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Re: Need advice on financial planning at age 40

I just had a thought: One of the hurdles for expats like us is how to get taxed dollars so that we can contribute to a tax-deferred retirement account. What about using the income we get from the rental of our house? If we get 2500 monthly rent, we will have about 30K in rental income that we have ...
by Rupert
Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:18 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Need advice on financial planning at age 40
Replies: 16
Views: 2054

Re: Need advice on financial planning at age 40

Thanks Jeffyscott- This is an interesting way of looking at the house that I had not considered or even thought about. I guess I just think of it as a house that we feel attached to. This is really helpful for getting us to make a good decision about the house. Thanks NorCalDad, The link is useful ...
by Rupert
Mon Apr 21, 2014 2:42 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Need advice on financial planning at age 40
Replies: 16
Views: 2054

Re: Low-flow shower head: $4,500 saved in last 5 yrs

Wow! You pay a lot for water. I think my water cost is about 1/3 what you pay. I also have a gas hot water heater. I think my savings would be less than $10/mo, but I can see how you would like to save a few bucks. I like long, hot showers with good water pressure. One of the reasons I work. I thou...
by Rupert
Mon Apr 21, 2014 1:10 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Low-flow shower head: $4,500 saved in last 5 yrs
Replies: 35
Views: 4216

Re: "Best" place for new tires and tire protection plans = B

I like Firestone, at least the one particular Firestone shop near my house. When I need new tires, I print a quote from Tire Rack for Bridgestone tires and the Firestone shop matches or beats the quote every time. Plus I get free lifetime tire rotation. They also never charge me to fix my flats, but...
by Rupert
Fri Apr 18, 2014 12:38 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: "Best" place for new tires and tire protection plans = B.S.?
Replies: 34
Views: 2259

Re: If you leave your job, can you use up your whole FSA?

My wife's employer has a dependent care FSA where we can contribute up to $5k. I wonder if these loopholes work similarly, using the birth of a baby as a life-event. Example: Elect the maximum $5k contribution for 2015, have a baby in early 2015 (hard to plan but still), and cancel the salary deduc...
by Rupert
Thu Apr 17, 2014 3:39 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: If you leave your job, can you use up your whole FSA?
Replies: 29
Views: 1915

Re: New homeowner: lawn care advice

I just wanted to second (third and fourth) the previous posters who said you can't cut healthy St. Augustine grass with an electric mower. It simply won't work (I've tried). I also have a small, Southern yard. I do the routine maintenance myself. By that I mean mowing and trimming. After experimenti...
by Rupert
Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:32 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New homeowner: lawn care advice
Replies: 54
Views: 3812

Re: 401k help

Thanks for the responses. I'm considering putting 15% into vanguard short term federal bond, 75% in the s&p 500 index and 10% in the DFA international value fund. Any opinions from others? I would choose the 500 index fund and the Vanguard small-cap growth fund. I would hold international and b...
by Rupert
Wed Apr 16, 2014 11:50 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 401k help
Replies: 6
Views: 332

Re: Federal Employment Question

One other thought: There are companies and individuals (on the Internet, primarily) who specialize in writing resumes and completing applications for federal jobs posted on USAjobs. You tell them what types of positions you are interested in applying for, and they draft a resume for you along with a...
by Rupert
Wed Apr 16, 2014 10:43 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Federal Employment Question
Replies: 20
Views: 1337

Re: Federal Employment Question

I know there are many federal employees or retirees who frequent this forum, so I am seeking a little advice. I fall outside the box, since I am not a lifelong federal employee, I only came onboard a few years ago due to an urgent need for my skill set. Most in federal employment seem to only stay ...
by Rupert
Wed Apr 16, 2014 10:18 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Federal Employment Question
Replies: 20
Views: 1337

Re: Most solid small car

I am replacing an Acura MDX with a smaller vehicle. I like the solid feel of this car and want a sedan that also feels rock solid. My short list is: Mercedes C Audi A3 Acura ILX Any thoughts or suggestions? I don't think the Acura ILX is in the same class as the other two cars on your list. The Acu...
by Rupert
Tue Apr 15, 2014 4:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Most solid small car
Replies: 25
Views: 3151

Re: Supplemental Life Insurance

I am 29 and my wife is 25. Am I correct in saying that whole life insurance covers you for life so long as you pay your premiums? And term life insurance is obviously for a set term? Am I also correct in assuming that whole life would cost more? Yes, yes, and yes. There are lots of whole life threa...
by Rupert
Wed Apr 09, 2014 6:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Supplemental Life Insurance
Replies: 5
Views: 227

