Search found 445 matches

by rj49
Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?
Replies: 42
Views: 2438

Re: Garmins & Fitbits: Worth it for non-athletes?

I tried many, and the problem is that they are difficult to use, counting steps becomes monotonous (some count driving as steps too), and I bike a lot, which most have difficulty measuring simply. They are mostly ugly and too large, and require synching to special software, which becomes a pain, as ...
by rj49
Fri Nov 09, 2018 12:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Favorite "free stuff"?
Replies: 137
Views: 10339

Re: Favorite "free stuff"?

Trader Joe's samples are good, especially when they leave out cookies close to closing and nobody's manning the sample counter to see how many I take :). Since November 11 is coming up, I enjoy the plethora of free meals offered by restaurants to veterans. Although now that I drive Uber and Lyft, I'...
by rj49
Fri Nov 09, 2018 12:01 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What to use for taxable fixed income- high bracket don’t like munis
Replies: 4
Views: 661

Re: What to use for taxable fixed income- high bracket don’t like munis

I'd guess you're bothered by bond NAV losses, as everyone else who has been used to decades of bond gains. If you want to avoid both NAV fluctuations and taxation, you could look at the VG Municipal Money Market fund, which keeps a $1 NAV and has a 1.5% yield, which would presumably increase as ST r...
by rj49
Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:56 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Paul Merriman's 2-fund portfolio: Suggestions for small-cap funds
Replies: 15
Views: 2135

Re: Paul Merriman's 2-fund portfolio: Suggestions for small-cap funds

It's not worth following his advice, IMHO, since as others have mentioned, he constantly switches recommendations based on cherry-picked past returns. For years he was dismissive of Jack Bogle, implying he was misguided for recommending US total market and bond investing, and he used past returns of...
by rj49
Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:36 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: PenFed new savings rates
Replies: 19
Views: 2255

Re: PenFed new savings rates

Penfed used to have great rates and great service. Now they are just overwhelming with advertising and spam and security codes--nothing more frightening than being told by customer service I can't access my money without an obscure PIN I forgot about. I also looked for quotes for a mortgage and car ...
by rj49
Tue Oct 30, 2018 10:55 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: VWELX, VTSMX [Vanguard Wellington, Total Stock Market]
Replies: 7
Views: 1537

Re: VWELX, VTSMX [Vanguard Wellington, Total Stock Market]

People piled into Wellington based on past performance. But if you look at the Vanguard fund page, it shows it's lagged a similar composite index for the past year/5 years/10 year period. So investors would have been better off buying equivalent index funds. It also has 100 large-cap stocks, versus ...
by rj49
Tue Oct 30, 2018 10:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Girlfriend's Student Loans
Replies: 101
Views: 9271

Re: Girlfriend's Student Loans

I took care of my wife's student loans as a wedding present, since I hate debt. She decided she didn't want to stay married not long after marrying, so along with a new car and $5,000 ring, she ended up with no student loans. So even though it's a difficult thing to think about, you might picture ho...
by rj49
Tue Oct 30, 2018 10:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: When to get a new toilet?
Replies: 52
Views: 3870

Re: When to get a new toilet?

Go on Angie's list, they'll put in a new $100 toilet for a modest fee, since there isn't a lot of plumbing involved, and get rid of the old toilet. The other benefit of a new one is that they have better water conservation while flushing better, so you'll save on water bills (my city utility gave me...
by rj49
Tue Oct 30, 2018 10:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Treasure Island or Bally's in Las Vegas
Replies: 32
Views: 2274

Re: Treasure Island or Bally's in Las Vegas

Treasure Island has Adventuredome, a huge inside amusement park, and you can get an unlimited ride wristband for under $30. You can also get package entertainment deals for the Titanic and Bodies exhibits at Luxor, shark reef at Mandalay, and I believe 3D/4D movies at Excalibur--I think it's $55 or ...
by rj49
Wed Oct 24, 2018 2:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Car lease is up: buy it or get a new lease?
Replies: 46
Views: 3893

Re: Car lease is up: buy it or get a new lease?

I'm in the same lease situation, with my first lease on a Corolla expiring in two months. I thought of buying, but then it's gotten a few scratches and fabric stains and I'm not in love with the car (especially with a redesigned model coming out in 2020). I also hate auto hassles and haggling, but f...
by rj49
Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:50 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help with Fixed Income Allocation in Early Retirement
Replies: 7
Views: 1314

Re: Help with Fixed Income Allocation in Early Retirement

If you're hesitant over bonds due to interest rate risk and NAV fluctuations, you could try gradually setting up a CD ladder, which will rise if interest rates do so, diversifying the interest rate risk. I diversify interest rate risk by investing in Veterans bonds through Streetshares, which pays a...
by rj49
Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should we move to San Diego from east coast?
Replies: 138
Views: 10872

Re: Should we move to San Diego from east coast?

