Search found 750 matches

by CaptMidnight
Tue Nov 30, 2010 10:50 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Convert my Traditional IRA to a Roth IRA?
Replies: 20
Views: 3046

The math is the same for tIRA and Roth. If an IRA contribution doubles between contribution and withdrawal and the owner's marginal rate is 33% in both cases: Mfinal tIRA = Minitial*2*0.67 Mfinal Roth = 0.67*Minitial*2 There is no advantage of tax-free withdrawals over tax-free contributions. Wheth...
by CaptMidnight
Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Rice Cookers?
Replies: 42
Views: 8588

We threw out our Zojirushi and bought a Chinese model rice maker in which the bowl and lid are made of ceramic instead of teflon covered metal. Teflon is a health hazard.

http://trusted.md/blog/vreni_gurd/2007/ ... our_health
by CaptMidnight
Wed Nov 24, 2010 7:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Are College loans the next bubble?
Replies: 21
Views: 2715

Re: Are College loans the next bubble?

Of course it's a bubble. Whenever people are willing to pay any price without regard to value, that's a bubble.
by CaptMidnight
Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Penfed AMEX rocks
Replies: 16
Views: 3453

shoetrip wrote:
tonythered wrote:
shoetrip wrote:The other huge benefit to the Penfed Amex is no foreign currency transaction fee, which adds up on trip to europe
The PenFed Visa doesn't offer this same perk?

Not to my knowledge. I have both cards
The Penfed Promise Visa has no annual fee, no late fee and no foreign transaction fee.
by CaptMidnight
Mon Nov 22, 2010 4:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: LIFE insurers playing rescission hardball?
Replies: 10
Views: 2262

P&C carriers like Allstate are known to have a policy of delaying or denying fire insurance claims as a tactic to wear down the homeowner and negotiate a lower settlement.
by CaptMidnight
Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bell System Technical Journal, 1922-1983
Replies: 29
Views: 3733

One thing about American high school-- calculus is a university subject I think. Compared to Brits Americans are undereducated at age 18, but they do catch up in their 4 year degrees (vs. our 3 year, at least in England and Wales)-- the top 1/3rd of Americans do, anyways. American high schools typi...
by CaptMidnight
Sun Nov 21, 2010 4:10 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Foreign currency
Replies: 20
Views: 2472

Re: Foreign currency

If you had to keep a portion of your money in a Foreign currency for "currency diversification" if there is such a term, what would it be? I don't think the USD is going to become the Peso, but further devaluation is possible. In addition to the options already mentioned there are a few unhedged fo...
by CaptMidnight
Sun Nov 21, 2010 12:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bell System Technical Journal, 1922-1983
Replies: 29
Views: 3733

Mathematics faculties were some of the most challenging ones in the pre-computer Soviet Union. They were frequently called "mech-mat" and covered both physics (mechanics) and mathematics. Victoria I remember a statistic from the Soviet period (probably the 80's) that gives a good idea of their rela...
by CaptMidnight
Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: NYT: The Great Cyberheist
Replies: 20
Views: 3466

The article makes my point that it is the institutions and big stores that are attacked, not your home computer. Since you will never know anything about the security of the companies you do business with or the online site, there is nothing you can do. . Yes, institutions are being attacked. But i...
by CaptMidnight
Fri Nov 19, 2010 6:58 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: NYT: The Great Cyberheist
Replies: 20
Views: 3466

The article makes my point that it is the institutions and big stores that are attacked, not your home computer. Since you will never know anything about the security of the companies you do business with or the online site, there is nothing you can do. Except for financial accounts, spread it aroun...
by CaptMidnight
Wed Nov 17, 2010 9:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Flex Spending Changes -- Upsetting ones.
Replies: 40
Views: 3890

Re: Flex Spending Changes -- Upsetting ones.

Seems odd to me that FSAs are set up to benefit the employer so much. For every dollar that a participant allocates to an FSA the employer doesn't have to pay payroll tax, assuming that the total compensation is below the payroll tax cutoff at $106,800. Then at the the end of the year all the unspen...
by CaptMidnight
Sun Nov 14, 2010 11:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Your mortgage payment is overdue!
Replies: 14
Views: 3551

Re: Your mortgage payment is overdue!

