Search found 394 matches

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: 2999

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: 6458

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: 6949

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: 2999

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: 3624

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: 2999

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: 3052

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: 2999

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: 19599

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 ...
by bnes
Tue Aug 19, 2014 11:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: questions about shop vac / house vac older hom
Replies: 6
Views: 1219

Re: questions about shop vac / house vac older hom

I was under the impression that the term "HEPA" does not have a standardized meaning in the United States, at least not for consumer products. Please correct me if I'm wrong. The term does have a standardized meaning in Europe, i.e., all particles of a certain size must be captured by the vacuum an...
by bnes
Tue Aug 19, 2014 10:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Simplisafe Home Security Systems
Replies: 42
Views: 9336

Re: Simplisafe Home Security Systems

One more question for anybody : Simplisafe sells refurbished systems at a discount off the new price. At this point, I'm inclined to buy one of their refurb systems to save money. Can anyone articulate a reason to have reservations on buying the refurb system? I think I bought a refurb. It was pack...
by bnes
Tue Aug 19, 2014 11:55 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: questions about shop vac / house vac older hom
Replies: 6
Views: 1219

Re: questions about shop vac / house vac older hom

I had lead paint testing done, and recommend having testing done. The guy who did the work said he's never found a house that's all lead paint: mostly it's dribs and drabs. I used http://bayarealeaddetectors.com/ . He rarely finds lead paint on stucco, except in one case where years of freeway grime...
by bnes
Tue Aug 19, 2014 1:02 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Comparing American Funds Model Portfolio to Vanguard 3 Fund
Replies: 1
Views: 480

Re: Comparing American Funds Model Portfolio to Vanguard 3 F

Part of the answer seems to be: http://morning-wave-7809.herokuapp.com/ Here's a first guess at building an American Funds model that matches a boglehead model: http://morning-wave-7809.herokuapp.com/#AGTHX*63,NEWFX*27,ABNDX*10,/VTI*63,VXUS*27,BND*10 That ignores sales charges of up to 5.25% and tax...
by bnes
Tue Aug 19, 2014 12:47 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Comparing American Funds Model Portfolio to Vanguard 3 Fund
Replies: 1
Views: 480

Comparing American Funds Model Portfolio to Vanguard 3 Fund

While much has been written about American Fund's white paper on active investing here and here ... what's the real bottom line? The AF paper analyzes an unlikely condition: owning the entire suite of American Fund's offerings. A real person might make a simpler choice, such as comparing: A boggleha...
by bnes
Tue Aug 19, 2014 12:36 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard Index vs American Funds?
Replies: 45
Views: 24836

Re: Vanguard Index vs American Funds?

If I had to pay a 5% load fee every time I made a contribution or pay the high EF of class C shares, investing in 2 or 3 low-cost index funds would clearly be a better choice. But given the opportunity to avoid a load fee, and invest in a handful of actively managed funds that have consistently bea...
by bnes
Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Simplisafe Home Security Systems
Replies: 42
Views: 9336

Re: Simplisafe Home Security Systems

I strongly endorse them, as long as you're aware of the limits. I've had the system for one year. I like the system. It was easy to install, works great, and when we needed it (for a flood) it was there and worked. Customer service is top notch. I strongly like that I can add sensors for a fixed cos...
by bnes
Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:30 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Your biggest "Missed Money" event that still kills you?
Replies: 102
Views: 11939

Re: Your biggest "Missed Money" event that still kills you?

I bought a house that was a fixer prior to sale. The selling Realtor had handled renovations, hiring all the contractors. Two contractors told him of rot and termites. The Realtor told the floor contractor to put in new baseboards to cover up the rot . The Realtor told another contractor to work wit...
by bnes
Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:25 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Your biggest "Missed Money" event that still kills you?
Replies: 102
Views: 11939

Re: Your biggest "Missed Money" event that still kills you?

