Search found 346 matches

by Startled Cat
Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:07 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pay-off or keep mortgage with 2018 interest deduction changes?
Replies: 17
Views: 1597

Re: Pay-off or keep mortgage with 2018 interest deduction changes?

If you do not pay it off then you will have more sequence of returns risk. For example in rough numbers if you just kept a $100K mortgage and also put $100K into a separate investing account which you also pay a $500 a month mortgage out of then; a) If you get unlucky and get a modest 10% decline i...
by Startled Cat
Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:56 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Did I buy the wrong Treasury?
Replies: 4
Views: 688

Re: Did I buy the wrong Treasury?

tl;dr version: no, it's not correct. In particular, if the YTM is identical for the two bonds bought on the same date and held to maturity then both will have no associated capital gain, and in each case the discount will get counted as interest income on top of coupon income picked up along the wa...
by Startled Cat
Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:05 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Did I buy the wrong Treasury?
Replies: 4
Views: 688

Did I buy the wrong Treasury?

I recently bought a treasury bond with maturity date 9/15/2019 (CUSIP 9128282G4). One of the reasons I bought a treasury was to take advantage of the state tax exemption on interest income. This makes the tax-equivalent yield better than other options like munis for me. It just occurred to me that t...
by Startled Cat
Sun Aug 26, 2018 1:35 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 2-Year Treasury Note Auction
Replies: 86
Views: 7422

Re: 2-Year Treasury Note Auction

Is there a yield advantage to buying directly at auction rather than buying treasuries on the secondary market? If so, it would be interesting to see that quantified. In general, there is opportunity cost to holding funds in a liquid account until the next auction, so I imagine secondary market purc...
by Startled Cat
Sun Aug 26, 2018 1:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taking a job at a startup without a 401k
Replies: 23
Views: 1730

Re: Taking a job at a startup without a 401k

I've joined a few startups that didn't have 401ks (at the time I joined). At one of them, they planned to have a 401k in place by the end of the year, but didn't make the target. They ended up giving every employee a bonus in the amount of the elective deferral limit, grossed up, but prorated by num...
by Startled Cat
Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:15 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 1 year treasuries @ 2.4% instead of bond funds?
Replies: 32
Views: 3761

Re: 1 year treasuries @ 2.4% instead of bond funds?

Has anyone noticed how short-term muni funds are pretty uncompetitive with treasuries right now? For example SUB (iShares Short-Term National Muni) has a SEC yield of 1.66%, and duration of 2.05 years. TEY in the 38.8% / 10.3% tax brackets is 2.92%. VGSH (Vanguard Short-Term Treasury) has a SEC yiel...
by Startled Cat
Wed Jul 25, 2018 10:22 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Some skeptical thoughts on real estate crowdfunding
Replies: 1
Views: 558

Some skeptical thoughts on real estate crowdfunding

I've recently been interested in real estate crowdfunding sites such as RealtyShares and EquityMultiple, and have been spending a fair amount of time looking at the deals that come through these sites. I'm generally bullish on privately-held real estate, and I've had much better results than I deser...
by Startled Cat
Wed Jul 25, 2018 9:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Job vs term life insurance
Replies: 23
Views: 2068

Re: Job vs term life insurance

This thread prompted me to look at how much the life insurance I get "free" through my job actually costs me in taxes. It appears the tax cost is higher than the cost of a similar amount of 10-year level term insurance. Next time I elect benefits, maybe I will opt out of the employer-provided life i...
by Startled Cat
Thu May 31, 2018 12:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Moving to HCOL, worried, need help.
Replies: 14
Views: 2272

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 Startled Cat
Mon May 28, 2018 1:52 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Variable Percentage Withdrawal (VPW-adv) for Advanced Users
Replies: 36
Views: 4050

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 Startled Cat
Wed May 16, 2018 12:18 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: NRIA.NET - Real Estate Private Placement - 16% return
Replies: 21
Views: 2131

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 Startled Cat
Sun May 13, 2018 2:42 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Muni bondholders vs. pensions
Replies: 50
Views: 3412

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 Startled Cat
Sun May 13, 2018 2:12 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Muni bondholders vs. pensions
Replies: 50
Views: 3412

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 Startled Cat
Thu May 10, 2018 12:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Disability Insurance Question
Replies: 4
Views: 764

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 Startled Cat
Wed Apr 25, 2018 1:31 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why are rising Bond Yields bad?
Replies: 37
Views: 4725

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 Startled Cat
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: 1080

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 Startled Cat
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: 1080

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 Startled Cat
Sun Apr 08, 2018 12:57 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 2-year CDs at Vanguard and Fidelity Today
Replies: 396
Views: 57380

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 Startled Cat
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: 1090

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 Startled Cat
Sat Mar 31, 2018 8:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: New Money - where mine is going (negative indicator)
Replies: 3
Views: 1192

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 Startled Cat
Sat Mar 31, 2018 8:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: auto/umbrella insurance agents
Replies: 7
Views: 924

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 Startled Cat
Sat Mar 31, 2018 6:47 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Muni Money Market funds starting to look good!
Replies: 139
Views: 26977

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 Startled Cat
Tue Mar 27, 2018 10:17 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Fidelity vs Wells Fargo
Replies: 14
Views: 1801

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 Startled Cat
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: 3489

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 Startled Cat
Fri Mar 09, 2018 10:28 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Structured Products
Replies: 52
Views: 3006

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 Startled Cat
Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:06 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Your Paradigm for Long-term Inflation Risk?
Replies: 29
Views: 2081

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 Startled Cat
Mon Feb 26, 2018 2:00 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Withdrawing CD for 12mo t-bill?
Replies: 3
Views: 722

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 Startled Cat
Sat Feb 24, 2018 12:57 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Buffett's Shareholder Letter [2017]
Replies: 47
Views: 4853

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 Startled Cat
Thu Feb 15, 2018 12:15 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Supplemental disability insurance
Replies: 3
Views: 346

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 Startled Cat
Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Supplemental disability insurance
Replies: 3
Views: 346

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 Startled Cat
Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Seeking career advice - Software Engineer
Replies: 34
Views: 3184

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 Startled Cat
Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: U.S. stocks in freefall
Replies: 6846
Views: 1496391

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 Startled Cat
Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:04 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Case study Broker trade executions
Replies: 246
Views: 28785

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 Startled Cat
Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Weighing the value of a fixed-rate mortgage
Replies: 4
Views: 722

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 Startled Cat
Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TaxAct and alternatives
Replies: 119
Views: 12121

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 Startled Cat
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: 21444

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 Startled Cat
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: 21444

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 Startled Cat
Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:55 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Removed
Replies: 39
Views: 4123

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 Startled Cat
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: 1329

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 Startled Cat
Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Umbrella Insurance Provider Recommendations
Replies: 6
Views: 784

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 Startled Cat
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: 3834

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 Startled Cat
Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Selling my house in Miami, is it smart decision?
Replies: 16
Views: 2337

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 Startled Cat
Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling ISOs and AMT
Replies: 23
Views: 1764

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 Startled Cat
Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:16 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Has “Dividend Yield” Become Globally Obsolete?
Replies: 35
Views: 2883

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 Startled Cat
Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling ISOs and AMT
Replies: 23
Views: 1764

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 Startled Cat
Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling ISOs and AMT
Replies: 23
Views: 1764

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 Startled Cat
Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling ISOs and AMT
Replies: 23
Views: 1764

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 Startled Cat
Sat Oct 28, 2017 1:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I Wait to Buy a Home?
Replies: 16
Views: 3040

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 Startled Cat
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: 9727

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...