This will be a good test of the proof of payment features of EFT vs. a paper check.
by CaptMidnight
Sat Nov 06, 2010 4:11 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Is converting to a Roth IRA a good idea in my situation?
Replies: 39
Views: 4977

This presentation by an advisor group gives a very good discussion of the factors that would make a Roth conversion beneficial: https://www.bernstein.com/CmsObjectPC/pdfs/B65853_RothToRiches_WP.pdf Basically, in addition to the rate of return and tax rate considerations, the value of the Roth goes u...
by CaptMidnight
Wed Nov 03, 2010 4:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Negotiating a severance package
Replies: 41
Views: 6825

The rule in life is this: you can always negotiate. Charles I negotiated with his executioner. You can't always win, of course. For that you need enough leverage and skill. But if someone is willing to pay you to sign a piece of paper, that's prima facie evidence of some degree of clout on your part...
by CaptMidnight
Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:20 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Fidelity employer statements - any way to save?
Replies: 14
Views: 3189

I print online statements into a pdf file with the free BullZip pdf printer.

http://www.bullzip.com/products/pdf/info.php

Been using it for years. Works as advertised.
by CaptMidnight
Sun Oct 31, 2010 8:16 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard Security
Replies: 39
Views: 5499

Re: Vanguard Security

1) Ability to setup custom alerts When my American Express card was hacked on the American Express systems the hacker very thoughtfully replaced my email address on the alerts with one of his own so as not to disturb me during my overseas vacation. The fraudulent charges were $10,000. They also ale...
by CaptMidnight
Sun Oct 31, 2010 8:03 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Market-timing advisors.
Replies: 34
Views: 4686

Re: Market-timing advisors.

Names of economists who understand the implications... Even if your selected group of economists are dead right about the economy (a question that is off-topic here, BTW), that tells us nothing about the next 12 months in returns of various asset classes. I'm actually in the middle on market timing...
by CaptMidnight
Sat Oct 30, 2010 2:16 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard Security
Replies: 39
Views: 5499

Re: Vanguard Security

investomajic wrote: 1) Ability to setup custom alerts
When my American Express card was hacked on the American Express systems the hacker very thoughtfully replaced my email address on the alerts with one of his own so as not to disturb me during my overseas vacation. The fraudulent charges were $10,000.
by CaptMidnight
Sat Oct 30, 2010 1:56 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Market-timing advisors.
Replies: 34
Views: 4686

Re: Market-timing advisors.

So what has Krugman, Stiglitz, Richard C. Koo, Jan Hatzius, David Rosenberg, Shiller said to change my allocation in 2011 so I can make out like a bandit. Its one thing to have an intellectual debate on the merits of market timing. But its all based on past data which means nothing looking forward....
by CaptMidnight
Sat Oct 30, 2010 1:11 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Market-timing advisors.
Replies: 34
Views: 4686

Re: Market-timing advisors.

Can you give us some names who can in 2011? What would you suggest that we do with this information? Lets get specific. I have a 30/70 split and retired. Shall I change asset allocation, sell expensive bonds, buy cheap mutual funds, buy an annuity, see a fee only adviser, rebalance to a more 50/50?...
by CaptMidnight
Sat Oct 30, 2010 9:00 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Market-timing advisors.
Replies: 34
Views: 4686

Re: Market-timing advisors.

If professional advisor's can't time the markets, I know we're foolish to try. I disagree on these points: 1. The advisors in question are "professional" in the sense that they are paid for their services. However, "professional" in the case of financial advisors does not imply any particular level...
by CaptMidnight
Fri Oct 29, 2010 8:52 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What makes someone a saver?
Replies: 98
Views: 12709

Re: What makes someone a saver?

How powerful is conditioning? Example: If you are walking down a path and see a snake, what is it that causes you to jump back, run away, kill it, or pick it up? Is it your instincts or your conditioning? I say that conditioning is what causes us to react to a situation in the way that we do. Using...
by CaptMidnight
Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:13 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Razor Update
Replies: 62
Views: 11332

Stropping "sets up" an edge. What happens when you use any sharp edge is that it curls over and then cuts less well. The sharper it is the more it will tend to curl for a particular hardness of metal. Butchers and barbers are always stropping their edges on leather strops to set the edges back up. B...
by CaptMidnight
Fri Oct 22, 2010 5:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Encrypting Your Data for online Financial Transactions
Replies: 73
Views: 8169

As always in these discussions about how to make your desktop computer safer, it is well to keep in mind that the threat to your financial accounts mainly doesn't involve your home computer at all. Most attacks go straight to the institution. So while we should use all possible caution in managing o...
by CaptMidnight
Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quicken 2011 - Any takers?
Replies: 63
Views: 14154

Just a comment... to each his own, but I can't imagine entering all the info manually. The download feature is what makes the whole thing worthwhile. I have never heard of anyone who has actually been hacked by downloading into Quicken. But then you miss the main purpose of having your own accounti...
by CaptMidnight
Mon Oct 18, 2010 8:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Encrypting Your Data for online Financial Transactions
Replies: 73
Views: 8169

