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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
Tue Apr 14, 2015 9:34 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to [Financially] Prepare for a Baby
Replies: 42
Views: 3500

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
Mon Apr 13, 2015 12:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: On a budget and Friday night
Replies: 68
Views: 5006

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 3:04 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: hate Hate HATE shopping for home services
Replies: 10
Views: 886

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 11:28 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Corporate Finance vs Personal Finance
Replies: 9
Views: 864

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
Wed Apr 01, 2015 8:43 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bamboo vs Engineered Hardwood floor?
Replies: 12
Views: 1518

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
Fri Mar 27, 2015 9:39 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can I afford a $1M house?
Replies: 74
Views: 7932

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
Tue Mar 24, 2015 8:27 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Excess Cash - Play Monopoly or Repay Debt?
Replies: 67
Views: 5282

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
Wed Mar 04, 2015 10:02 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Frozen Pipes/No Water In Home
Replies: 29
Views: 2714

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
Tue Feb 24, 2015 12:30 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Who's going to Disney this summer?
Replies: 84
Views: 5202

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
Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:08 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Who's going to Disney this summer?
Replies: 84
Views: 5202

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
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: 1481

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
Fri Feb 13, 2015 12:24 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dealing with Contractors
Replies: 9
Views: 720

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
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: 4071

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
Mon Feb 02, 2015 11:00 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Replacing a reliable Toyota
Replies: 43
Views: 4189

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
Wed Jan 28, 2015 4:52 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Workplace net worth conversations you'd like to avoid?
Replies: 87
Views: 9532

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
Thu Jan 22, 2015 10:41 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Real 3% (CPI plus 3% guaranteed)
Replies: 21
Views: 1868

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
Wed Jan 21, 2015 2:22 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Transition to a single income household
Replies: 16
Views: 1303

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
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: 823

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
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: 8925

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
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: 5045

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 Jan 06, 2015 10:47 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any men here get their wedding band on Amazon?
Replies: 66
Views: 3811

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
Tue Dec 30, 2014 9:26 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you read online reviews?
Replies: 26
Views: 1785

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: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: SS Delay Question
Replies: 14
Views: 1683

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: 4920

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: 6433

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: 2077

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: 3975

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: 14303

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: 3795

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: 7072

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: 9466

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: 9466

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: 3879

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: 4543

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: 496

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: 4449

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: 1677

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: 844

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: 5785

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: 8965

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: 8965

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: 7052

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: 1169

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: 1862

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: 1340

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: 1387

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: 829

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: 3081

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: 10262

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: 75
Views: 5610
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