Search found 383 matches

by OptionAl
Mon Aug 04, 2008 6:41 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Ben Stein on Fox News
Replies: 20
Views: 4855

He is a very good comedian indeed. I find his frequent changes in advice, according to what is "hot" and who is sponsoring him, particularly amusing.
by OptionAl
Mon Aug 04, 2008 6:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New wave of Baby Boomers ready to descend on Florida
Replies: 16
Views: 4216

FL is great. Who doesn't like humidity, hurricanes, lightening, gators, bugs, trailer parks, heat stroke, [ political comment removed by Mod Mel ], over-development, no real seasons, and gated mausoleums (er, I mean communities). If you're not a golfer or beach bum, fuggetaboutit. (Nice in January a...
by OptionAl
Mon Aug 04, 2008 6:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Move for a New Job?
Replies: 37
Views: 7566

I have made such moves, and they worked well, since they wre always to a place I like better. But I don't like Pittsburgh. Philadelphia is a bit more interesting and cosmopolitan and it's near things, such as NYC and beaches. Pittsburgh is boring and it's near ... Ohio. It's a very personal decision...
by OptionAl
Mon Aug 04, 2008 6:14 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 6% Increase in Social Security Next Year
Replies: 40
Views: 10485

[political remark removed by Mod Mel]

People don't have a problem with real waste, but that somebody may be getting "something for nothing" really bothers them. They'd rather just burn the money.
by OptionAl
Mon Aug 04, 2008 6:06 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Bond Allocation
Replies: 7
Views: 1614

Not sure I would confine tax-free to any one state. Since your fed rate is 35% and Missouri is (I guess) 6%, you may not be giving up that much in real yield or by looking for a high yielding low cost no load general tax-free fund for at least most of your money, and it will be safer/less volatile. ...
by OptionAl
Mon Aug 04, 2008 5:46 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: AAA Govt Inflation Indexed BondsMarketTrackingFund Questions
Replies: 7
Views: 1821

Why would anyone want an investment that has as its primary benefit tracking inflation in a countries where they don't live? Why not just buy US TIPS? There is a downside as well as an upside risk (i.e., US inflation may be higher or lower than elsewhere), so why take that on since the primary purpo...
by OptionAl
Mon Aug 04, 2008 5:31 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Where would be a good place to park a large amount of cash?
Replies: 4
Views: 1469

A bank MM or savings account if under $100K - best yields are 3%-4% FDIC insured.
If bank is very highly rated or you can do joint accounts, etc., more than $100K may be OK.
Go to bankrate.com and bankdeals.blogspot.com.
by OptionAl
Mon Aug 04, 2008 5:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "The Ten Worst Insurance Companies in America"
Replies: 45
Views: 11414

Face it, there is no such thing as a "good" insurance company if by that is meant one that puts its policyholders' interests above its own. As a businesses, they are always going to do what they can to maximize profits. That generally means minimizing payouts. Unfortunately, we depend on them for ce...
by OptionAl
Mon Aug 04, 2008 5:03 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: FDIC Insures Up to 250K, If An IRA
Replies: 3
Views: 958

There are also several other ways of effectively raising the limit, such as joint accounts, POD accounts and trusts.
See the FDIC website for details.
by OptionAl
Mon Aug 04, 2008 5:00 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Ben Stein on Fox News
Replies: 20
Views: 4855

I'm claiming he never used that bachelor's degree.
I'm claiming to be a real economist you must work as one at some point, not just have a 30 year old degree or trade on your father's name.
[inapporpriate remarks removed by Mod Mel]
by OptionAl
Mon Aug 04, 2008 4:58 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Peter Bernstein "Three Strikes Against Consumers"
Replies: 23
Views: 5101

Consumers (i.e., the poor and the middle class) are taking all the hits, while businesses are doing OK. A coincidence? No. The suckers have been asking for it. The suckers have bought the self-defeating products and ideas sold to them by the corporate interests, who also control the politicians. The...
by OptionAl
Mon Aug 04, 2008 4:44 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Ben Stein on Fox News
Replies: 20
Views: 4855

[inappropriate remarks removed by Mod Mel] He claims to be an economist - he's not. He was a third string speech writer for Nixon, then an actor who used his dull personality as a niche. Now he writes very bad books and newspaper columns, thanks to his Hollywood noteriety for dullness. His primary ...
by OptionAl
Wed Jul 30, 2008 2:56 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 2008: Non-itemizers can now deduct property taxes
Replies: 90
Views: 15104

