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Re: How much is reasonable to spend on vacation?

If 30 percent of your budget is earmarked for discretionary expenses, the question is "how much of that do I WANT to spend on a vacation." What is more important to you: Super duper cable package to light up a high-end TV? Vacation and experiences? Or... something else? You probably can't...
by billern
Tue Dec 16, 2014 1:31 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much is reasonable to spend on vacation?
Replies: 30
Views: 2846

Re: What are your 2015 Financial Goals?

Reduce expenditures on non-necessary consumables (reduce cost and waste). Position self for optimal career progression. Possibly a change of firm if I don't see long-term benefits of current job. I might even more out of California which has high taxes and gets low scores in ease of operating a busi...
by billern
Mon Dec 15, 2014 12:27 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What are your 2015 Financial Goals?
Replies: 79
Views: 4999

Re: High(ish) earner; spending too much?

30% is a pretty good savings rate. If your employment is fairly risky, there might be a reason to increase the savings rate. Otherwise, if you like what you are doing and think you spending is worth it (luxury travel), continue doing what you are doing.
by billern
Sun Dec 07, 2014 8:10 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: High(ish) earner; spending too much?
Replies: 66
Views: 7027

Re: What's the logic behind the Roth IRA income limit

To good of a benefit for higher income taxpayers. You get the benefit of employer sponsored retirement accounts. After that, you are stuck with non-deductible IRAs.

As others have mentioned, the back-door Roth IRA strategy is a good option if you don't have any traditional IRA balances.
by billern
Sun Dec 07, 2014 7:38 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What's the logic behind the Roth IRA income limit
Replies: 12
Views: 1316

Re: Girlfriend with a LOT of Student debt.

I think the key is that every person can and should make their own decisions regarding consumption level and financial goals. Finding someone with compatible consumption levels and financial goals plays a big factor in the success of a relationship. Don't judge your GF on how she is. Offer, to the e...
by billern
Wed Nov 26, 2014 7:12 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Girlfriend with a LOT of Student debt.
Replies: 166
Views: 13622

Re: Ouch! IRS penalty for underpayment, Any ideas?

There is a provision in the IRS regulations for something called a "First Time Abatement" (FTA), where if a taxpayer contacts the IRS to explain that this is the first time s/he has made a particular mistake that resulted in a penalty, the IRS has the discretion to grant a waiver if they ...
by billern
Tue Nov 11, 2014 9:55 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Ouch! IRS penalty for underpayment, Any ideas?
Replies: 24
Views: 3176

Re: That stress-relieving thing you do at work

Walking at lunch. Get regular exercise every day. Don't think about work when you leave for the day. Make plans for your weekends and plan a large trip some point in the next 6 months so you have things to look forward to.
by billern
Thu Oct 30, 2014 12:33 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: That stress-relieving thing you do at work
Replies: 45
Views: 2903

Re: 39.6% Tax Bracket :(

I've seen a couple suggestions to do a roth. If you do a roth you are guaranteed to pay your high tax rate where as if you go the traditional route there is a good chance you'd pay less than 39.6% on your withdraws if you are like most people who pull less during their retirement years. Why not jus...
by billern
Wed Oct 29, 2014 6:35 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 39.6% Tax Bracket :(
Replies: 28
Views: 6252

Re: What's wrong with dividend ETF's in a taxable account?

Invest in an equity ETF in your taxable account that is more tax efficient. It will likely increase your after tax return over a long period of time without the tax drag. Total market, S&P 500, foreign, etc.
by billern
Mon Oct 20, 2014 9:48 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What's wrong with dividend ETF's in a taxable account?
Replies: 4
Views: 534

Re: Helping prepare family financially if earner dies early

I'm sure there are a lot of resources out there for cancer patients and their families. Books, online discussion groups, and in-person. It would be good to get connected to that to get that support. It sounds like your kids are growing up and will be out of the house in the not too distant future so...
by billern
Wed Oct 15, 2014 7:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Helping prepare family financially if earner dies early
Replies: 8
Views: 1092

Re: Feeling very fortunate today!

