Search found 120 matches

by Ragnoth
Wed May 23, 2018 8:31 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Article on stock picking
Replies: 3
Views: 472

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: 3649

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: 318
Views: 22506

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: 4337

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: 2448

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: 1024

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: 5921

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: 1610

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...
by Ragnoth
Wed Apr 04, 2018 2:31 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: EverBank Novel CD Product
Replies: 18
Views: 1952

Re: EverBank Novel CD Product

Since the potential "return" is based on changes in the currency rate there is no guarantee of any "interest" whatsoever. TIAA is currently offering 3-year CDs with a 2.5% interest rate. Over three years, this adds up to 7.7%. This "novel CD product" is just a structured product that charges 7.7% f...
by Ragnoth
Wed Apr 04, 2018 1:25 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is Lockheed Martin about to become the biggest company in history?
Replies: 66
Views: 6631

Re: Is Lockheed Martin about to become the biggest company in history?

I work in patent law, and did doctoral research in plasma physics (with experience in national laboratories doing fusion research). The connection between “patentable” and “commercially viable” is tenuous at best. Moreover, what they have is a published patent application, not a patent. To be clear,...
by Ragnoth
Fri Mar 30, 2018 3:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When did you know your kids would go to college?
Replies: 91
Views: 4323

Re: When did you know your kids would go to college?

Much like fiscal responsibility and attitudes towards money, I think a big part of it is the priorities and culture that you instill in your children. I come from a close knit family where college is the default. Even from a young age, everybody always discusses “when” and “where” you will go to col...
by Ragnoth
Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a new wardrobe tomorrow | Indochino or other options?
Replies: 9
Views: 1445

Re: Buying a new wardrobe tomorrow | Indochino or other options?

I live in NYC. I used the Indochino shop to get a suit a couple years back. The end result was misshapen and clingy in all the wrong ways. Some people like it... but the tailor was inexperienced at best, the process took forever (lots of shipping and manufacturing time), and the overall quality was ...
by Ragnoth
Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:44 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Structured Products
Replies: 52
Views: 2556

Re: Structured Products

I wouldn't recommend the structured product, or using options to replicate it; however, I am interested in the theory behind the product. Wouldn't this be similar to buying 3 calls (strike price of the calls would be close to the current value of the index), selling 1 put (strike price of the put w...
by Ragnoth
Thu Mar 08, 2018 1:17 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Inherited Commercial Property
Replies: 26
Views: 1771

Re: Inherited Commercial Property

According to past tax assessments, the property was worth about $350 when my dad passed away, so if I sold around 500,000 or so I would have to pay capital gains tax on what's left after paying 6% to an agent and other fees. Owning property can diversify a portfolio and be a good money-maker, but i...
by Ragnoth
Sun Mar 04, 2018 3:39 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Best way to short the equity market
Replies: 93
Views: 5226

Re: Best way to short the equity market

Please don’t try to time the market. But if you must, buy year long puts (leaps) on SPY or other heavily traded index fund ETFs. Go deep in the money, and the payout starts to look enough like short selling for most people’s needs. I usually find options superior to inverse ETFs, and it gets you aro...
by Ragnoth
Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:51 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I bite the bullet and invest in this market?
Replies: 86
Views: 9540

Re: Should I bite the bullet and invest in this market?

If you are nervous about investing all your money at once, you should try to dollar-cost average into the market (spread over the next year or two). Set some benchmarks ahead of time. For example, plan to invest 25% of the remaining money every quarter, and get yourself into the market over the cour...
by Ragnoth
Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:05 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Need $100,000 in 20 years. Help!
Replies: 52
Views: 5832

Re: Need $100,000 in 20 years. Help!

I’m currently maxing out a Vanguard Roth at $5500/year, putting $4900/year into Valic 403b (including company match), $1800/year to HSA, and $3600/year ($300/month) into the BALCX fund managed by Northwestern Mutual. If this is true, you’re going to be fine. You are getting a lot of advice. But rea...
by Ragnoth
Thu Feb 22, 2018 9:20 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Terminology question: what does "losing money" mean?
Replies: 71
Views: 3153

Re: Terminology question: what does "losing money" mean?

