Search found 218 matches

by Ragnoth
Mon Dec 09, 2019 12:22 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mobility issues in a 2 story house
Replies: 73
Views: 3455

Re: Mobility issues in a 2 story house

The options are usually: chairlift and other workarounds; big remodel of first floor; or buying a new place that is designed for single-level living. A chair-lift is an easy work-around that doesn’t do much to home value and can extend the “livability” of your home. For people emotionally attached t...
by Ragnoth
Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "bogleheads" for estates ?
Replies: 32
Views: 2831

Re: "bogleheads" for estates ?

Bsteiner had some great advice and insight. Whether or not you will get a lot of value from setting up and maintaining a trust is basically a question of State and Federal law, and depends on your personal circumstances. The areas where it makes the most sense is if you have a large amount of wealth...
by Ragnoth
Thu Nov 21, 2019 4:18 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: For those who invest in Merrill Edge, what are you invested in?
Replies: 23
Views: 1564

Re: For those who invest in Merrill Edge, what are you invested in?

About 100k in random ETF’s and a few individual stocks. I used mostly vanguard ETF’s, but switched some to ishares for loss harvesting / cost basis reasons. Right now it’s mostly ITOT, BSV, IDEV, EMG. The stocks are small positions I hold for silly sentimental reasons (e.g., a few shares of Berkshir...
by Ragnoth
Mon Nov 18, 2019 4:39 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: morality, kids, tuition etc
Replies: 68
Views: 4473

Re: morality, kids, tuition etc

My three cousins grew up and went to school in California. There was a lot of pressure from their parents to keep costs down and stay near home (at least for the first two... they loosened up and were extremely well-off financially by the time the youngest was thinking about school). #1 went to a lo...
by Ragnoth
Fri Nov 15, 2019 3:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: No Kids Yet - Beneficaries - Who are yours?
Replies: 34
Views: 2734

Re: No Kids Yet - Beneficaries - Who are yours?

If one of you dies first, the other one can always change their will or just start giving away money (I know that isn’t what you are asking about, but I think it helps give perspective). Most States have laws on the books treating anything within a week or so as “simultaneous” for estate purposes—so...
by Ragnoth
Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:21 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Investing $140k in cash at 1k per week
Replies: 174
Views: 13003

Re: Investing $140k in cash at 1k per week

Even if you prefer to DCA (for whatever reason), doing it with little weekly deposits sounds like needless tedium.

Monthly deposits would be easier to track/implement, and give you basically the same effect.
by Ragnoth
Sun Nov 10, 2019 4:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What to put into Revocable Living Trust?
Replies: 8
Views: 1365

Re: What to put into Revocable Living Trust?

This is a question for a trust and estate attorney. But in general, your designated beneficiary will normally supersede instructions in a will (so if it the beneficiary is all the kids equally—that is how that money is distributed). Naming the trust as the beneficiary in lieu of your children should...
by Ragnoth
Sun Nov 10, 2019 3:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: House for Sale--How Much to Tell Potential Buyer
Replies: 35
Views: 2951

Re: House for Sale--How Much to Tell Potential Buyer

This is not a disclosure problem. The solution is to get them to stop making noise at all hours. You could lobby to change the ordinance. Alternately, this has all the makings of a common law tort suit for nuisance. It would depend on the law in your state... but anyone in your HOA with a half-decen...
by Ragnoth
Sat Nov 09, 2019 10:45 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: If you were forced to pick an alternative asset...
Replies: 107
Views: 7614

Re: If you were forced to pick an alternative asset...

The big ones are art, collectibles, and antiques. I think crypto is basically a modern day collectible—but some people might try to fluff it up into its own thing. Long term, I would put faith in art of a certain vintage. Things go in and out of fashion, but even a small investor can buy up Rembrand...
by Ragnoth
Tue Nov 05, 2019 7:44 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Are Monopolies efficient?
Replies: 10
Views: 549

Re: Are Monopolies efficient?

