Search found 394 matches

by bnes
Tue Oct 28, 2014 10:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Finance kids' medical educations with a HELOC?
Replies: 24
Views: 2968

Re: Finance kids' medical educations with a HELOC?

There's no need or reason to do it without "formal legal documents". The source of your cash does not matter: to the kids it can be a loan with terms, penalties, etc.
by bnes
Tue Oct 28, 2014 2:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Most financially economical choice for a car
Replies: 53
Views: 7223

Re: Most financially economical choice for a car

Here's an excellent article on "reconditioned" Prius batteries: http://www.forbes.com/sites/tonybradley/2014/04/09/replacing-a-dead-prius-hybrid-battery-doesnt-have-to-cost-thousands-of-dollars/ Highlighting the fact that when a battery pack dies, it's often just a few cells that are bad. Note that ...
by bnes
Fri Oct 24, 2014 3:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: VCR Head Cleaning
Replies: 22
Views: 2495

Re: VCR Head Cleaning

Cotton swab & alcohol. Better than a "head cleaner".
by bnes
Thu Oct 23, 2014 1:59 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How to buy oil in the stock market?
Replies: 32
Views: 3747

Re: How to buy oil in the stock market?

This question is more appropriate for a speculation focused forum. This site is focused on long term low cost investing.
by bnes
Tue Oct 07, 2014 5:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Question about credit cards
Replies: 8
Views: 1247

Re: Question about credit cards

Also if you have any card from CapitalOne
you have free access to their "credit tracker", which lets you input certain life events and see how they affect your credit score.

Bottom line: keep your oldest card forever, even if you need to speed $1/year to keep it active!
by bnes
Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Radiant Heating and Hardwood Floors
Replies: 6
Views: 1446

Re: Radiant Heating and Hardwood Floors

If the house was built with radiant from the start, I'd not worry. They may have used something like http://www.warmboard.com/ which results in a much thinner layer of wood above the tubes. With radiant: be sure your inspector is radiant savvy. Look for signs of past leaks. Look for quality material...
by bnes
Mon Oct 06, 2014 8:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Question about credit cards
Replies: 8
Views: 1247

Re: Question about credit cards

The effect of a few cards plus or minus is small, especially at your level. But keep your OLDEST CARD , as that goes into your credit score calculation. If it's an annual fee card, call up the company and ask for a fee-waiver or an in-service switch to a no-fee variant. Churn cards if you feel that'...
by bnes
Mon Oct 06, 2014 8:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 529 or not
Replies: 38
Views: 5411

Re: 529 or not

Consider that you don't have to give the money to the kids string free. The bank of Dad can loan the college money to the kid (at below market rates).
by bnes
Mon Oct 06, 2014 8:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Help with Home Security System
Replies: 12
Views: 1424

Re: Help with Home Security System

There's an extensive thread on one option at http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtop ... 1&t=145071

When I was shopping for such a system I wanted self-install/pay up front. You may want something different.
by bnes
Mon Oct 06, 2014 8:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Heat Recovery Exchanger System
Replies: 5
Views: 929

Re: Heat Recovery Exchanger System

I have a Drain Water Heat Recovery unit, but the house is leaky enough that an air version would be redundant ;-)
by bnes
Mon Sep 29, 2014 10:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: "Shellshock" vulnerability for Linux based systems
Replies: 61
Views: 5211

Re: "Shellshock" vulnerability for Linux based systems

What consumer router do you have that's running bash? Not as something that you added, but as something that came built into the product A lot of consumer routers, including most of the Linksys line, are based on Linux, and thus most likely have bash. Any old "cgi" script is vulnerable. There will ...
by bnes
Mon Sep 22, 2014 5:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What next?
Replies: 4
Views: 696

Re: What next?

For a cut, a property management firm can take care of the property. A two year CD is a good choice for holding money you don't want to take any risks with. Yes: save more. You may need more if prices rise. Paying down the existing 3.5% mortgage is a just like putting money in a CD at 3.5%. When yo...
by bnes
Mon Sep 22, 2014 5:45 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Planning a self pension/annuity. Mid 30s.
Replies: 13
Views: 1729

Re: Planning a self pension/annuity. Mid 30s.

