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Re: Two Legged Stool

There's no one-size-fits-all answer. In part it depends on your need and tolerance for risk. There are a few definitely non-optimal strategies (both deferring to age 70 would be one; at least one spouse should claim spousal at FRA), but beyond that there's not an obvious answer. It can make sense to...
by curmudgeon
Fri Mar 27, 2015 6:56 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Two Legged Stool [Figuring out when to take Social Security]
Replies: 7
Views: 1253

Re: Going over gift tax limits

Let me slightly rephrase the question. Assuming a check was already cut for greater than $14K to one individual but the intention was to spread to gift among two married people, has the annual federal gift tax exclusion been exceeded (and therefore a gift tax return is needed)? I understand it is d...
by curmudgeon
Wed Mar 25, 2015 9:56 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Going over gift tax limits
Replies: 20
Views: 1624

Re: Going over gift tax limits

I have another question. If a parent wants to gift to her married child, I know she can gift $14K to the child and $14K to the spouse of the child. Does it need to be two separate gifts. For example, can the parent write a check for $28K made out to their child and the child just deposits the check...
by curmudgeon
Wed Mar 25, 2015 11:55 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Going over gift tax limits
Replies: 20
Views: 1624

Re: Help w/ adult child hard-wired for poor financial decisi

Patience is important. There's not a lot you can do directly. I've watched a fairly broad circle of friends and family go through that age range. A few have gone through similar, lengthy, phases of going nowhere. Most of those eventually (by age 30 or so) have picked up and focused more on a career....
by curmudgeon
Wed Mar 25, 2015 12:37 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help w/ adult child hard-wired for poor financial decisions?
Replies: 45
Views: 4624

Re: Going over gift tax limits

I don't know that I would go to "a lot" of effort to avoid needing to file a gift tax return, but I would definitely go to some effort to avoid it, just on principle. I don't like leaving paper trails around that could potentially come back to bite myself or my heirs *if* there is an easy ...
by curmudgeon
Tue Mar 24, 2015 3:49 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Going over gift tax limits
Replies: 20
Views: 1624

Re: TurboTax Deluxe

I'm really grumpy about taxes today. Reading about the TT upgrade games this year pushed me over the edge to say "forget it, no TT for me". So I bought TaxACT, which claimed it would import my data from my previous years return to make life easier. Turns out TaxAct didn't import much more ...
by curmudgeon
Sat Mar 21, 2015 6:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TurboTax Deluxe
Replies: 19
Views: 1568

Re: Has health coverage under ACA affected investment decisi

It is an interesting question. Similar tradeoffs in Roth conversion decisions. I tend to weigh actual tax/subsidy benefits in hand higher than future theoretical benefits. What you want is effectively an "anti-REIT", which doesn't generate pass-through income but makes everything (deferred...
by curmudgeon
Wed Mar 18, 2015 11:55 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Has health coverage under ACA affected investment decisions?
Replies: 2
Views: 494

Re: Laptop Purchase at Costco?

I buy lots of stuff at Costco, but not laptops. My preference is to buy cheap, adequate laptops so that I don't have to fret too much over potential for damage/loss when traveling or in general handling. Costco laptops are more expensive, so I look more at sales at Target, Best Buy, Office stores et...
by curmudgeon
Mon Mar 16, 2015 11:56 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Laptop Purchase at Costco?
Replies: 13
Views: 1714

Re: Retiring to California. Keep 401k money pre-tax?

