Search found 535 matches

by denismurf
Mon Dec 23, 2013 2:12 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Quality of NY Times reporting declining?
Replies: 9
Views: 1432

Quality of NY Times reporting declining?

Without getting into specifics, during the past few months I've noticed that some NY Times news stories on health/medical topics are long on sensationalism and very weak on logic, facts, and objectivity. Has anyone else noticed similar quality declines in NY Times reporting on topics you are knowled...
by denismurf
Fri Dec 06, 2013 7:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Learn Statistics? How?
Replies: 40
Views: 3733

Re: Learn Statistics? How?

Here's another vote for Naked Statistics.

Read this before jumping into college textbooks or similar.
by denismurf
Fri Nov 22, 2013 6:43 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: What am I missing? (a Zero Muni pre-buy check)
Replies: 9
Views: 1089

Re: What am I missing? (a Zero Muni pre-buy check)

Not too many people here buy individual muni bonds, but I do. But I'm not a pro, so take everything I say as fairly well-informed chit chat. I only buy zero coupon munis when first issued. As I understand some pretty complicated tax law, all the accumulated interest at maturity on a bond bought when...
by denismurf
Wed Nov 13, 2013 1:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: estate planning attorney fees
Replies: 29
Views: 4524

Re: estate planning attorney fees

If your primary concern in estate planning is to avoid federal estate taxes, keep in mind that there is no tax on the first 5 million, and there are other breaks if the survivor is the decedent's spouse. You don't need a lawyer to nail down these facts. Be sure to check the accuracy of my assertions...
by denismurf
Wed Nov 13, 2013 12:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V
Replies: 3372
Views: 1517939

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

WW II again: A Long Walk by Claus Hackenberger. It's a long memoir that starts with the author's ordinary childhood as the son of a rising Wehrmacht officer in mid-1930's. There are some choppy accounts of teenagehood in Hitler's Germany, a little about his combat service, then suddenly the war is w...
by denismurf
Thu Oct 24, 2013 11:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Want to have kids, scared of the financial consequences
Replies: 95
Views: 8575

Re: Want to have kids, scared of the financial consequences

An earlier poster said they would move or downsize if a child or children made it impossible to maintain their standard and style of living. If both parents really are capable of being happy even with a move to a cheaper neighborhood, getting by with one aging car, shopping at the Goodwill, seldom e...
by denismurf
Mon Oct 14, 2013 4:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How did you/your child pay for college?
Replies: 151
Views: 13865

Re: How did you/your child pay for college?

ME: undergrad at Texas 57-60. 75% by parents; 25% from my work. 0 debt. Grad school at UC Berkeley 63-65; 100% by fellowship. No debt. KIDS: Roughly same as my undergrad experience for both kids: #1 at Washington St, 87-91; #2 at VA Tech 94-99. Both instate. No debt. HOW? Maybe because both my paren...
by denismurf
Sun Oct 13, 2013 2:07 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Philosophy and Lack of Certainty
Replies: 33
Views: 4727

Re: Philosophy and Lack of Certainty

Flip through The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts.
by denismurf
Mon Oct 07, 2013 5:35 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Your opinion about diversifying a 100% muni-bond portfolio?
Replies: 29
Views: 2737

Re: Your opinion about diversifying a 100% muni-bond portfol

If you do choose to reduce your parents' muni bond portfolio, they will come out way ahead by reducing that portfolio by attrition, so to speak. Don't sell any on the secondary market; just don't replace bonds that mature. I see I'm assuming the bonds are in a ladder of some sort. If they are all lo...
by denismurf
Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hertz PlatePass Program--Feel Burned
Replies: 27
Views: 5940

Re: Hertz PlatePass Program--Feel Burned

Speaking of Hertz, ... A couple of weeks ago I rented a "premium" car for a Seattle-St Louis and back drive: "Ford Crown Victoria or similar." What I got was a Hyundai Genesis; nice, but far from the comfy ride I expected. There were no other "premium" cars at the downt...
by denismurf
Mon Aug 26, 2013 1:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Choice Of Weapon For Personal Home Self Defense
Replies: 123
Views: 10248

Re: Choice Of Weapon For Personal Home Self Defense

It's impossible for me even to imagine how to act if that armed guy appears in my home at 2am. That's never happened to me, to any family or friends, or, as far as I know, to anybody in my social or work circles over the years. Nobody has ever brought up such a thing to me while chatting at parties,...
by denismurf
Thu Aug 15, 2013 1:43 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V
Replies: 3372
Views: 1517939

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Another plug for The Antidote.

