Search found 286 matches

by cbeck
Wed Mar 04, 2020 9:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Alexa Dot
Replies: 18
Views: 1575

Re: Alexa Dot

let google be your friend. We bought one for my father recently, and I know I deliberately turned off a couple of features. One was the "drop-in" feature, and another was giving permission to submit recordings for research/improvements or some such. drop in might be convenient, but I would want to ...
by cbeck
Sat Dec 07, 2019 6:39 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 700 Years of Falling Interest Rates, 1310-2018
Replies: 102
Views: 13076

Re: "Eight centuries of global real interest rates"

I wonder if part of the trend is a change in the purpose of money away from a store of value increasingly toward a medium of exchange. The periods of large expansion of the money supply in this period would have been the extraction of gold and silver from Peru beginning in the 16th century and the r...
by cbeck
Sat Dec 07, 2019 8:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Your credit card debt dies when you die (usually)
Replies: 128
Views: 6316

Re: Your credit card debt dies when you die (usually)

If the credit card companies are not willing to follow the law then they should not be entitled to recover anything. Theoretical understanding and real life practices are often very different. This is an attitude that I REALLY dislike. It's saying "skip out on my legal (and moral) obligations as ex...
by cbeck
Sat Dec 07, 2019 6:50 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Irving Fisher and John Maynard Keynes, "Buried by the Wall Street Crash," podcast
Replies: 2
Views: 675

Re: Irving Fisher and John Maynard Keynes, "Buried by the Wall Street Crash," podcast

Harford's lesson is the importance of staying flexible and modifying beliefs and strategies with the arrival of new information. I'm not sure whether or not that conflicts with "staying the course." All rules of thumb carry or should carry the caveat "when appropriate." So, when it's the right time...
by cbeck
Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: question about after death instructions
Replies: 2
Views: 552

question about after death instructions

My wife and I are US citizens living in Thailand. She is the TOD beneficiary on my financial accounts including banks and brokerages. The bulk of the assets are in Roth and TIRA accounts. For the purposes of writing up a procedure for her to follow after my death, what steps would she have to take t...
by cbeck
Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Found hidden safe, should we crack?
Replies: 303
Views: 88890

Re: Found hidden safe, should we crack?

In Richard Feynman's autobiography (Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman) , he said he got a reputation at Los Alamos of being able to crack safes; in truth, he learned that the manufacturer had set the default combinations to 55-55-55, and the security teams usually neglected to change the combinatio...
by cbeck
Sun Nov 24, 2019 7:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Found hidden safe, should we crack?
Replies: 303
Views: 88890

Re: Found hidden safe, should we crack?

Use OPM. Start a kickstarter campaign to raise the $900 in $1 amount. The contributors split 25% of the contents of the safe. You keep the other 75%. No risk with still possible, but unlikely, upside.
by cbeck
Mon Nov 18, 2019 8:01 pm
Forum: Non-US Investing
Topic: Advantages for US persons abroad
Replies: 42
Views: 3822

Re: Advantages for US persons abroad

That would be surprising if true, because, unlike the US, European countries generally do not tax resident's worldwide income. I would have thought that transactions in the US would look to them like transactions in other off-shore tax havens, like the Isle of Man or St. Kitt's and Nevis. OMG no, t...
by cbeck
Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:13 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Good DNS to use?
Replies: 15
Views: 1576

Re: Good DNS to use?

Or you can, perhaps with a little help from a techie friend, run your own local DNS server that will block not only known malicious sites, but also most advertising, including banner ads, on all the devices connected to your lan. Can run on a cheap raspberry pi or other linux server.

pi-hole.net
by cbeck
Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:05 am
Forum: Non-US Investing
Topic: Advantages for US persons abroad
Replies: 42
Views: 3822

Re: Advantages for US persons abroad

7eight9 wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 8:20 pm
Following. Thnking of relocating to Thailand next year.
Have you discovered thaivisa.com?
by cbeck
Sat Nov 16, 2019 8:10 pm
Forum: Non-US Investing
Topic: Advantages for US persons abroad
Replies: 42
Views: 3822

Re: Advantages for US persons abroad

That would be surprising if true, because, unlike the US, European countries generally do not tax resident's worldwide income. I would have thought that transactions in the US would look to them like transactions in other off-shore tax havens, like the Isle of Man or St. Kitt's and Nevis. OMG no, t...
by cbeck
Sat Nov 16, 2019 7:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I Travel ot Ecuador?
Replies: 51
Views: 4578

Re: Should I Travel ot Ecuador?