I think 2 and 3 are fine. Talking informally with friends, I’d probably use #2. If I was trying to sound formal or academic, I’d probably go with somelike like “real returns were negative” (which sounds closer to #3). It’s a little contextual as well... for some reason #2 feels like the kind of thin...
by Ragnoth
Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:05 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Bonus contribution to 401k
Replies: 9
Views: 765

Re: Bonus contribution to 401k

Bonuses get taxed pretty hard more than a regular paycheck so I would opt for as much as I can since it's tax deferred. +1 on this. Under IRS rules , the employer can either (a) aggregate the bonus with your regular wage and use the calculation normally used to calculate withholding (which takes W-...
by Ragnoth
Mon Jan 22, 2018 3:50 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The regular investor can now trade the stock market 24 hours a day with TD Ameritrade
Replies: 48
Views: 3315

Re: The regular investor can now trade the stock market 24 hours a day with TD Ameritrade

TDA has allowed extended hours trading for years and years. In my personal experience, the volume after-hours drops substantially and you see a pretty noticeable spike in the bid-ask spreads (even on otherwise high-volume securities). I don't think allowing 24/7 trading will substantially increase t...
by Ragnoth
Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Legal to pay yourself to earn credit card bonuses?
Replies: 25
Views: 2720

Re: Legal to pay yourself to earn credit card bonuses?

I have some experience with accepting credit cards via PayPal (granted, this was a couple years ago). At the time, they required you to have a business account in order to receive credit card payments. Once you crossed a certain amount in revenue, they would sent out a 1099-Misc (or equivalent) and ...
by Ragnoth
Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:00 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Nice write up in the NY Times about the transformative powers of blockchain on societal interactions
Replies: 24
Views: 2820

Re: Nice write up in the NY Times about the transformative powers of blockchain on societal interactions

Blockchain has always been an interesting bit of technology, and some companies may find interesting ways of using it to produce value. I don’t think that’s the case for the vast majority of ICO’s and the newly founded companies being bandied about... but it doesn’t mean it can’t happen. It will be ...
by Ragnoth
Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?
Replies: 65
Views: 5700

Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

I’m not a big proponent of the “go bag.” Largely for the reasons you laid out in your original post. Where I live there is quite a bit of warning before most disaster events (storms, floods, etc.). We always have toiletries/batteries/first aid/flashlights and more than enough shelf-stable food hangi...
by Ragnoth
Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:37 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Are ETFs Really That Safe?
Replies: 26
Views: 2488

Re: Are ETFs Really That Safe?

Although Bogle has said a lot of negative things about ETFs over the years, it's mostly a response to the proliferation of high-fee garbage funds trying to lure in speculators. For people tempted to day-trade a NASCAR themed "index fund" (or a Nicaraguan-Hedged-Value fund, or a Things-Mentioned-On-T...
by Ragnoth
Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:32 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: ROTH IRA question - Income > 186,000 and < $196,000
Replies: 8
Views: 716

Re: ROTH IRA question - Income > 186,000 and < $196,000

You could do it that way but it is cumbersome. Instead, You can just ignore the partial Roth contribution and do a 100% backdoor Roth. Contribute the 5500 each to the traditional Ira, then convert it to a Roth the next day, here is a tutorial. https://www.whitecoatinvestor.com/backdoor-roth-ira-tut...
by Ragnoth
Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:40 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Margin Accounts
Replies: 5
Views: 422

Re: Margin Accounts

You aren't likely to get much sympathy or actionable advice. This forum is dedicated to investing, not speculating. If you feel uncomfortable with your positions, I suggest you cease trading on margin and adopt a long-term asset allocation that lets you sleep at night. It's by far the cheapest way t...
by Ragnoth
Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:19 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Lower tax rates for 7 yrs.-Are you switching to Roth 401K
Replies: 65
Views: 6109

Re: Lower tax rates for 7 yrs.-Are you switching to Roth 401K

The future is unknown, both in terms of tax rates and future income needs. People usually frame the Roth vs. Traditional debate as "all-or-nothing," but a little tax diversification is a smart way to hedge your bets. For most people, this comes in the form of a traditional 401k + Roth IRA. For peopl...
by Ragnoth
Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:25 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Roth help - income limit
Replies: 13
Views: 1034

Re: Roth help - income limit

Thanks for the responses, much appreciated. So I can open a Traditional IRA with say Vanguard, fund it with post tax $ and then roll that money into my Roth at Vanguard? If so, can I transfer that money from Traditional to Roth a few different times during the year? And doing this avoids the Roth i...
by Ragnoth
Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:17 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Roth help - income limit
Replies: 13
Views: 1034

