Search found 424 matches

by rj49
Thu Sep 20, 2018 3:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Credit card question - get Uber's new 4%er?
Replies: 53
Views: 6352

Re: Credit card question - get Uber's new 4%er?

There are a couple of other benefits to the Uber card that add to its benefits...cell phone protection if you use it to pay your bill, and $50 reimbursement for streaming services (including Amazon Prime) after $5,000 in spending. So that would in effect add another 1% to your benefits...I used it t...
by rj49
Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Side Hustle Options/Suggestions.
Replies: 95
Views: 8907

Re: Side Hustle Options/Suggestions.

Uber Eats is an option, since your car would qualify and you could even take your kid along, which I've seen some delivery people do. I drive for Uber and Lyft and make much more money than I did trying Uber Eats, and found a zero-down lease for a Corolla for $183 a month, which I pay for easily. I ...
by rj49
Mon Aug 20, 2018 3:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: San Diego - where to stay, what to do with 6 year old
Replies: 30
Views: 2127

Re: San Diego - where to stay, what to do with 6 year old

Hotel Circle is where most of the affordable lodging is, next to the freeway and close to a mall, so it's about 10 minutes from Seaworld. My favorite spot to stay is Pacific Beach, which has some cheaper motels and some AirBnbs by the beach. It has a nice boardwalk that goes for miles, and there's a...
by rj49
Mon Aug 20, 2018 3:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do you pay for purchase of a vehicle in retirement?
Replies: 38
Views: 3970

Re: How do you pay for purchase of a vehicle in retirement?

Instead of withdrawing from assets to buy a vehicle, I prefer a cheap lease. To me retirement is a time to enjoy life, which I get from variety and freedom, so I don't want to be tied to expensive payments or spending a lot of money on a depreciating asset, or to get my thrills from expensive toys t...
by rj49
Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Using Uber Without A Cellular Data Connection (UPDATE)
Replies: 25
Views: 2583

Re: Using Uber Without A Cellular Data Connection

Schiphol airport has excellent train and bus service, but if you want to use Uber I'd get a SIM at the airport, as long as you have a GSM phone, then you can use data when you're sightseeing and get maps and directions, as well as find restaurants. Or you could save the cost of a 30-minute Uber or t...
by rj49
Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Decided on Chromebook, now need spec help
Replies: 59
Views: 4286

Re: Decided on Chromebook, now need spec help

To me the most important aspect of a Chomebook is getting an HD screen. It makes a huge difference, especially for someone who is used to a Retina screen on an ipad. My choice was the Toshiba Chromebook 2, which is 3 lbs, has a 13" screen, true HD display, good Skullcandy speakers, and a nice keyboa...
by rj49
Sat Jul 21, 2018 2:23 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: GMO 7 year forecasts are worse than a toss of a coin
Replies: 47
Views: 4451

Re: GMO 7 year forecasts are worse than a toss of a coin

I wouldn't call Grantham a permabear--he came out last year and admitted there's no use in battling against conditions perfect for market advances (although of course he predicted an eventual crash). The issue is what do to about his forecasts, especially since people are fleeing his company due to ...
by rj49
Thu Jul 19, 2018 6:51 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How do you handle the urge to DO something?
Replies: 102
Views: 7568

Re: How do you handle the urge to DO something?

It's a big temptation, especially being retired, with the lethal combination of boredom and too much caffeine. It's the same impulse that makes some go buy something, although in many cases impulsive investing moves can be much more costly, especially in response to a steep market drop or prediction...
by rj49
Tue Jul 17, 2018 10:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why own a bed?
Replies: 140
Views: 10039

Re: Why own a bed?

You can buy shrunken, shrink-wrapped mattresses on Amazon that fill with air after you unroll them. I paid $220 for a firm queen, sold by SIgnature Sleep, another $80 or so for a folding, supportive wire frame with 14" of storage space (no need for a box spring), and then I bought a foam topper to s...
by rj49
Sun Jul 15, 2018 12:40 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Washington GET 529 Reopened: Good deal?
Replies: 50
Views: 7300

Re: Washington GET 529 Reopened: Good deal?

