Search found 583 matches

by rjbraun
Sun May 15, 2016 2:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I go to NHL Western Conference Finals game?
Replies: 36
Views: 2501

Re: Should I go to NHL Western Conference Finals game?

Enjoy! Sounds like a good decision to go. I'm not really into professional sports but really enjoyed my first (and only, so far) professional hockey game years ago. Rangers vs the Penguins. We had great seats, and I really enjoyed watching the live action (fights too, kinda embarrassed to say :o )
by rjbraun
Sun May 08, 2016 10:10 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The End of Alchemy
Replies: 4
Views: 964

Re: The End of Alchemy

I heard Mervyn King speak, as part of his book promotion tour. I enjoyed the talk and bought his book. I even got a personally-signed copy. I've only flipped through it, though, at this point. Thanks for the nudge to actually start reading it.
by rjbraun
Wed Apr 27, 2016 11:27 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Total Bond vs Municipal Bond Funds
Replies: 54
Views: 5880

Re: Total Bond vs Municipal Bond Funds

Year-to-date through 3/31 VSBSX is up 0.89%. The CD's "return" would be something like 0.38%, is that right? Based purely on these statistics, I would think someone investing at the beginning of the year would have been better off owning VSBSX (or the equivalent in Investor Shares). On to...
by rjbraun
Wed Apr 27, 2016 10:30 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Total Bond vs Municipal Bond Funds
Replies: 54
Views: 5880

Re: Total Bond vs Municipal Bond Funds

When I look at 5-year CDs (duration is about the same as the bond funds), the rates look pretty similar to the Total Bond Fund (~2% - 2.1%). Is the argument that CDs should be used because they provide a guaranteed return? Yes. FDIC-insured--as good as a Treasury bond really. Plus if it is a direct...
by rjbraun
Mon Apr 25, 2016 5:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Capital One Spark Cash for Business credit card
Replies: 4
Views: 272

Re: Capital One Spark Cash for Business credit card

Where did you find the offer for 2% cashback on the card? The only spark business that I see with no annual fee is 1.5% cashback. To my knowledge, a card with 2% cashback, no annual fee, and no foreign transaction fee does not exist. The Cap One website shows a no fx fee, 2% cash back card with $50...
by rjbraun
Mon Apr 25, 2016 5:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Capital One Spark Cash for Business credit card
Replies: 4
Views: 272

Re: Capital One Spark Cash for Business credit card

Where did you find the offer for 2% cashback on the card? The only spark business that I see with no annual fee is 1.5% cashback. To my knowledge, a card with 2% cashback, no annual fee, and no foreign transaction fee does not exist. The Cap One website shows a no fx fee, 2% cash back card with $50...
by rjbraun
Mon Apr 25, 2016 4:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Capital One Spark Cash for Business credit card
Replies: 4
Views: 272

Capital One Spark Cash for Business credit card

I recently got approved for the Spark card and am having second thoughts. That said, I did and still do want a no foreign exchange transaction card, and the higher the cash back, the better. At 2% cash back, I would expect to use the card domestically as well. While I have played the credit card sig...
by rjbraun
Wed Apr 20, 2016 3:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: A Month in Manhattan
Replies: 87
Views: 5275

Re: A Month in Manhattan

The US Open will playing during the last two weeks of August. If you are a tennis fan, it will require advanced ticket purchase to get into the big stadiums. I got general admission ticket and walked the grounds. The Flushing Meadows Park is beautiful. Tons of great Chinese food in Queens as well. ...
by rjbraun
Tue Apr 19, 2016 9:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: A Month in Manhattan
Replies: 87
Views: 5275

Re: A Month in Manhattan

When you visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art, note that the signs at the ticket booths indicate "Suggested" admission prices. Since you may want to return several times during your month stay, there is no need to follow their suggestion of $20 per adult. Just sayin'. 2b2 Thanks 2b2 Yes $...
by rjbraun
Sat Apr 09, 2016 8:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Would you take a part time job for discounted travel?
Replies: 17
Views: 1311

Re: Would you take a part time job for discounted travel?

I'm ready to retire with more than I can spend. Assuming your statement above means that you have more than you can reasonably expect to to ever spend, what would you do with the extra money the new job would offer? Do you have charities you would like to support or have other plans for a legacy yo...
by rjbraun
Thu Apr 07, 2016 9:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dallas suburbs or Northern Virginia for me?
Replies: 87
Views: 5743

Re: Dallas suburbs or Northern Virginia for me?