Re: Roth help - income limit

You are correct that there is an limit to direct contribution to a Roth Account. However, you can contribute to a traditional IRA account (e.g., at Fidelity or Vanguard). Then, a day or two later, roll over that money into a Roth Account. That is, contribute to an IRA account, then follow-up with a...
by Ragnoth
Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:37 pm
Forum: Forum Issues and Administration
Topic: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.
Replies: 175
Views: 10902

Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Most milestone threads I've seen amount to little more than humble-bragging. Some of them have value as "inspiring testimonials," although I find it more interesting to hear from people who turned their finances around (e.g., by managing a windfall or moving away from high-fee brokers), or people ea...
by Ragnoth
Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sling TV experiences
Replies: 33
Views: 3054

Re: Sling TV experiences

I've had experience with Sling and DirecTV Now. The selection of channels is pretty minimal on both, but it works for what we need. You don't get all of the local channels with Sling, but you can look at the packages and see the trade-offs. Both services are pretty mediocre when it comes to "live" c...
by Ragnoth
Thu Dec 28, 2017 1:53 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: when S&P sectors are recharacterized
Replies: 2
Views: 233

Re: when S&P sectors are recharacterized

Almost nothing of interest happens. You still hold $100 in each fund, and you are still diversified along similar sector lines. The underlying assets in funds change over time (it's not just a Google and Facebook issue). On the fringes, it might mean you have more/less allocation to a given company,...
by Ragnoth
Tue Dec 26, 2017 12:09 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Are Bitcoins really limited?
Replies: 10
Views: 1673

Re: Are Bitcoins really limited?

The plan is for the number of bitcoins to be limited. It is programmed that way. However, there will always be an incentive to "mine" bitcoins since you can collect the transaction fees from people exchanging coins (even if no new ones are created). Also, the Bitcoin community as a whole could agree...
by Ragnoth
Mon Dec 25, 2017 10:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you see a meaningful change in your income with new Tax Bill?
Replies: 266
Views: 22979

Re: Do you see a meaningful change in your income with new Tax Bill?

Looking at an increase of $1.5-2k in take-home pay. Salary around $100k or so (but a W2 that shows 180-200k because of full-time graduate school tuition + tax liability being covered by employer). Very HCOL area. Will no longer be itemizing due to cap on SALT. It doesn't really move the needle for m...
by Ragnoth
Sun Dec 24, 2017 4:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Securing Law School Scholarships
Replies: 37
Views: 3086

Re: Securing Law School Scholarships

Your LSAT is a little too low to get scholarship money at the top-schools, but you could probably get something at the lower end of the T-20. I worked as a patent agent for a law firm that would pay for law-school as one of their "benefits," and I've seen dozens of colleagues go through the admissio...
by Ragnoth
Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Donating Items Questions
Replies: 15
Views: 1416

Re: Donations Question

I've never seen a Goodwill or similar receipt that clearly meets the requirements listed above. Consequently, a person may be wise to limit daily donations to less than $250 (not $500 as I've seen people reporting in numerous threads.) The major charities (including the DAFs) have, for the most par...
by Ragnoth
Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:35 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Will you donate less to Charity?
Replies: 109
Views: 8298

Re: Will you donate less to Charity?

I don't think I will be giving less, but then again, I don't think I will be giving more, either. As I will be taking the standard deduction, and not be able to deduct charitable contributions, I don't think I will be as motivated to "up my game". I think it was a big mistake to not allow charitabl...
by Ragnoth
Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:05 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Will you donate less to Charity?
Replies: 109
Views: 8298

Re: Will you donate less to Charity?

I'll probably give a little less. I don't have any charities that I'm particularly fond of, but I try to give some money to places like my alma mater or the Wikimedia foundation during their funding drives. It sounds kinda callous, but the deductibility is always part of how I rationalize/justify th...
by Ragnoth
Mon Dec 18, 2017 3:29 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why You Took an Adjustable Rate Mortgage?
Replies: 43
Views: 3743

Re: Why You Took an Adjustable Rate Mortgage?

What edge case are you referring to? Anytime some banks send me a 0 APR cash advance, there is always small writing stating I will be paying 3% cash advance. Not only that in the last few years, it’s very hard to get a 3% CD on a 5 year term. So I don’t see the advantage. Plus these 0 APR is only f...
by Ragnoth
Mon Dec 18, 2017 1:12 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why You Took an Adjustable Rate Mortgage?
Replies: 43
Views: 3743

Re: Why You Took an Adjustable Rate Mortgage?

