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Re: SS Delay Question

Just to follow on trasmuss' point - OP, I believe your initial thought is probably correct UNLESS your Dad made a significantly higher salary than your Mom. If your Dad's salary is just a little bit higher, then in the scenario where he dies before your mom has reached her FRA, her own benefits stil...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Dec 17, 2014 9:19 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: SS Delay Question
Replies: 7
Views: 503

Re: Fly or drive? Not just time vs. money anymore

My wife and I just completed a long-distance trip (10-day vacation, 700 miles away) with a 3.5-year-old and a 7-month-old. The decision we faced was either 12 hours each way driving or 3 hours flying. I assumed that would equal a minimum of 15 hours total if we drove (including stops for bathrooms, ...
by NoVa Lurker
Thu Dec 04, 2014 4:50 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Fly or drive [with a newborn]?
Replies: 58
Views: 4529

Re: Bogleheads, anyone doing "Black Friday"

I struggle to understand the economics of Black Friday. Is it a case of just a few heavily discounted deals to lure in shoppers? What is the economic incentive for stores to offer discounts in the lead-in to the biggest shopping season, when presumably demand is highest? In the UK they have sales t...
by NoVa Lurker
Mon Nov 24, 2014 12:34 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bogleheads, any "Black Friday" [recommendations]
Replies: 59
Views: 5614

Re: Finance kids' medical educations with a HELOC?

One additional downside is the tension this will create if your son or daughter decide that medicine is just not for them, after racking up loans. If the loans are directly to them, from a financial institution, then the decision is theirs. If the loans are from you, then it will only make things to...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Oct 29, 2014 11:26 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Finance kids' medical educations with a HELOC?
Replies: 24
Views: 1865

Re: New appliances - Stainless Steel or not?

We have all 'stainless steel' appliances in the kitchen, and we like them. We have two small boys, so we are forced to take a pretty laid-back approach to smudges, etc. But even with fingerprints visible most of the time on the appliances, especially on the fridge, I'd still prefer the stainless fin...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Oct 28, 2014 11:16 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New appliances - Stainless Steel or not?
Replies: 56
Views: 3518

Re: Career Advice for an Unhappy Young Doctor?

Many are treated as little more than high priced help that the administrators would love to replace with mid priced help. I am sure this is true, and demoralizing. Unfortunately, you just described virtually everyone in every high-paying corporate job. And I don't really see why medicine _should_ b...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Oct 28, 2014 7:39 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Career Advice for an Unhappy Young Doctor?
Replies: 116
Views: 13549

Re: How to wrap my head around downsizing my home?

I am sorry about your diagnosis. Best wishes. Moving does seem to be the most sensible decision, but it doesn't mean you have to do it. As Skiffy suggests, there are probably other solutions if you just don't want to leave your home. Having said that, if I were in your shoes, I would move into a con...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Oct 15, 2014 10:53 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to wrap my head around downsizing my home?
Replies: 47
Views: 3663

Re: 30 yr TIPs auction announced 16 oct: yield=1.10%?

Leif wrote:Not too excited...


Yep, this is it in a nutshell.

While it may (or may not) be wise to have some long-term TIPS as part of your portfolio, it's a bit sad to lock in 1.1% real for 30 years.
by NoVa Lurker
Thu Oct 09, 2014 8:30 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 30 yr TIPs auction announced 16 oct: yield=1.10%?
Replies: 93
Views: 6784

Re: Wife Expecting, Down to One Income Source

I'm a man and I took my 3 month old daughter to the pediatrician with a 103 degree fever (my wife used up all her sick days with maternity leave). The nurse asked "where is the mother" as if my wife had died, run off, or had been deployed to Iraq. I remarked that she was at work and there...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Oct 08, 2014 10:33 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Wife Expecting, Down to One Income Source
Replies: 116
Views: 9049

Re: Wife Expecting, Down to One Income Source

Congrats! One income is definitely doable. Remember that babies need very little "stuff". Get the minimum - car seat is pretty much the only "must have". +1. We now have a 3.5 year old boy and a six-month-old boy. Between gifts, consignment sales, and Craigslist, there was virtu...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Oct 07, 2014 10:24 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Wife Expecting, Down to One Income Source
Replies: 116
Views: 9049

