Search found 513 matches

by rj49
Thu Nov 21, 2019 1:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Spending money to make travel easier and luxurious?
Replies: 38
Views: 2971

Re: Spending money to make travel easier and luxurious?

I'm in a similar situation, a lifelong budget traveler trying to make travel less stressful. I found a nice compromise is to pay extra for premium economy on BA and Lufthansa, which have wider seats, more leg room, and better service. Another option you can look at is upgrading on budget airlines, s...
by rj49
Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:11 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: I have often wondered how long a person would last in retirement taking dividends and capital gain from the Wellington?
Replies: 18
Views: 3462

Re: I have often wondered how long a person would last in retirement taking dividends and capital gain from the Wellingt

Picking Wellington or Wellesley is a good choice in hindsight, since they didn't have tech stocks in 2001 and benefited from a long-term fall in interest rates. The problem is going forward, where low bond yields with little room to fall to create capital gains creates a potential drag, which is lin...
by rj49
Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Dental Insurance
Replies: 60
Views: 5199

Re: Dental Insurance

You could be creative and take a yearly trip to Arizona and cross the border to get dirt-cheap care. You could also make a winter getaway to Mazatlan, Cabo, and Puerto Vallarta, all which have plenty of qualified dentists catering to American tourists. If you need something like a crown, find one th...
by rj49
Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:45 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: If you were forced to pick an alternative asset...
Replies: 101
Views: 6168

Re: If you were forced to pick an alternative asset...

I'd choose something like Fundrise, which is real estate but diversified across the US in apartment and retail development, with some flipping in high-demand areas like DC and LA. You get to follow new development projects in their various sub-funds and get updates and share in the gains when they p...
by rj49
Fri Nov 01, 2019 1:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: South Pacific Travel (Bora Bora, Moorea, Society Islands)
Replies: 12
Views: 1566

Re: South Pacific Travel (Bora Bora, Moorea, Society Islands)

Holland America is the best for going to the South Pacific, since they put more emphasis on ports now, as well as food on the ship, so it's a more pleasant and endurable experience. They also have a great wood promenade deck on their ships that are close to the water and with deck chairs, perfect fo...
by rj49
Thu Oct 24, 2019 2:41 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Living life post smart phone
Replies: 68
Views: 5751

Re: Living life post smart phone

You might read “Indistractable”, an interesting book that tries to deal with the underlying causes of screen addiction and use mindfulness and techniques to limit use, rather than abstinence. Other alternatives I’ve tried have included going with a limited data plan, such as on Red Pocket or Mint Mo...
by rj49
Thu Oct 10, 2019 12:43 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Indexing beats Wellington and Wellesley right?
Replies: 135
Views: 27026

Re: Indexing beats Wellington and Wellesley right?

Judging based on Wellington's being around so long is a fallacy. First of all, it's been through many different compositions and goals and management teams, so you're in no way investing in what it was even 20 years ago, or when it decided to include a lot of growth stocks, like Alphabet, instead of...
by rj49
Thu Oct 10, 2019 12:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Ally Savings Rate drops to 1.8%
Replies: 43
Views: 6343

Re: Ally Savings Rate drops to 1.8%

It still sounds pretty good compared to the .02% or whatever the VG MMFs were earning for years, or the .05% or so that many banks still offer. It's too big a hassle to chase high savings yields, just as it is to move stock investments around just because Fidelity and Schwab and others try to underc...
by rj49
Thu Oct 10, 2019 12:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: iPhone question - purchase
Replies: 13
Views: 1534

Re: iPhone question - purchase

It looks like the 8 plus is $550 on Consumer Cellular. For $25 more you could buy a new iphone X on visible.com, which is what I did--they will send you a Visible SIM (part of Verizon) and give you a number, but by simply not activating service with them, you can just pop in her SIM from Consumer Ce...
by rj49
Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Help Me Decide on a New Vehicle?
Replies: 63
Views: 4935

Re: Help Me Decide on a New Vehicle?

