Search found 286 matches

by smectym
Thu Jan 17, 2019 1:01 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Variable annuity, a success story?
Replies: 42
Views: 2005

Re: Variable annuity, a success story?

We bought a Vanguard Variable Annuity more than 20 years ago. No “guarantees” or anything. It has appreciated a lot. But yes, if we had instead bought stocks in a taxable account and held, held, held through thick and thin, we would have had a much lower ER and, if we ever sold, be eligible for the ...
by smectym
Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:42 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: I don't understand the case for EE bonds
Replies: 392
Views: 35676

Re: I don't understand the case for EE bonds

There has yet to be a 15-year period where stocks have lost money, but it's not impossible for it to happen in the future. Based on data in our Simba backtest spreadsheet, US stocks had a cumulative real return of -5% over the 17-year period 1965-1981 (inclusive). Of course that high-inflation peri...
by smectym
Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:31 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Liquidity vs. Retirement Savings in 2019
Replies: 5
Views: 441

Re: Liquidity vs. Retirement Savings in 2019

Bwlonge, sometimes a gradualist approach is better than sudden shifts in strategy. Agreed, liquidity is important. But perhaps be content to gradually approach your liquidity goal while still maxing out your retirement plan. You can never go back later and "fill in the blank" for a year when you und...
by smectym
Fri Jan 04, 2019 12:17 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard's Wellesley Income fund is incredible
Replies: 200
Views: 63742

Re: Vanguard's Wellesley Income fund is incredible

A good deal of Vanguard Wellesley Income’s appeal inheres in our yearning for the era in which the fund was formed. The fund’s name, with its recondite Victorian allusion, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Wellesley,_1st_Duke_of_Wellington resonates powerfully. Its investors become members of t...
by smectym
Fri Jan 04, 2019 12:00 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Vanguard Minimum Investment Cuts Overdue"
Replies: 47
Views: 4260

Re: "Vanguard Minimum Investment Cuts Overdue"

I wish Vanguard would cut the minimum investment amount for VUSXX (Treasury Money Market Fund) down from $50,000 to at least $25,000 or lower. They do, it is called Vanguard Federal Money Market, it has $0.01 minimum.... :-) Retiringwhen, Vanguard Federal Money Market is a great fund, and I own it ...
by smectym
Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:43 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Vanguard Minimum Investment Cuts Overdue"
Replies: 47
Views: 4260

Re: "Vanguard Minimum Investment Cuts Overdue"

OkieIndexer wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:45 am
I wish Vanguard would cut the minimum investment amount for VUSXX (Treasury Money Market Fund) down from $50,000 to at least $25,000 or lower.
I agree. I’m in it, like it, and would like to recommend to others but the $50K minimum puts people off.

Smectym
by smectym
Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anybody use Vanguard Advantage do you need 1 million to avoid fees?
Replies: 23
Views: 3040

Re: Anybody use Vanguard Advantage do you need 1 million to avoid fees?

We have it; Seldom use it. I’m really not gonna pay my gym membership or the monthly Netflix bill out of my Vanguard brokerage account—seems absurd. Nor would I ever use their card to take money out at an ATM and I don’t believe that they will even reimburse the ATM fee (am I wrong?). Schwab will. V...
by smectym
Tue Jan 01, 2019 1:43 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chase Sapphire Reserve
Replies: 50
Views: 5657

Re: Chase Sapphire Reservedr

Good card in general: yes. Customer service if you have a serious issue: shaky. When you call, much reading from scripts, putting you, the cardholder, under the microscope as if you are the suspect, ritualistic sending of security codes, putting you on hold—almost impossible to get past the “Securit...
by smectym
Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:16 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Another Annuity Question
Replies: 14
Views: 825

Re: Another Annuity Question

SPIAs only make sense if you get some kind of life contingent option. That is the area where insurance and annuities can gain advantages for policy holders by using pools of annuitants and giving you "mortality credits" in the calculation of the SPIA payout. The fixed period only SPIAs don't make a...
by smectym
Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:49 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Annuities objectively considered
Replies: 111
Views: 7283

Re: Annuities objectively considered

I should add I agree with HomerJ that the superfluous, expensive riders, evanescent “income guarantees” and other dodgy sales pitches too commonly associated with VA’s should turn off any investor. Stick with a reputable low-cost provider like Vanguard.