If a book really does make me laugh out loud, I consider it worth its weight in Snickers bars.
by denismurf
Fri Jul 26, 2013 2:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V
Replies: 3372
Views: 1517939

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

I returned to, and actually finished, Into That Darkness by Gitta Sereny. It's a distillation of 70 hours of interviews with Franz Stangl, commandant of the Treblinka and Sobibor extermination camps, plus family and colleagues. I stopped halfway through because it literally made me nauseated, but la...
by denismurf
Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:14 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Checking up on Mom: Individual bonds and other scary things
Replies: 11
Views: 1462

Re: Checking up on Mom: Individual bonds and other scary thi

Getting rid of the bonds now necessarily means selling them on the secondary market, where retail sellers really, really get the shaft. It could be that the shaft is so severe that your mom is better off just hanging on to the bonds until they mature. Actually computing that comparison between selli...
by denismurf
Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V
Replies: 3372
Views: 1517939

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Accidentally just acquired 2 very different books about Nazi Germany. I'm halfway through Into That Darkness by Gitta Sereny. The author logged 70 hours interviewing Franz Stangl, commandant of the Treblinka and Sobibor extermination camps, about his life and his personal journey to the camps, the f...
by denismurf
Sat Jun 15, 2013 2:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cheated on car service?
Replies: 24
Views: 2686

Re: Cheated on car service?

Your experience isn't uncommon. Mechanics are not stupid. I can attest to this since I am married to one. I read this post to him and pretty much verbatim his reply was.... We see this stuff all the time. Mostly people use chalk. 100's of times he has removed a customers chalk line and replaced it ...
by denismurf
Fri Jun 14, 2013 2:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cheated on car service?
Replies: 24
Views: 2686

Cheated on car service?

An earlier experience caused me to do an experiment on a repair shop. Before taking my car in for a tire rotation, I stuck a piece of tape to the valve stem of the drivers side front tire. When I picked the car up and paid for the rotation, that piece of tape was still there. Question: Is it automat...
by denismurf
Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: benefit of buying a home now?
Replies: 20
Views: 2971

Re: benefit of buying a home now?

Last year was a better time to buy than now. Simply due to the now limited inventory and buyers rushing to get low interest rates. I still think its "ok" to buy now, but I think prices may drop again as interest rates rise and houses become less affordable. So make sure its a house you re...
by denismurf
Sat Jun 01, 2013 11:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V
Replies: 3372
Views: 1517939

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Thanks for the reminder that Richard Posner is still around and writing. One of the few books I read twice was his Sex and Reason . Right now I'm halfway through The Origin of Satan by Elaine Pagels. I've always found her easy to read and her topics interesting even for someone with no religious aff...
by denismurf
Thu May 30, 2013 10:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Snickers helps US eat healthier
Replies: 4
Views: 1088

Snickers helps US eat healthier

In a move to help reduce America's sugar consumption, Mars Chocolate Co has reduced the size of its standard Snickers bar by 10% and increased its price by 33.3%.
by denismurf
Thu May 23, 2013 1:51 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: My thoughts on the drop in bond prices after Bernanke talk
Replies: 43
Views: 5713

Re: My thoughts on the drop in bond prices after Bernanke ta

Absolutely fascinating stuff, Larry. Anybody interested in what to consider before allocating money to short or much longer maturities should take the time to read the whole (one page) thing. It's simple enough that even I can understand it.
by denismurf
Fri May 10, 2013 2:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Naked Statistics
Replies: 9
Views: 2180

Re: Naked Statistics

I did in fact buy the book and got through it in about a month. I took it slow; took notes; re-read parts to lock them in. I haven't done that with a book in a long time. Even though I could not follow it in places, I now at least know in general terms where to look for statistical errors and intent...
by denismurf
Wed May 08, 2013 8:25 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: [US Citizen in Europe] So I read a fair share of books and..
Replies: 6
Views: 1083

Re: So I read a fair share of books and I finally feel like

My intro to investing in something other than CD's and US savings bonds was through what was then called a sharebuilder account with Merrill Lynch. By accepting tons of limitations on your actions, you could get a huge break on commissions. This was late 70's. I did a lot of trading over 5 years in ...
by denismurf
Wed May 08, 2013 8:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Anyone still waiting for a market dip before investing?
Replies: 41
Views: 4816

Re: Anyone still waiting for a market dip before investing?

Sheesh. Just buy low and sell high. What's so complicated about that?
by denismurf
Mon May 06, 2013 2:34 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Buffet Blasting Bonds
Replies: 20
Views: 2999

Re: Buffet Blasting Bonds

Excellent.

