Search found 230 matches

by grberry
Fri Apr 03, 2009 12:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: WaPo: Collapse of the "car bubble"
Replies: 14
Views: 2951

From this history of vehicles in the U.S.: http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0908125.html The number of vehicles has exceeded the number of licensed drivers since 1972 (including commercial and government vehicles). The trend has been a gradual increase from 1 vehicle per driver to 1.2 vehicles per dr...
by grberry
Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:41 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Sun/IBM: what to do w/ my Sun stock?
Replies: 21
Views: 4585

specific stock - exit as per usual

By holding a specific company's stock, you are taking an uncompensated company specific risk. It might be rewarded, or it might turn out poorly. Generally speaking, unless this is part of your "play money" portion of your investments, you should avoid that risk by moving to a diversified portfolio. ...
by grberry
Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:36 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Are you seeing "sold" signs?
Replies: 29
Views: 5058

In my immediate neighborhood, I am seeing neither "for sale" signs nor "sold" signs. Works for me, as I can afford to sit tight myself.
by grberry
Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pay off mortgage or not?
Replies: 20
Views: 4708

Depends on remaining cash

How much cash would you have left if you did pay it off? The question is not answered in your original post, and is in my mind crucial. If there would be a reasonable emergency fund left, pay it off! If there would not be a reasonable emergency fund left, figure out how much you need for a reasonabl...
by grberry
Thu Apr 02, 2009 6:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Confused by Stock Options
Replies: 10
Views: 2385

My wife has 50,000 shares in a company that went toes-up. Never spent a penny of her own money to "buy" them. Duh. As the tale of bozo's wife demonstrates; by holding a single company's stock you are taking a risk on the performance of that company. This is an uncompensated risk. When, as for the o...
by grberry
Thu Apr 02, 2009 6:21 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Confused by Stock Options
Replies: 10
Views: 2385

Stock options are not our specialty, but some of us do know some things about them. The combination of stock options and a corporate restructuring/recapitalization is beyond me however. I recommend the forums at Fairmark.com as a good source of information; for this question particularly the "AMT an...
by grberry
Wed Apr 01, 2009 12:55 pm
Forum: US Chapters
Topic: Any chapters in Massachusetts?
Replies: 27
Views: 8533

Thanks Cheryl. I don't know if I'll be able to make any meetings (busy work plus family), but I'll be looking to try.
by grberry
Sun Mar 29, 2009 9:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Parent's Universal Life Policy
Replies: 30
Views: 4094

While I wouldn't be able to give the answer myself, I know that whoever you can will need some other data, such as: 1) Age and general health condition of said parent 2) Financial condition of the parent (could they invest in TIPS/Ibonds? - can they really afford this expense?) 3) Insurer (is the co...
by grberry
Fri Mar 27, 2009 4:38 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: 401k fee question (quick)
Replies: 5
Views: 1120

Re: 401k fee question (quick)

Fees Short-term Trading Fee 1.50% Short-term Fee Period 90 Days Management Fee 0.76% Expenses & Fees Expense Ratio as of 09/29/2008 1.14% Expense Ratio after Reductions as of 01/31/2009 1.11% One thing is clear to me - the Short-term Trading Fee is independent of the Expense Ratio in Expenses & Fee...
by grberry
Thu Mar 26, 2009 10:43 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Exxon, Chevron Count Every Dollar to Protect $40 Billion
Replies: 12
Views: 2186

You can look at a few things to get some ideas. First, for it to be counted at cash on the balance sheet it can not be in long term investments. For this purpose, a new one year T-bond is long term. I think the time threshold is maturing more than 90 days out moves it to the category "short term inv...
by grberry
Thu Mar 26, 2009 9:57 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 'Stable' Funds in Your 401(k) May Not Be
Replies: 3
Views: 1182

When I was helping administer my company's 401(K) a few years back I learned some of the contents of our stable value fund. It included some guaranteed investment contracts (GICs) that had been purchased a few years before that time when our plan administrator was a different company. As part of the...
by grberry
Thu Mar 26, 2009 9:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: in-service 401(k) withdrawals
Replies: 3
Views: 1156

No experience, but let me express my envy at the fact your plan allows in service withdrawals.
by grberry
Thu Mar 26, 2009 9:52 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: More companies cut or end 401(k) plan matches
Replies: 15
Views: 2102

