Search found 162 matches

by Ragnoth
Thu Nov 08, 2018 11:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best LSAT course?
Replies: 20
Views: 983

Re: Best LSAT course?

to those of you who have taken the test, how many hours of studying elapsed before "you just got it", kinda like having things slow-down bullet-time style, metaphorically speaking. I remember when I was preparing for the old (1600-scale) SAT's, somewhere after memorizing a good bit of vocab and doi...
by Ragnoth
Thu Nov 08, 2018 10:12 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best LSAT course?
Replies: 20
Views: 983

Re: Best LSAT course?

The powerscore bibles are well regarded for self study, but the big thing is getting old exams and practice, practice, practice. Self-study is fine, but it takes a fair amount of self-discipline. For in-person course I used testmasters. I was working a demanding full-time job, and found that the cou...
by Ragnoth
Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Roth in a high tax bracket
Replies: 14
Views: 1495

Re: Roth in a high tax bracket

A backdoor Roth is always better than a taxable account for retirement savings. You get no tax deduction, but you can withdraw contributions tax-free, and gains tax-free if you are at least 59-1/2 and have had the Roth for five years. This is better than a taxable account, on which you either pay t...
by Ragnoth
Sat Nov 03, 2018 3:01 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How do you trade ETFs exactly like mutual funds?
Replies: 51
Views: 3296

Re: How do you trade ETFs exactly like mutual funds?

So is there a safe way of doing this with ETFs? For example, how could I sell VTI at Merrill Edge, and buy the same ammount of VTSAX at Vanguard, so that execution is 100% certain, and the price is guaranteed to be close (a few bp is tolerable, but not 1%)? If I was truly committed to this strategy...
by Ragnoth
Sat Nov 03, 2018 2:45 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: My Grandmother has 80% stocks
Replies: 39
Views: 3257

Re: My Grandmother has 80% stocks

Your Grandmother beat the game, and then some. If she has enough to live on comfortably (and has something set aside for any estate taxes), she has the luxury of thinking about passing on a legacy and taking a multi-generational perspective. It may not be something as formal as a reverse glide path-...
by Ragnoth
Sat Nov 03, 2018 9:04 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Multiple newspaper and magazine subscriptions - how much do you pay to stay informed?
Replies: 51
Views: 2353

Re: Multiple newspaper and magazine subscriptions - how much do you pay to stay informed?

We get the WSJ and NYT online.

The actual news articles are fine. I keep an eye on the op-ed section for both, but I like seeing what’s happening on both sides of the red-team blue-team divide.
by Ragnoth
Fri Nov 02, 2018 3:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Engineering school
Replies: 66
Views: 4825

Re: Engineering school

I work and studied in the Northeast (EE).

U-Michigan is one of our go-to centers for recruiting engineers, and probably has the most cache in our local market.

That said, there are a lot of good choices out there, and people from the Midwest may have a better perspective on the market overall.
by Ragnoth
Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:51 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What is an "advanced" investor?
Replies: 34
Views: 2562

Re: What is an "advanced" investor?

I would adjust the definitions down a notch. Keep in mind that the vast majority of the working public understand nothing about investing. A beginner is somebody who needs to learn the differences between stocks and bonds, the importance of fees, different types of investment accounts, and how to us...
by Ragnoth
Wed Oct 31, 2018 2:35 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Calculating ROI for PhD
Replies: 86
Views: 4743

Re: Calculating ROI for PhD

ROI on my engineering Ph.D was $0 compared to a M.S. The salaries are marginally higher on average, but you are going to lose out of 4+ prime earning years (or at a minimum, be severely underpaid). The experience was fun for me, and it opens up a lot more “interesting” job opportunities—even if they...
by Ragnoth
Mon Oct 29, 2018 1:22 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: “Vintage year effect” on college graduation year on lifetime earnings
Replies: 7
Views: 1227

Re: “Vintage year effect” on college graduation year on lifetime earnings

There’s been a lot of news chatter lately about how kids who have graduated college into the recession are delaying marriage, home purchases, etc. as they struggle to economically stabilize themselves, that will have economic ripple effects down the road. In private equity, we call it a “vintage ye...
by Ragnoth
Fri Oct 26, 2018 12:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Working in NYC: Live in NY or NJ for tax optimization?
Replies: 25
Views: 1767

Re: Working in NYC: Live in NY or NJ for tax optimization?