Monopoly control over the supply of a product causes deadweight loss and shifts the equilibrium price of a good (assuming that the monopolist is acting rationally and attempts to maximize profits). Put in other terms, if maximizing consumer and producer surplus is how you define “efficient”, monopol...
by Ragnoth
Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:05 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Leveraged reit
Replies: 6
Views: 785

Re: Leveraged reit

Mortgage REITS are already leveraged. The whole business model is based on borrowing at low interest rates (short term debt) buying mortgage debt at higher rates (long term debt) and leveraging up 5X or so to turn a 2% spread into a 10% return. That is why these are so sensitive to interest rates. I...
by Ragnoth
Sat Jun 08, 2019 3:33 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Any other notable firms besides the Big 3?
Replies: 8
Views: 1523

Re: Any other notable firms besides the Big 3?

To clarify, Merrill Edge gives you free trades if you have a certain amount in your accounts (I believe it is 30 free trades per month if you have a 50k balance, or 100 per month with a 100k balance). These can be used on stocks or ETF’s of *any* type—including vanguard ETF’s. There are other perks ...
by Ragnoth
Fri May 31, 2019 12:47 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard moving clients from mutual funds to ETFs?
Replies: 34
Views: 4402

Re: Vanguard moving clients from mutual funds to ETFs?

This might be unpopular to say— But for all intents and purposes, owning the big Vanguard ETFs is identical to owning the equivalent mutual fund. Bogle’s issue was with people day trading ETF’s, or buying into ETF’s with a snazzy name that only invests in a small number of stock (e.g., a themed NASC...
by Ragnoth
Fri May 24, 2019 2:35 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard "advisors" vs. "Self-managed" accts
Replies: 8
Views: 1027

Re: Vanguard "advisors" vs. "Self-managed" accts

We use vanguard advisors for some of the older (financially illiterate) folks in the family. They basically talk to you, figure out a risk profile, and put you in something like a 3-5 fund portfolio. There is a little flexibility that you might not get in a pure robo-fund. For example, if you really...
by Ragnoth
Wed Apr 17, 2019 3:06 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Help with best Merrill Edge bond fund or low risk qualified dividends
Replies: 6
Views: 783

Re: Help with best Merrill Edge bond fund or low risk qualified dividends

Given the size of the portfolio, I would stick to stocks and ETF’s to make use of the free trades (somebody can correct me, but I think Edge has transaction fees on mutual funds). At her low tax rate, a broad bond fund like AGG or BND would be fine. If you are worried about interest rates, BSV is th...
by Ragnoth
Wed Apr 10, 2019 9:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Add more value to undergrad application during high school
Replies: 42
Views: 2393

Re: Add more value to undergrad application during high school

Basically there are (1) grades (2) standardized tests; and (3) everything else. Your grades, AP's, and SAT/ACT scores are the bread and butter of any application. Doing well in classes and showing an interest in the material will also lend itself to getting recommendation letters when the time comes...
by Ragnoth
Tue Apr 02, 2019 1:28 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: IF we enter a financial crisis in the future, how are you going to adjust?
Replies: 57
Views: 4158

Re: IF we enter a financial crisis in the future, how are you going to adjust?

Probably buy a few less lattes.

It would be the wealth effect in action.
by Ragnoth
Sun Mar 31, 2019 4:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best enhancement for folks who work from home
Replies: 42
Views: 4689

Re: Best enhancement for folks who work from home

(1) large dual monitors; (2) nice mechanical keyboard; (3) reliable internet; (4) quality computer/chair/desk. I live in a small apartment and the neighbors can be a pain. It sounds sort of ridiculous, but I will shamelessly use noise-cancelling headphones or earplugs to drown out anything distracti...
by Ragnoth
Tue Mar 26, 2019 2:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help with law school decision
Replies: 78
Views: 6241

Re: Help with law school decision

My usual advice it to avoid law school entirely unless you are in a T-14 school, or have some special guaranteed job waiting for you. I also wouldn’t recommend paying full price unless you are in the top ~5 or so schools. Lawyering can be a brutal and thankless profession with high burnout rates—and...
by Ragnoth
Fri Mar 22, 2019 5:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Suggestions for an internet service provider that is NOT Comcast?
Replies: 15
Views: 1326

Re: Suggestions for an internet service provider that is NOT Comcast?

