Search found 297 matches

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: 6
Views: 700

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: 1377

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: 1377

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: 1377

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: 1053

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: 14115

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: 798

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: 8913

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: 1435
Views: 570424

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.
by aaronl
Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:45 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: I ran out of credit card signups bonus...
Replies: 75
Views: 7411

Re: I ran out of credit card signups bonus...

I've been signing up for various credit card companies for those signup bonuses for a while now. Now I can't find any that I haven't signed up before already. Has anyone ran into this issue? Are there any CREDIT CARD CO that lets you do this multiple times? I still have a bunch of checking account ...
by aaronl
Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:08 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?
Replies: 198
Views: 17424

Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

aaronl, How old is she? Age discrimination is real in the Bay Area. KlangFool In her case, it's a remote position. She interviewed in Indiana. I don't think ageism was a factor at all. Point taken about age discrimination in the Bay Area. However, I would not expect a 40 year old to be unemployable...
by aaronl
Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:42 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?
Replies: 198
Views: 17424

Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

The tech job market is still really hot in the Bay Area. Even if your skills aren't an exact match for most tech companies, I'd be surprised if you don't find a good opportunity after a few more months of concerted searching. Now that you aren't working full time, you'll have a lot more time to devo...
by aaronl
Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Critique my assumptions in buy vs. rent analysis
Replies: 19
Views: 1483

Re: Critique my assumptions in buy vs. rent analysis

Since this has come up, I thought I should mention that being unmarried isn't due to a lack of commitment. I didn't want to go too deeply into this, but some people seem to see the marital status as a red flag. We've been together for quite awhile, and the idea of getting married has come up, but we...
by aaronl
Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:27 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Critique my assumptions in buy vs. rent analysis
Replies: 19
Views: 1483

Re: Critique my assumptions in buy vs. rent analysis

Interest deduction? Your budgeting maybe $6k/yr for repairs? I think in 4 years here we spent $30k on critical stuff (roof leak, driveway, and some updates). This may not be up to you. The calculator takes the interest deduction into account. I believe those type of repairs would be covered by the ...
by aaronl
Wed Jul 26, 2017 2:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Critique my assumptions in buy vs. rent analysis
Replies: 19
Views: 1483

Critique my assumptions in buy vs. rent analysis

Some backstory first: for the past six years I've been living in a 497 sqft. condo with my girlfriend. The condo is owned by my girlfriend's parents, and they have been extremely generous in charging us rent that's well below what the market would bear, especially with the rapid rent growth in the l...
by aaronl
Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:50 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What to do with money for house down payment?
Replies: 4
Views: 640

Re: What to do with money for house down payment?

I would recommend optimizing for tax efficiency. If this means holding bonds in tax-advantaged accounts, you could continue buying stocks in a taxable account, sell them when you are ready to buy a property, and exchange an equivalent amount of bonds for stock in the tax-advantaged accounts at the s...
by aaronl
Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:17 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Do you pay fees to buy funds or ETFs?
Replies: 46
Views: 3073

Re: Do you pay fees to buy funds or ETFs?

I occasionally pay commissions to buy Vanguard ETFs at Fidelity. I also have an account at Wells Fargo that's grandfathered in to free trades. In the past I used the Wells Fargo account nearly exclusively, but I've been disappointed by my recent experiences with Wells Fargo. In particular, the web s...
by aaronl
Sun Jul 09, 2017 10:20 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How much to allocate to illiquid private stock
Replies: 8
Views: 776

Re: How much to allocate to illiquid private stock

Let me ask you a question. How much do you think the stock is worth? You imply that you think it is worth less than $30. $20? $10? I avoided opining on this because I don't know that I have any special insight, and my track record at valuing companies hasn't been great. That said, I do think $30 is...
by aaronl
Sun Jul 09, 2017 7:59 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How much to allocate to illiquid private stock
Replies: 8
Views: 776

Re: How much to allocate to illiquid private stock

Presumably any loss on These shares would be allowable against capital gains? Yes, though my understanding is that this only happens when the loss is realized. I have some other private stock that is essentially worthless (fortunately, in a much smaller amount), but haven't been able to claim a los...
by aaronl
Sun Jul 09, 2017 12:06 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How much to allocate to illiquid private stock
Replies: 8
Views: 776

How much to allocate to illiquid private stock

Suppose you have 90 days to exercise stock options in a private tech company. Your strike price is $10, and the share price on the secondary market is $30 (close to the price of preferred stock held by VCs). However, you aren't allowed to transact in the secondary market. You have no liquidity in th...
by aaronl
Fri Jul 07, 2017 10:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Gift to son buy a condo in San Francisco. Co-ownership?
Replies: 55
Views: 4478

Re: Gift to son buy a condo in San Francisco. Co-ownership?

