Search found 338 matches

by aaronl
Thu May 31, 2018 12:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Moving to HCOL, worried, need help.
Replies: 14
Views: 2138

Re: Moving to HCOL, worried, need help.

I know it's not a useful contribution to this thread, but I did a double take when I saw $261/sqft described as HCOL. Makes me realize how messed up my local market is (I'm seeing prices about 5 times that high in my search).
by aaronl
Mon May 28, 2018 1:52 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Variable Percentage Withdrawal (VPW-adv) for Advanced Users
Replies: 16
Views: 1713

Re: Variable Percentage Withdrawal (VPW) for Advanced Users

As for the need to take a reverse mortgage, it would be clear indication that I can't afford my home anymore. I would sell, invest the proceeds, and rent a place I can afford with the increased portfolio withdrawals. Living below one's means is fundamental to the Bogleheads philosophy and I'm aller...
by aaronl
Wed May 16, 2018 12:18 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: NRIA.NET - Real Estate Private Placement - 16% return
Replies: 11
Views: 1023

Re: NRIA.NET - Real Estate Private Placement - 16% return

So, if I'm reading this right... 1. Investor gives them a minimum of $50k in cash. 2. They use cash from investors to build/flip/rent real estate in expensive areas of the east coast. 3. They return an increasing % back to you based on how much money you sink in. That's essentially correct. Seems l...
by aaronl
Sun May 13, 2018 2:42 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Muni bondholders vs. pensions
Replies: 50
Views: 3174

Re: Muni bondholders vs. pensions

Might this be a problem that's "too big to not ignore" (in other words, must be ignored)? Meaning that if many municipalities start to default on their muni bonds so they can continue to pay pensions, isn't the entire system in trouble? And will it matter if you don't have muni bonds but have other...
by aaronl
Sun May 13, 2018 2:12 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Muni bondholders vs. pensions
Replies: 50
Views: 3174

Re: Muni bondholders vs. pensions

Be careful about taking comfort in diversification. Underfunded pensions are not isolated to just a few issuers. It's a very widespread issue with varying degrees of severity. I don't know what's going to happen, but I would be far more concerned about a big wave of defaults than a few isolated defa...
by aaronl
Thu May 10, 2018 12:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Disability Insurance Question
Replies: 4
Views: 678

Re: Disability Insurance Question

I recently purchased a similar supplemental disability policy through my employer. My motivation wasn't to increase my total benefit, but instead to have at least some true own-occupation disability coverage. My group plan is not own-occupation past a few years, and the research I did suggested prac...
by aaronl
Wed Apr 25, 2018 1:31 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why are rising Bond Yields bad?
Replies: 37
Views: 4534

Re: Why are rising Bond Yields bad?

IMHO 3% is a very good thing. For a long time we had a faltering economy, propped up by "quantitive easing", which is a fancy way of saying printing money and spending it. It looks like the great recession is ending and the economy is going to take off. I think "printing money and spending it" desc...
by aaronl
Sun Apr 22, 2018 1:21 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Anyone in high bracket using short or Ltd. term muni for EF?
Replies: 19
Views: 939

Re: Anyone in high bracket using short or Ltd. term muni for EF?

Also, I am curious how you calculate the 3.27% TEY. Vanguard's website gives the SEC yield as 2.04% for VMLUX (this is the Admiral share class of limited-term tax exempt). Divide by (1-0.32) and you get 3% TEY. If one is subject to the 3.8% NIIT, that boosts TEY to 3.18%. This differs from your figu...
by aaronl
Sun Apr 22, 2018 1:17 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Anyone in high bracket using short or Ltd. term muni for EF?
Replies: 19
Views: 939

Re: Anyone in high bracket using short or Ltd. term muni for EF?