I think the profit sharing thing is part of it - my employer, when it introduced the match, specified a match in March of the following year in an amount between 1% and 3% of salary at the company's discretion depending upon performance, but never more than 50% of the employee's contribution. Before...
by grberry
Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:30 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Disappointed in Vanguard - Expense Ratios rising
Replies: 35
Views: 6346

So why do we compare ERs across funds if it is the absolute fee and not the base upon which it is assessed that matters? :?: Because when you choose where to invest, unless you are a billionaire, your investment doesn't change the denominator of the fund's total assets meaningfully. So you pay the ...
by grberry
Wed Mar 25, 2009 8:04 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Invest in small/value as student or wait till employed
Replies: 11
Views: 2069

You have said you have a five figure sum available. That means between $10K and $99K. I'll assume $55K, as it is the midpoint. You are going to have some asset allocation - even at your age I couldn't possibly recommend tilting entirely to stocks, much less tilting entirely to small/value stocks. Fo...
by grberry
Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:29 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: What to do with my bank stock--I'd like opinions, please
Replies: 15
Views: 2425

depending

Depending on your children/grandchildren's ages, one use to keeping a small number of shares would be to have a real example of the risks inherent in an individual stock that you can use in educating future generations about the stock market. Just from the spreadsheet you'll have to keep track of re...
by grberry
Thu Dec 11, 2008 5:32 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Could the Dollar be devalued? - It's been done before.
Replies: 9
Views: 2048

aka inflation

Inflation is the modern way of measuring how much the dollar has been devalued. Around 3% a year seems to be the current long run trend.
by grberry
Fri Nov 21, 2008 2:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: When do you sell your car?
Replies: 28
Views: 4853

reasons vary

The current car is probably going to be replaced for excessive maintenance costs - probably in 2009. My last car, I replaced when the family grew larger and the car wasn't big enough for us anymore. The car before that, I got rid of when I drove it into the ground. (I then went 5 years before gettin...
by grberry
Tue Nov 18, 2008 4:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selecting company for term life policy
Replies: 10
Views: 1906

someone else suggested

Over in another current thread asweet42 suggested checking your state insurance regulatory agency for justified complaints against the insurer. They gave a link to the California data. Another thing to check is the actual text of multiple policies to see if there are variations relevant to you. For ...
by grberry
Fri Oct 31, 2008 9:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Ameriprise (AMEX) Class Action Settlement
Replies: 15
Views: 8581

Well, my wife and I got our settlement checks this month. $40, woo hoo! Now, is this taxable income?
by grberry
Thu Oct 23, 2008 2:57 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: When will market bottom be reached; Sustained recovery begn?
Replies: 15
Views: 3117

All the options should be ranges of course. I chose 3 months, while my real range is really 3-6 months. I expect the market bottom to occur during the earnings release season for companies with years ending in December and releasing in January-March of the following year. At that point they will als...
by grberry
Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:18 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Moving out of NJ - should I sell NJ bonds?
Replies: 2
Views: 912

First, why did you buy the state specific funds? Given the concerns, probably because the tax adjusted return looked better than the alternative. Given the move, the tax adjustment vanishes. So one question is whether the change in tax adjusted return between the two alternatives will payback any tr...
by grberry
Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:12 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: What will it take for you to buy stocks?
Replies: 53
Views: 12354

I didn't capitulate. On my next paydate, the usual 401K allocation will occur, largely to stocks. I'll also continue reinvesting dividends on my current stock holdings. For additional purchases other than routine retirement savings, I'd need to actually get a large chunk of cash from somewhere, whic...
by grberry
Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Monthly utilities and their effect on monthly mortgage
Replies: 19
Views: 3235

Actually, in Massachusetts if buying a single family home, forget trash service - the towns are required to provide it. If in a big complex, it would probably be part of the condo/association fees. As other posters have said, utility bills vary widely from house to house, based on heat source, age o...
by grberry
Mon Oct 06, 2008 11:33 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: MA to eliminate state income tax?
Replies: 4
Views: 1492

The Massachusetts proposed referendum question would if passed, amend existing law, not be a constituttional amendment. In 2000, a similar referendum passed law amendment reduced the income tax rate from 5.6% to 5.0% - except the legislature amended the law very quickly to stop the reduction at 5.3%...
by grberry
Sun Oct 05, 2008 8:18 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Massachusetts Muni Bonds - good or bad timing?
Replies: 9
Views: 2653

