Search found 230 matches

by grberry
Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:44 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Is this Asset Allocation okay?
Replies: 21
Views: 5553

more data please

Ok given what else? Do you have other retirement funds elsewhere? If so, what percentage of your retirement funds do you expect this plan to hold over the next few years? What other options are in this 401(K) plan? When do you plan to retire? Could you sleep well if these funds lost 20% of their val...
by grberry
Thu Aug 30, 2007 9:51 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Microladders? Good for anything?
Replies: 5
Views: 1988

Why?

What would be the benefit of the micro ladder? I can see two possibilities. The first is having a CD maturing more regularly should the money be needed - this can be handled instead by having a short term ladder of three three month CDs and then a longer term ladder, for a great deal of administrati...
by grberry
Wed Aug 29, 2007 8:08 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: 26 Year old - [Advice request] house & retirement portfo
Replies: 20
Views: 4720

house is too aggressive

Prior posters are correct that the house portfolio is positioned too aggressively for the timeframe - assuming that you don't actually NEED stock level returns. If you think you need stock level returns to make a 20% downpayment, then you just have to stay in stock and be willing to defer house purc...
by grberry
Wed Aug 22, 2007 5:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What Kind of Car Do You Drive and Why?
Replies: 100
Views: 33107

Public transit

I keep a public transit pass (bus and subway) in my pocket. Fully paid for by my employer, and I can read and decompress on my way home from work instead of coming home stressed. My wife drives an SUV (Subaru Forrester) that we bought used. An SUV because with two kids it was worth having the extra ...
by grberry
Tue Aug 21, 2007 5:45 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Estimated Tax Question
Replies: 8
Views: 2407

The safe harbor test is a bit tricky; what you need to do depends on your income. I've been watching it this year due to stock option gains; I recommend getting the IRS form for payments (plus instructions) and doing the calculation.
by grberry
Tue Aug 21, 2007 5:41 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How do companies compensate third party 401k advisors
Replies: 9
Views: 4982

It varies. I think the best practice is for the company to negotiate a flat $ fee directly with the advisor, and then charge that flat fee to all participants on an assets under management basis. Not that I've ever heard of it being done that way. :cry: Paid out of the 12b-1 fees is quite common, as...
by grberry
Mon Aug 20, 2007 7:26 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Prosper.com - get loans or loan money yourself
Replies: 42
Views: 12004

I looked at it once.

It appeared that to really make money, you have to work at it; trying to identify likely prospects to actually repay the loan. And folks have been finding that the loan default rate is higher than they had anticipated. At that point I walked away.
by grberry
Sun Aug 19, 2007 9:22 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Mean age of assets held by group members
Replies: 8
Views: 2886

For those of us in heavy accumulation phase; this is too much trouble to calculate. I'm contributing bi weekly, reinvesting dividends in some fund monthly, rebalancing semi-annually to annually, etc... So I guesstimated.
by grberry
Sun Aug 19, 2007 7:36 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: How to save for a downpayment on a house
Replies: 10
Views: 3120

Depends when you want to buy the house. A balanced fund is mix of stocks and bonds. The general suggestion is that stocks are for purchases to be made more than 10 years from now, and (if I recall correctly), bonds for more than 5 years. So if you want to buy a house less than 5 years, adding to thi...
by grberry
Sat Aug 18, 2007 11:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Massachusetts or Netherlands Health Insurance
Replies: 8
Views: 2477

I love in Massachusetts, and this plan is relevant to my work, so I've been following the news, but I've never read the law and am not an expert on it. Those without proof of insurance will lose a personal exemption/deduction on state income tax. That is worth about $200 per year. The cost of insura...
by grberry
Fri Aug 17, 2007 10:06 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: New Home Down Payment-Partial Gift
Replies: 4
Views: 1438

On the mortgage side, lenders these day want high quality loans with plenty of documentation. They are likely to demand documentation of any major recent deposits, so that they can be sure they aren't other loans that you have. Make sure any gifts are documented as a gift, and that you keep a copy o...
by grberry
Fri Aug 17, 2007 10:04 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Charitable gift annuities? Not for the selfish, right?
Replies: 7
Views: 2417

They can be a very fair deal - for someone that wants to give a gift while living and have an annuity. Many people don't want to do either, never mind both. crefwatch outlined three tax benefits. If the securities gifted are highly appreciated, the CG tax savings could be 10% of the face value of th...
by grberry
Thu Aug 16, 2007 4:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: efficient frontier... where's it at?
Replies: 15
Views: 3668

The efficient frontier is a theoretical optimum that is only visible in the rear view mirror, not in the windshield. Your task is to drive forward down the efficient frontier road.

As the prior poster said, your real go is to cover all the bases and be heading in the right general direction.
by grberry
Wed Aug 15, 2007 8:57 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Are the markets making you nervous?
Replies: 63
Views: 18113

If you answered "yes" to this poll you owe it to yourself to increase your bond allocation until you can change your answer to "no." Unfortunately, 80% plus of my family retirement savings is in my employer's 401(K) plan, and I can't change the allocation so as to change my answer to yes. The only ...
by grberry
Mon Aug 13, 2007 10:02 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: FDIC Insurance Worst-Case Scenario
Replies: 11
Views: 3235

FDIC insurance is limited in multiple ways. First, only some types of investments are insured - for example, mutual funds are not, including money market mutual funds. Second, there is a "per ownership per institution limit" of $100,000. If at Bank A, I own 105K as sole owner, only 100K is covered. ...
by grberry
Mon Aug 13, 2007 9:57 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Please Help -Individual Account vs. Joint Account
Replies: 4
Views: 2111