Your best bet would be Googling options in your area. If you are looking for high-speed Internet, it is rare for more than one or two of the major companies to service a neighborhood. Other options like Satellite or DSL are expensive, and have lower quality/speed.
by Ragnoth
Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:43 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Companies that pay dividends to their shareholders not in the form of cash, but rather in the form of additional shares
Replies: 15
Views: 1203

Re: Companies that pay dividends to their shareholders not in the form of cash, but rather in the form of additional sha

I have read that some companies do not pay dividends to their shareholders in the form of cash, but rather in the form of additional company shares. This kind of dividend generally is not taxable until the stock is sold. See, for example: https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/011215/if-i-reinves...
by Ragnoth
Sun Feb 24, 2019 6:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Return rejected by IRS (anyone seen "processing issues" from HR Block?)
Replies: 22
Views: 3914

Re: Return rejected by IRS (anyone seen "processing issues" from HR Block?)

Thanks everyone, For people asking about forms, it was pretty standard. There was a W2, standard deduction, consolidated 1099/1099R from Merrill Edge, and the usual ACA forms stating that I had insurance through work. There was a very small qualified business income deduction from REIT dividends in ...
by Ragnoth
Fri Feb 22, 2019 8:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Return rejected by IRS (anyone seen "processing issues" from HR Block?)
Replies: 22
Views: 3914

Re: Return rejected by IRS (anyone seen "processing issues" from HR Block?)

Is there a rejection code associated with the rejection? Thanks for the response. There's no code given. The full text doesn't really add much: Federal Return Issue Other Return Issue There was a processing issue with your return, and it will be corrected on or about March 10, 2019. You’ll then be ...
by Ragnoth
Fri Feb 22, 2019 8:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Return rejected by IRS (anyone seen "processing issues" from HR Block?)
Replies: 22
Views: 3914

Re: Return rejected by IRS (anyone seen "processing issues" from HR Block?)

I used HR block online to e-file last night. I got a notice that the IRS *rejected* the return. :shock: Checking on HR Block to see what went wrong, they say: There was a processing issue with your return, and it will be corrected on or about March 10, 2019. You’ll then be able to e-file your retur...
by Ragnoth
Fri Feb 22, 2019 1:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Return rejected by IRS (anyone seen "processing issues" from HR Block?)
Replies: 22
Views: 3914

Return rejected by IRS (anyone seen "processing issues" from HR Block?)

I used HR block online to e-file last night. I got a notice that the IRS *rejected* the return. :shock: Checking on HR Block to see what went wrong, they say: There was a processing issue with your return, and it will be corrected on or about March 10, 2019. You’ll then be able to e-file your return...
by Ragnoth
Wed Feb 20, 2019 12:44 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Target Date funds are hazardous to your wealth
Replies: 59
Views: 9439

Re: Target Date funds are hazardous to your wealth

Marketwatch is always suspect. The cite a single article from 2012, and extrapolate the results. The article argues: (1) reverse glidepath (20 --> 80 over 40 years) performs best (2) 50/50 allocation performs in the middle (3) glidepath (80 --> 20 over 40 years) performs worst. You can find old Bogl...
by Ragnoth
Tue Feb 19, 2019 3:29 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do we need a will/trust/etc?
Replies: 59
Views: 4149

Re: Do we need a will/trust/etc?

As a lay person, my though it that wills and trusts are good planning, and are important in case the worst happens (if it helps, you can lump it in with things like term life, health and homeowners insurance, or a large emergency fund). Trusts serve three big purposes: (1) They can be used to pass a...
by Ragnoth
Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ever heard of dentists sedating toddlers to fill baby teeth cavities?
Replies: 28
Views: 2675

Re: Ever heard of dentists sedating toddlers to fill baby teeth cavities?

Not sure about the practice, but I think having a gap in your teeth for ~years might cause other teeth to come in wonky or drift around. I remember having a cavity just left to its own devices in grade-school... but the tooth was going to be falling out and coming in again naturally pretty soon anyw...
by Ragnoth
Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ever heard of dentists sedating toddlers to fill baby teeth cavities?
Replies: 28
Views: 2675

Re: Ever heard of dentists sedating toddlers to fill baby teeth cavities?