Sounds like they will be living modestly, with fairly low income in retirement. In that scenario, their income tax liability may be fairly low under any circumstance, and there is no need to get too fancy. The one thing I would be careful NOT to do would be do anything to generate a large, lump-sum ...
by curmudgeon
Sun Mar 15, 2015 2:14 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Retiring to California. Keep 401k money pre-tax?
Replies: 21
Views: 1333

Re: How Confident on your Retirement Prospects? Pre-Retirees

I'm pretty confident on our retirement prospects in general. It's less clear if I move the retirement start all the way up to current 55/56, and also keep the current HCOL house. Still doable, but less margin for our desired spending level. If I can de-stress my work life and retain enough interesti...
by curmudgeon
Thu Mar 12, 2015 3:34 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How Confident on your Retirement Prospects? Pre-Retirees
Replies: 14
Views: 1078

Re: Renting out a private room in primary residence

About 30 years ago, in one of their periodic bouts of legislating from the bench, California courts invalidated most local zoning laws limiting rentals in "roommate" scenarios. Much to the dismay of folks who had lived in previously quiet SFR neighborhoods anywhere near a university. Since...
by curmudgeon
Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:03 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Renting out a private room in primary residence
Replies: 17
Views: 1785

Re: Son had fraudulent tax return submitted

I haven't needed to go too deeply into this, but it seems like there are three typical fraudulent use cases out there: 1) In the news recently, someone files a return claiming lots of overwithholding to get a big refund in your name. 2) Illegal immigrant uses your SSN for emplyment, may or may not f...
by curmudgeon
Wed Mar 11, 2015 4:35 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Son had fraudulent tax return submitted
Replies: 9
Views: 1400

Re: Why not use inflation-adjusted SPIA?

It is a reasonable option. If you want a SPIA that is joint between two of you, it is quite a bit more expensive. Also if you want to start it at an earlier age. And, of course, they remove the potential for leaving an inheritance. So it works quite well for a single with no heirs. If the inflation ...
by curmudgeon
Wed Mar 11, 2015 3:48 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why not use inflation-adjusted SPIA?
Replies: 117
Views: 4748

Re: Blues (music)

I like to support live music. One of my favorite BBQs brings in Blues bands fairly often. Some are better than others, but the BBQ and brews make it all good.

https://www.facebook.com/SmokingPigBBQFremont
by curmudgeon
Fri Mar 06, 2015 6:25 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Blues (music)
Replies: 45
Views: 2669

Re: If you have $1 million...

I buy a car when I think it's time for a new car. Based on considerations of reliability, comfort, convenience, cost-effectiveness. Choice of new vs used based on the same considerations. Lately it is usually mid-range new, but not always.
by curmudgeon
Thu Mar 05, 2015 5:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: If you have $1 million...
Replies: 65
Views: 6241

Re: Has Consumer Cellular Discontinued Roaming?

Interesting point. I've been planning to move to CC soon, in part because of their roaming coverage. I took a look at the coverage maps, and noticed that the CC voice coverage map appears to now be the same as the AT&T gophone map, both missing the roaming voice coverage that they used to have. ...
by curmudgeon
Thu Mar 05, 2015 3:04 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Has Consumer Cellular Discontinued Roaming?
Replies: 18
Views: 1793

Re: Poll: Increasing international equities

I've got very little in international. If I add some, it will be a market timing move, confined to the non-taxable portion of my investments. Maybe go from 1% to 10%, but not yet. Vanguards moves in this area have zero impact on my thinking.
by curmudgeon
Wed Mar 04, 2015 1:48 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Poll: Increasing international equities
Replies: 58
Views: 3790

Re: Is Yahoo Mail working very slowly???

I have found Yahoo's web mail functionality to really be going downhill over the last year or so. Accessed from a variety of computers. My take is that marketing wanted a bunch of new bells and whistles, sales wanted more ads to generate revenue. But the best engineers all bailed to go to hotter sta...
by curmudgeon
Tue Mar 03, 2015 8:15 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is Yahoo Mail working very slowly???
Replies: 26
Views: 1363

Re: Favorite chocolate candy

Not a candy, but Chuao Spicy Maya Drinking Chocolate. Just the right hint of cayenne to add vibrancy to a decadent drink. American artisanal chocolate shops sometimes seem to try too hard for edgy flavors that don't really convince me, but that drinking chocolate was exceptional. For eating chocolat...
by curmudgeon
Tue Mar 03, 2015 2:03 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Favorite chocolate candy
Replies: 51
Views: 3511

Re: airbnb tips?

