Search found 1202 matches

by centrifuge41
Tue Aug 20, 2019 2:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ponder this, BH's... is Ben & Jerry's worth it?
Replies: 113
Views: 7066

Re: Ponder this, BH's... is Ben & Jerry's worth it?

Note that ice cream is sold by volume-ounces, not weight-ounces. Read the labels to compare grams (mass) per half-cup serving (= 4 volume-ounces) -- see how much ice cream ingredients you're buying (rather than air) with a premium frozen dessert product vs inexpensive. Sometimes there's a significa...
by centrifuge41
Thu Jul 11, 2019 5:55 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why is Vanguard Treasury Money Market yield so high?
Replies: 104
Views: 26184

Re: Why is Vanguard Treasury Money Market yield so high?

LinusP wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 4:54 pm
Kevin M wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 2:02 pm
[...] if the income from USGO for VMFXX is about the same percentage as last year, the TEY also is slightly higher for me than for VUSXX.
I pulled the trigger on switching back from VUSXX to VMFXX today - no sense leaving 5 bp on the table, right?
Same transition today for me.
by centrifuge41
Fri Jun 28, 2019 11:48 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: New 401k Provider - Need Fund Assistance
Replies: 8
Views: 443

Re: New 401k Provider - Need Fund Assistance

Very nice lineup! If you don't have any taxable investments (only 401k + ira), then you can keep it simple by using the Target Retirement funds. Otherwise, you have a great lineup with: Vanguard Total Bond Market VBMPX Vanguard Institutional 500 Index VIIIX + (Vanguard Extended Market Index VIEIX or...
by centrifuge41
Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chase UR vs AmEx MR for economy flights and inflexible schedules?
Replies: 24
Views: 1762

Re: Chase UR vs AmEx MR for economy flights and inflexible schedules?

Yep. While chase UR burns at 1.5 cents each for general travel for Sapphire Reserve holders, there isn’t anything that good for Amex MR card holders. With Amex, assuming no Schwann card, the best you can do is to check various award programs for award space, and if nothing reasonable, use cash. Chec...
by centrifuge41
Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Luxembourg--worth visiting?
Replies: 30
Views: 2314

Re: Luxembourg--worth visiting?

Luxembourg is probably the least interesting country in Europe (I have done pretty much all of them), but it's a decent base for international train excursions. The No. 1 attraction in the city is Patten's grave, which tells you all you need to know. Thirty-six hours within Luxembourg is adequate. ...
by centrifuge41
Tue May 28, 2019 8:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: AmEx rewards points
Replies: 15
Views: 1433

Re: AmEx rewards points

Yep, Schwab approach is pretty good, as is mileage conversion option. One of my favorites is 95k ANA miles round in business class from US to Asia. For comparison, most programs require 70k round for economy. I think the other strongest transfer partners for AMEX MR to mileage for general use are Ae...
by centrifuge41
Sun May 05, 2019 6:15 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Virginia Tax Free bonds (PRVAX) vs Vanguard Muni (VWIUX)
Replies: 1
Views: 259

Re: Virginia Tax Free bonds (PRVAX) vs Vanguard Muni (VWIUX)

30 day SEC yield of 2.18%. Looks pretty good strictly from a rate perspective. Just be aware of the risks from the fund. 11.74% of the bonds are junk (BB or lower) or not rated. The bond fund is more volatile than Total Bond Market. In the past, a $11,362 investment became worth $10,522 (7.4% loss, ...
by centrifuge41
Sat May 04, 2019 1:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How soon to close credit card that was used for churn?
Replies: 24
Views: 2036

Re: How soon to close credit card that was used for churn?

I am not a WN (card) user, but it would seem to me that with a companion pass it would make some sense to actually use at least one of the cards to acquire points for award trips since they are essentially double value (companion gets a free award, right?) unless a UR card offers better earnings wi...
by centrifuge41
Sat May 04, 2019 9:27 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How soon to close credit card that was used for churn?
Replies: 24
Views: 2036

Re: How soon to close credit card that was used for churn?