This may be slightly unethical advice in a way, but an "extra level of protection" available at no cost for most people is simply making transactions from a work computer. Most professional IT setups are going to be better than what you do at home. I work at home so I have WPK protected router, str...
by CaptMidnight
Sun Oct 17, 2010 11:31 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The psychological impact of deflation
Replies: 1
Views: 708

Dean Baker has a critique the NYTimes piece: First and most importantly, Japan is actually considerably [more] wealthy on average today than it was in 1990, contrary to the implication of this article. According to the IMF, per capita income is 16.4 percent higher in Japan today than it was in 1990....
by CaptMidnight
Thu Oct 14, 2010 4:58 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bubble to Bubble to Bubble?
Replies: 25
Views: 3790

Isn't it well known that monetary expansion fuels most bubbles? Hence the increase in bubble activity in the post-1971 world of fiat currencies. Although the deliberate Japanese monetary expansion from 2001 to 2006 didn't produce any bubble. Due, I understand, to cultural reasons -- the Japanese pe...
by CaptMidnight
Mon Oct 11, 2010 9:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bubble to Bubble to Bubble?
Replies: 25
Views: 3790

Chet wrote:Isn't it well known that monetary expansion fuels most bubbles?
Hence the increase in bubble activity in the post-1971 world of fiat currencies.
Although the deliberate Japanese monetary expansion from 2001 to 2006 didn't produce any bubble.
by CaptMidnight
Mon Oct 11, 2010 9:17 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: the global wealth pyramid
Replies: 61
Views: 7436

Re: the global wealth pyramid

north american/european citizens are very fortunate i will guess that a lot of bh members are in the top triangle (top 0.5% in net worth) http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/shirakawa/Global%20Wealth%202.jpg Very misleading graph. It should depict the aggregate wealt...
by CaptMidnight
Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:09 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bubble to Bubble to Bubble?
Replies: 25
Views: 3790

I don't think bubbles occurred in the ancient world or the Middle Ages, although they were both familiar with other purely financial problems such as bankruptcy and debasement of coinage. The earliest bubble that I am aware of was the tulip mania in the Netherlands in 1636. The early 18th century wa...
by CaptMidnight
Mon Oct 11, 2010 7:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Early Retirement: Am I Losing My Mind?
Replies: 43
Views: 7496

Re: Early Retirement: Am I Losing My Mind?

I think you have to undertake something a lot more intellectually strenuous than crossword puzzles. Like learning a language. I. F. Stone taught himself classical Greek in his retirement and then published a book on Socrates. Peter Orszag had a piece in the Times not long ago with a title that was v...
by CaptMidnight
Thu Oct 07, 2010 6:40 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Lower Minimum on Admiral Shares
Replies: 110
Views: 15526

Like George Clooney in that movie "up in the air" my life's goal had been a number. A 7 digit portfolio so I could be in the exclusive club at Vanguard. ;) Moving above 500K was a great feeling - Voyager Select - half way to my goal, but hitting those 7 digits and the "exclusivity" that came with b...
by CaptMidnight
Wed Oct 06, 2010 4:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: WaPo: Gov't pensions no longer sacred
Replies: 4
Views: 1756

Re: WaPo: Gov't pensions no longer sacred

A logical extension of WaPo's crusade against Social Security.

Here's a piece by Dean Baker:

Media Coverage Might Explain Greater Anger Over Public Pensions Than Wall Street Bonuses
http://www.cepr.net/index.php/beat-the-press/
by CaptMidnight
Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:10 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Paul and Vicki Terhorst
Replies: 28
Views: 7830

I guess the big takeaway is that even big financial goals are achievable, in a fairly short time, with sufficient commitment and the application of sound, boring principles. Discipline and patience helped a lot. Fortunately for me, not much intelligence was required. :happy And don't forget the luck.
by CaptMidnight
Tue Sep 28, 2010 6:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Free Anti-Virus Program
Replies: 60
Views: 7846

Panda Cloud Antivirus gets goods reviews. I am trying it out on a Win7 vm. Unlike other antivirus solutions instead of periodically updating a signature file it runs a thin-client that accesses an online database updated in real time.

http://www.cloudantivirus.com/en/
by CaptMidnight
Sun Sep 19, 2010 6:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retirement on Hold: American Workers $6 Trillion Short
Replies: 53
Views: 8289

bc3x wrote:One tiny problem with CaptMidnight's reasoning, the Social Security Trust Fund is a bunch of IOU's.
Odd, the rest of the world considers US Treasury IOUs, aka "bonds", to be among the safest securities in the world.
by CaptMidnight
Sun Sep 19, 2010 3:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retirement on Hold: American Workers $6 Trillion Short
Replies: 53
Views: 8289

The Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees 2010 Report Summary notes: "Social Security expenditures are expected to exceed tax receipts this year for the first time since 1983" with "a projected deficit of $41 billion" in 2010 and insolvency in 2037. Retirement has receded further into the...
by CaptMidnight
Sat Sep 18, 2010 7:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retirement on Hold: American Workers $6 Trillion Short
Replies: 53
Views: 8289

Jacobkg wrote:My concern:

People w/o enough retirement savings + underfunded social security program = ???
SS is not underfunded.
by CaptMidnight
Sat Sep 18, 2010 9:47 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retirement on Hold: American Workers $6 Trillion Short
Replies: 53
Views: 8289

today's corporate world is loving the lean and mean work force banging out the production for fear of losing their jobs. overhead down, profits up, means the unemployed and underemployed roles will be here for awhile. working longer may not be an option despite the superiority of a "senior" profess...
by CaptMidnight
Sat Sep 18, 2010 9:42 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Wells Fargo "International Personal Banking"
Replies: 28
Views: 6813

* I was paid partially in $ and partially in local currency. I tried to keep 3 months expenses in my local bank and then did monthly transfers as needed to maintain this balance. Exchange rate risk is much more of an issue that the small monthly wire fee. Sounds like during your expat years you est...
by CaptMidnight
Sat Sep 18, 2010 9:24 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does Expired License Void Auto Liability Insurance?
Replies: 40
Views: 11335

My FIL is 87 and drives well when I ride with him. He avoids nighttime driving. He was run into by a couple from England 2 yrs ago on vacation their fault. Im dreading that day when he cannot do it anymore. In all the discussions here about the choices in retirement planning and aging I don't recal...
by CaptMidnight
Fri Sep 17, 2010 4:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does Expired License Void Auto Liability Insurance?
Replies: 40
Views: 11335

Overage driving must be a widespread problem. My 88-year-old father has already had 2 accidents, both of which were his admitted fault. Still drives. Lives in a town with free bus service. I just don't get the reasoning at all.
by CaptMidnight
Wed Sep 15, 2010 4:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retirement on Hold: American Workers $6 Trillion Short
Replies: 53
Views: 8289

Why would anyone assume that jobs will be available for those who want to continue working? The responses from companies to questionnaires about how willing they are to retain their employees past 65 are not encouraging. My observations of companies that I have worked in is that older workers are no...
by CaptMidnight
Tue Sep 14, 2010 5:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Wells Fargo "International Personal Banking"
Replies: 28
Views: 6813

We are planning to move abroad next year so I am not speaking from experience here, but this is what my research so far indicates: To preserve all access to US financial institutions it is better to use a mail forwarding service, which should provide a street mailing address in a non-income tax stat...
by CaptMidnight
Mon Sep 13, 2010 6:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Accurate home blood pressure monitor?
Replies: 42
Views: 9342

I've completely lost faith in most people taking my blood pressure. About three times out of four, they don't know what they are doing. In my experience that includes doctors. Makes you wonder if they fail to execute correclty this simple procedure. which you are capable of evaluating, how much is ...
by CaptMidnight
Sun Sep 12, 2010 5:03 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Roubini - expect recession to continue
Replies: 41
Views: 4929

Three years ago Nouriel Roubini was a run of the mill, largely unknown, academic economist. He was at the right place, at the right time, in predicting the housing bust and its multitude of related woes. The REAL question: Is Roubini (a) a one trick pony (does anyone remember Elaine Garzarelli) or ...
by CaptMidnight
Sun Sep 12, 2010 1:52 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Maximum happiness requires an income of $75,000 per year.
Replies: 53
Views: 8470

Intersting that no one mentioned that the study made a distinction between day-to-day happiness, which it claims doesn't improved about $75k/yr, and general satisfaction with life which continues to improve. Day-to-day feelings of happiness are known to be highly susceptible to recency and may be no...
by CaptMidnight
Sat Sep 11, 2010 11:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: USAA Members: How does ATM fee reimbursement work?
Replies: 9
Views: 12018

Re: Foreign currency fee

Anyone have experience with this new fee-free PFCU Visa card? (As you can tell, we are late adopters of technologic advances. However, she LOVES Skype. If it malfunctions, she waits for me to come home to "fix it") Shawcroft I also have the Penfed Promise Visa card that doesn't charge any: annual f...
by CaptMidnight
Sat Sep 11, 2010 9:00 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Is it too late to be saved ????
Replies: 7
Views: 2731

TIPS aren't so appropriate for someone living in Taiwan and subject to the Taiwanese, rather than US, rate of inflation.