Search found 192 matches

by ianferrel
Fri Mar 04, 2011 5:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is it possible to steal my bandwidth?
Replies: 15
Views: 2204

Your hosting provider should be able to give you some kind of log that shows you where your website is serving requests. Look at it, and see if all of it's really coming from website visitors, or if someone from another site is, say, hotlinking to content on your site, or something else. If they won...
by ianferrel
Thu Jan 20, 2011 8:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New car vs. used car: what are lifetime saving of used cars?
Replies: 78
Views: 14790

Have you REALLY priced 3-4 year old cars lately? There are NO bargains. That may have been the sweet spot in days of yore, but no longer. Now it's much older or brand new. This deserves to be restated. I recently bought a car. I spent about two months looking, before finally getting lucky and havin...
by ianferrel
Wed Dec 01, 2010 6:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wireless computer backup
Replies: 21
Views: 2607

If you have another computer that's wired, you can use CrashPlan to back your laptop up to it. It works on Windows, Mac, and Linux, and will let you backup your computers to each other or to friends/family's computers for free, and has a paid option to back up to their servers over the internet. I'v...
by ianferrel
Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Kindle vs Nook
Replies: 40
Views: 9069

I think the 3G on the Kindle has a lot of value if you don't already have a smartphone, or if you expect to be traveling internationally where your phone won't work. The Kindle includes a web browser and, while I wouldn't use it as a primary browsing device, the one in the 3rd gen Kindle is pretty g...
by ianferrel
Thu Jul 29, 2010 1:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: To Mac or not to Mac? That is the question...
Replies: 304
Views: 29949

I'm a Mac user. My reasons for buying Macs are that I love the OS, I like the culture of quality in programs made for the Mac, and I enjoy the look and feel of the computers. I'm surprised at your claim of a $1000 difference between a Macbook and a comparable laptop. I'm well aware that there's a pr...
by ianferrel
Mon May 31, 2010 4:02 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Help understanding an existing life insurance policy
Replies: 21
Views: 2391

Saying that a dividend shouldn't count as part of a return is the same as saying that reinvested stock dividends shouldn't be counted. Look at this another way. If he reached into his pocket to pay the premium, would you feel the same way? I get what you're saying about the mental accounting, but I...
by ianferrel
Mon May 31, 2010 10:59 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Help understanding an existing life insurance policy
Replies: 21
Views: 2391

Thank you, insurance1288 for explaining what paid-up value means. That does make more sense than what I had guessed. I have one annual statement from Nov, 2008, for one of the policies, that states: Face value $25000 Addt. paid-up insurance: $4,232 Cash values Basic Policy: $12,060 Additional paid-u...
by ianferrel
Sun May 30, 2010 6:10 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Help understanding an existing life insurance policy
Replies: 21
Views: 2391

Ok, I've got the info: The company is New England Mutual Life Insurance Company. There are two separate policies, each with a "Face value" of $25K. The plan is listed as "Ordinary Life". The policies do not appear to be exactly the same, but very similar. Inside the policy booklet, there's a table w...
by ianferrel
Mon May 17, 2010 5:19 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Manufactured tax loss harvesting
Replies: 24
Views: 2942

Sorry, it's been a while.

Thanks for everyone's replies. It sounds like this sort of tax arbitrage is not allowed, and it was not exactly a huge potential moneymaker, anyway, so little is lost, here.
by ianferrel
Fri May 14, 2010 4:12 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Help understanding an existing life insurance policy
Replies: 21
Views: 2391

Thanks for the info and suggestions. I will look over the contract and come back if I have further questions.
by ianferrel
Fri May 14, 2010 1:17 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: But really, are you going to sit through 40% plus losses?
Replies: 61
Views: 10325

The Fundamental Principal of Counting, the entire basis of probability theory, explains why. It never fails to strike me how many market timers don't understand this concept that they learnt in secondary school. There are 3 decisions because it takes 3 choices to make a profit timing the market. It...
by ianferrel
Thu May 13, 2010 7:33 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Help understanding an existing life insurance policy
Replies: 21
Views: 2391