I'll be a contrarian. More money has been wasted by retirees on aspiration purchases...'If I get an RV I can see the country...if I get a sailboat I can explore the seas...if I get a huge car I'll go on roadtrips and ski all the time". Don't base a car decision on whether it can fit skis or anything...
by rj49
Mon Oct 07, 2019 1:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Clarifying Broadcasting Rights for NFL Games
Replies: 4
Views: 533

Re: Clarifying Broadcasting Rights for NFL Games

If you want to save multiple hours of your life, you can watch replays of games on the NFL Gamepass apa without commercials in 45 minutes, so you don't have to pay extra for access to certain tv channels either. It also cuts out a lot of pain if your favorite team loses, since you can avoid watching...
by rj49
Sat Oct 05, 2019 10:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Document Storage: what format? (paper, fiche, scan,..?)
Replies: 43
Views: 3803

Re: Document Storage: what format? (paper, fiche, scan,..?)

Scanners can be complicated, but I went through and scanned all my physical photos, to be more minimalist. Another way to seriously save paper is to download all the product guides you have stored away and rarely use (they're usually on the product website in pdf form). I'd actually just use a good ...
by rj49
Sat Oct 05, 2019 9:50 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: International Stocks in Taxable?
Replies: 37
Views: 5068

Re: International Stocks in Taxable?

To me it's worth the extra steps in tax software to get money that's owed to me, instead of having it taxed twice, here and abroad. If your international taxable holdings get too large, simply rebalance between taxable and tax-advantaged accounts, or invest new taxable funds in something different. ...
by rj49
Fri Oct 04, 2019 11:50 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Jonathan Clements: About half your retirement accumulation is just the dollars you put in
Replies: 92
Views: 14350

Re: Jonathan Clements: About half your retirement accumulation is just the dollars you put in

The other big part of retirement account returns that most people don't take into account is taxation of withdrawals, especially at ordinary income tax rates, and possibly state tax as well. The taxable income also can increase the amount of social security subject to taxation, which would hurt even...
by rj49
Wed Oct 02, 2019 10:33 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Helping widowed mother with investments
Replies: 17
Views: 1697

Re: Helping widowed mother with investments

The easiest thing would be to put the IRAs into some sort of income fund, like TR or Lifestrategy income, and use the RMD or mortality tables to set up automatic withdrawals. For the taxable mishmash, slowly sell a little each year, to minimize the tax hit and to make it a sort of annuity for your m...
by rj49
Sun Sep 22, 2019 12:13 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: TSP in retirement
Replies: 31
Views: 2884

Re: TSP in retirement

If you're confused by the alternatives, the easiest thing to do is what the TSP has set up just for people like you, the L Income fund. It's 20% stocks now, and 75% in the G fund, so it's about the safest fund out there. At the same time, it's planning to slowly grow its stock allocation to 30% by 2...
by rj49
Mon Sep 16, 2019 2:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: MintMobile... GSM vs. CDMA
Replies: 5
Views: 501

Re: MintMobile... GSM vs. CDMA

Actually, Verizon is doing away with their CDMA network, with no new CDMA phones starting in January and the transition completed by the end of 2020. Mintmobile has a page on their website to input your IMEI number (they show how to find it on your phone, or it should be on the box it came in) to se...
by rj49
Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:25 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: is real estate dead as a diversifier?
Replies: 52
Views: 6125

Re: is real estate dead as a diversifier?

There are alternatives to private ownership and public REITs. I have money in Fundrise, which are non-publicly-traded eREITs, with a fairly stable NAV and yields far above public REITs--I chose an income-oriented portfolio, and am currently getting 8% or so in dividends quarterly. Unlike public REIT...
by rj49
Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:04 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Whether to change phone number for elderly parents
Replies: 34
Views: 3242

Re: Whether to change phone number for elderly parents

I agree on the suggestion for something you can monitor remotely, especially a cell phone for a bored elderly person to play with and keep in touch through texting, Facebook, etc. Then when you visit, just scroll through the phone and block every number that's not legit. A new cell phone is also a g...
by rj49
Tue Sep 10, 2019 6:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Electric Bicycles
Replies: 116
Views: 9368

Re: Electric Bicycles

I have two electric bikes and have had others, so I can correct a lot of the misconceptions I read here. First of all, some bikes are rated Class 3, meaning the electric assist can get up to 28 mph, plus the human input. I had one and always blasted by racer types and flew up hills. Hills are the hu...
by rj49
Sun Sep 08, 2019 2:04 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: IPhone 6 - showing some age
Replies: 98
Views: 9872