Smectym
by smectym
Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:39 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Annuities objectively considered
Replies: 111
Views: 7283

Re: Annuities objectively considered

As should be inferred from my original post, I recognize both tax-deferred or "variable" annuities and single premium immediate annuities as being good investments under some circumstances -- Variable annuities are almost never a good investment. Someone earlier mentioned a variable annuity with a ...
by smectym
Sun Dec 30, 2018 6:51 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Hold Only Short-Term Bonds?
Replies: 27
Views: 4275

Re: Hold Only Short-Term Bonds?

Given the risks in corporate bonds and compression in the treasury yield curve, the logical progression is: (1) Bonds: only short term bonds (2) Short term bonds: only short term treasury bonds (3) Short term treasury bonds: just T-bills; or 2-yr. treasury notes max. That’s what we’re buying: Until ...
by smectym
Sun Dec 30, 2018 2:00 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Annuities objectively considered
Replies: 111
Views: 7283

Re: Annuities objectively considered

Nevertheless, we’re not sorry or kicking ourselves for holding a substantial VA. And every so often we roll a portion of the VA over to an immediate annuity via a 1035 exchange to produce monthly income. The tax treatment of such monthly payments is favorable, as only the pro rata portion of each c...
by smectym
Sun Dec 30, 2018 1:34 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Keep Calm and Boglehead On!
Replies: 36
Views: 5478

Re: Keep Calm and Boglehead On!

Can’t speak for grok but if he’s saying that Bogleheads should guard against complacency, or any idea that we have the “magic sauce” that guarantees we’ll be definitely OK “if we Stay the Course,” then that’s worth reflecting on. We like to say that “we don’t know nuthin,” can’t predict the future ...
by smectym
Sat Dec 29, 2018 2:15 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: [Vanguard Founder Jack Bogle Says It’s Time to Play It Safe]
Replies: 153
Views: 13562

Re: [Vanguard Founder Jack Bogle Says It’s Time to Play It Safe

Maybe Jack has “Stay the Course” on his conscience of late, as he’s noticed it’s become a neo-Orwellian slogan leading his cultish fans to, as they brag, “tune out” any discrepant data. Naive adherence to dogmatic 3-syllable panacea can hurt you and your loved ones. Could be that’s the message Jack ...
by smectym
Sat Dec 29, 2018 1:52 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Annuities objectively considered
Replies: 111
Views: 7283

Re: Annuities objectively considered

Skepticism about annuities is justified. Of course hysterical condemnation is ridiculous, as is greeting newbies who post about annuities with all the warmth and hospitality of “peasants with pitchforks.” Fortunately, that is never seen on this forum. We hold a substantial sum in a Vanguard Variable...
by smectym
Sat Dec 29, 2018 1:04 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard personal advisor service (PAS) for high net worth?
Replies: 70
Views: 6424

Re: Vanguard personal advisor service (PAS) for high net worth?

Does PAS ever recommend anything that's not really just a broken down target date fund? As a former PAS client I’d say the answer is no. But Vanguard is doing what they believe. I had no problem with it, but I got the picture after a couple of years: that apart from rebalancing, my portfolio would ...
by smectym
Sat Dec 29, 2018 12:45 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Keep Calm and Boglehead On!
Replies: 36
Views: 5478

Re: Keep Calm and Boglehead On!

Can’t speak for grok but if he’s saying that Bogleheads should guard against complacency, or any idea that we have the “magic sauce” that guarantees we’ll be definitely OK “if we Stay the Course,” then that’s worth reflecting on. We like to say that “we don’t know nuthin,” can’t predict the future d...
by smectym
Wed Dec 26, 2018 1:14 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Larry Swedroe: Be Prepared For Losses
Replies: 150
Views: 20910

Re: Larry Swedroe: Be Prepared For Losses

Thought I’d give this thread a bump. Mind experiments are nothing like living day to day through a declining market. I think I was pretty well positioned for the market tanking. Over the last two years I had decreased my overall equity allocation to 40%, increased international allocation to 50% eq...
by smectym
Wed Dec 26, 2018 12:12 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Keep Calm and Boglehead On!
Replies: 36
Views: 5478

Re: Keep Calm and Boglehead On!

Keep Calm and Boglehead On! So this is not one of those posts saying “don’t worry the stock market will snap back, buy on the dips.” The market may not come back, or it may not come back for a very long time. Look at the example of Japan. The Nikkei average peaked at 38,000 in 1990. It bottomed out...
by smectym
Tue Dec 25, 2018 11:30 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: As of 12/26, should I be in cash?
Replies: 17
Views: 3596

Re: As of 12/26, should I be in cash?