Maybe other governments are not into fear mongering. First time when I landed in US in the orientation week I was told not to take an unmarked taxi in JFK not because of the price but because it was dangerous. There is a solid American community in Quito, mostly retired people. How bad can it be? L...
by cbeck
Fri Nov 15, 2019 8:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I Travel ot Ecuador?
Replies: 51
Views: 4578

Re: Should I Travel ot Ecuador?

How about some anecdotes just for local color. When I was in Quito in 2011 every bank branch had a guard carrying a carbine standing in the entryway. Number of times I have observed bank guards in New York City banks carrying carbines = 0. They do this in Costa Rica too - not quite known for its cr...
by cbeck
Mon Nov 11, 2019 5:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Cellphone SIM card hijacking - Security concerns and mitigation techniques]
Replies: 254
Views: 34276

Re: Man’s life savings stolen from hijacked cellphone number

Just by the way, I hope everyone has set up a telephone password as an extra authentication step for conversations with Vanguard.
by cbeck
Mon Nov 11, 2019 5:08 pm
Forum: Non-US Investing
Topic: Advantages for US persons abroad
Replies: 42
Views: 3822

Re: Advantages for US persons abroad

Taxes on the Roth are a completley separate issue. The roll-over itself is generally a taxable event in country of residence, because from the country of residence's perspective its a withdrawal from a pre-tax account. It doesn't matter that the Roth is protected, the act of taking money out the IR...
by cbeck
Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:29 am
Forum: Non-US Investing
Topic: Advantages for US persons abroad
Replies: 42
Views: 3822

Re: Advantages for US persons abroad

I'm not sure about avoiding state income tax. You would have to establish residence in a no tax state first and then sever all ties with the state you left. Some states are very aggressive in collecting from non residents. For some reason many people believe this notion that you have to establish r...
by cbeck
Sun Nov 10, 2019 1:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best secure email to use instead of gmail?
Replies: 88
Views: 15252

Re: Best secure email to use instead of gmail?

If the bank account password was compromised you can't trust your OTP code either. Storing them together in 1Password does not help in this scenario. It depends on how the bank account password was compromised. If it was compromised because, say, the bank stored it in plaintext or a weak hash, then...
by cbeck
Sat Nov 09, 2019 12:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I Travel ot Ecuador?
Replies: 51
Views: 4578

Re: Should I Travel ot Ecuador?

How about some anecdotes just for local color. When I was in Quito in 2011 every bank branch had a guard carrying a carbine standing in the entryway. Number of times I have observed bank guards in New York City banks carrying carbines = 0. They do this in Costa Rica too - not quite known for its cr...
by cbeck
Sat Nov 09, 2019 12:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best secure email to use instead of gmail?
Replies: 88
Views: 15252

Re: Best secure email to use instead of gmail?

- set up two factor authentication on all sites that allow it. Despite the temptation do NOT use your password manager as a 2FA/OTP app also. Use a dedicated third party app such as Authy. Thanks for the great list... I’m In the process of setting all of this up. Question about the quoted bullet ab...
by cbeck
Sat Nov 09, 2019 12:13 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I Travel ot Ecuador?
Replies: 51
Views: 4578

Re: Should I Travel ot Ecuador?

DW and I are scheduled to fly to Ecuador in mid February for a trip to the Galapagos. Apparently there has been some issues there and currently there is a travel advisory due to "civil unrest". I have only sent a small deposit at this point but the full payment is due within three weeks, we do plan...
by cbeck
Sat Nov 09, 2019 12:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I Travel ot Ecuador?
Replies: 51
Views: 4578

Re: Should I Travel ot Ecuador?