I convinced my sister, who has 3 kids within 3 years of college, to switch her GET credits to the 529, but only into the static portfolio invested entirely in a money market fund yielding 1.7%. Otherwise she'd be exposed to stock and bond market risks when she needs the money right soon, and since a...
by rj49
Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:40 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Real Estate Investment: Yay or Nay?
Replies: 27
Views: 2208

Re: Real Estate Investment: Yay or Nay?

I prefer to skip the headaches of rental ownership and but keep the income and potential for gains, by investing in Fundrise, which owns mostly multifamily residential throughout the country, funds new projects, and does some house flipping in high-demand places like LA and DC. I just received my qu...
by rj49
Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travel credit cards
Replies: 28
Views: 2821

Re: Travel credit cards

You can check prioritypass.com to see what lounges are available where you travel, since it’s included under the CSR. The credit for TSA precheck/global entry can also save you lots of time and hassle. The AMEX platinum is also an option, although it’s $200 travel credit is tied to expenses on one a...
by rj49
Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:35 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 50/50 blend of VWENX+VUSUX provides ridiculous risk adjusted return vs 100% stocks
Replies: 22
Views: 2808

Re: 50/50 blend of VWENX+VUSUX provides ridiculous risk adjusted return vs 100% stocks

Wellington has underperformed its composite index over the past 10 years, a classic case of a fund becoming too big to outperform ($100 billion in assets) and turning into a closet index fund. Another example of recency bias and skating to where the puck was. It’s why Larry and other slice-and-dicer...
by rj49
Sat Jul 07, 2018 12:15 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: bike helmets
Replies: 82
Views: 5022

Re: bike helmets

I'm not sure how we in the US became so fixated on bicycle helmets, since Germans and Japanese and others around the world do without. I've also noticed that people, including myself at times, wear the helmet too loose and/or too far up the head to provide any reliable protection in a crash. In my 5...
by rj49
Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:46 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I continue to hold REITs?
Replies: 53
Views: 5821

Re: Should I continue to hold REITs?

If you want real estate exposure without as much volatility as public REITs, you can look at crowdsourcing real estate sites, several of which are available to non-accredited investors. I invest in Fundrise, which mainly invests in apartment complexes around the US, particularly in high-demand citie...
by rj49
Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:31 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Index Fund vs. ETF for Long Term Investment
Replies: 21
Views: 1835

Re: Index Fund vs. ETF for Long Term Investment

If you're a novice investor, I would steer clear of ETFs, simply because you're going to too tempted to trade them frequently, usually when a fund is doing well (buying high) and selling laggards (selling low). This is especially tempting with VG having no-fee ETF trades now, which takes away the sl...
by rj49
Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:36 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Emerging Markets in Bear Territory
Replies: 65
Views: 8855

Re: Emerging Markets in Bear Territory

I look on the positive of having its volatility buried within Target Retirement funds, and the funds buying more at lower prices in order to rebalance internally. Then evidently the TSP income fund I own will shift to an international index that includes EM stocks, so that portion will also be bough...
by rj49
Tue Jun 26, 2018 2:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Reason for Airlines horrible ticket policy
Replies: 32
Views: 2290

Re: Reason for Airlines horrible ticket policy

Alaska allowed you to make ticket changes for free--until a few weeks ago, due to market pressure for more profitability, the same reason Jetblue caved to shrink seats and charge for baggage. You can at least console yourself with the goal of such restrictions being to increase the value of the airl...
by rj49
Tue Jun 26, 2018 2:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retirees: When you cut spending, what do you cut?
Replies: 84
Views: 8771

Re: Retirees: When you cut spending, what do you cut?

Some I cut include home internet (it encourages too much sitting in front of a computer), cable/satellite tv (I use Netflix DVD service and go to movie theatres now), dining out daily (I get good variety and healthy options at Trader Joe's), and expensive cell phone plans (Mintsim gives me 10GB a mo...
by rj49
Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Travel hacking for frequent international flights: Chase Sapphire preferred or any other card?
Replies: 22
Views: 3141

Re: Travel hacking for frequent international flights: Chase Sapphire preferred or any other card?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is essentially a $150 card, since you're getting credit for $300 of your travel expenses. You also get TSA Precheck/Global entry credit, which will save you plenty of time and hassle, especially returning exhausted from an international flight--I was through immigration an...
by rj49
Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:48 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Using Wellesley Fund as a bond alternative
Replies: 18
Views: 2460

