Search found 355 matches

by RobInCT
Sun Jul 05, 2015 2:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Obsessing towards zero balance on credit card.
Replies: 135
Views: 10877

Re: Obsessing towards zero balance on credit card.

What again is the point of this? Fun and entertainment? There also seems to be a camp that believes that even having a balance on the card (even when balances are paid in full monthly) will result in some sort of terrible credit score consequences. Not 'terrible', but you can test it with Credit Ka...
by RobInCT
Sun Jul 05, 2015 8:52 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: When to invest in tillable land?
Replies: 8
Views: 832

Re: When to invest in tillable land?

Consider whether the price of whatever grows on this land is heavily influenced by government policy (e.g. price supports, ethanol mandates, etc.). If so, you're gambling on the government. That's not a position I would want to be in.
by RobInCT
Sun Jul 05, 2015 8:45 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What are our next steps? (Early 20's)
Replies: 6
Views: 756

Re: What are our next steps? (Early 20's)

I am going to disagree a bit with keeping the 6-month emergency fund. It sounds like your wife is the primary breadwinner at this point (i.e. you're not really dependent on your salary to pay the bills), and teachers have great job security, at least for the duration of the school year. At your ages...
by RobInCT
Sun Jul 05, 2015 8:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Borrowing money from my 401k
Replies: 26
Views: 2026

Re: Borrowing money from my 401k

I used a 401k loan to pay off some outrageous 8.5% interest rate federal student loans a few years ago. Paid back the 401k loan within 12 months. No regrets. That said, it's an imperfect solution for most people because of the risks associated with it, including the risk of losing one's job and havi...
by RobInCT
Sun Jul 05, 2015 8:13 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help deciding between Roth and regular retirement plans
Replies: 5
Views: 504

Re: Help deciding between Roth and regular retirement plans

Yes, she pays state income tax of around 4% (marginal rate). I agree it sounds like she's going to be in the 25% bracket. I guess the Roth isn't such a great deal after all.
by RobInCT
Sat Jul 04, 2015 10:06 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help deciding between Roth and regular retirement plans
Replies: 5
Views: 504

Help deciding between Roth and regular retirement plans

My sister is starting a new job in a few weeks where there is a Roth retirement plan option and asked me to help her decide if it makes sense for her. Stats: mid-30s, one toddler with no current plans for more children, tax status is single HOH (she and the man I refer to as my BIL have been togethe...
by RobInCT
Sat Jul 04, 2015 9:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New home purchase - How much do I put down?
Replies: 9
Views: 1528

Re: New home purchase - How much do I put down?

It really depends on a lot of variables. I would not put down 30% if it will deplete your emergency reserves too much. Houses tend to cost more (roof, hot water heater, paint) than most first-time homeowners predict. Renovations can run over budget. I'd want a healthy reserve. On the other hand, a l...
by RobInCT
Sat Jul 04, 2015 9:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Longtime Insurance Customers Get Ripped [overcharged]
Replies: 106
Views: 14373

Re: Longtime Insurance Customers Get Ripped [overcharged]

There are other insurers who cover glass. GEICO give you the option of glass or no glass. As someone previously mentioned, windshields aren't really all that expensive. I declined glass coverage and prefer to self-insure for that, though if someone believes for whatever reason that s/he is more like...
by RobInCT
Tue Jun 23, 2015 9:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Moving to LCOL state
Replies: 19
Views: 2377

Re: Moving to LCOL state

Rent first. The amount of money you will be "throwing away" will pale in comparison to the amount you will lose if you buy too quickly without knowing the market/area well and end up having to move again within 2-5 years because you hate the neighborhood/schools/city/etc.
by RobInCT
Mon Jun 08, 2015 5:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Thoughts on Federal Employment
Replies: 86
Views: 9176

Re: Thoughts on Federal Employment

Just as many on this board caution against younger workers relying on social security in its current form and with its current levels of benefits to support their retirement, I'd caution against younger workers weighing federal retirement benefits too heavily in the decision about whether to take a...
by RobInCT
Sun Jun 07, 2015 12:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Thoughts on Federal Employment
Replies: 86
Views: 9176