Here's the travel advice for Ecuador from the UK govt website: Ecuador Summary Safety and security Terrorism Local laws and customs Entry requirements Health Natural disasters Money Travel advice help and support Subscriptions Get email alerts Subscribe to feed Safety and security Crime Muggings and...
by cbeck
Fri Nov 08, 2019 7:11 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I Travel ot Ecuador?
Replies: 51
Views: 4578

Re: Should I Travel ot Ecuador?

My wife and I went to Galapagos and Quito in 2011. The return flight from Quito to Miami left early in the morning so we were checked in and were waiting at the gate by 5 AM. Suddenly, I heard my name called to go to the counter where a man not wearing any uniform told me to follow him. He led me ou...
by cbeck
Tue Oct 15, 2019 3:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Collecting Payments through ACH from Customers.
Replies: 9
Views: 1087

Re: Collecting Payments through ACH from Customers.

Popmoney.com permits payments at a cost of $0.95 per transfer for the sender and free for the recipient. However, daily limit is $1000 and monthly limit of $5000. Why can't your customers set you up as a vendor on the billpay system at their own bank? Limits would be much higher. Maybe you would nee...
by cbeck
Sun Sep 08, 2019 9:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone with any experience with Warby Parker eyeglasses?
Replies: 37
Views: 4047

Re: Anyone with any experience with Warby Parker eyeglasses?

I have been quite happy with Zenni. Cheap and serviceable. Their three options for prrogressive lenses are a boon. At those prices it is not reasonable to expect a warantee, but they are so cheap that a warantee is not very important.
by cbeck
Fri Sep 06, 2019 7:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Whether to change phone number for elderly parents
Replies: 34
Views: 3392

Re: Whether to change phone number for elderly parents

Get them an Amazon Echo. They can make voice actuated calls out either from a configured list or by calling out the digits. Also you will be able to do a "drop in" call to check on them without their having to do anything to accept the call. Add in the "Ask My Buddy" service and they can initiate em...
by cbeck
Fri Sep 06, 2019 7:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vanguard/Yodlee for Aggregation
Replies: 52
Views: 3463

Re: Vanguard/Yodlee for Aggregation

1. How confident are you (or are you not) about security issues involved with sharing passwords from multiple accounts with Yodlee, or for that matter any aggregation service/product? There is no way that anyone here can evaluate the security of yodlee unless he can go in with a team of IT security...
by cbeck
Thu Sep 05, 2019 8:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vanguard/Yodlee for Aggregation
Replies: 52
Views: 3463

Re: Vanguard/Yodlee for Aggregation

1. How confident are you (or are you not) about security issues involved with sharing passwords from multiple accounts with Yodlee, or for that matter any aggregation service/product? There is no way that anyone here can evaluate the security of yodlee unless he can go in with a team of IT security...
by cbeck
Thu Sep 05, 2019 8:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Backup Image Encryption and Cloud Storage
Replies: 12
Views: 1093

Re: Backup Image Encryption and Cloud Storage

I use an alternate strategy to achieve similar results. My computer runs fedora linux. On top of that I run vmware workstation. Windows runs as a vm, which offers numerous advantages. For instance, whenever I do anything the least bit risky on Windows, I take a vmware snapshot first, so I can revert...
by cbeck
Thu Sep 05, 2019 7:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vanguard/Yodlee for Aggregation
Replies: 52
Views: 3463

Re: Vanguard/Yodlee for Aggregation

1. How confident are you (or are you not) about security issues involved with sharing passwords from multiple accounts with Yodlee, or for that matter any aggregation service/product? There is no way that anyone here can evaluate the security of yodlee unless he can go in with a team of IT security...
by cbeck
Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Persuasion and Hypnosis
Replies: 5
Views: 1242

