Search found 385 matches

by bnes
Mon Oct 06, 2014 8:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Heat Recovery Exchanger System
Replies: 5
Views: 926

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: 5200

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: 1721

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: 3220

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: 4125

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: 1973

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: 8922

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: 6917

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: 4677

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: 4677

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: 7160

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: 7320

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: 6440

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: 1961

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: 4812

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: 7394

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: 586965

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: 11625

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: 1522

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: 15690

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: 1630

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: 1522

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: 2687

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: 13276

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: 12369

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: 9079

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: 1164

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: 2151

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: 2395

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: 1630

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: 1630

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: 4462

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: 1662

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: 1667

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: 5583

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: 586965

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: 1141

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: 2993

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...
by bnes
Sat Aug 23, 2014 2:11 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Case Story/Plan: "Bank on yourself" to pay student loan.
Replies: 12
Views: 2993

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

Finally, the biggest financial issue is not the take-out lunches or the student loans but that this individual has a graduate degree and is only earning $11,000/year while spending around $2500/year on transportation to and from that job. That's nearly 1/3 of your friend's take-home pay! Are there ...
by bnes
Sat Aug 23, 2014 1:47 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: using the 15% tax bracket
Replies: 42
Views: 6443

Re: using the 15% tax bracket

To emphasize that point: A traditional IRA gets no "step up" in basis. So to the extent you want to pass money to heirs, stuffing the Roth makes sense. A heir might pay 25% Federal tax on IRA withdrawals, but 0% on Roth withdrawals. Harvesting in states like California is expensive, as there's no 0%...
by bnes
Thu Aug 21, 2014 3:27 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Will you have to pay your parent's long term care costs?
Replies: 57
Views: 6912

Re: Will you have to pay your parent's long term care costs?

I'm not sure how these filial responsibility laws can even be enforced. It seems so unjust. For most elderly parents, it is my understanding that Medicare kicks in and takes care of the long-term costs. For low-income people, Medicaid pays. Parent gives substantial sums to children. Parent now appl...
by bnes
Thu Aug 21, 2014 3:23 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Case Story/Plan: "Bank on yourself" to pay student loan.
Replies: 12
Views: 2993

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

From the info you've given, I'd be more inclined not to pay anything beyond the minimum on the loans. If, in 25 years, her loans are forgiven, and if that is a taxable event, the taxes are likely to be very low. She'll be in her mid 60s by then, perhaps retired, when she receives loan forgiveness. ...
by bnes
Thu Aug 21, 2014 3:12 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Do we plunder our retirement to pay off student debt?
Replies: 30
Views: 3605

Re: Do we plunder our retirement to pay off student debt?

You're not the only one doing this: http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=145250&newpost=2162550 But don't google "Bank on yourself" or you'll end up getting sold Life Insurance under other names. I'd do the 'plunder', but build a spreadsheet to track the repayment. And count the bala...
by bnes
Thu Aug 21, 2014 12:16 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Case Story/Plan: "Bank on yourself" to pay student loan.
Replies: 12
Views: 2993

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

The529guy wrote:Eating out almost everyday seems like it would be difficult, given your friend's resources.
Yes, it's the most obvious area of savings, to pack lunches and/or dinners. The commute is 1.5 hours each way, and precludes more home meals.
by bnes
Wed Aug 20, 2014 11:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to finance major home improvements
Replies: 24
Views: 3037

Re: How to finance major home improvements

I plan to do almost a tear down and rebuild exactly the house I want, which will be somewhat smaller at about 2,000 square feet, and quite different in terms of architecture and floor plan. Is there a lot in the neighborhood that's oversized, and perhaps awkward shaped and underutilized? Can you sp...
by bnes
Wed Aug 20, 2014 11:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Case Story/Plan: "Bank on yourself" to pay student loan.
Replies: 12
Views: 2993

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

This is a case study or story I'm sharing, about a plan crafted for a person I know. I'm posting it here to share, for comments, and in case it inspires someone. The setup: This individual's salary has been about $11k, and not projected to rise much. She holds $22k in graduate school loan debt. The ...
by bnes
Wed Aug 20, 2014 3:11 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Kaiser vs Blue Shield
Replies: 83
Views: 19117

Re: Kaiser vs Blue Shield

I've been with both. Kaiser is far better integrated. Your doctor taps a few buttons and by the time to walk to the lab for tests, they know to expect you. Preventative care is good. You may feel like, and are, a cog in the Kaiser machine... but it's a good machine. Blue Cross is more typical. They ...