Episode-947- Listener Feedback for 7-23-12 — 42 Comments

  1. Few thoughts on the tax issue:

    If you spend enough time outside the US per year (330 days/yr), you get ~90k per year of income excluded from income. Effectively, someone earning less than 90k would not pay income taxes. (actually, higher than that b/c you can also exclude housing costs, etc)

    In most cases, the issue at hand is that you still have to pay taxes local to the foreign place you live. If you moved around enough, you may also avoid that. But then you may get into issues around your “tax home”….

    Finally, concerning income tax, you always get a tax credit for any tax you already paid, so you would never have to pay twice.

    The FICA issue is a bit tricky, but I would be willing to bet one could structure things so as to avoid that. One way is to work for a foreign employer, that income isn’t subject to FICA.

    Another might be to structure your business such that some part of your cash flow comes from a company dividend, falling into “unearned income”, also excluded from FICA.

    Anyway, someone serious about this shouldn’t be discouraged by Jack’s comments but rather should consult a CPA who specializes in this type of issue. I happen to know of one CPA who runs his business out of some Caribbean country for this reason. It is possible to do with professional services, even if your clients are in the U.S. you may still be able to structure your life and business in a more advantageous way with regard to income tax. The trade off is you need to physically spend most of your time outside the U.S…but it’s possible even that might be alleviated to a degree if you have a lot of customers here. Again, this is a complicated issue and if someone wants to take advantage of this then consult a competent CPA.

  2. Regarding mileage sensors, etc. It seems to me that most of these things can be easily disabled by running them over a strong magnet. You’d be amazed at home much uber-super-technical technology can be neutralized by a simple magnet.

    Basically, anyone with a smart phone or a computer should keep a hefty magnet available. But be careful! I have one magnet that will wipe all electronics within about 8′ (ok – it’s super powerful!).

    I keep a couple at home, one at work, and one on my care.

    Our Lord-God-King Gubmint, he hate da magnets mon!

    • Please explain to me how a magnet affects solid-state memory that is written and read by electrical charge, not by magnetic state (as in a traditional hard disk drive).

    • @Hippiesteader the disabling of vehicle tracking won’t be an option. As all vehicles will require it and sensors will be set up to do the tracking IDing violators will be simple. Cops will be pulling any non tracked vehicle over more then another other traffic activity. As I said this is coming, only a complete and total change in all walks of government can stop it.

    • My husband said that RFID chips are so easy to clone that you’d be able to go to a mall, clone someone’s chip, use it for a month, clone another one, and on and on. This isn’t something that we’d ever do, but it could run rampant in much the same way that folks’ credit and debit cards get cloned.

      While I think you’re pretty close to spot-on, Uncle Jack, I think the folks that dream up these programs will suffer a lot of unintended consequences as people rebel against the violation of privacy. Long before you said anything about the odometer, my husband had the same snarky comment. 🙂

      • @Sharah, no it won’t and it won’t be that easy in fact it will be all but impossible. One of my former clients is Globe Ranger

        The ability to create encryption on multiple layers and still allow reading of the chip in under a second has been around since 2004. The tech is already in place they just don’t bother with it for a pallet of crap delivered to a WalMart warehouse.

        It works like this the system recognizes a first layer of the chip and pings it again with a coded key for that chip, the chip then responds with a second response which must also match. If you clone this chip you get one key but not both, it is quite easy to put 3-5 layers in a chip if it is deemed necessary.

        Again this is OLD tech developed to prevent cloning of military and contractor id cards. I would bet today the response times are faster and better. Hell they may even use a better system I am not aware of by now.

        Have you ever noticed no one goes around and clones toll tags?

  3. Fernando recommends installing security film on both the windows of your house and your car. In his book he talks about how motorcycles would come up smash the passenger window and grab what they could. This security film would help prevent the theft.

  4. Jack, where can I find a link to the audio that you played in regards to women who testified before Congress? preferably I would like I audio, but I would not mind a transcript.