Yep, it's guaranteed that a flat "fair" tax will cut the taxes of those in the lower brackets. (It must be so the advocates tell us so, and it's "fair", right?) Let's see how that works: We know that if you want to compare it with the current system, it will be revenue neutral, i.e., generate the sa...
by OptionAl
Tue Jul 29, 2008 6:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: electric cars
Replies: 606
Views: 136034

The resistance to rational change demonstrated here is incredible. One type of energy is free, limitless, increasingly easy to obtain and clean. The other is expensive, finite, increasingly hard to obtain and dirty. But no, it can't be done, it's a dream, it's impractical, it'll take forever. Let's ...
by OptionAl
Tue Jul 29, 2008 6:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Solar
Replies: 135
Views: 22664

Some people, for whatever perverse reason, hate the idea that there will soon be much better ways to produce energy than digging big holes in the ground to get toxic materials to burn. And that those methods are very close to realization, at least for a large part of our needs. I think the problem t...
by OptionAl
Tue Jul 29, 2008 5:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Kill the McMansion - Agree or Disagree?
Replies: 33
Views: 7062

The owners of these grotesque wasteful montrosities are free to buy them [inflammatory remark removed by Mod]

And if you think this means you - it does.
by OptionAl
Sun Jul 27, 2008 6:03 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: penion plans - why LT bonds?
Replies: 47
Views: 6474

I don't know either, the link I saw had an IT EFT (BND).
But maybe my 50/50 theory makes sense - he may suggest going long on both.
I prefer going long on TIPS and shorter on other bonds, but I would like to know what he thinks.
by OptionAl
Sun Jul 27, 2008 5:58 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What would you do if your bank failed?
Replies: 32
Views: 5834

Any financial institution will fail if all the investors suddenly decide to withdraw their funds. That goes for banks, mutual funds, and anyone lending money except the federal government. I agree banks should not be rewarded for incompetence. But here's a clue: If the FDIC is taking them over, the ...
by OptionAl
Sun Jul 27, 2008 5:49 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Please Help With Parent's Retirement Portfolio
Replies: 21
Views: 3335

$4700/month and they need 55% in the stock market why?
by OptionAl
Sun Jul 27, 2008 1:41 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: penion plans - why LT bonds?
Replies: 47
Views: 6474

My understanding was that Swenson recommends 15% IT bonds and 15% TIPS. Does anybody have any insight into this? I can't see how LT bonds can have less "risk" that shorter term ones unless you choose to define that term very selectively. Admittedly, the 50/50 mix kind of makes sense if LT protects a...
by OptionAl
Sun Jul 27, 2008 12:15 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Alan Greenspan warned on the dangers of Fannie/Freddie Mac
Replies: 16
Views: 3872

Greenspan was good at one thing - making himself look good. So he said a lot of contradictory things or spoke in terms that could be interpreted more than one way.
His record speaks for itself.
by OptionAl
Sun Jul 27, 2008 12:09 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 2008: Non-itemizers can now deduct property taxes
Replies: 90
Views: 15104

The entire mortgage deduction is a regressive boondoggle that rewards a minority and also has the effect of raising the price of housing for all. Renters and those who cannot itemize foot the bill in terms of higher taxes and higher housing prices for the more well-off. Thank you real estate industr...
by OptionAl
Sun Jul 27, 2008 11:58 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What would you do if your bank failed?
Replies: 32
Views: 5834

Any analogy comparing FDIC insurance on a bank in the event of a bank failure and auto insurance in an accident is way beyond silly. The FDIC is not going out of business, and sustaining an injury running into a wall with your car is grossly different than having another bank take over your CD. And ...
by OptionAl
Fri Jul 25, 2008 11:49 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Crisis mostly hype? Behavioral element to market.
Replies: 14
Views: 2641

Modern markets are based on psychology and belief. Why trust currencies that have no intrinsic value? Why believe that the economy will inevitably grow? Investing is a leap of faith at many levels - in the future of the world, the nation, the government, the economy. Optimism and pessimism are conta...
by OptionAl
Fri Jul 25, 2008 11:36 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advice for parents
Replies: 6
Views: 2036

