Search found 149 matches

by actuaryinvestor
Mon Apr 30, 2012 5:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: If you had 1 week to make $1,000
Replies: 59
Views: 5767

Re: If you had 1 week to make $1,000

House Blend: That's what I eventually figured out too, but probably not as quickly. I intuitively felt that smaller bets (closer to random walk) would decrease your variance and make it less likely you hit 0 before 11000, but of course it only increases your variance with respect to number of spins ...
by actuaryinvestor
Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: If you had 1 week to make $1,000
Replies: 59
Views: 5767

Re: If you had 1 week to make $1,000

I like the roulette idea! Here's a puzzle regarding the strategy. I think I know the answer but I could be wrong, so I'm curious what you all come up with: You are given a special roulette table with no 0's or 00's (in other words, fair odds). You have $10,000 in chips and you have to make $1,000 mo...
by actuaryinvestor
Sat Feb 18, 2012 4:32 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Can you sum-up your investing philosophy in 10 words?"
Replies: 120
Views: 9576

Re: "Can you sum-up your investing philosophy in 10 words?"

"Do what you understand, and no more"

As I've gotten older I've learned a lot, but unfortunately I've also learned how little I truly understand and that investing (and the world in general) is filled with nuance. Following my quoted rule has meant moving more and more towards simplicity.
by actuaryinvestor
Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ethics poll--"Sell you a new Lincoln for a quarter"
Replies: 49
Views: 5967

Re: Ethics poll--"Sell you a new Lincoln for a quarter"

This reminds me of the "100 Grand" radio prank (not sure if the caller was real, but the situation is the same as your scenario with higher stakes). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twIF3BgmIWM Just to fill out the choices I picked "Connie lied but the transaction was ethical." The concept she communi...
by actuaryinvestor
Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:01 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Can Index Funds Alleviate Poverty?
Replies: 2
Views: 564

Re: Can Index Funds Alleviate Poverty?

I'm no expert, but I think it's very unlikely that you investing in public capital markets would do anything to alleviate poverty. If you assume markets are perfectly efficient, it would have zero effect since your purchase would have no impact on prices. You would simply push another potential mark...
by actuaryinvestor
Tue Oct 11, 2011 1:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you have kid(s), or at least want to have kid(s)?
Replies: 273
Views: 15776

...I find dime-a-dozen stories such as actuaryinvestor's a bit boring. What I liked about BogleTurtle's story is how he and his wife had their childfreedom tested in an interesting way and were able to reaffirm it and continue living a happy life with their childfreedom. I agree. BogleTurtle experi...
by actuaryinvestor
Mon Oct 10, 2011 7:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you have kid(s), or at least want to have kid(s)?
Replies: 273
Views: 15776

Children

3 years ago I posted on a similar thread when I didn't have any kids. http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=11752&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0 Now I have two of them(!) so I can compare my expectations to how I feel now. Back then I thought by having kids I would sacrifice "happiness" ...
by actuaryinvestor
Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: math major
Replies: 61
Views: 5762

Math

If he's that smart, he can do whatever he wants with a math degree. If he doesn't become an actuary he can do statistical analysis for companies, develop airline pricing methodologies, or become an anti-Boglehead and make millions developing trading algorithms for hedge funds. I think the adage "do ...
by actuaryinvestor
Thu Oct 06, 2011 5:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Brain teaser
Replies: 38
Views: 2872

Great Puzzle

Great puzzle. I hadn't heard that one before. I assumed the answer would be yes from the way it's worded, but unfortunately I peeked at the first post before I could figure out why. Treating this as an adversarial game between two people (as most posters are) how about this for a follow up question:...
by actuaryinvestor
Sat Sep 10, 2011 7:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Big bang theory, time? help?
Replies: 51
Views: 3826

Time

LH, I think I see where you are coming from with this question. Some of the replies are very interesting (and a little beyond me), but I think the answer to your specific question is something like the following: Define some clock that could have existed right after the big bang. For example, some s...
by actuaryinvestor
Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:43 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why is gold not a bubble - yet
Replies: 138
Views: 14162

