Search found 1454 matches

by Stonebr
Mon Apr 27, 2009 11:05 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I pay off my car loan today?
Replies: 12
Views: 2003

Pay it off. You'll be happy you did. All those annoying little payments...
by Stonebr
Fri Apr 24, 2009 1:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: That Frugal Thing You Do
Replies: 554
Views: 131156

1) I ride my bike to the train station. It saves $4 parking fee and per mile cost of driving 6 miles r/t.

2) Composting: richest fertizer there is. All in my own back yard.

3) Paying for WSJ subscription with frequent flyer miles that are about to expire.
by Stonebr
Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:58 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Indexing dead according to popular financial magazine?
Replies: 30
Views: 5422

Don't kid yourself about Morningstar. They are hardly an objective source for fair treatment of index funds given that their entire business model is based on rating actively managed funds. They do a great job at it, but keep in mind that the brokers/consultants/banks/insurance companies are their b...
by Stonebr
Tue Apr 21, 2009 3:02 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Getting Smart About Annuities - WSJ
Replies: 61
Views: 11905

That spinning may be your own head coming unscrewed :) Here's a link to some sample calculations from the American Academy of Actuaries for several different mortality tables and a single interest rate (or IRR) of 5%. You can see that GAM83, still a commonly used table, has an APR (annual premium ra...
by Stonebr
Tue Apr 21, 2009 12:52 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Getting Smart About Annuities - WSJ
Replies: 61
Views: 11905

I get 4.75% IRR based on 94GAM projected at 100% of scale AA, assuming unisex rates are used. Again, you can't model this correctly on a pocket calculator. You need to use the entire table.
by Stonebr
Tue Apr 21, 2009 10:16 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Getting Smart About Annuities - WSJ
Replies: 61
Views: 11905

efmoody -- If you are using a calculator, you are obviously not using a standard mortality table. You really need to do this type of modeling on a computer.
by Stonebr
Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:47 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Getting Smart About Annuities - WSJ
Replies: 61
Views: 11905

efmoody -- The theory behind annuities and life contingencies is centuries old and traces back to Gauss and Newton. It is not fraudulent. It is mathematics.
by Stonebr
Thu Apr 16, 2009 2:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I accelerate payment of low interest debt?
Replies: 41
Views: 4891

Generally you want to borrow to buy assets that appreciate (homes, education/careers) and pay cash for assets that depreciate (cars, vacations, flatscreen TVs). So pay down the car loan.
by Stonebr
Mon Apr 13, 2009 1:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tires
Replies: 11
Views: 2219

Tire shops routinely install tires that don't match what's on your door panel. There's a whole industry devoted to getting people into big fat performance tires that are nowhere near what the manufacturers ever intended. As Bart and Homer once said, "TRUCKASAURUS!!!!"
by Stonebr
Mon Apr 13, 2009 11:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tires
Replies: 11
Views: 2219

Keep in mind that most US and Japanese car manufacturers already set their speedometers to overstate the speed of the car in order to keep customers from suing them over speeding tickets. I once had a Honda whose speedometer was overstating by about 10%. That is, when it said 60 MPG, it was actually...
by Stonebr
Tue Mar 24, 2009 2:54 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: JDBAX
Replies: 21
Views: 2497

JDBAX is a load fund, but the load is possibly being waived for your plan. However, it carries a .25% 12b-1 that is part of the .82% annual expense charge. This probably goes to the advisor, so in effect you will be paying him. It goes on forever and can't be waived. .82% is not a bad expense ratio ...
by Stonebr
Tue Mar 24, 2009 2:54 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: JDBAX
Replies: 21
Views: 2497

JDBAX is a load fund, but the load is possibly being waived for your plan. However, it carries a .25% 12b-1 that is part of the .82% annual expense charge. This probably goes to the advisor, so in effect you will be paying him. It goes on forever and can't be waived. .82% is not a bad expense ratio ...
by Stonebr
Mon Mar 23, 2009 3:06 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: VMLTX vs. VMMXX for Cash
Replies: 3
Views: 3515

VMMXX, or Prime Money Market, is a cash equivalents Money Market Fund. Its purpose is to provide safety of principal by a maintaining a daily NAV of 1.00, giving you cashlike liquidity, and income consistent with money market securities like Tbills and commercial paper. VMLTX is a bond fund. As such...
by Stonebr
Mon Mar 23, 2009 2:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What kind of car do you drive?
Replies: 125
Views: 23395