  5. i just called a local dealer for 3M because i’m interested in getting this put on my windows. he said they ultra prestige (top of the line) is $18/sqft and the basic film starts at $6/sqft. there is another dealer in the area and i am going to price them out to see if there is a difference.

    i asked the dealer about someone using a knife on the film. he said it is incredibly resilient. he told me he had a customer who purchased the film and then was the victim of a break in. it was all caught on video and it took the vandals 45 minutes to get through. he didn’t say if they used a knife though.

    i’m picking up a packet of samples this week to check them out. i’ll let the TSP community know what i think/find out in the forums.

    • If that is installed, each one of my lower story 72 x 30 windows would cost $270 each. Yikes! Did he give you a material only cost for DIY? Wonder if that voids any warranty. If you could follow up with what you learn, that would be awesome.

      I’m really interested in this product however. Per episode #750 with Bryan Black I’m bolstering my doors with longer screws and kick plates, and this goes right along with it.

      • I installed a different brand of window films ( about four years ago … it cost less than$100 to purchase enough film at home depot to do all the windows in my three story townhouse. I self installed and there was a bit of a learning curve, but once I got the hang of it, it took about 20 minutes per window. I did a few windows each weekend for quite some time! The payoff in lower cooling costs is extremely noticable … The film pays for itself in about two summers but lasts about 10 years. I highly recommend to anyone living in the South.

    • I’m in a northern climate where I do rely on passive solar heating through the windows in the winter, though it does get hot here in the summer, so I’d love to have the energy savings at that time of the year. Is there a version of this that is temporary? Such that you can take it off during the winter and put it back on in the summer?

  6. Jack,

    The double pay per day for NG / Reservist is for drill weekends only. It doesn’t apply to your 2 week AT (annual training), because AT is done on “active duty orders” so you get actually active duty pay for that time. So backing off the pay would be an even smaller mouse fart.

    At least it was that way when I separated from the reserves two years ago.

    • Also, drill pay doesn’t include BAH/BAS (allowances for living) that you get on active duty. Health insurance is cheaper (a good benefit) but not free.

      I suppose there are a few cases where guard pay is a compelling motivation for folks. Most people I know with any wherewithal, and definitely those in certain career fields, undoubtedly lose money by being in the guard. And you definitely lose control of at least some of your time, maybe a lot in some cases. 😉 Most people I know don’t do it for the money. I certainly don’t.

      Mouse fart is about right. The guard is already shoe-stringing it in many areas, and is far for cost-effective than active components when the job can be done comparably. So this is pretty much an asinine move… thanks for the point-out, Jack.

    • When I was an E-3 in the Marine Corps Reserve I’d typically show up at 6:30 on Friday night, run around getting everything ready for a few hours, get a few hours sleep on a bus or in some barracks, wake up really early, train all day, go to bed really late, wake up really early on Sunday, spend all day cleaning things and some training until about 4-5 PM on Sunday then come home and lick my wounds only to re-enter the civilian world again Monday. Oh, and they could call me up and have me drop everything and send me to a war when they needed me (which they did). All of this for about $150 a weekend.

      • @Ryan, well clearly you guys are over paid, said while rolling my eyes and smacking the living shit out of a congressmen.

    • I feel qualified to speak on this issue. It is as you state “double pay” for weekend drill only. I recently took over a company and have learned more than I ever wanted to know about the pay system of an Army Reserve company.

      (National Guard units will be close to the same, but each state does things just a bit differently.)

      The pay system works this way, your weekend drill, now called “Battle Assembly” – BA- is broken into two 12 hour sections. One is 0001 to 1200, the other is 1201 to 2400. You can be required to report any time in a 12 hour section. Each section is called an “Unit Training Assembly”, and a normal weekend will have “Multiple Unit Training Assembly” known as “MUTA’s”. You will see this listed as a MUTA 4 or a MUTA 5 like Ryan describes.