For the two southwest cards, wait until year 2 fee posts. Confirm you got your year 2 3000 and 6000 rapid rewards in your account. Close card. They will credit back the year 2 fee. Same for united MileagePlus explorer. Year 2 bonus is 2 united club passes.
by centrifuge41
Thu Apr 25, 2019 6:31 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Ticker/CUSIP? BlackRock’s MSCI World ex-U.S. IMI Index Fund F
Replies: 4
Views: 259

Re: Ticker/CUSIP? BlackRock’s MSCI World ex-U.S. IMI Index Fund F

Turns out that in 2013, Vanguard switched Total Intl form MSCI World ex US IMI to the FTSE Global All Cap ex US Index. Oh well, close enough. Both indices have developed countries, developing countries, Canada, and international small caps (developed, developing, and Canadian).
by centrifuge41
Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:39 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Ticker/CUSIP? BlackRock’s MSCI World ex-U.S. IMI Index Fund F
Replies: 4
Views: 259

Re: Ticker/CUSIP? BlackRock’s MSCI World ex-U.S. IMI Index Fund F

I have that same problem with a 401k Blackrock MSCI ex-US IMI fund without a ticker. I just use Vanguard's Total Intl Admiral (VTIAX), which tracks the same index. Granted, the fee there is 0.11%. You could also use VTPSX (Total Intl Institutional Plus shares) which costs 0.07%.
by centrifuge41
Tue Apr 23, 2019 1:28 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Invest 529 or taxable account?
Replies: 55
Views: 3995

Re: Invest 529 or taxable account?

CnC wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 12:50 pm
We plan to retire well before age 60 so taxable accounts are necessary for funding early retirement.
You could use SEPP/rule 72t to cover your spending needs between the ages of 50 and 60.
by centrifuge41
Sat Apr 20, 2019 7:55 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Invest 529 or taxable account?
Replies: 55
Views: 3995

Re: Invest 529 or taxable account?

Taxable investments and 529 plans owned by the parent (even if used on behalf of the student) count the same way. An extra 10k in either bucket would raise expected family contribution by $564 each year. Instead of 529 or taxable, are you maxing all 401k/IRAs first? Assets in those don’t count towar...
by centrifuge41
Fri Apr 19, 2019 9:23 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: American Funds vs Vanguard
Replies: 69
Views: 4858

Re: American Funds vs Vanguard

Yeah, I agree. I wouldn't voluntarily pick American Funds. But if that was what was in a 401k without cheaper index fund choices, and the share class was R6 (no load, 0.2x%-0.4x% fee), I wouldn't be too upset. Growth Fund of America R6 (RGAGX) vs Vanguard Total Stock Index Admiral (VTSAX) vs Vanguar...
by centrifuge41
Fri Apr 19, 2019 2:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Consensus on I Bonds for 2019?
Replies: 67
Views: 11792

Re: Consensus on I Bonds for 2019?

If you had purchased Vanguard Prime in November 2011 and held to the present, your yield over the past 7.5 years would have been 4.4% cumulative or 0.58% per year. The I bond rate is attractive by comparison to that, especially when you also consider the avoidance of state income tax and deferral o...
by centrifuge41
Thu Apr 18, 2019 7:14 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Consensus on I Bonds for 2019?
Replies: 67
Views: 11792

Re: Consensus on I Bonds for 2019?

I'm not a buyer of I bonds. Let me challenge the prevailing view on this thread. I bought once in the past (Nov 2011 period) when I saw that the composite rate was 4.6%. 2 years later, when the composite was 1.76%, I dumped it. Back then, during that low rate period (banks like Discover savings were...
by centrifuge41
Sat Apr 13, 2019 3:53 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: HSA with HSA bank (my options?)
Replies: 44
Views: 7379

Re: HSA with HSA bank (my options?)

1. If you have zero balance in your HSABank account you are charged $3/mo for not meeting $5k monthly balance but not the $2.50/mo for having a TDA account. If however, you had a $1 balance at HSABank, you'd be charged $3.00+2.50/mo. Is that correct? Bumping an old thread. Now that interest rates a...
by centrifuge41
Sat Apr 13, 2019 1:14 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Loans from 401k -- back door investing?
Replies: 57
Views: 4539

Re: Loans from 401k -- back door investing?

