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by Meg77
Tue May 05, 2015 2:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: selling/buying a car - NJ or TX?
Replies: 12
Views: 666

Re: selling/buying a car - NJ or TX?

It may be easier to sell the older car in TX. My husband and I sold his 2002 Mazda on Craigslist in just a couple of days for 25% more than the dealer was going to give him for it in Dallas. There is a lot of demand for cheaper used cars, particularly from immigrants who may not have credit and can'...
by Meg77
Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Where to go from here with my Personal Finances?
Replies: 15
Views: 1368

Re: Where to go from here with my Personal Finances?

Debts: Short term: $3000 on 0% Store credit cards (will be gone within 6 months) Long term: $310K on mortgage (4.125%, 30 year fixed, $9k property tax rate) = $2,500 mortgage (including escrowing all the additional, prop tax, insur, PMI (yuck) ) $61K student loans (various interest rates from 3-7%)...
by Meg77
Mon Apr 27, 2015 3:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgages - Broker vs Credit Unions
Replies: 15
Views: 1318

Re: Mortgages - Broker vs Credit Unions

As a mortgage banker, ... Great advice Meg! Could you outline in a few steps the process you use for approval and final decision? i.e.: 1 - If I'm buying within 90 days, I'll first go to XYZ lender for initial pre-approval (online, bank, broker, etc.?) but I don't have to look hard at rates at this...
by Meg77
Fri Apr 24, 2015 4:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How should anticipated inheritance affect asset allocation?
Replies: 17
Views: 1269

Re: How should anticipated inheritance affect asset allocati

I wouldn't factor it into your asset allocation at all. There's not really any prudent way to do so anyway; just think of it as a big pending liquidity event that could boost your total portfolio, if you think the building may need to be sold. Even if you just inherit the income stream, you could ar...
by Meg77
Fri Apr 24, 2015 3:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Who still have Cable TV?
Replies: 63
Views: 2899

Re: Who still have Cable TV?

We've been keeping cable solely so my husband can watch sports - mostly Golf Channel and MLB Network - but I just found out the Golf Channel streams live for free and you can subscribe to the MLB network streaming to any device for $129 a year. So we may be about to pull the plug. For the record Sli...
by Meg77
Tue Apr 21, 2015 1:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Potential new home is well-priced, but...
Replies: 31
Views: 2781

Re: Potential new home is well-priced, but...

I live in Texas and have lived in Alabama and Louisiana, and I've never heard of anybody heating an outdoor pool. I would certainly not pay for that, whether via solar or electricity. If the kids want to swim when it's hot, great! If it's too cold to use for half the year, who cares? I read somewher...
by Meg77
Tue Apr 21, 2015 1:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much do you pay in Property Taxes?
Replies: 188
Views: 10563

Re: How much do you pay in Property Taxes?

We pay just under $11K on a 2150SF home in Texas that's valued at $485K for tax purposes (market value probably more like $515K). My parents pay less than $1500 on a 10,000 SF house in Alabama that's insured for over $1M (market value is probably half that and I have no idea what their tax assessmen...
by Meg77
Tue Apr 21, 2015 1:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgages - Broker vs Credit Unions
Replies: 15
Views: 1318

Re: Mortgages - Broker vs Credit Unions

As a mortgage banker, I can say that your realtor has some valid concerns. New regulations that went into effect in January and further new regulations (all new paperwork and new waiting periods) that go into effect in August have had a big negative impact on closing/processing timelines. It's very ...
by Meg77
Thu Apr 16, 2015 5:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage rate lock in for a year
Replies: 4
Views: 914

Re: Mortgage rate lock in for a year

I'm a banker, and my company just rolled out a similar product. It's a one time close, construction-to-perm loan that locks in the rate on the permanent mortgage up front (I think our limit is also for one year). Last I checked our rate was 4.25% on most jumbos, but it depends on the loan amount (su...
by Meg77
Thu Apr 16, 2015 4:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Review our current finances - What else we should do?
Replies: 17
Views: 2329

Re: Review our current finances - What else we should do?

