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by NateH
Wed May 13, 2015 11:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Can a room with only a toilet be considered a bathroom?
Replies: 28
Views: 2274

Re: Can a toilet alone in a room be considered a bathroom?

It could be listed as a 1/4 bath, but it is probably not vented correctly, so no one has claimed it as a proper plumbing fixture. The code on wet venting toilets are not what they used to be.
by NateH
Wed May 13, 2015 8:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should we purchase home without permits?
Replies: 70
Views: 4200

Re: Should we purchase home without permits?

Leave in all of the inspections. Add additional ones if you can think of any which might be worthwhile. You're in a perfect positions to get a price reduction, depending on the laws in your local area. Where I live, sellers are required to disclose any known defects in a property. Sellers can be ve...
by NateH
Sun May 03, 2015 9:51 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Everyone is saying to get out of Bond Funds? Ignore?
Replies: 41
Views: 4935

Re: Everyone is saying to get out of Bond Funds? Ignore?

Everyone knows (well almost everyone) not to market time the stock market. The bond market is no different. You might not see it, but this is market timing. Ignore the noise, the news reports, and the doomsday articles. You can't guess where the market will go next. Let's review what happened to bo...
by NateH
Sun May 03, 2015 9:47 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Moving to cash until clear plans formed [formerly Sell in May, Go Away, and Think About It]
Replies: 39
Views: 4054

Re: Sell in May, go away, and think about it?

If you'd like some historical perspectives on the "sell in May" strategy, type "Sudhi" in the search box.
by NateH
Tue Apr 28, 2015 11:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Prepping a house for sale: What are the priorities?
Replies: 33
Views: 2914

Re: Prepping a house for sale: What are the priorities?

Lots of good advice above---- I'll add only a few. Take down photos of yourself & family. I always found it weird. Replace with generic pics or pull the nail & paint over the hole. Given your situation with pets & the young age of the home, I would go with cheap new carpet next winter/sp...
by NateH
Mon Apr 27, 2015 2:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Feel like I made a mistake with buying a house: appreciation
Replies: 43
Views: 4983

Re: Feel like I made a mistake with buying a house: apprecia

120% appreciation? Sounds fishy. What metric are the two of you going by? Sure the house may be valued that much more, but what kind of renovations took place to make that happen? If the house was bought for $200k and then $150k was done in renovations the ROI is not going to be as high if he did z...
by NateH
Mon Apr 27, 2015 2:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Feel like I made a mistake with buying a house: appreciation
Replies: 43
Views: 4983

Re: Feel like I made a mistake with buying a house: apprecia

Until today, I've never seen chasing returns extended to the residential real estate market. There are no dumb questions. OP - if you look up "chasing returns" in the search box, this is essentially what you are asking. There is nothing wrong with your home purchase unless it does not suit...
by NateH
Tue Apr 21, 2015 2:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: engineers - please help with engineering school selection
Replies: 185
Views: 12053

Re: engineers - please help with engineering school selectio

I'm totally biased, but SKI-U-MAH! (University of Minnesota BME '97) The intern and co-op opportunities with the local companies are abundant. While U of MN engineers are not always 'famous' nationally, the U of M - college of Engineering, specifically - has a lot of influence in the region. 3M, Med...
by NateH
Tue Apr 21, 2015 1:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much do you pay in Property Taxes?
Replies: 188
Views: 11094

Re: How much do you pay in Property Taxes?

Ours is 7100 in a Twin Cities, MN suburb.
~1.0% of the appraised value.
by NateH
Sun Apr 19, 2015 11:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is a reasonable offer on this home?
Replies: 7
Views: 1065

Re: What is a reasonable offer on this home?

It is extremely difficult to expect people on the internet to come up with a fair offer on very very very limited information. +1 A good buyers agent will help you find a winner by showing multiple properties within the same price range. Although they try, County assessments are not good predictors...
by NateH
Sun Apr 19, 2015 10:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [Who is Ameriprise? Got invitation from a financial advisor]
Replies: 32
Views: 2977

Re: [Who is Ameriprise? Got invitation from a financial advi

Go meet your neighbors and ask your new neighbor if he could recommend a CFP to do fee-for service based financial advising. you will quickly learn his intentions. We meet with an Ameriprise financial person 2X per year on a fee-based arrangement. she's pretty good with budget, financial planning an...
by NateH
Wed Apr 15, 2015 12:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000?
Replies: 47
Views: 3460

Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Sounds like the plumber just wants someone else to do the demolition and re-lay subfloor. These are not difficult, but they are very physical jobs. A couple of eager teenagers could do demo for few hundred bucks if you got a small dumpster and rented the demo hammer. A handy-man service would be che...
by NateH
Mon Apr 13, 2015 10:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Engineering as a career for a graduating HS student ?
Replies: 60
Views: 4509

Re: Engineering as a career for a graduating HS student ?