The first rule of investing, even before diversification, is to take no more risk than you have to in order to achieve your goals. So it depends on your goals. That said, Wellsley is 37% stocks, Retirement Income is 26%. At their age and with their apparent needs, minimal exposure to stocks makes se...
by OptionAl
Fri Jul 25, 2008 11:16 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Solar
Replies: 135
Views: 22664

Solar and wind will some day provide 100% of our power. Whether that's in 25 years or 100 is pretty much up to the world. Given the power of entrenched energy interests, their ability to buy the politicians, and the naysayers they have brainwashed, I'd say closer to 100, unfortunately.
by OptionAl
Thu Jul 24, 2008 2:11 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What would you do if your bank failed?
Replies: 32
Views: 5834

carigr, only if you need the cash immediately or are not covered by insurance does it make any sense to panic. The mass hysteria of pulling money just makes things worse than they have to be for those who really need the money immediately. For everybody else, the FDIC and its insurance works great. ...
by OptionAl
Thu Jul 24, 2008 1:10 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: need some advice on a fund in my 401k
Replies: 9
Views: 1872

FWIW: Morningstar (printed version at least) says DODBX will be back, that they are just contrarians who hit a rough spot.
by OptionAl
Thu Jul 24, 2008 1:06 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What would you do if your bank failed?
Replies: 32
Views: 5834

Until recently I dismissed the claim that inflation was understated. Now, I think it's true. So do some other people: Bill Gross says "Does it make any sense that we have a 3 percent to 4 percent lower rate of inflation than the rest of the world?.. If Washington understates inflation by one percent...
by OptionAl
Tue Jul 22, 2008 4:36 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What would you do if your bank failed?
Replies: 32
Views: 5834

A total and complete waste of time. A tribute to the madness of crowds. The only thing that changes is the name on your checks. Also, as pointed out, the bank that takes over will probably offer you a lower interest rate on deposits. You can take the cash and run. I once had an S&L fail, then the S&...
by OptionAl
Tue Jul 22, 2008 2:47 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: need some advice on a fund in my 401k
Replies: 9
Views: 1872

Don't ,kick yourself. They are a well-respected fund company and the fund you own has been one of the top balanced performers. Their stock and bond funds have underperformed lately as well. Looking at the morningstar report, I see they took on a bunch of new managers in 2007, just when their perform...
by OptionAl
Tue Jul 22, 2008 10:00 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: TIPS Ladder Withdrawals Spreadsheet
Replies: 33
Views: 6983

Thanks, nisiprius.
Still sounds OK, unless there is some unprecedented massive failure of multiple insurers - which, unfortunately, is when you might most need the extra protection.
by OptionAl
Tue Jul 22, 2008 9:38 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: TIPS Ladder Withdrawals Spreadsheet
Replies: 33
Views: 6983

ddb, I don't have a side in this argument - I tend to agree with you. But the NOLHGA site lists almost 100 insurance companies that states have had to take over since 1983 and I do believe there have been losses in other cases, at least if not backed up by the state. The biggest risk with fixed annu...
by OptionAl
Tue Jul 22, 2008 9:25 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: TIPS Ladder Withdrawals Spreadsheet
Replies: 33
Views: 6983

Thanks for the reference, bob.
I assume there is some call risk similar to bank failures, and it's not as good as having Treasury securities or even the FDIC insurance for CDs, but it's pretty good.
by OptionAl
Tue Jul 22, 2008 9:14 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Home Equity Loan to Invest for Child's College Tuition?
Replies: 24
Views: 4790

A big no, in my opinion. Your priorities should be: 1. Meeting your mortgage obligations 2. Saving for your retirement 3. Paying for your child's college Face it, your child can take care of of at least part of #3, there are student loans, he may not be interested in college, and you can always help...
by OptionAl
Tue Jul 22, 2008 9:06 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: TIPS Ladder Withdrawals Spreadsheet
Replies: 33
Views: 6983

I would be anxious about the financial soundness of the insurance company, no matter what their rating. However, most states insure at least $100K on an immediate annuity, and you can open multiple insured annuities with different companies, so staying under the limits would be very reassuring. Howe...
by OptionAl
Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:28 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Helping my retired parents plan their finances
Replies: 13
Views: 2625

"I have also advised them to not plan on leaving any money of their kids. They raised the four of us to be responsible adults, and paid for much or our educational expenses; IMHO, they deserve to spend the rest on themselves." Bravo/Amen Since you don't expect an inheritance and they expect long liv...
by OptionAl
Mon Jul 21, 2008 9:45 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: FDIC insurance above $100K with POD account?
Replies: 7
Views: 2262

