bradland t1_jaer1ae wrote

The question posed in the title is:

>Is it an issue to keep investing in VTSAX each year?

The answer to that is "no".

Then in the body of the post they ask:

>Is it smart to just continue investing my yearly Roth IRA contribution into VTSAX every year for the foreseeable future?

The answer to that is "yes".


bradland t1_ja3ve63 wrote

Well, if they’re anything like me, they repeated to themselves (in their head), “Throw away the soap, throw away the soap, throw away the soap,” about 100 times as they dried off, before getting distracted by a weird mole on their leg, or remembering that thing at work they were supposed to do, or hearing their phone ringing in the other room and forgetting all about it. Every. Damn. Time.


bradland t1_j6p5kto wrote

I live in South Florida. We see it.

Keep in mind that when they say sea level rise, they’re talking averages. Tides vary already. The ocean level rises and falls on every coastline.

What we’re seeing locally is that high tides inundate areas that weren’t previously subject to inundation, and areas that are normally tidally inundated stay wet longer, and in some places don’t dry out at all.

There’s a local boat ramp nearby that has a storm drain that stays flooded to the top pretty much all the time now. When I was a kid it would only flood with the tide.

We’re also seeing tremendous beach erosion. The shore is at a gradual slope, so every inch or rise moves the shore break a foot or so closer to the dune. This erodes the dune and makes for a short, steep beach.

When I was a kid, you could play frisbee in front of a local beachside pizza shop. That same shop is now atop a sea wall. There is nothing between it and the sea.


bradland t1_j6obo0s wrote

I don't have any experience with Optima, but they advertise themselves as a tax relief & resolution company. Some quick research indicates that they are reputable.

Optima Tax Relief Review 2022: Pros, Cons and How It Compares

If your mom already signed something with Optima, then your father is likely committed to their fees. He should, of course, understand the breakdown of what he's paying. For example, is that $20k all taxes? What portion are back taxes and what portions are penalties & interest? Also, what are Optima's fees?

There's nothing wrong with using a service like Optima. Your dad was, essentially, operating his own business for 2018 and 2019. If he paid $0 taxes, then $20k owed over two years is not an unreasonable amount of money to owe. That's around $10k each year.

Working directly with the IRS is fine, but as I mentioned, if your dad has already signed paperwork with Optima, at least some of the fees have already been committed to. What you need to understand is where they are in the process, and what fees are yet to come.

Navigating back-tax issues can be confusing and difficult. While the folks here might be all to willing to go directly to the IRS, you should understand that it's your dad's responsibility to get his filing in order. The IRS won't do that for you.

Taxes are unavoidable. They cannot be discharged in a bankruptcy. Your dad will ultimately end up on a payment plan. If he doesn't make the payments, they'll garnish his wages. He's got to figure out a way to make ends meet. He doesn't have a lot of options at this point.


bradland t1_j6jgeoi wrote

Replying to you because this seems like a good injection point, but these comments aren't necessarily meant as a rebuttal to anything you said :)

There's definitely a larger scope to assess here, but it extends even beyond a basic analysis of call volume. The analysis of systems designed to make automated calls to emergency services not only requires assessment of false-report calls, but also an analysis of the positive-report calls, as well as outcomes.

Ultimately, the objective is to save lives. A small-to-moderate increase in false-report calls is acceptable if there is a significant increase in the number of positive-report calls that wouldn't have otherwise been made in time. That analysis is way more complicated than simply looking at call volume though. You need to know:

  • How many false report calls were placed.
  • How many positive-report calls were placed.
  • The percentage of the positive-report calls that were duplicates.
  • The temporal proximity of the duplicative calls.
  • The ultimate outcome of the positive-report calls.

Using this data (and likely more), you'd want to build a complete picture of the correlation between automated reports and the desired outcome: lives saved in cases where other options would have failed. For example, consider two scenarios:

Your tire blows while driving home from your shift that ended at 2am and you veer into a ditch. You're knocked out on impact, but your iPhone calls 911 and emergency services can tell where you are from the GPS coordinates transmitted by your phone. They arrive and find you badly injured, but are ultimately able to save your life.

Here, the automated call to 911 was critical, and because it was so late, and because you were in a ditch out of sight, the automated call clearly saved your life.

You are texting while driving and rear-end a car that has come to a stop in front of you. Your phone goes flying out of your hand as the airbag deploys and is out of reach. The automated call is made to 911, but four other people who saw the accident have also called in within 60 seconds of seeing the accident.

Here, the automated call was superfluous. There's no way for the device to know, but it results in an extra call to 911 that was unecessary.

