Search found 591 matches

by curmudgeon
Mon Jul 13, 2015 1:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: VRBO illegal rental [Vacation Rentals by Owner]
Replies: 53
Views: 5045

Re: VRBO illegal rental

I've started leaning more towards rentals through agencies with an actual physical office in the location I am visiting. They may be advertised on VRBO or airbnb, but they also typically have their own website and list a license/tax id. It may cost a little more, and it is still not an absolute guar...
by curmudgeon
Thu Jul 09, 2015 1:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Shower door or curtain for bathroom remodel
Replies: 61
Views: 3809

Re: Shower door or curtain for bathroom remodel

The glass sliding doors on bathtubs started to come in when I was a kid (1960's). While they looked nice when first installed, eventually people have figured out that they are a PITA to keep clean over time. The newer designs with simpler track at the bottom are better, but still not great. For a co...
by curmudgeon
Tue Jul 07, 2015 3:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Provence Travel
Replies: 19
Views: 1383

Re: Provence Travel

For a smaller town, St Remy has a bit more in the way of options for hotels, B&Bs, and restaurants, along with a convenient location. It's not as picturesque as the "perched villages", but doesn't "roll up the sidewalks" quite so much at night. Market day at L'Isle Sur La Sor...
by curmudgeon
Fri Jun 26, 2015 1:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Suggestions for an extended summer getaway
Replies: 8
Views: 1040

Re: Suggestions for an extended summer getaway

Nothing against Utah. Just unsure how cool the weather is in summer, so I'd rather gravitate further north - from latitude 45 north and up. Elevation can be a substitute for being farther north (if the thinner air doesn't bother you). Flagstaff AZ, for example, is at 7000 feet and tends to be fairl...
by curmudgeon
Fri Jun 26, 2015 1:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Suggestions for an extended summer getaway
Replies: 8
Views: 1040

Re: Suggestions for an extended summer getaway

I would definitely look at VRBO. For a longer-term rental, rates can be significantly negotiable. In general, though, you are looking at staying during "prime season" for most of these areas; the 3-4 months of peak season may represent 90% of the years rental income, and so be priced accor...
by curmudgeon
Sat Jun 13, 2015 12:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How/where to get rid of old gasoline
Replies: 35
Views: 3880

Re: How/where to get rid of old gasoline

My preferred way of disposal for old gasoline would be to run it through some piece of old, not very picky power equipment. Probably mixed 50/50 with fresh gas. Maybe something like an old 2-cycle outboard, or an old tractor. Alternately, just add one gallon in 10 for automotive use in something tha...
by curmudgeon
Sat May 30, 2015 1:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling home - unexpected competition
Replies: 111
Views: 13329

Re: Selling home - unexpected competition

Except in AZ, you'd have another million dollars in your account. I mean, sure, if the $500k house in AZ is paid off and the $1.5 million house in CA is paid off, living expenses are pretty similar... But in AZ, you'd have a million dollars more in your accounts to spend on other stuff. Yep. For me...
by curmudgeon
Thu May 28, 2015 7:41 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: After you pay off your house...then what?
Replies: 26
Views: 3626

Re: After you pay off your house...then what?

If it were me, and I figured my investments and retirement accounts were on a solid trajectory, I would probably put half of the extra into lifestyle (and still sock the other half away in some form). But think seriously about the lifestyle expansion, and do something that gives you satisfaction an...
by curmudgeon
Thu May 28, 2015 12:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: SSD + HDD good option for upgrading desktop PC?
Replies: 47
Views: 4388

Re: SSD + HDD good option for upgrading desktop PC?

Windows 8 actually made big improvements in startup time, even with an HDD. I'm hoping that Win 10 will retain that improvement (along with hopefully fixing the user interface to understand not everyone is using a tablet or phone). I haven't actually bothered to pull down one of the test releases to...
by curmudgeon
Wed May 27, 2015 10:21 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: After you pay off your house...then what?
Replies: 26
Views: 3626

Re: After you pay off your house...then what?

