Search found 535 matches

by denismurf
Sat Sep 08, 2012 11:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Possible mid-life crisis - please help
Replies: 94
Views: 13898

Re: Possible mid-life crisis - please help

Shortly after my 40th birthday (33 years ago), I woke up one morning to find that everything in my life looked and felt strange, weird, vaguely threatening. This included not just job and colleagues, but wife, kids, neighbors, close relatives, myself -- everything and everybody, right out of the Twi...
by denismurf
Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Books on kid games [toddler game suggestions wanted]
Replies: 2
Views: 475

Re: Books on kid games

Thanks, chaz, but I can't go the electronic route until his parents go there. Meanwhile, Sean and I do stuff like "bum racing." You sit at the top of some stairs and race to the bottom while sitting on your bum. With each bounce downward, you shout BUM as loudly as possible. Then you both ...
by denismurf
Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V
Replies: 3372
Views: 1517899

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

I'm about a third into American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson, by Joseph J Ellis; a garage sale find, published 1996. This book will make you re-think everything you think you know for sure about Jefferson. It's heavy on direct quotes and humorous inconsistencies in Jefferson's writings....
by denismurf
Thu Sep 06, 2012 2:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Books on kid games [toddler game suggestions wanted]
Replies: 2
Views: 475

Books on kid games [toddler game suggestions wanted]

I have a typical 2-yr-old grandkid - smart, energetic, talkative, easily bored, always up for something new. Shiny new toys get old very quickly, but impromtu games with grownups can go on a long time. Any suggestions on books describing such games or games that have worked for you and your own kids...
by denismurf
Fri Aug 03, 2012 1:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V
Replies: 3372
Views: 1517899

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

A couple of months ago I picked up 2 books at the same garage sale: The Harvest of Hellenism, A History of the Near East from Alexander the Great to the Triumph of Christianity, by F. E. Peters and Why I Am Not a Christian, by Bertrand Russell I just finished the first and started the second for som...
by denismurf
Tue Jul 31, 2012 1:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is this sound advice on Wills and Trusts?
Replies: 33
Views: 4163

Re: Is this sound advice on Wills and Trusts?

My wife and I each had a living trust, but we did not update them when moved to a different state. That might not have mattered much, BUT... When my wife died, I discovered that we were now residents of a community property state, which the original state was not. Huge complications resulted. I chos...
by denismurf
Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tipping for Pizza Delivery
Replies: 86
Views: 8702

Re: Tipping for Pizza Delivery

It's surprising that the restaurant industry lobby hasn't succeeded in making it legal for them to pay their wait staff, deliverers, and bussers zero, accompanied by a PR campaign to label as cheapskates anybody who tips less than 40%. For me, the whole tipping complex has poisoned the eating out ex...
by denismurf
Fri Jul 13, 2012 7:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do Bogleheads buy nice suits?
Replies: 87
Views: 10499

Re: Do Bogleheads buy nice suits?

I own one beautiful suit for weddings and funerals and, occasionally, for work when I used to do that. I bought it used for about $25 some 20 years ago. Along the same lines, when I got married, I needed black dress shoes to go along with rented tux. Goodwill had the perfect pair. Only problem was t...
by denismurf
Fri Jul 13, 2012 12:15 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Buying Individual Bonds
Replies: 7
Views: 918

Re: Buying Individual Bonds

A clarification.

In my experience, you do get a severe haircut if you sell individual bonds on the secondary market, but not when you buy them.

Bottom line: Don't buy individual bonds unless you are 100% sure you will hold them to when they mature or are called.
by denismurf
Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to GIVE scholarships?
Replies: 7
Views: 1121

Re: How to GIVE scholarships?

Thanks for the pointers, everyone.

After some conversations with people in the scholarship business, I now understand that this will be a long process and might not work out in the end.
by denismurf
Mon Jul 09, 2012 5:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to GIVE scholarships?
Replies: 7
Views: 1121

How to GIVE scholarships?

I'd like to set up and fund college scholarships for certain types of potential students. Google tells me about third parties I can pay to do this for me, but it seems kind of weird to pay somebody else to give away my money. :happy If any of you already runs and funds scholarships, I'd like to hear...
by denismurf
Sat Jun 30, 2012 1:32 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: where to put 1 million dollars
Replies: 23
Views: 4609

Re: where to put 1 million dollars

Yes, do check out muni bonds. With $1 million to spend on munis, dad can get a nice spread of minimum AA rated bonds laddered from, say, 15 to 20 years, cranking out 2.5 to 3% a year tax free. Greater minds than mine have used this forum to lay out rationales for doing this, as opposed to going with...
by denismurf
Sat Jun 30, 2012 12:46 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Need Roth IRA help
Replies: 2
Views: 385

Re: Need Roth IRA help

REIT's were already looking like the right approach. Thanks.
by denismurf
Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:30 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Need Roth IRA help
Replies: 2
Views: 385

Need Roth IRA help

My inherited Roth IRA contains about $10K in a TIPS fund and $25K in cash. I'm retired and do not forsee ever needing to pull out principal or earnings. This IRA is a small portion of my total assets, which are mostly in muni bonds. About 2% of my stash is in equity funds. Options that have occured ...
by denismurf
Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Music Recommendations]
Replies: 103
Views: 8922

Re: [Music Recommendations]

Fallible wrote:By no means do I understand classical music that well, but i do love much of it.
You probably understand perfectly well any music you love.