Mechanical Engineer here from a Big Ten engineering school. ME is more general and adaptable than some of the 'specialty' degrees like bio-engineering. I work for a large company in the Medical Device industry (yes, you've heard of it) and we actively search for MEs over BioEng's even though we are ...
by NateH
Mon Apr 13, 2015 9:33 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The $1 Million Goal: Source of Motivation or Discouragement?
Replies: 172
Views: 16407

Re: The $1 Million Goal: Source of Motivation or Discouragem

Arguably, the vast majority of Americans will never reach a $1 million portfolio. I for one have far less than that and am living well in retirement. Was watching CBS news this morning and an 'expert' again mentioned the $1 million needed for retirement, and the host incredulously fired back "...
by NateH
Mon Mar 16, 2015 3:54 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: I bought [United States Oil ETF (USO) by mistake]
Replies: 13
Views: 1775

Re: I bought [United States Oil ETF (USO) by mistake]

I bought it at 17$ and it is now just under water. Depends on how much you paid for the stock. I too bought some USO and have found it is quite volatile. I set a sell point and re-buy when it drops. I've made some good money doing this. As long as you didn't pay a ridiculously high amount for the E...
by NateH
Wed Mar 11, 2015 10:00 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Emergency fund allocation
Replies: 16
Views: 1693

Re: Emergency fund allocation

My Emergency fund is 75% TSM and 25% muni bonds in my taxable account.
if i need to sell, i will rebalance with assets in my IRAs
by NateH
Thu Mar 05, 2015 11:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2 comma club (my way)!!
Replies: 49
Views: 8155

Re: 2 comma club (my way)!!

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by NateH
Mon Mar 02, 2015 2:36 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What's your average ER? [Expense Ratio]
Replies: 123
Views: 8092

Re: What's your average ER?

Weighted ER = 0.111%
more important is that it has been around that for many years.

Our most expensive fund is 0.34% ER STAR fund in my son's education IRA.
It is twice as expensive as the equivalent life-strategy funds, but it keeps outperforming them.
by NateH
Fri Jan 30, 2015 11:20 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: what to do with 529 if you earn a scholarship?
Replies: 22
Views: 2151

Re: what to do with 529 if you earn a scholarship?

My plan would be to leave it in the 529. When you retire, use it on yourself to study art in Florence Italy during the summer.
by NateH
Fri Jan 30, 2015 11:12 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Any other investors with 70/30 portfolio?
Replies: 71
Views: 8614

Re: Any other investors with 70/30 portfolio?

Our portfolio is Age-10, so it is currently a 70/30 portfolio.
Next year, it will be 69/31.
by NateH
Wed Jan 21, 2015 3:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Florida West Coast vacation with small kids
Replies: 24
Views: 2709

Re: Florida West Coast vacation with small kids

darkhorse346 wrote:Check out South Seas Island Resort on Captiva. Stayed there several times. Fun for parents and kids. :beer


Also on Captiva and kid-friendly is tween-waters resort. I've stayed there with kids the same age as yours and they had a fabulous time.
by NateH
Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:30 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "Nanny Tax" Questions (Part-time babysitter)
Replies: 13
Views: 1455

Re: "Nanny Tax" Questions (Part-time babysitter)

We have employed summer nannies for our kids for 3-4 years now and we are way over the 1900 limit with just full-time summer employment. First: You might want to check if your wife's change to "student" (full time?) qualifies as a status change in order to re-enroll in your Dep Care Flex s...
by NateH
Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:12 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Taxable account options
Replies: 25
Views: 2192

Re: Taxable account options

I guess i'm on the other side of this one. If feel your retirement is being adequately funded, I see no point in locking up your extra money someplace where you cannot enjoy it until you are 60 (30+ years!). I didn't see if your 401k is a good one an expensive one or somewhere in-between. if it is l...
by NateH
Wed Jan 14, 2015 11:17 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Young Investor Looking For Advise
Replies: 14
Views: 1533

Re: Young Investor Looking For Advise

Welcome, I'm 26 and went with a simple target date fund (2060) which has ~90% stock/10 bond AA. I would highly recommend that until you get closer to ~$100,000 in assets then jump into the 3 fund portfolio for the lower expense ratios of the Vanguard Admiral Funds. While you accumulate that amount,...
by NateH
Wed Jan 14, 2015 11:15 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Young Investor Looking For Advise
Replies: 14
Views: 1533

Re: Young Investor Looking For Advise

Thank you for the replies so far! Very helpful and reassuring. Trevor- Thanks! Right, I don't feel like I'm timing the market, but I could see how my bond question could be considered timing. I feel like an appropriate analogy would be having a deck of playing cards and flipping over a 2. True, the...
by NateH
Thu Dec 04, 2014 6:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2012 Honda Pilot Tranny Fluid Change?
Replies: 23
Views: 2607

Re: 2012 Honda Pilot Tranny Fluid Change?