Re: Why is gold not a bubble - yet

One, investors - be they individuals or people on forums like this, keep chanting "Bubble! Bubble!! Bubble!!! Bubble!!!!" whenever gold gets a little ahead of itself. During the housing bubble I remember forums, media, etc calling it a bubble. Others responded that the fact people are calling it a ...
by actuaryinvestor
Tue Jul 12, 2011 6:58 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How much would it take for you to give up the internet?
Replies: 56
Views: 4679

Re: Internet

I'm pretty sure that people who say 'no amount of money' would change their tune very quickly if the offer were real. People give up a lot more for a lot less. You are probably right. The idea of never worrying about money, jetting around the world with a nanny to watch the kids, and chilling on th...
by actuaryinvestor
Mon Jul 11, 2011 11:38 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How much would it take for you to give up the internet?
Replies: 56
Views: 4679

Internet

Assuming I couldn't donate it to charity (which would change the focus of the question), no amount of money would be enough for me to give up the Internet. Not even $100 billion. I could get by without it now, but I'm sure I'll be hopelessly lost in 40 years without it. How will I pay my taxes and b...
by actuaryinvestor
Wed Jul 06, 2011 7:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I use a Mortgage Broker?
Replies: 43
Views: 11981

AIMLoan

...a loan from the shady-sounding "American Internet Mortgage" (AIMLoan.com), and they've been really really sharp. Funny, I was just going to say whatever method anyone uses to shop around they should make sure to take a minute to check a quote at AIMLoan.com. I used them for a home purchase recen...
by actuaryinvestor
Sun Jun 12, 2011 8:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: need for radardetector...
Replies: 64
Views: 5299

Speeding

The iPhone app Trapster works pretty well as a radar detector alternative, depending on your area. It gives voice warnings if you come up to another speed trap flagged by motorists. I've been humbled by some big tickets, so now I always wait for another fast car and follow them at a distance, watchi...
by actuaryinvestor
Thu Sep 09, 2010 7:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Following sports closely...a distraction or healthy?
Replies: 124
Views: 13135

Sports

Continuing with the math theme, a lot of math-nerd actuaries love baseball. The obvious reason is for the statistics, but the second reason, and I think the reason almost everyone who follows sports does so, is social. Some people are true sports fans who will watch any game involving their sport, b...
by actuaryinvestor
Tue May 25, 2010 2:00 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Why Average Investors Earn Below Average Market Returns
Replies: 66
Views: 9599

Underperforming

I think you are missing the definition of a "retail investor". The other side of the transactions that the "retail investor" makes may not be another "retail investor". It could be a Goldman Sachs computer. Maybe that's it, but is the Goldman Sachs computer making money because it has a better algo...
by actuaryinvestor
Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Why Average Investors Earn Below Average Market Returns
Replies: 66
Views: 9599

Underperforming the Market

This has been discussed a few times and people smarter and more knowledgeable than me often cite large average investor underperformance, but I still don't see how this can be the case. Can someone tell me where the following logic fails? Scenario 1. Pretend there is a market without fees, taxes, sh...
by actuaryinvestor
Wed May 19, 2010 12:27 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Cauchy distribution is boggling my mind
Replies: 117
Views: 20710

Cauchy

If you have Excel and want to play around a little: Cell A5 "=NORMINV(RAND(),0,1)" Cell B5 "=NORMINV(RAND(),0,1)" Cell C5 "=A5/B5" Copy the three cells down 10,000 rows or so. Columns A and B are std normal and C is Cauchy (I think). In the first two rows you can calculate the mean, std deviation, o...
by actuaryinvestor
Sat May 08, 2010 4:26 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard ETFs crack under stress
Replies: 101
Views: 13975