BTW, thanks to natureexplorer for the link to German classikradio. They do play a little too much "modern" music for my tastes.
:happy
by denismurf
Sat Jun 16, 2012 4:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Inter-generational Living: Does it work?
Replies: 59
Views: 5841

Re: Inter-generational Living: Does it work?

I'm in a monthly nickel-dime-quarter poker game for boomer guys and their male children. The 7 players are always distributed 4-3 by generation, but not always with the same generation in the majority. It's not always the same 7 people. Everybody has a great time socializing and just hanging out whi...
by denismurf
Fri Jun 15, 2012 7:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Music Recommendations]
Replies: 103
Views: 8922

Re: What music are you listening to right now...

I leave my internet connection on Radio Swiss Classic all the time. They tend not to play entire long, heavy symphonies and operas, but, for example, do play entire Beethoven piano concertos and chamber works. So, not exactly easy listening, but just right for me. And no commercials.
by denismurf
Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Books that have actually changed your life, in a way.
Replies: 172
Views: 20996

Re: Books that have actually changed your life, in a way.

I've read about half of what Alan Watts wrote and love the way his books calm me down and make me laugh. Occasionally I have trouble following him, but I just tune those parts out. He calls himself a Zen Buddhist, and maybe he is. The funniest to me is some essays collected as the book Does It Matte...
by denismurf
Thu May 31, 2012 1:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: IRS CP2000 on rollover IRA and underreported interest income
Replies: 6
Views: 1839

Re: IRS CP2000 on rollover IRA and underreported interest in

Here's another wrinkle. The report I got from IRS a month ago said I owed a few thousands of tax, interest and penalties for failure to report a distribution from an IRA in 2010. I phoned IRS and told the guy I had a 1099R for the distribution that said the taxable amount was zero since it was a dir...
by denismurf
Wed May 30, 2012 3:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car has a problem hub?
Replies: 5
Views: 617

Re: Car has a problem hub?

Thanks. I just wanted to make sure that I'm not dealing with a phoney problem rigged up by a hungry service dept. The car is an 06 Buick LaCrosse with 73K miles.
by denismurf
Wed May 30, 2012 12:03 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car has a problem hub?
Replies: 5
Views: 617

Car has a problem hub?

The report from my latest car inspection says that one of the hubs has a slight amount of play and will eventually have to be replaced. In all my 70+ years, I've never been advised I had a hub problem, and I can't locate any friends who have had this problem either. Can any of you verify that this i...
by denismurf
Mon May 07, 2012 1:20 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How are you preparing the increase in taxes for 2013?
Replies: 56
Views: 6419

Re: How are you preparing the increase in taxes for 2013?

What fun watching people struggle to say what they really think without violating the "no politics" rule :happy .
by denismurf
Sun May 06, 2012 6:54 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Are 20 somethings handicapped bc of inflation and little SS?
Replies: 162
Views: 14135

Re: Are 20 somethings handicapped bc of inflation and little

If you borrow only to buy your residence and if you work fairly steadily, you will have plenty of discretionary money to spend or to save as life goes on. Save most of it, and you will end up like most bogleheads -- that is, just fine.
by denismurf
Sun May 06, 2012 12:09 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How long will you live?
Replies: 50
Views: 4236

Re: How long will you live?

Something's amiss. All the tables I've seen and used to date say I'll die in 12 years at 85, but this test says 93. This longevity assumption would have a huge impact on the cost of a single premium, single life annuity. So I assume that insurance companies selling these annuities would assume the l...
by denismurf
Sat May 05, 2012 12:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Smart money behavior starts young
Replies: 20
Views: 2580

Re: Smart money behavior starts young

I've been on a long road trip that's allowed me to ponder the keys to not losing sleep over personal (as opposed to business) finances. 1. Never borrow to pay for anything except the residence you live in. Credit card charging is OK as long as you pay the whole balance every month. If you ever get ...
by denismurf
Thu May 03, 2012 2:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Smart money behavior starts young
Replies: 20
Views: 2580

Re: Smart money behavior starts young

what about student loan? While on the road I heard quite a bit about student loans on NPR. My grown kids (ages 33 and 42) also occasionally tell me about their friends who simply cannot get out from under their student loans unless they make really big money after graduation. My kids got their basi...
by denismurf
Thu May 03, 2012 2:07 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Individual munis vs muni bond funds?
Replies: 14
Views: 1833

Re: Individual munis vs muni bond funds?