I recently moved some funds from Ally's no-penalty CD into limited-term tax exempt. I'm comfortable with the term risk. Vanguard states the average duration is 2.5 years. There is also some credit risk. I'm not sure how to evaluate this. Reading about unsustainable pension obligations has made me un...
by aaronl
Sun Apr 08, 2018 12:57 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 2-year CDs at Vanguard and Fidelity Today
Replies: 265
Views: 35412

Re: 2-year CDs at Vanguard and Fidelity Today

However, the Fidelity page also shows a 2-year AAA muni at 1.95%, which for me is a TEY of 2.76%, and a 2-year AA muni at 2.04% = TEY of 2.89%. In general, I'm comfortable with AA munis out to two or even three years. However, you have to dig deeper with munis, since the highest yields shown on the...
by aaronl
Sun Apr 08, 2018 12:37 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Do I need a municipal bond fund anymore?
Replies: 7
Views: 870

Re: Do I need a municipal bond fund anymore?

I was researching this topic recently. My impression is that it's hard to do an apples-to-apples comparison because municipal bond funds differ in credit quality from other alternatives, and doing an exhaustive analysis involves making projections about things such as stock market returns. A rule of...
by aaronl
Sat Mar 31, 2018 8:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: New Money - where mine is going (negative indicator)
Replies: 3
Views: 1154

Re: New Money - where mine is going (negative indicator)

- needed an EM value fund, and this was the closest I could find. Uncomfortable with the heavy concentrations of the EM funds in the Chinese index, and in particular Tencent & Alibaba (internet companies on American style ratings). These companies are undeniably cheap (on a price to book of 1.3) al...
by aaronl
Sat Mar 31, 2018 8:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: auto/umbrella insurance agents
Replies: 7
Views: 821

Re: auto/umbrella insurance agents

ClevrChico wrote:
Sat Mar 31, 2018 7:47 pm
If such a thing doesn't exist, why not go with a mutual insurance company?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutual_insurance
State Farm is a mutual insurance company.
by aaronl
Sat Mar 31, 2018 6:47 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Muni Money Market funds starting to look good!
Replies: 139
Views: 24748

Re: Muni Money Market funds starting to look good!

I'm on the fence about switching to VCTXX. On one hand, its tax-equivalent yield seems to fluctuate between matching online savings account rates, and significantly exceeding them, so it seems like it would work out well for anyone in a high enough tax bracket. But the variability of the yield gives...
by aaronl
Tue Mar 27, 2018 10:17 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Fidelity vs Wells Fargo
Replies: 14
Views: 1517

Re: Fidelity vs Wells Fargo

When WF sent me my 1099 for 2017, they messed up my cost basis on one fund so badly that it said I had an 8 million dollar loss overall (which was actually about a 2k gain). I'm STILL getting the run-around and have not gotten a corrected 1099 yet. If only because of the awful experience I've had d...
by aaronl
Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do/Why don't a lot of people by mobile homes in the Bay Area?
Replies: 30
Views: 3371

Re: Do/Why don't a lot of people by mobile homes in the Bay Area?

Pajamas wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:02 pm
Zoning.
This is all that needs to be said.
by aaronl
Fri Mar 09, 2018 10:28 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Structured Products
Replies: 52
Views: 2653

Re: Structured Products

The major downsides I see are giving up the dividend, illiquidity, and tax inefficiency. I had looked at some structured products before but they didn't seem especially compelling. The one OP is describing sounds quite impressive. Significant leverage on the upside combined with downside protection....
by aaronl
Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:06 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Your Paradigm for Long-term Inflation Risk?
Replies: 29
Views: 1898

Re: Your Paradigm for Long-term Inflation Risk?

I'm surprised how sanguine many posters are about inflation risk. Yes, central banks have learned from past episodes of inflation. But I don't think it follows that they will be willing and able to prevent it in the future. You could just as well argue any of these points: Governments are unlikely t...
by aaronl
Mon Feb 26, 2018 2:00 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Withdrawing CD for 12mo t-bill?
Replies: 3
Views: 692

Re: Withdrawing CD for 12mo t-bill?

