Search found 580 matches

by mamster
Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Living with Less. A Lot Less (NYTimes Article)
Replies: 74
Views: 11821

Re: Living with Less. A Lot Less (NYTimes Article)

But that's exactly the point, TractorGuy: there's a major qualitative difference between living small by choice and by necessity. I've lived with my wife and daughter in a 260 square foot apartment. Only for a month, but I could easily see doing it indefinitely. It was, in fact, the happiest month o...
by mamster
Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:03 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What if a savings bond gift puts you over the limit?
Replies: 2
Views: 349

What if a savings bond gift puts you over the limit?

I'm sure this has been asked before, but I searched and couldn't find the answer. Say I buy $10,000 in I-bonds for myself through TD. My grandmother then buys me a $1000 I-bond as a gift, putting me over the annual limit. What will happen? 1. Is TD smart enough not to let Grandma gift the bond to me...
by mamster
Thu Oct 25, 2012 12:39 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: SWR Article does not mention Bonds at all.......
Replies: 2
Views: 465

Re: SWR Article does not mention Bonds at all.......

The other 40% of the portfolio is assumed to be in bonds. There was a multi-decade period of terrible (negative real) bond returns in the 20th century (I don't remember the exact dates offhand, but it was something like 1948-1982). If we go through a similar period in the 21st century, that doesn't ...
by mamster
Thu Aug 30, 2012 5:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Your Favorite [Travel Destination] on Earth: Where and Why?
Replies: 94
Views: 9625

Re: Your Favorite [Travel Destination] on Earth: Where and

Oh, this is easy: Tokyo. Spent a month this year, was never bored for a second, and never had a bad meal.
by mamster
Tue Aug 28, 2012 12:06 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Recent widow who is retired
Replies: 11
Views: 1586

Re: Recent widow who is retired

This is absolutely the textbook case for a SPIA. I wouldn't consider anything else unless there's a very good reason. Do NOT buy an annuity or anything else through the advisor. Vanguard sells low-cost annuities via Income Solutions; the ones sold through immediateannuities.com are also fine. You ca...
by mamster
Sun Aug 26, 2012 3:32 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Alternative to Vanguard High-Yield Corporate fund?
Replies: 45
Views: 7675

Re: Alternative to Vanguard High-Yield Corporate fund?

Sure: a mix of 20% Vanguard Total Stock Market and 80% Total Bond Market.
by mamster
Tue Aug 14, 2012 1:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: For the advocates of renting vs owning.
Replies: 52
Views: 10008

Re: For the advocates of renting vs owning.

Assuming someone will live in a house for 30 years makes the original question akin to asking, "Given that I have unlimited risk tolerance and my job is 100% guaranteed for life, should I invest in 100% stocks?" Well, when you put it that way. On average, families with kids move often--les...
by mamster
Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:03 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard vs. Scottrade
Replies: 28
Views: 20529

Re: Vanguard vs. Scottrade

Last time I looked, Scottrade offered no commission-free bond funds. Zero. Just checked and that appears to still be the case. I found a couple. See wiki . With that said, I'd definitely prefer to invest at Vanguard instead of Scottrade. It seems like it wasn't too long ago that you couldn't easily...
by mamster
Wed Jun 27, 2012 6:38 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard vs. Scottrade
Replies: 28
Views: 20529

Re: Vanguard vs. Scottrade

Last time I looked, Scottrade offered no commission-free bond funds. Zero. Just checked and that appears to still be the case.

edit: I'm wrong. See below.
by mamster
Wed Jun 27, 2012 2:07 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Automatic contributions for Vanguard Individual 401k?
Replies: 3
Views: 525

Re: Automatic contributions for Vanguard Individual 401k?

As far as I know, you can't do it other than by payroll deduction.
by mamster
Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:01 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Contributing to ROTH from China
Replies: 8
Views: 909

Re: Contributing to ROTH from China

The income we're talking about here is "earned income." Here's how the IRS defines it, which is about what you'd expect: There are two ways to get earned income: You work for someone who pays you or You work in a business you own or run Nothing else counts as earned income; you won't have ...
by mamster
Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:54 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Can you help make Dad a hero?
Replies: 30
Views: 2607

Re: Can you help make Dad a hero?