Help understanding an existing life insurance policy

I'm helping a friend of mine named John with his asset allocation and investment planning and one of the assets John has is some type of whole life insurance policy that I don't understand. Here's what I know: * The insurance policy is ~30 years old. (John is in his 50s) * A portion of it is investm...
by ianferrel
Wed May 05, 2010 8:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Newsweek story on 4-phases of retirement spending?
Replies: 7
Views: 1814

I'd want to know how much of this effect is due to people spending less because they failed to budget properly and overspent during early years? It does make sense that newly retired 60-somethings are much more likely to travel and have active (expensive) lifestyles, while 90-somethings won't, and t...
by ianferrel
Tue May 04, 2010 6:49 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Manufactured tax loss harvesting
Replies: 24
Views: 2942

Manufactured tax loss harvesting

I have a feeling that what I'm about to describe is well-known; I just don't have the proper vocabulary or understanding to look in the right places, and I'm hoping that someone can point me in the right direction. For the past several years, I've been applying $3000 per year of capital losses again...
by ianferrel
Wed Apr 28, 2010 5:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: If selling car... bluebook, test drive, payment, ?
Replies: 10
Views: 1943

I don't ride with 'em. I just ask to see a license, and I photograph them and the license. The way I see it, the worst case scenarios are that they steal the car, or they crash the car. Either way, I don't want to be in the passenger seat. It's possible that people will start cruising Craigslist to ...
by ianferrel
Thu Mar 18, 2010 7:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What Does "New Home Sales dropped by 4% in Feb Mean?
Replies: 8
Views: 2007

Comparing it to the same time last year may not mean much if there's no acknowledgment that "last year" the sales were lower than the year before that or the sales were up. It could mean that the number of houses sold is being compared. Big deal! This reminds me of a neighbor who calls in when her ...
by ianferrel
Tue Mar 16, 2010 7:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Insure Jewelry, like an Engagement Ring?
Replies: 12
Views: 1972

Would not insure it if I could afford to replace it. But, as time passes it becomes more valuable, monetarily and sentimentally Emphasis mine. Insurance presumably doesn't help with the sentimental part of the value, so you probably should only consider financial value in your insurance calculations.
by ianferrel
Tue Mar 16, 2010 7:19 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Rent or buy in this hypothetical situation
Replies: 28
Views: 2764

But what about the fact that if you own, after that 30 years your living expenses will greatly decrease compared to renting? So if I'm worth $1 million (including house value) after 30 years compared to being worth $1.5 million renting after 30 years, I may be better off because my cost of living f...
by ianferrel
Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2009 1099-R for excess contribution returns in 2008 Roth IRA
Replies: 4
Views: 1853

Thanks, livesoft, that sounds like a very similar situation. I'll see if the code specifies which year it should be reported in.

rwwoods, I believe it is considered an excess contribution. I made $10K in contributions to IRAs, which is over the limit, and I withdrew the excess amount.
by ianferrel
Thu Feb 11, 2010 1:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2009 1099-R for excess contribution returns in 2008 Roth IRA
Replies: 4
Views: 1853

2009 1099-R for excess contribution returns in 2008 Roth IRA

In early 2008, I made a Roth IRA contribution and invested it in a stock index ETF. The value of that investment fell considerably, and after reading (both on this forum and various other places) about the fact that I could withdraw the current value as an excess contribution, then recontribute the ...
by ianferrel
Wed Feb 03, 2010 4:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: PayPal Scam Alert
Replies: 12
Views: 2857

Where does the link go?

I doubt you have to worry about your credit card. This is almost certainly a scam to get you to follow the link "log in" to a fake paypal page, and thus get your paypal user/pass.

