Search found 191 matches

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: 2375

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: 2375

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: 2803

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: 2803

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: 5556

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: 1326

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: 3267

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: 3457

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: 177
Views: 11398

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: 50
Views: 4402

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: 61
Views: 4940

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: 2700

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: 3791

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: 6546

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: 385

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: 818

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: 604

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: 2801

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: 3427

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: 38
Views: 5850

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: 7231

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: 3437

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...
by Ragnoth
Sun Dec 02, 2018 11:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you get a year end bonus?
Replies: 78
Views: 5328

Re: Do you get a year end bonus?

Working in “big law,” bonuses are the norm for everyone salaried (most folks except secretaries, tech support, certain paralegals, etc.). The market rates are pretty well publicized if you know where to look, and range from 10-30% of annual salary. Also, the culture is for the associates and partner...
by Ragnoth
Fri Nov 30, 2018 3:01 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How stock is taxed when selling some&not all shares (to lock in original cost and leaving some behind as house money)
Replies: 3
Views: 378

Re: How stock is taxed when selling some&not all shares (to lock in original cost and leaving some behind as house money

If I buy 100 shares of stock at $10(Cost Basis of $1000) and if share price doubles to $20, the stock would be worth $2000. If I sell only 50 shares (leaving 50 shares behind as house money), I would get back 50 shares x $20 = $1000. Cost basis for this transaction of selling 50 shares (at $20 shar...
by Ragnoth
Sun Nov 25, 2018 3:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is this considered capital gains or income?
Replies: 27
Views: 2218

Re: Is this considered capital gains or income?

This transaction is likely going to trigger an audit—even if you do it all correctly. I would get professional advice to make sure it’s structured the best way possible. That said, it’s probably capital gains. The big options I see are: 1) You made a gift, and he made a gift back — unlikely. There i...
by Ragnoth
Thu Nov 22, 2018 12:23 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Recommendations For Easy to Manage Accounts
Replies: 6
Views: 855

Re: Recommendations For Easy to Manage Accounts

you can keep the IRA invested 60/40, but i would move it away from the advisor. you can pick LS Moderate Growth to do the same thing ^^^ This +1 (maybe 40/60 Life Strategy Conservative for this smaller pot of money.) An alternative would be to put 50k (minimum) with Vanguard PAS advisors at 0.3%/yr...
by Ragnoth
Thu Nov 22, 2018 2:47 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Recommendations For Easy to Manage Accounts
Replies: 6
Views: 855

Recommendations For Easy to Manage Accounts

My mother-in-law has asked for investment advice. She is 70, still working, has an inherited trust/IRA with ~$1M being managed with a full service broker and invested 60/40 (she doesn’t want to touch this—and hopes to just pass it on). Her work went well over the last few months, and she has $100k s...
by Ragnoth
Wed Nov 21, 2018 4:03 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Ownership in family business
Replies: 13
Views: 1543

Re: Ownership in family business

Get some legal advice. In lieu of that, I recommend making a plan and being open with all your heirs—that will prevent a lot of issues later on and let people air their grievences now, if any. The business has some value minus the employees (the price a third party would pay for the whole thing, par...
by Ragnoth
Thu Nov 08, 2018 11:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best LSAT course?
Replies: 20
Views: 1053

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: 1053

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: 1563

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: 3468

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: Personal Investments
Topic: My Grandmother has 80% stocks
Replies: 55
Views: 5756

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: 53
Views: 2760

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: 83
Views: 7183

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: 2624

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: 4939

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: 1267

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: 1894

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: 7980

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: 569

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: 2532

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: 1048

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: Personal Investments
Topic: When to buy some form of US bonds?
Replies: 6
Views: 1051

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: Personal Investments
Topic: Investing Options for Emergency Funds/Cash Needed in short term (1-2 years)
Replies: 5
Views: 716

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: 6281

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: Personal Investments
Topic: Self Directed Accnt at BOA's Merrill Edge. Hidden Fees ?
Replies: 9
Views: 641

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: Personal Investments
Topic: Investing in a Broadway show production
Replies: 28
Views: 2526

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: Personal Investments
Topic: REITs without malls?
Replies: 20
Views: 1769

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...