Re: Persuasion and Hypnosis

Training is not necessary. Buy a book, follow the directions, and you can do it. I did it years ago as an undergraduate.
by cbeck
Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What are your thoughts on USAA for checking? Insurance? Banking in general?
Replies: 44
Views: 2987

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

I have both USAA and State Department Federal Credit Union. I prefer SDFCU, but I am not dropping USAA. Since the OP mentioned depositing checks, this is a function which I have found is better at SDFCU. With USAA you have to scan the check with your cellphone. There is not scanning option on the US...
by cbeck
Mon Aug 19, 2019 5:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to read (and retain)?
Replies: 92
Views: 6491

Re: How to read (and retain)?

Answer is pretty simple: take notes.
by cbeck
Sat Aug 17, 2019 1:14 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: GE shares tank more than 13% after Madoff whistleblower calls it a ‘bigger fraud than Enron'
Replies: 101
Views: 11570

Re: GE shares tank more than 13% after Madoff whistleblower calls it a ‘bigger fraud than Enron'

It's a little shocking to me how many people on here question Markopoulos's bona fides when he has come out with a negative report using only public information as far as we know. I wonder why it is that the motives and methods of authors of positive reports also based on public information are so s...
by cbeck
Fri Aug 16, 2019 9:01 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: A short study of the recent Japanese crisis
Replies: 70
Views: 9241

Re: A short study of the recent Japanese crisis

Can I ask a question related to this please? My impression from having many Japanese friends is that "a Japanese passive investor" has never invested that much in the stock market. They are simply less concerned about what happened to the Japanese stock market than Americans are concerned about the...
by cbeck
Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?
Replies: 86
Views: 9278

Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Yes, the kiss and the smothering embrace of death. In our 50's is when we can build up the retirement fund, because the income is still high while the expenses are likely to be lower. Thirty-five times earnings may not be enough to retire as early as one's 50's, in my opinion. My advice is definitel...
by cbeck
Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best secure email to use instead of gmail?
Replies: 88
Views: 15252

Re: Best secure email to use instead of gmail?

For those who might be interested in Protonmail.com, you might like to know that in the past they have offered a two-years-for-the-price-of-one deal on one day only, Black Friday. If you try the free version until then and like it, then you could wait to upgrade until then. Tutanota.com is cheaper a...
by cbeck
Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:00 pm
Forum: Non-US Investing
Topic: so many issues for US expats ... would forming an investing LLC in the US help?
Replies: 35
Views: 3178

Re: so many issues for US expats ... would forming an investing LLC in the US help?

The IRS neither knows nor cares where I live. The IRS definitely knows where you live. You are required to fill in your address when you file taxes and you are required to certify under oath that you haven't misrepresented anything on your taxes. For all practical purposes, I agree that the IRS doe...
by cbeck
Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:50 pm
Forum: Non-US Investing
Topic: so many issues for US expats ... would forming an investing LLC in the US help?
Replies: 35
Views: 3178

Re: so many issues for US expats ... would forming an investing LLC in the US help?

* Invididual states will usually consider you a resident so long as you have a driver license and/or you are registered to vote, which is why it's important to move to a state that has no income tax before you move abroad. Some states don't even recognize your expat status. * The IRS considers you ...
by cbeck
Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:22 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is "My Social Security" online worth signing up for
Replies: 31
Views: 3048

Re: Is "My Social Security" online worth signing up for

Even if your credit is not frozen you can get that refusal message when you try to open an account at ssa.gov. When you enter your address they check it against the last address that the credit bureau has for you. If they don't match, then you'll get rejected. If that happens keep trying previous ad...
by cbeck
Mon Aug 12, 2019 6:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How does taxable, savings and retirement calculate into life insurance planning?
Replies: 16
Views: 1357

Re: How does taxable, savings and retirement calculate into life insurance planning?