I agree with the others that there are two good choices here: use a mix of the S&P 500 fund + total bond market, or go 100% Wellington. In either case, pick up international stocks in a Roth. Eventually, either via changes the 401(k), a new job, or several years of Roth accumulation, she'll be a...
by mamster
Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:03 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: guidance on 529 plan choices
Replies: 16
Views: 1707

Re: guidance on 529 plan choices

(Vanguard feels foreign markets are too volatile for college investing, but Morningstar has criticized Vanguard for not including foreign funds in the age-based portfolios.) Vanguard's own Nevada 529 has international stocks in the age-based options at 30% of equities, just like Vanguard's Target R...
by mamster
Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:11 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Recent college grad with new Roth IRA - seeking advice
Replies: 18
Views: 1931

Re: Recent college grad with new Roth IRA - seeking advice

If you're taking the foreign earned income exclusion, which presumably you are, you're not eligible to contribute to any kind of IRA unless your income is above the excluded amount--which it's not. The IRS doesn't consider you to have earned income if all your income is under the exempted amount, wh...
by mamster
Sun Jun 24, 2012 9:50 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: sdy
Replies: 9
Views: 1063

Re: sdy

They're just plain different. One is value- and dividend-oriented; the other is large blend. Vanguard has its own dividend aristocrats ETF, VIG. If you want to post your whole portfolio, you'll get good advice.
by mamster
Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:00 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What to invest life insurance payout for income replacement?
Replies: 4
Views: 415

Re: What to invest life insurance payout for income replacem

Oh, and CDs are certainly not a bad idea for the first five or seven years.
by mamster
Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:57 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What to invest life insurance payout for income replacement?
Replies: 4
Views: 415

Re: What to invest life insurance payout for income replacem

This is a good question but not an easy one, because the question of how to draw down an amount of money over a fairly long period of time is similar to the question of retirement income, which has produced many heavy books. That said: a 4% withdrawal rate is probably fine for a 20-year period. You ...
by mamster
Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:46 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Fed employee boglehead portfolio check
Replies: 71
Views: 3904

Re: Fed employee boglehead portfolio check

All you seem to be saying is that my AA isn't important, which seems contrary to the spirit of this forum... That's because it's not. When you have a large portfolio or are near or in retirement, your AA is important. When you're young and have a small portfolio, it's not important, because your ne...
by mamster
Thu Jun 21, 2012 5:02 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Question about the Wealthy Barber
Replies: 7
Views: 1807

Re: Question about the Wealthy Barber

Incidentally, Dave Chilton, the Wealthy Barber, came out with a followup book last year in which he recanted his recommendation of actively managed funds and said you should buy index funds. Very nice. Basically, however, this advice is wrong. There are so many ways to tap tax-advantaged accounts be...
by mamster
Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:21 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: return outweighing costs?
Replies: 9
Views: 724

Re: return outweighing costs?

You can't buy past performance. If you know ahead of time which actively managed fund will outperform, you should absolutely choose it. But you can't know that. You can certainly buy the funds that recently outperformed, which is a losing strategy.

Yes, this has been discussed before. :)
by mamster
Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:32 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 30 year TIPS Upcoming Auction - 6-21-2012
Replies: 52
Views: 5092

Re: 30 year TIPS Upcoming Auction - 6-21-2012

" if inflation heats up, interest rates almost certainly will follow". Is this right? Important planning concept and actually changes the theoretical constructs of needing TIPS to a certain extent. This is correct, but it doesn't mean that nominal bonds are as good an inflation hedge as T...
by mamster
Wed Jun 20, 2012 1:21 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Portfolio planning for 31yr old, now SAHM
Replies: 21
Views: 2242

Re: Portfolio planning for 31yr old, now SAHM

Since (from a cursory look) your entire portfolio is in tax-advantaged, and his 401(k) has Vanguard Target Retirement funds at below retail cost, why not just choose a TR fund with the asset allocation you like and use that in both of your accounts (his 401(k), your IRA)? I don't see any reason to m...
by mamster
Wed Jun 20, 2012 1:13 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Insight on Correcting an Investment Mistake
Replies: 6
Views: 745

Re: Insight on Correcting an Investment Mistake

VWNDX is probably the sector fund that invests only in companies in the glass-cleaning industry.

Sorry.
by mamster
Wed Jun 20, 2012 1:09 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Self-Employed AA and Tax Questions
Replies: 20
Views: 2008

Re: Self-Employed AA and Tax Questions

You heard sort of right. :) Anyone who doesn't participate in a workplace retirement plan (i.e., a 401(k)) can contribute to a deductible traditional IRA (tIRA for short). If you participate in a workplace retirement plan (including a solo 401(k)), you can still contribute to a tIRA, but you contrib...
by mamster
Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:01 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Self-Employed AA and Tax Questions
Replies: 20
Views: 2008

Re: Self-Employed AA and Tax Questions

1. Your AA sounds fine. There is lots of intense discussion here on what flavor of bonds, but it doesn't matter that much: pick some high-quality intermediate-term bonds (like TIPS or total bond) and stick with it. So I don't really need to balance my Total Market Bonds with TIPS? I'm a fan of TIPS...
by mamster
Tue Jun 19, 2012 7:19 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Self-Employed AA and Tax Questions
Replies: 20
Views: 2008