Re: Thoughts on Federal Employment

From my friends in the federal government, I get the impression federal employment is a better match for those who already believe in the organizational mission of the agency they're working within and are interested in diligently carrying out that mission than it is for those who want an opportuni...
by RobInCT
Sun Jun 07, 2015 11:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Thoughts on Federal Employment
Replies: 86
Views: 9176

Re: Thoughts on Federal Employment

Just as many on this board caution against younger workers relying on social security in its current form and with its current levels of benefits to support their retirement, I'd caution against younger workers weighing federal retirement benefits too heavily in the decision about whether to take a ...
by RobInCT
Sun Jun 07, 2015 9:30 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Career advice: Passed over for unannounced position
Replies: 14
Views: 2420

Re: Career advice: Passed over for unannounced position

If you have a good relationship with your manager I might bring it up as something you'd like feedback on, including feedback on who the right person might be with whom to have the discussion. There are a range of options here, from colossal disorganization, e.g. the people making the decision didn'...
by RobInCT
Sat Apr 11, 2015 3:00 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: saving for a down payment
Replies: 9
Views: 1533

Re: saving for a down payment

Probably a somewhat dissenter among this crowd, but if you were contemplating equities and shifting your time horizon in the event of a market downturn, it sounds like you have some flexibility with respect to timing. When I was in a similar situation, I opted for a fairly conservative mix of stocks...
by RobInCT
Sun Mar 22, 2015 9:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Restaurant tipping
Replies: 200
Views: 15860

Re: Restaurant tipping

Here is an informational graphic on which states in the U.S. have servers at the same level as the regular state minimum wage (there are 8, counting guam), and which states have a higher minimum wage for tipped employees than the federal minimum (quite a few states, really), and which states requir...
by RobInCT
Sat Mar 21, 2015 11:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Restaurant tipping
Replies: 200
Views: 15860

Re: Restaurant tipping

There is no special tipped employee minimum wage in CAlifornia. it is the same as minimum wage for everybody else. I don't live in California. I don't know whether the person I was responding to does or not. I do know almost 90% of the country does not. I also know about California that the rate of...
by RobInCT
Sat Mar 21, 2015 10:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Restaurant tipping
Replies: 200
Views: 15860

Re: Restaurant tipping

Maybe it is my age, but this is a pet peeve of mine. What I call tip geometric inflation. Tips already have a built in inflation mechanism. As the price of restaurant meals go up the servers tips go up. No need to raise the base tip percentage. The flaw in this logic is that it assumes that servers...
by RobInCT
Sat Mar 21, 2015 12:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Restaurant tipping
Replies: 200
Views: 15860

Re: Restaurant tipping

I definitely tip based on service and if I like the place even if they might be having a rough night. I'm still in that 10% range though mostly and only moved to around 15% at places I really like. I probably would tip 10% if my wife hadn't influenced me over the years. I definitely am not cheap or...
by RobInCT
Thu Mar 12, 2015 12:57 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Time to buy up EUR?
Replies: 30
Views: 2709

Re: Time to buy up EUR?

Oh, hey! EUR pretty low? Sounds like a good time to take that trip to Paris I've been dreaming about. That's about how far I'd go in letting this information affect my finances.
by RobInCT
Sun Mar 01, 2015 1:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: airbnb tips?
Replies: 20
Views: 2027

Re: airbnb tips?

Make sure it's legal in whatever city you plan on going to. Airbnb has been getting in a lot of hot water in certain cities for continuing to operate despite knowledge that the vast majority of its listings are illegal/contrary to zoning laws. NYC is the most well-known example, but there are others...
by RobInCT
Sun Mar 01, 2015 11:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wife doesn't want to retire - I do
Replies: 65
Views: 7250

Re: Wife doesn't want to retire - I do

We'll talk more and see what happens. +1 to talking more. Also, running the numbers for what would happen if you both retired is a very, very good idea. Your wife might be concerned that at her age if she gets laid off or becomes ill and unable to work that your having retired will have been the wr...
by RobInCT
Sat Feb 28, 2015 3:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do I learn to like sushi?
Replies: 80
Views: 6393

Re: How do I learn to like sushi?