2003 Volvo S60

Like fishnskiguy's Audi, the base model Volvos are reasonably priced. I bought this new in 03 for $19,999. The stick shift makes it a lot more fun than the soccer-mom models. I've averaged 31 Mpg over the life of the car.
by Stonebr
Mon Mar 23, 2009 8:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best credit cards that offer rewards/incentives
Replies: 24
Views: 4053

You will find that the rewards change over time, so first priority is always to find a card with no annual fee. You won't get rich by using a credit card, so don't sweat about not having the best rewards. Chase Freedom, Discover, and certain Citi and BoA cashback rewards cards have no annual fee. Th...
by Stonebr
Fri Mar 20, 2009 9:40 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Depositing coins into the bank?
Replies: 53
Views: 11991

Wheat pennies, as well as the Memorial pennies through about 1980 were made of copper, and a year ago melt was higher than 1cent each. Newer pennies are valueless alloy. Also, wheaties are easy to spot and are older. For coin collectors this is just a habitual thing -- keep the wheaties, spend the M...
by Stonebr
Fri Mar 20, 2009 8:30 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Depositing coins into the bank?
Replies: 53
Views: 11991

1. I take coins by the pocketful to the supermarket at quiet hours. Pick up my food and then stand there feeding the automatic checkout machine until the store clerk gives me dirty looks. 2. Before I got EZ-pass, I'd drop 20 nickels (or 10 dimes) in the basket at the toll booths. I had to have them ...
by Stonebr
Wed Mar 18, 2009 1:50 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Investment on Gold
Replies: 20
Views: 2042

Remember that Roosevelt allowed you to hold up to $100 in gold. I think that would have been somewhere between 3 and 5 ounces in 1933. There's a big difference between now and 1933, and that is that the US and most currencies around the world were on a gold standard back then. Trade imbalances were ...
by Stonebr
Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:54 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Big time pension problems
Replies: 24
Views: 4587

Many of the "cherry" state and municipal pensions are generous, but you have to keep in mind that the recipients are usually ineligible for Social Security. So the pension has to be both SS and an employer plan at the same time. Also, since they are not covered under ERISA, the state or municipal pe...
by Stonebr
Mon Mar 16, 2009 3:00 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Can Boglehead tenets survive in a corrupt, inept market?
Replies: 55
Views: 7623

larryswedroe said something about the head of the SEC being sent to jail in 1932. I'm not sure the SEC existed then, but I do remember reading that Richard Whitney, President of the NYSE, ended up in jail. He was deeply in debt and had been trying to prop up the stock of makers of Applejack. John Br...
by Stonebr
Wed Mar 11, 2009 12:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do you know your car's dead?
Replies: 46
Views: 6643

One Reason to sell: Newer cars are generally safer than older cars. Toyota has a history of including safety features as optional or only if the government required. The new ones are better, but in 1998 they were pretty mediocre in crash tests. I don't like riding in them for that reason. www.crasht...
by Stonebr
Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: I'm thinking about buying a mountain bike
Replies: 45
Views: 6097

Used is probably the way to go if you want to save. There are lots of bikes on the market every spring. Look for name brands like Kona, Trek, Specialized -- brands that are sold at a real bike shop rather than Sports Authority or Wal-mart. If you want to buy new, I recommend that you go to a local b...
by Stonebr
Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:18 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Fallacy of Time Diversification
Replies: 121
Views: 16132

I have a question. By converting this to continuous compounding, it appears that the curves are nice and smoothe all the way to 40 years. That is, the little blue bars all grow on a nice smoothe orderly curve all the way up, and the same with the red and yellow bars. This leaves the impression that ...
by Stonebr
Thu Feb 26, 2009 11:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Suggestions for new dishwasher?
Replies: 37
Views: 5465

My apologies to those offended. I think my point is valid, however.