Dad? Is that you?

Just kidding, but the resemblance to my own situation is uncanny. I'm 31, I live in SF, and my parents live on the Penninsula. I'm starting to think about either buying a condo or moving up to a nicer rental.
by aaronl
Wed Jun 21, 2017 10:44 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Ally Bank 1.25% 11 month with no EWP
Replies: 111
Views: 15430

Re: Ally Bank 1.25% 11 month with no EWP

I opened two of these last night, which was my first experience with Ally Bank. I'm pretty impressed so far. Their web site is top-notch, and the process of opening these accounts was so much easier than what I'm used to with other banks. I'm considering opening checking and savings accounts at Ally...
by aaronl
Sun May 14, 2017 2:25 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 100% Total International (0% US equity) for new investor?
Replies: 36
Views: 2999

Re: 100% Total International (0% US equity) for new investor?

It's funny to see so many people cast this as a very bad idea, while it isn't considered heresy to build a portfolio that uses exclusively US stocks. The consensus looks like home country bias at work, and perhaps a bit of performance chasing (the US has strongly outperformed over the last few years...
by aaronl
Wed May 10, 2017 1:23 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Young professional planning for early semi-retirement
Replies: 34
Views: 4424

Re: Young professional planning for early semi-retirement

I feel it's a bit premature to put together a plan like this. If you're just leaving college, you don't have a good sense of how your career will develop and how you will feel about work. You might be surprised and find yourself doing something you really enjoy, with no hurry to transition into semi...
by aaronl
Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:27 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Does your asset allocation derate tax-deferred holdings to account for future tax liability?
Replies: 163
Views: 9443

Re: Does your asset allocation derate tax-deferred holdings to account for future tax liability?

If we put aside the tax-bracket-risk-asymmetry consideration, addressed briefly by Ketawa, then this argument ignores the risk of the risky asset, and considers only the expected return of the risky asset. You are putting aside my argument in your first sentence and proceeding to discuss something ...
by aaronl
Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:39 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Does your asset allocation derate tax-deferred holdings to account for future tax liability?
Replies: 163
Views: 9443

Re: Does your asset allocation derate tax-deferred holdings to account for future tax liability?

But I think it's important to consider when people continue to propagate the myth that it's better to hold high-expected-return, high-risk assets in a Roth than in a tax-deferred account. As grabiner (and the Wiki) points out, it could be marginally better if there's a reasonable probability that y...
by aaronl
Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Young-ish bogleheads: How much (if any) social security do you expect in retirement?
Replies: 88
Views: 5368

Re: Young-ish bogleheads: How much (if any) social security do you expect in retirement?

I think your expectations should depend on how much you expect to accumulate in assets by retirement age. If you are broke when you retire, I think there's a very good chance that some kind of safety net for the elderly will still exist and will be available to you. If you expect to accumulate subst...
by aaronl
Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:35 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 2018-19 Toronto Vanc Sydney Melb Auckland housing crash?
Replies: 8
Views: 1312

Re: 2018-19 Toronto Vanc Sydney Melb Auckland housing crash?

Valuethinker, I admire your willingness to keep making these calls even as those housing markets continue to pay no mind. I suspect you will be right about this eventually. As an anecdote about Canadian housing, I visited my girlfriend's family in Toronto in mid-2015. I had heard a lot about a possi...
by aaronl
Sat Mar 11, 2017 1:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What if someone gets your password and transfers money from your bank to theirs?
Replies: 42
Views: 7249

Re: What if someone gets your password and transfers money from your bank to theirs?

Also, I clicked on the links and found that you can get 2FA for your Fidelity account, contrary to what you said in an earlier post. See here: m It only applies to certain transactions. You will get a security code to verify your identity when you perform highly sensitive transactions such as setti...
by aaronl
Sat Feb 25, 2017 9:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What if someone gets your password and transfers money from your bank to theirs?
Replies: 42
Views: 7249

Re: What if someone gets your password and transfers money from your bank to theirs?