The tranny fluid "change" for a pilot only changes about 1/3 of the fluid because it doesn't fully drain, so it takes three changes to be a full 'change'. I have done this fluid change myself and it is very easy with a few tools at 50k mi. I find it easier than an oil change. I would alway...
by NateH
Wed Aug 20, 2014 10:24 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: I don't have enough cash for index funds
Replies: 42
Views: 4034

Re: I don't have enough cash for index funds

Shredder wrote:For the short term at least...I bought the iShares total bond ETF (AGG). I could afford 2 shares, haha.


are you considering the transaction costs of buying ETF's 2 shares at a time?
why not just a fund-of-funds until you get the balance up?
by NateH
Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Simplisafe Home Security Systems
Replies: 35
Views: 3854

Re: Simplisafe Home Security Systems

I am very interested in this. Right now, I have Vector security who I hate. Does anyone know if there are typically charges to have the hard wired monitored service equipment removed? if your home is already wired, you do not need to remove it. Just cancel monitoring with Vector and switch to whome...
by NateH
Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:41 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a home with aluminum wiring?
Replies: 73
Views: 5915

Re: Buying a home with aluminum wiring?

We are having an electrician come to inspect and estimate the Copalum upgrade work. I think rewiring the whole house would be cost prohibitive. Our inspector said in his many years of experience is that is almost never done (not that he was dissuading us to) . What is the issue with Copalum route? ...
by NateH
Fri Aug 15, 2014 9:04 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: I don't have enough cash for index funds
Replies: 42
Views: 4034

Re: I don't have enough cash for index funds

Vanguard STAR and Retirement Year Funds are available in their Roth IRA with a $1k minimum. https://investor.vanguard.com/mutual-funds/fees $1,000 for Vanguard Target Retirement Funds and Vanguard STAR® Fund. +1 +1 Open a bank or CU savings account and start saving. Use Vanguard STAR when you reach...
by NateH
Fri Aug 01, 2014 12:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Central AC replacement decision
Replies: 54
Views: 4724

Re: Central AC replacement decision

Our home has a zone HVAC set-up with 2 AC units & 2 furnaces. The home was built in 1991. We replaced the failing main floor AC unit (which does the bulk of the cooling) a few years ago, but chose to let ride with the smaller unit that cools only the 2nd floor zone. It has far less hours on it a...
by NateH
Fri Aug 01, 2014 9:20 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Basically starting over
Replies: 17
Views: 3706

Re: Basically starting over

dbCooperAir : ------------------------------------------------------------- NateH : Thank you very much for the different funds. I need to go through the funds I was looking at again. The only thing I looked at on the funds was the ER and what their holdings were. I didn't think to look at what the...
by NateH
Thu Jul 31, 2014 10:04 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Basically starting over
Replies: 17
Views: 3706

Re: Basically starting over

Aptenodytes : 1) So you like the percentages I have in my AA but not the funds? Why is that? I used the Boglehead Wiki and the three fund page to help with my selection. What makes them bad? What would make them better? All the funds have a very low expense ratio and a low turnover. I feel like thi...
by NateH
Thu Jul 31, 2014 9:27 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 401k Advice
Replies: 12
Views: 801

Re: 401k Advice

What a horrible plan. Good thing you only have 10 years to hold your nose. Do enough of the Black Rock index fund @ 100% to get all the employer match you can get, then invest additional money elsewhere (roth ira). Rollover the 401k to your IRA on your way out the door when you leave. You can buy a ...
by NateH
Wed Jul 30, 2014 8:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Please help me fight for index funds!
Replies: 37
Views: 2695

Re: Please help me fight for index funds!

Leif: I'm on our company's 401K committee and I can tell you it's going to be a hard sell on cost, because you are going against (I'm presuming) a mostly non-Boglehead way of thinking. Plan sponsors leave investment decisions for the most part to the investment adviser, but they can be motivated to...
by NateH
Wed Jun 11, 2014 7:55 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help with 401k @ New Employer
Replies: 5
Views: 501

Re: Help with 401k @ New Employer

put 6% into Wells Fargo Advantage index WFIOX.
do you have other investments outside of this 401k?
by NateH
Thu Jun 05, 2014 9:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: new car buying strategy - disclose trade-in up front?
Replies: 14
Views: 1248

Re: new car buying strategy - disclose trade-in up front?

