the personal debt version of junk bonds: higher expected returns along with higher default risk. What is the correlation compared to high quality fixed inco...
by rj49
Tue Feb 21, 2017 12:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cheap, Non-Traditional Cell Phone Plans
Replies: 52
Views: 5403

Re: Cheap, Non-Traditional Cell Phone Plans

I just paid for a year of service on Mintsim, which uses the T-Mobile network. With a 20% discount code, it came to $260, or a little over $20 a month. That gives me unlimited talk and text and unlimited data with 5GB at LTE. They have a 2GB plan for around $13 if prepaid for a year. No overage cost...
by rj49
Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Terrible negotiator - need help with words to use [Buying a car]
Replies: 94
Views: 7143

Re: Terrible negotiator - need help with words to use [Buying a car]

One idea is to look in your area for an auto broker, who will do the negotiating and paperwork for you, and who are experienced in handling all the tricks they will use throughout the process. I also felt more comfortable during my last car-shopping experience hanging around the showroom until I saw...
by rj49
Sat Jan 28, 2017 1:53 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Scott Burns is Signing Off -- He'll be missed
Replies: 25
Views: 6596

Re: Scott Burns is Signing Off -- He'll be missed

His best idea, I would say, is the Couch Potato portfolio, with half in U S stocks, half in bonds. I wish I 'd adopted and held that portfolio all my life, in retrospect. Unfortunately, he started fiddling with it and made many variations after the 2000 crash, and then became a DFA/slice-and-dicer a...
by rj49
Thu Jan 26, 2017 12:38 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bill Bernstein "If You Can"
Replies: 18
Views: 4886

Re: Bill Bernstein "If You Can"

There's also a free archive of his articles on his website, from 1996-2012, at:

http://www.efficientfrontier.com/ef/index.shtml
by rj49
Fri Jan 20, 2017 11:12 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommendations for radio stations
Replies: 16
Views: 1809

Re: Recommendations for radio stations

KMRE streaming online from Bellingham WA plays old radio shows, both music and comedy/drama. It's run by a radio museum, so they have a lot of archives.
http://www.kmre.org/
by rj49
Tue Jan 17, 2017 11:30 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bill Sharpe's preferred portfolio
Replies: 47
Views: 7473

Re: Bill Sharpe's preferred portfolio

Apart from his investments, Sharpe had interesting ideas years ago on how to allocate retirement funds, in 'lockboxes', a combination of a total market risk portfolio combined with a risk-free asset to be spent in each year of retirement. He said it's the optimal way to draw down funds and maximize ...
by rj49
Mon Jan 16, 2017 9:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker? (or similar)
Replies: 29
Views: 1908

Re: Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker? (or similar)

The best deals for Nespresso machines include an Aeroccino Plus frother, which is great for making lattes and cappucinos with little to no fuss, (the bundle is $130 or so on Amazon). I like the Inissia because it allows you to set a longer time for a shot, whereas some of the machines turn off after...
by rj49
Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:21 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Alaska cruise - Help me convince my family
Replies: 60
Views: 4766

Re: Alaska cruise - Help me convince my family

Having done dozens of cruises, I would never do another Alaska one, despite living close to the departure ports of Seattle and Vancouver. The waters were rough in the open sea, the towns were small and dull and overfull of cruisers on various ships there at once, you're likely to get rain and bad we...
by rj49
Wed Dec 28, 2016 3:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to get rid of your belly........
Replies: 82
Views: 10890

Re: How to get rid of your belly........

The simplest method for losing and keeping off weight is to follow the basic food rules of Michael Pollan: eat real food, not too much, mostly plants. That avoids fad/restrictive diets that aren't sustainable. "Mindless Eating" by Brian Wansink also helps with things like portion control a...
by rj49
Sun Nov 20, 2016 11:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Synchrony vs Ally
Replies: 37
Views: 5263

Re: Synchrony vs Ally

You might take a look at Discover. Their savings rate is a bit lower, at .95%, but their checking account gives 10 cents back for every transaction, whether it's a debit purchase or bill pay or check written. You can buy a 50-cent pack of gum and boast about how you get 20% back on your debit card :...
by rj49
Sun Nov 20, 2016 10:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Owning a Chromebook
Replies: 77
Views: 10825

Re: Owning a Chromebook

If you've used a Retina ipad, definitely look at HD-screen Chromebooks, they make tons of difference. It's like having a Macbook Air with a Retina display, but at a third of the price. I think mine is a Toshiba 2. The major advantage for me over a tablet is that I can use desktop sites on the web fo...
by rj49
Sun Nov 20, 2016 10:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Black Friday Deals for a new e-reader (hoping)
Replies: 13
Views: 1499