Bumping an old thread... Let's assume you will definitely be at the same employer for the next 5 years, and you have the liquidity to invest in a 401k and also in taxable. Let's also assume that when you take out a loan, you can continue to do your normal 401k contributions, and those are still matc...
by centrifuge41
Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:17 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Where do you pay quarterly taxes?
Replies: 36
Views: 4183

Re: Where do you pay quarterly taxes?

not sure exactly what you're asking but pretty sure you can make a total of 2 est. tax payments/qtr and you can use whatever card you wish. There are 3 authorized credit card processors.........if you are asking if you could make 2 payments/qtr w/each processor for a total of 6.........not sure but...
by centrifuge41
Sun Feb 24, 2019 2:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is Hyundai the value sweet spot?
Replies: 139
Views: 13526

Re: Is Hyundai the value sweet spot?

I'm recommending against Hyundai. Or at least, the 6th generation Sonata. Or at least the 2.4 liter 6th generation Sonata. The MPG is terrible. There was a known scandal where Hyundai's testing did not match up with EPA standards, and most customers could not achieve the stated MPG's. I'm averaging ...
by centrifuge41
Thu Nov 29, 2018 3:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: $25k -18 days Galapagos & Machu Picchu Trek (family of 4).
Replies: 32
Views: 3543

Re: $25k -18 days Galapagos & Machu Picchu Trek (family of 4).

If you want a package deal, then go for it. If you split it up, you can likely save. Some friends flew to Baltra and realized that even when purchased on the ground, wildlife tours were $150+ a day. I'm sure a cruise would cost a lot more. While Peru is next to Ecuador, that isn't necessarily a reas...
by centrifuge41
Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: United MileagePlus - Confused and looking for cheaper options
Replies: 26
Views: 2290

Re: United MileagePlus - Confused and looking for cheaper options

Uh no, I don't think you can get good value burning MileagePlus at hotels. Someone prove me wrong. It's the other way around... converting Marriott points to United Mileageplus during the 30% bonus promo window is a very good deal.
by centrifuge41
Fri Nov 09, 2018 8:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: United MileagePlus - Confused and looking for cheaper options
Replies: 26
Views: 2290

Re: United MileagePlus - Confused and looking for cheaper options

Yep, buying up any significant amount of miles from United directly is expensive. Transfer from Chase UR makes sense, as does buying just 1 ticket with miles (you could buy the 2nd ticket with Aeroplan/Singapore/Ana/Lufthansa/Lifemiles etc). Also, oslocal mentioned a Marriott transfer. Right now, 60...
by centrifuge41
Mon Sep 17, 2018 9:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cheap Flights
Replies: 23
Views: 2467

Re: Cheap Flights

tj wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:57 pm
AA doesn't. I had to pay to check my backpack. Lame.
New policy. Link, and Forbes article.
by centrifuge41
Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cheap Flights
Replies: 23
Views: 2467

Re: Cheap Flights

Momondo, Google Flights, matrix.itasoftware.com, Southwest.

Also, Delta and AA basic economy allow overhead carry-ons. United doesn't.
by centrifuge41
Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a house 1 mile away from a municipal landfill
Replies: 43
Views: 5666

Re: Buying a house 1 mile away from a municipal landfill

I know some folks who used to live in the neighborhood right next to Mount Trashmore park in Virginia Beach. It's actually been converted for park use, and is the most popular park in the city.
by centrifuge41
Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Hilton Honors
Replies: 15
Views: 2168

Re: Hilton Honors

Hilton Honors (Formerly HHonors) offers 10 points/$ for base members. So does IHG and Marriott. I value their points at 0.4 for Hilton, 0.5 for IHG, and 0.6 for Marriott. So, in the absence of 2x point promotions, I'd say it's the worst rebate on your paid stays. Domestically, even simple roadside H...
by centrifuge41
Wed Aug 29, 2018 3:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do you save money on groceries?
Replies: 157
Views: 11059

Re: How do you save money on groceries?