This feedback has been quite helpful. I hadn't realized airbnb was so tied into social networks. I can understand how this might be valuable for what I might think of as the "part-time" b&b operations, where you might be sharing someone's home who is not a full-time host. I'm looking f...
by curmudgeon
Sun Mar 01, 2015 11:39 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: airbnb tips?
Replies: 20
Views: 1678

airbnb tips?

We are considering a trip in the next few months where it might be convenient to rent apartments for a week in several cities (Barcelona, Venice, Vienna). I've found places in the past via VRBO, but I've been a bit uncomfortable at times with payment options for overseas rentals, and I've also seen ...
by curmudgeon
Sat Feb 28, 2015 3:56 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: airbnb tips?
Replies: 20
Views: 1678

Re: TradingPlaces' advice on travel awards

I've started playing the sign-on bonus game a bit, but I'm keeping things fairly simple by staying out of the "manufactured" spending model, though I am signing up for cards that I don't expect to keep for the long term. By not doing them all at once, and tweaking our spending patterns a b...
by curmudgeon
Fri Feb 27, 2015 12:01 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: TradingPlaces' advice on travel awards
Replies: 193
Views: 16318

Re: cold air from electric socket

You can get a foam sealing pad to put under the outlet cover. This may help. Or you may need to caulk between the edges of the outlet box and the wall.
by curmudgeon
Wed Feb 25, 2015 9:27 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: cold air from electric socket
Replies: 17
Views: 1699

Re: Tax Quiz

Given the clues in the story, I got them all. While I think of it as just click-bait given the obscure nature of some of the questions, the real challenge is that the tax code is so complex that there are many thousands of those types of questions out there, some one of which is likely to trip me up...
by curmudgeon
Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:23 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax Quiz
Replies: 22
Views: 1356

Re: Health Care in Retirement

I weigh three different scenarios in considering health care in early retirement: 1) ACA continues in approximately its' current form. I expect this would require large additional taxpayer subsidies to remain functional, but I don't rule that out. In this case we manage our income to some sweet spot...
by curmudgeon
Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:44 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Care in Retirement
Replies: 4
Views: 700

Re: What % of your gross income do you spend on mortgage/ren

About 15% mortgage, 6% property tax, <1% insurance. It has been much higher at earlier stages of our life. I've been holding on to the mortgage (low rate 15-year fixed) for leverage, but I debate about just paying it off (vs adding bonds to AA).
by curmudgeon
Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:57 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What % of your gross income do you spend on mortgage/rent?
Replies: 155
Views: 8945

Re: Advice for how to help a grieving FIL with daily finance

Some things depend on whether you are nearby or further away. One thing I found to be helpful was to get a medium-sized calendar book, with plenty of space for writing entries. This can serve as a central place for tracking medical appointments *and* financial due dates. You can help set up the entr...
by curmudgeon
Mon Feb 23, 2015 1:55 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Advice for how to help a grieving FIL with daily finances
Replies: 16
Views: 1671

Re: What age do you guys plan to retire?

Somewhere between 55 and 60. If I can restructure my work to include more of what I enjoy and less of the headaches (there is some reasonable likelihood), I may carry on until 60. If it stays in the current mode, probably age 56.
by curmudgeon
Sun Feb 22, 2015 7:20 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What age do you guys plan to retire?
Replies: 143
Views: 8833

Re: Old car insurance

I liked to keep collision and comprehensive on at least one car all the time. This is because that coverage carries over to some other situations such as rental cars (in the US). Beyond that, I'm in a somewhat similar situation. I really should probably drop C&C on a couple of my cars, as I can ...
by curmudgeon
Sat Feb 21, 2015 1:56 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Old car insurance
Replies: 39
Views: 2864

Re: help me speed up my computer

If you are running antivirus software, try uninstalling it and then re-installing. Many of the AV programs accumulate layers of updates which become very inefficient over time. Doing a re-install gets a new simpler set of rules which can be much less intrusive. Doing a reinstall of Windows is a lot ...
by curmudgeon
Sat Feb 21, 2015 12:29 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: help me speed up my computer
Replies: 67
Views: 3760