I'm not sure I would have any recourse in this situation. My understanding is that banks usually accept liability for fraudulent transactions. But I don't know that the same applies for brokerages, especially when it might look like I'm just trying to escape losses due to bad trades. Not to mention...
by aaronl
Sat Feb 25, 2017 8:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What if someone gets your password and transfers money from your bank to theirs?
Replies: 42
Views: 7249

Re: What if someone gets your password and transfers money from your bank to theirs?

I've thought about this before and concluded that it's fairly difficult to extract money from an account in an irreversible way, so it's not a particular concern. But I am concerned about what someone could do with access to my brokerage accounts. Even though it's not particularly easy to send money...
by aaronl
Sat Feb 25, 2017 12:47 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Buffett Annual Letter 2016 [Jack Bogle is a hero]
Replies: 69
Views: 6695

Re: Buffett Annual Letter 2016

To be honest, I was a bit underwhelmed by this letter. At times, I felt like I was reading one of the past annual letters, verbatim. I hoped he would share his thoughts on how immigration restrictions and trade restrictions would impact the business environment. He was strangely silent on this topic...
by aaronl
Sun Feb 19, 2017 2:13 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Boglehead mentality re todays oil price
Replies: 85
Views: 7179

Re: Boglehead mentality re todays oil price

Electrifying rail on a country the size of USA & Canada would be a truly huge task. Britain is struggling to get up to 80% electrified (although having the world's oldest rail network does not help). Like passenger rail, it *would* make sense on the NE rail corridor. But I am not aware that it ...
by aaronl
Wed Feb 15, 2017 2:45 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Rolling Over IRA to Crappy 401k in order to backdoor roth
Replies: 22
Views: 1747

Re: Rolling Over IRA to Crappy 401k in order to backdoor roth

What about contributing to a non-deductible IRA now and doing the Roth conversion in the future when the 401k improves or your wife switches employers?
by aaronl
Mon Jan 16, 2017 10:30 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What's a bearish investor to do?
Replies: 33
Views: 5563

Re: What's a bearish investor to do?

First of all, even supposing the market is high or even too high, that doesn't mean the resolution is some kind of notable drop upcoming. Could just portend a more gradual deflation or just lower forward returns, not a drop. This used to be my thinking, but now I also think the market is underestim...
by aaronl
Mon Jan 16, 2017 9:18 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What's a bearish investor to do?
Replies: 33
Views: 5563

What's a bearish investor to do?

It's quite easy to invest when you expect positive returns. The basics have been covered here countless times - determining an asset allocation, depositing new money in index funds, and so on. I'm finding that it's not nearly as easy to plan or execute a bearish strategy. That's what I'd like to dis...
by aaronl
Sat Oct 29, 2016 4:04 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Peer to Peer Lending
Replies: 11
Views: 2182

Re: Peer to Peer Lending

I've had about 5% of my portfolio in Lending Club for the past 3 years or so. The first few years were quite good, and I earned a very consistent IRR around 9-10%. Recently the loan quality has deteriorated substantially. The IRR has fallen to about 7.6% measured from inception of the portfolio, whi...
by aaronl
Thu Jul 28, 2016 10:27 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Disappointed with new 401k plan
Replies: 20
Views: 1636

Re: Disappointed with new 401k plan

I think choosing funds from this plan is straightforward. There is a S&P 500 index, a mid-cap index, an international index, and a bond index, each with fees in the 0.3x% range. There are target retirement index funds in the 0.4x% range. And there are some expensive actively managed funds that I...
by aaronl
Wed Jul 27, 2016 11:14 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Disappointed with new 401k plan
Replies: 20
Views: 1636

Disappointed with new 401k plan

My company currently has a 401k plan through American Funds. There are no index funds available and the expenses are extremely high - the cheapest equity fund charges 1.39%, and the cheapest bond fund charges just a few basis points less. Recently I wrote to my HR department and expressed dissatisfa...
by aaronl
Sat May 07, 2016 3:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: WOW fantastic Cars in the Wild
Replies: 91
Views: 13916

Re: WOW fantastic Cars in the Wild

I think this varies a lot by region. I live in San Francisco and I'm pretty desensitized to seeing exotic cars. It's not at all uncommon to see them parked on the street, or in store parking lots. Incidentally, I just went down to the parking garage underneath my building for the first time, and fro...
by aaronl
Sat Mar 05, 2016 7:05 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advisor says "Blackrock is just plain better than Vanguard"...
Replies: 76
Views: 15893

Re: Advisor says "Blackrock is just plain better than Vanguard"...