I think the question is frighteningly basic for someone who is apparently mostly in stocks at an age near retirement. If you decide to place your savings into the stock market, you should be willing to accept the risk that it might decrease substantially in the short to medium term. That's because ...
by smectym
Mon Dec 24, 2018 11:40 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Who's buying today? where's all the "dry powder" folks at? :)
Replies: 247
Views: 20730

Re: Whose buying today? where's all the "dry powder" folks at? :)

For the next “March 9, 2009” buying opportunity (SPX 666) we may have to wait. But all things come to those who wait, so take heart

Smectym
by smectym
Sun Dec 23, 2018 2:57 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Current allocation is 100% stocks- any good reason to change?
Replies: 71
Views: 5803

Re: Current allocation is 100% stocks- any good reason to change?

Age 35, 2 kids, dual income family. Given that we are still 15+ years away from needing the money (hopefully), I feel like owning bonds would be surrendering yield for unnecessary short term stability. But I am always second guessing everything, and it's especially easy to second guess the past few...
by smectym
Sun Dec 23, 2018 2:39 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What are you up YTD? [Year To Date]
Replies: 2278
Views: 398708

Re: What are you up YTD? [Year To Date]

Can’t provide exact because both spouse and I hold multiple accounts. But we’ve been selling heavily since June for reasons unrelated to market volatility. I’d estimate we’re mildly positive, but lucky if we’d cleared 5%.

Smectym
by smectym
Sun Dec 23, 2018 2:32 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Stay the course" is rational -- but is it reasonable?
Replies: 43
Views: 5433

Re: "Stay the course" is rational -- but is it reasonable?

Staying the course is rational and reasonable when you have selected asset allocations that allow you to sleep at night during best markets. Or, put slightly differently, staying the course becomes unreasonable only if your asset allocations are irrational. Andy. And this means that, as market cond...
by smectym
Sat Dec 22, 2018 12:31 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Stay the course" is rational -- but is it reasonable?
Replies: 43
Views: 5433

Re: "Stay the course" is rational -- but is it reasonable?

As can be seen from the above discussion, the slogan “Stay the Course” is meaningless—certainly wisdom-free, and perhaps a trifle Orwellian, like a lot of three-word slogans. If I had to choose another, I guess I’d opt for “Don’t Lose Money.” Which slogan has the potential to work more mischief? A c...
by smectym
Sat Dec 22, 2018 12:00 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Is anyone's portfolio not tanking???
Replies: 129
Views: 13129

Re: Is anyone's portfolio not tanking???

We can define “tanking” any way we want: the markets have taken a sudden and severe plunge. However, it does put things into perspective to reflect that, e.g., while AMZN is down from over 2000 to under 1400—it was only about a year ago that Amazon first broke over 1000! Keeping things in perspectiv...
by smectym
Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:09 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: VUBFX (VUSFX admiral) vs. VMMXX [Vanguard Ultra-short bond vs. Prime money market]
Replies: 13
Views: 1349

Re: VUBFX (VUSFX admiral) vs. VMMXX [Vanguard Ultra-short bond vs. Prime money market]

Can you elaborate on why the Treasury fund (VUSXX) is a better option than the Prime? It seems Prime performs better. Also any idea how the after tax returns are calculated and why VUBFX has such a lower return than VMMXX? My assumption is that at worst they'd have the same after tax return if all ...
by smectym
Tue Dec 18, 2018 11:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buyer's Remorse on purchasing a Mercedes
Replies: 82
Views: 6812

Re: Buyer's Remorse on purchasing a Mercedes

If your parents themselves subjectively perceive that they are struggling financially, and getting rid of the car would take the boot off their neck and that's how they would view it, then get rid of the car. But if your dad feels good about fixing you up with a Mercedes and he's fine with the arra...
by smectym
Tue Dec 18, 2018 11:34 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What Happened to you during the Financial crisis of 2007–2008
Replies: 249
Views: 20304

Re: What Happened to you during the Financial crisis of 2007–2008

I got to participate in a "bank run" during the GFC. It was at IndyMac, where we had a $50,000 CD. There was no shouting, no pushing and shoving, just the opposite. The customers and the tellers were unnaturally quiet and polite. Everyone simply asked for their money. I got to the teller window and ...
by smectym
Tue Dec 18, 2018 11:11 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: So...do I keep buying more equities?
Replies: 49
Views: 5757

Re: So...do I keep buying more equities?