A confirmed case of OMY syndrome. Changing your retirement plans b/c the market has "pulled back" to 1860? What if it goes back up to 2000? What if over the course of the next year it continues to drop? Will you work 2 more years? 3 more? Being in my mid-50s and having a really good job I...
by billern
Wed Oct 15, 2014 3:05 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Feeling very fortunate today!
Replies: 70
Views: 10329

Re: You may be getting charged rent for a router/modem you o

They assessed this charge for me. When I contest it, they said they would 'investigate' and ended up removing the charge without contacting me. Next month my cable service fee was increased by the same amount with no explanation. What a despicable company. I wish I had another option for high speed ...
by billern
Tue Oct 14, 2014 4:22 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: You may be getting charged rent for a router/modem you own
Replies: 34
Views: 4179

Re: Minimizing AMT impact

An increase in charity will definitely help. But you have hit part of the nail on the head without realizing it. Given that I live in the Northeast, where our tax burden is so high, there is no hope that I will ever escape the AMT. However, last year when I used TurboTax, I noticed that if I change...
by billern
Mon Oct 13, 2014 6:12 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Minimizing AMT impact
Replies: 18
Views: 2032

Re: Wells Fargo Advisor Sales Load/Fee Question

WFA is generally a % of assets under management fee arrangement for their clients. I don't know why there would be a large trading fee on a stock.
by billern
Fri Oct 10, 2014 5:31 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Wells Fargo Advisor Sales Load/Fee Question
Replies: 6
Views: 472

Re: Headed for a 300+ point loss today?

What is the significance of severe volatility in the market with no catastrophic events evident to justify such volatility? The S&P swinging by over 33 points up then down (up till this hour) on two successive days?!! Is it a signal for something about to happen? It is speculation about future ...
by billern
Thu Oct 09, 2014 11:56 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Headed for a 300+ point loss today?
Replies: 464
Views: 36391

Re: Headed for a 300+ point loss today?

The Wizard wrote:It could be the beginning of a Really Bad Week...
Or it could keep going up and down each day with the market not making up its mind! Stay the course...
by billern
Thu Oct 09, 2014 11:46 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Headed for a 300+ point loss today?
Replies: 464
Views: 36391

Re: Critically Acclaimed Movies you did not like

Wow, this is a rough crowd!

I'll nominate Forest Gump.
by billern
Mon Oct 06, 2014 11:13 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Critically Acclaimed Movies you did not like
Replies: 150
Views: 13702

Re: Is my husband a spendthrift? Or I a tightwad?

So based on that... maybe I'm good? We're not even putting 13% towards retirement. He puts 10% of his income and I put 3% of mine, so I think it's more like 6-7% when we average it out. Maybe only 5-6% because I earn more. . I think I read that you were bringing home 75% of the income - but I can't...
by billern
Thu Oct 02, 2014 7:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is my husband a spendthrift? Or I a tightwad?
Replies: 198
Views: 16913

Re: Is there an "upper limit" on Boglehead theory?

I think it gets slightly more complicated due to higher margin tax rates, alternative minimum tax, and additional taxes that only apply to high-income earners like the net investment income tax. It may be worth doing things different to get a better after tax return. There are also gift and estate t...
by billern
Thu Oct 02, 2014 3:33 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is there an "upper limit" on Boglehead theory?
Replies: 58
Views: 4667

Re: Why not 100% Stocks?

I've been pretty much 100% stocks since I started investing over 10 years ago. It can be rough at time but I'm committed to staying the course even if there is a drastic downturn for a number of years. The only concerns I'd have about going 100% stocks now is recency bias and underestimating your ri...
by billern
Thu Oct 02, 2014 11:23 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why not 100% Stocks?
Replies: 274
Views: 21881

Re: Tell me about Paris

If you only have a couple days, I would recommend avoiding Versailles Palace. Louvre and Orsay were much more interesting. I'd say plan on spending a whole day in the Louvre (it is huge and hard to get between the different sections). Also, when we went, the lines at Orsay were crazy. Even with buyi...
by billern
Wed Oct 01, 2014 12:40 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tell me about Paris
Replies: 65
Views: 3921

Re: How can I stop feeling depressed about my finances?

