Search found 184 matches

by MarkBarb
Sun Nov 04, 2018 8:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Multiple newspaper and magazine subscriptions - how much do you pay to stay informed?
Replies: 51
Views: 2374

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

I read WSJ online because my company pays for it. I don't pay for anything else. I use RealClearPolitics, Pocket, and lots of blogs to find interesting things to read. When I encounter sites to WaPo that limit the number of articles I read, I open them in private browsing mode. They don't limit the ...
by MarkBarb
Sun Nov 04, 2018 8:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a mini-van
Replies: 25
Views: 1807

Re: Buying a mini-van

We have two kids. They were essentially raised in a mini-van. We took trips in it. We hauled stuff in it. We took hordes of their friends around in it. We recently moved one of the kids to college in it. They are the least cool vehicles imaginable from a status perspective. They are extremely practi...
by MarkBarb
Sun Nov 04, 2018 9:36 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: retirement travel: RVs vs fly/drive/hotel
Replies: 98
Views: 9234

Re: retirement travel: RVs vs fly/drive/hotel

Our plan is a tent, a minivan, and a mix of hotels. Tent camping gives you a lot more options (at least for the places we like to be) than RV camping. For hotels, I really mean a mix of Air BNB, VRBO, Priceline, and regular hotel stays. This is basically the way that we traveled with kids and it wor...
by MarkBarb
Sun Oct 14, 2018 6:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Making Winter Camping more comfortable
Replies: 39
Views: 2728

Re: Making Winter Camping more comfortable

A good LED headlamp will help a lot with the long nights. Similarly an LED lantern for inside the tent also helps. Keep plenty of batteries handy. The LED lights last much, much, much longer than what I used when I started camping, but they don't last forever. I also love a good e-Ink Kindle for rea...
by MarkBarb
Sun Oct 14, 2018 6:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Neighbor discussing finances with me
Replies: 64
Views: 6083

Re: Neighbor discussing finances with me

Probably the only thing I would say is that there is a difference between nominal vs real risk. If his bond fund is risk free and returns significantly more than a money market, it is presumably a federal bond fund with at least some longer maturities mixed in. If that is the case, his broker is cor...
by MarkBarb
Sun Oct 14, 2018 6:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should we rent a car or take our low mileage 2006 Volvo on a family trip?
Replies: 49
Views: 3240

Re: Should we rent a car or take our low mileage 2006 Volvo on a family trip?

Whichever car you take, make sure that you have enough of the appropriate power to keep your electronics charged. I recommend a cheap AC Inverter. Then you can plug a multi-port charger into that. You'll probably want a phone running Google Maps plugged in at all times. We've done a lot of long driv...
by MarkBarb
Sat Oct 13, 2018 5:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Lost Power for 24 hours - what food to toss?
Replies: 49
Views: 3525

Re: Lost Power for 24 hours - what food to toss?

Definitely throw out the Kale. You should do that based on even the flimsiest of excuses.
by MarkBarb
Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:37 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Case for buying individual Stocks as 10% of portfolio
Replies: 43
Views: 3299

Re: Case for buying individual Stocks as 10% of portfolio

Let's assume for a minute that it is as easy as you imply to pick the winning tech stocks - the Facebooks and Googles over the Myspaces and AOLs. Wouldn't there be funds that specialize in this that would show outsized returns? Where are they? And if they existed, wouldn't their performance bring in...
by MarkBarb
Wed Sep 26, 2018 7:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: First-time victim of credit card fraud
Replies: 48
Views: 3963

Re: First-time victim of credit card fraud

We have a card compromised every year or two. My defense is to have all of my recurring charges go against a card that we never use. The solution isn't perfect, but that card has never been compromised and that saves me the hassle of updating all of those recurring charge accounts. It seems like two...
by MarkBarb
Sun Sep 09, 2018 5:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is it worth getting BA after 16 years? Or should I go for certificate programs?
Replies: 10
Views: 1232

Re: Is it worth getting BA after 16 years? Or should I go for certificate programs?

It depends a lot on what type of industry/field you are in. For fields like law, accounting, medicine, and engineering, there are often strict legal requirements that virtually require a degree to be in certain positions. On the opposite side, tech is increasingly dropping degree requirements altoge...
by MarkBarb
Mon Sep 03, 2018 7:22 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Thoughts on investing in Uranium???
Replies: 48
Views: 3162

Re: Thoughts on investing in Uranium???

I assume that there are a lot of people that know much more about the uranium market than I do. These people work together to form a market for uranium and for the shares in the companies that produce it. They know the information that you've posted here and have factored it into those prices. It wo...
by MarkBarb
Sun Aug 05, 2018 7:55 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Audi A4 -- Does Anyone Have an Opinion About It?
Replies: 31
Views: 3127

Re: Audi A4 -- Does Anyone Have an Opinion About It?

