Search found 1636 matches

by kramer
Sat Jan 19, 2019 7:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is California worth the premium?
Replies: 89
Views: 5108

Re: Is California worth the premium?

I left after long stints in the Bay Area and just north of San Diego. Everyone is different, but I don't like the coastal weather, cloudy and/or cold much of the year. The ocean water in California is always cold in the north and cold much of the year in the south. Most people that live there don't ...
by kramer
Thu Jan 17, 2019 7:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I buy a house in the Bay area or give up?
Replies: 94
Views: 7050

Re: Should I buy a house in the Bay area or give up?

Single? Rent a two-bed apt and find a roomate. Save you ton of money. Invest all left in to three vanguard fund portfolio. Now that I've turned 30, I feel like I'm too old to have a roommate. Thoughts? Also my housing expenses keep increasing due to rising rents, which leaves less money for investi...
by kramer
Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to set android phone to send phone solicitors directly to voice mail.
Replies: 27
Views: 1726

Re: How to set android phone to send phone solicitors directly to voice mail.

I don't allow voicemail either ... I consider having to access and listen to voicemail even worse than a solicitor calling ... just send a short text, or message or voice-recording-in-whats-app.
by kramer
Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Shingrix [Vaccine availability]
Replies: 98
Views: 8913

Re: Shingrix [Vaccine availability]

I am in the US for limited time periods, so I was a little nervous about getting my second shot in a timely manner -- in late December I was in the US from 5 to 5.5 months after my first shot and then leaving again. But I was able to get it at a CVS pharmacy in the San Diego area without problems .....
by kramer
Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Noise cancelling headphones for plane trips, advice?
Replies: 62
Views: 3016

Re: Noise cancelling headphones for plane trips, advice?

I recently had my first flight (trans-Pacific) with my Sony xm3 ANC over-the-ear headphones. I had trouble with the volume when watching some movies on the plane using the plane's multi-media system, the volume didn't go low enough, even on the lowest volume setting it was too loud with some content...
by kramer
Sun Dec 30, 2018 2:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Father-in-law denied apartment for lack of income even though he has assets. What to do?
Replies: 77
Views: 7619

Re: Father-in-law denied apartment for lack of income even though he has assets. What to do?

This can also be a problem for early retirees (who typically have large assets and low income) and I can remember seeing this discussed on a different board many years ago around the time I early retired and I was definitely a bit worried about it. Basically, some apartment complexes are inflexible ...
by kramer
Sun Dec 16, 2018 6:03 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 0% Long Term Capital Gain rate?
Replies: 22
Views: 3063

Re: 0% Long Term Capital Gain rate?

Yes, during my working career I harvested losses and took the $3K deduction against oridinary income every year (average tax rate saved of around 37%). Now that I am retired early (single) and have many years of somewhat low realized income ahead before SS and RMDs, I never harvest losses and normal...
by kramer
Sat Dec 15, 2018 11:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to learn a second language
Replies: 128
Views: 15070

Re: How to learn a second language

I would stress what some others have already said, learning a language to a lower level of fluency is an incredibly difficult and long process. Way longer than the non-language-learner would predict. And I am only learning a Romance language. (I loved Hyperborea's post above). I restarted my Spanish...
by kramer
Sun Dec 09, 2018 1:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: are pre-fabricated / manufactured homes a bad investment?
Replies: 99
Views: 6785

Re: are manufactured homes a bad investment?

A couple of my family members have lived in a Manufactured Home Park in a nice area in Southern California. The people that live in the park own the land. When you buy a home there, you are also buying a share in the park, for a fixed price (20,000). There is an elected board made up owners within t...
by kramer
Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pixel 3 early adopters: any feedback?
Replies: 42
Views: 3389

Re: Pixel 3 early adopters: any feedback?

I also got in on the travel gift card deal and I'm really excited to get the phone. In regards to a screen protector. I find it odd for people not to spend $10 for a screen protector or $20 for a case for a device that is several hundred dollars. I have coworkers who never have screen protectors or...
by kramer
Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pixel 3 early adopters: any feedback?
Replies: 42
Views: 3389

Re: Pixel 3 early adopters: any feedback?

