Search found 630 matches

by random_walker_77
Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: As a new grad, should I consider buying or renting?
Replies: 48
Views: 1861

Re: As a new grad, should I consider buying or renting?

At this point I feel I'm derailing the thread but unfortunately besides this data point the only thing I have to go off of is the anonymous data on sites like glassdoor, indeed, payscale, etc.which shows I'm right in line with the median salary for the position (and other firms in the metro area sh...
by random_walker_77
Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: annuity with true COLA built in
Replies: 28
Views: 1941

Re: annuity with true COLA built in

It seems to me that annuities are particularly useful when you have saved a lot, but not so much that you have a lot of safety margin. What I mean to say, is if you're a very early retiree (early 40s, for example), if you've saved ~30x spending, annuitizing part of the portfolio can help guarantee t...
by random_walker_77
Thu Nov 15, 2018 7:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: As a new grad, should I consider buying or renting?
Replies: 48
Views: 1861

Re: As a new grad, should I consider buying or renting?

+1. Renting gives you the freedom to move easily. It buys you freedom from the chores and upkeep of home ownership. What no one tells new college grads is that in most technical fields, such as software engineering, there's usually a steep rise in pay over the first 5 years. No offense, but with 0 ...
by random_walker_77
Thu Nov 15, 2018 1:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: As a new grad, should I consider buying or renting?
Replies: 48
Views: 1861

Re: As a new grad, should I consider buying or renting?

I would strongly recommend renting. Beginning a career can be a big adjustment and you don't want to tie yourself down to homeownership out of the gate. You likely hear that "renting is throwing money away" from your parents or others (I know I did starting out). It is not true. Renting gives you f...
by random_walker_77
Thu Nov 15, 2018 1:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: annuity with true COLA built in
Replies: 28
Views: 1941

Re: annuity with true COLA built in

I recently priced joint SPIA's from immediateannuities.com. There was one company offering COLA increases with CPI, but you pay a hefty price for it. The quoted payout rate dropped from 4.5% with no COLA to 2.4% w/ CPI adjustment. YMMV I am assuming these are at age 65? By UK standards those are pr...
by random_walker_77
Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: annuity with true COLA built in
Replies: 28
Views: 1941

Re: annuity with true COLA built in

I recently priced joint SPIA's from immediateannuities.com. There was one company offering COLA increases with CPI, but you pay a hefty price for it. The quoted payout rate dropped from 4.5% with no COLA to 2.4% w/ CPI adjustment. YMMV
by random_walker_77
Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone use a Wealth Manager?
Replies: 26
Views: 3097

Re: Anyone use a Wealth Manager?

Before the dot-com crash, when I was a young engineer at a hot little company known for stock options, I was approached by a UBS wealth advisor w/ a VP title, who listed a who's who of senior engineering leaders among his clients. I'd been a vanguard customer since my first summer job (thanks Dad!) ...
by random_walker_77
Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:52 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Would you still jump if you were ready, then the market dropped 50%??
Replies: 40
Views: 4619

Re: Would you still jump if you were ready, then the market dropped 50%??

It's not that consecutive years of very poor returns are not possible, because we know that they are. But there are sequences of returns predicted by Monte Carlo simulations that are worse than that of the Great Depression. If you try to prepare to deal with a situation where stocks lose 90% of the...
by random_walker_77
Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Doing taxes by hand
Replies: 83
Views: 4815

Re: Doing taxes by hand

I wouldn't do it entirely by hand. Manually, w/ a spreadsheet as my calculator, maybe. But time is money, and the $20 for a copy of H&R Block (when on sale), is worth it to me. Lately, I've been getting the version from amazon which offers a rebate bonus when applied to an amazon gift card. The year...
by random_walker_77
Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:32 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Would you still jump if you were ready, then the market dropped 50%??
Replies: 40
Views: 4619

Re: Would you still jump if you were ready, then the market dropped 50%??