I bought NetFlix shortly after IPO. I sold the shares between bubbles at barely over $100.
by bnes
Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where to live? She works in Boston, he works in Worcester
Replies: 27
Views: 4665

Re: Where to live? She works in Boston, he works in Worceste

OP: Where in Worcester is the job? There is commuter rail to Worcester, and possible ride sharing to/from the station.
by bnes
Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Alarm company wants me to waive rights
Replies: 13
Views: 1685

Re: Alarm company wants me to waive rights

I am not sure what they are asking me to give up. They're weakly asking you to shift responsibility for a claim (presumably one where the alarm company is alleged at fault and you suffered a covered loss). The clause is not to your benefit. After 12 years you're clearly off contract. A company like...
by bnes
Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?
Replies: 63
Views: 5635

Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

I'm not a very good driver that drives about 45 minutes to work everyday. Consider that the accident rate for SUV's may be higher than for a lower-slung passenger car. Particularly in the case of "bad driving" a jerk of the wheel is more hazardous in an SUV. You sound like a great candidate for a G...
by bnes
Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon.com prices change quickly
Replies: 59
Views: 10289

Re: Amazon.com prices change quickly

1) I've seen companies on Amazon (and elsewhere) that seem to have the strategy of first building up positive reviews, then dropping quality. But that said, that's the normal mode of operation for a new restaurant: why not move that business model online? 2) It's crazy how much prices vary: http://p...
by bnes
Fri Aug 15, 2014 10:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Telephone Calls! Help! [Stopping telemarketing calls]
Replies: 123
Views: 16139

Re: Telephone Calls! Help! [Telemarketing phone calls]

I purchased a new Panasonic DECT phone that can block 250 telephone numbers. Previous Panasonic phone did not have the blocking capability. It is worth it as the previous one did not have the blocking capability. Unfortunately, that may well prove of limited value. This class of caller uses a new c...
by bnes
Fri Aug 15, 2014 3:55 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Flood proofing a basement
Replies: 24
Views: 3032

Re: Flood proofing a basement

Here's a link to tools that will get a (new) pipe under an (existing) sidewalk:
http://obviously.com/1525/Tools-for-Tunneling

If the sidewalk is under about ten feet wide, it is not particularly hard to do.
by bnes
Fri Aug 15, 2014 2:24 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to organize accounts for paying off $50k in debt.
Replies: 13
Views: 1634

Re: How to organize accounts for paying off $50k in debt.

JettRN wrote:Cell Phones: $140
You can probably do much better on that front, especially with prepaid. An extra $50/month can help.

Are there any ROTH/IRA's? What's the interest rate/type on the debt?
by bnes
Thu Aug 14, 2014 1:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cost of House Power Washing
Replies: 8
Views: 1187

Re: Cost of House Power Washing

You can rent a pressure washer for $100 or less, from home depot or elsewhere http://www.homedepot.com/c/tool_truck_rental_construction_rental_equipment Physical scrubbing with a brush is by far the most effective method for dealing with mold. See also tool libraries: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Li...
by bnes
Thu Aug 14, 2014 1:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Flood proofing a basement
Replies: 24
Views: 3032

Re: Flood proofing a basement

Every few years, when there is a super hard rain, the drain pipe is not adequate to carry away all the water and the basement floods. It would be very expensive to expand the size of the drain pipe, because it goes under some concrete, and because of the nature of the lot. Not necessarily. A contra...
by bnes
Thu Aug 14, 2014 5:50 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Gift Card Fraud
Replies: 30
Views: 6888

Re: Amazon Gift Card Fraud

Right now:

Change your email password.
You want be sure you get any notifications or receipts sent by Amazon or others.

Don't stop, don't wait, change that email password.
by bnes
Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Telephone Calls! Help! [Stopping telemarketing calls]
Replies: 123
Views: 16139

Re: Telephone Calls! Help! [Telemarketing phone calls]

I think the "do not call" list is set up wrong. Telemarketers are required by law to download the list, and filter their calls. Cheaters win. How about instead if telephone companies (CLEC's and ILEC's) were required to filter calls, unless a line was marked as residential, non-profit, or political....
by bnes
Wed Aug 13, 2014 2:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Are hospitals allowed to do this? [Costs quoted vs. actual]
Replies: 98
Views: 9609

Re: Are hospitals allowed to do this?

So I had a routine procedure done at a hospital and was quoted a total price of ~$1,200 for everything before having the procedure done. It was a soft quote, and they stated it could vary. Was the soft quote written? In my experience the hospital will take 20-30% off if you complain, just to make y...
by bnes
Tue Aug 12, 2014 8:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pension floor drops from 4% to 2.5% -- Time to bail?
Replies: 17
Views: 3315

Re: Pension floor drops from 4% to 2.5% -- Time to bail?