Sounds like it's all covered if I understand your situation but as I am not a banker or lawyer I'd rather not give you a definitive answer on such a specific question. In any case, I may not know every detail. See the FDIC link for a very good tool that will walk you through this. You can also call ...
by OptionAl
Mon Jul 21, 2008 9:22 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: So, My Smart Friend Recommended His Financial Advisor...
Replies: 3
Views: 1507

If he has tens of millions, I suppose he can afford a broker. Even a broker couldn't break him.
by OptionAl
Mon Jul 21, 2008 12:10 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: TIPS Ladder Withdrawals Spreadsheet
Replies: 33
Views: 6983

Anybody have results with laddered 5 year Treasuries?
From what I've seen in a model using historical returns, run out at about 19 years?
Though the TIPS also seem to cut it too close for comfort at about that point.
by OptionAl
Sun Jul 20, 2008 12:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Solar
Replies: 135
Views: 22664

hello, you are using current technology standards and very pessimistic assumptions - the only way fossil fuels can be made to look good. Rather than address those in detail (for example, plans in Spain), which others on this board have explained, I will also point out the following: A recent panel o...
by OptionAl
Sat Jul 19, 2008 1:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Solar
Replies: 135
Views: 22664

Solar

Solar power is accessible through local solar panels. But please be advised that modern solar being pioneered in places like Israel, Spain and California is centralized, using highly efficient banks and towers of collectors. Such configurations can use existing distribution grid, extended to the col...
by OptionAl
Sat Jul 19, 2008 1:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Diesel-Electric Hybrids
Replies: 20
Views: 3843

I don't know what hybrid will work best but the point is that we will evolve to full electric within 25 years unless we go down the garden path of hydrogen. By full electric I mean vehicles powered by batteries rechargeable either from the gird or locally. If the US doesn't do it, Europe or Asia will.
by OptionAl
Sat Jul 19, 2008 1:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: electric cars
Replies: 606
Views: 136034

It is now technically and economically feasible to gradually evolve to non-fossil fuel power. Solar power technical capabilities are doubling every year or two. The US is the "Saudi Arabia" of wind power. Other non-polluting sources are also available, but the only alternative the US government is p...
by OptionAl
Fri Jul 18, 2008 1:53 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Looking to invest in something, but I'm totally lost
Replies: 5
Views: 1358

See above second and third Sticky posts.
by OptionAl
Fri Jul 18, 2008 10:40 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Diesel-Electric Hybrids
Replies: 20
Views: 3843

First of all, we will never transition from oil to nuclear power. Nukes are part of the solution at best. In the long run, other sources are safer and cheaper. Second, Hummers, regardless of how they are fueled, should be illegal on public roads, just as tanks are. Unlike trucks they serve no useful...
by OptionAl
Thu Jul 17, 2008 4:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Scott Burns' article on oil vs. the USA
Replies: 48
Views: 9414

diasurfer, if you are an objective scientist you should know enough to check that ludicrous "fact" out. Ever hear of google? Go do some research. The truth is using today's technology it would require about a 120 by 120 mile desert area to provide all US electrical power needs. The entire world woul...
by OptionAl
Thu Jul 17, 2008 3:38 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: First post, please help build a portfolio
Replies: 84
Views: 14804

Well, some of us don't get gold-plated health insurance for life compliments of Uncle Sam, so it's a legitimate concern in the real world. I know a number of people who are working only to preserve their employer-paid insurance or not changing jobs because of it, and another who developed life-threa...
by OptionAl
Thu Jul 17, 2008 3:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Scott Burns' article on oil vs. the USA
Replies: 48
Views: 9414

This is all nonsense. The oil companies must love some of you people for buying their propaganda. We need to realize we don't need and can't afford any more oil, and coal is even worse, since we can't sequester the carbon. The leading objective scientists and technologists tell us so, but they don't...
by OptionAl
Thu Jul 17, 2008 3:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: electric cars
Replies: 606
Views: 136034

The US may miss the boat again, thanks to total lack of imagination. Stop reading the oil company ads that try to divert people from real solutions and dependent on burning oil forever. Andy Grove agrees that the electric car is the future: "To start with, the U.S. government should lead the way by ...