Re: Time to stop driving for 85 yo MIL

If there was a police report on the latest accident, you might consider trying to contact the officer who wrote up the report and quietly asking him/her to instigate the driving checkup. A busy officer might not have had the full picture when doing the report originally, but if nudged might look a l...
by curmudgeon
Thu Feb 19, 2015 6:54 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Time to stop driving for 85 yo MIL
Replies: 89
Views: 5894

Re: Ironic Downside to Retirement Planning

Yes, it's become a challenge. I don't actually have a specific date in mind; it's more like "sometime in the next four years" for me. I find myself less tolerant of the commute and the megacorp annoyances. It's not so much that I view retirement as a prize to be grasped, or that I would vi...
by curmudgeon
Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Ironic Downside to Retirement Planning
Replies: 17
Views: 2929

Re: How often and how much should I raise the rent?

I have a good tenant in my rental. I've been reviewing the rent every two years. Local rents have been on a upward trajectory the last few years. At the two year marks, I've been raising the rent; not necessarily all the way to current market rate, but at least closer (I value the current tenant, an...
by curmudgeon
Tue Feb 17, 2015 5:20 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How often and how much should I raise the rent?
Replies: 25
Views: 1710

Re: Buying As Is Home

There are lots of variations of what "as is" can mean depending on state and local customs, as well as the specifics of the sale contract. In California, I can think of two specific meanings that might be implied: 1) The seller is making it clear that they do not intend to make any repairs...
by curmudgeon
Mon Feb 16, 2015 1:18 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying As Is Home
Replies: 27
Views: 2132

Re: Downsize, Reduce, Simplify.

Very interesting thread. The opinions reflect view points that can be freely and confidently made. Has anyone successfully discussed this approach with a spouse whose position is close to 180 degrees in the other direction. Are there ways to reach a consensus without always reaching a conversationa...
by curmudgeon
Sun Feb 15, 2015 10:46 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Downsize, Reduce, Simplify.
Replies: 72
Views: 9604

Re: Social Security as a bond?

. Why is it that so many people on this board defend Mr. Bogle's recommendation for 20% or less of international stock, but very few support his recommendation to treat Social Security as a bond? There are a lot of people on this board who are very religious about their asset allocation. I don't fi...
by curmudgeon
Sat Feb 14, 2015 3:33 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Social Security as a bond?
Replies: 47
Views: 3291

Re: Using listing agent as my buyer's agent

I've bought and sold houses in both manners (dual-agent and not), and I didn't really feel there was much of a difference in what I got as a buyer. You might think that a dedicated buyers agent would be more "on your side" in price negotiations, but in reality, what they really want is for...
by curmudgeon
Fri Feb 13, 2015 12:47 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Using listing agent as my buyer's agent
Replies: 21
Views: 1442

Re: Food of the Fifties

Haven't read all the thread, but did we get to the awful casseroles made with canned soup as a base? L. There were a lot of bad canned soup casseroles, but I really liked (and still do) the chicken with rice one that my mom made. Chicken pieces laid out in a flat baking dish with uncooked rice spre...
by curmudgeon
Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:18 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Food of the Fifties
Replies: 216
Views: 11655

Re: Food of the Fifties

Haven't read all the thread, but did we get to the awful casseroles made with canned soup as a base? L. There were a lot of bad canned soup casseroles, but I really liked (and still do) the chicken with rice one that my mom made. Chicken pieces laid out in a flat baking dish with uncooked rice spre...
by curmudgeon
Thu Feb 12, 2015 4:54 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Food of the Fifties
Replies: 216
Views: 11655

Re: What age did you become financially independent of paren

I paid for books, tuition, fees, and personal expenses through college, but lived at home much of the time. Graduated at age 20, and started my first corporate job shortly after. Borrowed some money from parents at age 22 for down payment on our first house, but paid that off within a couple of year...
by curmudgeon
Wed Feb 11, 2015 11:05 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What age did you become financially independent of parents?
Replies: 68
Views: 4780