Spend some time traveling around any poor third-world country to realize how good we have it here.

Then start thinking about what you need to do to grow into a job where you are doing what you want to do and being compensated to a level that allows the standard of living you want to achieve.
by billern
Mon Sep 29, 2014 2:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How can I stop feeling depressed about my finances?
Replies: 130
Views: 14806

Re: Bill Gross moving from PIMCO to Janus, Monday

Folks, we don't know the truth and never will. We will learn the likely truth soon. :!: :?: :D "Never" is a long time. I suspect we won't know the truth until enough time has passed that it doesn't matter to investors. But as long as we're speculating :) there's a third possibility. I don...
by billern
Fri Sep 26, 2014 10:11 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bill Gross moving from PIMCO to Janus, Monday
Replies: 119
Views: 11545

Re: Professional gambler in unique investment situation

First, figure out how much capital your professional gambling career requires. I would exclude that from your allocation entirely. You might want to reduce or eliminate the risk on your investment portfolio. Clearly you can bear short term fluctuations but I'd argue that an income that fluctuates ma...
by billern
Fri Sep 19, 2014 6:29 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Professional gambler in unique investment situation
Replies: 23
Views: 3914

Re: Help with a large business decision

I have some clients in manufacturing businesses that buy large machinery. OP, I don't know exactly what you do but I'm guessing you are in a similar position to what I see. Often, these large pieces of machinery take time (usually a year) before they are really operating at 100%. There is software a...
by billern
Tue Sep 16, 2014 12:04 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help with a large business decision [capital expenditure]
Replies: 36
Views: 1436

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

If you don't want family drama, the most important thing to do is meet with an estate planning attorney and make sure your will/etc are set up properly per your wishes. That is much more important and will net a greater return than any financial product. Great idea. However, I have a very basic wil...
by billern
Mon Sep 15, 2014 11:40 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Young Guy, Probably Not Going To Live A Long Time
Replies: 30
Views: 4382

Re: CalPERS Eliminates Hedge Fund Program

Interesting but $4B of a $300 billion dollar portfolio is a pretty small piece of the pie. It is not like they were heavily invested in hedge funds before this change.
by billern
Mon Sep 15, 2014 11:07 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: CalPERS Eliminates Hedge Fund Program
Replies: 44
Views: 3219

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

If you don't want family drama, the most important thing to do is meet with an estate planning attorney and make sure your will/etc are set up properly per your wishes. That is much more important and will net a greater return than any financial product.
by billern
Mon Sep 15, 2014 11:30 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Young Guy, Probably Not Going To Live A Long Time
Replies: 30
Views: 4382

Re: Car Advice: When to Replace?

Interesting question. I drive a 2001 Honda Civic 2 door car that I have owned since new. It has 100K miles and is still in very good condition, except for the paint. It will probably take $1-2K to keep running for another 5 years which is a lot cheaper than buying a new car. I'm trying to hold off r...
by billern
Sun Sep 14, 2014 10:59 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Advice: When to Replace?
Replies: 37
Views: 2934

Re: Rather macabre but necessary question

I have an odd question - are there insurance companies out there that sell annuities targeted to individuals in OPs circumstances? It seems like the actuarial tables would provide high annuity payouts for high-risk individuals. If one could purchase such an annuity, it seems like that could cover th...
by billern
Tue Sep 09, 2014 12:00 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Rather macabre but necessary question
Replies: 74
Views: 6620

Re: Cold Brew Coffee and whole coffee beans

You don't need to buy a fancy appliance to do cold brew coffee. You can use a mason jar or some other container. Just grind the beans to the desired texture, put into brewing vessel, add water, shake to mix, and leave out for 12 to 24 hours (depending on how you like it). When done, strain out the c...
by billern
Mon Sep 01, 2014 11:20 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cold Brew Coffee and whole coffee beans
Replies: 7
Views: 871

Re: My husband's " WILL", $ left for me to live on....

