Search found 160 matches

by MarkBarb
Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any high-end skincare products worth it?
Replies: 37
Views: 2836

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: 42
Views: 5004

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: 5969

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: 7380

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: 6468

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: 4479

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: 2450

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: 4479

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: 5411

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: 114
Views: 8966

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: 3233

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: 3999

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: 1617

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: 5593

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: 8010

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: 3519

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: 4238

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: 4448

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: 1970

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: 15199

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: 2900

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: 491
Views: 63093

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: 7887

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: 13966

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: 1078

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....
by MarkBarb
Sat Jul 23, 2016 2:12 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: If everyone saved enough for retirement, wouldn't there just be inflation?
Replies: 38
Views: 5130

Re: If everyone saved enough for retirement, wouldn't there just be inflation?

The return on savings is dependent on supply and demand. If more and more people are saving more and more money, there are relatively fewer profitable opportunities for that money to be put to use, so the returns decline. I think that a surplus of savings relative to uses for that savings has lead t...
by MarkBarb
Tue Jul 19, 2016 6:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Echo & Tap
Replies: 28
Views: 3486

Re: Amazon Echo & Tap

We were also early adopters in the $99 sale days. We like it, but it isn't indispensable. Our primary uses are: 1) Kitchen timer 2) Play music and comedy talk stations 3) Quick reference (popular for the kids doing homework) 4) Random other stuff - coin flips, jokes, etc. Looking at the logs, it loo...
by MarkBarb
Wed Jul 13, 2016 8:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car totaled, no collision insurance
Replies: 78
Views: 11839

Re: Car totaled, no collision insurance

On the positive side, you probably came out of it much better than the deer did. Any accident you walk away from isn't all bad.
by MarkBarb
Sat Jul 02, 2016 2:43 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Low Earner Roth Limit
Replies: 2
Views: 303

Low Earner Roth Limit

My oldest child is going to start a job this summer. I'm working on a deal with him to get money into a Roth IRA. I see vague references to his maximum contribution being limited to his earned income. Exactly what does that mean? Is that his gross wages? His AGI?
by MarkBarb
Mon Jun 13, 2016 7:03 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: HSA- how much do you actually invest?
Replies: 42
Views: 4637

Re: HSA- how much do you actually invest?

I invest it all and wouldn't consider using any of it for medical expenses unless I was truly desperate. It's too valuable not to let it continue to grow tax free.
by MarkBarb
Sun May 08, 2016 1:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Alternatives to Quicken 2016?
Replies: 58
Views: 14654

Re: Alternatives to Quicken 2016?

It appears to be $50 for Quicken Deluxe on Amazon right now. Even Home and Business, which is $94 now, regularly drops below $56 according to CamelCAmelCamel. The reviews for Quicken are always bad. It is complex, buggy software. It always has been. As far as alternatives, there really isn't anythin...
by MarkBarb
Sun Apr 17, 2016 7:52 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HELP! HR Doesn't Believe in Index Funds for 401k
Replies: 64
Views: 7370

Re: HELP! HR Doesn't Believe in Index Funds for 401k

I see three likely reasons for this: 1) Your 401K selection committee has mistaken beliefs about passive vs active funds 2) Your 401K selection committee is just parroting what the fund company is telling them 3) Your 401K selection committee is acting on a financial interest that is opposed to your...
by MarkBarb
Thu Mar 31, 2016 8:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Photography business early stage, tax and other
Replies: 16
Views: 1333

Re: Photography business early stage, tax and other

We're in a slightly different situation. My wife and I have been photography hobbyists for decades. As our kids have grown, we took lots of pictures at school events and sporting events. As I accumulated more studio gear, we took lots of studio shots for friends. We get a lot of requests for paid jo...
by MarkBarb
Wed Mar 30, 2016 7:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you pay for yardwork?
Replies: 71
Views: 8343

Re: Do you pay for yardwork?

We have a 1/4 acre lot. We have a lawn crew that mows, edges, and weeds. We have a lot of flower beds, so there is a lot of weeding. We pay them $40/week.
by MarkBarb
Tue Mar 29, 2016 5:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is your current Cash to Investment ratio?
Replies: 112
Views: 8820

Re: What is your current Cash to Investment ratio?

To my way of thinking, the two don't really compare. My cash on hand is for short term liquidity (paying bills and such) and for my emergency fund. It's split between a little money in checking, some in savings, and some more in a MM account. It totals 3%, but that's not very meaningful. If my job s...
by MarkBarb
Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:13 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Does anyone think the stock market is overvalued?
Replies: 50
Views: 5952

Re: Does anyone think the stock market is overvalued?