[quote="love2save"]@Meg77 - Yes thats what I think is the biggest hole in our current plan. We are going to start aggressively funding it starting this year. We plan to fund 529s with the max allowed state amount (i think its 13000$). My wife believes that we may be able to fund one tuitio...
by Meg77
Wed Apr 15, 2015 4:23 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Raiding Taxable to Max Out Tax-Deferred Space
Replies: 18
Views: 1165

Re: Raiding Taxable to Max Out Tax-Deferred Space

I would begin to transfer the $25K in dividends from taxable accounts into the tax-deferred accounts each year as you have planned. I would also sell any taxable losses you have (now and whenever they occur in the future) to minimize your tax burden today and also free up cash to move to tax-deferre...
by Meg77
Wed Apr 15, 2015 4:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Review our current finances - What else we should do?
Replies: 17
Views: 2329

Re: Review our current finances - What else we should do?

You seem like you are more than on track for retirement, but if your number one goal is to fully fund college for the kids, then that is the gaping hole in your plan. You could need $250K in 10 years for your 8 year old plus another $300K a few years later for the younger one if they don't get schol...
by Meg77
Wed Apr 15, 2015 3:47 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Need advice on rebalancing entire portfolio
Replies: 12
Views: 1102

Re: Need advice on rebalancing entire portfolio

Welcome! First of all, I'd put your 401k 100% in that S&P 500 index. You don't have the best funds, but that one is the cheapest and a very good base from which to build the rest of the portfolio. The Vanguard small cap value index is a fine second choice, but it's probably easier from a rebalan...
by Meg77
Wed Apr 15, 2015 3:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can't Just Do Nothing
Replies: 45
Views: 6158

Re: Can't Just Do Nothing

Maybe you should look to a career shift into something like sales where your energy/hustle can go into boosting your "real" income rather than these side projects just to keep you occupied. Or start an actual side business of some kind. Blogging and landlording are two big time sucking all...
by Meg77
Wed Apr 15, 2015 2:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I sell our rental house, reinvest profits elsewhere?
Replies: 36
Views: 2041

Re: Should I sell our rental house, reinvest profits elsewhe

When I first started reading and saw the $12K per year cash flow, I was leaning toward telling you to keep it. Selling will just cost a lot of money in transaction costs, the rental provides nice tax breaks, and you can always hire a property manager to deal with the headaches (I actually increased ...
by Meg77
Wed Apr 15, 2015 2:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How Many Credit Cards Do You Have Open?
Replies: 25
Views: 1543

Re: How Many Credit Cards Do You Have Open?

Business Amex for rentals Amex for 6% cash back on groceries and 3% back on gas Citicard 2% cash back on everything (my daily go to card) Nordstrom MasterCard I keep because I shop a lot there and it's one of my oldest cards Banana Republic I rarely use but keep because it's one of my oldest cards C...
by Meg77
Wed Apr 15, 2015 2:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to [Financially] Prepare for a Baby
Replies: 42
Views: 3680

Re: How to Prepare for a Baby

Just wanted to comment so I can follow this thread. Congrats on the new addition to your family! As a 30-something female who has been married one year now, I think about childbearing pretty much daily. Is there such a thing as pre-partum depression? :wink:
by Meg77
Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Has Anyone had a Credit Card Cancelled for not Using It
Replies: 51
Views: 3776

Re: Has Anyone had a Credit Card Cancelled for not Using It

Yes, and if it's been over a year your card may already be closed and you just might not know it. I don't use my few retail cards often, and recently when I tried to use one (Banana Republic I think) I was told it had been closed. I never got a notice about it. I believe it's a fraud prevention meas...
by Meg77
Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:37 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Poll: 401k fees?
Replies: 6
Views: 648

Re: Poll: 401k fees?

As for question a), It would depend on how long I planned to stay at that job. Most 30 year olds don't stay with one company for more than a few years, in which case my decisions wouldn't be much impacted by the 401k fees. But even very high 1.5% or 2% fees are worth it for the tax deduction you get...
by Meg77
Fri Apr 10, 2015 2:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Honeymoon Ideas
Replies: 31
Views: 2448

Re: Honeymoon Ideas

My bit of advice - a honeymoon is one of the few times in your life that you're expected to go away and enjoy the time off with your new spouse, and work will understand. So I would try to take full advantage. I took over two weeks off of work, went halfway around the world, and spent more than I p...
by Meg77
Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:49 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Buy now or wait?
Replies: 13
Views: 1572

Re: Buy now or wait?