The negotiation is based on information each party has at the time. If you know the value you want for your trade, you have more information to assess the value of the deal than the dealer. Look at it as 2 negotiations. If they lowball the trade, you can always try another dealer or decide sell it y...
by NateH
Fri May 16, 2014 9:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Visiting Minnesota Suggestions?
Replies: 36
Views: 2298

Re: Visiting Minnesota Suggestions?

You might help us by refining the city/cities you will be visiting. "Going to Minnesota" is not too different from "Going to Texas". I would guess you will be in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. Bring your coat/hat/gloves. It can be chilly this time of year. Go to a Twins baseball...
by NateH
Tue May 13, 2014 11:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Visiting Minnesota Suggestions?
Replies: 36
Views: 2298

Re: Visiting Minnesota Suggestions?

Hey dere, AC! Suggestions? Oh ya, sure, y'betcha. June is the really nice time to vising MN. The sun's up 'til 9:00 and it's light for another hour after that, don'cha'know. Duluth is an easy 2.5-3hr drive up north from the Cities and the Lake Superior North Shore is worth it if you like to hike (th...
by NateH
Mon Apr 07, 2014 9:17 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What age did you reach 100K networth?
Replies: 264
Views: 37980

Re: What age did you reach 100K networth?

Same here.
Guessing about 27

avalpert wrote:Earlier than I started tracking it but sometime in my mid-20's
by NateH
Mon Apr 07, 2014 9:12 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Home improvement plans not filed with town?
Replies: 21
Views: 1034

Re: Home improvement plans not filed with town?

I would check if the owners pulled a permit for their improvements, since you are looking to buy the house. Don't know about the city in question, but permits are listed online by some cities, searchable by address. You could find out without even asking the sellers. The information that a permit wa...
by NateH
Mon Apr 07, 2014 9:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Home improvement plans not filed with town?
Replies: 21
Views: 1034

Re: Home improvement plans not filed with town?

Below ground square footage is not "counted" by some municipalities.

Also, the assessor will update the home's value based on the sale, regardless of how many square feet is in their database.
by NateH
Tue Feb 25, 2014 11:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Home remodel - need confirmation that we can afford it
Replies: 51
Views: 4214

Re: Home remodel - need confirmation that we can afford it

do it with cash and save yourself the interest costs. This is also a very piece-meal list, no reason you couldn't break it up over time. What is the rationale supporting your suggestion to finance with cash? As noted in a prior post, a 4% HELOC will mean I pay ~2.8% interest on the loan after tax d...
by NateH
Mon Feb 24, 2014 7:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Home remodel - need confirmation that we can afford it
Replies: 51
Views: 4214

Re: Home remodel - need confirmation that we can afford it

do it with cash and save yourself the interest costs.

This is also a very piece-meal list, no reason you couldn't break it up over time.
by NateH
Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much a baby costs?
Replies: 86
Views: 5636

Re: How much a baby costs?

Your washing machine will instantly get double the work when you bring the little one home, or more. You will have to wash all of the burp rags, clothes, bedding, etc, etc. You will also be washing more of your own clothes too. If the machine is old, prepare to buy a new one. All the laundry also me...
by NateH
Fri Sep 27, 2013 9:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car dealer refusing to repair car
Replies: 54
Views: 5171

Re: Car dealer refusing to repair car

Did your gf notice any smoke ( white , black, or blue) from the tail pipe when she drives (Especially after a traffic stop and step hard on the gas peddle)? If there are a large amount of smoke, yes, the head gasket could be a problem. I am no mechanic, but I fix some of my car problems. If you rea...
by NateH
Tue Sep 17, 2013 2:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 10 Reasons It's A Terrible Time To Buy An Expensive House
Replies: 19
Views: 3423

Re: 10 Reasons It's A Terrible Time To Buy An Expensive Hous

We borrowed 2.5 times my salary with a 33% downpayment. If you consider that we both work, we borrowed 1.28 times our total household income. SIX TIMES?? Who the heck is doing this? I could have bought three identical houses with those types of ratios and still had enough left over for a heated poo...
by NateH
Thu Aug 15, 2013 3:05 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: VG FTSE All-World ex-US Small-Cap Index (VFSVX)
Replies: 12
Views: 1421

Re: VG FTSE All-World ex-US Small-Cap Index (VFSVX)

The distributions in the last were about 3-4% of value. By contrast TSM is considered very tax efficient and it payed out 2% last year in distributions. I don't have available how much of the gain was long-term cap gain (which would be taxed at a lower rate). Worst case - if you pay 30% taxes for a ...
by NateH
Sun Aug 11, 2013 9:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Trex (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly)
Replies: 50
Views: 6164

Re: Trex (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly)

Yes. They help, but the mold comes back. But I wanted the OP to be aware that there are potential downsides to investigate and that quality of the product could be an issue. In my 'hood the wood decks are doing better versus the mold then the base grade composite decks like mine. One neighbor just ...

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