My understanding is you will still pay NY state tax, but can avoid the city tax (which can be a fair bit for higher incomes). Property taxes for NJ tend to be a little higher, which might come through in rents. The last time I ran the numbers, it was basically a wash—but that may no longer be the ca...
by Ragnoth
Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 50% of Cancer Patients Burn Through Their Life's Savings in Just 2 Years
Replies: 70
Views: 7864

Re: 50% of Cancer Patients Burn Through Their Life's Savings in Just 2 Years

The headline is sensational, but the costs of health care at end of life are no joking matter.

Between medical bills, extra costs of home care, and lost earnings (if you are still working), it can put an incredible dent into any amount of savings.
by Ragnoth
Sun Oct 21, 2018 2:16 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How to take advantage of student loan 401(k) rules
Replies: 3
Views: 547

Re: How to take advantage of student loan 401(k) rules

This makes it so you can get up to a 5% matching contribution into your 401k if you either (1) contribute a certain amount into your 401k or (2) pay a similar amount of money into student loans. You can only do one or the other (there is no way to get two employer matches). Really this is only going...
by Ragnoth
Thu Oct 18, 2018 1:54 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Masters Degree Advice
Replies: 25
Views: 2487

Re: Masters Degree Advice

I did a PhD in E.E., but kept in contact with people from various points in undergrad and grad school. Your experience on the job is a big driver for salary. Having an M.S. raises the ceiling, and informally I’ve seen it count for a couple extra years of experience over the B.S. (or maybe a 20k spre...
by Ragnoth
Tue Oct 16, 2018 10:11 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Last Will and Testament Question
Replies: 9
Views: 994

Re: Last Will and Testament Question

I’m not a lawyer, but my understanding is Probate can become a long court proceeding, and there are usually formalities involving notice, etc. Assets that pass through a trust can usually be transferred more easily, and are less likely to get tied up in courts. If you have substantial assets (or hou...
by Ragnoth
Tue Oct 09, 2018 2:40 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: When to buy some form of US bonds?
Replies: 6
Views: 1018

Re: When to buy some form of US bonds?

Markets are pretty efficient. Almost everything is priced in. Short term rates might fall, but that’s no guarantee long term rates take a hit at the same time. If you want to buy bonds, I would stop worrying about timing and just buy them. Unless you are sitting on some information you aren’t sharin...
by Ragnoth
Tue Oct 09, 2018 2:14 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Investing Options for Emergency Funds/Cash Needed in short term (1-2 years)
Replies: 5
Views: 664

Re: Investing Options for Emergency Funds/Cash Needed in short term (1-2 years)

After taxes you’re getting about ~1.03% yield ( 2.1*(1-.396-.113) ). That’s pretty good. You might be able to do slightly better with a muni money market fund, but not by much. VCTXX https://investor.vanguard.com/mutual-funds/profile/VCTXX Would be free from State and Federal tax and yield 1.34%, bu...
by Ragnoth
Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to tell contractor you don't plan to pay him. [Roofing]
Replies: 65
Views: 6078

Re: How to tell contractor you don't plan to pay him.

I would stand firm on the fact that the job wasn't done right, and work something out. Simply refusing to pay might invite a lien, a law suit, or worse. I don't know much about roofing or installing shingles. The first Google result pointed to an "answer" on Angie's list about handling this type of ...
by Ragnoth
Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:53 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Self Directed Accnt at BOA's Merrill Edge. Hidden Fees ?
Replies: 9
Views: 605

Re: Self Directed Accnt at BOA's Merrill Edge. Hidden Fees ?

