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Old 02-15-2009, 08:26 PM   #21
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Some people here have said I have an agenda and i should not start a post taking these issues on. Sorry but this is the United States and we still have the First Amendment.
Freddy, while the second of the above statements is certainly true, I would remind you of the following stipulations in our Community Rules:

"About the First Amendment, censorship and your "right to free speech":

You do indeed have a right to free speech. However this forum is privately owned and requires members to abide by our guidelines and by the decisions of our moderators. If you cannot accept these guidelines we encourage you to contact one of the many good web hosting companies out there and exercise that right to your heart's content.
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I saw nothing on the board saying it was moderated to limit discussion of topics.
Not quite. Once more, from our Community Rules:

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Old 02-15-2009, 08:27 PM   #22
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Sorry but this is the United States and we still have the First Amendment. I saw nothing on the board saying it was moderated to limit discussion of topics.
We weren't talking censorship, sonny boy. Just manners.

And just so you know, this isn't the United States. It's the internet. And there is plenty of information in the Forum rules about moderation and topic limits. Again, not trying to shut you down, just pointing out that the folks on this forum tend to prefer facts to hyperbole.

Now feel free to back up your claims for UIL. Use attributions for your various claims such as instead of 10% returns over time since whenever the actual returns were 6%. If you validate your claims and I can check them, great. Maybe you'll sway my decision making. But I'm not buying just because you say so.
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Old 02-15-2009, 08:34 PM   #23
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Some people here have said I have an agenda and i should not start a post taking these issues on.
I agree with you there. I say, give a man a rope and see if he hangs himself. If not, then maybe we all learn something.

In defense of those who seem eager to run people off, they are right about 99.9% of the time.

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Sorry but this is the United States and we still have the First Amendment. I saw nothing on the board saying it was moderated to limit discussion of topics.
Read the Community Rules again. This forum is a privately owned business, they can set whatever rules they like. We can choose to follow them and stay, or we can leave. Likewise, you can start your own blog or forum, and we won't stop you. Sorry, but miss-use of the First Amendment makes my skin crawl.

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No load index funds or ETFs? Most got smashed last year. There are some simple things retirees could have done using technical analysis to have avoided the meltdown but did their broker tell them or Vanguard or Money or Smart Money? No.
So, if this information can be known, surely there are fund managers utilizing it to consistently provide superior risk adjusted returns to their shareholders. Except they don't.

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One piece of advice for seniors is unless you really know what you are doing - do not own stocks especially overweighting in your old employer.
I disagree. That is good advice for *everyone*

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PS - I see the 1st Amendment already struck a nerve response, oh well, I'll leave what I wrote
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Old 02-15-2009, 08:50 PM   #24
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Someone mentioned the avg loss for people posting here or seniors was an avg loss of 20% which is not that bad but not that good and sounds low. No one can deny if you used John Bogle's buy and hold the S&P 500 for the past 12 years you made no money. Ditto for the Dow 30.
That would be unlikely, as Mr. Bogle's advice has consistently been to hold roughly one's age in bonds, and has recommended using total bond market and total stock market funds. One can simply achieve this through use of a balanced fund, such as Vanguard's VBINX.


Not great, but it did make money, and yielded dividends as well (currently at 3.83%)

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UIL's have a fix number of payments in during usually over 5 years. If set up properly they are very tax effecient plus include a death benefit. I know both sides of the street very well. I know the secs and annuity/insurance side. Are they both ideal? No way. The secs side really let small investors down in a BIG way with massive hedge fund manipulation of the financial markets. After what the hedge funds were allowed to do with naked shorting, buying credit default swaps, spreading rumors, Madoff, etc. I have little faith in the SEC. If I had to trust the SEC or state insurance comissioners - I trust the states.
As someone cleaning up an estate that unfortunately included universal life policies, I'll have to differ. On one, for example, 10,200 dollars was paid in. The policy will pay out 7,200 dollars.