Devil's Advocate

During those fifteen minutes GM didn't stop selling cars, Exxon didn't skip a dividend, Altria's nicotine fiends didn't pause in their chain-smoking. It is impossible that the true value of America's businesses went down by 10% for ten minutes, and, dammit, it is inconceivable that any investor con...
by actuaryinvestor
Mon May 03, 2010 10:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Time Travel Is Possible, Says Stephen Hawking
Replies: 11
Views: 2602

Time Travel

I barely understand time, yet alone time travel. I recently read Stephen Hawking's "History of Time", and I've been wondering something. Can one of the physics experts/buffs here enlighten me? In the chapter on the arrow of time it points out: 1. We live in a universe where entropy increases with ti...
by actuaryinvestor
Mon Apr 26, 2010 5:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Don't Talk to Aliens Warns Stephen Hawking
Replies: 133
Views: 15930

I mean, we *know* it can't be 50-50 for Aliens to exist. It's either 1 or 0. BUT we have to assume it when we've no information to work with. It's just the least biased of assumptions, anything else would be starting from a false premise and therefore be a tautology. Hence, I am agnostic about Alie...
by actuaryinvestor
Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Don't Talk to Aliens Warns Stephen Hawking
Replies: 133
Views: 15930

Every event *does* have a 50/50 probability if you've no information about it. That is the fairest assumption. Anything else is a presumption. If I understand your logic correctly, every unknown is certain if we divide it up enough. For example the probability of green aliens is 50%, blue aliens is...
by actuaryinvestor
Mon Apr 26, 2010 10:02 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Don't Talk to Aliens Warns Stephen Hawking
Replies: 133
Views: 15930

Aliens

Of course we don't have much information at all to postulate whether aliens exist or not or what they are like. That being said, I don't think they would be nationalistic. As humans we still have Darwanistic tribal us-vs-them notions engrained in our heads. In almost every issue we seem to define th...
by actuaryinvestor
Wed Mar 24, 2010 7:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The safest car for Bogleheads
Replies: 112
Views: 14344

ESC

But note that even this is an oversimplification. Driver demographics are far more important in determining fatality rates than car size or type.... Great post. I think driver demographics are hugely underrated (and sometimes harder to measure) compared to other factors. Personally I would feel saf...
by actuaryinvestor
Fri Sep 25, 2009 8:59 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Perl Actuarial Monte-Carlo Retirement Simulator
Replies: 30
Views: 5165

Simulator

Gordoni2, Nice simulator! I don't fully understand the details, but here are some suggestions if you want to try some more things out. 1. Include mortality improvement. For example you can assume mortality improves by 1% per year to take into account medical advances and all that good stuff. 2. You ...
by actuaryinvestor
Sat Mar 14, 2009 10:56 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Variable Annuities
Replies: 60
Views: 8728

Variable Annuities

Dan, The questions you are asking about why insurance companies offer some products and features, and not others, are ones in which I have no expertise. These would best be addressed to actuaries of insurance companies. We have one who posts here I work for a company that sells many products includ...
by actuaryinvestor
Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: rating your 401K at businessweek
Replies: 7
Views: 2052

401K Participation

Interesting figures. I'm surprised that they list the average 401k participation rate as 80%. Looking at a few other sites I also see partiicipation rates in the 70-80% range. With rates this high, I'm surprised at all the efforts towards auto-enrollment and other strategies to increase 401k savings...
by actuaryinvestor
Tue Mar 10, 2009 8:03 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Locked-in thinking
Replies: 71
Views: 8150

Rain

- no matter how much research is done, the same conclusions will be reached: I would say the odds of the 52 day rain pattern being a fluke are lower than the odds of your assumption being wrong. As an aside, here's a study that shows the day of the week can affect rainfall. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/...
by actuaryinvestor
Sat Feb 28, 2009 12:39 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Warren Buffett's Letter to Berkshire Shareholders 2-28-09
Replies: 23
Views: 4833

Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder Letter

Great letter as always. I've been to the annual meeting a couple times and I think the format change is a good idea. I'm sure there will be interesting questions and I wish I coud go this year. Considering everything, I believe the probability of a decline in the [S&P500] index over a one-hundred-ye...
by actuaryinvestor
Sun Feb 22, 2009 11:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are Bogleheads the new contrarians?
Replies: 30
Views: 4301