If it went down to 2.5% this year expect further reductions in interest rate in the future if fed rate declines. Current fed rate for 10 year is 2.5% Why not roll over to a balanced fund for the long term or if you are risk adverse see if you can get a better fixed rate, say 3% CD. Of course 3% rat...
by bnes
Tue Aug 12, 2014 3:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Window Blinds
Replies: 15
Views: 14040

Re: Window Blinds

Also important is to determine how much an open blind will block your view out the window. The size of a closed blind is called the "stack". Most blinds come in only a few fixed lengths. For mid and low range blinds the length is rarely customized so you often end up using a 72in long blind for say...
by bnes
Tue Aug 12, 2014 2:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pension floor drops from 4% to 2.5% -- Time to bail?
Replies: 17
Views: 3315

Re: Pension floor drops from 4% to 2.5% -- Time to bail?

due to a gap in service, the relevant employment has ended. what does this mean ? have you terminated employment or not ? There was a voluntary end to employment (after a child was born), and a later return to the same corporation. The pension administrator says the account is eligible for a lump s...
by bnes
Tue Aug 12, 2014 12:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pension floor drops from 4% to 2.5% -- Time to bail?
Replies: 17
Views: 3315

Re: Pension floor drops from 4% to 2.5% -- Time to bail?

Bnes , from a little research it looks like the company had a cash balance plan ( a DB plan) and did a "soft-freeze" in 2009 , i.e. closed it to new employees and now it is terminating that plan and giving employees choices on how they receive their benefit - do I have it right ? @ubermax, you've g...
by bnes
Tue Aug 12, 2014 12:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Copyright question
Replies: 27
Views: 2034

Re: Copyright question

What's your goal?
  • Acknowledgement, when someone uses your work.
  • Cash, in hopes someone will pay.
  • Prevention, blocking others from using the work?
by bnes
Tue Aug 12, 2014 12:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Window Blinds
Replies: 15
Views: 14040

Re: Window Blinds

I did 6 blinds with " hotblinds ", and was satisfied. There are lots and lots of options, for example: Cordless : the cord goes inside the blind, you grab the actual shade to move it up or down. Top up top down : you can open it top down for privacy with light. [*] Room darkening : actual honeycomb ...
by bnes
Tue Aug 12, 2014 3:14 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pension floor drops from 4% to 2.5% -- Time to bail?
Replies: 17
Views: 3315

Re: Pension floor drops from 4% to 2.5% -- Time to bail?

It's an employer paid defined benefit plan - you pay zip - what's the problem ?? - and BTW unless I'm missing something "bailing" would necessitate you terminating your employment . Yep, my thoughts as well. Don't look gift horses in the mouth :) It's a legacy plan, no longer eligible for contribut...
by bnes
Mon Aug 11, 2014 4:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pension floor drops from 4% to 2.5% -- Time to bail?
Replies: 17
Views: 3315

Pension floor drops from 4% to 2.5% -- Time to bail?

This is a large company corporate pension, current value $20,000, fully vested. The pension has had a 4% floor for many years. I treated this as a "nearly risk free" rate, counted it as a bond for AA, and was happy. Is this change enough that I should roll it over to a 401(k)? The floor is now 2.5% ...
by bnes
Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:41 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I switch to Vanguard 529 plan?
Replies: 5
Views: 1782

Re: Should I switch to Vanguard 529 plan?

The Vanguard Nevada 529 plan still involves UPromise. The expense ratios are higher than a standard Vanguard account and you have less choice. See https://personal.vanguard.com/us/funds/529portfolios http://www.savingforcollege.com/529_plan_details/?page=plan_details&plan_id=97 Instead of 1% with Up...
by bnes
Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Telephone Calls! Help! [Stopping telemarketing calls]
Replies: 123
Views: 16139

Re: Telephone Calls! Help! [Telemarketing phone calls]

For contractors it's easy, at least in California.
Pretend to be interested, get their website, get their contractor licence,
and complain to the Contractor License Board. Worked for me.
by bnes
Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:27 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sources for Discovering Dishwasher Quality
Replies: 36
Views: 3856

