On The Billfold Book Club Discusses Helaine Olen's 'Pound Foolish'

I didn't read the book. But that (your?) coffee mug is totally boss.

Posted on July 23, 2014 at 5:43 pm 0

On When You're Not Saving Enough to Retire at 65

@garli I think they exclude the primary residence because for most people it skews the results in a non-useful way. First, houses are confusing to valuate for net worth purposes (sale price? current appraisal? subtract the mortgage? what about liens?). Second, the wealth is not very liquid (things like HELOCs and reverse mortgages aside). If you've got $25k in liquid savings that's a lot more indicative of you current situation than if your house is carried on the tax roll at $500k.

Posted on July 23, 2014 at 2:35 pm 0

On What Aren't We Spending Money On?

@jillcool Fellow Gen-X'er. I bought a case of Coors Light at Costco this weekend! /shame

Posted on July 22, 2014 at 1:47 pm 0

On What Aren't We Spending Money On?

@@fo The page you linked to is all about fees. True, if you are investing in a "S&P 500 index fund" that is costing you a load and/or 2% in fees, you will have a skewed return. That is almost never the case though. Taking the list from your link, I plugged in highest fee (MSXAX) and the lowest fee (VFIAX) funds. Compare their returns over the past 18 months: https://www.google.com/finance?chdnp=1&chdd=1&chds=1&chdv=1&chvs=maximized&chdeh=0&chfdeh=0&chdet=1406050553911&chddm=145724&cmpto=MUTF:MSXAX&cmptdms=0&q=MUTF:VFIAX&&ei=66DOU-iqHobPrQGu_4HwCA I think you'll agree that counts as "same returns". The further you lengthen the timeline the closer they converge. I do appreciate you point though. Fees matter, and paying less fees on an index fund is pretty much always better. I should amend my axiomatic statement to include "ex-fee".

Posted on July 22, 2014 at 1:45 pm 0

On Only Suckers Don't Buy Generic

@guenna77 Generic drugs FTW. Our first kid went through a lot of infant ibuprofen. Difference between target brand and Advil was on the order of 3x! We switched fast. I also take the generic Zyrtec; difference there is more like 5x. I don't hesitate to buy generic drugs. I am 100% confident they will yield the same experience as the name brand (they are, after all, chemically identical). Other stuff, though, I have to try out. Sometimes, as you point out, house brands are equivalent or better. But sometimes not. The darn Target trash bags had a weird wavy top that was impossible to close correctly. Drove me crazy for the six months it took to use up all those bags.

Posted on July 22, 2014 at 1:31 pm 0

On What Aren't We Spending Money On?

@binfluenza For "what is an index fund" Bogleheads is a good place to start: http://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Getting_started @chevyvan If you are saving up for a trip within the year, then investing in the stock market is not a great idea for the money. The reason is that stocks, while having an average long term return of much higher than .85%, are much more volatile in the short term. Meaning that the market may drops 10% in the coming 12 months, leaving you short for your trip. This is not to say you should not invest in stocks. This is to say you should not invest money that you are going to need fairly soon in stocks. @moreadventurous WRT to taxes: the taxes on bank interest are going to be the same as short term capital gains (e.g. ordinary income rates) so that is wash in chevyvan's case. Also @moreadventurous Exactly correct on there being no benefit in investing in the same index at multiple places. An S&P 500 index fund has, axiomatically, the same returns regardless of where you are invested in. As @OllyOlly points out, you can invest in a *different* index (such as a bond index, or an international stock index) if you'd like for diversification. That other index can be at the same or a different company if desired. A caveat to the "no benefit" statement. There is no *diversification* benefit. However, many times you are constrained as to where or what you can invest in (e.g. a 401(k) versus a personal taxable account). In that case it's perfectly valid to have the same index at different places. @OllyOlly appears to be up to speed on mutual funds :)

Posted on July 22, 2014 at 11:56 am 0

On The Lifestyles of the Super Rich and Forbes Famous

@gyip While there are only a few thousand people on the "richest family" list, there are literally billions of poor people. So statistically we will be making fun of dumb rich names less than dumb poor names. "Force" is a ridiculous name btw.

Posted on July 16, 2014 at 4:31 pm 0

On Does Someone You Work With Have a 'Dark Triad' Personality Trait?

@Mike Dang I bet you write those congratulation notes with a poison pen. Nice ones indeed.

Posted on July 10, 2014 at 10:02 am 1

On What Did Your First Job Pay Then and What Does It Pay Now?

I graduated in 1993. First post college job was a temp gig at an Apple Computer call center. I answered questions about "where is my computer" for K-12 teachers for $8/hour (maybe $8.50?). Overtime was encouraged at 1.5x pay. It possibly matters that I was a philosophy major, and thus anything above minimum wage seemed wildly extravagant. The $250ish a week was enough. Austin was cheap as dirt back then. I remember being very broke and very happy.

Posted on July 9, 2014 at 4:40 pm 0

On And Here Is Your Open Thread

@bgprincipessa Morningstar Corn Dogs are madly delicious. Tofurkey tastes like sadness. /20+ year vegetarian

Posted on July 3, 2014 at 2:43 pm 2