I thought this article comparing the A4 to an Accord as interesting: https://www.motortrend.com/cars/audi/a4/2018/2018-audi-a4-ultra-premium-vs-2018-honda-accord-20t-touring-comparison-review/ It seemed to conclude that the Accord was a better deal because the low end A4 stripped too much to get dow...
by MarkBarb
Mon Jul 09, 2018 6:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?
Replies: 345
Views: 35840

Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Various jobs in software development, database development, and data engineering. I like it and recommend it. If I were starting now, I'd add a focus on data science. Just make sure that you are good at it.
by MarkBarb
Sat Mar 24, 2018 8:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: changing my signature when signing checks and credit card receipts
Replies: 47
Views: 3960

Re: changing my signature when signing checks and credit card receipts

I'm near retirement age and I've gotten by with never having a legible signature. I've also never owned a signet ring.
by MarkBarb
Sun Mar 18, 2018 12:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bogleheads car buying strategies with new safety technologies
Replies: 71
Views: 6003

Re: Bogleheads car buying strategies with new safety technologies

New? My car is 12 years old and has collision mitigation braking. The tech is getting better and more widespread, but I'd hardly call it new. As for your question, my kids have been reaching driving age (one now driving the other getting there this year). I definitely weight active safety measures h...
by MarkBarb
Sat Mar 10, 2018 1:37 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What purpose (if any) does an ETF tracking the oil price have in a portfolio?
Replies: 14
Views: 1533

Re: What purpose (if any) does an ETF tracking the oil price have in a portfolio?

The only sensible scenario I can think of would be for someone that wants to hedge oil prices. For example, I work in the upstream oil business. I've sometimes wondered if it would make sense for me to short oil to hedge against the income loss I have associated with a drop in oil prices. I'm sure t...
by MarkBarb
Sat Mar 10, 2018 1:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Consumer Reports Auto Issue Out now
Replies: 48
Views: 5438

Re: Consumer Reports Auto Issue Out now

I find most cars to be more reliable than CR. Every time I read a review in CR about something for which I have a lot of knowledge, I'm appalled by how badly CR reviews things. I've found their information to be subpar at best.
by MarkBarb
Sat Feb 24, 2018 1:36 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Backdoor Roth technical question
Replies: 9
Views: 572

Re: Backdoor Roth technical question

When you do a conversion, you have to convert proportionally across all of your IRAs. So if you have $5,500 in a non-deductible IRA plus $94,500 in a pre-tax rollover IRA and you want to convert $1,000, that would be $55 from your non-deductible and $945 from your pre-tax IRA.
by MarkBarb
Mon Feb 19, 2018 7:09 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you wear a wedding band? [at a job interview]
Replies: 157
Views: 11977

Re: Do you wear a wedding band? [at a job interview]

I'm guessing that I've conducted about a 100 interviews during my career. I can't recall ever noticing or not noticing whether an applicant was wearing a wedding ring.
by MarkBarb
Sun Feb 18, 2018 6:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you wear a wedding band? [at a job interview]
Replies: 157
Views: 11977

Re: Do you wear a wedding band?

No. I tried for a few days. My wife took it away because she saw that it irritated me. I've never worn any jewelry. I'm one of the only Texas Aggies I know that didn't buy a school ring. My wife wore her wedding ring until she lost it. Then she wore mine until she lost it. They cost a total of $70, ...
by MarkBarb
Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:58 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Valentines Day Gift
Replies: 12
Views: 2118

Re: Best Valentines Day Gift

For Valentine's day - nothing given, nothing received. We talked about it early in our relationships. I suggested that, if she wanted to celebrate Valentine's day, we pick our own special day to do it when prices and crowds would be lower. She said she wasn't really into that sort of thing anyway. W...
by MarkBarb
Sun Feb 04, 2018 6:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Applying for a passport with a credit freeze
Replies: 7
Views: 1048

Re: Applying for a passport with a credit freeze

I heard a rumor that they will start checking your credit soon. They want to give extra scrutiny to suspicious people. If you aren't deep, deep in debt, they will have a reason to question whether you are really an American.
by MarkBarb
Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?
Replies: 55
Views: 4505

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

For privacy reasons, I cannot disclose that information. I can say it's a recent car (less than 10 years old) and one of the major vehicle brands. This confused me at first. Then I realized that it isn't your car information that you are concerned about. You probably shared financial information in...
by MarkBarb
Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: what do/did you do with your evenings with a Toddler in winters ?
Replies: 63
Views: 4891

Re: what do/did you do with your evenings with a Toddler in winters ?