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There are some simple things retirees could have done using technical analysis to have avoided the meltdown but did their broker tell them or Vanguard or Money or Smart Money? No.
Technical analysis is a trading tool, which tends to produce poor results in the long run. Seeing as this is an early retirement board, I suggest that the long run, time horizons of 20 years or more, would be rather common here. In the long run, index funds outperform active trading schemes, including mechanical timing. Trading costs and taxation (when trading in taxable accounts) will also take their toll and degrade performance

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Investors have been told the 10% a year long term for stocks (S&P 500) is the normal but over the long-term after expenses it is probably closer to 6%. This is going back to 1928.
Note that these are not guaranteed annual rates of return. The market TENDS to return an AVERAGE arithmetic real rate of return of about 7%, or a geometric rate of return of about 8.5%, measured over value weighted US share indexes from 1802 to 1997.
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Old 02-15-2009, 09:07 PM   #25
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I agree with you there. I say, give a man a rope and see if he hangs himself. If not, then maybe we all learn something.

Debate and discussion usualy leads to ideas unless people decided to close off debate.

In defense of those who seem eager to run people off, they are right about 99.9% of the time.

99.9% of the people thought they were right about Madoff.

Read the Community Rules again. This forum is a privately owned business, they can set whatever rules they like. We can choose to follow them and stay, or we can leave. Likewise, you can start your own blog or forum, and we won't stop you. Sorry, but miss-use of the First Amendment makes my skin crawl.

I read the rules. Martha says the forums follow the First Amendment as longs as their is no spamming, attacks, profanity etc. Just trying to open debate on the subject. I attacked no one and aid you need to review all types of investments. Currently I think the securities industry has done a lousy job lately due to manipulation by hedge funds who make large donations to Congress.

So, if this information can be known, surely there are fund managers utilizing it to consistently provide superior risk adjusted returns to their shareholders. Except they don't.

I agree with you here.

I disagree. That is good advice for *everyone*

-ERD50

PS - I see the 1st Amendment already struck a nerve response, oh well, I'll leave what I wrote
I think investors should keep an open mind and do their homework. They also need to be wary of Money, Smart Money and CNBC.

Maybe I came on too strong but there is good and bad in securities, mutual funds, annuities and insurance. A no-load equity index or ETF with a 0.25% expense ratio does not save people a lotof $ if they lose 40%. They will need an 80% gain to get back to even.

Variable annuities are by in large for the birds. Fixed annuities are better than CD's but you fall behind inflation.

Equity index annuities at best avg about 4 to 8% but anyone here who had a 20% loss last year, as suggested by the median someone posted, will have to make 40% to get back to even. As I mentioned - the Dow and S&P 500 made zero over the past 12 years.

I suggested possibly the best strategy is covered calls but you have to be very good to make 8 to 13% consistently but it is possible. Deep value investing across a very diversified portfolio with some income can work but it requires a lot of work.

If someone hear consistently earns 10% over the long term, I would love to hear how they do it.
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Old 02-15-2009, 09:21 PM   #26
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We weren't talking censorship, sonny boy. Just manners.

Sorry if I came on strong and pushy.

And just so you know, this isn't the United States. It's the internet. And there is plenty of information in the Forum rules about moderation and topic limits. Again, not trying to shut you down, just pointing out that the folks on this forum tend to prefer facts to hyperbole.

Now feel free to back up your claims for UIL. Use attributions for your various claims such as instead of 10% returns over time since whenever the actual returns were 6%.

I will dig them up but I am wary to post because some may think I am selling and I am not.

If you validate your claims and I can check them, great. Maybe you'll sway my decision making. But I'm not buying just because you say so.
Harley - I am not selling. Just suggesting that everyone keep an open mind. Fixed annuities at 5 to 6% (they have come down a bit) are looking pretty good versus a 40% loss in indexes, 3% CDs, zero return in the S&P 500 for the past 12 years, T bills at zero or
Still the fixed annuities did not keep up with inflation. So what is a better alternative for the avg person? Munis or a laddered bond portfolio with some stock exposure using some health care and energy ETFs? The transaction costs on bonds can be a killer.

If you are good at technical analysis there was a good play on T-Bills using ETFs in the big T-bill rally recently.

Many planners are not that good but DIY can be expensive as well. A lot of DIY'ers are going to run out of money or may never retire. Finding a good advisor is almost impossible too. I think DIY folks have to be really careful with tax issues as well.

I am curious what others did or would have done over the past 12 years.
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Old 02-15-2009, 09:34 PM   #27
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... but can anyone here deny that over the last 12 years people in the stock indexes made nothing.
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That would be unlikely, as Mr. Bogle's advice has consistently been to hold roughly one's age in bonds, and has recommended using total bond market and total stock market funds. One can simply achieve this through use of a balanced fund, such as Vanguard's VBINX.