What this sounds like is a case where the husband is concerned about his 4 adult children. He sounds like he's anticipating that if he leaves everything to his wife, upon her passing she will leave everything to child #5, and children #1-4 will end up with nothing. There are ways to use trusts to p...
by billern
Thu Aug 28, 2014 1:53 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: My husband's " WILL", $ left for me to live on....
Replies: 258
Views: 18226

Re: California residents - do you have earthquake insurance?

I figure you have two choices if an earthquake happens and you don't have insurance. 1) You will have to get a loan from FEMA to rebuild your house. 2) Walk away. Let the banks foreclose. You lose your equity and your credit rating. #3 Sell the land. #4 Self insure. #5 Spend money now to retrofit h...
by billern
Tue Aug 26, 2014 6:27 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: California residents - do you have earthquake insurance?
Replies: 54
Views: 3372

Re: Do you take all of your allowed paid vacation time?

I'm a professional in a service industry. Most of my colleagues will check email regularly while on vacation and often work half days or more while on vacation. It is a real problem for them and the firm. I'm in the habit of taking 2 weeks international trips each year. I started doing this the firs...
by billern
Fri Aug 22, 2014 2:11 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you take all of your allowed paid vacation time?
Replies: 88
Views: 6331

Re: What to consider while purchasing an existing business?

What are you receiving for fifty thousand bucks? I have no idea what the assets are of a manicure business, but that seems like an awful lot of money for some furniture, implements and goodwill. If the owner is so incompetent and your wife has the client following, why don't you just open up anothe...
by billern
Thu Aug 21, 2014 11:37 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What to consider while purchasing an existing business?
Replies: 50
Views: 4402

Re: Kaiser vs Blue Shield

I've have had good experiences with Kaiser in Sonoma County. Not everyone likes the Kaiser system.I like not having to deal with or worry about whether something is in network or not. Go to a Kaiser facility and you are guaranteed not to run into out of network issues. When looking at insurance, the...
by billern
Tue Aug 19, 2014 3:01 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Kaiser vs Blue Shield
Replies: 83
Views: 6254

Re: Defining "Stay the Course"

A change in how 4% of your assets are invested is pretty much a rounding error. That said, if you want to make a change to your portfolio because recent market turmoil or the financial press have got to you, it is very easy to justify making a change based upon some other factor in your life. Be car...
by billern
Tue Aug 19, 2014 9:41 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Defining "Stay the Course"
Replies: 41
Views: 3838

Re: Who sells fresh coffee that is not as strong as Starbuck

I just signed up for a subscription from http://www.coffeecsa.org/. You chose your subscription type and the number of lbs per month and they send you freshly roasted organic coffee coffee each month. Two lbs per month is $30 shipped which is not cheap. More of the money goes to the farmer, which is...
by billern
Fri Aug 15, 2014 8:09 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Who sells fresh coffee that is not as strong as Starbucks?
Replies: 50
Views: 2617

Re: Renting forever: financial suicide?

And that's why homeownership makes sense in some situations and not others. In more affordable markets, it's usually cheaper to own than to rent. But where I live, just outside of Chicago, property taxes on a modest home can easily run into the 5 figures. That means an extra $1000 every month for i...
by billern
Wed Aug 13, 2014 7:17 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Renting forever: financial suicide?
Replies: 92
Views: 11604

Re: Wills, Spouses, Prenups, etc.