I hope many of you holding individual munis sell your holdings into the secondary market tomorrow, if not sooner. I have some cash to spend on what you don't want. :happy
by denismurf
Sat May 04, 2013 1:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Have You Done a FSBO? Did It Go OK?
Replies: 33
Views: 4937

Re: Have You Done a FSBO? Did It Go OK?

There are also discount and flat fee brokers and real estate lawyers to consider. I've used these, but never gone FSBO all the way. You have to do some stuff yourself, like show the house sometimes, but you're getting paid very well in the form of a discount from the full service commission. Based o...
by denismurf
Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:03 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: buying bonds, why sometimes buying smaller can be better
Replies: 30
Views: 3714

Re: buying bonds, why sometimes buying smaller can be better

larryswedroe wrote:denis
yes, note ratings on munis have been very accurate unlike with ABS
Larry
Revelation of ignorance: what is ABS?

In general, I believe the muni bond market is hugely more transparent than any equities market. It sure feels that way.
by denismurf
Tue Apr 30, 2013 9:46 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: HOWTO roll your own high-level munis fund?? Help appreciated
Replies: 19
Views: 2131

Re: HOWTO roll your own high-level munis fund?? Help appreci

Here's what my friend wrote, longview. I thought you were asking if you could buy new issues directly from the issuer. Looks like you can't. "Actually individuals can buy new issue munis. They are available through Charles Schwab, but other brokerage houses offer them too. I am wondering why th...
by denismurf
Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:27 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: buying bonds, why sometimes buying smaller can be better
Replies: 30
Views: 3714

Re: buying bonds, why sometimes buying smaller can be better

I think the key word in Larry's post is not to trust ratings alone.
by denismurf
Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:02 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: HOWTO roll your own high-level munis fund?? Help appreciated
Replies: 19
Views: 2131

Re: HOWTO roll your own high-level munis fund?? Help appreci

What you propose is out of my league, but I have a friend in the business who might be able to shed some light on how to DIY. Stick around.
by denismurf
Sun Apr 28, 2013 11:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Discussion forums for older people?
Replies: 14
Views: 2379

Re: Discussion forums for older people?

The over50isnow site hits one over the head immediately with its political orientation. It makes one appreciate the politics-free environment here, I believe age-specific sites can have their uses. For example, a guy in his 70's who wants to discuss issues surrounding finding a wife or girlfriend is...
by denismurf
Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medallion Signature Guarantee
Replies: 18
Views: 4179

Re: Medallion Signature Guarantee

As I mentioned briefly in another thread, I needed a medallion imprint once during the process of getting names changed around after my wife died. Treasury demanded it to replace I-bonds in a joint trust from the trust name to mine. From what I could tell, Treasury just wanted an authority out there...
by denismurf
Fri Apr 26, 2013 9:44 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Frontline--The Retirement Gamble
Replies: 325
Views: 54968

Re: Frontline--The Retirement Gamble

My son, who is finally getting serious about the financial future because he's about to have his first kid at age 44, took only one thing away from the PBS show. Ditch-the-fees! He has been paying 2% a year to a cousin and friend for almost 10 years to manage his $40K or so stash. His biggest proble...
by denismurf
Fri Apr 26, 2013 9:36 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bill Schultheis -- An unusual advisor.
Replies: 22
Views: 5412

Re: Bill Schultheis -- An unusual advisor.

Don't most Bogle people who tinker do so because it's fun for them? I get the impression that a lot of Bogleheads tinker, but with a small portion of their whole portfolio. Apparently there's nothing wrong with setting aside 5 or 10% of your stash and thereby having an excuse to watch Kramer sometim...
by denismurf
Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Discussion forums for older people?
Replies: 14
Views: 2379

Re: Discussion forums for older people?

I too am a widower, but in 70's. There are apparently no active online forums directed at me. either as a widower or a person in 70's. There are a few devoted to specific medical and emotional problems, but that's about it. Please file my handle and track me down if you find what you're looking for....
by denismurf
Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:39 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "The Train Wreck Awaiting American Retirement."
Replies: 29
Views: 4658

Re: "The Train Wreck Awaiting American Retirement."