My keys go into my right front pocket, and my phone goes into my left front pocket. Everything has its place. :) I'm going to have to correct you there. Keys in the left front pocket, phone in the right front pocket. There, all better now. :wink: On a more serious note, this is the best way I've fo...
by kramer
Mon Nov 26, 2018 3:32 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Roth Conversion
Replies: 50
Views: 3253

Re: Roth Conversion

Have you also calculated the tax rate when there is a single survivor left? Each single bracket is about 1/2 of the mfj tax bracket. This is definitely a large factor for married Bogleheads. I will just add one more important detail to these excellent posts, since it sounds like you may have a larg...
by kramer
Sat Nov 17, 2018 11:38 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Ed Slott & Roth Conversions
Replies: 45
Views: 3659

Re: Ed Slott & Roth Conversions

In the following situations for those that have at least a middle sized taxable account: One must consider that conversions might turn your taxable account 0% cap gains and qualified dividends into 15% (or in some cases more). Conversions can take away from 0% capital gains space, eliminating the op...
by kramer
Mon Nov 12, 2018 12:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dual SIM smart phone
Replies: 5
Views: 640

Re: Dual SIM smart phone

The main thing meant by international model is that the data frequencies are usually slightly different -- almost entirely talking about LTE frequencies. There is no such thing yet as a world LTE phone ... all phones support only a subset of possibilities. And additionally many international models ...
by kramer
Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: tablet or small laptop for general and travel computer?
Replies: 41
Views: 2364

Re: tablet or small laptop for general and travel computer?

Since I already have a high end big screen Android smartphone, I find a thin laptop is a good compliment to that. I have given up completely on owning tablets. My laptop is a 13 inch screen and only half an inch thick, with no moving parts (including fans), 8 GB, 256 GB SSD, weighs about 2.5 pounds,...
by kramer
Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any great (or even decent) Anki or AnkiDroid users?
Replies: 5
Views: 666

Re: Any great (or even decent) Anki or AnkiDroid users?

How sophisticated are your needs? For instance, I use Anki extensively for foreign language acquisition (in my case, Spanish)... it's basically how I learn all of my new vocabulary and reinforce old vocabulary. I use Anki on my Android phone, but I only add cards on my laptop. It's quite easy to add...
by kramer
Fri Oct 05, 2018 9:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 20 countries where 200K in retirement savings will last you decades
Replies: 75
Views: 9441

Re: 20 countries where 200K in retirement savings will last you decades

I have put a lot of effort into becoming an advanced Spanish speaker as an adult, and I see that 11 of the 20 countries speak Spanish as their primary language ;-) Also, English will go a long ways in the Philippines, Malaysia, Belize, and Malta. And in the tourist areas of Thailand. I am less sure ...
by kramer
Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Remember traveler's checks? How to cash a forgotten stash
Replies: 29
Views: 3568

Re: Remember traveler's checks? How to cash a forgotten stash

About 7 years ago, I used some old traveler's checks for a purchase at Walmart (Citibank traveler's checks even though they said they were American Express traveler's checks). Walmart can't give you too much cash change (like over $20). I had a hard time getting rid of the traveler's checks back the...
by kramer
Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Apartment, city noise
Replies: 43
Views: 3397

Re: New Apartment, city noise

1) Bose noise cancelling headphones. I had an old pair of these (QC2) from 2006, and I thought they did a good job until I recently bought a new pair of QC25. They are an amazing upgrade from my old pair. They block out almost all noise, plus you can plug into your phone to listen to music or make ...
by kramer
Fri Sep 28, 2018 7:50 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Converting rollover to Roth versus harvesting capital gains
Replies: 12
Views: 815

Re: Converting rollover to Roth versus harvesting capital gains

So for example if I want to maximize the Roth conversion for 2022: $12,000 dividends (box 1a of the 1099-Div, box 1b is $9000) $16,000 annuity $22,600 Roth conversion (rollover IRA to Roth IRA) ----------- $50,600 total ($38,600 + $12,000 standard deduction) So correct that I could convert up to $2...
by kramer
Sun Sep 23, 2018 5:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: I'm just itching to tax-GAIN harvest
Replies: 7
Views: 1246

Re: I'm just itching to tax-GAIN harvest

I am retired with low taxable income and still far away from Medicare. Yes, every year I fill up the 12% (formerly 15%) bracket with a combination of capital gains and qualified dividends (taxed at 0%) and IRA to Roth conversion (taxed at 0%, 10%, and 12%). Some factors that stop people from doing t...
by kramer
Thu Sep 20, 2018 11:13 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Android podcast app that remembers where you are in podcast?
Replies: 15
Views: 678

Re: Android podcast app that remembers where you are in podcast?

