Search found 334 matches

by rj49
Sun Nov 20, 2016 11:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Synchrony vs Ally
Replies: 37
Views: 3205

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: 66
Views: 7098

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: 1342

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: 44
Views: 6886

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: 3689

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: 8186

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: 3971

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: 10015

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: 3878

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: 2066

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: 5105

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: 10631

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: 1824

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: 2328

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: 14277

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: 11206

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: 14207

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: 19460

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: 3338

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: 1353

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: 9426

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: 12370

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: 3998

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: 2268

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: 7172

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: 1408

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: 18245

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: 2531

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: 6561

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: 7508

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: 4266

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: 5898

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: 184
Views: 38753

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: 8826

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: 2637

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: 2585

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...
by rj49
Sat Mar 14, 2015 2:50 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bernstein: 2% investment returns over next 20 years
Replies: 216
Views: 29480

Re: Bernstein: 2% investment returns over next 20 years

Mr Bernstein is a brilliant guy and his investment books are among the best ever written. However, his predictive ability is no better than any fund manager, ie, less than useless. Actually he doesn't really set himself up as a guru and is certainly not a perma-bear (read Grantham or Jon Hussman or...
by rj49
Fri Feb 27, 2015 8:27 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: International increase in Target Retirement & LifeStrategy
Replies: 235
Views: 32198

Re: International increase in Target Retirement & LifeStrate

For those upset with VG for not staying the course, how many of you were invested at even 30% foreign stocks in 2000, if at all? How many were invested in REITS? Small value? Ibonds when they were paying over 3% plus inflation? How many kept their stock/bond allocation static from 1999-2007, say? Th...
by rj49
Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Need Income-Wellesley & Wellington or just Wellesley
Replies: 38
Views: 8589

Re: Need Income-Wellesley & Wellington or just Wellesley

Bill Bernstein had a good quote, that more money has been lost reaching for yield than at the point of a gun. Investors in Wellesley/Wellington will find this out if and when the 40-year bull market in bonds is reversed, especially with its high proportion of longer-duration corporate bonds. Harold ...
by rj49
Thu Feb 26, 2015 2:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cell Phone in Canada
Replies: 5
Views: 706

Re: Cell Phone in Canada

For those who go crazy without internet and email, I found that one free way (other than hunting for free wifi) to get internet access throughout Canada was through an old Kindle Keyboard (3G version, not wifi). It gets free 3G internet through the experimental browser on the Kindle, which is slow a...
by rj49
Thu Feb 26, 2015 2:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Breaking up with USAA--banking alternatives welcomed
Replies: 23
Views: 4874

Re: Breaking up with USAA--banking alternatives welcomed

I keep USAA for insurance, but I don't want to get sucked into their other offerings. My problem with them was several years ago when their chairman sent out emails when some financial legislation was going through congress, urging USAA members to contact their congress members to vote the way USAA ...
by rj49
Mon Feb 23, 2015 7:23 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard Wellesley Income Fund a Buy?
Replies: 37
Views: 6089

Re: Vanguard Wellesley Income Fund a Buy?

Or you could just buy the composite indices that have beaten both Wellesley and Wellington over the past year, getting higher returns, lower costs, and lower taxes from portfolio turnover (over 108% for Wellesley for last year and 70% or so for Wellington). Wellington has lagged its benchmark over t...
by rj49
Mon Feb 23, 2015 7:11 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Withdraw TSP to Convert Traditional to Roth?
Replies: 13
Views: 1553

Re: Withdraw TSP to Convert Traditional to Roth?

Even though it may not seem like a huge deal now, maintaining access to the 'free lunch' of the TSP G fund would seem like a worthwhile advantage to keeping it open. Someday interest rates will climb, and then having G fund as an option will seem well worth it (although it's difficult to hold onto i...
by rj49
Tue Feb 17, 2015 12:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cloud based storage for tax documents
Replies: 7
Views: 871

Re: Cloud based storage for tax documents

If you're going to scan, you might also put them all on a USB thumb drive and keep them in your paper financial files (my escrow agent did that for all my real estate paperwork). I seem to remember reading that 3 years is the recommended number of back returns to keep paper copies of, but you can do...
by rj49
Mon Feb 16, 2015 10:20 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: PRIMECAP and Contrafund
Replies: 7
Views: 1061

Re: PRIMECAP and Contrafund

With Contrafund you're running into single-manager risk, especially since the current manager has been on board since 1990, so after 25 years with one fund he might choose to move on. With Primecap you have multiple managers, each responsible for sub portfolios, so there's less risk theoretically of...
by rj49
Tue Feb 03, 2015 10:01 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Are TIPS the ultimate inflation hedge?
Replies: 27
Views: 2838

Re: Are TIPS the ultimate inflation hedge?

One of the problems with TIPS is investor behavior, namely the urge to flee when you're not getting rewarded through inflation adjustments--I sold a lot of the old 3% ibonds when inflation was so low and the market was booming. Then there's the complexity, especially in taxable accounts, and figurin...
by rj49
Fri Jan 30, 2015 7:36 pm
Forum: Local Chapters and Bogleheads Community
Topic: Boglehead Fitbit group
Replies: 34
Views: 4733

Re: Boglehead Fitbit group

My Fitbit was broken for about a week. I called the customer service and they sent me a new one no questions asked. People who have one, on average, supposedly walk 43% more. Now that I have one, I believe it. I am on the site as "Robert C." You'd think the technology would be built into ...
by rj49
Fri Jan 30, 2015 7:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Good Wines
Replies: 54
Views: 5873

Re: Good Wines

You might check a site called the Reverse Wine Snob (just google to find it). He rates wines in the $10-20 category and puts out a top 10 list for Costco and Trader Joes wines. He evaluates taste, but then deducts points based on price, a nice Boglehead-ish approach.
by rj49
Wed Jan 21, 2015 1:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Closing unused credit cards - should I do it?
Replies: 16
Views: 1629

Re: Closing unused credit cards - should I do it?

The other argument for closing an unused card is the risk of identity theft and card fraud. Since a lot of stolen card numbers are resold, it could be used much later, when you might have a different address or phone number or email. I decided that sign-up bonuses aren't worth the hassles of card ro...
by rj49
Sun Jan 18, 2015 12:45 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why no cult/theory/strategy of US regional stock investing?
Replies: 21
Views: 1968

Re: Why no cult/theory/strategy of US regional stock investi

I actually tried something like this in the late 90s, when I dipped my toe into a few individual stocks through Sharebuilder. I decided to just follow Peter Lynch's advice to invest in what you know, so I had a very extreme home bias of only Seattle companies: Amazon, Starbucks, and Boeing. Actually...

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