Find a way to exercise the children. Beneficial,tires them out also. :happy When we lived in a colder area, we did something like this. I bought a cheap bounce house moon walk thing - one of those little castles with a blower that keeps the thing inflated. One day I came home from work and found th...
by MarkBarb
Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any high-end skincare products worth it?
Replies: 37
Views: 4272

Re: Any high-end skincare products worth it?

I use soap. It does wonders for dirt and body odor. I don't know the brand. It just shows up in the shower. I think my wife puts it there.
by MarkBarb
Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vanguard Yubikey-only option?
Replies: 46
Views: 7638

Re: Vanguard Yubikey-only option?

Is it possible to set up a bogus cell phone number? Or do they confirm it before making it official? In other words, could I set up my SMS and Yubikey and then change my SMS to 800-555-1212?
by MarkBarb
Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:23 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Does the 3 fund portfolio seem somewhat flawed?
Replies: 79
Views: 7993

Re: Does the 3 fund portfolio seem somewhat flawed?

If a fund bought every share of every company - the entire stock market - it would be a market cap weighted fund. Since no fund owns everything, they might buy 1% of everything. If they want to keep the same proportion of each stock that they would have if they owned the whole market, they buy like ...
by MarkBarb
Sun Jan 07, 2018 12:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much are you putting in a 529?
Replies: 111
Views: 11020

Re: How much are you putting in a 529?

We targeted our college savings at 125% of the annual cost of the most expensive state school for each child. That worked out to roughly $500/month for most of their childhood. We used a 529 for the first 75% under the theory that a dollar put into a 529 for a 1 year old has many years of tax benefi...
by MarkBarb
Thu Dec 28, 2017 2:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: manual car for new teen driver
Replies: 143
Views: 8349

Re: manual car for new teen driver

Why force them to drive a stick shift in a country where they are going extinct? Are you also looking for a hand cranked starter?
by MarkBarb
Thu Dec 28, 2017 2:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Diamonds are forever.
Replies: 59
Views: 5796

Re: Diamonds are forever.

Original ring (from when we were poor) was from Montgomery Ward. As our financial situation improved DW was unhappy with that ring. Years later got a nice ring from Blue Nile. Very sparkley. DW happy. DW and I picked it out online together (we don’t “surprise” with major purchases). Order a ring/fi...
by MarkBarb
Thu Dec 28, 2017 9:52 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: General question on college savings
Replies: 60
Views: 3333

Re: General question on college savings

We took a "balanced" approach. We saved about 70% of the expected cost of college for two kids in 529s when they were young and then started accumulating money in a taxable account as they got older. My logic was that I'm almost certain to spend some money on college costs and the earlier I put it i...
by MarkBarb
Thu Dec 28, 2017 9:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Diamonds are forever.
Replies: 59
Views: 5796

Re: Diamonds are forever.

I know almost nothing about gemstones. Are diamond lookalikes (cubic zirconium?) close enough in appearance and sufficiently less expensive to make them a better deal?
by MarkBarb
Tue Dec 19, 2017 7:21 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?
Replies: 83
Views: 6986

Re: I am buying a car: Most/Least Reliable Makes?

There is a significant difference between how safe different cars are. I would consider that alongside reliability. My favorite resource for that is http://www.informedforlife.org/
by MarkBarb
Mon Dec 18, 2017 7:23 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Best 401k Employer Match Structure
Replies: 132
Views: 14041

Re: Best 401k Employer Match Structure

For those of us on the old defined benefit pension plan, the 401K match is 100% for the first 6% and vesting is in 3 years. People that arrived after the end of the defined benefit pension get a better 401K deal. I don't know the details of it. My only 401K complaint is that if you hit the federal l...
by MarkBarb
Mon Dec 18, 2017 7:17 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why You Took an Adjustable Rate Mortgage?
Replies: 43
Views: 4196

Re: Why You Took an Adjustable Rate Mortgage?

ARM vs Fixed is a complicated choice. Things we considered when getting mortgages: 1) How much lower was the ARM interest rate? 2) How likely were we to still have the mortgage after the rate started adjusting? 3) How high would our payment be in the worst case ARM scenario? How about other more lik...
by MarkBarb
Fri Oct 27, 2017 6:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon kindle paperwhite
Replies: 69
Views: 5187

Re: Amazon kindle paperwhite

We've had Kindles since version 1. I currently have a paperwhite and my wife has a voyageur. I'm upgrading to an Oasis 2 (waterproof, Audible, bigger screen). The bad thing about the Kindles are that they are terrible with graphics. No color. Not very high resolution. If you read things with lots of...
by MarkBarb
Fri Oct 27, 2017 6:24 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 401K Maximum Limit
Replies: 15
Views: 1849

Re: 401K Maximum Limit

Depends on the company. At one company I worked, they kept "matching" once you maxed out. At another, they stopped at that point.
by MarkBarb
Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Enthusiasts Unite! - Porsche, Benz, Ferrari, Lambo, etc.
Replies: 72
Views: 6462

Re: Car Enthusiasts Unite! - Porsche, Benz, Ferrari, Lambo, etc.