IANYL, but in my state, full disclosure of assets and having the opportunity of independent representation (paid for by the other side if necessary) are key to a pre-nup being upheld. If I were representing him, I would have made sure she had her own attorney (or a signed disclosure by her that she...
by billern
Mon Aug 11, 2014 3:52 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Wills, Spouses, Prenups, etc.
Replies: 67
Views: 4038

Re: Dealership wants to buyback my car

This is a sales tactic. They don't particularly want your car. They want to sell you a new car and they know getting you in to talk about buying back your car can trigger a new car sale.
by billern
Mon Aug 11, 2014 11:47 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dealership wants to buyback my car
Replies: 32
Views: 3553

Re: Investing for Home Downpayment in Bay Area (California)

We both have good Software jobs with a combined income of $220,000. Given the super high real estate prices in the Bay Area, we have a long-term plan to save for 10 years and buy a house worth around 1.5 million. We plan to save for atleast 60% of the total cost in downpayment. Why is your goal 60%...
by billern
Tue Aug 05, 2014 6:48 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Investing for Home Downpayment in Bay Area (California)
Replies: 12
Views: 1273

Re: Is "Private Equity" just the new "Hedge Fund"?

I don't think private equity is anything new. While is has a certain cachet similar to hedge funds and the compensation to the managers may be similar, they function completely differently. Private equity invests in very risky, illiquid, long-term investments in promising start-ups. Many of the inve...
by billern
Tue Aug 05, 2014 11:52 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is "Private Equity" just the new "Hedge Fund"?
Replies: 7
Views: 760

Re: Tips for incorpating a charity

I wouldn't incorporate or register in California unless the charity is going to be operating and soliciting business in the state. We aren't the most friendly state to operate in. I'd try find a CPA who believes in your cause and get them involved in the charity. You may be able to get the exempt ap...
by billern
Sun Jul 27, 2014 10:15 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tips for incorpating a charity
Replies: 10
Views: 552

Re: In your opinion, who is in a riskier financial position?

The risk of borrowing against marketable securities is that the loans are often callable or the lender has the right to liquidate the portfolio when the securities drop in value. That is additional risk. Home mortgages are usually not callable. Additionally, home loans are non-recourse in certain st...
by billern
Thu Jul 24, 2014 3:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: In your opinion, who is in a riskier financial position?
Replies: 36
Views: 3089

Re: Best Coffee Maker? What do you have?

I started doing cold brew coffee. All you need is coffee grounds, a jar, something to filter the coffee when it is done, and 48 hours to let it sit. If you want to get fancy, you can order this: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001UEPGFY/. It holds the coffee grounds while brewing. It makes clean u...
by billern
Wed Jul 23, 2014 1:22 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Coffee Maker? What do you have?
Replies: 75
Views: 6519

Re: Please help settle an argument

Argument A: It ALWAYS makes sense to take out a vehicle loan, as long as it is no greater than 3-5%, rather than pay cash for the vehicle up front. If you invest the cash in the S&P 500 you will always come out ahead. Big picture, there is no guarantee that you will make money on an investment ...
by billern
Wed Jul 23, 2014 1:17 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Please help settle an argument
Replies: 23
Views: 2064

Re: 24 Years Old Looking for Conservative, Inflation Hedged

At your age, you should have mostly equities. Some people use age in bonds as the determining factor. That would be 24-25% bonds based upon your age. The more conservative you want to be, the larger percentage of fixed income you should hold. The more fixed income you hold, the more likely your port...
by billern
Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:29 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 24 Years Old Looking for Conservative, Inflation Hedged Port
Replies: 10
Views: 816

Re: Have you quit your job because of your boss?

I left a dysfunctional work environment. It wasn't one boss per se. It was the tone from the top which was horrible. I haven't regretted the decision once. It is much better to line up a new job before quitting. It is much easier in this environment to get hired for a new job when currently employed...
by billern
Sun Jul 13, 2014 7:45 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Have you quit your job because of your boss?
Replies: 66
Views: 7768

Re: What after-tax income could you live on today?

The problem with this poll is it does not specify who 'you' is.

One person, versus a couple, versus a family have different costs. Looking at a poll that does not differentiate between these categories is like comparing apples to oranges.
by billern
Fri Jul 11, 2014 2:31 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What after-tax income could you live on today?
Replies: 48
Views: 5451
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