Re: Black Friday Deals for a new e-reader (hoping)

Refurbished Kindle Voyage is $119 on Amazon, the same usual price as the Paperwhite. The Barnes and Noble Nook Glowlight Plus is also on sale for $99. I have one and love it, with a classy metal back, a nice white bezel around the screen for holding comfortably, and fonts that I find more natural an...
by rj49
Sun Oct 16, 2016 11:13 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard Total World Stock Index Fund Review
Replies: 50
Views: 9716

Re: Vanguard Total World Stock Index Fund Review

Total World allows you to stop obsessing over ratio of US/international equities to hold and will rebalance them for you. That would discourage market timing, and allow you to view all the stocks in the funds as businesses you have a share in, instead of viewing them through the prism of their curre...
by rj49
Sun Oct 16, 2016 10:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Least expensive iPhone
Replies: 58
Views: 4874

Re: Least expensive iPhone

I got a refurbished iphone 6 plus from the Ringplus store, all ready to use on their service, and able to switch to any other service down the road (going with a 5 or earlier will lock you into either GSM or CDMA carriers). My cost for 6GB of data, 6000 minutes/texts was $30 upfront and zero per mon...
by rj49
Mon Aug 22, 2016 6:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What is your system for dealing with coins?
Replies: 123
Views: 9285

Re: What is your system for dealing with coins?

Use a coinstar machine, dump it all in, choose an Amazon gift certificate, so you get the full value of your money. Then reward yourself with an Amazon treat. Just keep your change jar safe if you have kids--I purchased all my Beatles albums as a kid by swiping change from my parents' Vegas change j...
by rj49
Thu Aug 04, 2016 10:37 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: No faith in stocks/bonds - Where to park cash?
Replies: 38
Views: 4376

Re: No faith in stocks/bonds - Where to park cash?

Since you're comfortable with the risks of real estate rentals, you might try something similar, with similar risks of non-payment--P2P lenders. I have investments in LendingClub and Prosper, but there are others out there now. Despite defaults, I'm still yielding over 6% in the former and 9% in the...
by rj49
Thu Jul 21, 2016 2:17 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Just got back from Europe...ready to sell my International...
Replies: 82
Views: 10629

Re: Just got back from Europe...ready to sell my International...

People are ready to dismiss Europe investing because of headlines and general impressions, but they've probably been investing in Japan, which has dominated international indices since the 1980s, when everyone thought they would rule the world economically (the same story we told ourselves about Chi...
by rj49
Fri Jul 01, 2016 11:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Safe, affordable European cities to travel?
Replies: 38
Views: 4262

Re: Safe, affordable European cities to travel?

You might consider Dublin and the rest of Ireland. The only danger is drunks stumbling along the streets, but I walked all over at night with no issues or feelings of being threatened, even though my hotel was in a run-down neighborhood. No subway, so no petty pickpocket crime to speak of, and you c...
by rj49
Sat Jun 18, 2016 11:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: I hate cell phones [battery problems]
Replies: 17
Views: 2151

Re: I hate cell phones [battery problems]

I have 3 lg stylos with great battery life, especially with the power saving features of Android 6.0. In any case you can swap out a battery or get a new one for $100. Mine are all on Ringplus, so with 10gb of data and unlimited talk/text for $0/month, buying a battery replacement would be easy.
by rj49
Sun Mar 06, 2016 7:45 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 100% US Equities argument: "We spend in Dollars"
Replies: 49
Views: 5640

Re: 100% US Equities argument: "We spend in Dollars"

"We spend in dollars" just seems rationalization for me, along with 'those backward countries don't have our sterling accounting practices', etc. Actually, for those who live anywhere near Canada, not spending in dollars can be profitable--I'm flying to Europe for $600 next month going out...
by rj49
Mon Feb 29, 2016 12:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Free Shipping Is Now $50....
Replies: 74
Views: 11100

Re: Amazon Free Shipping Is Now $50....

The people at Amazon are also capitalists, and they realize that consumers will be encouraged to buy much more if they offer 'free' quick shipping and the quick and easy shopping online (and as with Costco membership, people usually don't factor in the cost of membership into their purchases). I sus...
by rj49
Fri Feb 26, 2016 11:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Negotiating a lease on a car
Replies: 15
Views: 2126

Re: Negotiating a lease on a car

Apart from the usual junk pushed by the finance guy after you buy the car, they'll also urge to you to buy gap insurance, as well as damage insurance so you're not charged at turn-in. I researched the Toyota criteria for lease turn-in, though, so I didn't succumb to their scare tactics, and in the m...
by rj49
Fri Jan 15, 2016 10:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hand me down I-Phone..what can I do with it??
Replies: 31
Views: 2573

Re: Hand me down I-Phone..what can I do with it??