      Each UTA is paid a rate equal to the rate for one day of active duty pay for one day. So if you were active duty, you would take your base pay and divide it by 30 for your UTA rate. Ryan’s E-3 example today would be $66 (if over 4 years service) per UTA…before taxes, SGLI, family SGLI, etc. So for a MUTA 4 would be about $264 for a two day weekend.

      You are getting paid more than you do on orders per day. There is a reason for this: You are expected to preform some tasks when not on Battle Assembly weekend. You are expected to do PT on your own (you still have the same Active Duty -AD- standards to meet), take on line classes for NCO schools, Structured Self Development programs, and the endless “mandatory training”. (Suicide Awareness, Sexual Assault Prevention, Vechiael Accident Avoidance, Anti-Teriorrism Awareness, Computer Safety…and et al)

      These are all things AD guys have to do, and can knock out during the week when in garrison. We don’t get that time. We have to meet all the training requirements that AD does with less time. Getting two MUTA’s in one day reflects that understanding. But it is sold as an incentive. (What is the phrase? That’s just marketing)

      At higher ranks, this becomes even more important as you spend even more time out side of BA doing work for the Army. (I’m putting in about 10 to 15 hours a week that will be scaling up to 30 hours a week as we get closer to our next Annual Training)

      Where the real “savings” would come would be the chaining from 4 MUTA’s a weekend to 2 MUTA’s would be in reducing the payment at retirement. Right now you would earn 78 “points” a year (15 points for AT, 15 membership points, and 48 MUTA’s.) By cutting that down to 24 MUTA’s the amount paid out in retirement would be much less. Using the calculator and general numbers about $250 a month less, on top of all that “savings” from lower pay at BA. Keep in mind that retirement pay for Reserves (and Guard if the state agrees) is 60. Meaning unlike AD, when you get out at 20 years you don’t start drawing retirement till you’re 60. Active Duty starts drawing retirement the day after they get out.

      With todays push to reduce the number of Army Reservist (we are officially over strength) the USAR Command is doing quality management review boards on everyone with 20+ years of service who are not being medically reviewed. This means guys with 21 years in who are 39, are being looked at for forced retirement. they won’t get anything from the Army until they are 60, 21 more years. [to be honest, a good 70% of the ones in my Battalion should be pushed out.]

      Sure, it is still a ‘mouse fart’ to the budget, but it would let “pro-defence” (contractor) GOP congress critters be able to say “they made cuts to defense, so how can the lefty anti-amaerican Dem’s demand more?”

      Me? I would still come to BA even if they cut my pay by half. I’ve got too much invested in it to stop. But a lot of my junior Soldiers struggle now with coming to BA for a meager $150 take home a month when they make that much delivering pizza. Cut that down by half or even $90 a weekend, and it will be a tough sell to get those kids to come or even join. (and then tell them to do stuff on their own time for no pay?)

      Not a good idea.

      • Well said Top,
        I’m an airguardsman with 9 active and 9 guard years; finally figured out the “secret handshake” on points and pay at year 4 in the guard. You covered all the bases without pointing out the reason for all the changes in pay is due to congress continually shaving a little more hear and there off the guard/reservists (taxing “pay”, not allowances – then only getting pay for UTA, no allowances). Good on you for not diving negative like I’m prone to do on this. Very tough motivating the young’ins to stay with TDY rates and mission uncertainty to cap off the hyperbole over pay!

  7. Hawaii imports 90% of the food consumed there.
    Shut off imports and there will be ten times as many people as there is locally grown food.
    Cannibalism is something you see at the movies but if a major problem happens, Hawaii might be one of the few places you actually see it.

    • I agree – I would not want to be on Oahu anywhere near Honolulu if SHTF. I would think the more remote & less populated the island you’re on in Hawaii, the better off you will be.

  8. I listened intently to that woman and I thought about one of the victims; Jessica Ghawi , who avoided begin shot in Toronto in June, only to be killed in Colorado. You are right, anyone of us, at anytime may be a victim. I wish our gun laws in Canada would allow us to carry. Toronto, Norway, U.S, anywhere, it can happen.

    You have pointed out numerous times, a certain percentage of the population are just f***’d.