I realize OP did not mention Fairfax County as a possibility, but a reference to Fairfax came up in another post, so I figured that I would share a link to a recent Washington Post article. As someone pretty familiar with nearby Montgomery County, MD, I found the article of interest. https://www.was...
by rjbraun
Tue Mar 22, 2016 2:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hotels in NYC?
Replies: 20
Views: 1648

Re: Hotels in NYC?

There are some interesting hotel recommendations in this prior post, at least some of which may be relevant to your situation: https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=177895&p=2692729#p2692729 TripAdvisor.com (TA) has information on airport transfers. With three passengers, it ...
by rjbraun
Mon Mar 07, 2016 12:21 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cities good for living abroad?
Replies: 110
Views: 10002

Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Rome. Incredible architecture, ancient sites galore, many museums and palazzi. Not the best food in Italy but still good, in addition to plenty of wine to choose from. A good city for walking -- and very walkable as well
by rjbraun
Fri Feb 19, 2016 7:10 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Certificate of deposit vs. short-term bond fund
Replies: 30
Views: 3041

Re: Certificate of deposit vs. short-term bond fund

Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:It's a mistake to think the FDIC has to cover every dollar of every insured deposit out of its fund, because bank assets aren't all-or-nothing propositions.

I'm not suggesting there is zero risk. I am suggesting a more nuanced view.

PJW

Interesting. Thank you.
by rjbraun
Thu Feb 18, 2016 10:48 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Certificate of deposit vs. short-term bond fund
Replies: 30
Views: 3041

Re: Certificate of deposit vs. short-term bond fund

Thanks to all for the helpful feedback -- especially, Kevin ... still mulling over some of your comments and working on reading your later blog posts. Since CDs look so darn attractive, at least relative to short-term treasuries, does the FDIC actually have the funds to cover depsosit losses in the ...
by rjbraun
Wed Feb 17, 2016 5:25 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Certificate of deposit vs. short-term bond fund
Replies: 30
Views: 3041

Re: Certificate of deposit vs. short-term bond fund

Duration rule of thumb as point of insensitivity to rate change says that you will earn about 2% over the next five years given a single rate change at the beginning of the holding period, so with the bump up to 3%, you will earn about 2% annualized assuming no further rate changes. I don't follow ...
by rjbraun
Wed Feb 17, 2016 3:19 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Certificate of deposit vs. short-term bond fund
Replies: 30
Views: 3041

Re: Certificate of deposit vs. short-term bond fund

A couple years ago I got spooked when the Fed started talking about bond fund liquidity concerns, and possibly implementing fees or measures that could slow down withdrawals in a crisis. I might have over reacted, but the talking about it was enough to get me out of a bond fund and I'm now using se...
by rjbraun
Wed Feb 17, 2016 3:19 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Certificate of deposit vs. short-term bond fund
Replies: 30
Views: 3041

Re: Certificate of deposit vs. short-term bond fund

Kevin M wrote:You might want to take a look at this: CD 5-Year Report Card - Bogleheads.org.

Kevin

Thank you, I will. It looks as if your posts will cover a lot of the issues I'm trying to work through!
by rjbraun
Wed Feb 17, 2016 3:14 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Certificate of deposit vs. short-term bond fund
Replies: 30
Views: 3041

Re: Certificate of deposit vs. short-term bond fund

I'm evaluating buying a CD vs. a short-term bond fund, such as the Vanguard Short-term Bond Index (VBIRX). Based on a quick search Capital One (among others) seems to offer a 2-year CD with annual percentage yield of 1.5%. The SEC yield on VBIRX is quoted as 1.3%. Yes, this is a competitive 2-year ...
by rjbraun
Wed Feb 17, 2016 2:51 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Certificate of deposit vs. short-term bond fund
Replies: 30
Views: 3041

Re: Certificate of deposit vs. short-term bond fund

A couple years ago I got spooked when the Fed started talking about bond fund liquidity concerns, and possibly implementing fees or measures that could slow down withdrawals in a crisis. I might have over reacted, but the talking about it was enough to get me out of a bond fund and I'm now using se...
by rjbraun
Wed Feb 17, 2016 7:04 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Certificate of deposit vs. short-term bond fund
Replies: 30
Views: 3041

Re: Certificate of deposit vs. short-term bond fund

goingup wrote:It would be easier to offer recommendations if you explained if you're seeking safety, highest return or accessibility.