Verboten Digestion

Gekko and tetractys, Points well taken, but I assumed it's a wash with equal probability of big money or small money being on a particular side of a transaction. If this isn't the case and there are big players out there who are earning higher dollar-weighted returns than the market by buying when t...
by actuaryinvestor
Sun Feb 22, 2009 2:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are Bogleheads the new contrarians?
Replies: 30
Views: 4301

Re: Contrarianism

the general public is very poor at investing. they typically buy high and sell low. I never understood this concept because for every buyer there's a seller. If I sell at the bottom I'm necessarily passing on my shares to someone else who is buying at the bottom. For everyone who is a "lemming" fol...
by actuaryinvestor
Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are Bogleheads the new contrarians?
Replies: 30
Views: 4301

Contrarianism

Despite what you hear on the news, the average equity investor expects them to outperform bonds. If everyone really thought the S&P would fall to 500-600 it would be there now. Almost by defnition equity investors are optimistic about the market (although not necessarily the economy). I don't know w...
by actuaryinvestor
Sat Feb 21, 2009 10:42 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "The Birth of Plenty": Some Thoughts and Questions
Replies: 4
Views: 1560

Birth of Plenty

This is one of the few books that I can say really changed my thinking of the world. The most important message that I took from it is that the institutions are what's important for prosperity to occur, and everything else is secondary. As long as we question everything and believe in science, keep ...
by actuaryinvestor
Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:19 pm
Forum: US Chapters
Topic: Boston Chapter
Replies: 12
Views: 3416

Meeting

Sewall, anytime is fine with me if it's downtown (in case I have to go back to work).

Anyone else with time/date/location suggestions or other ideas to get things going? How many interested people do you think we need for a functioning chapter?

--
Brian
by actuaryinvestor
Tue Feb 17, 2009 7:51 pm
Forum: US Chapters
Topic: Boston Chapter
Replies: 12
Views: 3416

Boston Meeting

How about we just meet up for dinner? We can say hi and discuss: 1. How much interest we think there is in a local chapter 2. If we want it to be about formal investment topics or informal socializing 3. About how often we'd like to meet 4. Whether we even want to start a chapter I personally can't ...
by actuaryinvestor
Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Plan B: Is there a new Bogleheads paradigm?
Replies: 148
Views: 21004

Plan B - Prospective vs Retrospective

I haven't been able to visit the Bogleheads forum (and therefore the plan B threads) lately so I apologize if I'm off base, but from reading this thread it looks like there may be some confusion between looking prospectively or retrospectively at an investment plan. I think it's important to remembe...
by actuaryinvestor
Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:20 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: REGISTRATION FOR 2009 BOGLEHEADS CONTEST
Replies: 296
Views: 48497

S&P Guess

1285.02

Same guess as last year. Funny how last year this guess was bearish and this year it's bullish.
by actuaryinvestor
Tue Jan 06, 2009 7:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The Teaching Company
Replies: 14
Views: 4440

The Teaching Company

I really enjoyed "How to Listen to and Understand Great Music" by Robert Greenberg through The Teaching Company. It's only for complete classical music beginners, but I fit that bill. I don't remember the price being $349, however! As a free alternative to learn a little about all kinds of different...
by actuaryinvestor
Wed Oct 29, 2008 5:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Certainty of Deflation in the Next Five Years
Replies: 28
Views: 5966

Deflation

Prof Hamilton wrote an interesting blog entry at Econbrowser regarding deflation. I think he provides good arguments for why the threat of relatively long run deflation may be overblown.

http://www.econbrowser.com/archives/200 ... _risk.html

--
Brian
by actuaryinvestor
Sat Oct 04, 2008 6:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How Much Are You Down NOW?
Replies: 108
Views: 23655

Percentage Lost

I'm down about 17% YTD and 20.2% from peak with an 80/20 portfolio. Large weightings to international and particularly emerging markets hurt.