OP, which town outside dc do you live? Aldi is really getok from you - is there a Lidl? Harris Teeter? I find Giant and Safeway expensive. Produce is often cheap at Asian stores (H Mart is one of the pricier Asian stores, and Lotte is one of the cheapest. Great Wall and Good Fortune are in the middl...
by centrifuge41
Thu Aug 16, 2018 3:39 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How to Underperform the Market
Replies: 48
Views: 5240

Re: How to Underperform the Market

3. Doubling down on stocks as they go to 0. Stocks can go to 0, but they cannot go to infinity. And yet, in order to make up for losing all your investment, you would need an infinite return on your next investment. I think you only need a 100% gain on your next investment of the same starting doll...
by centrifuge41
Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Plan us a trip !
Replies: 17
Views: 2252

Re: Plan us a trip !

Probably start with whatever star alliance nonstops are available from EWR, and see what interests you! Hard to go match saver inventory to dates when we don't know your interests yet :)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newark_Li ... al_Airport
by centrifuge41
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:50 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is expensive olive oil worth it?
Replies: 63
Views: 7367

Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

I find the Bertolli olive oil has significantly less flavor than the 3.99/bottle Aldi SimplyNature house brand organic olive oil. You can get more flavor for less $ if you try out Aldi or Lidl's olive oils, which always cost between $3 and $4 a bottle at Aldi, and which get to that price at Lidl whe...
by centrifuge41
Mon Jun 25, 2018 1:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: San Antonio and Austin trip
Replies: 23
Views: 1759

Re: San Antonio and Austin trip

If you wish to stay in San Antonio longer, you can visit the missions trail and see a few other missions south of the Alamo. Of course, San Antonio also has a 6 flags and a Sea World, but so do other cities. And then, off to Austin you go. If you wish, you can stop at the Outlets at San Marcos.
by centrifuge41
Wed Jun 20, 2018 7:41 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund (VMMXX) breaks 1.00 (% not $)
Replies: 236
Views: 48644

Re: Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund (VMMXX) breaks 1.00 (% not $)

Nice! Rate going up quickly.
Quick snapshot today:
CIT: 1.85%
Marcus by Goldman Sachs: 1.7%
Discover savings: 1.65%
Ally: 1.65%
Amex Savings: 1.65%
Barclays Savings: 1.65%
Capital One Money Market: 1.6%
by centrifuge41
Tue Jun 12, 2018 11:21 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: 401k Options
Replies: 10
Views: 636

Re: 401k Options

The iShares S&P 500 index and Vanguard small cap institutional index together would do well to approximate total stock market. The iShares US Aggregate bond index is a great bond fund. The Fidelity International index fund is cheap, but it looks like an EAFE fund (Europe Austro-Asia Far East). You w...
by centrifuge41
Mon Jun 11, 2018 8:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage payment with interest free credit card
Replies: 10
Views: 1095

Re: Mortgage payment with interest free credit card

There was a promo for paying bills with Plastiq using a mastercard, $250 at a time, for 0% fee.
by centrifuge41
Thu May 10, 2018 3:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hotel rewards programs
Replies: 45
Views: 5180

Re: Hotel rewards programs

Just as I thought - without elite status, typical hotel rewards programs rebate you less than the 9% that a b10g1 program like Hotels.com would rebate you. Link.
by centrifuge41
Sun May 06, 2018 6:39 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: E-Trade ETF equivalent for VTSAX (Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund Admiral Shares)?
Replies: 10
Views: 2168

Re: E-Trade ETF equivalent for VTSAX (Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund Admiral Shares)?

Thanks for starting this thread all. The E-Trade wiki page has been updated for new ETFs and changes (mostly Schwab family additions) to the no transaction fee Mutual Fund list.
by centrifuge41
Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hotel rewards programs
Replies: 45
Views: 5180

Re: Hotel rewards programs

I've been able to get quite a few free nights via hotel card sign-up bonuses. Mostly end up using the points when we want to be in a general area, but don't really care about specific location. We've kept the no fee ones and IHG cards as it gives a free night to offset the $49 fee. IHG also offers ...
by centrifuge41
Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:56 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Max out 401K with Empower or open a separate IRA
Replies: 19
Views: 2050

Re: Max out 401K with Empower or open a separate IRA

Check out the interest rate of JP Morgan Prime Money Market - Capital. Here are probably your best funds: Bond: Vanguard Total Bond Market Index I. SEC yield is probably north of 3% on this one now. Large blend: Vanguard Institutional Index-Inst Plus Mid cap: Vanguard Extended Market Index-I Interna...
by centrifuge41
Tue Apr 10, 2018 3:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Citi Thank You points -> Jet Blue, special offer, take it?
Replies: 5
Views: 747

Re: Citi Thank You points -> Jet Blue, special offer, take it?