"You should continue your set investment schedule on schedule all the time reguardless [sic] of market conditions." When the propagator of an absolute dogma also has spelling challenges, look out. Boglehead investing principles are golden and they work wonders for investors. Great. That doesn't mean...
by smectym
Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:54 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: VUBFX (VUSFX admiral) vs. VMMXX [Vanguard Ultra-short bond vs. Prime money market]
Replies: 13
Views: 1349

Re: VUBFX (VUSFX admiral) vs. VMMXX [Vanguard Ultra-short bond vs. Prime money market]

While Vanguard Prime is a very safe and well-run money market fund, due to federal regulations, arguably Vanguard Treasury Money Market (or Vanguard Federal for an investor who can't or doesn't want to meet the Vanguard Treasury $50,000 minimum balance) is a better choice. https://personal.vanguard....
by smectym
Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buyer's Remorse on purchasing a Mercedes
Replies: 82
Views: 6812

Re: Buyer's Remorse on purchasing a Mercedes

If your parents themselves subjectively perceive that they are struggling financially, and getting rid of the car would take the boot off their neck and that's how they would view it, then get rid of the car. But if your dad feels good about fixing you up with a Mercedes and he's fine with the arran...
by smectym
Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: A "super mega roll" of toilet paper = 6 "regular rolls:" is this possible?
Replies: 80
Views: 5405

Re: A "super mega roll" of toilet paper = 6 "regular rolls:" is this possible?

Many marketers of TP make similar claims. I suspect that some cloacal Freudian psychoanalysis involving "anal retentiveness" lies behind the ad strategy. By the way, Amazon has a cut-rate "Presto!" line of paper goods, including toilet paper. Impressed with their "thick rolls." But yes, they too mak...
by smectym
Sat Dec 15, 2018 7:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Law school without practicing law
Replies: 79
Views: 5826

Re: Law school without practicing

A good law school education is invaluable to you—as long as you’re not paying for it. I went to USC Law in the mid-‘90s. Back then, when the brontosaurs still roamed the earth, a year of LS cost $20,000. I got a partial scholarship, then was appointed a legal writing instructor as 2L and 3L, which t...
by smectym
Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:12 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 20M Inheritance - What is best option for small/no risk on principal?
Replies: 93
Views: 12069

Re: 20M Inheritance - What is best option for small/no risk on principal?

Few inherit $20M without also inheriting explicit or implicit fiduciary duties. Applying cookie-cutter Boglehead stock/bond portfolio allocation advice to portfolios of that size is inappropriate. I’d make it a point not to see any down days when reviewing portfolio statements with that kind of corp...
by smectym
Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:05 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 20M Inheritance - What is best option for small/no risk on principal?
Replies: 93
Views: 12069

Re: 20M Inheritance - What is best option for small/no risk on principal?

Ruminating on how to manage someone else’s $20M payday is a lot like than fantasizing how one would invest that powerball draw IF it came up aces but here goes: If I had that problem and were new to investing, I’d go to Treasury Direct, set up a maturity ladder, and collect the coupon while studying...
by smectym
Sat Nov 24, 2018 12:28 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: ?Admiral share availability in other brokerages?[Yes, after a few weeks they are now appearing at other brokerages.]
Replies: 35
Views: 3687

Re: ?Admiral share availability in other brokerages?

Yes I went through the exercise in my Vanguard account. I tried to buy $3,000 VBINX and got a message that it was closed. Then tried a $3000 buy for VBIAX (the Admiral class) and that was approved. The democratization of lower ER can only be cheered. But let’s see whether Vanguard will eventually in...
by smectym
Sat Nov 24, 2018 12:08 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Two I-Bond questions (strategy and withdrawal)
Replies: 7
Views: 1088

Re: Two I-Bond questions (strategy and withdrawal)

We have quite a few both I and EE, purchased in bulk starting at turn of the millennium up to the GFC. For most of that time frame the maximum purchase limits were much higher than currently. Now it’s tough to redeem any of them because the I bonds were mostly purchased back when fixed rates were de...
by smectym
Thu Nov 22, 2018 12:48 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Can someone explain what's going on [with the stock market]?
Replies: 96
Views: 13266

Re: Can someone explain what's going on [with the stock market]?