If the timing for me needing to withdraw were say, 14mo from now, to maximize return, I could: option 1: don't withdraw CD. I'd be at month 24 and will have made $1.6K in interest pre-fed tax if withdrawing then. This doesn't seem right. If you hold $100k in a 2% CD for 24 months and pay a 5 month ...
by aaronl
Sat Feb 24, 2018 12:57 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Buffett's Shareholder Letter [2017]
Replies: 47
Views: 4526

Re: Buffett's Shareholder Letter [2017]

I have trouble reconciling his distaste for bonds with the massive amount of cash he's holding. Perhaps it's a naive question, but why can't he put the extra cash into an index fund while he's waiting to put it to use? Sure, the stock market could crash or otherwise decline, but equities are so corr...
by aaronl
Thu Feb 15, 2018 12:15 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Supplemental disability insurance
Replies: 3
Views: 316

Re: Supplemental disability insurance

Are you able to opt out of the group policy? Doing that and maximizing your individual coverage is the most comprehensive option with the best coverage, albeit also the most expensive option. It appears that I can't. My company happens to be in the open enrollment period right now, and I see no way...
by aaronl
Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Supplemental disability insurance
Replies: 3
Views: 316

Supplemental disability insurance

My company's benefits provider is trying to sell me a long-term disability policy to supplement the standard group policy. Normally I ignore this kind of marketing, but since I recently start a job in the insurance sector, I'm curious about all insurance topics, and used this as a prompt to explore ...
by aaronl
Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Seeking career advice - Software Engineer
Replies: 34
Views: 3053

Re: Seeking career advice - Software Engineer

I assume this is your first layoff. My condolences. Layoffs are often harder on the people left behind than the ones who got laid off. As a software engineer, then software engineering lead, then manager, then middle manager who had to choose which people to let go...this is likely to not be your l...
by aaronl
Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: U.S. stocks in freefall
Replies: 6661
Views: 1437596

Re: U.S. stocks in freefall

Fourth, valuations matter and matter a lot. I was getting a bit uneasy at Forward P/E ratios in the market getting to almost 22. Lots of optimism there. We were getting to where the market was pricing in a perfect investing environment, which almost never exists in the real world. Somebody at a hed...
by aaronl
Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:04 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Case study Broker trade executions
Replies: 246
Views: 27775

Re: Case study Broker trade executions

I just read this whole thread and the information contained here is fascinating. I had always assumed that if I'm not in a rush for an order to get executed (and why would I be?), it's best to use a non-marketable limit order. If it's priced inside the spread, someone might trade against it. And eve...
by aaronl
Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Weighing the value of a fixed-rate mortgage
Replies: 4
Views: 685

Weighing the value of a fixed-rate mortgage

I'm likely to be in the market for a condo soon. Being somewhat obsessive about analyzing big decisions, I previously built a "buy vs. rent" spreadsheet which is much more accurate for my situation than the online calculators. Today, having the day off from work and feeling slightly bored, I found m...
by aaronl
Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TaxAct and alternatives
Replies: 119
Views: 11600

Re: TaxAct and alternatives

I'm shocked by TaxAct's price increase. I paid $45 for a federal return and 3 state returns for 2015, and $27.50 for federal and a single state for 2016. This year, the headline price for "plus" is $25 plus $37 per state . In past years I used discount codes. This year, I haven't received any offers...
by aaronl
Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:23 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Memo to those who have won the game: it's time to quit playing
Replies: 211
Views: 20653

Re: Memo to those who have won the game: it's time to quit playing

Keep in mind CAPE is still being impacted by the horrible earnings of 2008 and 2009. Isn't that the point of cyclical adjustment (the CA in CAPE)? I think that's supposed to be the point. But I don't think it always translates well to reality. Especially when it factors in a once or twice in a life...
by aaronl
Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:58 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Memo to those who have won the game: it's time to quit playing
Replies: 211
Views: 20653