I didn't like sushi until I was taken to a really fancy sushi restaurant in connection with a work event in my mid-20s. I was terrified because I was very junior at the time, and clients were involved, so not eating it was not going to be an option. It turns out that really, really good (read: expen...
by RobInCT
Sat Feb 28, 2015 1:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wife doesn't want to retire - I do
Replies: 65
Views: 7250

Re: Wife doesn't want to retire - I do

Seems like the best move is to have a conversation with your wife about feelings, concerns, and expectations. Are you even correctly reading her body language suggesting she doesn't want you to retire? You may not be. But if you are, you might as well find out the source of that concern. It could be...
by RobInCT
Mon Feb 16, 2015 11:05 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Career changer and choosing best option?
Replies: 41
Views: 3808

Re: Career changer and choosing best option?

Do the teaching gig. $20k spread out over 10 years is $2k/year. You can take a few classes every summer until it's done. Also, have you checked to see what your salary bump will be on receipt of a master's degree? One of my high school friends who is a middle school teacher elected to get an MA afte...
by RobInCT
Mon Feb 16, 2015 10:41 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Graduating law student portfolio and loan questions
Replies: 32
Views: 2966

Re: Graduating law student portfolio and loan questions

Not a lawyer, but similarly situated with respect to debt/salary several years ago, and my decision was to max out the tax-advantaged space before paying down loans simply because tax rates were so high. $18k before-tax at your tax rate in NYC is probably only $11k-$12k after tax and will become les...
by RobInCT
Mon Feb 16, 2015 10:17 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Maximizing 401k vs saving for downpayment in high COL area
Replies: 4
Views: 498

Re: Maximizing 401k vs saving for downpayment in high COL ar

In NYC if you're sure you're going to stay long-term and your salary is fairly stable, I would prioritize the downpayment. I have a lot of friends in NYC who move every couple of years because they get priced out of their current rentals. The real estate market is just too crazy and variable. Even w...
by RobInCT
Mon Feb 16, 2015 10:08 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Where would YOU place 50k for intermediate term savings?
Replies: 24
Views: 2719

Re: Where would YOU place 50k for intermediate term savings?

I'm in the same situation. I went with 1/3 Total Stock Market, 1/3 Long-Term Tax Exempt, 1/3 savings account. Good luck to you.
by RobInCT
Mon Jan 12, 2015 4:15 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bilingual households
Replies: 39
Views: 5588

Re: Bilingual households

My best friend and his wife speak English only but wanted to give their child a second language. They picked Spanish because of the widespread availability of Spanish-immersion preschools and elementary schools in our area as well as a fairly large Hispanic community and the widespread availability ...
by RobInCT
Thu Jan 01, 2015 2:42 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Roth conversion after recharacterization?
Replies: 14
Views: 1119

Re: Roth conversion after recharacterization?

I'm confused--doesn't a 10% penalty always apply to Roth gains (assuming you're not old enough to qualify for a withdrawal)? Is there any benefit at all to just doing a direct Roth contribution over backdoor, other than a paperwork reduction? Let's say I'm a single person making $90k/year, well unde...
by RobInCT
Fri Dec 26, 2014 1:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bonus how much do you spend vs save?
Replies: 50
Views: 5447

Re: Bonus how much do you spend vs save?

Meh. I saved 100% of my bonus until I'd met my savings goals (which for me were no debt, 12 month EF, maxed out 401ks and Roth). Having met those goals, I now spend probably half. Could be more or less depending on whether there's anything I really want or not. This is a really personal question. A ...
by RobInCT
Sat Dec 20, 2014 10:41 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What "actively" managed funds do you own?
Replies: 82
Views: 5441

Re: What "actively" manged funds do you own?