Re: Self-Employed AA and Tax Questions

1. Your AA sounds fine. There is lots of intense discussion here on what flavor of bonds, but it doesn't matter that much: pick some high-quality intermediate-term bonds (like TIPS or total bond) and stick with it. 2. The accountant is absolutely wrong. Do the pre-tax traditional 401(k). 3. Don't. I...
by mamster
Mon Jun 18, 2012 11:58 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 26, new job, help with new 401k
Replies: 10
Views: 872

Re: 26, new job, help with new 401k

I was thinking the same thing. The only issue that occurred to me is that, previously I contributed to PIMCO Total Return in my 401k to meet my bond contribution needs. If I no longer contributed to a bond fund in my 401k and have already maxed out my Roth IRA for the year, would I just rebalanced ...
by mamster
Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:17 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help with investment planning
Replies: 33
Views: 2405

Re: Help with investment planning

Rhonda, leaving EJ is emotionally difficult but practically simple: you just call Vanguard and they will transfer the assets over from EJ. There will be no tax penalty or fee to do this; anything that was in an IRA will stay in an IRA, which is all the IRS cares about. Once the assets are at Vanguar...
by mamster
Sun Jun 17, 2012 7:47 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help with investment planning
Replies: 33
Views: 2405

Re: Help with investment planning

Rhonda, the back-of-the-envelope calculation I was talking about is exactly what JW nearly retired posted: EJ or another high-priced advisor will take half of your retirement income if you're using a 4% withdrawal rate. Vanguard, assuming you get an average expense ratio of 0.10% (reasonable for a c...
by mamster
Sat Jun 16, 2012 10:20 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 30 year TIPS Upcoming Auction - 6-21-2012
Replies: 52
Views: 5092

Re: 30 year TIPS Upcoming Auction - 6-21-2012

You're right, I was just quoting the current YTM, not the coupon. Thanks for the analysis, #Cruncher.

I just searched Bond Desk and didn't see any TIPS STRIPS, but I don't know if I did the search correctly. Shashi, want to try it again and post a screenshot?
by mamster
Sat Jun 16, 2012 10:10 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help with investment planning
Replies: 33
Views: 2405

Re: Help with investment planning

Oh, one other note. I would be very wary about concentrating my bond holdings in a single corporate bond. GE is highly rated but not AAA, and as we've seen over the last few years, big companies can and do collapse. Consider selling the GE bonds and investing in a total bond index or similar. CDs, h...
by mamster
Sat Jun 16, 2012 10:06 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help with investment planning
Replies: 33
Views: 2405

Re: Help with investment planning

Rhonda, livesoft is right: rolling everything over to Vanguard will save you so much in fees and expenses that it will make a meaningful difference in your standard of living in retirement--or your ability to give to charity, or leave a bequest. Or all of the above. We're not talking about a small d...
by mamster
Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:44 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 30 year TIPS Upcoming Auction - 6-21-2012
Replies: 52
Views: 5092

Re: 30 year TIPS Upcoming Auction - 6-21-2012

I don't think TIPS zeroes exist, although I would be interested in buying them if they do. There are two common schools of thought here for where to put the coupons from individual TIPS. One is to retain the full inflation protection by investing the coupons in a TIPS fund. Alternatively, grok87 has...
by mamster
Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:14 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How to be a successful investor
Replies: 11
Views: 2408

Re: How to be a successful investor

I had a conversation with a friend yesterday who is very worried about the situation in Europe. This didn't surprise me: he's also worried about some economic scare, and while his savings rate is high, he's mostly building up a pile of cash that he's too afraid to invest. Bogleheads, it seems to me,...
by mamster
Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:52 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Government contractor seeking help with portfolio
Replies: 8
Views: 942

Re: Government contractor seeking help with portfolio

Yes, it seems like it would make sense to shut down your Vanguard solo 401(k) and open one with Fidelity so you can roll in your old Alaska stuff and SEP IRA. I'm not an expert in this, so before you do it, make sure to talk to Fidelity and see if anyone else pipes up here with any gotchas--there ma...
by mamster
Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:24 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Rebalancing IRA funds
Replies: 7
Views: 504

Re: Rebalancing IRA funds

Do not keep the IRA at EJ. Roll it over to Vanguard or another provider of low-cost index funds, which you can do without tax or penalty. (Call the rollover department at Vanguard to get started.) You've already determined that you don't like the advice you get at EJ, and you'll pay heavily for it i...
by mamster
Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:54 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: help with a really newbie
Replies: 1
Views: 219

