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by NoVa Lurker
Thu May 21, 2015 11:43 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: homeowner vacancy insurance - yikes
Replies: 18
Views: 1219

Re: homeowner vacancy insurance - yikes

Tell us more about the house, the neighborhood, and how long you expect the house to be on the market. Also, do you know whether the insurance is pro-rated, so that it would be around $600/month until you sell? Without knowing more, since this was your family home, my initial thought is that you sho...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue May 12, 2015 9:07 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is this a dumb thing to do? [Pied-a-terre to share with daughter]
Replies: 41
Views: 4871

Re: Is this a dumb thing to do?

Seems like you have the money to buy it in cash, without changing your lifestyle or retirement plans. Both you and your daughter would benefit from it, and it's hard to see any scenario where you'd be forced to sell any time soon due to financial circumstances. Do you have any other big-dollar purch...
by NoVa Lurker
Mon May 11, 2015 11:57 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advisor: buy a nicer home pre-retirement
Replies: 31
Views: 2971

Re: Advisor: buy a nicer home pre-retirement

The other factor in his recommendation was to get a home we can live in even if we aren't in top physical shape years down the road, because our current home isn't great in that regard. He said if we wait until we're really in need of a home that's more senior-friendly, we're going to find it much ...
by NoVa Lurker
Thu May 07, 2015 8:45 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: New member, and way behind the 8-ball (long and boring)
Replies: 15
Views: 2079

Re: New member, and way behind the 8-ball (long and boring)

Welcome. I think you are in the right place, and you are already moving in the right direction financially. Contributing to a Roth IRA, building up the emergency fund a bit more, and paying off the student debt all seem like good priorities for you. In my view, there's no real magic to deciding amon...
by NoVa Lurker
Mon May 04, 2015 10:12 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Advice Needed: Family + Rental Property + Interesting Scenario
Replies: 22
Views: 2166

Re: Advice Needed: Family + Rental Property + Interesting Scenario

I don't understand the numbers. It looks like the deal is she will pay you a lump-sum of $165k, and in return she gets $100/month off rent, for a place that is bigger and more expensive than what she actually needs. And you are worried this does not make financial sense for _you_? Incidentally, we r...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Apr 29, 2015 12:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Thoughts on 529
Replies: 15
Views: 918

Re: Thoughts on 529

OP - We are in about the same position as you, and we arrived at an initial target of $5500 per year per kid in 529s (as of 2011 - it should go up with inflation), but we are not one bit stressed out if we go below that some years. That was based on 4 years at UVA at 2011-12 prices (which is when w...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Apr 29, 2015 9:44 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Thoughts on 529
Replies: 15
Views: 918

Re: Thoughts on 529

OP - We are in about the same position as you, and we arrived at an initial target of $5500 per year per kid in 529s (as of 2011 - it should go up with inflation), but we are not one bit stressed out if we go below that some years. That was based on 4 years at UVA at 2011-12 prices (which is when we...
by NoVa Lurker
Mon Apr 27, 2015 11:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Been invited to wedding in Disney World. My cost?
Replies: 58
Views: 5941

Re: Been invited to wedding in Disney World. My cost?

I have learned that my wife and I essentially had a destination wedding for my side of the family, as she grew up on one coast and I grew up on the other. All her family lives within an hour of each other, whereas my extended family is spread over a bunch of cities. So we had the wedding in her home...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Apr 22, 2015 2:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paying for GFs school - any way to help myself?
Replies: 76
Views: 4830

Re: Paying for GFs school - any way to help myself?

Please stay on-topic, meaning the financial aspects, which are: Hello Boggle-ites, I am paying for my girlfriend of 3.5yrs nursing edumacation (proudly - she is an all A achieving rock star). Last year I gifted her the money and she paid it through her bank account. This year, I am paying the insti...
by NoVa Lurker
Mon Apr 20, 2015 10:21 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paying for GFs school - any way to help myself?
Replies: 76
Views: 4830

Re: Paying for GFs school - any way to help myself?

PPS: I'm the reason we aren't engaged or married. I lost my mother (57yo) to cancer in December 2013 and that rocked my world. My S/O helped take care of my mother and we have been inundated for the past 16+ months organizing my mothers estate. I'm the type of Type A person that completely immerses...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Apr 14, 2015 9:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to [Financially] Prepare for a Baby
Replies: 42
Views: 3797

Re: How to Prepare for a Baby

For the first two years, the only big financial impact is if a parent stops working to care for the child, or if you pay for child care to enable both parents to work. (Unless you have great family help, you're in one boat or the other.) We have two small kids. For us, all the other expenses have ca...
by NoVa Lurker
Mon Apr 13, 2015 12:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: On a budget and Friday night
Replies: 68
Views: 5295