I seriously hate to say this, but you may be a candidate for an overfunded life insurance policy, primarily for tax sheltering purposes: http://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/7702_private_pension It all depends on your goals: Retire early Give generously Set the kids up for life with trust funds and a cash...
by bnes
Sat Sep 20, 2014 1:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Laptop, need help
Replies: 33
Views: 3231

Re: New Laptop, need help

Does it move?
A desktop is half the price and twice the life, and can generally be upgraded.
by bnes
Sat Sep 20, 2014 1:08 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why is there no mutual fund that truly behaves like rental?
Replies: 36
Views: 4135

Re: Why is there no mutual fund that truly behaves like rent

How about one of the apartment ownership REITs? They directly own and manage residential rental units. If inflation ticks up their rents should rise, and their existing leverage get cheaper. For example AVI is a 100% direct ownership REIT: http://quotes.morningstar.com/stock/aiv/s?t=AIV Though keep ...
by bnes
Fri Sep 19, 2014 1:55 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Can you haggle with online brokers?
Replies: 19
Views: 1981

Re: Can you haggle with online brokers?

Swmi8675309 wrote:The total sum of this money is only about $20k, so I do understand it may not be worth their trouble.
I am just wondering if anyone has any experience doing anything like this?
Thanks.
Yeah, I got free trades for asking at Schwab. But the total was more than double.
by bnes
Thu Sep 18, 2014 2:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The boglehead way to buy furniture
Replies: 56
Views: 9084

Re: The boglehead way to buy furniture

Alex Frakt wrote:IKEA. Their cheap stuff is good enough for storage and spare bedrooms. And their better stuff is every bit is as good as normal mid-range furniture at about half the price.
IKEA furniture has essentially zero resale value. That's not to say it's bad, it's just to say it's disposable.
by bnes
Mon Sep 15, 2014 7:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Most cost effective means of protecting physical assets
Replies: 56
Views: 6942

Re: Most cost effective means of protecting physical assets

0. Put up an alarm sign (some claim this is more effective than the actual alarm).
by bnes
Mon Sep 15, 2014 1:20 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Do I need to hold my emergency fund in cash?
Replies: 29
Views: 4686

Re: Do I need to hold my emergency fund in cash?

Just to be the devil's advocate: Suppose an individual has investments and owns a home free and clear - what's to stop that person from establishing a HELOC on the primary residence and using that for emergency funding? In other words, have a zero loan balance until the need arises, borrow from the...
by bnes
Sun Sep 14, 2014 3:36 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Do I need to hold my emergency fund in cash?
Replies: 29
Views: 4686

Re: Do I need to hold my emergency fund in cash?

I hold emergency funds in I-Bonds
Sure, there's a penalty for using them, but chances are I never will.
With interest rate risk looming especially, they don't have the downside potential of stocks or bonds.
by bnes
Thu Sep 11, 2014 2:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Costco vs Amazon?
Replies: 60
Views: 7182

Re: Costco vs Amazon?

I was recently gifted a Costco membership and I've never shopped there before, so I looked around online for shopping tips for Costco...ran across some sites with posters indicating that Amazon offers better pricing on the same items. Prices change all the time. Amazon and Costco are competitors. h...
by bnes
Thu Sep 11, 2014 1:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Reliable Portable CD Player Needed
Replies: 28
Views: 7340

Re: Reliable Portable CD Player Needed

They went for $34 until recently. See a price graph here:
http://camelcamelcamel.com/Sony-DEJ011- ... B000MVJ1M0
by bnes
Wed Sep 10, 2014 2:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?
Replies: 66
Views: 6489

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

I'm looking for a cell phone only plan, 100 minutes or less per month. No 4G service necessary as those options are available to me almost 24/7 these days. I already have iPod, iPad, plenty of availability at work and home. Please steer me in the right direction. I'd like to pay $30 or less each mo...
by bnes
Wed Sep 10, 2014 2:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What should be Shredded
Replies: 18
Views: 1968

Re: What should be Shredded

I have become inundated with statements of various types and need to get rid of some of it. This includes investment statements, receipts associated with various bills, insurance policies, etc. Shredding all of this would be a monumental task. What absolutely should be shredded? I'd like to throw m...
by bnes
Wed Sep 10, 2014 1:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Where can I get a [toddler-friendly weekend] job? Update
Replies: 33
Views: 4829

Re: Where can I get a job like this?

anonforthis wrote:To answer everyone: I can’t watch additional children due to the fact that we have a very big pond on our property. Many parents with walking toddlers will think it’s unsafe.
"Fence".
by bnes
Tue Sep 09, 2014 7:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Colleague being fleeced by insurance agent / Ponzi Scheme?
Replies: 54
Views: 7435