Gifts from one spouse to another have an unlimited exclusion from gift tax provided both spouses are US citizens (and an annual limit if one spouse is a non-citizen.) I don't live (and never have) in a community property state; but if I recall correctly changing the ownership of the account would li...
by grberry
Fri Aug 10, 2007 2:26 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Real estate "bucket"?
Replies: 6
Views: 2014

seperate - if

I'd keep it separate: 1) you might change jobs (voluntarily or not) and massively change your current timeline for buying 2) you might change your mind about waiting until you return to the states full time (possibly to acquire a vacation/retirement home earlier) 3) even if you don't change plans, y...
by grberry
Fri Aug 10, 2007 8:23 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: How to Play Housing Crash?
Replies: 6
Views: 1725

One owned rental/investment property is a risky headache, and unlikely to be highly profitable once the value of your work time is calculated in. A large enough set of them is generally less risky, and generally more affordable to have proper legal structure, insurance, management, etc... on a per u...
by grberry
Thu Aug 09, 2007 9:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [poll] are you overpaid? underpaid?
Replies: 4
Views: 1968

Underpaid a bit, 'cause I've been with my employer 9+ years. If I changed jobs, I could get a 5%-10% raise. But I'd probably have to sacrifice some quality of life issues (commute, job somewhat customized to my personal interests) and likely get a smaller raise the next year as I learn the new emplo...
by grberry
Thu Aug 09, 2007 9:36 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Moving Funds from IRA to HSA
Replies: 3
Views: 1101

HSA isn't a bank

HSA is an acronym for Health Savings Account, designed to replace/improve upon Medical Savings Accounts. Here is a general overview 1) They are only useful when you have employer provided high deductible medical insurance. 2) They can be funded pre-tax (and pre FICA/FUTA) by the employer, or the emp...
by grberry
Thu Aug 09, 2007 2:13 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How Many Finacial Companies Do You Keep Your Money With?
Replies: 17
Views: 4525

1 Bank, with also 1 IRA there
2 additional IRA/Roth locations (Vanguard, Fidelity)
1 Employer selected 401(K) provider
1 Employer selected broker for handling stock options (have $0.07 plus the unexercised options)
Paypal
by grberry
Tue Aug 07, 2007 3:27 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Large Capital Gain - Need tax options (if any)
Replies: 4
Views: 1239

like kind exchange

I am not a lawyer or tax specialist. If the vacation home was also rented a significant amount, you could probably do a 1031 exchange and receive partial credit. Those exchanges have a 45 day rule, and require special use of third parties, so it is probably too late anyway. See https://www.1031cpas....
by grberry
Tue Aug 07, 2007 3:03 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Fiduciary Focus:
Replies: 2
Views: 1115

Is there an equivalent series for company officials responsible for a 401(K) plan? I would love to have something similar to present ours who could use the education. (I formerly got to attend their meetings without being a voting member, but my role changed earlier this year, so I know what goes on.)
by grberry
Tue Jul 31, 2007 3:41 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is Vanguard service deteriorating?
Replies: 20
Views: 7511

I recently had the experience of having Vanguard credit a contribution and buy shares of the appropriate fund before the check cleared the checking account at my bank (USAA). I call this good service on Vanguard's and USAA's part :D although I do wish the fund had gone up between when they credited ...
by grberry
Mon Jul 30, 2007 9:26 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard Comments to DOL
Replies: 2
Views: 1320

re: cool-aid

If you follow the link in the original post, Vanguard's example proposed disclosure is on page 24. Looking at it, the only number that is shown is the expense ratio. Risk and return are Low/Low or High/High. Basically - determined and stated only as a function of the asset class. It appears a reason...
by grberry
Thu Jul 26, 2007 2:37 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Term Life Insurance - How much?
Replies: 22
Views: 5742

Social Security, amounts over time, estate planning

I recently rechecked the numbers for my family, and including social security survivors benefits made a significant difference. (While I personally discount my SS retirement benefits due to the time until retirement, I don't do the same for child's and other parent's survivor benefits, as in the eve...
by grberry
Fri Jul 20, 2007 3:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: OT: Electric heat, gas heat, oil heat
Replies: 26
Views: 7712

Location also matters within New England. I live in a major city, and have highly reliable electricity, a gas pipeline to the house, and lots of oil suppliers available. But most of New England does not have all three. When I grew up, there never was a gas pipeline, so gas as an option also required...
by grberry
Fri Jul 20, 2007 2:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Old houses and lead paint
Replies: 10
Views: 2618

We bought a 1914 house a few years back. One of the rooms had badly flaking paint (chips on the floor during all of our visits, plenty more ready to come off). We choose to go with a professional specialist in deleading. Living in Mass, I can only relate our state laws. Done right, a qualified inspe...
by grberry
Fri Jul 20, 2007 1:48 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Roth or 401K
Replies: 8
Views: 2766

Also ask the employer to add Roth 401(K) to their 401(K) plan. Speaking from experience on the employer side, these sorts of optional features are more likely to be added when employees ask for them. Then you can have more freedom to balance the tax deferred regular 401(K) contributions with fully t...
by grberry
Fri Jul 20, 2007 1:28 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: investment/home-buying Qs from new investor
Replies: 18
Views: 5666

I'd strongly recommend funding your emergency fund before the house down payment. You are only talking a down payment, not a payment in full. So you will have a fixed mortgage expense, and any hiccup in your income (sick time on partial disability pay, for example) will cause some financial stress i...