If someone on the forum owns 4000 apartment units and has some long term stats on 4 different brands of dishwashers, then there could be some useful information in their response. Otherwise it's just an anecdote.
by Stonebr
Thu Feb 26, 2009 11:06 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 401k Asset Allocation Question
Replies: 4
Views: 1117

I had the same dilemma with my 401k -- an SP500 account with ER of .06% and a choice of actively managed garbage for Small Cap. For a while I bought into one of the garbage funds and rationalized that with 85/15 allocations I was getting something like the total market for an average ER under .20%. ...
by Stonebr
Thu Feb 26, 2009 10:22 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Suggestions for new dishwasher?
Replies: 37
Views: 5465

Why would you ask a forum like this for info on a consumer product? All you'll get is anecdotes, biases, and cranks with an axe to grind. Most of us have experience with one or two dishwashers in our entire lives. What do we know? Check Consumer Reports or J.D. Power.com for relatively objective rev...
by Stonebr
Mon Feb 23, 2009 12:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How often should you change your oil?
Replies: 74
Views: 18376

Follow your owner's manual recommendation. For information on motor oil myths and legends like the 3,000 mile interval: http://www.nordicgroup.us/oil.htm http://neptune.spacebears.com/cars/stories/oil-life.html http://cars.cartalk.com/content/advice/oilchanges.html FWIW my Volvo owner's manual speci...
by Stonebr
Fri Feb 20, 2009 10:40 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Massive Wall Street Journal Rate Increase (from 19-feb-09)
Replies: 103
Views: 23696

I use American Airlines frequent flier miles to subscribe to WSJ. Since I'd otherwise lose the miles, it's an okay deal.
by Stonebr
Thu Feb 19, 2009 4:16 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Precious Metal Equity Performance Last 12 Months
Replies: 13
Views: 1942

Article in the WSJ 2/19/09 on gold miners. It points out that last year's divergence was partly due to high energy costs. Mines apparently use a lot of energy, and this year's earnings could be higher because of lower costs. The learned experts think the mines may outperform the metal for a while. I...
by Stonebr
Wed Feb 18, 2009 4:53 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Mega millions at $120 million, how to invest?
Replies: 46
Views: 7607

Give most to charity, put a few million in Life Strategy Income, then go to the beach.
by Stonebr
Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:36 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Investors in 1929 Whole By 1936
Replies: 18
Views: 2885

By the way, the referenced book by Fisher & Lorie was published by University of Chicago Press, in 1977, and CRSP is the Center for Research in Security Prices.
by Stonebr
Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:22 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Investors in 1929 Whole By 1936
Replies: 18
Views: 2885

Inflation (CPI deflator) adjusted, the Internal Rate of Return from 12/31/1928 through 12/31/1936 was a positive .9% according to "A Half Century of Returns on Stocks & Bonds" by Lawrence Fisher and James H. Lorie (page 26). This is not S&P data, but rather the CRSP Monthly Master File for Common St...
by Stonebr
Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:53 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: MSNBC: Words Of Wisdom For The Young Investor
Replies: 35
Views: 6491

When I was 22... When I was 22 my liquid assets were what was left of a sixpack of Heineken -- usually 6 empties. My emergency fund was my next paycheck. My car was a bicycle. My debt level was zero because nobody in their right mind would have loaned me money. It was fun. And I got affluent later a...
by Stonebr
Sun Feb 15, 2009 8:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any Numismatic Diehards out there?
Replies: 106
Views: 50593

Thanks for the idea on Civil War era tokens. I just checked my general interest coin book, and it has a reference to the Fuld catalog as well as a mention of some 10,000 different varieties of tokens. It sounds mind-boggling.
by Stonebr
Sat Feb 14, 2009 6:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any Numismatic Diehards out there?
Replies: 106
Views: 50593

In 2000 I started a collection of gold eagles -- the business strikes (non proof) -- mostly through ebay. I collected a complete date set of all the denominations 1, 1/2/ 1/4 and 1/10 ounce coins from 86 to 01. I'd like to bring it up to current date but they are a lot more expensive nowadays. It wa...
by Stonebr
Fri Feb 13, 2009 4:30 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: MSNBC: Words Of Wisdom For The Young Investor
Replies: 35
Views: 6491

There's more to life than saving and investing and always planning for the future. I say have a good time when you're in your 20s. (But don't get in debt doing it.) Take a chickenbus tour of Central America. Hike the Appalachian Trail or ride a mountain bike across Siberia. Get bombed now and then. ...
by Stonebr
Fri Feb 13, 2009 11:47 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 15% ER ?! anyone seen this
Replies: 23
Views: 4545