Re: Is it bad to put 23k a yr in retirement if I only make 4

If we are putting it to a vote, I would vote in favor of building a buffer in a liquid account (as Grt2bOutdoors suggested), not in a tax-advantaged retirement account. One of my pet issues on Bogleheads is that there is too much focus on retirement savings, and not enough on other life savings. Thi...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Sep 23, 2014 2:14 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Is it bad to put 23k a yr in retirement if I only make 42k?
Replies: 29
Views: 3758

Re: Australia and New Zealand

We spent three weeks in Australia, about 5 years ago. Of all the good advice above, I think I agree most with tj. We loved: --Sydney - loved walking around and taking the ferries everywhere, especially out to Manly Beach --Blue Mountains - we just took a day train from Sydney, and hiked around the t...
by NoVa Lurker
Thu Sep 18, 2014 11:48 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Australia and New Zealand
Replies: 47
Views: 4316

Re: Personal Financial Inventory (From Vanguard's Site)

I created something like this awhile back, but I had been meaning to update it for the first time in a couple of years. This Vanguard list is useful to double-check if I missed anything. Thanks for posting it.
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Sep 17, 2014 8:39 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Personal Financial Inventory (From Vanguard's Site)
Replies: 2
Views: 483

Re: Young Guy, Probably Not Going To Live A Long Time

Best of luck, and I am sorry for the news you have been given. Since you want the money to be liquid anyway and you're not focusing on maximizing returns, I would not waste your time trying to get an extra 0.5% by investing in CDs, I-bonds, etc. Just leave your money where it is, or perhaps do one q...
by NoVa Lurker
Mon Sep 15, 2014 1:54 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Young Guy, Probably Not Going To Live A Long Time
Replies: 30
Views: 4382

Re: ow Does Paying Off a Mortgage Affect Your Credit Score

After we had the house paid for, we never had any major need for credit again--do you see something specific ahead for which you're likely to need a large loan? Unfortunately, this isn't the only issue. Credit scores affect a number of things not the least of which is the rate you pay for insurance...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Sep 10, 2014 2:51 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ow Does Paying Off a Mortgage Affect Your Credit Score
Replies: 16
Views: 1638

Re: How to best pay for a second home?

Assuming that the Cape home is worth at least, say, $400k, and assuming zero possibility of default/foreclosure, then I agree with your approach. It will likely be cheaper to borrow against the primary home than against a second home. There's no reason to make it any more complicated than that. Of c...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Aug 20, 2014 3:29 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to best pay for a second home?
Replies: 8
Views: 827

Re: When is a 3.75% load worth it?

OP - You have received very good, consistent advice above. In terms of "the specific use and weighting of this fund as a portfolio component": this fund does not belong in anyone's portfolio. Posts like yours appear on Bogleheads on a regular basis, and it is a public service when folks li...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Aug 06, 2014 10:05 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: When is a 3.75% load worth it?
Replies: 79
Views: 5678

Re: How many families use 529 plans?

Just out of curiosity, when you all are speaking about "fully funding retirement", are you talking about maxing out all available tax-advantaged accounts or just contributing enough to put you in a likely position to retire within your goal time frame? I ask because there's a wide dispari...
by NoVa Lurker
Thu Jul 31, 2014 8:50 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How many families use 529 plans?
Replies: 113
Views: 8578

Re: How many families use 529 plans?