It’s the great paradox. If you retire and the next day the market drops 50% the 4% rule says you’re safe for 30 years. If the market drops 50% the day before you retire you don’t have enough... So I just tried this on PortfolioVisualizer's Monte Carlo Simulator, A 60/40 portfolio $12,000 , withdraw...
by random_walker_77
Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:45 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: PenFed new savings rates
Replies: 19
Views: 2253

Re: PenFed new savings rates

I haven’t checked around, help me out, are these good rates these days? We’re coming up on the 5 year anniversary of the great PenFed CDs of 2013, so they may be trying to keep people from cashing out. I checked their ACH policy, they only let you pull out $5000 per day. How else are people getting...
by random_walker_77
Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is it more advantageous to live in HCOL or LCOL area in terms of financial independence?
Replies: 180
Views: 11013

Re: Is it more advantageous to live in HCOL or LCOL area in terms of financial independence?

So much of this depends on the specific person, industry, and locations. For tier-1 computer hardware engineers, Austin pays surprisingly well compared to San Jose. From what I've seen, it appears to be 90+% of silicon valley in terms of base salary, which is a wash when you factor in state income t...
by random_walker_77
Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Garden SFCU 4% 4-year CD, 6 month EWP
Replies: 35
Views: 2443

Re: Garden SFCU 4% 4-year CD, 6 month EWP

Wow, that's a really good rate. How good? US treasuries for 3yrs is at 3.01%, and 5-10yr treasuries go up to 3.22%. It even beats the 30 yr treasury. And it is insured NCUA. I think the catch here is that they seem to really need the capital, but at those rates, they should be able to pull in plenty...
by random_walker_77
Tue Nov 06, 2018 1:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Never thought of living in Bay Area but just got a call from Tesla
Replies: 72
Views: 7439

Re: Never thought of living in Bay Area but just got a call from Tesla

How old are you? Married? Kids? For the right opportunity, how hard are you willing to work? How much do you value the work experience vs quality of life? If you're young and single, you can save an awful lot if your income is sufficiently high, and you live like a grad student (for example, sublett...
by random_walker_77
Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: high deductible vs. PPO calculation--high deductible always wins?
Replies: 35
Views: 3054

Re: high deductible vs. PPO calculation--high deductible always wins?

At my company, HDHP almost always wins. One corner case where a PPO might be better is if you might be changing jobs (and hence insurance) mid-year. If you've paid into the HDHP deductible and are about to get benefits, but then switch jobs, then you're back to square one. The worst case is if you h...
by random_walker_77
Sat Oct 27, 2018 9:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Headlamp for dog walking
Replies: 30
Views: 2110

Re: Headlamp for dog walking

fwiw, I've got a few like this and haven't worn them out yet. For $2, it's been well worth it as it's bright, and invaluable when working on the car. "3 mode Q5 1000 lumen zoomable headlamp" I didn't buy from this specific buyer, but it's almost definitely the same item from the same factory: https:...
by random_walker_77
Sun Oct 21, 2018 9:46 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I sell or rent out my bay area house?
Replies: 27
Views: 2782

Re: Should I sell or rent out my bay area house?

Do you think you'd relocate back to the bay area? If so, would you relocate back to this specific city/house? How much equity do you have in this house? How much (percentage-wise) would it have to drop before you're underwater? What percentage of the value of this property is land vs structure? How ...
by random_walker_77
Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:27 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: NFCU and PenFed CU offering 24-mo CDs at 3% APY
Replies: 4
Views: 820

Re: NFCU and PenFed CU offering 24-mo CDs at 3% APY

Really? For penfed, I'm not seeing it on their website. It's listing 2.67% for the 2 year: https://www.penfed.org/accounts/money-market-certificate I am glad to see that 2 and 3 year treasuries are basically at 2.9% to 3% now: https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates...
by random_walker_77
Sat Oct 06, 2018 7:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: DIY air purifier for $25
Replies: 13
Views: 1511

Re: DIY air purifier for $25

I've been running 2 of these fans upstairs as air cleaners and white noise generators. The first fan died after about 4 years. After 3 yrs of continuous operation, it stopped, and I took it apart, lubricated the bearing and got it to run for another 18 months or so (relubricating 2 more times). They...
by random_walker_77
Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dehumidifier and humidity meter recommendations
Replies: 25
Views: 1903

Re: Dehumidifier and humidity meter recommendations

hygrometer's aren't very accurate and are usually +/- 5% I actually once bought 4 of these inexpensive digital meter's off of ebay and was pleased to note that they all agreed with each other within 1% and generally agreed with a couple analog ones I own. So now I have one in the main shower rooms a...
by random_walker_77
Tue Oct 02, 2018 11:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Landlord wants to raise rent, but is asking if he can?
Replies: 54
Views: 5564

Re: Landlord wants to raise rent, but is asking if he can?