Just dump everything into your target AA mix. If stocks tank you'll sell bonds to buy more. If bonds dip when rates rise you'll sell stocks to even things out. Rebalancing according to your target AA ensures you buy low and sell high over time. But staying in 100% cash is just a sure way to have you...
by Meg77
Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: It's Official - We're Done
Replies: 38
Views: 8108

Re: It's Official - We're Done

How exciting! Well done. :sharebeer
by Meg77
Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Prenup
Replies: 80
Views: 5074

Re: Prenup

They don't need a prenup. If and when their situation changes (one stays home with kids, for example) then they can always get a "post-nup" which is the same document but written during marriage. That's a lot easier than trying to negotiate a myriad of "what if" variables years o...
by Meg77
Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Am I part of the problem??
Replies: 73
Views: 8768

Re: Am I part of the problem??

Hypocrite is the wrong word. Many professionals provide expensive services that they wouldn't pay for themselves or that could be found more cheaply. That doesn't mean they have to feel obliged to advice their customers they can find cheaper goods or guilty for charging more. Do you expect the sales...
by Meg77
Tue Apr 07, 2015 5:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When to give adult children their inheritance?
Replies: 57
Views: 6719

Re: When to give adult children their inheritance?

I can speak from experience as the recipient of inheritances. My grandparents (still living) began making annual gifts to a trust for each grandchild when I was a toddler (I'm 31 now). When I started looking at colleges I was told about the funds - and that ultimately I'd get to keep what was leftov...
by Meg77
Tue Apr 07, 2015 4:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Nailed it! $223,199/yr: magic# for making it in SF Bay Area
Replies: 117
Views: 11210

Re: Nailed it! $223,199/yr: magic# for making it in SF Bay A

Presumably this imaginary upper middle class/spendy individual would have a spouse, at least at some point, given the large expenses related to children in this example. In that case a combined average $111K/year income doesn't seem like quite as much of a stretch, even if one spouse stayed at home ...
by Meg77
Mon Apr 06, 2015 11:29 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Turbotax - single member LLC but never asked for LLC name...
Replies: 7
Views: 794

Re: Turbotax - single member LLC but never asked for LLC nam

I have an active single member LLC, and TurboTax has never asked me for detail on that entity. All the income and deductions from the property just go on my tax return (schedule E) as if they were held in my individual name. TurboTax and, by extension, the IRS don't care about the entity details unl...
by Meg77
Fri Apr 03, 2015 11:18 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: In my situation, would you pay down mortgage?
Replies: 31
Views: 1464

Re: In my situation, would you pay down mortgage?

You're doing the right thing by investing the money. Your interest rate is fixed and so very low, especially after the tax break is taken into account. Inflation will erode the majority of your interest expense over time as well, assuming it remains between 2-3%. In a few more years, savings account...
by Meg77
Thu Apr 02, 2015 3:12 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Do I have TOO much in retirement accounts?
Replies: 10
Views: 2427

Re: Do I have TOO much in retirement accounts?

No you are doing fine! And $150K in retirement accounts in your mid 30s is definitely NOT "too much." Don't touch that money for a house or anything else or you will really regret it 20 years from now when you're wishing you had a lot more in retirement. If that means you rent forever or b...
by Meg77
Thu Apr 02, 2015 11:42 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: fully funded ROTH-where to put money next?
Replies: 2
Views: 480

Re: fully funded ROTH-where to put money next?

Congrats on paying off that debt! You should fully fund your Roth IRA for 2014 as well as for 2015. You can still make 2014 contributions until April 14th, 2015. With $11K in your Roth account you'll qualify for Admiral shares of whatever index fund you pick. I recommend that you put your Roth IRA i...
by Meg77
Thu Apr 02, 2015 11:24 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Investment advice for someone in their early 30s
Replies: 6
Views: 1240

Re: Investment advice for someone in their early 30s

In general: 1. Max out all tax advantaged accounts (SEP IRA, solo 401k in your case perhaps) according to the "three fund portfolio." 2. Buy a home (you don't have to pay cash; just put 20% down and finance the rest on a 15 year loan - your effective rate will be less than inflation) 3. Ke...
by Meg77
Wed Apr 01, 2015 3:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Job Change = Less money, can we afford current house?
Replies: 11
Views: 1260

Re: Job Change = Less money, can we afford current house?