Is it a binding referendum? If it is, is there anything that would stop the legislature from just immediately passing a new law that would reinstitute the state income tax? Apparently, according to the New York Times, Massachusetts Proposal Would Repeal Income Tax , yes to the first question and no...
by grberry
Thu Oct 02, 2008 11:23 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Massachusetts Muni Bonds - good or bad timing?
Replies: 9
Views: 2653

While I refuse to predict the actions of my fellow voters, and will myself be voting for that measure, I definitely do not expect it to pass at the ballot. (If I recall correctly, there was a similar ballot proposal a few elections ago.) But even if it does pass, it is merely a law, not a constituti...
by grberry
Thu Oct 02, 2008 11:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit Card Limits-Do they matter?
Replies: 12
Views: 2455

And if you have unusual spending activity, the limit can actually matter. While renovating our kitchen, we accidentally went over limit on my wife's card for four days as the large payment for one month (new cabinets) hadn't cleared before we put another large bill (new hardwood floor and associated...
by grberry
Fri Jun 13, 2008 11:01 am
Forum: Wiki and Reference Library
Topic: Wiki Help
Replies: 17
Views: 30733

I won't call myself a Wiki search expert, but I've used it a few times. (Incidentally, the general consensus of English language Wikipedia editors is that the Wiki search tool is inferior to Google...) The search engine searches on the source text of a page, which does not include that page's title....
by grberry
Fri May 09, 2008 12:30 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What % of your planned retirement is in a ROTH IRA?
Replies: 15
Views: 4199

High in the 0-9% for Roth IRA. Next bucket up if we add Roth 401K...
by grberry
Wed Feb 27, 2008 12:51 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What got you to make the first step toward investing?
Replies: 12
Views: 2775

When I was about 8, my grandparents gave me 5 shares of Pennsylvania Power & Light (ticker: PPL), worth about $250. My parents got me going in the dividend reinvestment plan. Now, three decades later, after reinvested dividends and two stock splits, my holdings are worth about $7K. It has taught me ...
by grberry
Wed Feb 27, 2008 12:47 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Taxes- Pay now or later??
Replies: 3
Views: 1551

The other factor to consider is the security of the payments. If the company is highly sound and you are 100% confident the payments will be made, then this issue doesn't matter. If there is a real risk of non payment, then it weighs toward not doing the capital gain all up front. However, I don't k...
by grberry
Wed Feb 27, 2008 12:40 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What is a resistance level?
Replies: 17
Views: 3895

"resistance level" is a term used by people the diehards should not be listening to or reading. I use it as such - anyone who talks about that stuff, I stop at that point and never go back.
by grberry
Fri Feb 22, 2008 12:22 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Best time to move IRA?
Replies: 4
Views: 1311

On the fund switch, just do it. The downs/ups of the markets should affect both funds, so if the one you are selling is low, so is the one you are buying. And if the one you are selling is high, so is the one you are buying. On the Star/money market fund switch, you didn't say WHY this makes sense t...
by grberry
Fri Feb 15, 2008 10:46 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: college costs
Replies: 28
Views: 6126

Part - though only a part - of the reason that college tuitions rise faster than inflation is that they are rack rates, and only a fraction of students actually pay them. Scholarship grants, fee waivers, above market wages for on campus student employment are all ways in which different students rec...
by grberry
Fri Feb 15, 2008 10:39 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Would you cosider REITs a core asset class?
Replies: 25
Views: 6340

I think of REITs as a separate asset class, but not a core asset class. It is perfectly possible to build a good diversified portfolio without using them, thus they aren't core by my standards.
by grberry
Thu Feb 14, 2008 11:09 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Deduction of 401(k) Fees
Replies: 1
Views: 1110

I've seen it in my Putnam administered 401(K), but only as part of a dividend transaction set; with large positive dividends and tiny negative dividends. I suppose I should have been asking "what are these negative dividend transactions?" Maybe I will the next time I see it.
by grberry
Tue Feb 12, 2008 1:48 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: My company's 401k matching policy is strange.
Replies: 16
Views: 3029

The discretionary aspect is because the company is considering this as either a profit sharing or bonus aspect of your total compensation. If the company really has a bad year, you can expect the match to vanish or shrink. My employer's plan, for example, is a 50% match on the previous year's contri...
by grberry
Tue Feb 12, 2008 1:37 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Calculating Cost Basis: Broker's Job or Mine?
Replies: 12
Views: 3080