My impressions as a WA resident who visits San Diego 4-5 times a year is that homelessness is getting sort of overwhelming there. My other worry long-term would be availability of water, since not too long ago there were serious droughts around the state, and even talk of building an expensive desal...
by rj49
Sun Oct 07, 2018 3:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best deals to buy iphones
Replies: 66
Views: 6598

Re: Best deals to buy iphones

I buy older models on swappa.com, but in mint condition. Sellers have to show detailed photos of the phone and any imperfections, and all purchases are paid by paypal and have guarantees. It's sort of like an ebay just for phones. I bought a new-looking iphone SE for $120 on there. As others have sa...
by rj49
Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Plan For Depleting Your Investments If No Heirs?
Replies: 39
Views: 4736

Re: Plan For Depeting Your Investments If No Heirs?

One way is the 1/n approach...instead of withdrawing a percentage yearly, divide your life expectancy by fund shares and sell a certain number of shares yearly (presuming you have a floor of guaranteed spending like SS and other safe investments to provide for necessities and don't have a mortgage)....
by rj49
Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Amazon Prime/Whole Foods/AMEX Blue Cash Preferred dilemma
Replies: 26
Views: 2216

Re: Amazon Prime/Whole Foods/AMEX Blue Cash Preferred dilemma

I usually save $300 or so a year with AMEX cruise savings. I also use the BCP to save about 10% or so on gas, by getting Arco gift cards at Safeway, so I get 6% plus the gift cards get the cash price for Arco gas, saving more money, and an Arco station a few miles away usually has some of the cheape...
by rj49
Tue Oct 02, 2018 7:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cruise deals?
Replies: 47
Views: 3202

Re: Cruise deals?

Most cruise sites just use the prices from cruise companies, so you won’t get much variation. Norwegian has great last-minute deals, The cheapest kid-friendly cruise I’ve found is the Carnival Imagination and Inspiration, which does 3-4 day cruises from Long Beach, which families love, especially wi...
by rj49
Tue Oct 02, 2018 7:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Shopping for All Inclusive Vacations
Replies: 6
Views: 1092

Re: Shopping for All Inclusive Vacations

I look at Puerto Vallarta through Alaska Air, which gives good combined packages. I like PV for safety, convenience, and the comforting presence of plenty of US and Canadian snowbirds and residents. I go there regularly on cruises, and it seems family friendly as well, without the party town vibe of...
by rj49
Fri Sep 28, 2018 7:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Prime - Value?
Replies: 89
Views: 7584

Re: Amazon Prime - Value?

No, I wasn’t at all so cancelled. Whatever value you get will be wiped out by unnecessary purchases. I spend much less since I cancelled, and the $25 threshold for free shipping makes me spend more mindfully. Plus their 5-day shipping comes to me through USPS during the day when Ikm home, whereas 2-...
by rj49
Fri Sep 28, 2018 7:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone ever tired of managing hair and consider shaving to go bald
Replies: 59
Views: 4406

Re: Anyone ever tired of managing hair and consider shaving to go bald

I compromise with a short all-over cut, I just go in once a month and pay a barber $10 to do a #1 blade cut. No head shaving hassles or nistakes, no chrome-dome self-consciousness, $10 a month. Twenty years in the military gave me an appreciation for short hair, so when it touches my ears or gets sh...
by rj49
Fri Sep 28, 2018 7:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Costco vision / first time at Costco
Replies: 21
Views: 1914

Re: Costco vision

Zenni optical is what I use. It usually comes out to $30 or so for bifocals for me, and if I don’t like them I just donate them to LIon’s Club and try another pair. Much bigger selection than a Costco and without the huge markup. They have a feature now to vitually try on pairs with a photo of your ...
by rj49
Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Seattle and (Victoria OR Vancouver) next week.
Replies: 25
Views: 1567

Re: Seattle and (Victoria OR Vancouver) next week.

In Seattle, I'd actually look for something north of downtown, such as Fremont or the U District. The UW has a beautiful campus, plenty of eateries and nice neighborhoods, plus Green Lake has a nice 2.5-mile path around it. Look for the Fremont Troll crushing a real VW bug, and there's the Ballard L...
by rj49
Thu Sep 20, 2018 3:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Credit card question - get Uber's new 4%er?
Replies: 57
Views: 7671

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: 99
Views: 10327

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: 2218

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: 4058

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: 2627

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: 4444

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: 4778

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: 7857

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: 10385

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: 7675

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: 2318

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: 3005

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: 2904

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: 5206

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: 6480

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: 1980

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: 9187

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: 2365

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: 8943

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: 3230

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: 2555

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: 3162

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: 3012
Views: 590747

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: 2312

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: 3858

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: 1475

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: 1516

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: 4539

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: 994

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...