Not great, but it did make money, and yielded dividends as well (currently at 3.83%)
Actually, it's not too tough to take the divs into account:

VBINX: Historical Prices for VANGUARD BALANCED INDEX FUND - Yahoo! Finance

That page gives the prices for VBINX adjusted for dividends. Turns out that in the 12 years from Feb 1997 to Feb 2009, VBINX went from an adjusted price of 9.70 to 15.80. As you say, not great, but a 63% increase is not "nothing". Certainly more than a rounding error, no?

Freddy, do you need to adjust some of your statements? They don't seem to be holding up to scrutiny.

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Old 02-15-2009, 09:38 PM   #28
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That would be unlikely, as Mr. Bogle's advice has consistently been to hold roughly one's age in bonds, and has recommended using total bond market and total stock market funds. One can simply achieve this through use of a balanced fund, such as Vanguard's VBINX.


Not great, but it did make money, and yielded dividends as well (currently at 3.83%)

First off - good post. Any idea what the total return is? My guess is the avg yield was about 3.5%. I wonder about Vanguard Star which is similiar. The capital gains if held in a non-retirement acct could be expensive. Balanced funds have less cap gains but if they have a bad year and have to sell positions for redemptions - it can be brutal.

As someone cleaning up an estate that unfortunately included universal life policies, I'll have to differ. On one, for example, 10,200 dollars was paid in. The policy will pay out 7,200 dollars.

Was there any death benefit? Was it linked to an equity index? How long was it in force? I am not pushing insurance but it can help if you have a spouse and you die. The problem with insurance is when people get older it becomes expensive. The EUIL stuff looks intriguing but far from perfect. I am looking for more information supplement my IRA, 401K and other investments.

Technical analysis is a trading tool, which tends to produce poor results in the long run. Seeing as this is an early retirement board, I suggest that the long run, time horizons of 20 years or more, would be rather common here. In the long run, index funds outperform active trading schemes, including mechanical timing. Trading costs and taxation (when trading in taxable accounts) will also take their toll and degrade performance

Agreed. So you suggest the best option for seniors would be a low costs balanced fund?

Note that these are not guaranteed annual rates of return. The market TENDS to return an AVERAGE arithmetic real rate of return of about 7%, or a geometric rate of return of about 8.5%, measured over value weighted US share indexes from 1802 to 1997.
Seems a bit high. The 1980s and 1990s were also abberations with high returns. Factor 1802 to 2009 and my guess after expenses is around 5.8%.

Good post.
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Old 02-15-2009, 09:48 PM   #29
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I am curious what others did or would have done over the past 12 years.
6.5% is my personal return over the 12 yr period ending 12/31/07. Hardly staggering I know.

Done with mix of MF's slowly ramping up the bond portion as I aged. Bonds currently at 50%, cash 15% (age is 54 planning to RE at 55)
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Old 02-15-2009, 09:53 PM   #30
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Actually, it's not too tough to take the divs into account:

VBINX: Historical Prices for VANGUARD BALANCED INDEX FUND - Yahoo! Finance

That page gives the prices for VBINX adjusted for dividends. Turns out that in the 12 years from Feb 1997 to Feb 2009, VBINX went from an adjusted price of 9.70 to 15.80. As you say, not great, but a 63% increase is not "nothing". Certainly more than a rounding error, no?

Freddy, do you need to adjust some of your statements? They don't seem to be holding up to scrutiny.

-ERD50
VBINX: Performance for VANGUARD BALANCED INDEX FUND - Yahoo! Finance

Good point. I wish more investors had been in balanced funds. My statement about the broad indexes does hold up. I gave those as examples.

I wish I knew what sort of cap gains investors were hit with. It appears the fund lost 0.44% for the past 5 years and down 24% in the one year. This means a retiree would have to make 48% to make up for last year. Better than the S&P 500 but hardly a major endorsement.

From 1997 to 2009 about 5.6% but cap gains might have decreased that return. I wonder if say a fixed annuity at 6% over that period where it made 6% each year then compounded would be better?

I wonder if say 80% in a balanced fund with 10% in an energy fund, 5% in a health care fund and 5% in a precious metals or natural resources fund (T. Rowe Price New Era as one possibility or Vanguard Precious Metals) would have been a better mix with some inflation hedge there.

