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Re: Women's Face Moisturizer/Lotion

Go to Nordstrom and talk to a salesperson there. I recently bought face cleanser and moisturizer for a friend and they were super helpful (I went with Laura Mercier which is a good middle ground brand with high qualify, for the record). They will ask questions about the person's age and issues and m...
by Meg77
Fri Jan 23, 2015 4:05 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Women's Face Moisturizer/Lotion
Replies: 27
Views: 1751

Re: Is it worth it to buy a condo vs a house.

I think you should go for it. In most parts of the country it's cheaper to own than to rent currently, and rates are back down to all time lows. I just locked in today to refinance my townhome at 3.75% fixed for 30 years - with a large closing cost credit. Even if it costs a bit more to own, you'll ...
by Meg77
Fri Jan 23, 2015 4:02 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is it worth it to buy a condo vs a house.
Replies: 25
Views: 2356

Re: Establishing Priorities - Work vs Life Balance

I worked hard and spent conservatively. But when I was in my late 30's, I realized how much of my oldest daughter's life I had missed and with another daughter on the way, I didn't want to make the same mistake twice. Because of our conservative lifestyle, I opted to just retire and raise our young...
by Meg77
Thu Jan 22, 2015 12:26 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Establishing Priorities - Work vs Life Balance
Replies: 20
Views: 1821

Re: Explain me some tax law!

Your example is a little convoluted, but what matters first and foremost is what state the hypothetical person claims as his residence. If he "lives" in NJ then that would be his state of residency, but if he has a home in Florida or Nevada that he claims residency in, then that would be t...
by Meg77
Thu Jan 22, 2015 11:58 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Explain me some tax law!
Replies: 16
Views: 2001

Re: Refinance motrgage

If you can afford to refinance to a 15 year fixed at that rate, it would probably be worth it even if you did pay closing costs, assuming you aren't planning to sell in the next 2 years. The only catch is if you are more than 15 years into your current mortgage - then the math can get murky, and eve...
by Meg77
Thu Jan 22, 2015 11:43 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance motrgage
Replies: 9
Views: 987

Re: Refinance question

The APR is the total cost of the loan (including fees, closing costs and interest) expressed as a percentage. It's usually a bit higher than the rate, because if adds in the fees. It's good for comparing various loan options, but definitely just use the interest rate in any calculators. For the reco...
by Meg77
Wed Jan 21, 2015 5:12 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance question
Replies: 9
Views: 739

Re: Would a refinance be worth it?

Thank you for the reply Admiral. The folks there stated fixed and the web site confirms... i think the Line Of Credits are variable, this is a fixed loan. The $99 fee is one time, not recurring. I can't seem to find a no cost refi that i'm comfortable with... the rates higher and the monthly paymen...
by Meg77
Tue Jan 20, 2015 4:53 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Would a refinance be worth it?
Replies: 20
Views: 1348

Re: Saving vs Living

Welcome! The great news is that you are young and have a good income for somebody just starting out. I know it feels like progress is slow, but the first steps are the hardest and take the longest. Before you know it your income will be higher and it'll be easier and easier to save, I promise! One o...
by Meg77
Wed Jan 14, 2015 3:37 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Saving vs Living
Replies: 33
Views: 4489

Re: How would you invest $1.2 million?

The simplest first step is to simply point out how high the fees are on the funds that were selected. It will be difficult for anybody to protest (except perhaps the financial advisor) if you explain that you have learned how much high expense ratios cut into returns over time and request that the b...
by Meg77
Wed Jan 14, 2015 3:18 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How would you invest $1.2 million?
Replies: 28
Views: 4016

Re: How to deal with a costly, obscure 401k plan

I'm in the same boat, as are many people. If you would otherwise be maxing out the plan, or contributing more than the match do that anyway. Just pick the cheapest index fund they offer that would keep you in line with your target asset allocation. I justify having to do that because the employer ma...
by Meg77
Wed Jan 14, 2015 3:10 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How to deal with a costly, obscure 401k plan
Replies: 4
Views: 380