Thanks, Meg. That is an idea that has crossed my mind as well. Seems to help make a less prosperous income more secure. Thanks. No problem. I'm in a similar boat knowing my husband and I *should* get more aggressive about paying off $100K in debt (student loan, car loan) before having a kid in orde...
by Meg77
Wed Apr 01, 2015 3:14 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: News article: Vanguard Bets Big on Financial Advice
Replies: 24
Views: 3137

Re: News article: Vanguard Bets Big on Financial Advice

Article says Vanguard has $3.1 trillion in assets and 20,000,000 clients. If my math is correct, that is an average of $150,000 per client. That seems surprisingly low; figure the median is far lower than that given a few outliers on the high end. I don't have much more than $150K directly with Van...
by Meg77
Wed Apr 01, 2015 2:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Job Change = Less money, can we afford current house?
Replies: 11
Views: 1260

Re: Job Change = Less money, can we afford current house?

Transaction costs and moving costs would be substantial on a home that size. And how much downsizing would your family really be comfortable with after getting used to your dream home? You've already paid closing costs twice on huge mortgages on that home. If you love it and planned to live in it in...
by Meg77
Wed Apr 01, 2015 2:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: cash out refinance vs home equity loan for large purchases
Replies: 8
Views: 874

Re: cash out refinance vs home equity loan for large purchas

PS - absolutely do not consider a 401k loan or distribution for any purchase. If an auto loan goes bad they take the car back, but if you get laid off or have to leave your job that whole 401k loan is due immediately. Plus 401ks are protected from creditors in any situation including bankruptcy. Bes...
by Meg77
Wed Apr 01, 2015 2:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: cash out refinance vs home equity loan for large purchases
Replies: 8
Views: 874

Re: cash out refinance vs home equity loan for large purchas

As a banker I've got clients with paid off homes (or lots of equity in their homes) who use a home equity line of credit for big outlays like cars, boats, property taxes, college costs, etc. I even have a few who use them to make all cash offers on rental property investments when they need to. They...
by Meg77
Wed Apr 01, 2015 2:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone been Daycare Poor before? Advice on our situation!
Replies: 27
Views: 3648

Re: Anyone been Daycare Poor before? Advice on our situation

I haven't read all the responses but want to say you should definitely max out the Roth IRAs from savings. And going forward, lower your 401k contributions to the match so you can get more into the Roths. The reason I say that is that Roths can double as your emergency fund since you can take your c...
by Meg77
Mon Mar 30, 2015 11:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Implications of Marriage - she with debt and low income (WI)
Replies: 71
Views: 6894

Re: Implications of Marriage - she with debt and low income

It doesn't appear to me that you have very much to worry about with regard to getting married; in fact it would help you both financially. Her self-employment status plus your higher income means on a combined basis you two would pay less in taxes and have access to more tax-sheltered accounts as a ...
by Meg77
Fri Mar 27, 2015 4:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The Financial Implications of Moving in Together
Replies: 59
Views: 3163

Re: The Financial Implications of Moving in Together

Given there isn't a time-table for marriage it might seem weird to some to have a joint account, but it really isn't. You're sharing everything including a toilet and a bed - a bank account is not nearly as big of a deal. Business partners and other non-married people do it all the time. Since you a...
by Meg77
Fri Mar 27, 2015 3:03 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Excess Cash - Play Monopoly or Repay Debt?
Replies: 67
Views: 5445

Re: Excess Cash - Play Monopoly or Repay Debt?

And yes, about half our taxable brokerage is in company stock, a percentage which drops each month as we invest more in diversified ETFs. Is there a reason that you maintain such a high percentage in your employer's stock? Is there some minimum time limit you must hold it before diversifying? If th...
by Meg77
Thu Mar 26, 2015 10:23 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Excess Cash - Play Monopoly or Repay Debt?
Replies: 67
Views: 5445

Re: Excess Cash - Play Monopoly or Repay Debt?

