Search found 171 matches

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: 3235

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: 4706

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: 1156

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: 4738

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: 416

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: 9835

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: 9835

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: 1825

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: 743

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: 3825

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: 4126

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: 3189

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: 5509

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: 6400

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: 8289

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: 7324

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: 4866

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: 2756

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: 4866

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: 5882

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: 115
Views: 9865

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: 3634

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: 4374

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: 1673

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: 5846

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: 8716

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: 3651

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: 4422

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: 4703

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: 2077

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: 16294

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: 2966

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: 69381

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: 8201

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: 14258

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: 1092

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: 5207

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: 3543

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: 13065

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: 310

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: 4729

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: 15048

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: 7429

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: 1360

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: 8558

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: 9040

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: 6059

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: 2272

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: 5569

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...