Based on what I've seen in the market, it looks like it is perfectly balanced between people thinking it is overvalued and people thinking it is undervalued. As long as the market is free and functioning, I think that balance is inherently true. More seriously, I think it looks overvalued because th...
by MarkBarb
Fri Mar 18, 2016 2:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sedans and kayaks.
Replies: 23
Views: 2184

Re: Sedans and kayaks.

We've used Yakima towers and racks four years on our sedans. There are two things I think are worth mentioning. If you get bars that stick out passed the sides of the car, you will hit your head on them getting in and out of the car. If your boats are really long, the shorter spread between the bars...
by MarkBarb
Fri Mar 11, 2016 5:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Layoff Advice
Replies: 41
Views: 5505

Re: Layoff Advice

Thank you all for the good advice. I was fortunate not to be let go yesterday, but about 1/6 of our employees were. In some cases, those were volunteers looking for early retirement, but most were not. It was a very emotionally difficult day for all of us, but especially for those let go and those w...
by MarkBarb
Wed Mar 09, 2016 8:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Layoff Advice
Replies: 41
Views: 5505

Re: Layoff Advice

livesoft wrote:The STF algorithm is probably a pretty good one to consider in this situation.


Um, what is the STF algorithm?
by MarkBarb
Wed Mar 09, 2016 7:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Layoff Advice
Replies: 41
Views: 5505

Layoff Advice

We were told last month that there would be significant layoffs where I work soon. The rumor is that tomorrow is the day. Any advice on what to do if I'm let go? They are offering a very good severance package. I think it works out to about a years pay in my case, provided that I agree not to sue. I...
by MarkBarb
Fri Mar 04, 2016 6:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How close do you plan on waiting to pay for Income Tax?
Replies: 34
Views: 3305

Re: How close do you plan on waiting to pay for Income Tax?

I owed this year. I filed and paid in mid February. I like to file fast because I've known too many people that have had fraudulent returns filed "on their behalf". When they filed their returns later, they were rejected and it was a hassle to straighten out. Now, I always file fast. If we...
by MarkBarb
Fri Mar 04, 2016 6:13 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Updated: yet another fitness thread
Replies: 68
Views: 6869

Re: yet another fitness thread

My warm-up routine lasts 10-15 minutes. I foam roll and use roller bars with a focus on the muscles I'll be working or anything that is sore. I do a series of static stretches. This is important for me because I have a history of having an unusually limited range of movement. I follow that be a seri...
by MarkBarb
Mon Feb 29, 2016 1:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Watching Oscars with kids
Replies: 34
Views: 3703

Re: Watching Oscars with kids

I'd go with the option of watching it and using it as a teaching moment. When people use profanity, use it as a time to explain why you don't (or do) use those words and how using those words impacts people's opinions of you. I'd also use it as a time management tool. She her how much time she waste...
by MarkBarb
Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bank Accounts
Replies: 66
Views: 7211

Re: Bank Accounts

Layer 1 - My checking account. I use it for normal cash flow. Layer 2 - My savings account at the same bank. I use it in case I need emergency liquidity. Layer 3 - My money market fund in my Vanguard brokerage account. I use it to get a better return on money that I want safe and liquid. When I open...
by MarkBarb
Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:27 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cloud Storage
Replies: 37
Views: 3553

Re: Cloud Storage

I should add that I use TrueCrypt to encrypt the sensitive files that I keep on Dropbox.
by MarkBarb
Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cloud Storage
Replies: 37
Views: 3553

Re: Cloud Storage

I use Dropbox for a few basic things I like to sync because it works well and is easy. I use Google Drive because that's what my kids use and it makes file sharing easy for us as a family. They still live at home, but I have file sharing turned off because we have so many teenage guests on our wifi ...
by MarkBarb
Sat Feb 27, 2016 7:55 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buy a house at age 75?
Replies: 59
Views: 5329

Re: Buy a house at age 75?

Sure if you can pay cash I'm not sure that I'd apply this advice in all cases. I probably would in the case of someone living off of investments. On the other hand, if someone is getting income from annuities, has plenty of extra money to spend, but doesn't have a lot of extra liquid funds, taking ...
by MarkBarb
Tue Feb 23, 2016 7:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Finding out about a kid 17 years after the fact
Replies: 59
Views: 11556

Re: Finding out about a kid 17 years after the fact

I'd have my scam detector turned up to 11.