Search found 321 matches

by brianH
Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Decent income, living in NYC, paying a high rent
Replies: 97
Views: 13919

The various posts also seem to indicate that such a place does not exist (either in the city or in the suburbs) in the NYC region. Some say does not exist in the USA, but I refuse to believe that. I think, as rrosenkoetter said above, finding this in the Eastern-side of the Mid-Atlantic states is n...
by brianH
Sat May 29, 2010 3:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why do you donate (or not) to charity?
Replies: 68
Views: 8328

I'm with a few people in this thread. I don't give money directly to a 401c, but I will/do: -Donate almost all my used/unused goods to Goodwill. -Tip very well for almost everything where tips are customary -Pay taxes. As a single/no kids upper-middle earner, it's not a small amt. -Volunteer time; t...
by brianH
Thu May 27, 2010 8:52 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pros and Cons of paying off mortgage..
Replies: 207
Views: 40093

This is not a fair comparison either. If you buy a Treasury bond and hold it to maturity, your returns are just as guaranteed as if you pay off your mortgage. Therefore, a fair comparison is between paying off your mortgage and buying a portfolio of bonds held to maturity which makes the same payme...
by brianH
Wed May 26, 2010 7:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Fidelity vs. Schwab credit card
Replies: 35
Views: 5836

I prefer the AMEX (Fido) for the consumer protections they offer. In fact, AMEX seems to be a bit more consumer-oriented than VISA/MC in general. Of course, it isn't accepted everywhere, though I don't find it to be nearly as bad as the old commercials used to imply. That said, I carry my 1.5% Fido ...
by brianH
Tue May 25, 2010 10:13 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Avoiding Black Swans- An Emergency Doc's Perspective
Replies: 59
Views: 9913

Wow, it turns out doing dangerous things is dangerous. I would imagine that living in a bubble can also increase your lifespan by a good amount. I thought the car vs SUV thing had statistics to show that the most dangerous type of crash is a rollover which happens far more frequently with SUVs. Just...
by brianH
Mon May 24, 2010 8:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pros and Cons of paying off mortgage..
Replies: 207
Views: 40093

Seems to me that some of those recommending alternative investments are making the same 'mistake' that fund managers do when they compare their returns against the S&P -- using the wrong benchmark and not adjusting for risk. The Vanguard GNMA (VFIIX) fund was referenced earlier with a return of 6.29...
by brianH
Sun May 23, 2010 1:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buy a house with all cash or take out mortgage?
Replies: 34
Views: 4927

In your situation, the clear winner is not taking a mortgage. Any tax-deductibility of the mortgage interest is only over the SD (which you don't currently hit), but you will be taxed on any interest paying investments at the full 35%. So you would be paying mortgage initiation fees and interest to ...
by brianH
Fri May 21, 2010 5:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pros and Cons of paying off mortgage..
Replies: 207
Views: 40093

I've been aggressively paying mine down, and I hope to be done with it by the end of the year (I'm 30). It's realized I was deluding myself to think I was achieving anything near my 5.625% interest rate in *guaranteed* returns. Of course, I max my tax sheltered accounts -- that is really the priorit...
by brianH
Fri May 21, 2010 1:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Going to buy a car tomorrow - Any tips?
Replies: 46
Views: 6601

My other concern is that I don't want to leave my poor old Accord somewhere to rust. It's been with me for my entire adult life. Sigh. I know it's just an object, but still, we've done a lot of things together, me and that car. Look into donating your Accord. You might end up with a bigger tax brea...
by brianH
Fri May 21, 2010 1:31 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: how to make the case for low expense index funds?
Replies: 37
Views: 4557