Re: On a budget and Friday night

My wife and I have two young kids. Our routine is to get takeout on Friday night. (It's not a financial splurge -- we use fresh ingredients when cooking, so takeout is often cheaper -- but takeout is easier than cooking and cleaning up afterwards.) Kids are fed, bathed, brushed, and asleep by about ...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Apr 01, 2015 3:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: hate Hate HATE shopping for home services
Replies: 10
Views: 908

Re: hate Hate HATE shopping for home services

We have been much happier since we signed up for Angie's List two years ago. You have to pay, but it gives you access to a lot more information about the contractors, and the contractors with A ratings on Angie's List seem more incentivized to keep you happy, in order to maintain their high rating. ...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Apr 01, 2015 11:28 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Corporate Finance vs Personal Finance
Replies: 9
Views: 899

Re: Corporate Finance vs Personal Finance

OP - Why are you asking? In addition to the factors mentioned above, one difference is that, with personal finance, the principal is doing the labor. In other words, in your personal life, you can frequently save money by spending more time and effort. You can pay someone to take care of your yard, ...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Apr 01, 2015 8:43 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bamboo vs Engineered Hardwood floor?
Replies: 12
Views: 1591

Re: Bamboo vs Engineered Hardwood floor?

We bought a home with radiant heating, and the floors were all in terrible shape, so we planned to replace them. We were told we cannot have "real" hardwood, because all the floors have a concrete base. We went with engineered hardwood, but we used a pretty thick option. I don't remember t...
by NoVa Lurker
Fri Mar 27, 2015 9:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can I afford a $1M house?
Replies: 74
Views: 8172

Re: Can I afford a $1M house?

We faced a similar decision to yours, and we ultimately decided to stay put. We concluded that we could "afford" a $1m (or even much higher) house, but it just wasn't worth it. We also live in a HCOL east coast suburb. Our income is in the same ballpark as yours. We have a lot more liquid ...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Mar 24, 2015 8:27 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Excess Cash - Play Monopoly or Repay Debt?
Replies: 67
Views: 5674

Re: Excess Cash - Play Monopoly or Repay Debt?

I would advise either deleveraging or building up your reserves. Right now it appears that you consider your mother's accounts as a portion of your reserves: The good news on those family loans is that I don't have to pay her on a schedule. One year I had a bunch of property issues blow up, and I w...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Mar 04, 2015 10:02 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Frozen Pipes/No Water In Home
Replies: 29
Views: 2844

Re: Frozen Pipes/No Water In Home

I don't have any good advice for the OP; only commiseration. We had a pipe burst above our kitchen during the "polar vortex" last year. What a disaster. This year, we've been dripping faucets at night, keeping the heat in our house warmer all winter, and holding our breath whenever the tem...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Feb 24, 2015 12:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Who's going to Disney this summer?
Replies: 84
Views: 5486

Re: Who's going to Disney this summer?

Please go in October if you can, best time I've ever gone and we've done it multiple times.. Weather is nice and lines are lowww! Aren't more rides closed during off-peak periods? Yes, although Disney announces most closures long in advance, and you can find updated info easily -- e.g., here: http:...
by NoVa Lurker
Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Who's going to Disney this summer?
Replies: 84
Views: 5486

Re: Who's going to Disney this summer?

We went to Disney World this past November, during their "free dining" promotion. (Under this deal, you get a bunch of "free" meals if you pay rack rate for the hotel and park tickets.) We have two young boys. Overall, it was a blast, and not particularly expensive. We stayed on-...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Feb 18, 2015 2:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Another--should I rent it or sell it--post
Replies: 25
Views: 1579

Re: Another--should I rent it or sell it--post

Usually, I would say no way -- you should sell. Factors not mentioned above: your friendship with your new renter could be seriously strained by entering into a LL-tenant relationship; becoming a landlord will likely take way more time than you think; and you are dealing with owning two properties, ...
by NoVa Lurker
Fri Feb 13, 2015 12:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dealing with Contractors
Replies: 9
Views: 762

Re: Dealing with Contractors

I'm sorry about your daughter's accident, glad she is okay. That must have been really traumatic for your whole family. How many feet up is the railing? I.e., is this a railing on a second-story landing, or is it part of a staircase? Code or not, it sounds like it was poorly installed and is hazardo...
by NoVa Lurker
Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:01 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What to do with 350K. Plop it in a 529?
Replies: 36
Views: 4177

Re: What to do with 350K. Plop it in a 529?

FYI if it hasn't been mentioned the $2000 state tax deduction is per beneficiary and it rolls over indefinitely. so maybe in 50 years you'll have it all deducted. Ohio! Wow! I didn't realize that. Unlimited carryover seemed too good to be true but I looked it up and sure enough you're right. Got to...
by NoVa Lurker
Mon Feb 02, 2015 11:00 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Replacing a reliable Toyota
Replies: 43
Views: 4308

Re: Replacing a reliable Toyota

We have been really happy with a RAV4 for a family of 4, but ours is not 4WD. We've had it for six years and had no real problems. Maintenance costs have been very, very low. With two rows, there is a ton of room in the back.
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Jan 28, 2015 4:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Workplace net worth conversations you'd like to avoid?
Replies: 87
Views: 9682

Re: Workplace net worth conversations you'd like to avoid?