Re: Parents spending on grandkids

With regard to the first part of your question, I wouldn't worry about their finances. If they both have pensions based on NY salaries and are retired down South, they are probably downright giddy to realize how much further that income goes. And the good news is that they have income guaranteed for...
by Meg77
Wed Jan 14, 2015 3:01 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Parents spending on grandkids
Replies: 23
Views: 1871

Re: When your spouse isn't quite as frugal as you

*Sigh.* I wish I cared about this as much as you do, truly. I know one day (esp if we have kids) I'll look back and berate myself for how much we could have saved if we had cut our food and dining costs sooner. My husband and I both eat out every work day on average. He eats lunch out every single d...
by Meg77
Wed Jan 14, 2015 2:50 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When your spouse isn't quite as frugal as you
Replies: 94
Views: 8591

Re: Evaluate my windfall plan

Questions: 1. Since we hope (but don't need) to use some of this money in less than 5 years, should we keep a portion, say 50%, in an online savings account instead of DCAing it (step 3 above)? Yes. You're doing great and investing a ton each year into the market already; there's no need to risk mon...
by Meg77
Tue Jan 13, 2015 3:40 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Evaluate my windfall plan
Replies: 14
Views: 1903

Re: First time buyer - mortgage advise

Hi, so I got the loan commitment from the bank for 3.625% for the bimonthly mortgage I stated earlier. Still 20 days left for the closing. Well now that the rates have dropped (their new bimonthly is 3.5%). So now I need to make a decision. The bank is giving me the following options: - Pay the ban...
by Meg77
Tue Jan 13, 2015 3:05 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: First time buyer - mortgage advice
Replies: 22
Views: 2415

Re: Refinance 4.75% 30-YR Mortgage? $150K Loan

Update: We have locked in a 3.875% rate (30 year fixed) at Amerisave getting a $77 credit for this rate while owing about $1,500 in fees (appraisal, title, etc.). Our loan originator seems like he'll be great. I'll be sure to provide additional updates as I complete the application and finish the l...
by Meg77
Tue Jan 13, 2015 2:52 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance 4.75% 30-YR Mortgage? $150K Loan
Replies: 13
Views: 1153

Re: How do I find the best mortgage refinance rate?

I am banker who originates mortgages, and I do not recommend going online to lending tree or other mortgage broker sites. They advertise rates that almost never turn out to be accurate (either they come with a 3% origination fee or some other issue), and they will ask for ALL of your personal info ...
by Meg77
Tue Jan 13, 2015 2:49 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do I find the best mortgage refinance rate?
Replies: 8
Views: 1457

Re: Buying Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE)??

My husband is wanting to...I roll my eyes a bit at his market timing inclinations, but as long as he agrees to hold it forever - i.e. at least 15 years - then I don't care. It'll be a tiny portion of our total portfolio, and it does seem like a decent time to get in for the long haul. I'd rather him...
by Meg77
Tue Jan 13, 2015 2:44 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE)??
Replies: 4
Views: 381

Re: Dazed, Confused and Upset

Ok I haven't read all the posts but got through about half of them. First of all, take a deep breath. You've realized you have been paying investment fees, but this is not the end of the world. Most people do, and they never realize the impact those high fees have. You're still young, and over the n...
by Meg77
Tue Jan 13, 2015 2:35 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Dazed, Confused and Upset
Replies: 63
Views: 6275

Re: How Many Credit Cards do you have?

I have more than 6, none of which charge fees, but I only carry four and primarily use 2. Various cash back/rewards options have caused me to assemble the collection over the years. I keep them for the credit history and/or rewards when I need them. I've listed them in order of when I obtained them ...
by Meg77
Tue Jan 13, 2015 2:16 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How Many Credit Cards do you have?
Replies: 99
Views: 13102

Re: Merrill Lynch or Vanguard

I'm totally on board with the idea that you can do this yourself, HOWEVER I don't want to jump on the bandwagon of implying that every financial advisor or employee of a major brokerage firm is a cold-hearted sales person just itching to take advantage of you. I know many people in the financial ser...
by Meg77
Tue Jan 13, 2015 12:05 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Merrill Lynch or Vanguard
Replies: 48
Views: 3202

Re: Ridiculous closing costs on cash deal?