We have 529s for each of our kids, but they are our lowest priority of funds. Since (1) we get a state tax break, (2) the money deposited can earn tax-free returns as long as it's eventually used for education purposes, and (3) we do plan to pay for four years of college for each of our kids (whethe...
by NoVa Lurker
Thu Jul 31, 2014 8:30 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How many families use 529 plans?
Replies: 113
Views: 8578

Re: Here's another "where should I retire" thread

My parents semi-retired in Newark, Delaware. I initially thought it was an odd choice, but I understand it a lot better now. They can walk to the main campus of University of Delaware, as well as the shops and restaurants of Main Street, but their neighborhood is removed from the undergrad / frat ho...
by NoVa Lurker
Thu Jul 24, 2014 8:43 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Here's another "where should I retire" thread
Replies: 104
Views: 6766

Re: American in need of Premier team to root for

Good call! My suggestion is to watch for a few years, then pick. Your allegiances will likely shift a bit, and then settle. I think you will like the Premier League. My wife and I realized last year that we watch more club soccer than everything else on TV (including all other sports) combined. We s...
by NoVa Lurker
Mon Jul 21, 2014 10:36 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: American in need of Premier team to root for
Replies: 21
Views: 1149

Re: Cash out pension?

And if what is the result if you only earn a 2% real rate of return over the next 25 years? You plan for the optimistic view, now what about if the results are worse than you projected? OP used 4% real, which I would not necessarily call the "optimistic view." It seems like a good, middle...
by NoVa Lurker
Fri Jul 18, 2014 11:52 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Cash out pension?
Replies: 30
Views: 1802

Re: Help for parent nearing retirement (unsolicited)

Given what my wife and I are going through with our respective parents (the details of which would not be helpful to you), I admire your mom's apparent health and financial position. In terms of financial advice, let her know that you are there for her, if she wants it. If not, it sounds like she ha...
by NoVa Lurker
Mon Jul 14, 2014 2:17 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help for parent nearing retirement (unsolicited)
Replies: 17
Views: 1333

Re: House maintenance cost

I've heard 1% of the home value often, but it should not be a surprise that it can vary very, very, very, very widely.
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Jul 02, 2014 3:41 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: House maintenance cost
Replies: 13
Views: 1348

Re: homeowners ins deductible

Had a very similar experience to Sheepdog. Our current deductible is near $4000. It seems high, but our homeowners insurance premium is very low, and our overall coverage numbers seem larger than we need.
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Jul 02, 2014 3:09 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: homeowners ins deductible
Replies: 7
Views: 821

Re: Getting toddler to brush their teeth

Our first son, now three, went through a phase this past winter where he was very resistant to letting us brush him. And when he brushed himself, he proclaimed himself done in about five seconds -- not good enough! We tried a bunch of things that didn't work, which turned it into quite a nightly bat...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Jul 02, 2014 9:19 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Getting toddler to brush their teeth
Replies: 53
Views: 2940

Re: do you lie about your finances to friends

I am not comfortable with white lies, so I usually just stick to (1) answering with related information but not numbers, and/or (2) asking questions in response, rather than making any statements. I think most people would rather talk about themselves than hear about you. But if you give them financ...
by NoVa Lurker
Mon Jun 30, 2014 2:17 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: do you lie about your finances to friends
Replies: 103
Views: 10057

Re: Experience with PenFed refinance

We used them 1.5 years ago for a 5-year HEL at 1.99% with no closing fees except the appraisal. This was basically a second mortgage on our home - we used the proceeds to pay off a 6.75% investment loan. Customer service was horrendous. I must have followed up more than 20 times between the rate loc...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Jun 18, 2014 1:20 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Experience with PenFed refinance
Replies: 72
Views: 4608

Re: Calling all Cyclists...

I wouldn't make things too complicated. Sure I've got a helmet for safety and gloves for cold/windy weather riding. After I added my lights and a speedometer (Cateye) I've maxed out what I need. I'm not a stylish rider, in fact I'm pretty frumpy. A 10 year old kid can have a great time on a bike wi...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Jun 17, 2014 8:30 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Calling all Cyclists... [help getting into cycling]
Replies: 71
Views: 5989

Re: Bernstein: A Decade of Super-Low Returns [1.4% for 60/40

I find it interesting that in 4 pages no one has produced a single example, or even a test, that purports to quantify the advantage of market predictions of this sort, or even show any benefit at all. Here's an example of the benefit of these sort of predictions: My employer is a large financial in...
by NoVa Lurker
Thu Jun 12, 2014 8:31 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bernstein: A Decade of Super-Low Returns [1.4% for 60/40]
Replies: 207
Views: 18348

Re: Child Life Insurance

There is absolutely no reason why you should buy life insurance for your toddlers. You would be paying $60/month for 15 years in exchange for (1) life insurance that is not necessary, because they are children, and nobody is depending on their income, plus (2) an investment that has very little net ...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Jun 10, 2014 11:14 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Child Life Insurance
Replies: 29
Views: 1190

Re: Verizon FIOS bundle-->internet only. Streaming speed?