You might see if you can trade it in at Apple's official trade-in company. I saw $200 offers for the iphone 5c and others, and you could use the Apple gift card you'd get it for a pair of headphones or something else you'd use more than the phone. They'll even send you a shipping box for it. http://...
by rj49
Fri Jan 15, 2016 10:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Memory foam mattresses - any insight?
Replies: 87
Views: 16763

Re: Memory foam mattresses - any insight?

I think there's a difference between memory foam and latex mattresses. I've found that memory foam makes me sink in and get stuck like a cookie cutter, which is torture for someone who likes to turn over frequently. I bought a similar latex-top mattress on Amazon for under $200 and was quite happy, ...
by rj49
Wed Jan 06, 2016 12:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best No Annual Fees Rewards/Cash-Back Credit Cards
Replies: 87
Views: 15767

Re: Best No Annual Fees Rewards/Cash-Back Credit Cards

In order to diversify credit cards, you might look at the Target debit card, which gives 5% off purchases there, but that also includes gift cards, including Netflix, Amazon, ebay, and other places you probably routinely shop (even Southwest Airlines). I also use it to get T-Mobile refill cards for ...
by rj49
Tue Jan 05, 2016 8:26 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Are Bogleheads Buying I-Bonds 2016?
Replies: 87
Views: 17317

Re: Are Bogleheads Buying I-Bonds 2016?

I plan to buy my 2015 allotment this week. Yes, the interest rate is 0.10 plus inflation. But at least it keeps up with inflation. That's more than any other fairly liquid, safe investment makes these days. Actually Navy Federal Credit Union has 2.5% CDs now, which can be cashed in early if inflati...
by rj49
Sun Jan 03, 2016 11:43 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Are any US-only investors having 2nd thoughts?
Replies: 123
Views: 20213

Re: Are any US-only investors having 2nd thoughts?

When intl is lagging, people follow Bogle and don't talk about buying low. When it was doing well, people talk about maintaining market weights. In the 1990s when Japan was dragging down international and US stocks were skyrocketing, nobody on here talked about international or REITs or EM or value,...
by rj49
Sat Dec 19, 2015 1:17 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: When NOT to reinvest dividends/gains
Replies: 30
Views: 3604

Re: When NOT to reinvest dividends/gains

Another reason, along with retirement income, is to rebalance slowly in a taxable account, or to designate the money as a travel fund or some other purpose, especially if you have tax-deferred or Roth to provide long-term compounding and growth. Reinvesting also felt really stupid in 2000 and 2007, ...
by rj49
Sat Dec 19, 2015 1:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Discounted REI gift card?
Replies: 9
Views: 1571

Re: Discounted REI gift card?

My secret site for REI savings is ActiveJunky.com. I did a test clickthrough to REI and it didn't show any small print about gift cards not getting cashback. If it doesn't work, you can always tell the recipient that ordering online for in-store pickup will get a 6% cashback, which will add to your ...
by rj49
Wed Dec 16, 2015 1:23 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Should I follow Jack Bogle in "I don't do International"
Replies: 90
Views: 10114

Re: Should I follow Jack Bogle in "I don't do International"

Instead of endlessly fretting over whether to diversify internationally and by how much, I decided to just stick international away in a small Roth IRA where I won't care about international headlines or fears. The fund is meant as longevity insurance, to be tapped late in life if I deplete other as...
by rj49
Wed Dec 16, 2015 1:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: I would like to play the Boglehead car game too
Replies: 163
Views: 13228

Re: I would like to play the Boglehead car game too

And a new car would give you the excuse to get a vanity plate, like 'A$SMAN' for a proctologist on "Seinfeld" :D
by rj49
Wed Dec 16, 2015 1:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Coffee maker
Replies: 38
Views: 4493

Re: Coffee maker

My go-to coffee maker is the Clever Coffee Dripper. No dirty carafe, no mess, no counter clutter, ability to adjust temperature and steeping time of grounds to my liking. A large size fills a travel mug for me. You could make his and her coffee just by getting a second one. Here's a video review and...
by rj49
Mon Dec 14, 2015 5:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Solar panels purchase as an inflation indexed bond
Replies: 23
Views: 2382

Re: Solar panels purchase as an inflation indexed bond

Another thing to consider is if you move you'd lose the value of the 'bond', with the unknown impact on house sale value ( some potential buyers might be deterred by the aesthetics of solar panels on a roof). I've been looking at a different alternative--heat pumps and house insulation. My energy co...
by rj49
Sun Dec 06, 2015 3:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What is the "Honda Accord" of bicycles?
Replies: 78
Views: 7920

Re: What is the "Honda Accord" of bicycles?