Re: Food of the Fifties

Who goes into a store these days and buys Ball and/or Mason jars for canning? I suspect canning is becoming a lost art. I remember watching my Mom can (mostly home-grown green beans), but I was but a lad, never quite grasped the art, went off to college, and there you have it. Actually, by the time...
by curmudgeon
Wed Feb 11, 2015 12:14 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Food of the Fifties
Replies: 216
Views: 11655

Re: Food of the Fifties

I always loved the home-canned pears when I was a kid. My mom and grandma would do a few dozen quarts each year. They were always better than the commercial ones because we would sort the fruit much more finely and only can the ones each day that were at best ripeness. On the other hand, I didn't li...
by curmudgeon
Tue Feb 10, 2015 11:32 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Food of the Fifties
Replies: 216
Views: 11655

Re: LED Shop light

I think those are the ones that are on sale this month for $32 each (as opposed to the 2-pack in the link) in Costco stores. I've meant to pick up a couple of them to try out. I get tired of the flakiness of my flourescent fixtures (and cold sensitivity of the cheap ones). Unfortunately they are alw...
by curmudgeon
Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:38 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: LED Shop light
Replies: 10
Views: 729

Re: Multiple old 401k accounts to single IRA?

I did this a number of years ago. Much more investment flexibility (something to use with caution). One downside if your income is higher is that this can interfere with doing the "backdoor Roth". If you early retire (voluntarily or not), it may be worth keeping your *last* 401K in place, ...
by curmudgeon
Mon Feb 09, 2015 10:09 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Multiple old 401k accounts to single IRA?
Replies: 8
Views: 637

Re: Military Deployment, where to invest

Do some calculations as to what your marginal tax rate is likely to be for this year. It may well be a good year to maximize any Roth options available to you, in preference to traditional TSP. Between combat zone exclusion and housing allowance not taxable (if this applies to you), you may be at th...
by curmudgeon
Sat Feb 07, 2015 11:40 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Military Deployment, where to invest
Replies: 22
Views: 1643

Re: Backpack with Activflex frame?

I've been pretty happy with a couple of Deuter packs my wife and I have gotten over the years. Neither are the exact model you list, but are similar. They had a fair bit of fit flexibility. Also seem to have a bit more airflow to help me not sweat so much on my back. Ours have been used more for 2-3...
by curmudgeon
Sat Feb 07, 2015 7:42 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Choosing a Backpack and other Gear for el Camino
Replies: 100
Views: 6694

Re: Home purchase before or after retirement

In the OP scenario, I doubt that it matters much about when the purchase is done. The pension plus SS should be quite sufficient for getting a mortgage. If the mortgage on the current place has been paid off for a number of years, it might be worth having several credit cards now (even if they norma...
by curmudgeon
Sat Feb 07, 2015 2:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Home purchase before or after retirement
Replies: 11
Views: 684

Re: Best laptop under $1000

Depends a lot on your usage mode. Do you need good battery life? Want to watch movies on it? Actually put it in your lap? Run tons of spreadsheets or apps at the same time? etc. I generally use my laptop in my actual lap, while sitting in a recliner. If I'm doing heavy compute stuff, it is in a remo...
by curmudgeon
Sat Feb 07, 2015 12:35 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best laptop under $1000
Replies: 26
Views: 2402

Re: Pull permits for a minor remodel?

Depends on where you live I suppose. If you want to do something yourself that requires a permit, be prepared to lie on a disclosure form when asked if any non-permitted work had been performed when you put your home up for sale For every home that I've owned (six in total), if that line came up on...
by curmudgeon
Sat Feb 07, 2015 12:09 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pull permits for a minor remodel?
Replies: 35
Views: 3056

Re: Advantages of working past your number

I think of hitting a "number" as having acquired an option in lifestyle choices, but there's nothing that says I need to exercise that option immediately. For some people, the decision to retire is made for them, and the "number" ends up being whatever it is that they have when t...
by curmudgeon
Sat Feb 07, 2015 2:17 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Advantages of working past your number
Replies: 53
Views: 4149
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