Glad you got some of the price down. I was going to suggest getting a bid from the previous title company. Prices are usually set by state law, but the type of title ins needed can vary based on which title attorney you ask especially in a cash deal. But in general those fees don't look above averag...
by Meg77
Mon Jan 12, 2015 4:38 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Ridiculous closing costs on cash deal?
Replies: 15
Views: 2723

Re: Getting Married - Want advice merging Portfolio & Taxes

1. Looking at priorities and plan, does anything strike you as dumb? Nope 2. To minimize taxes, what type of Vanguard fund should we use for our non-tax advantaged investments? What would be considered tax efficient for us (PA muni bonds?)? The Vanguard Total Stock Market Index/ETF is probably best...
by Meg77
Fri Jan 09, 2015 4:23 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Getting Married - Want advice merging Portfolio & Taxes
Replies: 24
Views: 1932

Re: How do I find the best mortgage refinance rate?

I am banker who originates mortgages, and I do not recommend going online to lending tree or other mortgage broker sites. They advertise rates that almost never turn out to be accurate (either they come with a 3% origination fee or some other issue), and they will ask for ALL of your personal info a...
by Meg77
Fri Jan 09, 2015 4:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do I find the best mortgage refinance rate?
Replies: 8
Views: 1457

Re: Purchasing a car with credit cards for cash back rewards

Many dealers won't accept credit cards, which is a bummer. Otherwise it's a great strategy!
by Meg77
Fri Jan 09, 2015 4:04 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Purchasing a car with credit cards for cash back rewards?
Replies: 36
Views: 3371

Re: Can I Deposit a Check for Someone Else in Their Account?

The answer is "maybe". Last weekend, I went in with my son. He was depositing a check from my aunt as a Christmas gift. They asked for his ID. I remember this because as we left, I said "if some random person wanted to deposit money in your account, why would you not want that?"...
by Meg77
Fri Jan 09, 2015 4:03 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Can I Deposit a Check for Someone Else in Their Account?
Replies: 27
Views: 2237

Re: Can I Deposit a Check for Someone Else in Their Account?

I work for a bank. Yes we take deposits from anyone to any account. Even if the check isn't endorsed, you can just write "for deposit only" on the back (or the teller will stamp it "for deposit only"). If you aren't the account holder or can't provide ID, we wouldn't give you cas...
by Meg77
Fri Jan 09, 2015 4:02 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Can I Deposit a Check for Someone Else in Their Account?
Replies: 27
Views: 2237

Re: What to buy with Roth (backdoor) contributions?

You're thinking about it right, as long as you stick to your overall asset allocation. Doing that is the number 1 priority. Number 2 priority is tax consideration when placing assets. You want things with higher yield (bonds, REITs) and higher turnover (cap gains) in tax advantaged accounts. You wan...
by Meg77
Fri Jan 09, 2015 3:57 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What to buy with Roth (backdoor) contributions?
Replies: 3
Views: 353

Re: Getting Married - Want advice merging Portfolio & Taxes

Congratulations! I think you have everything pretty well figured out - not sure why you are meeting with a financial planner. A planner who charges by the hour or will do a comprehensive plan for a flat fee could be a good idea, but otherwise he or she is only going to try to convince you to move yo...
by Meg77
Fri Jan 09, 2015 3:48 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Getting Married - Want advice merging Portfolio & Taxes
Replies: 24
Views: 1932

Re: Refinance 4.75% 30-YR Mortgage? $150K Loan

A $150,000 mortgage at 4.75% over 30 years should have a payment of $782.47. Total interest over the life of the loan will be $131,690, $7075 of which was paid in year one. That means from "now" until payoff, you'll pay another $124,615 in interest. If you refinance at 3.75% (which I belie...
by Meg77
Wed Jan 07, 2015 3:27 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance 4.75% 30-YR Mortgage? $150K Loan
Replies: 13
Views: 1153

Re: Back door roth issue with Vanguard

Ready20, I just did mine on Vanguard and didn't face any issues. I did my 2015 IRA contribution a few days ago by moving money from my bank to VG into my Rollover IRA (which had a zero balance). It popped up those shaded boxes you mentioned and 2014 was shaded out but 2015 was blank. I selected 2015...
by Meg77
Wed Jan 07, 2015 3:16 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Back door roth issue with Vanguard
Replies: 19
Views: 1209

Re: 0.5% Refi Worthwhile?