Re: Sources for Discovering Dishwasher Quality

What do you mean by "quality"? ...Think of the old Toyota Camrys that were low maintenance and would last a long time.. I don't think it exists among models made for home use. And, given how often the average kitchen is remodelled, and the pace of energy use improvements, maybe that's not all bad. ...
by bnes
Sun Aug 10, 2014 2:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sources for Discovering Dishwasher Quality
Replies: 36
Views: 3856

Re: Sources for Discovering Dishwasher Quality

I take a different approach. I talk to my LOCAL appliance repairmen and ask them what they would buy (or avoid). That is VERY different from what people in the industry might say or Consumer Reports. Right now, my local guys are recommending against Kenmore as they are having a lot of problems gett...
by bnes
Sun Aug 10, 2014 12:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sources for Discovering Dishwasher Quality
Replies: 36
Views: 3856

Re: Sources for Discovering Dishwasher Quality

CountryBoy wrote:So where does one go to research quality on dishwashers?
What do you mean by "quality"?
by bnes
Sun Aug 10, 2014 12:14 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Seeking "growth of $10,000" charts considering load
Replies: 11
Views: 1424

Re: Seeking "growth of $10,000" charts considering load

OK, math aside, if I'm going to present a powerpoint graph to someone, it's hard to explain "oh, just move the little red line down 5.75%". So I'm still looking for a tool where I can export the data to a spreadsheet and adjust it myself, or enter load/drip/taxes. I'm really surprised Vanguard's com...
by bnes
Sun Aug 10, 2014 12:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sources for Discovering Dishwasher Quality
Replies: 36
Views: 3856

Re: Sources for Discovering Dishwasher Quality

Consumer Reports presents only one view of the product: the lab test view . I bought a dishwasher based on that view, a Bosch that our family mostly hates. Sure it gets dried peanut butter of the plates well just as CR promised. But the racks have very closely spaced and specific tines that presumab...
by bnes
Sun Aug 10, 2014 11:47 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Spreadsheet calculating returns of IUL / 7702 Pension Plan
Replies: 19
Views: 8319

Re: Spreadsheet calculating returns of IUL / 7702 Pension Pl

Social Security is the only "forced savings" plan there is. But an interesting thought. Won't customers of a mutual insurance company (one owned by the policy holders) want a high lapse rate? All that "dumb money" left on the table eventually will trickle into the benefits of those who stick it out.
by bnes
Sun Aug 10, 2014 12:39 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Seeking "growth of $10,000" charts considering load
Replies: 11
Views: 1424

Re: Seeking "growth of $10,000" charts considering load

Why don't you just multiply the final answer for the American fund by (1-load%)? There's a compounding effect of money, so the final answer is far less than (1-load%). Plus these comparison tools are used by "regular joe" investors who may not understand load: they're misleading. Are there charting...
by bnes
Sun Aug 10, 2014 12:35 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Spreadsheet calculating returns of IUL / 7702 Pension Plan
Replies: 19
Views: 8319

Re: Spreadsheet calculating returns of IUL / 7702 Pension Pl

There's one reason an insurance plan might actually help some people: participation rates. http://s.wsj.net/public/resources/MWimages/MW-BF011_401k_r_MD_20130703105500.jpg The inurance is a type of forced savings: you've got to keep up with the premiums. I have trouble roundly critiquing 7702/IUL pl...
by bnes
Sat Aug 09, 2014 8:52 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: cash reserves
Replies: 19
Views: 2367

Re: cash reserves

Cash will definitely loose money.
A balanced asset allocation makes money in the long run.

I keep my "emergency fund" in I-Bonds. I can get them out at any time (even if there is a penalty on some of them). I plan to spend them for education, so they won't loose much in "real" terms.
by bnes
Fri Aug 08, 2014 11:51 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Seeking "growth of $10,000" charts considering load
Replies: 11
Views: 1424

Seeking "growth of $10,000" charts considering load

How can I get a "growth of $10,000" chart including sales load? Specifically I wanted to compare VFIAX to ANCFX to check out the assertions in American Fund's " active advantage " . I got a paper copy of this, because of my wife's investments. Plotting VFIAX against ANCFX showed pretty impressive pe...