Rudedog wrote:
Tue Nov 20, 2018 10:41 am
S & P was at 2,377 earlier this summer, you are still ahead for the year. I'm buying Microsoft if it gets much below $ 100. Not sure about AT&T, I may buy some more of it.
Rudedog, I don’t see SPX 2377 over the summer. A typo?

http://schrts.co/5Bd1Rw

Smectym
by smectym
Wed Nov 21, 2018 4:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is my husband ready to quit tenured professorship to pursue side hustle?
Replies: 97
Views: 10485

Re: Is my husband ready to quit tenured professorship to pursue side hustle?

After some soul searching, he’s realized that he’s ready to let go of teaching. If not now, then when? Congratulations on being debt free and strategically building a solid financial foundation. Now go enjoy it. :sharebeer Agree. I’m an attorney but I have an academic background and plenty of instr...
by smectym
Wed Nov 21, 2018 3:36 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What's in your Investor Policy Statement about Bear Markets?
Replies: 52
Views: 3576

Re: What's in your Investor Policy Statement about Bear Markets?

This is an excellent thread. All wise investors must scan each post and check off any sign of
(a) smugness
(b) complacency
(c) dogmatism

and make a note to expunge any such tendencies from their own investor policy statement.

Smectym
by smectym
Tue Nov 20, 2018 12:32 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How much international stock? A suggestion.
Replies: 754
Views: 100675

Re: How much international stock? A suggestion.

B) Geopolitical risk affects US stocks just as much as international stocks: changing the ratio of US stocks to international stocks will have no significant impact on your exposure to "geopolitical risk". In fact, you could make a reasonable argument that reducing your single country concentration...
by smectym
Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:42 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Where do you get your information? Favorite blogs/sites/resources?
Replies: 25
Views: 2695

Re: Where do you get your information? Favorite blogs/sites/resources?

WSJ, FT, and Spectator (UK). But don’t neglect zerohedge: though for most bogleheads too much to take, amidst all the doom porn and Russian disinformation lurk some informative nuggets. For international affairs try ISW (Institute for the Study of War). Neocon but very factual and highly informative...
by smectym
Mon Nov 19, 2018 3:33 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Current Retirees: Do you touch your principal?
Replies: 79
Views: 8361

Re: Current Retirees: Do you touch your principa

This seems like an anachronistic way to frame the question. Many stocks pay no dividends and there is no fundamental difference between selling some of such stock for spending and spending instead of reinvesting dividends. Either way the value of your holdings declines. So we are in that sense all ...
by smectym
Mon Nov 19, 2018 3:06 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How much international stock? A suggestion.
Replies: 754
Views: 100675

Re: How much international stock? A suggestion.

Visualguy, Vanguard started its go-global push in 2014, suggesting a minimum of 20% international—but, in this white paper, observing diminishing returns after 30%.

Good question, when did 40% become the de facto new normal?

https://personal.vanguard.com/pdf/ISGGEB.pdf

Smectym
by smectym
Mon Nov 19, 2018 2:36 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How much international stock? A suggestion.
Replies: 754
Views: 100675

Re: How much international stock? A suggestion.

As I’ve mentioned in other threads, and I’ve taken some heat for it, I’m critical of the way Vanguard has gone about its international equities allocation crusade. It’s been something of a lurch. And Vanguard never explained (to my knowledge) whether it has now concluded that previously it had erron...
by smectym
Mon Nov 19, 2018 2:10 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard Investments With a Balanced Portfolio
Replies: 7
Views: 1463

Re: Vanguard Investments With a Balanced Portfolio

I’m a bit surprised to see investors actively seeking to load up on corporate bonds at this stage of the credit cycle. During QE many companies took on vast slugs of debt. There are already signs of distress from some of these firms as the Fed continues to raise rates. Check out stories on GE debt d...
by smectym
Mon Nov 19, 2018 1:53 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: I can't take this anymore=) I'm selling stocks and buying bonds!
Replies: 129
Views: 19906

Re: I can't take this anymore=) I'm selling stocks and buying bonds!

Therefore, investors are responsible for regular monitoring of the portfolio. In times of market stress this duty is enhanced, not attenuated or negated. Smectym What does monitoring portfolio really mean? If you are not tinkering with it, if you are not adjusting/changing asset allocation periodic...
by smectym
Sun Nov 18, 2018 1:04 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why I plan on buying a life annuity - even if it is a stupid idea
Replies: 117
Views: 10884

Re: Why I plan on buying a life annuity - even if it is a stupid idea

Another example of the “targeted” approach might be to take out a small annuity that pays out just once a year—in an amount sufficient to cover property taxes. That solves a particular issue that can cause some households lot of angst and worry. If this approach provides security and peace of mind r...