It is your obligation to track basis. A broker can make a good faith estimate, but they will always have major problems with some types of shares: 1) Stocks/funds that you have owned and traded at multiple brokers and haven't done specific share identification on your trades prior to selling. 2) Sto...
by grberry
Tue Feb 12, 2008 1:23 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: refinance living trust with a different trustee than grantor
Replies: 3
Views: 1207

Who owes the mortgage? If the trust owes the mortgage, and is paying it out of trust income, the trustee has the choices and you don't have the choices, beyond your ability to influence the trustee. If you hold the mortgage, but a trust owns the house, it will depend on the lending standards of the ...
by grberry
Tue Feb 05, 2008 3:48 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: My company's 401k matching policy is strange.
Replies: 16
Views: 3029

If they are only going to put in 4 cents for every dollar you put in, I'd suggest analyzing as if they didn't match at all. So I'd fill the Roth IRA then go to the 401K or a taxable account, depending on the available investments in the 401K. High expense funds (or otherwise poor funds) in the 401K ...
by grberry
Tue Feb 05, 2008 12:58 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Roth IRA as a source of cash for a home down payment?
Replies: 31
Views: 6584

The average young couple or family has relatively low disposable income for multiple reasons. One, it is early in their careers, so their current income is relatively low. Two, they are very likely to be paying off college debt. Three, they are likely to be paying off credit card debt. Four, they ar...
by grberry
Mon Feb 04, 2008 1:55 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bogleheads Survey of Investment Beliefs
Replies: 22
Views: 5371

I interpreted best as "best available". Having 75% of assets available for investment in my employer's 401K plan severely constrains my available options. The only true index fund therein is an S&P500 fund, and that doesn't allow adequate diversification. Thus, for me , the best available is a mix o...
by grberry
Mon Feb 04, 2008 1:44 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Poll: 401K Match
Replies: 99
Views: 21590

50% match. Guaranteed to match 50% of my first 2%, possibly as much as 50% of my first 6% (so employer contribution of 1% to 3%). Possibility is based on corporate performance. But the match is made in March of the following year, and only to employees who were still employed on 1/1 of the following...
by grberry
Thu Jan 31, 2008 2:27 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: what does it mean if the bond insurers go under?
Replies: 4
Views: 1758

If a bond insurer gets in serious trouble, or goes under, the effects will be to the bonds it insures. Here are some rules of thumb for the direct effects. These effects will affect other market players, and I make no comments on second and higher order effects. 1) U.S. Treasury securities are not i...
by grberry
Thu Jan 31, 2008 2:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Discounted stock at your place of employment?
Replies: 9
Views: 2008

law or accounting standards

The HR person might be wrong on saying "law" - or did she say "rule"? And did you interpret Federal government. A couple years ago, FAS 123(R) (a revision to FAS 123) changed the accounting rules for companies with stock that is traded on the U.S. equity markets, or reporting their financial stateme...
by grberry
Wed Jan 23, 2008 1:20 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Has anyone been influenced to make any changes to their AA?
Replies: 26
Views: 4731

I recently changed my asset allocation to include 5% in cash & equivalents. I'm thinking about buying stocks on sale using it and then rebuilding the cash position from new contributions. But 1) that would require me to take three actions and 2) if I just continue on autopilot, I might get the benef...
by grberry
Fri Jan 18, 2008 10:12 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Are you tightening your belt?
Replies: 42
Views: 10363

I am not tightening our belt because of economic conditions. I am continually attempting to tighten the belt due to prudential and religious considerations. Waste not, want not.
by grberry
Thu Jan 17, 2008 4:39 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Do you rebalance?
Replies: 12
Views: 3727

Other

My 401K is configured to automatically rebalance every 3 months. The rest of the relevant portfolio is in multiple small accounts, so rebalancing is only via new contributions. I call this other.
by grberry
Wed Jan 16, 2008 2:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Don"t Go to Zillow.com (Unless you have a strong stomac
Replies: 33
Views: 9177

I consider Zillow good enough for seat of the pants "valuation" of a house, and actually record that value in Quicken periodically. Of course, for my financial plan, I assume a value of zero, because I plan on living in the house, not selling it or reverse mortgaging it. Yes, my house Zillow value w...