Hello. Search earlier threads for detailed discussions of funds versus individual bonds. They pretty much conclude that individual muni bonds are somewhat "better" than funds if: - you have digested at least the basic mechanics of bonds from a book such as Larry Swedroe's - you have at lea...
by denismurf
Wed May 02, 2012 2:13 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Bond Book
Replies: 50
Views: 6135

Re: The Bond Book

Am I the only boglehead who found Thau's book mostly too technical to comprehend fully? Larry's book was more my speed.

I suppose the problem might be that it was my first bond book. Maybe I should try it again now that I have several years of investing in individual muni bonds under my belt.
by denismurf
Wed May 02, 2012 1:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Argh! Wells Fargo is closing my account!
Replies: 14
Views: 10414

Re: Argh! Wells Fargo is closing my account!

In my experience, the absolute worst for arbitrary acts and clueless branch staff is Bank of America. I switched from them to US Bank about 4 years ago and encounter the same problems when dealing with the local branch. Oddly, I have never had problems with Citibank, even though they have no branche...
by denismurf
Tue May 01, 2012 11:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Smart money behavior starts young
Replies: 20
Views: 2580

Smart money behavior starts young

I've been on a long road trip that's allowed me to ponder the keys to not losing sleep over personal (as opposed to business) finances. 1. Never borrow to pay for anything except the residence you live in. Credit card charging is OK as long as you pay the whole balance every month. If you ever get t...
by denismurf
Sat Mar 31, 2012 6:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medical cost breakdown
Replies: 1
Views: 394

Medical cost breakdown

I can't recall seeing a post detailing the costs of medical treatment for one sickness treated at multiple locations. My wife was struck with what turned out to be meningitis on a Carribean cruise boat on Christmas Day. She spent one night in the boat's infirmary, the next night in the main hospital...
by denismurf
Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:43 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: TSP to Roth IRA rollover
Replies: 7
Views: 1545

Re: TSP to Roth IRA rollover

Thanks for exactly the link I was looking for. This whole process has taught me to corroborate everything I read, including instructions for tax forms, and everything I hear from the helpful people at Vanguard and TSP (and on Bogleheads :happy ). The laws are unbelievably complex, and it's easy to f...
by denismurf
Thu Mar 22, 2012 1:01 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: TSP to Roth IRA rollover
Replies: 7
Views: 1545

Re: TSP to Roth IRA rollover

Sorry. I didn't phrase my question properly. I already know that this move would be great for my particular circumstances and plan. What I'd like is confirmation that I am in fact reading the rules correctly. That is, can I really transfer/rollover an unlimited amount from my "beneficiary TSP a...
by denismurf
Thu Mar 22, 2012 1:39 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: TSP to Roth IRA rollover
Replies: 7
Views: 1545

TSP to Roth IRA rollover

I've searched previous posts and can't find an answer to my specific question. When my retired spouse passed away, I inherited spouse's Roth IRA with Vanguard and the balance in spouse's TSP account. The Roth IRA was opened about 7 years ago. As I read the instructions from TSP and Vanguard, I can m...
by denismurf
Sun Mar 18, 2012 12:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Suggestions on Eastern European vacation
Replies: 22
Views: 3292

Re: Suggestions on Eastern European vacation

I'm surprised nobody mentioned Macedonia. The capital Skopje has a vibrant night life and lots of funky places to roam around in by day. The big tourist deal is Lake Ohrid, with reasonable prices and plenty of beaches and history to explore, including Albania across the lake. Most of the foreign tou...
by denismurf
Fri Mar 16, 2012 12:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does your tax accountant charge $1650?
Replies: 42
Views: 5684

Re: Does your tax accountant charge $1650?

It appears that all posters use either CPA's or Turbotax or do it all themselves. Does anybody here use non-CPA tax return preparers? Some of them are as good as CPA's and probably charge a lot less. Also, Turbotax is not perfect, even on relatively simple issues. One example from several I've encou...
by denismurf
Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I get professional tax advice
Replies: 15
Views: 1791

Re: Should I get professional tax advice

There are also plenty of people and reputable companies out there who do tax returns and give tax advice and who are not CPA's. Ask work colleagues for recommendations. Once you find the professional you'll be working with, he/she might suggest that you file for an extension of the time to file if y...
by denismurf
Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:48 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: For those who have living trusts...
Replies: 45
Views: 12738

Re: For those who have living trusts...