Re: Colleague being fleeced by insurance agent / Ponzi Schem

Is this a Ponzi Scheme? Probably not a ponzi. Almost certainly not a good deal. Probably Indexed Universal Life or some such, which does have tax advantages for the 1%. See http://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/7702_private_pension If they are not saying exactly what it is, it's probably more life insuran...
by bnes
Tue Sep 09, 2014 6:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New 2% cash back Mastercard from Citi
Replies: 240
Views: 587066

Re: New 2% cash back Mastercard from Citi

Got one. Confirmed it's a MasterCard. The logo is on the back, and there are no raised numbers (thus it is no good for carbon copy processing I guess). The comes with a nicely written benefits brochure: Car Rental $50k up to 31 days. Trip Cancel: $1500/year. Extended Warranty: $10k/year . Double war...
by bnes
Mon Sep 08, 2014 1:39 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Coin Counting Machines
Replies: 58
Views: 11746

Re: Coin Counting Machines

I always get the Amazon certificate, but, seriously, it shouldn't be too hard to find something else you could spend it on, even if you're not an on-line shopper. Here's the current lineup, from the Coinstar website: Aéropostale, Amazon.com, AMC Theatres, Applebee's, Bass Pro Shops,Build-A-Bear Wor...
by bnes
Mon Sep 08, 2014 1:35 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Whole of Life x2
Replies: 13
Views: 1523

Re: Whole of Life x2

I'd be tempted to simply count the surrender value as "bonds" in your asset allocation, and keep paying the premium. So in other words, forget about this as being insurance, think of it as bonds, and set up a separate term insurance policy to cover me till I'm 65 or when I no longer need insurance ...
by bnes
Sun Sep 07, 2014 11:11 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why does the stock market "always go up"? Will this persist?
Replies: 50
Views: 15922

Re: Why does the stock market "always go up"? Will this pers

There are three main drivers of stock prices: Inflation Speculation (this is a short term effect and "reverts" to the average at some point. Increases in corporate earnings. Long term corporate earnings in turn are driven by: Increased specialization/velocity of money. When someone stops milking the...
by bnes
Sun Sep 07, 2014 2:07 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: In Retirement / Any tax moves that would make sense?
Replies: 7
Views: 1648

Re: In Retirement / Any tax moves that would make sense?

Hmm. The house is the big one. Is there any way to "tax gain harvest" the house over the next few years,
to reduce the hit should it need to be liquidated?
by bnes
Sun Sep 07, 2014 1:49 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Need advice on short-term (bond) mutual funds
Replies: 10
Views: 1028

Re: Need advice on short-term (bond) mutual funds

What's your expected down payment and purchase price?
by bnes
Sun Sep 07, 2014 1:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Whole of Life x2
Replies: 13
Views: 1523

Re: Whole of Life x2

You can ask the insurance company for an updated illustration with IRR (internal return rate). Then post that here. In addition to posting that, talk about who may get this money. Is that important to you now? At age 80? At age 90? However: I'd be tempted to simply count the surrender value as "bond...
by bnes
Sat Sep 06, 2014 4:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Injury on MBTA: Financially worth it to hire an attorney?
Replies: 27
Views: 2695

Re: Injury on MBTA: Financially worth it to hire an attorney

I've worked the bus company end of cases like this: documenting the evidence, securing video records, etc. The hassle to payout ratio is not there for either party. Report the incident, document the pothole, and invest your life energy in something that makes you and her happy. And, get a bottle of ...
by bnes
Sat Sep 06, 2014 4:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vanguard Lost $50k
Replies: 103
Views: 13295

Re: Vanguard Lost $50k

reason-logic wrote:Need some advice.
Relax.
Print out everything.
Send Vanguard stuff to your bank, bank stuff to Vanguard.

This is no banana republic: it will all work out in the end.
by bnes
Sat Sep 06, 2014 4:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Six-Figure Incomes—and Facing Financial Ruin [WSJ article]
Replies: 59
Views: 12381

Re: Six-Figure Incomes—and Facing Financial Ruin [WSJ articl

Property taxes in California, including the bay area, are not on the high side compared to the rest of the country, due to Prop 13. At least, not as a proportion of home values. Speak for yourself, Mr. Low Basis :-). Property taxes on adjacent homes can be 10:1. Existing homes assessed value goes u...
by bnes
Sat Sep 06, 2014 1:45 am
Forum: Forum Issues and Administration
Topic: operating cost of this forum
Replies: 41
Views: 9095

Re: operating cost of this forum

Don't forget the http://www.amazon.com/s/?search-alias=aps&tag=bogleheads.org-20&field-keywords=Bogleheads link up top. If you're buying from Amazon anyway, why not put 4 to 6% into a Bogglehead's pocket, rather than the pocket of Jeff Bezos? After you click on the link, any products added to your c...
by bnes
Fri Sep 05, 2014 6:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Lady Bird Deeds
Replies: 6
Views: 1171

