Search found 183 matches

by Ragnoth
Tue Jan 15, 2019 8:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Are You Dumping Netflix?
Replies: 164
Views: 8631

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: 48
Views: 3818

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: 58
Views: 4205

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: 2668

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: 3755

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: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard personal advisor service (PAS) for high net worth?
Replies: 70
Views: 6421

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: 375

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: 813

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: 595

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: 2774

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: 3404

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: 5801

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: 7147

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: 3404

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: 5298

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: 367

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: 2190

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: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Recommendations For Easy to Manage Accounts
Replies: 6
Views: 847

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: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Recommendations For Easy to Manage Accounts
Replies: 6
Views: 847

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: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Ownership in family business
Replies: 13
Views: 1531

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: 1029

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: 1029

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: 1548

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: 3435

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: 55
Views: 5715

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: 2449

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: 7107

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: 2609

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: 4902

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: 1260

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: 1859

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: 7957

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: 560

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: 2520

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: 1034

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: 1041

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: 704

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: 6229

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: 630

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: 2512

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: 1756

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: 641

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: 1756

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: 75
Views: 6229

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: 5216

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: 4218

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: 1185

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: 16354

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: 5809

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...