I'm almost at the end of taking my wife's estate through probate in Washington state. About 12 years ago, a lawyer in Missouri charged us several thousand dollars to set up one living trust for each us, plus the wills and POA documents. Trouble is, we did not bother to update the trusts and wills to...
by denismurf
Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:26 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Help me help my mother go from Edward Jones to Vanguard
Replies: 20
Views: 3603

Re: Help me help my mother go from Edward Jones to Vanguard

I suggest you do a risk analysis of your financially worthwhile efforts to wean your mom from the expensive hand holding she gets from Edward Jones. Is there a risk of a major rupture with your mom if you persist beyond a certain point? Do you and she have a healthy relationship that allows either p...
by denismurf
Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:23 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Who Will Take Care Of My Wife?
Replies: 77
Views: 5867

Re: Who Will Take Care Of My Wife?

Greetings. You said earlier, if effect, that you were afraid of putting too many eggs in one basket, namely Vanguard. Another way to view Vanguard is as a supermarket of baskets, not a basket in its own right. If all the financial vehicles and services you need to accomplish your goal of autopilot a...
by denismurf
Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Forum about law questions
Replies: 1
Views: 289

Forum about law questions

Is there a forum or site devoted to questions about what legal terms mean, what happens in common situations, etc?

I'm the personal representative of a will and am having trouble understanding some of what I'm reading. I'd rather not hire a lawyer to answer definitional questions.
by denismurf
Sat Nov 12, 2011 1:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Not Sufficient Funds fee
Replies: 9
Views: 1112

Re: Not Sufficient Funds fee

While I was stewing about the fee, my wife phoned the bank and told them to take it off. They did so immediately.

But then, ... see my different topic on bank error.
by denismurf
Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Not Sufficient Funds fee
Replies: 9
Views: 1112

Not Sufficient Funds fee

I deposited a $180 check from a friend into my account at US Bank. The check was returned for Not Sufficient Funds in the friend's account. Bank charged me $19 fee for depositing a check with Not Sufficient Funds to cover it. Is it typical for a bank to charge the depositor a fee in this situation?
by denismurf
Sun Oct 16, 2011 1:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wedding rehearsal dinner
Replies: 19
Views: 2854

Thanks so much for the parameters of what to expect. It seems we're pretty much at the mercy of our son and his bride on this. We did luck out on our daughter's wedding, which was outdoors and low key, followed by a reception/dinner in a beer garden catered by a barbecue restaurant and DJ'd by our k...
by denismurf
Wed Oct 12, 2011 7:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wedding rehearsal dinner
Replies: 19
Views: 2854

Wedding rehearsal dinner

Who normally comes to these things? Is it just immediate family (bride, groom, their parents and their siblings, plus siblings' spouses)? Or does it also include bridesmaids and groomsmen and their dates and close family friends? We don't know yet how elaborate the wedding will be. As you might gues...
by denismurf
Tue Sep 20, 2011 3:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What to do - Buffalo, NY Area
Replies: 21
Views: 1953

When I lived there a couple of decades ago, I ate lots of wings and calzones at John and Mary's. Real Goood.

I also took our rare out-of-town visitors for a driving tour of the massive abandoned steel works strung out along Lake Erie south of the city.

Take a heavy coat for late October.
by denismurf
Thu Aug 25, 2011 1:10 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Question about muni bonds
Replies: 18
Views: 3156

I personally think your plan is fine, as long as you never sell the bonds before maturity (calls don't count). Here's a cautionary note on zero coupon munis. If you buy one on the secondary market, the rules are different from if you buy it when issued. I just scanned the IRS pubs and could not find...
by denismurf
Wed Aug 24, 2011 12:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replace water heater?
Replies: 8
Views: 1394

Replace water heater?

Our condo is being offered a volume discount for water heater replacements in August. Ours was installed in Jan 2001. I couldn't find anything on the earlier thread about whether "every 10 years" is as good a guide as any or just industry hype. Opinions? We've never had any trouble with th...
by denismurf
Mon Aug 22, 2011 5:03 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Individual Bond valuations
Replies: 7
Views: 1076

Hi, HALB. I'm going to assume you already know that the only way to determine what you can sell a bond for today is to ask your broker to solicit bids for you. If you want to get a ball park number before calling the broker, here are a couple of ways. 1. If a bond is held in a broker account, the mo...
by denismurf
Fri Aug 19, 2011 1:33 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How painful were U.S. recessions in the modern era?
Replies: 35
Views: 4318

To be honest, I had to Google to find out when all those recessions were. I started working part-time in high school, full time during the summers, starting in 1953. I retired in 1995 after a succession of military, teaching, and low paid, but secure, govt jobs while consistently living below my mea...