Re: Supplemental Life Insurance

Assuming you're fairly young and healthy, an individual policy will likely be much cheaper than the group policy your employer provides. As a general rule, group life insurance policies are for the uninsurable, i.e., those who can't qualify for life insurance in the individual market because of pre-...
by Rupert
Wed Apr 09, 2014 5:26 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Supplemental Life Insurance
Replies: 5
Views: 227

Re: Expensive med. test not covered by insurance

I carry a copy of my health insurance contract with me to every doctor's appointment. Any time a procedure is recommended by one of my providers, I actually whip out my contract while I'm in the doctor's office and make the insurance person verify the out-of-pocket cost to me while I'm sitting in fr...
by Rupert
Wed Apr 09, 2014 12:48 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Expensive med. test not covered by insurance
Replies: 74
Views: 3890

Re: Umbrella insurance rates

I pay State Farm $112/year for a $1 million policy. I have my auto and homeowners with State Farm as well. Interesting Rupert. I received a quote from my local State Farm agent yesterday for a package of auto/home/umb. The umbrella was about $670 for $2 million. $1 mill would probably have been abo...
by Rupert
Fri Apr 04, 2014 2:31 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Umbrella insurance rates
Replies: 13
Views: 1090

Re: Business-related meals: tax deductions

No, not deductible. You're not paying rent to work there. You're trying to deduct your personal meals/drinks as business expenses, and that's not allowed. You could deduct them if you were entertaining clients/customers.
by Rupert
Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:52 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Business-related meals: tax deductions
Replies: 11
Views: 854

Re: Umbrella insurance rates

I pay State Farm $112/year for a $1 million policy. I have my auto and homeowners with State Farm as well.
by Rupert
Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:30 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Umbrella insurance rates
Replies: 13
Views: 1090

Re: getting employer to change 401k

I suspect some of these funds do have loads. I also suspect there are administrative fees in addition to the expense ratios. So she's paying through the nose for this plan. Those expense ratios are horrible. I'll let others weigh in on the question whether it's worth investing in this plan at all. T...
by Rupert
Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:56 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: getting employer to change 401k
Replies: 10
Views: 514

Re: Lawyer, Small Claims Court, or ?

If private citizens are doing it, I'm afraid you probably have no claim against anyone solvent, although you might be able to use the evidence to persuade the city to waive the fines. If OP is able to collect evidence private citizens are doing it might he be able to persuade the police to issue li...
by Rupert
Wed Mar 26, 2014 1:51 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Lawyer, Small Claims Court, or ?
Replies: 27
Views: 1257

Re: Lawyer, Small Claims Court, or ?

I will echo what some previous posters have recommended: Post "no dumping" and "no trespassing" signs on the property and install a camera, at least temporarily, to catch the people who are depositing the trash there. If shopping complex employees are doing it, I doubt you'll hav...
by Rupert
Wed Mar 26, 2014 12:12 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Lawyer, Small Claims Court, or ?
Replies: 27
Views: 1257

Re: 25 year old speeding ticket

In 1988 while on Fed Gov't business I received a speeding ticket in NM while driving a rental car. i paid the ticket and thought that was over. I have handed in my retirement papers and personnel (Still Gov't) tells me the fine was not paid and I have to pay the fine $115 plus over $2200 in interes...
by Rupert
Fri Mar 21, 2014 12:50 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 25 year old speeding ticket
Replies: 23
Views: 2375

Re: Need advice on lawn not being taken care last year

You should ask the folks over at gardenweb.com.
by Rupert
Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:31 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need advice on lawn not being taken care last year
Replies: 11
Views: 1322

Re: foreign sales people calling 5 times daily

If it's a cell phone, I'd recommend blocking the number(s) they are calling from. It's easy, only takes a minute to do, and most companies will block up to 5 numbers for free (nominal charge per blocked number after that) This happened to my mother recently, except they had her cellphone number rat...
by Rupert
Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:24 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: foreign sales people calling 5 times daily
Replies: 41
Views: 2654

Re: Would you let your employer cover the bill or your auto-

Your insurer will not pay the claim if someone else is at fault, i.e., the employer. They'll pay to repair your car then seek subrogation from the employer or the employer's insurance company. So this business of you only demanding $100 from the employer, that's just not how it works. Once you file ...
by Rupert
Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:00 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Would you let your employer cover the bill or your auto-ins?
Replies: 2
Views: 291

Re: SSA says Grandmother owes 88K!