Re: Using Wellesley Fund as a bond alternative

Wellesley also throws off some high st capital gains from buying and selling. It’s also not a diversified bond fund, since it’s mostly longer-duration corporate bonds, without the government bond percentage and diversified duration of TBM. People find all sorts of rationalizations for investing in W...
by rj49
Fri Jun 15, 2018 5:02 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard Managed Payout Fund
Replies: 30
Views: 3031

Re: Vanguard Managed Payout Fund

If you look at the history of the fund, they frequently change the portfolio make-up because of what they see as market inefficiencies, which in practice can also be seen as performance chasing and market timing. So you'd never know that what you bought wouldn't suddenly change, and you have to deal...
by rj49
Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 2800
Views: 559243

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

I am about to embark on a 4 month trip at my own expense. The area I will be traveling in is mostly populated by the large hotel chains, not many independent options. I have the Marriott, IHG, Hilton, Choice and Hyatt cards. I am wondering if there is any way to hack this - i.e. which program is mo...
by rj49
Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Low inflation caused by e-commerce?
Replies: 15
Views: 2219

Re: Low inflation caused by e-commerce?

Inflation is a personal matter, so official statistics won't have as much bearing on your individual retirement as the type of costs you face and your personal spending flexibility. For instance, if you are intending to put children through college, house your adult children, or rent a house or apar...
by rj49
Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy
Replies: 51
Views: 3798

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

I just returned from a week in Venice. The heat and crowds are a bit overwhelming at this time of year, as in Florence and Rome, so if you're coming in early I'd actually go to Padua and Verona on day trips. Lodging in those cities are about half the price as Venice for much nicer hotels, but if you...
by rj49
Thu Jun 14, 2018 6:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Long Weekend in November - NOLA, Austin, Other
Replies: 26
Views: 1426

Re: Long Weekend in November - NOLA, Austin, Other

I have a more novel suggestion--you can fly direct to Dublin from Boston on Aer Lingus for $400 r/t from Nov 9-12, which includes a bag and a meal. It's a center of history and culture (not many cities offer a literary pub crawl), it's one of the most youthful and hip European cities, so the food an...
by rj49
Thu Jun 14, 2018 6:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bidding for airline flight class upgrade
Replies: 9
Views: 1489

Re: Bidding for airline flight class upgrade

I won an upgrade to premium on Norwegian Air a few weeks ago, Seattle to London. I bid the minimum, $230, which was actually more expensive than the original ticket ($160), but in came with a better meal, free booze and other drinks, and of course plenty of room to recline in comfort and not have to...
by rj49
Tue Jun 05, 2018 3:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: steel cut oats in bulk
Replies: 50
Views: 4391

Re: steel cut oats in bulk

If you’re like me and consider my time and convenience valuable, you might try Trader Joe’s frozen steel cut oats. Each box has two generous servings, about $1.70 per box, and takes 3 minutes to make. It comes out at a perfect consistency, has a small amount of maple syrup and brown sugar already ad...
by rj49
Tue Jun 05, 2018 3:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Driving through Venice - Stay in Venice or Mestre??
Replies: 9
Views: 950

Re: Driving through Venice - Stay in Venice or Mestre??

Venice is perfect at night and in the morning, stifling during the day. So by choosing money over convenience you’ll miss out on a lot. With heat and crowds and few places to sit, kids aren’t going to last long, whereas having a Venice hotel allows you breaks/siestas/escapes from heat and hordes and...
by rj49
Sun May 06, 2018 1:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: MoviePass-Too good to be true, but it's legit.
Replies: 362
Views: 46861

Re: MoviePass-Too good to be true, but it's legit.

My son has a MoviePass and loves it. It's also an easy decision for the theaters. It's like a casino comping a room. It's already built, so any further use is pure profit. And they make the real money on the concessions. That is no joke. we went to the movies Friday for the first time in years - I ...
by rj49
Sun May 06, 2018 12:55 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Retirement at 43-45 (Military)
Replies: 17
Views: 3010

Re: Retirement at 43-45 (Military)

I was interested in starting TSP/IRA for both of us but we cant touch the growth before 59.5 without penalties from my understanding. Ideal scenario would be to invest in taxable investments, then start with drawing once she retires (2036). This would mean we are both 43 which is under the 59.5 thr...
by rj49
Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 3 days in London - must dos?
Replies: 31
Views: 2175

Re: 3 days in London - must dos?