I own a PIMCO bond fund because my 401k doesn't offer any bond index funds.
by RobInCT
Sat Dec 20, 2014 8:58 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Investing 100K for the next 3-5 years? Where?
Replies: 13
Views: 2665

Re: Investing 100K for the next 3-5 years? Where?

I have my house downpayment, about the same time frame as yours, in 1/3 Total Stock Market, 1/3 Tax-exempt intermediate bond fund, 1/3 high-interest savings. Somewhat more aggressive than some here would recommend, but I'm prepared to delay buying a house by a few years if the market crashes. Unless...
by RobInCT
Fri Dec 19, 2014 9:42 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: On average, how often do you check your investment balances?
Replies: 53
Views: 3649

Re: On average, how often do you check your investment balan

I don't really know how to respond. I use mint.com, which updates all my balances (checking, credit, investments) whenever I log in. I log in once a day, but mainly for the purpose of keeping an eye on my checking and credit accounts and to make sure all my bills and charges are being categorized pr...
by RobInCT
Mon Dec 08, 2014 8:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Navient / Sallie Mae misallocating my loan payments...again.
Replies: 13
Views: 3306

Re: Navient / Sallie Mae misallocating my loan payments...ag

Doc , there have been a ton of posts on this subject , it might be worthwhile to do a search and some reading ; it's not an absolute that you save interest by steering an overpayment totally to the highest interest loan rather than pro-rating the overpayment across the loans - that can be quickly d...
by RobInCT
Sun Dec 07, 2014 12:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Am I being cheap? [wedding/engagement ring]
Replies: 192
Views: 10148

Re: Am I being cheap? [wedding/engagement ring]

I think forum members regularly counsel people, both men and women, to spend less on things like watches, houses or cars. None of those threads ever seem to elicit accusations that people are being judgmental. How is this different? To be fair, I've never seen a thread on this forum where someone s...
by RobInCT
Sun Dec 07, 2014 7:22 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What do you splurge on?
Replies: 237
Views: 26682

Re: Unfrugal Enjoyments

Food. Nicer restaurants (ones that take reservations), organic meat and cheeses, better-quality vegetables, etc. I also belong to a fancy gym that costs twice as much as the cheap gym down the street that also has all the equipment that I'd realistically use. The fancy gym has warm towels, machines ...
by RobInCT
Sun Dec 07, 2014 7:09 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Am I being cheap? [wedding/engagement ring]
Replies: 192
Views: 10148

Re: Am I being cheap? [wedding/engagement ring]

As I mentioned, I'm not married, but I'm in a long-term relationship, and last year for our anniversary my partner got me two rather expensive tickets for me and my childhood best friend to go to an event that was meaningful to us but that that I'm sure she thought was silly and ridiculous. I got he...
by RobInCT
Sat Dec 06, 2014 10:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dealing with unauthorized (lawyer) bill
Replies: 61
Views: 10074

Re: Dealing with unauthorized (lawyer) bill

As others have mentioned, return the letter to him with a polite note saying you assume it was received in error. If he tries to pursue it any further (unlikely), tell him you'll file a complaint with the local bar. No lawyer wants to deal with the bar over a few hundred dollars. Best case scenario,...
by RobInCT
Sat Dec 06, 2014 10:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Am I being cheap? [wedding/engagement ring]
Replies: 192
Views: 10148

Re: Am I being cheap?

Wow, lots of judging going on in this thread. OP, are you and your girlfriend generally on the same page with respect to finances? Have you discussed shared goals, and do you generally agree about how you will make big decisions about money? If so, buy the ring. If not, then don't it ring. Not becau...
by RobInCT
Sat Dec 06, 2014 2:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is it safe to leave Laptop in hotel room
Replies: 65
Views: 14285

Re: Is it safe to leave Laptop in hotel room

I travel a lot for work, always take a laptop with me. The laptop belongs to my employer, so while I obviously exercise reasonable diligence in safeguarding it, it's not my personal loss if it gets stolen. I leave my laptop sitting on the hotel desk with a password on it. I would estimate conservati...
by RobInCT
Sat Dec 06, 2014 1:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Navient / Sallie Mae misallocating my loan payments...again.
Replies: 13
Views: 3306