Re: Lady Bird Deeds

Or a $100 prepaid visa. Everyone has a use for money.
by bnes
Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: relo property and "illegal" partially finished basement
Replies: 23
Views: 2174

Re: relo property and "illegal" partially finished basement

Right now:

Go to your city building permit office,
pull a list of all permits for the property,
they are a public record.
by bnes
Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: cell phone for kids
Replies: 25
Views: 2403

Re: cell phone for kids

I used a pre-paid phone on the $10/year T-Mobile plan, starting at age 8 when the kid first started to take independent walks, walk to school, take the subway, etc. And yes, we lost a few of them, along with socks and transit cards. Definitely get a dumb phone at this age. Plus get an account at htt...
by bnes
Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:16 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: In Retirement / Any tax moves that would make sense?
Replies: 7
Views: 1648

Re: In Retirement / Any tax moves that would make sense?

OP here: I added a link to the definition of "living trust", and a statement of goals. The AA indeed to me seems wildly aggressive for the age and goals, but do keep in mind the pension covers current living expenses. Note that moving stocks incurs the 6% state tax, forgoing a potential step-up in b...
by bnes
Fri Sep 05, 2014 3:16 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: In Retirement / Any tax moves that would make sense?
Replies: 7
Views: 1648

In Retirement / Any tax moves that would make sense?

Scenario: Age: husband & wife both over 80, with health issues. Current Income: retired / some rental income Roth: 75k TIRA: 71k (with some basis) Living Trust: 140k (8% REIT) http://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/nn/articles/A-Living-Trust-Can-Help-You-and-Your-Heirs Home: basis of $33k, current valu...
by bnes
Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: sprinkler system question
Replies: 29
Views: 4501

Re: sprinkler system question

You can mitigate concerns (um "hedge them"), by installing a water leak alarm. These are a good idea (um "have a high ROI") for vacation homes in cold climates, but are a way to have peace of mind in any climate. I shopped for one, and made a list of the ones I found over at: http://guides.obviousl...
by bnes
Thu Sep 04, 2014 3:36 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Start buying bonds
Replies: 13
Views: 1665

Re: Start buying bonds

Your TSP is a great investment, make sure to keep it full. And don't let it go: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-12/brokers-lure-soldiers-out-of-low-fee-federal-retirement-plan.html You'll want to list ALL your investments in the format posted above, and determine your "asset allocation". Then,...
by bnes
Wed Sep 03, 2014 1:56 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Where to put emergency cash
Replies: 11
Views: 1675

Re: Where to put emergency cash

I keep emergency cash in I-Bonds.
Sure, there's a penalty to get to the money, but chances high I'll never need the emergency money.
by bnes
Wed Sep 03, 2014 1:48 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: California residents - do you have earthquake insurance?
Replies: 54
Views: 5602

Re: California residents - do you have earthquake insurance?

We chose: CEA insurance after we bought the house,... ...until we finished a full scale seismic retrofit. We figured it was a better deal to invest in shear walls and bolts, compared to insurance. The one story chimney of course will crumble, we're prepared for that. We then added some quake straps:...
by bnes
Sat Aug 30, 2014 3:14 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New 2% cash back Mastercard from Citi
Replies: 240
Views: 587066

Re: New 2% cash back Mastercard from Citi

A bit disturbing: Fraud: If your Card Account shows any sign of fraudulent, abusive or suspicious activity, we may close or suspend your Card Account immediately without giving you prior notice. You may also forfeit your accrued cash rewards. When you become a cardmember, you will receive the full C...
by bnes
Mon Aug 25, 2014 1:58 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How would one analyze the claim "American Funds Outperform"
Replies: 4
Views: 1142

How would one analyze the claim "American Funds Outperform"

As has been well discussed here, American Funds have issued a whitepaper claiming an "active advantage" (See http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=124718&p=1827688 ). The paper essentially takes the thesis that while mutual funds overall underperform index investing, that it's possibl...
by bnes
Sun Aug 24, 2014 2:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Case Story/Plan: "Bank on yourself" to pay student loan.
Replies: 12
Views: 2999

Re: Case Story/Plan: "Bank on yourself" to pay student loan.

Is it likely that this individual will qualify for public service loan forgiveness? The math on a 10 year forgiveness schedule is probably pretty different from the math on a 20 or 25-year forgiveness schedule. Also, the plan is to extend Pay As You Earn to more borrowers at some point, which might...