Search found 148 matches

by Ragnoth
Tue Oct 16, 2018 10:11 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Last Will and Testament Question
Replies: 9
Views: 873

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: 984

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: 636

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: 5924

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: 589

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: 2419

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: 1696

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: 620

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: 1696

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: 4914

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: 5116

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: 4128

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: 1144

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: 15603

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: 5568

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: 913

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: 2379

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: 3517

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: 8155

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: 3111

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: 1060

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: 13200

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: 7321

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: 7559

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: 13298

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: 15234

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: 15234

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: 1952

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: 608

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: 4626

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: 43860

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: 5526

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: 2668

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: 1158

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: 6547

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: 1963

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: 2282

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: 8234

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: 5241

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: 1565

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: 3050

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: 2009

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: 97
Views: 6737

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: 10489

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: 6436

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: 3693

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: 1061

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: 3689

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: 2990

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: 2996

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 ...