Pocketcasts has been my go-to for years. Certainly remembers where you stopped and has 10 sec reverse and 30 sec forward controls. Yes, this is the one I use on Android and it remembers where you are on all of your podcasts. Also, the feature you mention, buttons for 10 second reverse and 30 second...
by kramer
Mon Sep 17, 2018 10:12 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Delaying SS? How Long It Will Take for It to Pay Off?
Replies: 53
Views: 5366

Re: Delaying SS? How Long It Will Take for It to Pay Off?

An additional point, taking social security late doesn't affect my spending once I am 62+ and delaying...I am just spending from different sources until Social Security kicks in. In fact, I will be spending slightly more before taking Social Security by taking it later and increasing average lifetim...
by kramer
Sun Sep 16, 2018 5:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: That Extravagant Thing You Do
Replies: 407
Views: 58193

Re: What is your luxury good?

With super low base expenses, I spend freely, which I guess is a luxury in and of itself. I am about to buy a pair of $400 noise cancelling headphones and an expensive laptop. I have a latte at Starbucks or similar almost every day. I eat out one meal almost every day. I travel whenever I want and w...
by kramer
Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Intro Geology Textbooks
Replies: 17
Views: 1114

Re: Best Intro Geology Textbooks

The textbook I used in College seems to still be popular ... called Earth: An Introduction to Physical Geology ... I remember it was quite readable for my upper division intro to Geology class for science majors. The latest edition is 150 dollars but there is a new edition every couple of years and ...
by kramer
Sat Sep 08, 2018 11:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Go to Istanbul next week. Any suggestions
Replies: 50
Views: 3935

Re: Go to Istanbul next week. Any suggestions

I went to Turkey two years ago this month with a travel friend ... we are both world travelers. I had tacked the 2 week Turkey trip onto the end of a 3 week Israel/Jordan trip out of geographical convenience ... however, it turned out to be the highlight of my travels. We both decided that we receiv...
by kramer
Thu Aug 30, 2018 9:38 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Will I ever sell Ibonds from 2001 - 3% fixed
Replies: 78
Views: 5300

Re: Will I ever sell Ibonds from 2001 - 3% fixed

I plan to cash mine out over a period of 3 tax years in order to minimize taxes. Cash some out in December of one year, some out in December of the following year, and then cash the rest out when they mature (in May or something like that). So I end up cashing some 17 months early (exactly to the to...
by kramer
Thu Aug 30, 2018 9:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mega Downsize....
Replies: 91
Views: 8678

Re: Mega Downsize....

We began a decluttering, minimalistic, and simplistic life both financially and non-finacially years ago. This is a large undertaking but the journey starts with the first step. I have learned that it is not a one time event but rather a philosophy and ongoing way of life. Agreed, and I think one o...
by kramer
Fri Aug 24, 2018 12:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Phone Plan for US-Child doing a Semester Abroad (VerizonWirelss)
Replies: 50
Views: 2689

Re: Phone Plan for US-Child doing a Semester Abroad (VerizonWirelss)

As an example, I was in Spain for over a month this summer. I got a sim card that had 10 Gigabytes per month and only costed 20 Euros with roaming throughout Europe, good for 30 days. I just refilled it with 20 Euros before the 30 days were up for another month. As far as I could tell, virtually eve...
by kramer
Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?
Replies: 89
Views: 6264

Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

My information is dated (15 years ago), but I just wanted to add one thing I don't see mentioned here (among many good suggestions). Our MegaCorp Silicon Valley software engineering group really wouldn't consider any recent grad who had not completed some working internships while in school. If some...
by kramer
Fri Aug 03, 2018 8:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Phone Rental for South America?
Replies: 15
Views: 860

Re: Phone Rental for South America?