Since you don't have a Paypal account, just ignore it.
by ianferrel
Thu Jan 28, 2010 7:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: PBS-Frontline…”The Card Game”
Replies: 27
Views: 4617

This is insane. Or what is insane is that "the collective we" agree to this nonsense. How well I use credit may or may not have anything to do with whether I pay the lender back. It is a snare to keep you indebted, and keep you paying the bankers. Those who understand interest, earn interest. Those...
by ianferrel
Wed Dec 16, 2009 7:16 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: To Roth 401(k) or not to Roth 401(k)
Replies: 19
Views: 2468

DSInvestor wrote:Here's something from tfb on the subject:
http://thefinancebuff.com/2008/03/case- ... -401k.html
Thanks so much for posting that. I read it, and on reflection realized that I've been putting too much into Roth 401(k).
by ianferrel
Thu Dec 03, 2009 7:05 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Roth Scottrade to Vanguard
Replies: 13
Views: 8800

However, note that Scottrade has a $60 transfer out/in fee. According to Scottrade's home page (scroll down almost to the bottom), they advertise "0 Open Fees, 0 Transfer Fees, 0 Hidden Fees". According to their Fee Schedule , it looks like the $60 fee is for a Foreign Stock transfer. Closing an ac...
by ianferrel
Thu Dec 03, 2009 6:47 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Minimum Required Income
Replies: 46
Views: 6101

I could certainly live on SS. My expenditures right now are less than the estimated SS amount I'd get (in todays dollars). However, I want/need to take investment risk because 1. I want to retire prior to age 62, which is the earliest I could receive SS benefits. Ideally, quite a bit prior to that a...
by ianferrel
Tue Dec 01, 2009 7:56 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: I don't understand housing costs
Replies: 104
Views: 13206

The same argument could apply to all laws at all levels. All laws must have passed the approval of citizens, thus they must all be a benefit. When segregation "Separate but Equal" laws were passed earlier this century, were they a benefit at the time? Anti-Gay Marriage laws are a benefit to most of...
by ianferrel
Tue Dec 01, 2009 7:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New renter, need advice
Replies: 8
Views: 1713

I'd suggest talking to him first. 1. Few reasonable landlords will refuse you the right to change the locks, as long as they get a key. 2. Many reasonable landlords might be annoyed at the fait accompli. 3. He might (like my current landlord did when I moved in and asked) just pay for it himself! Lo...
by ianferrel
Mon Nov 30, 2009 8:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Uh oh, gold party
Replies: 53
Views: 13793

Since the days of the Roman Empire one ounce of gold will buy you a well-tailored suit. Who knew the price of suits was so volatile? This is why I store my wealth in the form of suits. It's just as good an inflation hedge as gold is, but gold won't keep me looking warm or stylish, or help me land a...
by ianferrel
Mon Nov 30, 2009 8:32 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: I don't understand housing costs
Replies: 104
Views: 13206

You may not realize this but California has the most restrictive state-level firearms laws in the country. All those laws were generally passed with the approval of much of California's citizenry. You or I might not agree with them, but, clearly, for a substantial number of Californians, those rest...
by ianferrel
Wed Nov 25, 2009 3:34 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "As market surges, many can't afford to hop back in&
Replies: 35
Views: 5348

That emergency fund is getting bigger every time you post. 8-12 months? Come on. You know how long a typical American would need to save before they could start investing if they waited until they had a 12 month emergency fund? Given current rates on cash (at best 1.5%), someone saving 10% of their...
by ianferrel
Tue Nov 10, 2009 7:15 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Experiment study of market bubbles
Replies: 6
Views: 1963

I read this article when it was originally published, and, on rereading, I think my original impression holds: iIt sounds to me like there's a serious problem with the experimental design. The problem is that there's no way to sell short. If there's no way to profit from the obvious knowledge that t...
by ianferrel
Mon Oct 26, 2009 7:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is bringing a flask to a ball game cheap?
Replies: 66
Views: 11220

I think bringing your own food/drinks into sporting events falls under the same category as bringing your own food/drinks into movie theatres or pirating music/movies/software. The people who do it know it's against the rules, but they do it anyways. It's not cheap, it's selfish. I don't mean that ...
by ianferrel
Wed Aug 19, 2009 7:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: should i have car insurance?
Replies: 27
Views: 4675