I'd sure like to know how SS figured this out. What kind of "data review" does SS perform. For example, I would think if you're less than FRA and collecting SS, they may want to match any W2 or Sched C, K1 (partnership) from tax records to see if you're over the earnings limit. Do they re...
by Rupert
Thu Mar 13, 2014 1:50 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: SSA says Grandmother owes 88K!
Replies: 26
Views: 3855

Re: How to Insure Two Homes

Call your agent. Don't tell them it's your primary residence if it isn't. They'll figure it out when/if you ever have to file a claim on the policy and deny your claim because of your misrepresentation. They'll also deny any claim your parents might like to make for their destroyed/damaged personal ...
by Rupert
Thu Mar 13, 2014 1:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to Insure Two Homes
Replies: 5
Views: 339

Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Thanks for the replies. Leather it is. I think we'll be getting gray as the color. I'm a bit concerned about summer heat (I live in NC) but we have a garage and my wife's work has a parking deck so it will be under the shade most of the time. Also, any recommendations on putting something between a...
by Rupert
Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:20 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?
Replies: 46
Views: 2250

Re: Do children become less expensive as they grow up?

I have a 5 year old and a 3 year old boys so I somewhat can share your sentiments. Cost is up to what each family makes of it. My wife works but should be quitting soon so she can stay at home. The boys have multiple extra-curricular activities so those cost a lot. I just bought a baseball glove an...
by Rupert
Tue Feb 25, 2014 10:12 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do children become less expensive as they grow up?
Replies: 93
Views: 6507

Re: Kid on the way... Can wife stay at home?

Are you planning to have more kids or just the one? If just the one, you two might consider just having your wife stay home for a couple or three years before going back to work part or full time. It's much easier to find a good daycare/preschool placement after age 2, and kids benefit from spending...
by Rupert
Mon Feb 24, 2014 3:16 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Kid on the way... Can wife stay at home?
Replies: 34
Views: 2383

Re: The Estate lawyer cost us big

Regardless of what the fee was and whether it was reasonable under the circumstances, you are absolutely entitled as a beneficiary of the estate to a line-item accounting. You should know why the fee was charged. So ask, quickly. Too many people stew over such things for so long they let the statute...
by Rupert
Fri Feb 21, 2014 6:50 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The Estate lawyer cost us big
Replies: 109
Views: 8898

Re: Restricting Google

Just submit to the Google. :twisted:
by Rupert
Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:34 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Restricting Google
Replies: 7
Views: 733

Re: Issues with small employer 401K

When my small company was shopping for a new 403b provider a few years back, Employee Fiduciary declined to bid. They might be more interested in a 401k, but they had no interest in administering a small 403b. Rupert, thanks for the comments. I'm confused by your EF comment since they are a company...
by Rupert
Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:03 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Issues with small employer 401K
Replies: 27
Views: 1839

Re: Issues with small employer 401K

1) & 2): With a company as small as yours, you might consider an open architecture plan, with a separate custodian,TPA (third-party administrator), and (if desired) advisor. A lot of the big low-cost providers, such as Vanguard and T Rowe Price, are not interested in administering small plans an...
by Rupert
Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:18 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Issues with small employer 401K
Replies: 27
Views: 1839

Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

I haven't thought much about budget yet. She's been asking to go ring shopping, and I plan on marrying her, but I'm afraid that if I sit down and talk to her about finances she will see that I could easily afford to buy her a ring if I put retirement savings on the back burner for a year and she wi...
by Rupert
Tue Feb 18, 2014 2:06 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring
Replies: 152
Views: 7345

Re: Conflict of Interest?

we cannot leave them because of some trustee/liability thing that the specific arrangement we have with Wells which protects our owner from fiduciary responsibility. I've recently been working to get my employer (the same size as yours) to change 401k plans. Our office manager / accountant is a cur...
by Rupert
Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:38 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Conflict of Interest?
Replies: 16
Views: 1475

Re: Raising kids in a small town vs. big city/suburbs

I grew up in an extremely rural area and was socially handicapped. By that I mean I was extremely unsophisticated compared to my classmates when I hit college. It literally took years for me to catch up socially, although I did fine academically. (Stop assuming the worst about people and their moti...
by Rupert
Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:34 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Raising kids in a small town vs. big city/suburbs
Replies: 89
Views: 4851

Re: Raising kids in a small town vs. big city/suburbs

There's a big difference between small town and rural. Kids who grow up in small towns aren't as socially handicapped as kids who grow up in rural areas. What on earth is that supposed to mean? What a ridiculously rude stereotype. I grew up in an extremely rural area and was socially handicapped. B...
by Rupert
Tue Feb 11, 2014 6:36 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Raising kids in a small town vs. big city/suburbs
Replies: 89
Views: 4851

Re: Estate Planning- Attorney fees $5.5K

You'd also pay more for all those services in my mid-sized Southern city.
by Rupert
Tue Feb 11, 2014 6:31 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Estate Planning- Attorney fees $5.5K
Replies: 34
Views: 3924

Re: Raising kids in a small town vs. big city/suburbs

There's a big difference between small town and rural. Kids who grow up in small towns aren't as socially handicapped as kids who grow up in rural areas.
by Rupert
Tue Feb 11, 2014 1:22 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Raising kids in a small town vs. big city/suburbs
Replies: 89
Views: 4851

Re: vacation to Disneyworld

Everything is over-priced. It just is. Don't stress about it or try to nickel-and-dime it. This will not be a value vacation. There are ways to save money, but it's still not a value vacation. The food is bad except in the best restaurants. You have to reserve tables in the best restaurants (and mak...
by Rupert
Mon Feb 10, 2014 12:40 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: vacation to Disneyworld
Replies: 23
Views: 1802

Re: How do I decide whether/how to fix up a house for sale?