It's decent if you live in Boston or Fort Lauderdale or something, and you'd be flying Jetblue often. But I think that generally, Lifemiles offers the best opportunities for long haul awards free of fuel surcharges, in case you want to travel internationally. Lifemiles is my new favorite Citi transf...
by centrifuge41
Sun Apr 08, 2018 12:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travel Rewards/Prague/Budapest
Replies: 14
Views: 1103

Re: Travel Rewards/Prague/Budapest

Holiday Inn Prague Congress Center is a steal at I believe 15k points a night. 3 stops away from Prague’s train station. Short walk to Vyshrad. If you are committed to the intercontinental though, I understand. As far as Budapest, I haven't been, but the 15k Radisson Blu Beke looks solid. Hopefully ...
by centrifuge41
Mon Apr 02, 2018 6:31 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Max-funding an Index Universal Life policy to the IRS limit??
Replies: 108
Views: 8751

Re: Max-funding an Index Universal Life policy to the IRS limit??

Nate79 posted for you S&P 500 performance. You should excel out the performance without dividends, with a 0% gain during loss years, but with a 13.5 (or whatever % cap) when the index makes large gains. Then you should excel out the performance with dividends, and with losses. You'll understand bett...
by centrifuge41
Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ireland accommodations
Replies: 9
Views: 1120

Re: Ireland accommodations

We stayed at the Radisson Blu Limerick for 2 nights. We came in from Dublin the night before, stayed, drove to Killarney and did the ring of Kerry, and returned to Limerick (somewhat of a long day). After the 2nd night, we headed out to the Cliffs of Moher, which is relatively close. If you choose n...
by centrifuge41
Thu Jan 25, 2018 4:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Seeking help with Asia airline flights
Replies: 6
Views: 559

Re: Seeking help with Asia airline flights

Do you have any miles? Don't forget to try San Jose airport. Surprisingly, ANA flies San Jose to Narita (where you can then connect to Beijing). You can query SHA airport in addition to PVG airport for leaving Shanghai, but you'd have to make a connection. Also, you can check Spring Airlines' websit...
by centrifuge41
Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help with Real Estate in Montgomery County MD
Replies: 6
Views: 727

Re: Help with Real Estate in Montgomery County MD

Here's an article that might provide some tangential/background perspective.
https://ggwash.org/view/65967/heres-why ... n-fix-that
by centrifuge41
Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Debating which credit card to get for airline travel
Replies: 22
Views: 2103

Re: Debating which credit card to get for airline travel

Mind saying which airport you live near, and what continents you'd want to travel to internationally? That'd guide what kinds of points are useful, to fly on which international airlines.
by centrifuge41
Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Your travel tips for Vienna and Budapest?
Replies: 23
Views: 1777

Re: Your travel tips for Vienna and Budapest?

Yes, Schonbrunn is great. It is almost as large and grand as the Louvre. Also, the Kunsthistorisches art museum is great. 2 or 3 hours is enough, but if pressed for time, focus on the floor with all of the Habsburg riches: really ornate ivory, gold, china. Pretty incredible how much treasure the Hab...
by centrifuge41
Thu Dec 28, 2017 8:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Diamonds are forever.
Replies: 94
Views: 11114

Re: Diamonds are forever.

Two round brilliant diamonds? May I recommend the ~5% premium shopping on James Allen instead. Two diamonds can have very similar specs, but look rather different. The pictures can often be worth the small price premium. What's more, sometimes you'l find a given stone on James Allen, see the picture...
by centrifuge41
Wed Dec 27, 2017 11:11 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Diamonds are forever.
Replies: 94
Views: 11114

Re: Diamonds are forever.

De Beers still controls a sizable percentage of diamonds, but it's not as big of a percent as in years past. So, diamond prices are becoming a little bit more market-driven (e.g. demand from other countries is part of the reason for the high price). Of course, there's still a huge markup. Stores can...