If it were me, and I figured my investments and retirement accounts were on a solid trajectory, I would probably put half of the extra into lifestyle (and still sock the other half away in some form). But think seriously about the lifestyle expansion, and do something that gives you satisfaction and...
by curmudgeon
Wed May 27, 2015 1:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tips for extended European Trip
Replies: 23
Views: 1813

Re: Tips for extended European Trip

For an extended and spread out trip like that, I would think about getting two cheapish smart phones with a prepaid european carrier. Maybe get them at a phone store in your first country, or alternately, get a unlocked multi-band phone at home (or get your sprint phones unlocked if applicable). If ...
by curmudgeon
Wed May 27, 2015 1:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling home - unexpected competition
Replies: 111
Views: 13329

Re: Selling home - unexpected competition

One more point. The highest dollar offer is not necessarily the one you want to take. You need to have some consideration of how likely the buyer is to actually close the deal when accepting. In a hot market, some buyers may be blasting out multiple offers without due diligence. It's not super easy ...
by curmudgeon
Tue May 26, 2015 9:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling home - unexpected competition
Replies: 111
Views: 13329

Re: Selling home - unexpected competition

Wait until Thursday night. Specifically ask your agent for all the offers (don't let him/her "forget" one). Review them, take the three highest that look solid, and send replies asking for their "best and highest" offer. If you want, you might say "best and highest over $850...
by curmudgeon
Mon May 25, 2015 5:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do Bogleheads plan to utilize Independent Living facilities?
Replies: 56
Views: 3712

Re: Do Bogleheads plan to utilize Independent Living facilities?

I consider this a likely possibility. The specific path might depend on circumstances as time goes along. If we were to go for a "buy in" CCRC type of community, I'd want to dig fairly deeply into the contracts and finances, as I've seen significant conflicts arise between management compa...
by curmudgeon
Thu May 21, 2015 1:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Inherited money and Roth contributions
Replies: 6
Views: 551

Re: Inherited money and Roth contributions

At the 180K income level, I think your parents income is too high for direct Roth contributions (whether from inherited funds or wages). They might be able to do "backdoor Roth"; do a search or look in the wiki for more information. Backdoor Roth is generally only practical if they don't h...
by curmudgeon
Thu May 21, 2015 11:56 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: homeowner vacancy insurance - yikes
Replies: 18
Views: 1443

Re: homeowner vacancy insurance - yikes

I think if you dig down deeper into your current policy, you will find that the basic structure coverage remains intact. While it's certainly possible for vandalism, especially unchecked, to cause extensive (and expensive) damage, I'd probably live with the reduced coverage myself. I'd be more comfo...
by curmudgeon
Mon May 18, 2015 11:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Huge Problem With First Home
Replies: 28
Views: 5215

Re: Huge Problem With First Home

I'm not quite sure what the big deal is about the termite damage, but without seeing it myself, it's difficult to give an informed opinion. There are always people who are willing to tear into things and charge you a lot of money, but that doesn't necessarily mean you have a real problem. The roof l...
by curmudgeon
Tue May 12, 2015 8:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should we purchase home without permits?
Replies: 70
Views: 4724

Re: Should we purchase home without permits?

The biggest thing in my mind here is that you need to think of this purchase as needing some extra "contingency funds" in your budget. Older houses need repairs and updating whether there were permits in the past or not. I've had to deal with plenty of major issues on older houses where th...
by curmudgeon
Tue May 12, 2015 8:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: I Hate Vacations
Replies: 113
Views: 10583

Re: I Hate Vacations

I do find that I have to exercise some care in managing vacation time. Between my wife and I, there is always a temptation to come up with "just one more stop", which can lead to too little relaxation. We try to conciously build in down time, and don't fret if one of us wants a quieter day...
by curmudgeon
Mon May 11, 2015 11:09 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Seeking input on vehicle purchase
Replies: 19
Views: 1850

Re: Seeking input on vehicle purchase

I've been pretty content with the Nissan Rogue that we bought last fall. The nice thing is that there is a range of quite good vehicles available today. I was down to somewhat subtle points in my decision. Nissan has a relatively longer experience with the CVT transmission in the Rogue/Sentra platfo...
by curmudgeon
Wed May 06, 2015 11:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: TradingPlaces' advice on travel awards
Replies: 260
Views: 324904

Re: TradingPlaces' advice on travel awards

I'm not into the manufactured spending, but I thought I'd share how we generated miles for (nearly) free flights on an upcoming Europe trip. Some threads on this board made me look a little closer at the potential for generating FF miles with little cost or inconvenience. I don't travel much for wor...
by curmudgeon
Wed May 06, 2015 11:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Free time in Prague and Amsterdam .. what to see?
Replies: 18
Views: 1163

Re: Free time in Prague and Amsterdam .. what to see?