There will always be a cost associated with emergency response. It will also be impossible to optimize any automated system to achieve a 0% false-report rate, but that's not a license to be cavalier with the approach taken.

The iPhone isn't the only device designed to make automated calls to emergency services. For example, seniors who are at risk for falls will often buy a device with a remote that they wear around their neck or on their wrist that will call emergency services when a button is pressed.

These systems don't call 911 directly though. Instead, they call a call center. The call center agent answers and inquires about the individual's status. If the person is unable to respond, the agent initiates the pass through call to 911. If the person is able to respond, they assess whether emergency services are needed.

The systems work this way because 911 operators around the world are often short-staffed and cannot handle a deluge of false-report calls. As the number of iPhones in use grows, Apple will be forced to make closer evaluations of the usage data to determine what changes are required. I'd be surprised if this isn't a net positive for public safety though. It's just going to require some tweaks.


bradland t1_j6irqz3 wrote

The general rule of thumb is that you should hang on to your money for as long as possible when paying expenses, unless there is some advantage to pre-paying. For example, if your landlord offered an 8% discount for prepaying for 1 year, that might be worth it, because that's a guaranteed cost reduction versus a potential gain on investment value in the same period.

You don't want to turn over your money before you absolutely have to because you cannot predict the future.

  • What if you have to move before the lease is up?
  • What if the building burns down?
  • What if your landlord fails to properly account for the pre-payment and starts charging you rent again?

In all of these scenarios, your position is improved by having the money in your possession.


bradland t1_j62465d wrote

The thing to remember is that progress does not follow a linear curve. ChatGPT is remarkable, but it is far from a true AGI. Just like we have seen with autonomous vehicles, it’s probable we see significant periods of stagnation punctuated by brief periods of advancement.

We shouldn’t be discouraged by this the opposite really. It should give us the resolve to see things through when it seems little progress is made. When the payoffs come, they will be significant.


bradland t1_j3nn8gm wrote

Remember Isaac Newton? Newton is responsible for large portions of the the physics that is really useful in our day-to-day lives. For example, Newton's laws of motion offer a foundation upon which we can understand inertia, the relationship between force and acceleration, and how two objects will interact with each other if one hits the other.

The formulas that Newton (and others) developed are still used today in many fields, and all of this math treats space and time separately. We call this classical physics. So why do we need space-time at all if these formulas work for so many day-to-day applications?

As velocity increases, the formulas used in classical physics start to become inaccurate. This happens because our physical world is not absolute, but relative. Without considering these relativistic effects, the calculations made using Newtonian physics result in errors.

The new formulas developed as part of relativistic physics lead to the coupling of space & time as a way to make the calculations for accurate measurements and predictions easier.

If you have a few minutes, there are two short videos available from TED-Ed that explain space-time using simple animations. Their explanation is very accessible, and is broken down into 5 minute segments.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:


bradland t1_j33q4r1 wrote

Futurology is a challenging topic. What we know, concretely, about the future isn't usually all that exciting, and there isn't that much news about it on the daily. The real accomplishments are incremental, and the future prospects are fraught with risk. It's much easier to shoot down a novel idea than to construct a robust one. So the fight for discussions about the future end up stacked in favor of those who will use what we know at present to tear it down.

What you end up with is a stream of prognostications that are rampant speculation, and this is the realm of utopias and dystopias. Humans seem to prefer to read opinions that occupy the far ends of the spectrum. Reasonable, moderate viewpoints read like milquetoast punditry, so they don't garner interest. This creates a feedback loop that reinforces the negative behavior that we're here to complain about. I'm not really sure how to solve it.


bradland t1_j2yc6w7 wrote

Reply to comment by TrueBirch in 2022 Asset Return [OC] by rosetechnology

The key point is that the past does not always predict the future. This is literally the disclaimer at the bottom of every credible financial analysis you'll ever find. The belief that the stock market will always go up over the long term is as much hocus-pokus as it is sound financial theory.

I'm not offering any specific advice here. I'm not suggesting one should/shouldn't invest in the market. I'm simply pointing out that "the line has always gone up so it will continue to go up" is not a sound basis of reasoning.


bradland t1_j2fx8za wrote

>however ideally I want to use that for a wedding and housing downpayment in 2-3 years.

I'd say that 2-3 years isn't a sufficient timeline to safely invest a house downpayment in the market. Over the long term 10+ years, you're almost certainly going to make money in the market by holding a broad-market index fund, but over 2-3 years, there is a decent enough chance that you could be down.