We have Verizon FIOS, and we have had a few rounds of cancelling cable. Then we re-order a few months later, to get the new customer deals. We watch very little actual TV, but tt just doesn't save that much money to go without cable - the double play base price (with "Extreme," not just &q...
by NoVa Lurker
Thu Jun 05, 2014 9:38 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Verizon FIOS bundle-->internet only. Streaming speed?
Replies: 7
Views: 806

Re: Are hybrid cars a good idea yet?

As I said, for some people they can be a good idea. So run the numbers and see where it falls out for you. I don't think most people do this. They just buy these things without thought. I suspect most Bogleheads do run the numbers, as we did on both bulbs and cars. You're probably correct about the...
by NoVa Lurker
Thu May 29, 2014 10:06 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are hybrid cars a good idea yet?
Replies: 105
Views: 8790

Re: How do you dress for work travel?

I travel a fair amount - usually business class for international, coach in domestic. I wear a suit at work and in meetings / conferences, but I never wear a suit when I travel (unless I'm headed directly to a meeting/office on the ground, which is rare), so I selected your middle option. However, I...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue May 27, 2014 8:11 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do you dress for work travel?
Replies: 21
Views: 1920

Re: 2600 days of every dollar tracked

This is very interesting, thanks OP. I suspect my expenses were relatively similar through my 20s. These days, with a wife, two young kids, a home, two (relatively accidental) rental properties, several income streams, and day-care/preschool costs, our income/expenses are a mess. We have definitely ...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed May 21, 2014 10:31 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 2600 days of every dollar tracked
Replies: 68
Views: 6215

Re: 31 yo single income with 3 small children: What to do?

Sounds like you already made the right call on the 529s based on the advice above, but just to pile on: the tax benefits of 529s are good but not great -- a one-time-only 6.5% state tax break (which you will still get if you contribute those funds in a future year), plus no tax owed on investment in...
by NoVa Lurker
Thu May 08, 2014 8:26 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 31 yo single income with 3 small children: What to do?
Replies: 31
Views: 3837

Re: Records to keep from prior years? Thanks.

I do pretty much the same thing as Toons, except: (1) I keep a set of "Tax Documents" as both a hard copy and soft copy on my home computer. This includes everything from the returns themselves to all the underlying documents, including scanned copies of even the smallest receipts. I curre...
by NoVa Lurker
Fri Apr 25, 2014 8:19 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Records to keep from prior years? Thanks.
Replies: 4
Views: 679

Re: Joe Stiglitz - "most of finance does more harm than good

One reason that I keep a simple, Boglehead-consistent asset allocation is that, if I were to invest in any complex financial instruments, I feel like I would be part of the problem.
by NoVa Lurker
Fri Apr 25, 2014 8:02 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Joe Stiglitz - "most of finance does more harm than good"
Replies: 8
Views: 1098

Re: Tough college choice

OP, yes, thanks for the update. Seems like a good decision. I did not weigh in above, but I have many family members who went to University of Delaware, and my parents now live in Newark. While everyone complains about UDel admin (I'm sure for good reason), the family members who went there, over a ...
by NoVa Lurker
Thu Apr 24, 2014 11:26 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tough college choice
Replies: 72
Views: 17018

Re: Need advice on financial planning at age 40

If we get 2500 monthly rent, we will have about 30K in rental income that we have to pay fed and state taxes on each year. Rupert is correct on the main problem with your plan, but there is also no way you will have 30K in taxable rental income. Have you ever actually done your taxes with a rental ...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Apr 22, 2014 8:23 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Need advice on financial planning at age 40
Replies: 23
Views: 3271