Re: IPhone 6 - showing some age

I've been using older model iphones for years, but the problem is that the plus size is too large to feel comfortable in my hand, and the smaller size is too small for me to see now and type on comfortably. I upgraded this summer to the iphone X, but instead of new, bought an excellent-condition one...
by rj49
Fri Sep 06, 2019 3:26 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Middle Age people with low savings need to take on more investment risk than is normal?
Replies: 52
Views: 5975

Re: Middle Age people with low savings need to take on more investment risk than is normal?

It's difficult to give 'you need to load up on equities' advice after more than a decade-long bull market, especially with those who didn't have significant losses in 2001 or 2007. You might get blamed if the person starts putting money into stocks and they see suffer a bear market and experience lo...
by rj49
Thu Sep 05, 2019 1:01 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Larry Swedroe: 3% is the new 4%
Replies: 662
Views: 50540

Re: Larry Swedroe: 3% is the new 4%

DIrk Cotton at theretirementcafe.blogspot.com has written, along with others, how the 4% rule isn't realistic, since nobody would actually follow a rigid 4% with inflation adjustment to portfolio depletion. People spend more when the market and investments are doing well, but if there's a market cra...
by rj49
Thu Aug 29, 2019 10:57 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Why own individual stocks?
Replies: 103
Views: 12572

Re: Why own individual stocks?

Some have advocated a small allocation to a play fund, to buy and sell stocks or hot ETFs or even something like Bitcoin, to get the gambling urge out of your system without risking your financial future. Another reason for individual stocks could be some ancillary benefit, such as cruise credits fo...
by rj49
Sat Aug 24, 2019 1:42 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Getting equity out of home
Replies: 18
Views: 1800

Re: Getting equity out of home

Sell the condo, rent somewhere, try new cities, travel, be free. It would be less difficult going from a condo to a rental, especially if you're no longer responsible for dues and taxes and have the freedom to move if you get bored or don't like it. It seems a bank would be less interested in a reve...
by rj49
Sat Aug 24, 2019 1:27 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best time to purchase airline tickets to London
Replies: 26
Views: 1751

Re: Best time to purchase airline tickets to London

You might look at a US flight to a gateway city for Norwegian Air, which offers very cheap direct flights to Gatwick on mostly new Boeing Dreamliner aircraft. If you want to splurge a bit, you can get their upgraded class at a reasonable price as well, with nice recliner seats. If you fly into Gatwi...
by rj49
Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What are your thoughts on USAA for checking? Insurance? Banking in general?
Replies: 44
Views: 2356

Re: What are your thoughts on USAA for checking? Insurance? Banking in general?

The problem I have with USAA, Penfed, and other such banks/credit unions is that they heavily push as many services as possible without expertise in those areas. A lot of them are third-party, just ways for them to increase profits--I ended up with illegal spam emails from a USAA shopping portal whi...
by rj49
Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best price/timing to buy 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback?
Replies: 18
Views: 1981

Re: Best price/timing to buy 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback?

It's a tough call, since there isn't likely to be much inventory, unlike for the sedan, which will be everywhere and thus dealers will be anxious to get them off the lot. If you're not absolutely set on the hatchback, the 2020 sedan has most of the features of the hatchback, I believe, and would get...
by rj49
Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Simplicity
Replies: 59
Views: 7408

Re: Simplicity ["Minimalism” Movie on Netflix]

I read the Minimalist blog for many years and watched their movie, but I found them horribly pretentious and misguided. They bragged so often about their former corporate cell phone manager jobs that it was obvious that they missed that status, but instead of simply finding less stressful and more m...
by rj49
Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:28 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Has anybody bought Wellington,Wellesley,LifeStra and just said the heck with the taxes or is that just dumb in taxable?
Replies: 48
Views: 3347

Re: Has anybody bought Wellington,Wellesley,LifeStra and just said the heck with the taxes or is that just dumb in taxa

Looking at past performance, before or after taxes, can also be dumb. At the same time, if choosing something like Wellesley for the dividends, feeling of safety, and being able to avoid selling assets during a downturn, then any tax hits can be worth it. While the ideal of having stocks in taxable ...
by rj49
Sat Aug 10, 2019 2:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do you afford to travel?
Replies: 116
Views: 16473

Re: How do you afford to travel?

