Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Can't Invest in new TIAA-CREF Funds

It's good I didn't do too much research on the new funds available from TIAA-CREF. It turns out that, because I don't live in the United States, I can't invest in them anyway.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Career Update

So I had two interviews and haven't heard back yet. I have now sent 4 applications out to the US - 2 on the West Coast and two on the East Coast, 1 to Europe, and one to another city in Australia. I'm discussing with someone at another university in that city about whether to apply for the job they're advertising (well, I'm getting more info as last year I applied and was rejected without interview). And then a short-term and long-term opportunity here have possibly cropped up. We discussed the short-term deal here months ago and I thought it was then off the table. But I was just told that it was mentioned that an offer had been made to me and I hadn't taken them up on it. So on that basis I should have a job from January for a year. I'll meet the guy making the offer at a conference in the next few days and will raise it with him there. I'm guessing he'll still want to wait the outcome of the two interviews mentioned above but there is light at the end of the tunnel after a lot of twists and turns...

Also at one of the US locations there is also a possibility that a position could be created for Snork Maiden in a different unit.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Tax Refund

It came in pretty close to my estimate at $A 4231.81. The money will go towards reducing margin debt and maintaining my monthly $A500 investments in a managed fund. Yes, we've managed to keep both mine and Snork Maiden's automatic savings going over this period (no retirement contributions for me though). The recent round of interviews and presentations ended today, should send out the next application ASAP... Seems like they went OK to well. We'll see what the search committees think.

Saturday, November 06, 2010


I had the interview I mentioned before on Thursday. It went OK. It wasn't my best performance in an interview but I wasn't horrible. I really don't know what the outcome might be. One positive I didn't know about is that they need someone to teach in my area of specialization as the person who was teaching those courses has left.* Then on Friday was part I of another interview in my home town here. This was just a friendly chat with some general representatives of the department. One academic who I know well and two PhD students. Neither of us had much clue about what we were meant to discuss. I asked them some questions about the department and they asked me some. The more serious sessions are on Monday and Tuesday. It is a lower rank position at a very interdisciplinary place.

In the meantime I just sent an application in for a job in Austria. Yeah, it's hard imagining that I'll be able to teach in German any time soon, but I'm curious what happens. I was indirectly invited to apply.

* This isn't the usual academic job search where specializations were specified in the ad. They are looking for the best people in any area of the overall discipline.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

US IRS Again

I got a rather threatening sounding letter today from the IRS regarding my 2008 tax return. But they did invite me to phone them to discuss the issue, which I just did. The problem was as I suspected that investment stuff was reported to them, probably by Interactive Brokers as if I was a US resident and without tax being deducted at source, yet I didn't file a tax return. The IRS will now send me a copy of what was reported to them so that I can prepare a 1040NR form for 2008 by December 15th. It's possible/probable that I don't actually owe any tax. The woman I spoke with told me that the amount I owe for 2009 is too small to file a tax return, but that they think I owe $2,000 for 2008. I have now changed my residence status with Interactive Brokers to record me as resident in Australia and this problem should be solved.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Moominvalley October 2010 Report

As usual some data will lag for a month or more but here are the accounts based on the information I have at the moment. And as usual everything is in USD, though it doesn't make much difference as the Australian Dollar hit 97.96 US Cents (and higher intra-month). Of course, it does make a difference when it comes to computing gains and loss from foreign exchange movements...

Non-investment income was very high this month, because I got paid for my trip to Sweden. 25% tax was taken out. I was also paid for travel expenses. After all that I got about $7,500. Snork Maiden earned her regular salary. Expenditure was a little high but we were having fun in Copenhagen and Bangkok :) Actually, the biggest expenditure was for car insurance: $A797.30. Over the last year we've averaged $A5,300 a month in spending.

So in total net worth rose by $23k ($A17k) to $465k ($A475k). A few days ago I posted our detailed investment allocation. There was relatively little change in the asset class allocation for the month. The main changes were an increase in bonds and commodities due to buying GTAA.

Investment return was 3.40% in USD terms against 4.28% for the MSCI Index. So we somewhat underperformed the market.