I have used local sims in countless countries. But it is not always convenient and it is not always possible to do it at the airport (and rarely optimal to do so). So it is a compromise versus having a more expensive data plan available via your home country provider immediately upon landing (I don'...
by kramer
Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Phone Rental for South America?
Replies: 15
Views: 860

Re: Phone Rental for South America?

Detailed information for buying a sim card locally in your destination countries:

http://prepaid-data-sim-card.wikia.com/wiki/Peru

http://prepaid-data-sim-card.wikia.com/wiki/Ecuador
by kramer
Sun Jul 29, 2018 8:41 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard Paper on Roth Conversion Analysis
Replies: 123
Views: 9973

Re: Vanguard Paper on Roth Conversion Analysis

Nowadays, conversion is somewhat less optimal for me, tax-wise, since my IRA is small enough now to be 100% bonds (e.g., it is well below my overall bond allocation in all accounts). So each conversion is effectively moving bonds from the IRA to taxable and moving stocks from taxable to Roth.
by kramer
Thu Jul 19, 2018 9:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Passport expiration time rules for France
Replies: 34
Views: 2599

Re: Passport expiration time rules for France

As stated earlier, airline rules trump country rules with respect to letting you on the airplane. Different airlines may have different rules for the same country. Be safe. Renew early. A trick many routine international travelers use is to visit one of our embassies in a foreign country that you g...
by kramer
Mon Jul 16, 2018 6:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Passport expiration time rules for France
Replies: 34
Views: 2599

Re: Passport expiration time rules for France

I always renew my passport with plenty of time to spare, say at the first convenient time in the ninth year, so that I have a new passport back with an absolute minimum of one year to spare. It's one of those things where I don't want to confuse the cost of the thing (let's say $20 per year) with th...
by kramer
Wed Jul 11, 2018 3:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wired/Wireless Headphones with Mic
Replies: 8
Views: 898

Re: Wired/Wireless Headphones with Mic

Don't wireless bluetooth headphones and mics add an average of 0.2 seconds delay each way? This is one reason, at least, I don't use wireless for online language lessons (adding to what is already an internet sound/video delay and causing the video to not quite be synced with the audio). But it woul...
by kramer
Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: anyone working overseas? pros-cons?
Replies: 22
Views: 2675

Re: anyone working overseas? pros-cons?

Hello, I am electrical engineer, thinking about going to work overseas. Is anyone here currently working (or worked previously) overseas? I plan to do it to put together a nice cash pile and expedite my retirement. I heard middleeast (saudi/use/qatar) has many usa expats. If you have been or curren...
by kramer
Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ~1 year from FIRE - Tax diversification strategy?
Replies: 25
Views: 3387

Re: ~1 year from FIRE - Tax diversification strategy?

Hello, I find this thread very helpful. I am confused about the comments by Kramer and SGM. Are you saying that since the result is that dividends and capital gains from the taxable accounts will be put into a higher tax situation, it would be better to convert to a higher level (meaning convert mo...
by kramer
Tue Jun 12, 2018 1:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Would you choose text or email for two-factor authentication?
Replies: 50
Views: 3443

Re: Would you choose text or email for two-factor authentication?

For those using texts to your cellphone, what do you do when you travel abroad? Are you effectively locked out of your accounts? I spend up to several months each year abroad and normally use a local sim card in my destination country ... so I can't receive texts at my regular cellphone number. The ...
by kramer
Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:21 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ~1 year from FIRE - Tax diversification strategy?
Replies: 25
Views: 3387

Re: ~1 year from FIRE - Tax diversification strategy?

I would consider converting up to the 24% tax bracket. Higher state taxes in 6 years will likely more than make up for the 2% difference in marginal rates of the 22% bracket and allow for a lot more conversions each year over your 6 year time frame. State and local income taxes can be significant. ...
by kramer
Sun May 27, 2018 12:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Leave career (fortune 200) and join the peace corps?
Replies: 29
Views: 3715

Re: Leave career (fortune 200) and join the peace corps?