As or more important than life insurance is long term disability insurance Thank you for the reminder, that's up next. The best tool that I have found for estimating how much life insurance, and which is not just a sales tool, is Esplanner from esplanner.com. It takes into account all the variables...
by cbeck
Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:22 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is this right? "if you live off dividends, a crash in stocks prices doesn't matter"
Replies: 536
Views: 35724

Re: Is this right? "if you live off dividends, a crash in stocks prices doesn't matter"

Sure, but if investors believed it was a genuine change in dividend policy, for instance if the announcement came instead from Buffet's successor, and not a one-off event then the stock price would go up. In that case investors would be putting a low (and in my opinion, justified) view on the value...
by cbeck
Sun Aug 11, 2019 5:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hearing Aids
Replies: 45
Views: 3992

Re: Hearing Aids

The economics of hearing aids are particularly interesting. Unlike virtually every other consumer electronic device the price of HAs has been going up steadily for years, as much as 8%/year. How is this possible? HAs are unique, but not in technology. They use digital signal processors which are wid...
by cbeck
Sun Aug 11, 2019 4:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Social Security -- Take it at 62, 67 or 70
Replies: 332
Views: 31454

Re: Social Security -- Take it at 62, 67 or 70

SS is projected to "run out of money" by 2034 and reduce payments by 21%. I will be turning 62 in 2034, of course the future may bring changes. Being self employed I contribute as little as possible ( S-Corp is taxed, draw is not) and invest weekly as funds are earned. I am not counting on SS for m...
by cbeck
Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Social Security -- Take it at 62, 67 or 70
Replies: 332
Views: 31454

Re: Social Security -- Take it at 62, 67 or 70

Unless you are rich or terminally ill, you need longevity insurance. I suppose you could take up skydiving if you wanted to reduce your need for longevity insurance somewhat.

Why do I feel like I am talking to a wall?
by cbeck
Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Social Security -- Take it at 62, 67 or 70
Replies: 332
Views: 31454

Re: Social Security -- Take it at 62, 67 or 70

Has anyone used one of the genetic testing outfits to get an idea of life expectancy & use to determine the best age to claim? I think this would have the biggest effect if the tests are accurate. Packer Current research supports the view that longevity is only about 10% or 15% heritable, down from...
by cbeck
Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best way to regularly (auto) e-Transfer funds to someone else’s bank account?
Replies: 16
Views: 1243

Re: Best way to regularly (auto) e-Transfer funds to someone else’s bank account?

Popmoney.com lets you set up automatically recurring payments. Many of the other payment services do not. Have to make sure that banks at both ends support popmoney, but most do since the banks themselves set it up.
by cbeck
Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Social Security -- Take it at 62, 67 or 70
Replies: 332
Views: 31454

Re: Social Security -- Take it at 62, 67 or 70

Has anyone used one of the genetic testing outfits to get an idea of life expectancy & use to determine the best age to claim? I think this would have the biggest effect if the tests are accurate. Packer Current research supports the view that longevity is only about 10% or 15% heritable, down from...
by cbeck
Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Checking credit card statements
Replies: 52
Views: 3323

Re: Checking credit card statements

I do a genuine monthly reconciliation of the CC bill against transactions I have manually entered into Quicken as they occur. (Downloading the bank's transactions into Quicken means that no reconciliation is possible, since it would just be comparing 2 copies of the same, possibly incorrect, data.) ...
by cbeck
Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Social Security -- Take it at 62, 67 or 70
Replies: 332
Views: 31454

Re: Social Security -- Take it at 62, 67 or 70

Has anyone used one of the genetic testing outfits to get an idea of life expectancy & use to determine the best age to claim? I think this would have the biggest effect if the tests are accurate. Packer Current research supports the view that longevity is only about 10% or 15% heritable, down from...
by cbeck
Sat Aug 10, 2019 7:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How does taxable, savings and retirement calculate into life insurance planning?
Replies: 16
Views: 1357

Re: How does taxable, savings and retirement calculate into life insurance planning?

The best tool that I have found for estimating how much life insurance, and which is not just a sales tool, is Esplanner from esplanner.com. It takes into account all the variables you have mentioned plus a lot more and makes a series of recommendation, including how much insurance you need.