The key is how long you plan to hold the property. If you look at the whole life of the loan, any reduction in interest rate will usually show some benefit, unless you're stretching out the term very much. However the bulk of that savings often comes at the end of the loan. So if you don't plan to ...
by Meg77
Wed Jan 07, 2015 2:42 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 0.5% Refi Worthwhile?
Replies: 17
Views: 1020

Re: Refinance plus cash out...worth it?

First of all, you wouldn't get anywhere close to $31K cashed out, because part of that would go for the VA fund fee, the title fees, and other closing costs. For your first home the VA fee is usually around 1%, but I believe for subsequent mortgages it can shoot up to 3%. With a cash out, the VA fee...
by Meg77
Wed Jan 07, 2015 2:25 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance plus cash out...worth it?
Replies: 12
Views: 780

Re: 0.5% Refi Worthwhile?

As a banker who specializes in real estate financing, I would be suspicious about the claims of a "no cost" refinance at a rate that low. Currently the average 30 year refi rates are just over 4%. Sure you can find them a bit lower if you look hard, but to have a rate offer that far below ...
by Meg77
Wed Jan 07, 2015 12:17 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 0.5% Refi Worthwhile?
Replies: 17
Views: 1020

Re: What do you drive, and why?

I bought a 2011 Volvo XC60 a couple of years ago (slightly used) because I didn't want to have buy another car for 10 years and figured this one would last whether I have kids or dogs or any other practical hauling needs during that time period. Also I like the safety features, the solid/stable feel...
by Meg77
Mon Jan 05, 2015 4:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What do you drive, and why?
Replies: 189
Views: 15308

Re: Post your 2015 New Year's Resolutions ITT

Train for and run a half marathon :shock: Have 4+ alcohol free days each week :beer Get 1,000 followers to my new blog (step one) 8-) Lose the 12 pounds I gained last year :annoyed Plan and take a volunteer trip with spouse to South America :happy Spend less than $1500 a month on food, dining out an...
by Meg77
Mon Jan 05, 2015 2:35 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Post your 2015 New Year's Resolutions ITT
Replies: 38
Views: 3497

Re: Another Down Payment Math Problem

If it were me, I would do the following: -Buy now, i.e. in the coming spring buying season. -Put down $35K, or 10%, from your emergency fund (you'll also need $5K or so for closing costs so cash would drop to around $10K) -Either get a 90% first mortgage and pay PMI for a year or two, or better yet,...
by Meg77
Mon Jan 05, 2015 2:24 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Another Down Payment Math Problem
Replies: 14
Views: 2099

Re: Do you rebalance each time you fund your account?

In short, yes, I rebalance with every new contribution. The catch is that most of my new contributions are via my 401k or my husband's 401k - and we don't have many great fund options. He has an S&P 500 index that has a 0% expense ratio, offered by his company (a financial institution), so he pu...
by Meg77
Mon Jan 05, 2015 2:14 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Do you rebalance each time you fund your account?
Replies: 25
Views: 1739

Re: [Annual POLL] What was your 2014 return?

I don't even know exactly how I'd calculate my annual return, since I have various accounts (and my employer has switched 401k providers twice in 18 months). I have never really looked at my return in depth, though I enjoy seeing the long term trend line upwards in my Vanguard account.
by Meg77
Fri Jan 02, 2015 11:53 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: [Annual POLL] What was your 2014 return?
Replies: 144
Views: 14070

Re: Should I do a 25 year refinance?

You are right that over the life of the loan you are unlikely to come out far ahead with this new option. With your current loan you'll pay $608,700 in total mortgage payments over the next 25 years. With the new loan you'll pay $606,300, based on your figures. It looks like you'll "save in int...
by Meg77
Mon Dec 29, 2014 5:24 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I do a 25 year refinance?
Replies: 13
Views: 849

Re: How Much Do You Sacrifice?