When my sister was ~4 the dentist tried to use nitrous oxide before doing some work. My parents put up a stink (they have a strong aversion to the use of nitrous for personal reasons), and the dentist used local anesthesia instead. This was back in the 90's, and maybe standards have changed. That sa...
by Ragnoth
Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: FamilyTreeDNA Admits to Sharing Genetic Data
Replies: 53
Views: 3112

Re: FamilyTreeDNA Admits to Sharing Genetic Data

This type of thing is why I'll never do one of these tests. Who knows how your own DNA will be used against you in the future? Insurance rates, eligibility for certain benefits, biometric fraud/identity theft... January 3, 2030. "We obtained a record of your DNA from a consumer reporting agency as ...
by Ragnoth
Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: FamilyTreeDNA Admits to Sharing Genetic Data
Replies: 53
Views: 3112

Re: FamilyTreeDNA Admits to Sharing Genetic Data

Essentially all of these paid DNA testing services are using your data for some purpose or another. Ever since the Golden State killer was tracked down, people who are more “privacy minded” started sounding alarms. Nobody is suggesting killers go free—but it’s a new piece of “surveillance creep”... ...
by Ragnoth
Fri Feb 01, 2019 12:56 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: CA homes and new SALT limits
Replies: 48
Views: 5976

Re: CA homes and new SALT limits

Hello, I am wondering if any of you real estate saavy folks could help me out. Compared to prior years, under the new tax plan, at about what price range of a home will the new SALT reductions ($10,000) start to make an impact compared to prior years? My assumptions: 1. The home has a 20% down paym...
by Ragnoth
Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:41 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Fed taxes on state refund
Replies: 15
Views: 1435

Re: Fed taxes on state refund

State tax refunds are taxable only insofar their itemization resulted in a larger deduction than the standard deduction. Look for the relative worksheet. This is basically it. If you itemize, you can deduct the amount you paid in State taxes. Getting a refund means your actual State taxes were less...
by Ragnoth
Sun Jan 27, 2019 9:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Opinions on Computational Engineering Undergraduate Major
Replies: 91
Views: 3865

Re: Opinions on Computational Engineering Undergraduate Major

I did BS, MS, and Ph.D. in electrical engineering, with a heavy focus physics focus. Looking at the list of "career possibilities," this seems like a spiced up version of applied physics and mathematics, with a dash of computer engineering and aerospace engineering thrown in. New degrees pop up ever...
by Ragnoth
Fri Jan 25, 2019 12:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is Acela (Amtrak) service worth it?
Replies: 42
Views: 3754

Re: Is Acela (Amtrak) service worth it?

I take the train from NYC to Boston a few times a year. The difference in speed is pretty negligible... maybe 3.5 hours v. 4 hours on the leg I take. But you are losing most of the day regardless, especially if you factor in transit time to and from the train stations. You should check your route an...
by Ragnoth
Tue Jan 15, 2019 8:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Are You Dumping Netflix?
Replies: 218
Views: 19411

Re: Are You Dumping Netflix?

An extra $2-3 is meaningless to me, and my household gets dozens of hours of use out of the service each month.

I would probably keep it even if it was $20-30 higher.
by Ragnoth
Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:40 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Real value of NYC real estate, 1899-1999.
Replies: 52
Views: 5324

Re: Real value of NYC real estate, 1899-1999.

There are better sources out there—maybe the Bernstein book—but my recollection is that historical real estate prices tend to track inflation (or slightly better). See e.g. the following that cites Schiller: https://awealthofcommonsense.com/2013/03/real-estate-investment-performance/ Real estate sti...
by Ragnoth
Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: MMORPG games
Replies: 63
Views: 6188

Re: MMORPG games

I played WoW and was an officer in a well-regarded 3-night guild on my server (nothing excessive, but cracking the top 100 U.S.). This was for a few years in grad school ~circa WotLK and Cata. I quit raiding in MoP, but I still have an account and will pop on now and then to dust off the cobwebs and...
by Ragnoth
Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:41 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Need a little insight from STEM Bogleheads
Replies: 59
Views: 2951

Re: Need a little insight from STEM Bogleheads

In STEM fields, most legitimate Ph.D programs in the US are fully funded (e.g., tuition is covered + $30-40k stipend per year). Actually paying for a Ph.D. is a huge red flag—and smacks of either diploma mills or uncompetitive students. There are more career options in applied mathematics than theor...
by Ragnoth
Fri Jan 04, 2019 5:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Paying (paper) cash for daily transactions
Replies: 83
Views: 4203

Re: Paying (paper) cash for daily transactions

Most of the machines I’ve seen either spit out 20’s by default, or will let you choose the denominations. I suppose you could just take out $100 withdrawals several times... but I would be surprised if there wasn’t a way to control the denominations you get. Getting to the real question, I haven’t s...
by Ragnoth
Fri Dec 28, 2018 8:37 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard personal advisor service (PAS) for high net worth?
Replies: 70
Views: 8788

Re: Vanguard personal advisor service (PAS) for high net worth?