Re: The Most Critical Investment Decision: Time Horizon

I agree with the original post for a reason that has not been discussed: too many investors initially create an asset allocation that is designed for retirement purposes only. Then they funnel ALL of their savings into that allocation. When young, this could mean 90/10. They may realize that they al...
by NoVa Lurker
Fri Apr 04, 2014 8:04 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Most Critical Investment Decision: Time Horizon
Replies: 10
Views: 1963

Re: Advice on what to do with proceeds from second home sale

I am probably more risk-averse than you are. If I were in your shoes, all that debt would scare me, and the interest-only loan would particularly scare me. For the reasons suggested by grabiner, I would pay off the office loan entirely, and then pay off about half of the new condo loan. Then I would...
by NoVa Lurker
Thu Apr 03, 2014 11:34 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advice on what to do with proceeds from second home sale
Replies: 8
Views: 1082

Re: Really confused by Bernstein

Myself and many people on this board seem to have plenty of no-growth revenue streams and assets (SS, pension, paid off house, collectibles). I'm certainly not going to de-risk and thus "de-growth" the last remaining slice of the pie, nor am I going to plan on 1% SWR from a balanced finan...
by NoVa Lurker
Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:49 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Really confused by Bernstein
Replies: 168
Views: 14698

Re: Buying first home in SF - gut check

What do you need all the liquidity for? In other words, why not use most of your $2.5M portfolio to buy the house? I'd actually agree with macchiato. In your shoes, I'd be looking at 4BR if you are thinking at least 2 kids. If you buy a house now but move into a bigger one in five years, the taxes a...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Mar 26, 2014 3:22 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying first home in SF - gut check
Replies: 93
Views: 10370

Re: Acquiring Debt - Marriage

OP - You haven't given us a full picture of your finances, so we can't give you a completely certain answer. Still, you've told us enough to make clear that the order is not that big a deal. You two don't have that much total debt, and obviously you'll want to prepay the car loan or student loan bef...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Mar 18, 2014 8:17 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Acquiring Debt - Marriage
Replies: 28
Views: 2884

Re: Amazon Prime Increase

Yeah, we've had Amazon Prime for a few years now. For a long time, Amazon was significantly cheaper on almost every product. Also, the reviews are so helpful, the stuff just shows up at your doorstep, and they are great with customer service. But over the past couple years, prices have definitely in...
by NoVa Lurker
Thu Mar 13, 2014 9:05 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Prime Increase
Replies: 185
Views: 9704

Re: OK to Book Vacation Place , Switch Later for Better Deal

In my experience, most vacation condo rentals require hefty upfront payment (often 50% within 10 days, then the balance at least 30 days prior to the rental), much of which is forfeited if you cancel too late. By contrast, many national hotel chains offer free cancellation up to a few days before th...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:32 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: OK to Book Vacation Place , Switch Later for Better Deal?
Replies: 8
Views: 683

Re: Stay or move is the financial question.

Not sure why everyone is focused on the Bay Area, when OP said, "We can’t afford San Francisco or San Jose housing therefore we will have to find something that under 400K, small home with a lot of land. Commuting isn’t a problem since I can work from home and my husband job is driving around f...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:00 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Stay or move is the financial question.
Replies: 21
Views: 1768

Re: Forbes Article Disagreeing with Buffett

I think the responses above pretty much cover it. From the bio, I particularly enjoy, "These are the situations that consistently produce higher return opportunities (or higher risk levels). ..." The implication seems to be, 'If you are savvy (like me and those who invest with me), then a ...
by NoVa Lurker
Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:01 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Forbes Article Disagreeing with Buffett
Replies: 7
Views: 987

Re: Will this affect your Tipping?

No idea. I could see myself choosing "no tip", making my choice publicly known, and then handing the server (assuming the server is not the owner) a generous tip while giving him/her an explanation that I am tipping him/her for the excellent service, but I will be very reluctant to return...
by NoVa Lurker
Thu Mar 06, 2014 9:27 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Will this affect your Tipping? [Suggested Tip Amounts]
Replies: 123
Views: 9077
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