Re: Memo to those who have won the game: it's time to quit playing

bhsince87 wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:42 pm
Keep in mind CAPE is still being impacted by the horrible earnings of 2008 and 2009.
Isn't that the point of cyclical adjustment (the CA in CAPE)?
by aaronl
Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:55 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Removed
Replies: 39
Views: 3967

Re: Jeremy Grantham (GMO) Talks Bubbles - 1/3/18

This memo was a fun read but I'm skeptical about the premise. Grantham projects that this cycle will end with a stock market bubble, but I didn't see very compelling evidence to suggest that. There have been a few notable stock market bubbles in the past, but stock markets have also declined signifi...
by aaronl
Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:50 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Ever seen a 401k with so few options?
Replies: 13
Views: 1263

Ever seen a 401k with so few options?

I recently got details of the 401k plan my company is introducing soon. I was delighted to hear that it will be a Vanguard plan. I've suffered through a few really bad 401k plans in the past, with minimum expense ratios as high as 1.35%. It's a relief that fees won't be an issue this time. What disa...
by aaronl
Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Umbrella Insurance Provider Recommendations
Replies: 6
Views: 745

Re: Umbrella Insurance Provider Recommendations

My situation is very similar and I was recently considering whether I should buy umbrella insurance. I also do not own a car, but I have a very inexpensive "named non-owner" auto policy through AAA for situations when I rent cars or drive others' cars (it's a little-known fact that car rentals in Ca...
by aaronl
Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:47 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Actually might have "enough", thinking of suspending retirement savings in favor of saving for down payment
Replies: 36
Views: 3692

Re: Actually might have "enough", thinking of suspending retirement savings in favor of saving for down payment

Watty - let me share some real numbers with the High Cost of Living crowd: 1. my cousin recently bought a house in low 200's - put down 20% 2. location is suburb of Atlanta - in "A" schools 3. monthly payment (including amortizing mortgage, property taxes, home insurance, water, gas, electric, 2-ca...
by aaronl
Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Selling my house in Miami, is it smart decision?
Replies: 16
Views: 2251

Re: Selling my house in Miami, is it smart decision?

Owning a house long-term in Miami does not sound like a good idea to me.
by aaronl
Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling ISOs and AMT
Replies: 23
Views: 1676

Re: Selling ISOs and AMT

However, given that jotun is single and earns $185k regularly, I inferred that it was likely that he/she is either paying AMT normally or is very close to the threshold, and that the sale of the ISO shares would likely be what would break through the dam. He/she pays no state income tax, though. Th...
by aaronl
Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:16 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Has “Dividend Yield” Become Globally Obsolete?
Replies: 35
Views: 2754

Re: Has “Dividend Yield” Become Globally Obsolete?

This brings to mind an identity, often cited by John Bogle, dictating that stock returns can be broken down into the following categories: Stock market return = Dividend yield + Dividend growth rate + Speculative return The way I think about dividends vs. stock buybacks is that shifting between them...
by aaronl
Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling ISOs and AMT
Replies: 23
Views: 1676

Re: Selling ISOs and AMT

A final thought: you might consider selling most of the shares now, and the rest in early 2018, to avoid or reduce exposure to AMT and the 20% capital gains bracket (you'd also save a bit on the net investment income tax). Normally I wouldn't suggest delaying a sale of employee shares for better tax...
by aaronl
Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling ISOs and AMT
Replies: 23
Views: 1676

Re: Selling ISOs and AMT

I have a spreadsheet that I use for my own tax planning. I entered $185k in wage income and $300k in LTCG, taking the standard deduction, and it showed me $6200 of AMT on top of the tax due under the regular system. I can't vouch for these numbers as there may be other factors in your tax return tha...
by aaronl
Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling ISOs and AMT
Replies: 23
Views: 1676

Re: Selling ISOs and AMT

[*] If I sell all of my shares this year, my ordinary income ($185k) plus LTCG ($300k) will be $485k combined. Does this mean that the sale will push my tax bracket to 39.5% only for the purposes of my LTCG rate ? For example, my tax bracket is 28%, which correlates to 15% LTCG. However, since the ...
by aaronl
Sat Oct 28, 2017 1:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I Wait to Buy a Home?
Replies: 16
Views: 2946

Re: Should I Wait to Buy a Home?