I have a Merril Edge accout. I don’t know of any other “secret fees.” However, most people that move to Merril Edge are hoping to have a large enough balance to get free ETF/Stock trades through their preferred rewards program (I think 50k minimum). If you aren’t going well to be getting free trades...
by Ragnoth
Sat Aug 25, 2018 10:56 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Investing in a Broadway show production
Replies: 28
Views: 2456

Re: Investing in a Broadway show production

It’s not the kind of thing that you should expect to see a return on. Based on the articles listed before, even if *enough* shows turn a profit to make up for the losers, you are not in a good position to diversify the investment (e.g., by investing 25-50k across a dozen productions). I had a friend...
by Ragnoth
Fri Aug 24, 2018 4:44 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: REITs without malls?
Replies: 20
Views: 1711

Re: REITs without malls?

Thank you. Ah, that’s the link I actually might have been thinking of — where it was observed that retail REITs made up “only” 21% of the fund. Seems like a lot. Generally, I’m comfortable with the understanding I’ve gained here that the REIT exposure in Total Stock is about 3%, though the sector m...
by Ragnoth
Fri Aug 24, 2018 4:32 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Question About Health Savings Account
Replies: 5
Views: 622

Re: Question About Health Savings Account

If you have a good understanding of your healthcare expenses, this seems like it should boil down to straightforward math and a few basic considerations. (1) whether you want or need the HSA space as a savings vehicle. (2) what the value of the tax advantaged growth in the HSA is worth to you (based...
by Ragnoth
Fri Aug 24, 2018 3:47 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: REITs without malls?
Replies: 20
Views: 1711

Re: REITs without malls?

There are plenty of specialized REITS out there that focus on nursing homes, mortgage debt, sever farms, etc. I don’t know if a mutual fund that broadly has exposure to “all REITs ex shopping malls.” People that hold REITS usually want some diversification (although the level that it is actually unc...
by Ragnoth
Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:45 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: You Invest from JP Morgan [free trades offer]
Replies: 69
Views: 5138

Re: You Invest from JP Morgan

The article talks about young people and Amazon... but this is pretty clearly modeled on the Merril Edge system, except with a lower minimum balance and dishing out trades on a annual basis rather than a monthly one. If I was a new investor with ~$15k in a taxable account I would consider shifting o...
by Ragnoth
Sun Aug 19, 2018 2:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Your major and investing/finance?
Replies: 99
Views: 5163

Re: Your major and investing/finance?

BS, MS, PhD in electrical engineering. Career change into patent law afterwards, so law degree as well. The math for investing isn’t hard, and my fascination with it goes back before college. I think that being able to trust the track record of passive investing and put faith in the numbers (or just...
by Ragnoth
Thu Aug 16, 2018 2:02 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: High tax bracket - Go 100% Roth in tax advantaged?
Replies: 47
Views: 4164

Re: High tax bracket - Go 100% Roth in tax advantaged?

On a certain level, the “right” answer requires you to speculate about tax rates in the future. Times like this is makes sense to have “tax diversification”. Hedge your bets and set yourself up with the goal of having a healthy mix of both Roth and Traditional money at retirement. Many people do thi...
by Ragnoth
Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Gifting through Renting?
Replies: 11
Views: 1166

Re: Gifting through Renting?

My eldest brother is planning on paying for his kid's housing by putting himself on the lease (just him, not his kid), and paying the $2600 a month in rent (yeah, that's the San Francisco Bay Area) to avoid having to file a gift tax return, since he doesn't want to lose any of his lifetime exemptio...
by Ragnoth
Sat Aug 04, 2018 7:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Will you pay for your kids' college/graduate education?
Replies: 366
Views: 16013

Re: Will you pay for your kids' college/graduate education?

Parents paid my undergrad, and I was on my own for grad school. I anticipate doing the same for my children.
by Ragnoth
Thu Aug 02, 2018 12:40 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: ACT test - got 34, try for 36?
Replies: 61
Views: 5686

Re: ACT test - got 34, try for 36?

Ultra competitive schools rely on far more than standard scores. It’s merely a threshold indicator, the first and lowest, bar to pass before the real competition for admission begins +1. This was always my understanding. The topmost private schools want to see you crack the 98-99% percentile, but b...
by Ragnoth
Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:01 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: TD Ameritrade automatic investment
Replies: 6
Views: 975

Re: TD Ameritrade automatic investment

Please let us know how this works out.