You can check out the London Pass, which I find spurs me to see as many sights as possible to get the full value out of it. It includes hop-on bus and Thames river tours, as well as the Tower of London and even the expensive trip to the top of the Shard. Also look into getting an Oystercard, where y...
by rj49
Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:55 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Would you buy this? (Phone Question)
Replies: 18
Views: 1351

Re: Would you buy this? (Phone Question)

I'd go into a store and try out the 8 and 8 plus, because my dad and sister and I have both tried the smaller phone and realized we like the larger screen of the plus. If you find that's true, or if you want to upgrade your other phone to keep with ios, you could check out swappa.com, which is an eb...
by rj49
Wed Apr 11, 2018 12:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cruise or other vaca ideas for Dad w/13yr old twin boys?
Replies: 36
Views: 2685

Re: Cruise or other vaca ideas for Dad w/13yr old twin boys?

You might check out the Carnival 4-day cruises that leave out of Long Beach, CA, and go to Catalina Island (zip lining, biking, ropes course) and Ensenada (shopping and sightseeing). It has a water slide and putt-putt golf and deck parties, and I didn't feel like I was on a frat party or Spring brea...
by rj49
Mon Mar 26, 2018 10:58 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Treasury Bills vs. I-bonds vs. Intermediate-term tax-exempt muni bonds
Replies: 24
Views: 4044

Re: Treasury Bills vs. I-bonds vs. Intermediate-term tax-exempt muni bonds

If you're reallocating bonds based on short-term interest rate changes, then you might not have the patience to stay invested in ibonds. I had them for many years, but then when there's no inflation, you're not getting paid much in the way of an inflation adjustment. They're also a pain to deal with...
by rj49
Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:07 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Are Apartment REITS a better diversifier than VG REIT Index?
Replies: 34
Views: 4005

Re: Are Apartment REITS a better diversifier than VG REIT Index?

You might look at Fundrise, a crowdsourcing site that invests primarily in residential housing around the US, with primary emphasis in the LA and DC areas. It's structured as something called an ereit, with a price that they try to keep stable, so it doesn't have the ups and downs of a traded REIT, ...
by rj49
Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:01 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why International again?
Replies: 224
Views: 24963

Re: Why International again?

To me, using past data to predict future international returns isn't wise, since the international indices were dominated completely by the Japan bubble and it's fall, which dragged down international returns until 2000 or so. It also ignores the strength of emerging market economies--you rarely saw...
by rj49
Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "An Ideal Retirement Spending Strategy?" (from Oblivious Investor)
Replies: 31
Views: 5527

Re: "An Ideal Retirement Spending Strategy?" (from Oblivious Investor)

The RMD method seems, like the 4% rule, unrealistic and doesn't fit spending patterns throughout life. Most retirees spend more earlier in retirement, for travel, bucket list things, expensive hobbies, home projects, a second home, finishing off a mortgage, buying toys (sports cars, etc). So lower s...
by rj49
Tue Mar 06, 2018 10:58 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Larry Swedroe’s New Book Available: Reducing Risk Of Black Swans
Replies: 130
Views: 15238

Re: Larry Swedroe’s New Book Available: Reducing Risk Of Black Swans

--I think Larry's best belief is investing with the ability, willingness, and need to take risk. --Experts change their investment portfolios over time, depending on market changes--did anybody here invest in REITS, value funds, TIPS, ibonds, and emerging markets prior to 2000? It was only after the...
by rj49
Fri Mar 02, 2018 12:59 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Traditional vs Roth TSP & Retire Early?
Replies: 16
Views: 1704

Re: Traditional vs Roth TSP & Retire Early?

If you're going to retire early, you might want to add the G fund to your allocation at some point. Unlike regular bond funds, it will rise with inflation and interest rates, so it's the safest fixed income possible, especially for an early retiree needing income--if we had a 2001 or 2007 type of ma...
by rj49
Fri Mar 02, 2018 12:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: PC Guy. Inherited a Mid-2012 MacBook Pro ($500 value). Talk me into/out of keeping it.
Replies: 37
Views: 2927

Re: PC Guy. Inherited a Mid-2012 MacBook Pro ($500 value). Talk me into/out of keeping it.