If you're looking for a cheap but dependable bike, bikesdirect sells tons of bikes online and ships them to you. Then you could just take into a bike shop and ask them to build it for you, for convenience and safety. You can also test ride bikes at a local bike shop, to see what sort of frame and ti...
by rj49
Sat Dec 05, 2015 10:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Speaker for Apple products
Replies: 21
Views: 1650

Re: Speaker for Apple products

Actually you can kill two birds with one stone for under $100--I use a Vizio sound bar for my tv that also easily links bluetooth to my Apple devices for streaming music. It works fine for me, even in the lower models without a separate subwoofer (best buy has a 3-internal-speaker model now by Vizio...
by rj49
Thu Dec 03, 2015 1:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Boglehead cell phone strategy
Replies: 143
Views: 19459

Re: Boglehead cell phone strategy

I bought a used iphone 5C for $180 on ebay (swappa also sells tons of iphones), and then got a T-Mobile SIM card kit at Walmart for the $30/month plan. It gives 5GB of data, far beyond anything else for the price, but only 100 minutes of talk, and unlimited texting. If I go over my talk minutes I si...
by rj49
Wed Nov 11, 2015 4:25 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Buy Ladder CD's or wait
Replies: 22
Views: 2705

Re: Buy Ladder CD's or wait

If you want to wait until yields improve, you might look at P2P lending as a source of reasonably safe fixed income, especially with a high enough investment to diversify to get the average return of 5-9%, depending on the type of notes you invest in. I invest my fixed income in Lending Club, using ...
by rj49
Wed Nov 11, 2015 4:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: $50 Amazon Fire Tablet (Initial Impressions)
Replies: 33
Views: 7000

Re: $50 Amazon Fire Tablet (Initial Impressions)

You might also look at old Nook HD tablets, which I think I got for $50 or so on ebay. It has a sharp screen, I find it easy to hold and use (particularly for reading, with the wide bezel), and you get access to the Google Play store and all its apps, as well as not being tempted into the Amazon eco...
by rj49
Tue May 19, 2015 12:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How fast should I ride my bicycle?
Replies: 64
Views: 9163

Re: How fast should I ride my bicycle?

I second the idea of mixing up your riding. You might try a mountain bike and go for a heavier workload and not worry about speed, especially if it might get you riding in different terrains and in colder/wetter weather, or running errands or other rides that don't require special shoes or clothing....
by rj49
Thu May 14, 2015 12:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 60W eq. LED bulb deal alert...
Replies: 35
Views: 5075

Re: 60W eq. LED bulb deal alert...

You might check out your energy company as well. Puget Sound Energy offers 20 or so free LED bulbs as part of a free home energy assessment, as well as free shower attachments.
by rj49
Thu May 14, 2015 12:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I buy a lighter bicycle or lose body weight?
Replies: 53
Views: 6344

Re: Should I buy a lighter bicycle or lose body weight?

One idea might be to go in a different direction and diversify your riding with a mountain bike, which is easier to ride year-round and in bad weather, aiming towards hills and mountains could help keep weight down instead of spinning on roads on a light bike, and instead of focusing on speed and mi...
by rj49
Sat Apr 25, 2015 11:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: My New Car Buying Tips
Replies: 218
Views: 49003

Re: My New Car Buying Tips

Thanks, Great thread. You realize that this process can be applied to other major purchases that we do several times in our lifetime. The one that comes to mind is the purchase of a mattress (we seem to buy one every 10-15 years) that has been discussed several times on BH.Org. We buy a car every 5...
by rj49
Mon Apr 06, 2015 5:52 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Switching 40% of my portfolio to bonds: just can't do it.
Replies: 52
Views: 9134

Re: Switching 40% of my portfolio to bonds: just can't do it

There are other alternatives to traditional bonds and bond funds, especially if you're worried about capital losses in the case of rising interest rates. The safest way to do that would be to put in the max of $10k a year into ibonds, which will at least keep up with inflation, and taxes are deferre...
by rj49
Sun Mar 29, 2015 7:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car buying services - recommendations?
Replies: 14
Views: 2768

Re: Car buying services - recommendations?

You might try a local auto broker, especially someone with yelp or other recommendations. The advantage is that for a fee they'll do everything for you, including delivering the car to you, so the car sales vultures can't get you on a lot. They probably know local dealers better than a national chai...
by rj49
Mon Mar 23, 2015 1:04 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Military TSP and/or IRA?
Replies: 36
Views: 3418

Re: Military TSP and/or IRA?

The most important reason is to have access to the G fund. I rolled over a VG IRA into it and took a SEPP after retiring at 42, so it's like an extra ultra-safe pension for me, designed to tide me over until age 60, when I can use other retirement accounts, and then I plan to use it as a sort of ann...

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