They're talking about getting rid of the state income and property tax deductions. Maybe the mortgage interest deduction, too. Would this make you hesitate to by a home now? The higher-end market in our area has stalled. I'm wondering if people are waiting to see what happens with tax reform. Shoul...
by aaronl
Wed Oct 18, 2017 1:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Life in AMT Hell (or, How I Learned to Keep Worrying and Hate the Exemption Phaseout)
Replies: 65
Views: 9376

Re: Life in AMT Hell (or, How I Learned to Keep Worrying and Hate the Exemption Phaseout)

As I'm sure you understand, the AMT exemption phaseout zone leads to a high marginal tax rate. Most of the basic strategies you outlined aim at getting out of this zone, but do it at the cost of either making less money overall, or paying even more tax in total. Decreasing the marginal tax rate is p...
by aaronl
Tue Oct 17, 2017 10:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Opinions on bicycle disc brakes?
Replies: 26
Views: 2011

Re: Opinions on bicycle disc brakes?

If the brakes are performing, personally, I wouldn't worry about a squeak or a squeal. If only the issue was so minor. My front brakes seem to be converting much of my kinetic energy into acoustic energy. The result is almost physically painful, and not something I want to inflict on the neighborho...
by aaronl
Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Opinions on bicycle disc brakes?
Replies: 26
Views: 2011

Re: Opinions on bicycle disc brakes?

What type of bike are you riding? (I'm trying to get a what type of brakes you have). Are they standard road brakes? Cantilevers? V-brakes? Currently I have V-brakes. I have some limited experience with side-pull caliper brakes as well. I ride a relatively inexpensive flat-bar road bike, mostly in ...
by aaronl
Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Opinions on bicycle disc brakes?
Replies: 26
Views: 2011

Opinions on bicycle disc brakes?

I've been bicycling regularly for about 10 years. In that time, I've had my share of mechanical issues, but by far the most tempermental component seems to be brakes. There have been periods of time where I had the brakes set up just the way I like them, close into the rim with great stopping power,...
by aaronl
Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:24 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help with bad 401(k) fund choices
Replies: 18
Views: 1499

Re: Help with bad 401(k) fund choices

Whenever I see one of these threads pop up, I just know it will ultimately be about a 401k that's not actually that bad. I currently don't have access to a 401k. At my last employer, the lowest expense ratio was 1.35%. Then they switched 401k providers... and managed to provide an option as low as 0...
by aaronl
Tue Sep 26, 2017 12:04 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bay Area Real Estate
Replies: 154
Views: 18062

Re: Bay Area Real Estate

I have been doing some buy vs. rent analyses and my sense is that renting looks like a better deal, and also carries much lower financial risks. People are apparently betting on continued appreciation, but that's not a bet I'm eager to take. Speculating on future policy is against forum rules, but I...
by aaronl
Sat Sep 23, 2017 1:39 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: the tax efficiency conundrum
Replies: 7
Views: 996

Re: the tax efficiency conundrum

When people caution against holding Wellesley in a taxable account, they are giving advice for retirement savings. If you are saving money short term and want to protect the principal, there isn't really a tax-efficient way to do it, and in my view this advice doesn't apply. Wellesley and other bala...
by aaronl
Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:15 am
Forum: Local Chapters and Bogleheads Community
Topic: Bogleheads you would most like to meet and why?
Replies: 134
Views: 11844

Re: Bogleheads you would most like to meet and why?

I am sure I'd enjoy a conversation with Valuethinker.
by aaronl
Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:10 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: A different approach to asset allocation
Replies: 1443
Views: 600745

Re: A different approach to asset allocation

Hard to believe it's been 10 years. I vividly remember watching the events in this thread unfold.