I don’t think this is a feature for TDA, but it would be worth keeping in mind if they actually offered it.
by Ragnoth
Tue Jul 31, 2018 12:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Durable Dress Shoes for Commute
Replies: 36
Views: 2407

Re: Durable Dress Shoes for Commute

I had a similar situation. I eventually started wearing sneakers/boots during the commute (NYC public transit system). It may look a little odd to the casual observer, but the subway is full of eccentrics.
by Ragnoth
Wed Jul 25, 2018 2:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Invest in guaranteed return or stock market?
Replies: 73
Views: 3590

Re: Invest in guaranteed return or stock market?

The question is poorly posed. Liquidity, holding period, and relative size compared to your overall portfolio matter (not to mention risk tolerance). As given, it’s sort of like asking “are 300k in zero-coupon government bonds better than 300k in equities” completely devoid of context. Assuming this...
by Ragnoth
Mon Jul 23, 2018 8:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Engineers come in.
Replies: 108
Views: 8331

Re: Engineers come in.

So my question for engineers out there, are those who are "wired" for this field just suppose to be able to cruise through it like he thinks he needs to or does being confused, needing to study, and having trouble all part of the curve? I studied Electrical Engineering, B.S. through Ph.D., but I th...
by Ragnoth
Tue Jul 17, 2018 10:12 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Would you pay $120 for a 5 year dishwasher warranty?
Replies: 61
Views: 3230

Re: Would you pay $120 for a 5 year dishwasher warranty?

I don’t buy extended warranties if I can comfortably afford to replace the item. Just like any other insurance, remember that extended warranties are meant to be a money maker. On average, customers will pay more for warrantees than they would to simply buy a new device if it breaks. It’s also worth...
by Ragnoth
Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:52 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Silver ETF [How does it track the spot price?]
Replies: 17
Views: 1101

Re: Silver ETF [How does it track the spot price?]

alenart91 wrote:
Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:36 pm
All investing is speculation
“Investing” and “speculation” are terms of art. I suggest reading Benjamin Graham’s intelligent investor if you would like to understand how those terms are actually used in the investing community at large.
by Ragnoth
Tue Jul 03, 2018 4:16 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Expected returns for 80/20 stock bond for next 10 years.
Replies: 169
Views: 13526

Re: Expected returns for 80/20 stock bond for next 10 years.

If a person truly believes that the next decade was going to be 3% real, shouldnt that person should sell all of her equities and buy treasuries? You would get the same return but none of the risk. What treasury are you buying that gives a 3% real return? You would be lucky to get a nominal rate th...
by Ragnoth
Mon Jun 18, 2018 4:28 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What does it mean: Rule No. 1: Never lose money
Replies: 75
Views: 7348

Re: What does it mean: Rule No. 1: Never lose money

I always assumed it was a callback to Benjamin Graham and the intelligent investor, great influences on Buffet and value investing in general. I’m paraphrasing the example in the book (which is similar to the discussion above), but the notion was that some people might buy risky assets in hopes of b...
by Ragnoth
Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:43 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Forbes: Millennials Aren't Having Kids Heres Why That's a Problem for Baby Boomer Real Estate and Retirement
Replies: 74
Views: 7609

Re: Forbes: Millennials Aren't Having Kids Heres Why That's a Problem for Baby Boomer Real Estate and Retirement

I think there are deeper problems than Millennials not having kids. Anecdotally, I know plenty of people that would be more inclined to buy up homes in the burbs and raise a family if they thought they could afford it. Bogleheads aside, there is an enormous amount of debt (either personal or student...
by Ragnoth
Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:58 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: MD&P just purchased X / sold Y [md&pharmacist]
Replies: 198
Views: 13374

Re: MD&P just purchased X / sold Y [md&pharmacist]

So my current holdings are with returns as of 6/11/2018): This list is meaningless without the portion each holds in your portfolio. See earlier comments regarding the ability to construct an XIRR out of your initial portfolio + detailed trades. Thanks for your feedback and civil discourse, moderat...
by Ragnoth
Sun Jun 03, 2018 10:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?
Replies: 276
Views: 15335

Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

"For example, it's not unheard of for joint MD/JD's to have great success in patents or tort litigation related to medical devices or pharmaceuticals." Am I correct that this sort of success would only follow many years of BigLaw-type experience? Success is a relative term, but the people I'm think...
by Ragnoth
Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?
Replies: 276
Views: 15335

Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

I'm assuming this is more about personal fulfillment and amusement. Law schools admissions offices probably wouldn't discriminate based on your age (provided that you meet the LSAT/Academic standards and are willing to pay). The academic market for law professors is very competitive, and it's not ab...
by Ragnoth
Sat Jun 02, 2018 1:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Microsoft Edge versus Chrome
Replies: 27
Views: 1968

Re: Microsoft Edge versus Chrome

I like Chrome. It tends to load things a little faster, the interface is a little sleeker (personal preference), and it seems to have better rendering for the sites I use the most. I used to use Firefox, but it become a bit sluggish and bloated over the years. Edge is passable, but I would invest th...
by Ragnoth
Wed May 23, 2018 8:31 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Article on stock picking
Replies: 3
Views: 622

Re: Article on stock picking

There are at least a few issues here, some with the article itself and some with the underlying argument. 1) The article is fundamentally dishonest and switches measuring method in the middle. They start off the article talking about "High Quality" stocks performing better as determined by S&P ranki...
by Ragnoth
Fri May 18, 2018 1:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are high dividend stocks advantageous for the 15% tax rate?
Replies: 46
Views: 4707

Re: Are high dividend stocks advantageous for the 15% tax rate?

In theory, qualified dividends are going to be preferable to normal interest income. So if the option was qualified dividends v. a savings account (or REIT/Bond ETF), the dividends are likely the better choice tax wise. Compared to long-term capital gains (i.e., comparing high yield dividend strateg...
by Ragnoth
Sat May 12, 2018 1:43 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Lucrative careers?
Replies: 467
Views: 44751

Re: Lucrative careers?

Lawyers either make 200k+, or 40-60k, with very little in-between (feel free to google the lawyer “bimodal distribution”). It’s very lucrative to the ~10% of students who wind up at a top law school feeding into a top law firm... but the *vast* majority are looking at several hundred grand in debt w...
by Ragnoth
Fri May 11, 2018 4:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone buy carbon offsets when flying?
Replies: 111
Views: 5703

Re: Anyone buy carbon offsets when flying?

Carbon credits are a “carrot” for companies to shift to renewables. People can disagree about the value of “clean” energy, but my preference would be for companies to internalize their negative externalities directly. In any case, it’s a personal/empirical question about how much utility you get fro...
by Ragnoth
Tue May 08, 2018 1:29 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: can someone explain me AMT in dummy terms?
Replies: 15
Views: 2700

Re: can someone explain me AMT in dummy terms?

Note, I would be careful with the new tax reform in general. Many of the miscellaneous deductions (the ones where you could claim them if it was >2% of AGI) have been disallowed entirely. My recollection is margin interest should still be fully deductible (rule of thumb is things that were fully ded...
by Ragnoth
Thu May 03, 2018 12:54 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Using P/E as a Metric
Replies: 13
Views: 1192

Re: Using P/E as a Metric

P/E can be used as (1) an blunt market indicator; or (2) a blunt stock-picking tool. For speculators, it's easy to look at P/E and convince yourself you're making meaningful choices. If C is selling at a P/E of 11 and BAC at 15, people assume Citi is the better deal since its "cheaper." That said, t...
by Ragnoth
Wed Apr 11, 2018 9:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help me choose a top law school!
Replies: 65
Views: 6657

Re: Help me choose a top law school!

Congratulations on your acceptances! Considering the finances and the career goals, I would lean towards Virginia. The school is well ranked, has good job placement, and the scholarship is quite generous to boot. From an academic/prestige perspective, Chicago is slightly better. That said, the job p...
by Ragnoth
Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:43 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 0% credit card to pay off student loan?
Replies: 25
Views: 1987

Re: 0% credit card to pay off student loan?

Much appreciated any word of wisdom. I am trying to get my finances up to speed and with that is freeing myself of debt. No car payments, no credit card debt, or anything else other than mortgage and my wife's student loan. We have a balance of $22,532 with a 6.5% yearly. Payments are $352.86 month...