Interesting thread, and a topic I'm sure we all struggle with to some degree. Am I saving too much? Spending too much? Sacrificing too much or too little? Those are separate but overlapping issues. Like you, I sometimes fret that "I could be doing more!" because that's my personality. Here...
by Meg77
Mon Dec 29, 2014 5:08 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How Much Do You Sacrifice?
Replies: 82
Views: 6588

Re: Engaged - marriage penalty & other practical concerns

I just got married this year and so 2014 will be my first year filing joint income taxes with my partner - and my first year paying a marriage tax penalty! I have a simplified tax form in Excel I use to estimate my taxes each year, and I will say that I overestimated my marriage tax penalty with it ...
by Meg77
Mon Dec 29, 2014 4:09 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Engaged - marriage penalty & other practical concerns
Replies: 50
Views: 3846

Re: Paycheck "leap year"

How does this work for salaried employees? Salary/27 instead of Salary/26? My company will have 27 pay periods in 2015, but our bi-weekly gross pay will not change. It will still be salary/26. I did have to adjust my 401K withholding like some of the other posters to reflect the 27 pay periods. My ...
by Meg77
Tue Dec 23, 2014 2:16 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paycheck "leap year"
Replies: 25
Views: 4906

Re: What % of net worth is your home?

I understand what you are getting at, but I don't think there is any right answer for all the variable reasons you mentioned, so I don't think you should base your decision on what percentage of your net worth (or total assets) to contribute toward housing. A far more important ratio is what percent...
by Meg77
Mon Dec 22, 2014 10:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What % of net worth is your home?
Replies: 127
Views: 10938

Re: How do you define "being rich"?

I think you're rich if you can buy whatever you want (obviously that definition varies depending on your appetite for consumption - and the cost of goods where you live). I think you're wealthy if you don't have to work for money. I tend to think of being "rich" in terms of income, though ...
by Meg77
Mon Dec 22, 2014 4:17 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do you define "being rich"?
Replies: 127
Views: 9453

Re: Poll: How important is rebalancing?

It's not important for most investors simply because the amount of new contributions is often sufficient to adjust your asset allocation without having to actually, formally "rebalance." This is especially true when you're just starting out, but even some people with large portfolios have ...
by Meg77
Mon Dec 22, 2014 3:55 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Poll: How important is rebalancing?
Replies: 51
Views: 5629

Re: Do I Pay Cash for my home?

This is an impossible question to answer because we don't have a clear picture of your financial situation. We don't know what your goals are, what you spend each year, what the cost of the house would be that you're looking at, where you live, what your income looks like, what tax bracket you're in...
by Meg77
Mon Dec 22, 2014 3:38 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do I Pay Cash for my home?
Replies: 49
Views: 3960

Re: Should I pay off my student loans?

Congrats! It seems like your financial situation is pretty well in order. Not knowing all of your details, here is what I would do: 1. Keep $25K in cash at all times. You never know when you might need it for a big unexpected expense or just want it for a business, travel, or investment opportunity....
by Meg77
Mon Dec 22, 2014 3:16 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I pay off my student loans?
Replies: 2
Views: 440

Re: Max 401k or HSA with Existing HSA Balance

I'd split the difference. Lower the HSA contributions slightly and boost the 401k contribution slightly. You must have at least a wife if not children as well since you're contributing the full HSA amount now. Kids can get sick or break a bone at any point, and all their care is pricey. If you don't...
by Meg77
Mon Dec 22, 2014 3:10 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Max 401k or HSA with Existing HSA Balance
Replies: 4
Views: 435

Re: Who should pay for this meal?

Splitting the check is the obvious solution here; it's the standard choice for a reason when people eat out. I don't know where you live, but the norm - particularly in big expensive cities - is to split the check when you dine out with non-family members. Why should anybody be expected to pay for a...
by Meg77
Mon Dec 22, 2014 2:48 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Who should pay for this meal?
Replies: 79
Views: 7915

Re: PenFed Auto Loan in lieu of Grad PLUS

Check out the Lightstream loan (a division of Suntrust). They offer "unsecured" car loans where they don't take an actual lien on the car. So if you do total it you wouldn't have to pay the loan off immediately. Approval is fast and easy; my husband got a loan with them earlier this year a...
by Meg77
Fri Dec 19, 2014 4:39 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: PenFed Auto Loan in lieu of Grad PLUS
Replies: 5
Views: 500
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