Re: help with a really newbie

1. Yes, it pays to contribute the maximum to the 401(k), because you get a massive tax break for doing so. 2. Sure, you can plow money into a business to lower your tax rate, but it only makes sense to do so if you really want to start a business and expect to make a good return doing so. Otherwise ...
by mamster
Sat Jun 09, 2012 7:07 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Opening a Vanguard Nevada 529 Plan- help
Replies: 7
Views: 1346

Re: Opening a Vanguard Nevada 529 Plan- help

As long as you have the $3,000 minimum, there's no compelling reason to choose Utah over Nevada or vice versa; they're both excellent. Each of you can contribute $13,000 to the same account without exceeding the gift tax minimum. The $13,000 doesn't have to come out of earned income, so you don't ha...
by mamster
Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:47 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: US citizen working abroad: help me understand
Replies: 9
Views: 1312

Re: US citizen working abroad: help me understand

Okay, so it IS as complicated as I expected. :)

Thanks for the advice and the reading assignments.
by mamster
Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:31 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: US citizen working abroad: help me understand
Replies: 9
Views: 1312

Re: US citizen working abroad: help me understand

Karamatsu, this is hugely helpful. Thank you. I especially like the "tube" analogy.
by mamster
Thu Jun 07, 2012 3:45 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: US citizen working abroad: help me understand
Replies: 9
Views: 1312

Re: US citizen working abroad: help me understand

Oh, one other question: I notice Vanguard UK has some USD-denominated ETFs. Could it make sense for our hypothetical person working abroad to use USD-denominated investments with a company in the country where they work? Or is sending the money home always the way to go?
by mamster
Thu Jun 07, 2012 3:40 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: US citizen working abroad: help me understand
Replies: 9
Views: 1312

US citizen working abroad: help me understand

I want to make clear that this is a "help me with my homework" question. I'm a reporter for Mint.com, and I received a reader question from a person in the following situation: * US citizen, living and working abroad (passes the substantial presence test) * No US earned income after taking...
by mamster
Thu May 31, 2012 3:57 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: I need a "buy and hold" pep talk.
Replies: 49
Views: 4070

Re: I need a "buy and hold" pep talk.

trico, are you sure you understand what TLH is? It's in no way antithetical to buy and hold.
by mamster
Thu May 31, 2012 3:34 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Help! The Market is forcing me to sell my long term TIPs
Replies: 78
Views: 7831

Re: Help! The Market is forcing me to sell my long term TIPs

In this interest rate environment though, i think it will be hard for yields to decline much further. grok, people (including me!) were saying this two or three years ago. It's simply not true. You and I don't have the slightest idea what will happen to interest rates. They could go much lower. The...
by mamster
Wed May 30, 2012 10:18 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: I need a "buy and hold" pep talk.
Replies: 49
Views: 4070

Re: I need a "buy and hold" pep talk.

Do you have an investment policy statement or other written plan? It can help you stay the course by making it possible to consult the advice of someone you trust more than your friend(?): yourself.
by mamster
Wed May 30, 2012 8:55 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 24 Yr Old Risk Portfolio [Cost/Benefit Analysis]
Replies: 9
Views: 888

Re: 24 Yr Old Risk Portfolio [Cost/Benefit Analysis]

You don't have a portfolio. You have a mountain of debt; some fraction of the debt is offset by an assortment of financial assets, the precise details of which are irrelevant. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I bet some of those student loans (probably the higher-interest ones) are unsubsidized federal ...
by mamster
Wed May 30, 2012 8:46 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Is it a good time to invest Chinese Currency?
Replies: 15
Views: 1208

Re: Is it a good time to invest Chinese Currency?

Hey, this is a good place to quote from an idiotic book that I received recently; I hated it so much, maybe I can wring a drop of good out of it by sharing it here for laughs. The book is called The Little Book of the Shrinking Dollar --yes, it's in the same series that Bogle wrote for. There are pl...
by mamster
Tue May 29, 2012 7:32 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: TIPS and I-bonds yet again: talk me through this
Replies: 7
Views: 1255

Re: TIPS and I-bonds yet again: talk me through this

Haven't pulled the trigger on anything yet, obviously, because I had another thought. I have a kid who might be heading to college in ten years. (Or might decide to live in my basement and work at an art supply store, which would be acceptable if I had a basement.) As I understand it, I-bonds will b...
by mamster
Mon May 28, 2012 7:25 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: TIPS and I-bonds yet again: talk me through this
Replies: 7
Views: 1255

Re: TIPS and I-bonds yet again: talk me through this

True, but I have a Schwab account where I can buy $1000 increments, at least at auction. Not sure about secondary market.
by mamster
Mon May 28, 2012 7:14 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: TIPS and I-bonds yet again: talk me through this
Replies: 7
Views: 1255

Re: TIPS and I-bonds yet again: talk me through this

Thanks, grok. I was hoping you'd respond. I will reread and catch up on those threads.

Best,
Matthew

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