For mid-range super-cheap travel, look at Globus Escapes, which offers group tours around the world including airfare for deep discounts, but go off-season. I used it for a 9-night trip around Spain with flights for $1500 in early November, and for a Paris-Nice trip for the same price in the beginni...
by rj49
Sun Jul 28, 2019 1:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best place to buy Pistachio and Salmon?
Replies: 30
Views: 3285

Re: Best place to buy Pistachio and Salmon?

Trader Joe's is good for variety of salmon, including fillets, a salmon frozen dinner with rice, and various kinds of smoked salmon (as well as canned salmon, which I haven't tried but I expect is better than most). My other option for coping for salmon prices is to go on an inexpensive cruise, part...
by rj49
Fri Jul 26, 2019 6:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Quelling Car Fever
Replies: 57
Views: 3380

Re: Quelling Car Fever

One way to avoid new car fever is to avoid broadcast tv. While watching a football game at my parent's house, I was amazed how many car/truck ads there are, and they can be quite seductive (especially the holiday barrage of Toyotathon ads and other nonsense around the holidays, with a spouse delight...
by rj49
Thu Jul 25, 2019 1:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Uber Without Smartphone
Replies: 103
Views: 7972

Re: Uber Without Smartphone

Uber driver here. The easiest way to get a ride is to have someone else order it for you. If it’s your stepdaughter, she inputs the address, can message the driver that it’s someone else being picked up, and any apartment directions. I get such ride requests frequently, such as kids booking a ride f...
by rj49
Fri Jul 05, 2019 12:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Frequent Flyer No Man's Land?
Replies: 17
Views: 2393

Re: Frequent Flyer No Man's Land?

Airline loyalty is misplaced for the most part now, especially with the big carriers basing mileage rewards on price instead of distance, type of ticket, and code-share complexity. One option, as others have mentioned, is to use points through credit cards, especially ones that give all sorts of add...
by rj49
Fri Jul 05, 2019 12:10 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Hussman predictions..
Replies: 17
Views: 2223

Re: Hussman predictions..

Read his articles at your peril, because can persuade you to decrease equities before market increases, as I've done after being frightened by him. The same his true of reading Jeremy Grantham, who also has sub-par returns for the funds he actually manages and will make you consider investing in tim...
by rj49
Fri May 03, 2019 2:55 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Scott Burns: the Simplicity Manifesto
Replies: 13
Views: 2701

Re: Scott Burns: the Simplicity Manifesto

I'm glad to see him back on the path to simple investing, after he would make various adjustments to his Couch Potato Portfolio based on recent market returns, like adding TIPS and foreign (that was understandable, in the early 2000s, since the SP500 was lagging). Then he decided to try espousing sl...
by rj49
Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Are Airport Lounges Worth the Money?
Replies: 95
Views: 8959

Re: Are Airport Lounges Worth the Money?

The problem I've found with the lounges is the premium credit cards created a monster of allowing too many people trying to use the lounges, which ruined their advantages. The last one I went in at Seatac was a mob scene, with entire families getting in on a card and occupying every seat, manically ...
by rj49
Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a bed
Replies: 42
Views: 3617

Re: Buying a bed

I got this bed on Amazon several years ago, using high density foam over coils. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005A4OP8Y/ref=oh_aui_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 Pleasantly firm, although I also ordered a piece of soft foam to put over it, which I find better than a Euro-top mattress, which li...
by rj49
Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: fun car advice
Replies: 140
Views: 10044

Re: fun car advice

Instead of putting down $50,000 on a car, you could consider leasing. That way you get a new model every 3 years, capitalizing on new technologies, particularly electric, with it's strong acceleration. It also avoids maintenance/depreciation issues, as well as the possibility that sports car mania m...
by rj49
Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?
Replies: 148
Views: 22711

Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Diced cauliflower and shredded broccoli make nice additions to salads and soups, and the cauliflower makes a low-cal rice substitute. Fresh breads, with new varieties popping up frequently. K-cups and Nespresso-type pods. Good variety of $6.50 beers--my favorite is the hefeweizen, the only US one I'...
by rj49
Fri Mar 29, 2019 3:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 11 days. England, Ireland or Scotland?
Replies: 31
Views: 2323

Re: 11 days. England, Ireland or Scotland?