Highest return
by rjbraun
Tue Feb 16, 2016 2:00 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Certificate of deposit vs. short-term bond fund
Replies: 30
Views: 3041

Certificate of deposit vs. short-term bond fund

I'm evaluating buying a CD vs. a short-term bond fund, such as the Vanguard Short-term Bond Index (VBIRX). Based on a quick search Capital One (among others) seems to offer a 2-year CD with annual percentage yield of 1.5%. The SEC yield on VBIRX is quoted as 1.3%. Let's say the investment would be $...
by rjbraun
Thu Feb 04, 2016 2:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Airllne carry on luggage size: recommendations?
Replies: 24
Views: 2103

Re: Airllne carry on luggage size: recommendations?

+1 for traveling light While our carry-on baggage didn't get weighed on departure from the States (at least, not that I recall), our bags absolutely got weighed carefully on the return leg, both times in Italy. Once, flying from Milan, on Emirates, and more recently from Rome, on Alitalia. At 8 kg -...
by rjbraun
Mon Feb 01, 2016 1:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Foreign language study: languages-direct.com / Tutto Italiano
Replies: 1
Views: 223

Foreign language study: languages-direct.com / Tutto Italiano

I don't recall any reference to the website below in past posts on learning a foreign language. I thought I would pass it along, to solicit possible feedback as well as a potential resource to others. http://www.languages-direct.com/ In particular, I have heard very positive reviews by two people I ...
by rjbraun
Mon Jan 11, 2016 7:49 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Portfolio allocation for elderly individual with daily and all foreseeable expenses covered
Replies: 12
Views: 653

Re: Portfolio allocation for elderly individual with daily and all foreseeable expenses covered

I have to disagree. While the elderly couple may have sufficient income to cover their ordinary and routine living expenses there still exists the possibility of high personal care expenses should a nursing home care scenario arise for either (or both). I personally don't think anyone has the right...
by rjbraun
Mon Jan 11, 2016 7:41 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Portfolio allocation for elderly individual with daily and all foreseeable expenses covered
Replies: 12
Views: 653

Re: Portfolio allocation for elderly individual with daily and all foreseeable expenses covered

I would avoid aggressive portfolios. Also, keep in mind that when one dies it can change the equation in many ways: 1. Social Security - e.g. if they both collect than only the higher income will continue. 2. Pensions - usually in the past the pension was cut in half for the surviving spouse 3. Tax...
by rjbraun
Mon Jan 11, 2016 5:53 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Portfolio allocation for elderly individual with daily and all foreseeable expenses covered
Replies: 12
Views: 653

Re: Portfolio allocation for elderly individual with daily and all foreseeable expenses covered

I think there may be many answers to this question. To a certain extent, it depends on how the elderly person feels about it. While it is financially OK to invest what you know you will leave to heirs more aggressively than normal, if the elderly person is going to worry about it then it would be a...
by rjbraun
Mon Jan 11, 2016 5:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Prime Shipping Issues since move from UPS to USPS
Replies: 74
Views: 7187

Re: Amazon Prime Shipping Issues since move from UPS to USPS

Not sure if I follow this thread completely, but I will say that one of my more recent Amazon Prime deliveries did not reflect the careful packing, generally speaking, that I have experienced with Amazon. Rather, it was like some other mail-order places where they seem to just throw everything into ...
by rjbraun
Mon Jan 11, 2016 5:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: UC pension
Replies: 11
Views: 1156

Re: UC pension

LadyGeek wrote:Welcome! Could you please explain what "UC" is?