In that case, focus not on the 2.5% (which basically keeps it in equal-dollars after adjusting for a year of inflation), but rather on the x% the landlord is missing out vs market rate, which you get to keep. For the landlord, they get to keep a good tenant. You, on the other hand, are avoiding the ...
by random_walker_77
Tue Oct 02, 2018 10:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Landlord wants to raise rent, but is asking if he can?
Replies: 54
Views: 5564

Re: Landlord wants to raise rent, but is asking if he can?

Don't anchor on nominal numbers. Keep inflation in mind. What is market rate, if you were to go find something else? If you're below market because of minimal raises in the past, 2.5% is basically inflation to keep paying at the same rate you've been paying. i.e. if you're 10% below market, and *ass...
by random_walker_77
Fri Sep 28, 2018 9:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Protection buying a used car private party that has a loan
Replies: 17
Views: 1051

Re: Protection buying a used car private party that has a loan

Unless the whole thing can be closed in person with the seller and seller's lender, this seems risky. I'd ask the seller to pay for an escrow service. Coincidentally, I'm selling a car right now and just listed it on cargurus.com for the wider reach. The interesting thing is that they charge the sel...
by random_walker_77
Fri Sep 28, 2018 9:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much term life insurance? $$ and duration
Replies: 18
Views: 1639

Re: How much term life insurance? $$ and duration

Also, with your quotes, there's a big nonlinearity and that first 750K is expensive and the extra 33% of coverage is relatively cheap. With something like that, the "buy some now, buy more later" approach doesn't make much sense unless you're strapped for cashflow now. But get more quotes, in case o...
by random_walker_77
Fri Sep 28, 2018 9:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much term life insurance? $$ and duration
Replies: 18
Views: 1639

Re: How much term life insurance? $$ and duration

I'd recommend at least 500K, maybe 1M. As I understand it, since you're buying this on your own with after-tax dollars, the insurance payoff would not be taxed. 1M would provide (at 4%) 40K for 30+ years. An immediate annuity would tell you how much that would translate to for life. Note that it's n...
by random_walker_77
Wed Sep 26, 2018 9:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is the sentence for laminating a Medicare Card?
Replies: 38
Views: 9006

Re: What is the sentence for laminating a Medicare Card?

I still have my Dad's SS card. He was born in 1915. It is made of metal (looks like aluminum). Interesting , my father was born in 1898 and it's paper , these facts would make good jeopardy questions :happy Both would've gotten them around the same time, after social security was created in 1935 as...
by random_walker_77
Wed Sep 19, 2018 10:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What is your single most expensive mistake?
Replies: 293
Views: 25522

Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

2nd most expensive mistake: I bought a house with an unnecessary mortgage from 2007-2011, thinking that I could get better returns from the stock market than from paying off that mortgage. After years of near 0% returns on cash, and low bond returns, I finally gave in and redirected savings/bonds to...
by random_walker_77
Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Convince a friend to go Boglehead
Replies: 17
Views: 1057

Re: Convince a friend to go Boglehead

Many others have gone before you in this well-meaning effort. The truth is "you can't get there from here." Plant a seed, then be still. What if you go all out, your friend does change their investment habits according to your suggestion, and just then the market drops by 50% ? Your friend will bel...
by random_walker_77
Wed Sep 19, 2018 1:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommendations for traveler's Insurance for 65 years+
Replies: 13
Views: 991

Re: Recommendations for traveler's Insurance for 65 years+

I've bought medevac insurance through insuremytrip.com, but tripinsurancestore.com sounds reputable too, see this discussion on cruisecritic:
https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthr ... ?t=2538045
by random_walker_77
Tue Sep 18, 2018 10:04 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How to determine best China index ETF? Is the cheapest ER most important or more liquidity?
Replies: 3
Views: 349

Re: How to determine best China index ETF? Is the cheapest ER most important or more liquidity?