I recommend a Lotus Seven. Well, a Caterham, since they bought the rights from Lotus to make them. You can't beat the handling and there is no car that is more fun to drive. It's a great family car (assuming you only have one other person in the family, although it might be possible to strap a car s...
by MarkBarb
Sat Oct 21, 2017 7:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What are you driving? And would you buy your current ride again?
Replies: 130
Views: 10246

Re: What are you driving? And would you buy your current ride again?

2006 Acura RL. If this was 2009 again, I'd buy it again. Would I buy a 3 year old RL today? I haven't given it much thought. I like the new Volvo SUVs. I also drive a 2013 Caterham R300 as a fun car. If I was going to buy a fun car again, it's what I'd buy. I work in oil and gas and bought it at $80...
by MarkBarb
Sat Oct 21, 2017 7:21 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 401k limit changes being considered- how likely is it and how much of an impact?
Replies: 28
Views: 3921

Re: Lowering 401k limits

There are articles in WSJ and NY Times about this alleged proposal. I'd recommend that people go to those articles for more information. I believe that discussing it here runs afoul of the rules. https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/rules "Note that discussions of proposed laws or regulations are prohib...
by MarkBarb
Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:09 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Oil - Price & Supply/Demand Conundrum
Replies: 62
Views: 4999

Re: Oil - Price & Supply/Demand Conundrum

The current price of oil company and oil service sector stocks factors in everything you mentioned and much more. Saying that you are going to overweight or underweight a sector is the same as saying that you know more than the market. No offense, but I find that unlikely. My advice is to just buy t...
by MarkBarb
Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:40 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Does anyone use Driving Shoes?
Replies: 40
Views: 5118

Re: Does anyone use Driving Shoes?

I bought some Piloti's to use with my Lotus Seven because the pedals are so close together that it was hard not to hit the gas and the brake together with regular shoes. I later re-engineered the pedal box (fancy was of saying bent the gas pedal a little to the right) and can now drive with regular ...
by MarkBarb
Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hardwood floors warping?
Replies: 19
Views: 2446

Re: Hardwood floors warping?

I hope they are OK. I spent two days this week tearing out the hardwood floors in a house that had been flooded. It was an unbelievably difficult job.
by MarkBarb
Fri Jun 30, 2017 6:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How did you handle the costs of your child's wedding?
Replies: 170
Views: 18559

Re: How did you handle the costs of your child's wedding?

I have sons. If they marry someone that wants a big, fancy traditional wedding, I also want them to stick with the tradition of having the bride's parents pay for it. If they are OK bucking tradition and having something simple and inexpensive, I'll be glad to help out.
by MarkBarb
Sun May 28, 2017 3:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: A more modest inheritance
Replies: 16
Views: 3113

Re: A more modest inheritance

Whose inheritance is it? Yours, your spouses, or a joint inheritance? In many states, an inheritance is separate property. If it goes to one of you, that person should probably keep it in a separate account so that it doesn't become community property. I know, few people do this because they'll be t...
by MarkBarb
Sun Feb 05, 2017 4:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern
Replies: 516
Views: 78400

Re: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern

I wish that it was cheaper, but I'm happier with a subscription model than I would be if they followed the path of Microsoft Money and ceased to exist. I think they are searching for a business model that keeps them viable. At some price point, I'll quit and switch to something like Mint and spreads...
by MarkBarb
Wed Sep 28, 2016 5:39 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What stocks can I buy when it comes to Marijuana?
Replies: 56
Views: 9132

Re: What stocks can I buy when it comes to Marijuana?

Would the usual suggestion to buy low and sell high apply in this case?
by MarkBarb
Mon Aug 29, 2016 7:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much vacation time do you get at work?
Replies: 155
Views: 15371

Re: How much vacation time do you get at work?

11 holidays, 9/80 schedule (9 hours except Friday; Fridays alternate between 8 hours and not working). 280 hours (7 weeks) of PTO with the ability to carry over a max of 120 hours. I used to take it all, but my kids are teenagers and less interested in travel. I don't typically take staycations and ...
by MarkBarb
Tue Aug 02, 2016 6:23 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: An elite new breed of hedge fund managers
Replies: 4
Views: 1148

An elite new breed of hedge fund managers

I saw this article today on a guy breeding rats to make trades. Very amusing. After 12 weeks, we had four very reliable rats: Ms. Kleinworth, Ms. Coutts, Mr. Morgan, and Mr. Lehmann (we were quite surprised that he made it). Their performance was comparable to that of the world's best fund managers....