I will look at that mix. Possibly 75% in a balanced with 5% in an international index. Just throwing out ideas.
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Old 02-15-2009, 10:00 PM   #31
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Some people here have said I have an agenda and i should not start a post taking these issues on. Sorry but this is the United States and we still have the First Amendment.
I have no agenda. Just do your homework.
No, actually I've said that people who start off in the manner you've chosen have usually displayed an agenda. But hey, you say you have no agenda so clearly that's not a problem. You don't seem to have any questions or want any advice, so perhaps all you need is credibility.

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One piece of advice for seniors is unless you really know what you are doing - do not own stocks especially overweighting in your old employer.
I'm not sure about the board's latest demographics, but I suspect on an early retirement board that seniors would be in the minority. However, I'm also not sure how seniors would contend with inflation if they're avoiding stocks. The company stock advice is good but I believe equities have a permanent place in almost every portfolio. I bonds & TIPS won't beat inflation, just help them lose more slowly. Is there another asset class with a long-term record of beating inflation?

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I think investors should keep an open mind and do their homework. They also need to be wary of Money, Smart Money and CNBC.
Maybe I came on too strong but there is good and bad in securities, mutual funds, annuities and insurance. A no-load equity index or ETF with a 0.25% expense ratio does not save people a lotof $ if they lose 40%. They will need an 80% gain to get back to even.
Equity index annuities at best avg about 4 to 8% but anyone here who had a 20% loss last year, as suggested by the median someone posted, will have to make 40% to get back to even.
As I mentioned - the Dow and S&P 500 made zero over the past 12 years.
That's a good idea-- doing our own homework. Let's start with the sample problems you've provided.

Start with a dollar and lose 40% of it. That leaves us with 60 cents. If I wanted to get back to that dollar value, I'd need to gain 40 cents. Dividing 40 cents into 60 cents would give me a gain of ... 66.7%, not 80%, to get back to even. Before expenses.

Those with a 20% loss started with the same dollar and ended up with 80 cents. To gain 20 cents and get back to even, they'd need a gain of 20/80 or... 25%. Not 40%.

I think I've done enough math to verify the extent of the credibility. I'll let someone else delve into your long-term returns claims.

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I suggested possibly the best strategy is covered calls but you have to be very good to make 8 to 13% consistently but it is possible. Deep value investing across a very diversified portfolio with some income can work but it requires a lot of work.
I'm unclear how unsophisticated investors, who may need annuities & insurance policies instead of equities, would be able to protect their portfolios with covered calls. Perhaps that's where your financial advisor recommendation comes in, but again many on this board are DIY investors. There have also been extensive threads here on covered calls and they haven't found much popularity except with, as you noted, a very few who've been willing to do the work.

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Many planners are not that good but DIY can be expensive as well. A lot of DIY'ers are going to run out of money or may never retire. Finding a good advisor is almost impossible too. I think DIY folks have to be really careful with tax issues as well.
I am curious what others did or would have done over the past 12 years.
This seems to be a pretty daunting indictment of early retirement. But after reading Dimson & Marsh, Bernstein, Bob Clyatt, and Buffett we've felt comfortable with a diversified portfolio of low-cost index equity ETFs. 40% volatility comes with a high-equity portfolio.

I think Milevsky also has a number of good suggestions in his "Are You A Stock Or A Bond?" book, including favorable mention of both annuities and insurance. And have you taken a look at FIRECalc?
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Old 02-15-2009, 10:03 PM   #32
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6.5% is my personal return over the 12 yr period ending 12/31/07. Hardly staggering I know.

Done with mix of MF's slowly ramping up the bond portion as I aged. Bonds currently at 50%, cash 15% (age is 54 planning to RE at 55)
6.5% is pretty good Alan. You did not mentioned 12-31-2008? Still calculating or not so good? I hope it is still calculating.
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Old 02-15-2009, 10:52 PM   #33
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Seems a bit high. The 1980s and 1990s were also abberations with high returns. Factor 1802 to 2009 and my guess after expenses is around 5.8%.

Good post.
Nope. 8.38% geometric growth rate, inflation corrected in real dollars. Over a couple centuries, 12 years is barely a blip on the radar, and 1998/1999 were up years.

Real numbers work better than guesses and handwaves in my world. A hard-boiled engineering background will do that, I suppose.