I was actually disappointed in the canal tour we did in Amsterdam. It might have been the tide level in part, but it felt like we were well below the street level and couldn't see as much as I would have liked. We will use the trams more on the next trip (we're actually planning a few days in both t...
by curmudgeon
Fri May 01, 2015 5:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Advice on trip to Vienna
Replies: 21
Views: 1864

Re: Advice on trip to Vienna

We've got a few days planned in Vienna later this year. I haven't been further east in Austria than Salzkammergut, so I appreciate this thread. It is nice to get an alternative picture to supplement the guidebook stuff.
by curmudgeon
Fri May 01, 2015 2:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Telemarketing by Cell /Increase with Consumer Cellular
Replies: 32
Views: 1995

Re: Telemarketing by Cell /Increase with Consumer Cellular

Do you think it's possible that telecom providers could be selling the phone numbers to marketers? I really doubt that Consumer Cellular or other mainstream telecom providers are selling your number to telemarketers (though USPS does sell your change-of-address notifications...). I wouldn't be surp...
by curmudgeon
Fri May 01, 2015 12:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Telemarketing by Cell /Increase with Consumer Cellular
Replies: 32
Views: 1995

Re: Telemarketing by Cell /Increase with Consumer Cellular

I wonder if the number porting process itself generates some activity which is being picked up by some number list collecter. I noticed a distinct increase in spam calls and texts (though still avg only a few every couple of weeks) when I ported my cell number from verizon to at&t. I DO try to k...
by curmudgeon
Tue Apr 28, 2015 7:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What is the best roofing material?
Replies: 17
Views: 1969

Re: What is the best roofing material?

If it is really 20-year old shake in socal, then it should be (ETA: was required at time of installation) fire retardent treated. It might (or not) have significant additional life left, that's specific to the actual material quality and conditions. Presumably if they were bothering to use shakes on...
by curmudgeon
Mon Apr 27, 2015 11:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Organ shoes
Replies: 10
Views: 1462

Re: Organ shoes

I don't play the organ, but several family members do or did. At home, I think playing in socks would be a good starting point (unless there's something odd about your pedal set). Wide feet would make it a little more difficult with shoes. If playing in shoes, I'd think something like a light dress ...
by curmudgeon
Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [get music from a smartphone to an old car stereo]
Replies: 14
Views: 1177

Re: [get music from a smartphone to an old car stereo]

I tried the FM transmitter thing and wasn't happy, so I just bit the bullet and put in an aftermarket stereo with usb input. I got mine through Crutchfield, they have a good website and reasonable prices on the extra bits that make it fit cleanly with your dash and wiring. You can also get stereos w...
by curmudgeon
Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:15 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Early Retirement with 401(k)'s and IRA's
Replies: 16
Views: 2133

Re: Early Retirement with 401(k)'s and IRA's

Sara, One thing that I would do is to make sure to have at least a small Roth IRA account now, even if you pay high taxes on the initial funding. If you can do a "backdoor Roth", even better. If you have pre-existing IRAs, and your income is too high for direct Roth contribution, then just...
by curmudgeon
Fri Apr 24, 2015 8:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Hypothetical "Can he pull the plug?" [Retire early]
Replies: 39
Views: 3922

Re: Hypothetical "Can he pull the plug?"

Two important factors on the health insurance cost factors: 1) The ACA rates you see now will typically go UP as you age (depending on details of your state). 2) Even though the rates will go up with age, they are still well below what a true market would be for your age (you are being subsidised by...
by curmudgeon
Tue Apr 21, 2015 9:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much do you pay in Property Taxes?
Replies: 188
Views: 12713

Re: How much do you pay in Property Taxes?

SF Bay Area CA
3200sf, 1/2 acre
In the past 10 years, market value has ranged from about $800k to $1.4m. Prop 13 assessed value about $975k
$11k/year prop tax (incl sewer). 1% base rate plus about .2% of various add-ons.
by curmudgeon
Wed Apr 08, 2015 10:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Poll: What is the credit limit of your credit card?
Replies: 56
Views: 4679

Re: Poll: What is the credit limit of your credit card?

We have an assortment of cards. Most probably have limits in five figures. Occasionally we might have $2-4K on a card during the month. I don't pay much attention to it, but our "utilization percentage" (balance/limit) is probably pretty low. I have the impression credit ratings care about...
by curmudgeon
Wed Apr 08, 2015 8:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tree roots growing into sewer lines
Replies: 41
Views: 2520

Re: Tree roots growing into sewer lines

I would put the rootx down first, so the roots have a chance to absorb it. Then a week or two later have someone run an auger down the line to clear it out (don't know that I'd bother with the camera, though it would be good to know if a section of the pipe has significantly collapsed). Repeat the r...
by curmudgeon
Wed Apr 08, 2015 1:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Closing out my first 'snowbirding' winter
Replies: 84
Views: 11656

Re: where is the best place to go for snowbird

where is the best place to go for snowbird It depends on what you want. We have retired friends who go to Mexico, to a place they own down there with another retired couple. I believe they are getting a little tired of the same place though. We have other retired friends who drive a camper to Mexic...
by curmudgeon
Mon Apr 06, 2015 10:31 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Capital gain on primary residence
Replies: 20
Views: 1889