It seems like you're disappointed that the Vanguard adviser offered recommendations befitting a fiduciary. There's no reason to include individual stocks, alternatives, or preferred stocks in your portfolio. I think this is the real answer. There is little to no reason for any sufficiently high net...
by Ragnoth
Wed Dec 26, 2018 2:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Loaning appreciated shares
Replies: 3
Views: 422

Re: Loaning appreciated shares

The only way I know of to transfer your basis to a new person is to give them an outright “gift”. I’ve never heard of a person “loaning” appreciated shares and having them transferred with the old basis still in place (it would lead to abuse... everybody would “loan” shares to low income people, hav...
by Ragnoth
Tue Dec 25, 2018 4:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Testamentary Trust, Taxes, and UTMA
Replies: 14
Views: 924

Re: Testamentary Trust, Taxes, and UTMA

You should get professional help on this. I know some trusts normally pay taxes on realized gains, but also get a deduction for distributions (which are then taxable to the beneficiary at their tax rate). A well managed trust will have minimal capital gains, and to the extent that money is needed th...
by Ragnoth
Sun Dec 23, 2018 10:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Living Trust written in California, good in North Carolina?
Replies: 4
Views: 638

Re: Living Trust written in California, good in North Carolina?

A little bit of reading tells me that a Living Trust and a Will written in one state of the USA should not have major problems if the Trustor dies as a resident of a different state than where the trust was written. My wife and I have been cruising along with only wills, generated from a simple Nol...
by Ragnoth
Sun Dec 23, 2018 11:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Home purchase: how to effectively trade off location & price? (Boston area)
Replies: 57
Views: 3010

Re: Home purchase: how to effectively trade off location & price? (Boston area)

How does one most efficiently trade off location and price when buying real estate? Obviously some locations are better than others. For the Boston area examples of great locations would be: back bay of boston, cambridge, brookline, belmont, etc. These are great locations but the prices are extreme...
by Ragnoth
Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does carrying a credit card with a very high limit bother you? Say you have credit card for 50k but never spend more
Replies: 71
Views: 3798

Re: Does carrying a credit card with a very high limit bother you? Say you have credit card for 50k but never spend mor

It’s never bothered me. My credit card spending is very consistent $1-2k month to month, and is far less than my credit limit (which is probably somewhere in the ballpark of $100k between three credit cards). The few times I’ve seen fraudulent charges, they were taken off my account and I was never ...
by Ragnoth
Sat Dec 15, 2018 5:30 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Berkshire Tempting
Replies: 53
Views: 7933

Re: Berkshire Tempting

Hmmm...I don't see the benefit of BRK/B over an index i.e. SPX-like fund. In this bear market, BRK/B has got all the downsides of the price action without the benefits of a dividend that you'd would get in an spx fund/etf. This assumes you want to be purchasing equities right now. A dividend isn't ...
by Ragnoth
Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:31 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Anybody Miss the Crypto Rage on BH Forums
Replies: 96
Views: 7699

Re: Anybody Miss the Crypto Rage on BH Forums

It can be fun to speculate or to try to make a quick buck mining, but most arguments for crypto in the long-run either conflate it with "Blockchain" as a technology, or devolve into far-fetched hypotheticals about the black market and impending government collapse. The best real argument I've seen f...
by Ragnoth
Mon Dec 03, 2018 2:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help me understand "Payout Rate" for an Annuity
Replies: 58
Views: 3644

Re: Help me understand "Payout Rate" for an Annuity

For very high wealth individuals, annuities also have the benefits of deferring taxes better than a bond ladder. For simplicity, assume you are investing 500,000 at 2% and drawing down the principal over time. In year 1, you are taxed on a $10k income. The principal goes down, and in year 2 it might...