    We need to even the odds..

  9. Jack, great show, but the last segment left me wanting more. I couldn’t get that out of my head last night.

  10. Progressive Insurance is offering this deal called Snapshot. Basically a device that plugs into your car’s computer port and records speed, distance, etc. Of course it’s being marketed as a “great way to save money” on your car insurance, but it’s already paving the way to a slippier slope. Like Jack said, they’ll desensitize us slowly over time before they try to implement any taxed-per-mile.

    • They already have GPS devices that do all this marketed for parents to put in their children’s cars.

  11. I just wanted to say thank you for the first bit of your podcast talking about gun ownership and how responsible “good guys” and gals should purchase a firearm, and get a concealed carry license. It was the kick in the backside I needed to convince me that purchasing a handgun is the right thing to do, and that NOW is the right time to do it.

  12. At the grocery store, a woman just ahead of me was telling the checker that the Aurora shooting was “proof that there are too many guns out there.”
    I spoke up & said that it was evidence that there weren’t near enough.
    She questioned how I could possibly say that in light of all the victims.
    “If everybody that could carry concealed in CO, did, Holmes probably would never have gotten off that many rounds before being shot himself.”
    “Nobody except the shooter in the Seattle coffee bar was armed with more than a bar stool. ”
    “Only one person in the Carson City IHOP shooting was armed and he hid.”
    What if someone besides Jared Loughner had been armed at the “Gabby” Giffords rally? That little girl might still be alive.”

    She started to say something, then stopped and silently picked up her bag of groceries and walked out.

  13. I’ve never successfully farted an angel out my ass, but I’m pretty sure I’ve farted out a few demons… it sure sounded like it anyway.

    I wonder, if people started walking or bicycling to work to get around the car-tracking ideas would they then try to track persons instead of machines?

  14. I recently had to take out a cracked slideing glass door that my dog tried to run through and attempted to bust it up so that it would be easier ( I thought) to haul away. It had a thick plastic film inside that made it a huge pain to dismantle and bust up. If the 3M product is anything like that stuff then it’s a pretty good deterrent or storm protector. I’m pretty confident that a thief would abandon that route. I know I sure as hell wish I would have left it alone. Knocking the whole door out of its sliding frame was much, much easier than trying to bust the glass.

  15. The thoughts on getting ready to jump out of the market very soon… not giving or asking for financial advice or anything, but wondering if it wouldn’t be a smart move to transition at least some funds to short-side ETFs, like TWM for example. If this bad boy is going down, why not make some on the way down? The risk on playing the short side is that Uncle Ben decides to come out with QE3, and that will probably keep the market propped up. But absent that, I think you’re right, and we’re heading down soon.

    By the way, PSLV is another physical silver ETF run by Eric Sprott. That’s a good choice for holding paper silver. I wouldn’t touch SLV with a ten foot pole. I am not familiar with SIVR until you mentioned it, though, so I don’t know how it compares with PSLV.

  16. Asking someone “Where are you from” IF you have a legit reason to detain someone may be legal, but not inventing a reason to detain them for the sole purpose of asking them their nationality. Arizona is also running unconstitutional and illegal check points that ask anyone passing on a highway to identify themselves and their nationality.
    There are many reasons the Feds can’t trust Arizona due their disregard of the rights of everyone in the state whether they’re legal or illegal.

    • Source? I’ve been following this pretty extensively and this is the first I’ve heard of anything like this.

      • @Brandon, I agree Mug give us a source or be regulated to a simple assclown making a baseless claim.

  17. we spent a few years in the mid-east with my DH job. after a housing compound was attacked nearby, our company assessed our secrity situation. whilst the country we resided in was stable and US friendly, the company felt it necessary to have certain measures added to our homes (company provided) this film layer was installed by a local contractor. It was the 3M variety, it surely did lower the cooling costs. In the desert, anything to keep cool is so important. We didnt have any issues during our stay to test the “blast film” as it was named by the workers who installed. i recal mu DH remarking that it looked to install same as tinting windows on a car…