I'm with vineviz. Why take a focussed bet on the china market? Diversity is your friend, and concentrating on china is a high risk/high reward gamble. Risk here includes the possibility of markets lifted by fraud. (keep in mind that this country where babies were dying from fake infant formula) Did ...
by random_walker_77
Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gas leak detector?
Replies: 21
Views: 1186

Re: Gas leak detector?

thanks to all who replied....it is helpful. I found this product on amazon. seems decent for $32. I was thinking besides exploding house, this may be useful in situations where we accidentally left stove running (e.g. you're stewing something on low heat and somehow the fire went out creating a slo...
by random_walker_77
Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gas leak detector?
Replies: 21
Views: 1186

Re: Gas leak detector?

Hi fellow BH, By now you've probably heard of the spontaneous house explosions in the north east. What do you think of "gas detectors"? Amazon and Home depot have them for sale but frankly this is the first time I heard of them. Of course I have all the carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. So I am ...
by random_walker_77
Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is this a potentially dangerous electrical issue that needs to be addressed?
Replies: 19
Views: 2147

Re: Is this a potentially dangerous electrical issue that needs to be addressed?

Agree with link above as likely solution. This is an easy fix so long as you have minor experience and comfort with electricity. If not hire a handyman to swap out the outlet. I agree as well. Comfort with electricity should include turning off power to this circuit (or the whole house to be safe) ...
by random_walker_77
Mon Sep 17, 2018 9:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Picking a Charity
Replies: 69
Views: 2923

Re: Picking a Charity

One of our favorite causes is cancer research, and we choose to donate directly to a cancer research center to bypass the fundraising middle men. (https://www.cancer.gov/research/nci-role/cancer-centers) For personal reasons, our favorite is Fred Hutchinson(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Hutchin...
by random_walker_77
Sun Sep 16, 2018 9:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Rain Jacket recommendations and care
Replies: 32
Views: 2503

Re: Rain Jacket recommendations and care

Before throwing out the old one, you might try this "Kiwi Camp Dry Heavy Duty Water Repellant": https://www.amazon.com/KIWI-Camp-Heavy-Water-Repellent/dp/B000HJ7CLY/?th=1&psc=1 (fyi, it's cheaper at walmart, ~$8) I've had good luck using it to waterproof a tent, and the reviews indicate that some pe...
by random_walker_77
Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:48 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Best options for Cash to beat inflation (other than CD) for short term 1-3 years
Replies: 7
Views: 1059

Re: Best options for Cash to beat inflation (other than CD) for short term 1-3 years

I agree with the others. There's no way to beat inflation, especially on an after-tax basis, without taking on risk. In the CA bay area, between state and federal taxes, it wouldn't be unusual to have 40+% marginal tax rates. Investments necessarily involve a risk vs reward tradeoff, and the low ret...
by random_walker_77
Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: I need a chainsaw to trim branches and limbs!!
Replies: 93
Views: 4451

Re: I need a chainsaw to trim branches and limbs!!

For what you need, a chainsaw is both overkill and a risk to life and limb. Get a reciprocating saw and pruning blades (5 pack for $11 https://www.homedepot.com/p/Diablo-9-in-5-TPI-Fleam-Ground-Pruning-Reciprocating-Saw-Blade-5-Pack-DS0905FG5/203464786) Cordless is about $60, corded is more like $25...
by random_walker_77
Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taxes in retirement too good to be true?
Replies: 23
Views: 4471

Re: Taxes in retirement too good to be true?

Don't forget that inflation is also taxed, so tax rates ought to be low enough to incentivize making capital available to companies. Consider if inflation is 3% and you've invested 100K, and get a return of 3%. You've no real gains, but now you owe taxes on 3%, so you're losing money. If you get a r...
by random_walker_77
Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:12 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vanguard electronic bank transfers
Replies: 22
Views: 2166

Re: Vanguard electronic bank transfers

Vanguard's website is open nearly 24/7, but funds transfers happen only on business days, w/ the usual ETF transfer delays (I'm not sure how much for pushes towards a bank, and for pulls, it doesn't matter as your purchase happens the same day. I think my bank usually reports the money as withdrawin...
by random_walker_77
Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vanguard electronic bank transfers
Replies: 22
Views: 2166

Re: Vanguard electronic bank transfers

Some details that surprised me: 1) If you open checkwriting on an account, and don't write any checks for an extended period of time (in my case, years), they will contact you to let you know they'll be turning off your checkwriting on that fund. The stated rationale is to improve security. 2) If yo...
by random_walker_77
Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:38 am
Forum: Forum Issues and Administration
Topic: Posting spreadsheets?
Replies: 5
Views: 962

Re: Posting spreadsheets?