If the equity markets fall 30% that will be great for us - we don't need or want to liquidate our investment portfolio for decades (hence the cash cushion), so any buying opportunity between now and then is welcome. If real estate values fall 30%, I also don't care because I'm not planning to sell....
by Meg77
Wed Mar 25, 2015 9:54 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Excess Cash - Play Monopoly or Repay Debt?
Replies: 67
Views: 5445

Re: Excess Cash - Play Monopoly or Repay Debt?

High income, High debt/leverage, High equity allocations, High Concentration in Real Estate. You do have some reserves/investments - just run a stress test or two on some bad case scenarios. e.g. equity market plunges, loss of one job, real estate market tanks, - How will you likely fare? If that r...
by Meg77
Tue Mar 24, 2015 12:06 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Excess Cash - Play Monopoly or Repay Debt?
Replies: 67
Views: 5445

Re: Excess Cash - Play Monopoly or Repay Debt?

Quick question, Meg77: I didn't realize that the "value" of your rental properties (and your home?) is the purchase price, and not the "current value" (which, of course, could drop dramatically in a bad RE market, etc.). RE has appreciated here quite a bit, to our (pleasant) sur...
by Meg77
Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:57 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Get rid of PMI or Max out 401K?
Replies: 13
Views: 1295

Re: Get rid of PMI or Max out 401K?

First, confirm with your lender what it takes to get rid of PMI. If you pay the loan down within the first 1-2 years of getting it, sometimes you have to pay down lower than 80% (my husband and I had to pay ours down to 78%, but our loan was originated in 2013 and I know some rules changed in 2014)....
by Meg77
Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:49 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What to do with a chunk of cash?
Replies: 8
Views: 1476

Re: What to do with a chunk of cash?

I would not buy a home. It's not the best use of funds from a financial perspective, but it's also not a good idea to make such a long term commitment during a major life transition. If there is a chance you'll want to sell in less than 5 years, then don't buy real estate. The only caveat would be t...
by Meg77
Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:38 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Excess Cash - Play Monopoly or Repay Debt?
Replies: 67
Views: 5445

Re: Excess Cash - Play Monopoly or Repay Debt?

Thank you so much for all the thoughtful replies. I won't try to address them all individually, since there are so many and lots of them repeat advice. Here is an update though. Bank of Mom Yesterday I called my mother after thinking about these comments and asked her sincerely if it would benefit h...
by Meg77
Mon Mar 23, 2015 5:00 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Excess Cash - Play Monopoly or Repay Debt?
Replies: 67
Views: 5445

Re: Excess Cash - Play Monopoly or Repay Debt?

Wow if I were in your shoes I would pay off all my consumer debt, then work to quickly repay the family loans. I might even swap that around and repay the family loans even if It means selling a rental or two. Lets say this all blows up do you really want to stiff your mother for $362K? My two cent...
by Meg77
Mon Mar 23, 2015 4:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Advice for good friend
Replies: 38
Views: 3467

Re: Advice for good friend

I don't suspect anything illegal or "fishy" about this situation; it sounds much more likely to just be a run of the mill financial advisor charging incredibly high fees for his or her services. This is not uncommon. And some advisors do offer to get more involved and help with actual bill...
by Meg77
Mon Mar 23, 2015 3:38 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Excess Cash - Play Monopoly or Repay Debt?
Replies: 67
Views: 5445

Re: Excess Cash - Play Monopoly or Repay Debt?

Rental Mortgages: $874K total $99K 15 yr fixed at 3.25% $95K 30 yr fixed at 5.0% $142K 30 yr fixed at 5.125% $176K 30 yr fixed at 4.125% $41K 15 yr fixed at 3.0% (from my mother - unsecured/down payment loan) $155K 30 yr fixed at 3.0% (from my mother - 1st lien mortgage) $166K 30 yr fixed at 3.0% (...
by Meg77
Mon Mar 23, 2015 3:13 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Excess Cash - Play Monopoly or Repay Debt?
Replies: 67
Views: 5445

Re: Excess Cash - Play Monopoly or Repay Debt?

It looks like you have a nice little real estate empire in progress (it's 7 properties?), but not much equity yet? Yes, we have 6 rentals (plus our homestead) with a total of about $260K in equity. Really that would be less after sales commissions - and who knows anyway until you try to sell. I put...

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