Right now I'm losing more money in the markets than I'm earning at my job, but such is life.

--
Brian
by actuaryinvestor
Sat Oct 04, 2008 6:22 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: 12 year US Marine looking for advice (new to investing)
Replies: 45
Views: 7045

Welcome

Welcome to the forum. I'm sure you'll get some detailed responses, but overall I think you are on the right track in that you're investing a large percentage of your salary and you want to learn more about investing from a great source like the Bogleheads guide. It will take a while to learn about i...
by actuaryinvestor
Tue Sep 30, 2008 7:02 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: vanguard website hurting today
Replies: 15
Views: 4746

Berkshire Hathaway

bob90245 wrote:I wonder how Buffett feels now...
I don't know, but Berkshire was the only equity I own that went up yesterday. Some people must still have confidence in his abilities.

--
Brian
by actuaryinvestor
Sat Sep 27, 2008 8:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Funny CNN Money Headlines!
Replies: 8
Views: 3076

Wall Street Headlines

Near the end of last year I started collecting Wall Street headlines from Yahoo finance to see if I could glean any insight into the reporting of the coming bear market. After a few days I realized how arbitrary and how little information the articles impart, and I quit. The formula they use seems t...
by actuaryinvestor
Sat Sep 27, 2008 10:44 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Emerging Markets: A 20 Year Perspective
Replies: 3
Views: 3097

MSCI Emerging Markets Index

Thanks for the links. I enjoyed looking through the report. I'm surprised that Russia was added to MSCI's EM index as far back as 1997. Vanguard's EM Fund (VEIEX / VWO) left Russia out until a couple years ago. I hope Vanguard's decision was based on improved liquidity and ability to trade rather th...
by actuaryinvestor
Tue Sep 16, 2008 10:22 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Panic if you're a Russian stock investor
Replies: 9
Views: 2407

Emerging Markets

I for one am glad that I only have 5% in emerging markets, most of which isn't in Russia. I had something like 15.1% in EM about a year ago, which is just over the top of my allocation range. I waited to rebalance but now after a ~40% drop it's down to a more reasonable 10.7% of my portfolio. Oh we...
by actuaryinvestor
Sun Aug 31, 2008 7:07 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Normal vs. Log Normal distribution
Replies: 10
Views: 3644

Another Distribution to Consider

I'm planning on eventually adding a monte carlo simulation to my main finance spreadsheet, but I won't use a normal distribution for the following reasons: 1. I think stock returns are only normal in "boring" situations, which is not what I'm concerned about. You have to explicitly fudge in fatter t...
by actuaryinvestor
Wed Aug 27, 2008 7:53 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: How to simulate VTSMX?
Replies: 6
Views: 2507

Morningstar Size Info

Here's another estimation, using just large and small funds. I don't know the Prudential fund breakdowns, but Morningstar gives the following allocations for Vanguard funds. Total Stock Market (VTSMX) Giant 40.75 Large 31.07 Medium 19.6 Small 6.32 Micro 2.26 S&P 500 Index (VFINX) Giant 49.89 Large 3...
by actuaryinvestor
Tue Aug 26, 2008 6:23 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Pros & Cons of TSM vs Tax Managed Capital Apprecation
Replies: 6
Views: 2518

VTSMX vs VMCAX

Piperwarrior, I don't know how I had missed the documents you linked to before, but they are great. I now realize that my calculation of net asset growth was incorrect because I was looking at only investment class shares. If you include admiral and institutional level shares then VMCAX is still gro...
by actuaryinvestor
Mon Aug 25, 2008 8:16 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Pros & Cons of TSM vs Tax Managed Capital Apprecation
Replies: 6
Views: 2518

Pros & Cons of TSM vs Tax Managed Capital Apprecation

I've found some decent info on the forums on Tax Managed vs Total Stock Market funds (particularly by Grabiner and Taylor) and I'd like to list the advantages and disadvantages as I see them between what I think are the best two large cap funds available for taxable investors with very long time hor...