This is a variant on a line from Conan O'Brien's 2000 commencement speech at Harvard: ".... Never tell anyone in a roadside diner that you went to Harvard. In those situations, the correct response to, “Where did you go to school?” is “School? I never had much in the way of book learnin’ and su...
by NoVa Lurker
Thu Jan 22, 2015 10:41 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Real 3% (CPI plus 3% guaranteed)
Replies: 21
Views: 1894

Re: Real 3% (CPI plus 3% guaranteed)

OP, If you are asking about the World Bank retirement plan, the Real+3% option is simply a great deal. The World Bank pension plan is one of the best-funded plans in the world. It puts those funds into an expansive mix of investments. Due to its large size, it is able to negotiate good terms, which ...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Jan 21, 2015 2:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Transition to a single income household
Replies: 16
Views: 1333

Re: Transition to a single income household

- The non worker tends to go loopie for a while with just the kids to talk to and vastly reduced adult interaction :D This was the biggest thing I did not expect. For years before we had kids, my wife always rolled with the punches and had a positive attitude, through good times and bad. But then, ...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Jan 20, 2015 10:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: First time vacation home - mortgage or purchase with cash?
Replies: 10
Views: 842

Re: First time vacation home - mortgage or purchase with cas

Would strongly, strongly, strongly, strongly suggest that you not buy a vacation home if you are considering buying a home in the NYC suburbs in the next 3 years. You probably feel cash rich now. You will not feel that way when you want to buy a home in that area. (Or even if you move to most other ...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Jan 14, 2015 12:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When your spouse isn't quite as frugal as you
Replies: 94
Views: 9140

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

These issues are very, very normal for a relationship. I have seen many otherwise-good relationships get derailed by conflicts about spending habits. If I were you, I would really try hard not to harp on convenience store purchases. It's a different story if he's regularly buying new electronics on ...
by NoVa Lurker
Mon Jan 12, 2015 11:07 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Need help informing my father he is making a mistake
Replies: 58
Views: 5190

Re: Need help informing my father he is making a mistake

Yeah, I'd go even further than fposte. You are almost certainly correct that your father is making a mistake (and probably a few mistakes, all at once). But why take a conversation with your father in a negative direction, unless there is an urgent need? This is not really your business - people was...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Jan 06, 2015 10:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any men here get their wedding band on Amazon?
Replies: 66
Views: 3957

Re: Any men here get their wedding band on Amazon?

I bought a tungsten carbide wedding band on Amazon in 2010. I recall it being $23 (with free shipping and, back then, no sales tax...). I have worn it every day since then. It feels great and looks almost the same as the day I got it. (I am looking at it closely now, and I can see some light scratch...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Dec 30, 2014 9:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you read online reviews?
Replies: 26
Views: 1820

Re: Do you read online reviews?

We do - quite extensively! We have a house originally built in 1947, and there have been a bunch of problems where we needed a plumber/electrician/other contractor/etc. We've also done some voluntary improvements. We are in Northern Virginia. For the first three years in our home, we used the yellow...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Dec 17, 2014 9:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: SS Delay Question
Replies: 14
Views: 1699

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
Thu Dec 04, 2014 4:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Fly or drive [with a newborn]?
Replies: 58
Views: 5067

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
Mon Nov 24, 2014 12:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bogleheads, any "Black Friday" [recommendations]
Replies: 59
Views: 6464

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
Wed Oct 29, 2014 11:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Finance kids' medical educations with a HELOC?
Replies: 24
Views: 2114

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
Tue Oct 28, 2014 11:16 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New appliances - Stainless Steel or not?
Replies: 56
Views: 4017

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 7:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Career Advice for an Unhappy Young Doctor?
Replies: 116
Views: 14473

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
Wed Oct 15, 2014 10:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to wrap my head around downsizing my home?
Replies: 47
Views: 3929

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
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: 7131

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
Wed Oct 08, 2014 10:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Wife Expecting, Down to One Income Source
Replies: 116
Views: 9563

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
Tue Oct 07, 2014 10:24 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Wife Expecting, Down to One Income Source
Replies: 116
Views: 9563

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 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: 3906

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
Thu Sep 18, 2014 11:48 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Australia and New Zealand
Replies: 47
Views: 4608

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
Wed Sep 17, 2014 8:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Personal Financial Inventory (From Vanguard's Site)
Replies: 2
Views: 506

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
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: 4473

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
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: 1685

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 Aug 20, 2014 3:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to best pay for a second home?
Replies: 8
Views: 859

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 06, 2014 10:05 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: When is a 3.75% load worth it?
Replies: 79
Views: 5825

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
Thu Jul 31, 2014 8:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How many families use 529 plans?
Replies: 113
Views: 9128

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...

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