OP: Sorry, I meant to say "Your friend's..." There's a lot of info online about a 401k plan trustee/fiduciary responsibilities under ERISA, the uniform prudent investor laws, and section 404c. Search for things like "401k prudent investment option" Here's a typical quote from an online newsletter: "...
by Stonebr
Fri Feb 13, 2009 11:29 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 15% ER ?! anyone seen this
Replies: 23
Views: 4545

Either your facts are wrong or your plan sponsor is acting improperly as the fiduciary by allowing such funds in a qualified plan. The laws are already in place, they don't need to be changed. March into your HR office and demand an explanation and tell them that you are filing a complaint with the ...
by Stonebr
Thu Feb 12, 2009 9:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Another Black Swan? WSJ:Satellites Destroyed in Collision
Replies: 21
Views: 3250

The Australian Black Swan, Cygnus atratus, is not all that uncommon. And they are always black. From http://aviary.owls.com/swan_black/swan_black.html "The Black Swan, (Cygnus atratus), is a bird of Australia, including Tasmania. Black Swans are from 44 to 55 inches with a wing span of 6 feet . The ...
by Stonebr
Wed Feb 11, 2009 3:55 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advisor's Response to Transfer to Vanguard
Replies: 33
Views: 5315

This exchange is priceless. Thanks for sharing. You are obviously taking the high road, and that's great.
by Stonebr
Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How can we best help them start out?
Replies: 28
Views: 4046

Before doing anything, I recommend that you read the chapters in Stanley and Danko's "Millionaire Next Door" on economic outpatient care of children and other relatives. A danger they discovered is that you may unconsciously create a dependency/control situation. Another is that they may never learn...
by Stonebr
Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Target Retirement Funds vs. Index Funds
Replies: 10
Views: 4938

A Vanguard Target fund was the choice my wife and I made for her spousal IRA. It's a convenient, ready-made portfolio of inexpensive index funds.

We use e-service on all of our Vanguard holdings. It's a no-brainer.
by Stonebr
Fri Feb 06, 2009 4:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: basis of inherited house with life estate deed
Replies: 24
Views: 11791

Sailor234

I'll be very interested in the answer you get. I'm going to be in the same position some day, and I was under the impression that it was a full step up in basis.
by Stonebr
Fri Feb 06, 2009 1:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to choose a dress suit
Replies: 46
Views: 8883

Oh, and another thing, this is one area where you want to buy American. The quality of tailoring and the classic styling mean they can last a very long time.
by Stonebr
Fri Feb 06, 2009 1:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to choose a dress suit
Replies: 46
Views: 8883

Some of the discount stores like Filene's Basement (here in MA) get piles of last year's Hartmarx, Hickey Freemans, and Oxxfords. I got a HF a few years ago for $450 that had a Saks Fifth Avenue label of $1250. I had to pay for alterations, however. But the suit is wonderful, and it's the only one I...
by Stonebr
Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Emigrant Direct and Dollar Direct
Replies: 44
Views: 8772

Are you rewarding incompetence and low integrity by sending money to them?
by Stonebr
Wed Feb 04, 2009 9:36 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Mutual Series Funds More Volatile Than Earlier Years?
Replies: 6
Views: 2113

I was in Mutual Shares from 86 to about 94 when Discovery first opened, then I transferred my IRA at that time. After Michael Price left, I kept waiting for performance to suffer but hung on. It never suffered through the David Winter era. Recently, however, I've transferred almost everything to my ...
by Stonebr
Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How Can I Find a Record of the Price a House has Sold For?
Replies: 17
Views: 2589

This isn't as easy as it used to be. zillow and redfin seem to have morphed into RE listing sites. They used to provide a guesstimate of home values based on tax info. Nowadays you have to become a "member" to get their data. Zillow does still give free access to recent sales info -- comps. Dependin...
by Stonebr
Tue Feb 03, 2009 11:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mens Dress Shirts for those who are Frugal?
Replies: 128
Views: 57698

Another vote for Brooks Brothers no-iron 100% cotton shirts. They last and last. I occasionally touch them up with an iron. I'm far more recurring-cost sensitive than first-cost. Do your own laundering and you can save forever.
by Stonebr
Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:20 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Reconsider That Mortgage Prepayment
Replies: 15
Views: 3357

I paid off my mortgage in 2000. It changed my risk tolerance and made me a better investor -- fewer sleepless nights when the market swoons.