Re: Navient / Sallie Mae misallocating my loan payments...ag

Yes, before I paid my student loans off last year, I routinely and regularly had the problem with Sallie Mae and with two of my three other servicers regarding misapplied payments, failure to follow clear instructions, failure to apply extra payments to principal rather than interest, etc. I got use...
by RobInCT
Thu Nov 27, 2014 6:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Honor Societies (any point?)
Replies: 35
Views: 2435

Re: Honor Societies (any point?)

As others have said, Phi Beta Kappa is worth it. Skip the rest.
by RobInCT
Thu Nov 27, 2014 10:04 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?
Replies: 59
Views: 4802

Re: When do you feel comfortable financially to have kids?

I understand that there are other factors besides financial factors that are components. But surely the decision to have kids isn't made completely independent of finances. If you're $500k in debt, unemployed, and have no marketable skills, you're probably not planning on having kids. If you're mak...
by RobInCT
Fri Nov 21, 2014 8:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should we tip the caregiver
Replies: 26
Views: 2115

Re: Should we tip the caregiver

Thanks to everyone for their comments. My wife is definitely going to give something, not sure at this point what the amount will be. Whatever she does, I will support her decision. That is the right answer. It's your wife's mom. Death is hard. Unless your wife is planning to do something totally o...
by RobInCT
Sat Nov 15, 2014 3:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dealing with pressure for "social donations" at work
Replies: 181
Views: 17646

Re: Dealing with pressure for "social donations" at work

I don't understand the problem here. Is it possible that it's just OP's first time working in a highly compensated job, so OP is unfamiliar with general business culture? I've worked in business/finance my whole career. I have never had a job at which the highly compensated employees, of which I am...
by RobInCT
Sat Nov 15, 2014 2:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dealing with pressure for "social donations" at work
Replies: 181
Views: 17646

Re: Dealing with pressure for "social donations" at work

I don't understand the problem here. Is it possible that it's just OP's first time working in a highly compensated job, so OP is unfamiliar with general business culture? I've worked in business/finance my whole career. I have never had a job at which the highly compensated employees, of which I am...
by RobInCT
Sat Nov 15, 2014 2:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dealing with pressure for "social donations" at work
Replies: 181
Views: 17646

Re: Dealing with pressure for "social donations" at work

I don't understand the problem here. Is it possible that it's just OP's first time working in a highly compensated job, so OP is unfamiliar with general business culture? I've worked in business/finance my whole career. I have never had a job at which the highly compensated employees, of which I am ...
by RobInCT
Sun Oct 19, 2014 9:12 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Attorney Hourly Rates?
Replies: 41
Views: 3527

Re: Attorney Hourly Rates?

As others have noted, years of experience is an important component to an attorney's hourly rate. Years of experience has a more dramatic impact at the beginning of a career, e.g. going from 2 years of experience to 6 years, than it does at the end of the career, e.g. going from 20 years to 24 years...
by RobInCT
Sun Oct 19, 2014 9:02 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone cancelling travel plans?
Replies: 117
Views: 7207

Re: Anyone cancelling travel plans?

Going to Dallas next week for work. It hadn't occurred to me to be concerned. I'd like to say that as a result of ebola I'll be more careful about not touching the blood, vomit, sweat or other bodily discharge of any strangers, but frankly, I'm already pretty careful about that, so no worries here. ...
by RobInCT
Thu Oct 16, 2014 6:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Your personal risk level: Got your flu shot yet?
Replies: 93
Views: 3742

Re: Your personal risk level: Got your flu shot yet?

I'm one of those unreasonably healthy people who never gets sick, and I didn't get the flu shot for years until I had a friend who had a specific medical condition that meant he couldn't get various vaccines. To top it all off, this medical condition left his immune system compromised so he was MORE...

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