If you have an ARM because it was the only way you could afford the house and the payments are a stretch anyway, that could be an indication. Understanding the terms of the ARM as well as your plans for paying it off and/or moving and understanding the risk of the ARM vs. fixed rate mortgage makes ...
by Ragnoth
Sat Dec 16, 2017 2:17 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: made a stupid investment - how to tax loss harvest
Replies: 5
Views: 793

Re: made a stupid investment - how to tax loss harvest

These funds are little more than a collection of rolling futures contracts. It's a speculative bet on the price of a non-productive commodity, wrapped in a slick looking (high fee) package: http://teucriumcornfund.com/holdings/holdings http://teucriumweatfund.com/holdings/holdings Nobody should try ...
by Ragnoth
Thu Dec 14, 2017 4:50 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is the Tax bill going to force First In First Out or not?
Replies: 5
Views: 863

Re: Is the Tax bill going to force First In First Out or not?

This topic doesn't seem actionable, and verges on being political in nature.

If and when this becomes actual law, people can plan accordingly.
by Ragnoth
Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:17 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Call the top! - Bitcoin
Replies: 182
Views: 19136

Re: Call the top! - Bitcoin

Guess #1) $31337 = 1 BTC
Guess #2) April 1th 2018

Thinking run-up after the holidays, and smart money starts to get out before the retail investors try to "sell in May."
by Ragnoth
Sat Dec 09, 2017 1:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Paying contractors for incomplete work
Replies: 32
Views: 2691

Re: Paying contractors for incomplete work

I think that the "real" answer would probably require a contracts lawyer (or somebody with a formal legal training for the rules of your state), and a lot more information about exactly what was said and done. There are reams of texts written about what is normally supposed to happen if he promised ...
by Ragnoth
Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Are Dividends Perceived as Moral; Capital Value Changes as Immoral?
Replies: 55
Views: 3393

Re: Are Dividends Perceived as Moral; Capital Value Changes as Immoral?

As people have said, I think there is a lot of powerful psychology at play, but I don't know if I would consider it moral or immoral. Often a person's first experience with investing is the interest they accrue on a savings account. It's something simple, tangible, and understandable. Heck, for some...
by Ragnoth
Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:18 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The "petro," a Venezuelan oil-backed cryptocurrency
Replies: 32
Views: 2585

Re: The "petro," a Venezuelan oil-backed cryptocurrency

The idea of backing a cryptocurrency isn't new. For example, I think there was one called "tether" that was intended to be pegged to the dollar. Stability of Venezuela and volitility in oil aside, the petro isn't a crazy proposal (from the perspective of the Venezuelan government at least). One of t...
by Ragnoth
Fri Dec 01, 2017 7:17 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: bitcoin - is there any real value here or is it a pure Ponzi scam?
Replies: 236
Views: 22584

Re: bitcoin - is there any real value here or is it a pure Ponzi scam?

There is some hypothetical value, but not much. The best argument is that it *could* become a convenient currency for exchange, although price is too erratic (and the transaction costs have come to high) for it to be used for that purpose. You can image a scenario where people have no faith in their...
by Ragnoth
Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Who are heirs? No will.
Replies: 41
Views: 4797

Re: Who are heirs? No will.

ccieemeritus wrote:
Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:21 am
I have not seen the OP come back and identify the state. I think we need that.
Original post states that the decedent lived in Indiana.
1. An uncle, Robert, recently deceased. He resided in Indiana. A will has not been found as of yet and is not expected to exist. It is a modest estate.
by Ragnoth
Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Price of haircut?
Replies: 194
Views: 12244

Re: Price of haircut?

I pay $20 ($13 + $7 tip).

Old school non-trendy barber shop in VHCOL area.

I wouldn't trust the guy to "style" anything, but its fine if you are just looking for a generic men's cut.
by Ragnoth
Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Who are heirs? No will.
Replies: 41
Views: 4797

Re: Who are heirs? No will.

You're right, what I described about would be by stirpes. I'm not as familiar with "by representation." Reading on it a little, I'm not sure if the number of brothers is important. Since they are all dead, wouldn't that moot the issue? The closest thing I can find to a good explanation of what happe...