Re: Capital gain on primary residence

I think nobody should be taxed at all, regardless how much I profit, if I put all the proceed into another primary home. If I decide to stay at my place forever and somehow I need to move after I retire, then I will have to find a place of lesser value just so I can pay taxes...!? So I kinda have t...
by curmudgeon
Mon Apr 06, 2015 6:26 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Capital gain on primary residence
Replies: 20
Views: 1889

Re: Capital gain on primary residence

Yes, it is a good idea to keep an eye on the tax situation, but you do need to keep it in context. It can be worth running a few scenarios periodically just to understand the implications. Staying put and just paying the eventual tax bill is not the end of the world. Sometimes there are specific loc...
by curmudgeon
Fri Apr 03, 2015 1:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Help/advice with Europe trip (France+/-Greece)
Replies: 22
Views: 1619

Re: Help/advice with Europe trip (France+/-Greece)

For my wife and I, with this much time I'd probably spend ~ 1 week in Paris, with day trips to Chartres and Versaille, and a week in a countryside location (with a rental car). Good options for the second part would be: Normandy/Brittany, Provence, or Alsace. Trying to add in another location which ...
by curmudgeon
Thu Apr 02, 2015 3:37 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Which brokers do hassle-free Roth cnvrsn recharacterizations
Replies: 25
Views: 2027

Re: Which brokers do hassle-free Roth cnvrsn recharacterizat

I have had good experience with Schwab over the past 10 years -- both creating new Roth accounts and recharacterizing all or part of a conversion. Never any hassle and never an error on the part of Schwab. I've also found it easy to combine Roth accounts once I know that I will not be recharacteriz...
by curmudgeon
Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Implications of the "Cadillac" tax of the ACA
Replies: 29
Views: 3332

Re: Implications of the "Cadillac" tax of the ACA

There are lots of variations around this topic, and it's easy to misunderstand various points. The value reported on W2s in box 12-DD is definitely a bit opaque. If you've got a large group employer plan, you tend to be somewhat insulated from some of the pricing. ACA plans can also hide some of the...
by curmudgeon
Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Extreme Roth IRA Horse Race
Replies: 20
Views: 2412

Re: Extreme Roth IRA Horse Race

Overall, this gets $55 into the Roth IRA with a tax on either $36.20 or $20. So in the worst case, you lost $1.20 on the spread to reduce taxable income from $56.20 to $36.20. This is 6% ($1.20/$20). That is better than my tax bracket and this was literally the first example I could find. I am sure...
by curmudgeon
Tue Mar 31, 2015 7:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Extreme Roth IRA Horse Race
Replies: 20
Views: 2412

Re: Extreme Roth IRA Horse Race

I haven't seen those magic options that let you do this efficiently. Seems like the spreads will get you. It seems like it's against SEC(?) rules to trade with yourself in two accounts, which would help get around the spreads. Maybe you could do it via the "dark trading" platforms or some...
by curmudgeon
Tue Mar 31, 2015 3:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Extreme Roth IRA Horse Race
Replies: 20
Views: 2412

Re: Extreme Roth IRA Horse Race

I haven't seen those magic options that let you do this efficiently. Seems like the spreads will get you. It seems like it's against SEC(?) rules to trade with yourself in two accounts, which would help get around the spreads. Maybe you could do it via the "dark trading" platforms or some ...
by curmudgeon
Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Implications of the "Cadillac" tax of the ACA
Replies: 29
Views: 3332

Re: Implications of the "Cadillac" tax of the ACA

I'm still not seeing where there's a problem. A $27,500 threshold is huge, even if it includes HSA contributions. For more than 99% of people, this is just does not need to be on their radar at all. I just did the calculations- subtract the HSA contributions for the year, and divide the threshold a...
by curmudgeon
Mon Mar 30, 2015 1:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Implications of the "Cadillac" tax of the ACA
Replies: 29
Views: 3332

Re: Implications of the "Cadillac" tax of the ACA

I was under the impression that the "Cadillac tax" was one of those provisions which was quietly expected to ensnare more and more people over time (and that it was given a delayed fuse to avoid the early political heat). Reading the IRS pdf makes clear this whole area of the law is still ...
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: 26
Views: 3324

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
Wed Mar 25, 2015 9:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Going over gift tax limits
Replies: 20
Views: 1908

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 11:55 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Going over gift tax limits
Replies: 20
Views: 1908

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 12:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help w/ adult child hard-wired for poor financial decisions?
Replies: 45
Views: 5398

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
Tue Mar 24, 2015 3:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Going over gift tax limits
Replies: 20
Views: 1908

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
Sat Mar 21, 2015 6:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TurboTax Deluxe
Replies: 20
Views: 2101

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 ...

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