Yes, if using google drive, you're going to want to create a 2nd throw-away google account.

Also, you'd share as view-only, which means that anyone wanting to play with the spreadsheet will need to make their own copy (which is easy, but requires that they have a google account).
by random_walker_77
Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:27 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What performance to expect from central AC?
Replies: 35
Views: 2414

Re: What performance to expect from central AC?

Our problem is our thermostat. The builder put it in the worst location possible, near a large, sunny window and on the other side of the wall from the oven. It is in the least used room in the house, on the opposite side of the family room and bedrooms. The thermostat temp never reflects the tempe...
by random_walker_77
Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What performance to expect from central AC?
Replies: 35
Views: 2414

Re: What performance to expect from central AC?

Thanks to all for your comments and advice. To answer some of your questions, The house is a 50 year old brick Rambler with 1200 sq feet on the main floor and 1300 sq feet in a finished basement. Being in Minnesota it's well insulated with double paned glass windows. The unit was purchased from a l...
by random_walker_77
Wed Sep 05, 2018 1:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to tell which vent is dryer vent?
Replies: 40
Views: 1759

Re: How to tell which vent is dryer vent?

Do you have one of those point and shoot laser thermometers? Turn on the dryer and point the gun at each vent. I'd think the dryer vent is hotter if it's working properly blowing out hot air. Maybe check each beforehand to get a baseline. Our vent blows quite well (onto our back patio, a silly desi...
by random_walker_77
Tue Sep 04, 2018 5:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home-spun Weed Killers
Replies: 21
Views: 1592

Re: Home-spun Weed Killers

To kill weeds in the cracks of my driveway/sidewalk, I use hot water. I just heat up a pot using my coffee maker or kettle. No chemicals whatsoever, and cheap. Just be sure to bend down low so as to minimize splashing, as a burn would negate any cost savings. This is also only useful when no desired...
by random_walker_77
Wed Aug 29, 2018 12:12 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Stock Market Simulation Game/App?
Replies: 8
Views: 581

Re: Stock Market Simulation Game/App?

The risk, though, is what happens if you do well with the simulation? Does it change your views on the utility of investing in individual stocks? To the extent that this might increase the odds that you start investing in individual stocks because you're talented at it, I think that this could be de...
by random_walker_77
Thu Jul 19, 2018 9:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I get a warranty for my new glasses?
Replies: 24
Views: 1432

Re: Should I get a warranty for my new glasses?

$300 for glasses? Two words...Zenni Optical. Agreed. Or goggles4u.com. Either way, google for coupons. For those without unusually strong prescriptions and especially with straightforward glasses, you can get a basic pair of prescription glasses or sunglasses for < $25, shipped. Or maybe as low as ...
by random_walker_77
Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:48 pm
Forum: Local Chapters and Bogleheads Community
Topic: favorite bogleheads posts?
Replies: 113
Views: 24739

Re: favorite bogleheads posts?

Denovo's post on becoming a landlord: viewtopic.php?t=226980
by random_walker_77
Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can I finance a new home abroad (Carribean)???
Replies: 53
Views: 4735

Re: Can I finance a new home abroad (Carribean)???

I remember a while back a financial advisor friend of mine telling me that there are international banks that have a presence in the US where I can perhaps be able to get a loan backed by my investment portfolio. For something like this, look into the risk of some equivalent to a "margin call" -- i...
by random_walker_77
Tue Jul 03, 2018 11:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 25-year-old military vet/undergrad student in search of advice
Replies: 11
Views: 1072

Re: 25-year-old military vet/undergrad student in search of advice

Thank you for your service. I'm with the others -- you're investing in yourself right now. Don't sweat saving, but try to spend wisely. If you can work part-time without adversely impacting your studies, go for it, but your primary "job" right now is to get an education, and do as well as you can in...