I found it easier in Ireland to base myself in Dublin and take day-tours around the country, such as to N. Ireland/Giant's Causeway, Galway/Cliffs of Moher, and Kilkenny/Wicklow Mountains, as well as charming seaside/beach areas a short train ride away, like Howth and Bray. You can check out Wild Ro...
by rj49
Mon Mar 11, 2019 3:39 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: TSP in Retirement
Replies: 41
Views: 4265

Re: TSP in Retirement

I'd put everything in the L Income fund, which has some stocks and bonds but shouldn't have any significant, sustained losses due to the G fund allocation. Then simply set withdrawals set up for mortality tables, and leave it alone forever. That's how I set up my TSP when I retired from the military...
by rj49
Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Espresso Maker 2019
Replies: 106
Views: 7449

Re: Espresso Maker 2019

I've had several superautomatic machines break down on me, as has my sister. The repair estimates are usually more than a new machine costs. Costco occasionally has superautomatics, and there are cheaper open box/refurbished units from Seattle Coffee Gear (they also usually do video reviews of vario...
by rj49
Wed Mar 06, 2019 2:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Interesting view of Uber/Lyft -
Replies: 26
Views: 2690

Re: Interesting view of Uber/Lyft -

As an Uber/Lyft driver, the article and other posts make several wrong assumptions and leave out important facts: 1. Most of the time when waiting for a ride I'm sitting at home watching a movie or reading in my car. Not burning gas or miles. 2. He neglects to mention the business tax deduction for ...
by rj49
Sun Mar 03, 2019 2:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Looking to switch my banking. Any suggestions?
Replies: 10
Views: 1012

Re: Looking to switch my banking. Any suggestions?

I use Discover. 1% back on debit card use (plus free checks), 2.1% on the savings account, and the Discover It card gives 5% cashback on categories I actually spend on (groceries, gas, Amazon, restaurants), with double cashback for the first year. They sometimes have a $50 new customer bonus. They d...
by rj49
Sat Mar 02, 2019 5:37 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Peer to Peer (P2P) Lending - What are the realistic returns?
Replies: 30
Views: 3366

Re: Peer to Peer (P2P) Lending - What are the realistic returns?

I've done it for several years. I highly advise reading the blog at lendacademy.com and the message boards, with most posters leaving Lending Club and Prosper due to lower returns and increased defaults over time. The blog also recently showed with Lending Club's quarterly report that individual inv...
by rj49
Sat Feb 02, 2019 11:48 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What's the current, best way to source decent eyeglasses (frames & lenses)?
Replies: 26
Views: 2580

Re: What's the current, best way to source decent eyeglasses (frames & lenses)?

I had the same Costco experience of heavy sunglasses, limited selection, and their shops are usually small, noisy, and crowded. I've been using Zenni for a long time, and instead of putting new glass in old frames, I'd just try out what you like on Zenni, order the cheapest glass option, and if some...
by rj49
Fri Feb 01, 2019 6:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Strategy for renting a car with modern active safety/assist packages?
Replies: 24
Views: 990

Re: Strategy for renting a car with modern active safety/assist packages?

On a recent trip to Tucson, Alamo let me pick from the cars they had left that were below the cost of what I had reserved--you just have to ask politely. I chose a Toyota Corolla, because the new models have all the safety features I like and it's what I'm used to driving. It was a good choice, beca...
by rj49
Wed Jan 30, 2019 1:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: $120 per month for sewer charge? Seems high to me.
Replies: 23
Views: 1610

Re: $120 per month for sewer charge? Seems high to me.

The city or county can usually explain any projects or problems that cause wastewater bills to be high (my city has a website listing projects, as well as annual mailings about water quality, conservation efforts, and projects). In my case, the city is trying to protect a lake from algae and upgradi...