I would look for a better and different type of job instead as an approach to avoiding burnout. Try to figure out what it is about your job that has burned you out (too much travel, management stress, etc). Because it sounds like you will feel the same after you return from a Peace Corps stint. You ...
by kramer
Sun May 13, 2018 4:21 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retire Internationally for FIRE
Replies: 94
Views: 13227

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Paul Merriman and his wife spend part of their year in Mexico in San Miguel De Allende (and the other time in Seattle). He's talked about it on his podcast in the past. He says it's cheaper than the U.S. and he and his wife have a cook to prepare meals that would not be affordable to do in the U.S....
by kramer
Mon May 07, 2018 11:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retire Internationally for FIRE
Replies: 94
Views: 13227

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Don't overlook Spain - renting or buying ix very cheap outside of Madrid/Barcelona/Basque Country (sales prices along the coasts are a joke, since these zones were so overbuilt before the crisis), Are you dual citizenship or can US citizens own property in Spain? There are no special requirements f...
by kramer
Sat May 05, 2018 4:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does it make sense to rent as a retiree?
Replies: 83
Views: 9910

Re: Does it make sense to rent as a retiree?

I am in my early 50's, retired 11 years ago, and have rented my entire life. I think this comes down more to personality and lifestyle than finances. For me, personally, my total rent plus all utilities is a small part of my total spending, so I consider it more of a rounding error and I am less con...
by kramer
Sat Apr 28, 2018 4:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The Paperless Life
Replies: 45
Views: 4795

Re: The Paperless Life

I try to go paperless as much as possible but I also believe that paper is a great user interface. All of my important lifetime financial, tax, and medical records fit into one box about 1.5 feet by 1 foot by 1 foot. I see no reason not to keep it as a backup.
by kramer
Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Traveling to Asia-need advice
Replies: 46
Views: 4494

Re: Traveling to Asia-need advice

Here is quick list for starters, at least...although I don't backpack anymore, I did go on a similar 7 month journey to southeast Asia immediately after I retired: * Check CDC web site for suggested vaccinations * Multiple ways to access money: suggested absolute minimum of 2 ATM cards on 2 differen...
by kramer
Sat Apr 14, 2018 11:40 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How many of you have some developed international and EM indexed bond funds in your portfolio?
Replies: 25
Views: 2411

Re: How many of you have some developed international and EM indexed bond funds in your portfolio?

I would very much like to own some bonds in these segments but I am only interested in unhedged local currency bonds. And I have found the expense ratios too high (not willing to pay 0.35% for a developed international bond fund) and also the idea of an index in these sectors tends to buy most of th...
by kramer
Sat Apr 07, 2018 10:13 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is it very hard to learn Spanish?
Replies: 65
Views: 5261

Re: Is it very hard to learn Spanish?

Moving from intermediate level to advanced level and then to fluency is quite difficult and takes years of effort. Most learners stay in what is often called "intermediate purgatory." When I lived in Mexico, I had a few friends tell me that I was fluent, when in fact I was not even close (thus leadi...
by kramer
Sun Apr 01, 2018 8:22 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What Are Your Thoughts On The Recent Bitcoin Bust? Is It Apart of the Boom/Bust Cycle or Is The CryptoCurrency Finished?
Replies: 129
Views: 13177

Re: What Are Your Thoughts On The Recent Bitcoin Bust? Is It Apart of the Boom/Bust Cycle or Is The CryptoCurrency Finis

I am not really following this thread, nor am I an expert on encryption or quantum computing but just wanted to share something I read recently. There was a paper in the last month (co-authored by Microsoft Research) that has made many people think quantum computing is finally going to be achievable...
by kramer
Mon Mar 26, 2018 3:14 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Prime Harvesting--Do I have the steps accurate
Replies: 8
Views: 1453

Re: Prime Harvesting--Do I have the steps accurate

Aloha Joe is correct. At harvesting time, which is when your stocks reach 120% of their inflation-adjusted value since the previous harvest (or start of plan), you sell 20% of your existing stocks and buy bonds with the proceeds. You are living off bonds and bond interest only. All stock dividends a...