I'd sell it and get a Chromebook with an HD screen. I also have an ipad and iphone and iMac, but Macbooks are too heavy to take around and too expensive to compensate for the risks of damage or theft. The only reason to have one would be if you need to do serious work on the road or in a coffee shop...
by rj49
Fri Mar 02, 2018 12:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Thinking of getting an Apple Watch
Replies: 82
Views: 8960

Re: Thinking of getting an Apple Watch

The best part is that it easily and effectively motivates you to move and do exercise, automatically giving you weekly goals, as well as getting 30 minutes a day of exercise. There's no boring step count, as on other fitness trackers, and it's easy to do a specific workout. It gives nudges to comple...
by rj49
Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Draw Down Plan - Stanford Longevity Report
Replies: 11
Views: 987

Stanford papers on retirement withdrawal strategies

[Thread merged into here, see below. --admin LadyGeek] I saw this article in Marketwatch, describing a Stanford study on optimal retirement withdrawals. The short answer is to use savings to delay SS until age 70, and then use RMDs for discretionary spending. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres...
by rj49
Thu Feb 22, 2018 1:41 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Looking into Hands Off Commercial Real Estate
Replies: 14
Views: 1737

Re: Looking into Hands Off Commercial Real Estate

One option for hands-off investing is Fundrise, which I invest in since I want real estate income with minimal hassles. It invests in apartment complexes and new housing construction, with a focus in steady-growth areas like the DC and LA areas, but with diversification across the US. What I like ab...
by rj49
Thu Feb 22, 2018 1:10 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Military FIRE; 7 years to go & losing motivation--HELP!
Replies: 36
Views: 3839

Re: Military FIRE; 7 years to go & losing motivation--HELP!

One thing you can do to assume you'll both be at E-9 by retirement age, and then calculate the amount of pension you'd accrue for the rest of a normal lifetime. You can look up how much a healthcare plan equal to Tricare on the healthcare.gov site and project that out for a lifetime as well. Then pr...
by rj49
Tue Feb 20, 2018 8:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Alaska Cruise Suggestions
Replies: 23
Views: 1999

Re: Alaska Cruise Suggestions

I can suggest an alternate cruise option--taking the Alaska marine ferry, which leaves from Bellingham WA and goes up the coast to various cities, including smaller ports that can't handle cruise ships. You can rent cabins, bring your own food or buy on board, get on and off, and you're not dealing ...
by rj49
Tue Feb 20, 2018 7:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Seeking Cruise Suggestions
Replies: 36
Views: 2658

Re: Seeking Cruise Suggestions

Instead of looking for some niche cruise company, you might try an itinerary that's rich in history and art and culture, specifically a Baltic cruise. I did one on Norwegian last June that went from Copenhagen to Germany (long daytrip to Berlin or more interesting churches and history of nearby Rost...
by rj49
Sun Feb 18, 2018 12:31 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Retirees: The common sense withdrawal method
Replies: 168
Views: 19074

Re: Retirees: The common sense withdrawal method

Here's a timely post on the failings of a 4% rule, by a retired AOL exec named Dirk Cotton. Like Bill Bernstein, he replaced a lucrative first career with investment research and writing, and I've found his blog posts interesting and well-informed. Unlike other retirement withdrawal writers (Pfau, K...
by rj49
Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:36 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Retirees: The common sense withdrawal method
Replies: 168
Views: 19074

Re: Retirees: The common sense withdrawal method

It all depends on your safety net (pensions, paid-off house, health care), your self-control and spending style (spendthrift with a gambling instinct would benefit from rules that limit spending, whereas a frugal person might need to encourage spending to get over the reluctance to touch principal o...
by rj49
Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:26 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Wellesley Income performance
Replies: 16
Views: 3245

Re: Wellesley Income performance

Wellesley is the epitome of the danger of buying a fund based on past performance, since it's been in 65% long-duration bonds during a 30-year bull market for bonds, and for much of its history their dividend-heavy stocks have paid out well and active management has given them the chance to buy and ...