I doubt anyone loves solid black granite, but few people hate it either. And remember, the most important thing is that the kitchen and bathrooms look clean - very very clean. Fresh paint on everything helps with that. I would have to be madly in love with a house to accept black granite countertop...
by Rupert
Fri Feb 07, 2014 3:30 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do I decide whether/how to fix up a house for sale?
Replies: 23
Views: 1352

Re: How do I decide whether/how to fix up a house for sale?

Consider just replacing cabinet doors and hardware in the kitchen if the cabinet boxes are solid wood. You can paint the boxes with a brush yourself. Have the new doors sprayed with matching paint. You don't want to see brush strokes on the doors. You'll never notice them on the boxes. As for counte...
by Rupert
Fri Feb 07, 2014 2:17 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do I decide whether/how to fix up a house for sale?
Replies: 23
Views: 1352

Re: Winter coats:

Always look for the letters "YKK" on zippers. Just ask the zipper man: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/19/nyreg ... erman.html. I'm wearing a Patagonia fleece vest right now. It has a YKK zipper.
by Rupert
Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:54 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Winter coats:
Replies: 53
Views: 3758

Re: Campaigning for changing my employer's 401k

After years of unsuccessful attempts to convince my boss that our retirement plan was overpriced, I succeeded in convincing my firm's board of directors to hire a fiduciary consultant to conduct a fiduciary audit of our plan. I pitched it as a risk management/best business practices kinda thing. Onc...
by Rupert
Fri Feb 07, 2014 10:51 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Campaigning for changing my employer's 401k
Replies: 7
Views: 473

Re: "If your parents died early, will you die early too?"

I'm sure insurance companies would have studied the heck out of this, but I don't recall ever being asked about parents longevity on a life insurance application. My life insurance application asked if either parent died before age 60 and if either parent had coronary artery disease prior to 60. I ...
by Rupert
Thu Feb 06, 2014 6:20 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "If your parents died early, will you die early too?"
Replies: 32
Views: 3150

Re: Winter coats:

As previous posters have said, what you're missing are quality and performance. Those $250-300 Patagonia and North Face parkas will have taped seams and use either superior waterproofing materials like GoreTex or high-quality, breathable fabrics. These attributes are important if you're skiing, moun...
by Rupert
Tue Feb 04, 2014 3:08 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Winter coats:
Replies: 53
Views: 3758

Re: Mortgage pre-approval questions

I agree that you don't need a warm, fuzzy relationship with your mortgage lender. Generally you should choose the one with the best rate. That said, it is annoying when your mortgage is sold three or four times and you have to keep resending information to each new bank to set up automatic payments,...
by Rupert
Mon Jan 27, 2014 2:54 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage pre-approval questions
Replies: 7
Views: 518

Re: General Contractor

Please answer the following question: What is alternative to Arbitration and why is it so bad? How can I get GC to waive this clause? The alternative to arbitration is litigation, i.e., suing the contractor in the event of a problem. By agreeing to arbitration, you're agreeing to have a designated ...
by Rupert
Mon Jan 27, 2014 2:04 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [selecting a] General Contractor
Replies: 20
Views: 1350

Re: Dependent care Fsa

There are several threads here addressing this question; so you might search for those. I avoided the problem by submitting monthly affidavits instead of receipts to my Dependent Care FSA provider for reimbursement. I might pay three months in advance but the affidavit, which was a form provided by ...
by Rupert
Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:41 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Dependent care Fsa
Replies: 3
Views: 269

Re: Term life - for how long?

I would just like to second the previous poster's comment about social security survivors benefits. I think many people forget about that when considering how much life insurance to buy. Your minor children would be entitled to draw those benefits until age 18, and those benefits can be used to pay ...
by Rupert
Fri Jan 24, 2014 2:27 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Term life - for how long?
Replies: 36
Views: 2335

Re: Can I move the principle in a 401k

If you're 59 1/2, you can rollover or withdraw without penalty any funds that you have contributed to the 401(k) plus any income those funds have earned. If you're not yet 59 1/2, you're usually stuck. Some plans might allow a rollover of your funds before age 59 1/2, but most don't. You usually ca...
by Rupert
Thu Jan 23, 2014 11:02 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can I move the principle in a 401k
Replies: 9
Views: 639
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