University of California? :confused
by rjbraun
Mon Jan 11, 2016 5:13 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Portfolio allocation for elderly individual with daily and all foreseeable expenses covered
Replies: 12
Views: 653

Portfolio allocation for elderly individual with daily and all foreseeable expenses covered

I assume that this issue is common enough, but I guess I'm not clever enough at the moment to figure out the answer on my own. So, for an elderly couple in their 90s in relatively good health, with good health insurance and all of their routine living expenses more than adequately covered by a pensi...
by rjbraun
Sat Jan 09, 2016 10:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best 2% Back VISA/MASTER Card
Replies: 51
Views: 5085

Re: Best 2% Back VISA/MASTER Card

We like the CapitolOne Spark business Visa. It does have a $59 annual fee but gives flat 2% cash (redeemable any time by check or statement credit) with no cap. It also gives extended warranty and no foreign transaction fee. I tried to get this card but had to field too many questions about my &quo...
by rjbraun
Mon Dec 28, 2015 12:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: A week in Lake Como, Italy
Replies: 10
Views: 1258

Re: A week in Lake Como, Italy

We were in Varenna (on Lake Como) this year, in July. Splendid stay and would definitely recommend (obviously, subject to one's particular interests). We stayed five nights, capping off a couple of weeks touring the Emilia-Romagna region (Bologna, Modena, Parma, Ravenna - loved it, Ferrara - disappo...
by rjbraun
Tue Dec 22, 2015 12:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming for Hyatt Hotel stays
Replies: 21
Views: 1618

Re: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming for Hyatt Hotel stays

Thank you -- good to know, but I'm not sure it makes sense for me now. I probably mis-titled this thread. What I'm really trying to determine is how to get the best value for my Chase UR points. Based on other threads, hotel rooms seem to offer the best (or very good) value, so I figured I would fo...
by rjbraun
Tue Dec 22, 2015 9:50 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming for Hyatt Hotel stays
Replies: 21
Views: 1618

Re: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming for Hyatt Hotel stays

The Hyatt strategy dovetails with the Hyatt chase credit card.it comes with free nights that more than mitigate the annual fee ($79). You get an elite status that often gets an upgraded room (suite, better view), free late checkout etc. There is also a separate booking line that is very helpful in ...
by rjbraun
Mon Dec 21, 2015 5:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming for Hyatt Hotel stays
Replies: 21
Views: 1618

Re: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming for Hyatt Hotel stays

What am I missing? Am I doing something wrong in the process of converting UR points to hotel stays? Are the 2.5 cents or even higher on redemptions that people have cited one-offs or simply upper-bound examples? I would recommend using the Hyatt website to see what properties are available and at ...
by rjbraun
Mon Dec 21, 2015 5:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming for Hyatt Hotel stays
Replies: 21
Views: 1618

Re: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming for Hyatt Hotel stays

We plan to stay at the Andaz Tokyo (Hyatt family) next year. For the dates we planned to visit, the Andaz is going for around $650+ per night after taxes. It may go down in price but probably not by much. We booked with points for 25k per night. So that is around 2.5 cents, a little bit more. Every...
by rjbraun
Mon Dec 21, 2015 3:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming for Hyatt Hotel stays
Replies: 21
Views: 1618

Re: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming for Hyatt Hotel stays

dsmil wrote:I redeem almost all of my Ultimate Rewards with Hyatt and it's worked out very well. I got 3 cents per point for a stay in Paris and 2 cents per point in Charleston, SC.

Thank you. Those are both destinations I would be happy to visit! :D

Did you book through the UR travel group or with Hyatt?
by rjbraun
Mon Dec 21, 2015 3:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming for Hyatt Hotel stays
Replies: 21
Views: 1618

Re: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming for Hyatt Hotel stays

Not sure if I'm just unlucky with my destinations or travel dates, but I'm just not finding anything even close to 2.5 cents yields or better. I'm getting at most maybe slightly over 2.0 cents and sometimes only 0.8 cents. Most stuff seems to be in the mid-1 cent range. When I called Chase UR for he...
by rjbraun
Mon Dec 21, 2015 1:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming for Hyatt Hotel stays
Replies: 21
Views: 1618

Re: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming for Hyatt Hotel stays

You have to transfer them to Hyatt. Then you book the free nights using Hyatt points NOT through the UR portal. Ah, thank you for that clarification! In that case, do I basically have to carefully tee things up beforehand? If Hyatt ends up not having the availability and terms I want (despite my be...
by rjbraun
Mon Dec 21, 2015 1:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming for Hyatt Hotel stays
Replies: 21
Views: 1618

Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming for Hyatt Hotel stays

Several posts have indicated that redeeming Chase UR points for hotel rooms, and in particular Hyatt stays, offers attractive yields on the order of 2.5 cents or higher. I'm not finding that at all when I've looked at various dates for Miami and Chicago. While I didn't do an exhaustive search, all t...
by rjbraun
Mon Dec 21, 2015 11:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Use Citi® / AAdvantage Points For Something Besides Travel?
Replies: 14
Views: 866

Re: Use Citi® / AAdvantage Points For Something Besides Travel?