What an enlightening series of rants about how awful it is that we real Americans will have to pay more taxes to cover the greed and irresponsibility of those "OTHERS."
by denismurf
Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "interest rates are heading up"
Replies: 3
Views: 875

"interest rates are heading up"

This is a direct quote from a radio ad run 4-22-13 by a Seattle area real estate developer who has some completed houses to sell.
by denismurf
Sat Apr 20, 2013 1:46 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: what a physicist can teach us about markets
Replies: 12
Views: 2130

Re: what a physicist can teach us about markets

nisiprius mentions the book's apparent adulation of James Simons. For What It's Worth, an old friend of mine who's an economist is the smartest person I've ever known personally. He states that James Simons is the smartest person he's ever known. He hitched his financial star to Simons about 3 decad...
by denismurf
Sat Apr 20, 2013 1:26 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: buying bonds, why sometimes buying smaller can be better
Replies: 30
Views: 3714

Re: buying bonds, why sometimes buying smaller can be better

Still with Zionsdirect mostly. I do check inventories at FMS, Fidelity, and Scottrade for the occasional bargain. People considering buying individual bonds really do need to heed the information and cautions contained in Larry's bond book and messages like those written by jdb and others on this fo...
by denismurf
Fri Apr 19, 2013 3:57 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: buying bonds, why sometimes buying smaller can be better
Replies: 30
Views: 3714

Re: buying bonds, why sometimes buying smaller can be better

Greetings, jdb. It's nice to come across at least one other person who does what I do with munis :happy .

I would only add that tracking down those occasional gems is fun.
by denismurf
Fri Apr 19, 2013 3:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V
Replies: 3372
Views: 1517939

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Just finished The Antidote: Happiness for people who can't stand positive thinking, by Oliver Burkeman.

Lots of funny stuff.
by denismurf
Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:09 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Charles Ellis says stay out of bonds
Replies: 122
Views: 13974

Re: Charles Ellis says stay out of bonds

As an investor in fairly short term individual muni bonds that I never sell before maturity, I sure as heck wish that the bubble would burst and everybody would sell on the secondary market. I'm really getting tired of yields-to-maturity of less than one percent on bonds maturing in less than a year.
by denismurf
Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:55 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bonds vs. Bond Funds (Interest Rate Risk)
Replies: 11
Views: 1164

Re: Bonds vs. Bond Funds (Interest Rate Risk)

The bid-ask spreads on individual bonds sold on the secondary market are not a secret. Go to the emma website, input the CUSIP of the bond you're interested in, select the trading history tab, and there are the prices and yields attached to every past transaction for that bond, including dealer-to-d...
by denismurf
Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:22 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Reissue of I-Bonds from a Trust
Replies: 7
Views: 693

Re: Reissue of I-Bonds from a Trust

It can be done. I did it with paper bonds in 2012. You have to have patience and be prepared to be very nice to everybody you deal with. It might be different for non-paper bonds. To start, mail in all the forms and the bonds, along with copies of everything that bears on your request. This includes...
by denismurf
Sun Apr 07, 2013 1:31 am
Forum: US Chapters
Topic: Seattle Local Chapter? The answer is "Yes"
Replies: 60
Views: 20245

Re: Seattle Local Chapter? The answer is "Yes"

It would be a big treat to meet some real Bogleheads.

I live in Seattle by Greenlake and should be flexible enough to make a get-together if there are timing alternatives. Best for me is Saturday from late morning on and Sunday early evening.

-- Denis Murphy
by denismurf
Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:51 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bought Bonds Today
Replies: 31
Views: 4576

Re: Bought Bonds Today

I buy some munis whenever I have enough cash in my muni bond account to do so and the price is right. Let the talking heads talk to each other. They have nothing to say to me.
by denismurf
Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:32 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Can someone help explain the cost of bonds?
Replies: 17
Views: 1837

Re: Can someone help explain the cost of bonds?

To clarify one thing, there are investors on this board who buy individual bonds. I am one, and I am not wealthy by most people's definition. My field is limited to munis. In my opinion only, people like me are not unintelligent, naive, or non-Bogle. Of course, time will tell :happy .I do agree with...
by denismurf
Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying versus renting; Trulia says buying is 44% cheaper
Replies: 37
Views: 4240

Re: Buying versus renting; Trulia says buying is 44% cheaper

And to all those renters who keep getting thrown out by landlords this is easily solved. Pick a property that is owned by somebody who wants to rent it out (i.e. not an accidental landlord) and don't be a bum. Good tenants are hard to find and do not get evicted on a whim. My rent for a one-bedroom...
by denismurf
Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying versus renting; Trulia says buying is 44% cheaper
Replies: 37
Views: 4240

Re: Buying versus renting; Trulia says buying is 44% cheaper

Pay particular heed to the article's last paragraph. The huge advantage of buying over renting will for sure decrease next year, so

BUY NOW, before it's too late!