I just bought a used Miata for $8300. I only carry liability on it. I can afford to replace it if I need to, although I'd probably replace it with something cheaper. I only really need to be able to get to work. I don't need the convertible and the nice stereo system. There's no point insuring the t...
by ianferrel
Mon Jul 20, 2009 6:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Settlers of Catan
Replies: 43
Views: 7308

I've been playing Settlers for 6 years or so. I'm such a board game aficionado that I introduced it (along with several others) to my college roommates. :) I recommend the 5-6 player expansion if you have enough players to play regularly. The 2 player game is not very good, but 3 is decent. I didn't...
by ianferrel
Tue Jul 14, 2009 3:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any Former Mac Users?
Replies: 54
Views: 6879

I'm a current Mac user (switched about 6 years ago), but I'm likely to become a former Mac user shortly, so this might apply. My reasons for switching are cost and battery life. For a long time, I felt that the least expensive Mac laptop was quite price-competitive, and the extra cost was worth it f...
by ianferrel
Mon Jun 22, 2009 5:46 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Should Vanguard be able to protect its customers from Fraud?
Replies: 22
Views: 4131

I've never gotten such a call from Vanguard, but I have gotten calls from credit cards, and another brokerage. I always tell them that I'll call back, then hang up, go to their website, and get the number there, then call. In my opinion, that's what they should tell you to do. In fact, it should bec...
by ianferrel
Fri May 15, 2009 2:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: That Frugal Thing You Do
Replies: 587
Views: 141712

I have no issue paying $20 for a haircut - (I've never liked the look of having my hair all one length - a requirement for the self-haircut). You don't have to cut your hair to all one length if you cut your own hair. You can do the same thing a barber or stylist would do with clippers or scissors....
by ianferrel
Thu Mar 26, 2009 1:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Learning to play Yahtzee
Replies: 16
Views: 2454

There is a great deal of chance involved in Yahtzee, but it's by no means a game of chance the way that, say, roulette is. Obviously, the dice do what they will, but you have to make decisions involving probabilities, expected gains, and whether it's worth it to risk trying for certain rolls or taki...
by ianferrel
Tue Mar 24, 2009 5:00 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Most Pro Athletes Are Broke In 5 Years
Replies: 46
Views: 9140

By the way, what do you think is the median salary for a pro athlete? Guess before you click on the link. I'm not sure what definition they're using for "pro athlete", but the folks that Sports Illustrated are talking about are making considerably more than that. The league minimum salaries for the...
by ianferrel
Fri Sep 05, 2008 3:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which Mac is right for me?
Replies: 18
Views: 6058

Re: Virtual Box

ramink wrote:BTW, You don't need to buy Parallels. Virtual box which is free works just fine.
Only free for personal use. Unless this is hobby CAD-based design, that doesn't apply.

Thanks for this link, though. I'm going to check it out for my personal use :) .
by ianferrel
Tue Aug 26, 2008 12:45 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Asset Allocation Help (26, single, limited 401k offerings)
Replies: 4
Views: 1657

Thank you for your suggestions. After reading your suggestions, I guess my question 2 is irrelevant. I'm almost certainly going to end up with bonds in my Roth IRA, so I'll be selling all the VEA and EFA. I have tried to see if my 401k actually charges loads, but I can't figure out how. There's no i...
by ianferrel
Tue Aug 26, 2008 12:57 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Asset Allocation Help (26, single, limited 401k offerings)
Replies: 4
Views: 1657

Asset Allocation Help (26, single, limited 401k offerings)

I have Emergency Funds equal to 6 months of expenses. Debt: $14,500 School Loans @ 2.125% Tax Filing Status: Single Tax Rate: 25% Federal 9.3% CA State Age: 26 Desired Asset allocation: 90% stocks/10% bonds Intl allocation: 50% of stocks Current portfolio value ~ $100k: Taxable: 22% cash 1% SPDR Tru...