I believe you can only register one credit card at a time with a given airline (but you can register multiple cards with the same carrier). So, you would register a Visa card, say Citi Visa, for AA and a MasterCard for United (or if you have a second Visa card you could register that one with Unite...
by rjbraun
Mon Dec 21, 2015 11:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Use Citi® / AAdvantage Points For Something Besides Travel?
Replies: 14
Views: 866

Re: Use Citi® / AAdvantage Points For Something Besides Travel?

To keep them from expiring just join AAdvantage dining and get a soda at one of the take out places...it'll defer expiration for another 18 months. I wouldn't cut it too close though. +1. I also employ this approach (though usually end up spending more than the cost of a soda). It's very convenient...
by rjbraun
Mon Dec 21, 2015 11:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Use Citi® / AAdvantage Points For Something Besides Travel?
Replies: 14
Views: 866

Re: Use Citi® / AAdvantage Points For Something Besides Travel?

To keep them from expiring just join AAdvantage dining and get a soda at one of the take out places...it'll defer expiration for another 18 months. I wouldn't cut it too close though. +1. I also employ this approach (though usually end up spending more than the cost of a soda). It's very convenient...
by rjbraun
Fri Dec 04, 2015 11:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best (Available)Red Wine for under $15 preferrably under $10
Replies: 106
Views: 16209

Re: Best (Available)Red Wine for under $15 preferrably under $10

Colosi Terre Siciliane Rosso - consistent, reliable and enjoyable Several years ago we could maybe find the wine for under $10 on sale, but I think it's been slightly above that price more recently. I also find a good number of nice Cotes du Rhones sell for between $10 to $15. http://buyingguide.win...
by rjbraun
Thu Dec 03, 2015 10:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option
Replies: 42
Views: 3167

Re: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option

Backpacks with removable daypacks don't carry very well and the daypacks themselves are often ill-sized. It's better just to get a backpack that is sized for what you need and then get a small, light, compressible daypack that you can put inside the backpack (most of the time) or carry on the front...
by rjbraun
Thu Dec 03, 2015 10:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option
Replies: 42
Views: 3167

Re: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option

For regular travel by air, train or bus, I use MEI Voyager which can be carried as a duffle bag or as a backpack. Depending on the duration of my travel and other things I am bringing with me, I may put my regular daypack inside MEI Voyager. Victoria Thanks, Victoria. I keep looking at the website ...
by rjbraun
Thu Dec 03, 2015 11:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option
Replies: 42
Views: 3167

Re: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option

I love this company: http://www.tombihn.com/ Thanks. I think I first heard about the company on this forum, and everyone seems to have positive reviews. I do like that they seem to offer a hip-belt option. Ugh, on closer inspection it seems that the belt is, well, just a belt; there's no padding. D...
by rjbraun
Wed Dec 02, 2015 11:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option
Replies: 42
Views: 3167

Re: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option

For regular travel by air, train or bus, I use MEI Voyager which can be carried as a duffle bag or as a backpack. Depending on the duration of my travel and other things I am bringing with me, I may put my regular daypack inside MEI Voyager. Victoria Thanks, Victoria. I keep looking at the website ...
by rjbraun
Wed Dec 02, 2015 11:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option
Replies: 42
Views: 3167

Re: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option

The problem with "convertible" backpacks is the sacrifice that is necessitated by combining what would be two separate bags. Instead of a comfortable and light-weight pack for day-use, you have a bigger pack. Instead of a simple large pack for gear hauling, you have a smaller pack meant t...
by rjbraun
Wed Dec 02, 2015 11:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option
Replies: 42
Views: 3167

Re: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option

newuser123 wrote:How about this at Ikea ?
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/40241130/

I came across this when I was shopping at Ikea last time. I am not sure about the reviews of it though.

Cute bag. It doesn't seem big enough or substantial enough for a longish trip, though.

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