Maybe the advisor is right...sometimes. M* Tax Efficiency Survey m This report confuses me. The first section shows that ETFs rarely distribute capital gains, and when they do, the amounts are negligible. This matches my experience with ETFs. But later on, the discussion of Vanguard's dual share-cl...
by aaronl
Tue Feb 23, 2016 2:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Positive experiment with Purse.io for 15-25% off Amazon.com
Replies: 68
Views: 13888

Re: Positive experiment with Purse.io for 15-25% off Amazon.com

-Who eats the discount here, and why? The person who buys your stuff on Amazon eats it. They're often an Amazon worker who was paid via Amazon Gift Card. They take a hit converting their currency from Amazon Gift Card to bitcoin. Many of the holders of the ~$15 billion in outstanding Amazon Gift Ca...
by aaronl
Fri Jan 08, 2016 1:31 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard Attracts Record Flows in 2015
Replies: 26
Views: 2934

Re: Vanguard Attracts Record Flows in 2015

I wonder if Vanguard's assets will peak at some point in the near future. I used to be a big Vanguard advocate, but their recent changes to VWO left me with a sour taste. I've started moving some of my holdings to SCHE. These days there are several firms competing aggressively in the indexing world....
by aaronl
Fri Jan 08, 2016 1:21 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help with American Funds 401K Fund Selection
Replies: 15
Views: 1785

Re: Help with American Funds 401K Fund Selection

This is exactly the same as my 401k. My condolences for ending up with such a bad 401k.
by aaronl
Fri Dec 18, 2015 12:20 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Liquidating stocks and buying mutual funds
Replies: 1
Views: 257

Liquidating stocks and buying mutual funds

My girlfriend is moving her portfolio from Merrill Lynch to Fidelity. The bulk of it is invested in individual stocks. I had planned to sell these stocks and invest the proceeds in Fidelity index funds. It occurred to me that it may not be possible to sell a stock and invest the proceeds in a mutual...
by aaronl
Mon Dec 07, 2015 1:29 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Merrill Lynch brokers get paid 41%-ish of fees and commissions they generate
Replies: 4
Views: 1201

Re: Merrill Lynch brokers get paid 41%-ish of fees and commissions they generate

Interesting article. I'm in the process of transitioning my GF's portfolio from Merrill Lynch to self-managed index funds. I just saw the makeup of her accounts yesterday and was a bit surprised. I expected to see high-fee mutual funds, but the assets were split between 15 or so individual stocks, a...
by aaronl
Sun Dec 06, 2015 7:04 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why does Contrafund invest in pre-IPO companies?
Replies: 11
Views: 1360

Why does Contrafund invest in pre-IPO companies?

I've seen some recent articles about how capital for pre-IPO "unicorns" is increasingly coming from mutual funds like Fidelity Contrafund, rather than VCs. This often comes up in the context of Fidelity marking its holdings up or down monthly, which can be embarrassing for the companies in...
by aaronl
Sun Nov 08, 2015 3:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much is "extra" Roth space worth?
Replies: 17
Views: 3044

Re: How much is "extra" Roth space worth?

I ran some numbers for myself awhile back, and found that each dollar contributed to a Roth IRA was worth 27% more than a dollar invested in a taxable account. The biggest variable here is time horizon. I did the calculation assuming 35 years until withdrawal. If the time period is shorter, it could...
by aaronl
Thu Oct 15, 2015 10:04 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Forced transfer to Vanguard cost me big time
Replies: 25
Views: 3485

Re: Forced transfer to Vanguard cost me big time

Your employer's decision to change custodians should not result in you owning less shares of the same funds that you held before the transfer, assuming you have the same funds available at Vanguard. Something is wrong here and I agree with others that you probably have a legitimate complaint (lawsu...
by aaronl
Wed Oct 14, 2015 11:26 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Forced transfer to Vanguard cost me big time
Replies: 25
Views: 3485

Re: Forced transfer to Vanguard cost me big time

I am just about sick and tired of the entire 401K custodian / management industry. This is 2015. There are certain mechanisms called: in-kind transfer, journaling, etc. When you change providers, custodians, web-sites, etc, this should not happen. In fact, there should be a law, saying that if your...