As others have mentioned, this is a EARLY retirement board. Some folks here don't even qualify for AARP membership yet. Now, some folks do manage to retire early on nothing but defined benefit plans, but there's a whole bunch of us who did it the old-fashioned way. Yup, you've stumbled into a nest of evil hard-core capitalist long term investors.

You know, people who eat insurance salesmen pushing annuities, whole life, and universal life for lunch. They've gotta earn a living, I suppose. Just not around here.
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Old 02-15-2009, 11:29 PM   #34
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....
You know, people who eat insurance salesmen pushing annuities, whole life, and universal life for lunch....
Welcome, Freddy, we'd like to get to know you. Join us for Sunday dinner on this thread:

Sunday Dinner and Supper
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Old 02-16-2009, 12:12 AM   #35
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Nope. 8.38% geometric growth rate, inflation corrected in real dollars. Over a couple centuries, 12 years is barely a blip on the radar, and 1998/1999 were up years.

12 years is barely a blip unless you are anywhere near those 12 years. Even Buffet recently, I forget the exact quote, said returns will be very low. I am glad to see people here understand asset allocation.


Real numbers work better than guesses and handwaves in my world. A hard-boiled engineering background will do that, I suppose.

Sadly I have seen a few hard-boiled engineers get screwed over big time by people like Carly Fiorina. I totally respect engineers who actually create value in the society but the arrogance of some can get hit in the face with the reality of outsourcing or bad managers like Carly, Palmer who ran DEC into the ground anad others. I did my own businesses because I never wanted to be at the mercy of some manager and outsourcing.

As others have mentioned, this is a EARLY retirement board. Some folks here don't even qualify for AARP membership yet. Now, some folks do manage to retire early on nothing but defined benefit plans, but there's a whole bunch of us who did it the old-fashioned way.

I have also seen early retirees who thought they were clever until they forgot to factor in healthcare and other expenses. This is something I am factoring in. LTC is probably a requirement and dental can be a killer.

Yup, you've stumbled into a nest of evil hard-core capitalist long term investors.

I am all for capitalism but I think a glitch in our system occured recently in Nov that is going to create exponential damage to the system that few comprehend. Large chunks of the economy are being nationalized now over a manufactured crisis. I am quite sue I am as hard-core a capitalist than many here. I can also see beyond the numbers.

You know, people who eat insurance salesmen pushing annuities, whole life, and universal life for lunch. They've gotta earn a living, I suppose. Just not around here.
Enjoy lunch. Whole life would be a poor choice. Fixed annuities at the right time where you are getting around 6% would not be bad for part of the income allocation. VA's junk. I have been pitched on Eq UIL's to supplement my IR and retirement plan and they can have up to triple tax deferral which even at 5% might be better. I am still analyzing.
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Old 02-16-2009, 09:25 AM   #36
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Enjoy lunch. Whole life would be a poor choice. Fixed annuities at the right time where you are getting around 6% would not be bad for part of the income allocation. VA's junk. I have been pitched on Eq UIL's to supplement my IR and retirement plan and they can have up to triple tax deferral which even at 5% might be better. I am still analyzing.
VAs are junk but you are "analyzing" universal life? Now that's funny..............
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Old 02-16-2009, 09:39 AM   #37
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Note: In Freddy's last quote of me, he inserted his responses into the quote. much of the content attributed to me is actually from Freddy.

I'm not (as) schizophrenic as that quote reads.
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Old 02-16-2009, 03:54 PM   #38
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Welcome to the board, Freddy. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

In addition to CuppaJoe's suggestion above, feel free to post to our Hi, I Am... (http://www.early-retirement.org/forums/f26/) forum and introduce yourself, as most new members do.
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Old 02-16-2009, 06:47 PM   #39
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6.5% is pretty good Alan. You did not mentioned 12-31-2008? Still calculating or not so good? I hope it is still calculating.
just mis-typed it is through 12-31-08
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Old 02-16-2009, 07:00 PM   #40
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Let's see: trusts the state insurance regulators, likes EIAs, looking at EIUL, pitching fixes annuties. Lemme guess: insurance salesman? Not a particularly scrupulous one? Hi Jack, Bye Jack.
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I was just a victim of CC fraud - anyone else? Fireup2020 FIRE and Money 41 03-19-2007 09:52 PM

 

 
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