Not that you shouldn't fight the good fight, but you could always configure your investing by splitting 401K/Roth/Taxable based on your AA and the funds available. For example, you could use the decent Vanguard bond fund they offer in the 401K as the fixed income portion of your AA and use a better ...
by brianH
Tue May 18, 2010 12:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The Importance of Money - Means To an End or End in Itself?
Replies: 32
Views: 5052

diminishing returns start above $40K/year: http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2006/08/03/how-much-money-do-you-need-to-be-happy-hint-your-sex-life-matters-more/ Dr. Gilbert, who the blog above quotes, is brilliant, and much of his work is apropos for this topic. http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_gilbert_asks...
by brianH
Sat May 15, 2010 3:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Poll] Do You Encrypt Your Wi-Fi?
Replies: 47
Views: 5670

I often use my neighbors' WiFi since it was easy to download and run a little programs that statistically derives their wireless password. Better be careful with that. You are potentially breaking numerous laws by cracking an encryption scheme and using a network that you don't have permission to u...
by brianH
Wed May 12, 2010 6:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Net Worth Obsession-NyTimes
Replies: 107
Views: 16531

It might just be me, but there's living at home for a bit after college/HS to get on one's feet (I did it for a year), and then there's living in your childhood bedroom, with action figures, when you are 32 years old. I know a common debate on personal finance forums is when to stop saving a spend (...
by brianH
Wed May 12, 2010 6:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: very cheep booze
Replies: 19
Views: 3412

Ewww. Might as well make your own pruno (prison wine) while you're at it http://www.blacktable.com/gillin030901.htm I've heard homemade wine using 100% Welches grape juice (frozen concentrate) turns out pretty well, but I doubt any random fruit juice will ferment and not taste nasty. Assuming you ar...
by brianH
Wed May 12, 2010 1:35 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Do you do your own taxes?
Replies: 78
Views: 10789

Yup, using TaxAct. I find that it doesn't abstract away to the point where I don't know where the numbers are going; it's more of a simple form filler. I think the $14 is worth it to run the comparison tools and have it auto-copy items from last year's return. I do not believe the $50+ that TurboTax...
by brianH
Tue May 11, 2010 8:56 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How do sell stop loss orders and sell limit orders work?
Replies: 25
Views: 5044

A potentially easier way to think about it (for me) is how the order gets communicated: Order Types: Market, Limit, Stop, and StopLimit are the most common (there are more obscure ones as well). A limit order gets a limit price, a stop order gets a stop price, and a SL order gets both. Others have e...
by brianH
Mon May 10, 2010 12:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bringing your own wine to a restaurant
Replies: 30
Views: 4272

In Philly/surrounding 'burbs it is common for an establishment to not have the full liquor license required to sell alcohol. Many of these places are BYOB and typically do not have a corkage fee, though the nicer ones tend to. I have never seen an establishment that has the ability to sell alcohol a...
by brianH
Thu May 06, 2010 1:45 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Wash Sale Question?
Replies: 7
Views: 1099

I agree 100% with Chuck ^^. I would expect that the IRS will at some point establish that tracking the same index is 'substantially similar'. Of course, one could also make the argument that the small fluctuations in the (tiny) amount of cash held in the funds render them different. I can see why th...
by brianH
Thu May 06, 2010 10:02 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: wow - amazing picture of average american family
Replies: 104
Views: 16749

Area of country

I think the other striking thing from the wiki article is the income levels by geographic area. Growing up and living in the Philadelphia suburbs, I'm nestled in one of the dark green pockets that surrounds the large cities. I would imagine that many/most bogleheads live in a similar 'dark green poc...
by brianH
Tue Sep 08, 2009 11:41 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Most stolen vehicles in America
Replies: 37
Views: 5530

Interesting to note that many of the cars are the older models before key-chip based immobilizer systems. The Civic for instance got this feature for the 7th gens (2001+). The 2000 model was high on the list, but, as far as I know, the recent models have not been stolen with the same frequency. Shor...
by brianH
Wed Aug 12, 2009 12:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 230 mpg!
Replies: 59
Views: 8018

Taxes

It's worth noting that a good chunk (20% currently) of the cost of gas is federal/state highway taxes. There have been news reports of people with bio-diesel vehicles getting a large tax bill once the gubmint found out. When the electric cars become more popular, a new method of taxation will be req...