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Re: Daily Telegraph: World War One Archive

Fascinating to see this. It gives some perspective to those times to see the events in a contemporaneous manner. There definitely seemed to be, at times, an awareness of the potential breadth of the war in the days leading up to it. Brings back memories of playing the old board game "Diplomacy&...
by curmudgeon
Wed Jul 30, 2014 4:41 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Daily Telegraph: World War One Archive
Replies: 15
Views: 1063

Re: US car rental insurance for foreign tourist ?

My understanding is that most (all?) foreign credit cards don't offer the car rental coverage that *some* US cards do. One solution would be to to rent through a consolidator that packages insurance and rental in one price; do some searching on the tripadvisor forums for references on this. It's pro...
by curmudgeon
Mon Jul 21, 2014 1:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: US car rental insurance for foreign tourist ?
Replies: 9
Views: 810

Re: How much energy does water heater use when I'm not home?

Water heaters have added more insulation in the past few years, so I'm sure newer ones are more efficient than they were 20 years ago. There's still definitely some heat loss, though. Rather than turning off the breaker, I'd just turn the temp setting all the way down to the lowest value when you ar...
by curmudgeon
Fri Jul 18, 2014 6:02 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much energy does water heater use when I'm not home?
Replies: 32
Views: 2727

Re: 2 days in San Francisco

Here's one for both art and a great view. A nice change from the typical SF tourist stuff. http://untouristsf.com/2013/05/12/16th-avenue-tiled-steps/ Oh, and I'll second the farmer's market at the Ferry Building. Lots of great food items. Some good shops there even when the market is not on, as well.
by curmudgeon
Fri Jul 18, 2014 12:13 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2 days in San Francisco
Replies: 25
Views: 1642

Re: Poll - Do You Read Businessweek?

If I was going to subscribe to a business magazine it would be The Economist. One of the few really literate publications left. I subscribed to the Economist for many years, but gave it up a while ago. It seemed to have drifted into becoming to much of an opinion magazine, and I just wasn't that in...
by curmudgeon
Thu Jul 17, 2014 10:03 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Poll - Do You Read Businessweek?
Replies: 28
Views: 1909

Re: Wife has no retirement options- is breadwinner

It can be quite straightforward and low cost for an employer to set up a "Simple IRA". I think you can shelter up to $12K that way. A drawback to this is that once you've got that set up, you can no longer do simple "backdoor Roth" when your income gets over the Roth contribution...
by curmudgeon
Thu Jul 17, 2014 3:35 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Wife has no retirement options- is breadwinner
Replies: 36
Views: 3226

Re: Insurance Inflation ?

I'm wondering what the real inflation rate of health insurance is for budgeting? I have read it's more than 3% per year and have even read 6%. So, what do you guys see for the inflation rate with your own insurance in retirement before Medicare kicks in and THEN what is real inflation of Medicare r...
by curmudgeon
Wed Jul 16, 2014 1:16 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Insurance Inflation ?
Replies: 14
Views: 815

Re: Other forums of same high Quality?

I like the tripadvisor forums, though they have a lot of repetition. I've looked at cruisecritic once or twice, but I've been turned off by the poor attitudes and interactions that seem too common on the board. Citydata forums can be a possibility.
by curmudgeon
Mon Jul 14, 2014 10:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Other forums of same high Quality?
Replies: 6
Views: 1556

Re: Your net worth/investments when you started saving less

We've always tried to keep a sense of balance in our lives, so our spending habits have undergone a gradual change. While it's not an explicit decision we made, I suspect we have naturally followed the mode of splitting income increases into some for increased savings and some for spending. Relative...
by curmudgeon
Sun Jul 13, 2014 7:06 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Your net worth/investments when you started saving less
Replies: 17
Views: 2372

Re: Retiring soon setting aside 3 years living expenses

I wonder how much cash for retirees do those free Vanguard investment plans advocate? Here's a link to a study that cash reserves don't work: http://www.kitces.com/blog/Research-Reveals-Cash-Reserve-Strategies-Dont-Work...-Unless-Youre-A-Good-Market-Timer/ I found that posting somewhat interesting,...
by curmudgeon
Sat Jul 12, 2014 7:20 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retiring soon setting aside 3 years living expenses
Replies: 49
Views: 5259

Re: Capital Gains Tax Question

Unless you can establish that you are in the business of buying and selling watches (with reasonable expection of profit), the watch is personal property and the loss is not tax deductible. Same thing applies when you go to sell your car.
by curmudgeon
Fri Jul 11, 2014 2:37 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Capital Gains Tax Question
Replies: 3
Views: 783

Re: When you retire you plan to?

Our current thinking is to move not long after retirement. Someplace closer to at least some of the grandkids. Probably a somewhat smaller, but similar quality house (but maybe half the price because we would be leaving HCOL area). It's possible we'd do a deeper downsizing; to a condo, for example, ...
by curmudgeon
Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:20 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When you retire you plan to?
Replies: 44
Views: 3387

Re: POLL: How Old is Your Newest Motor Vehicle?

8, 9, and 13 years old. The newest one has the most miles, and is also the usual road trip car, so it may get replaced in a year or two.
by curmudgeon
Mon Jul 07, 2014 3:57 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: POLL: How Old is Your Newest Motor Vehicle?
Replies: 37
Views: 2411

Re: Please Help Me Plan A Trip To Italy

I'm planning a trip to Italy in October. I'm curious what people suggest. We're going for a wedding, but plan to arrive a few days early. We'll be in Tuscany, so we'll visit Florence but not Rome. Flight plan is JFK to Pisa with a layover in Munich. I really enjoy Venice (which was somewhat to my s...
by curmudgeon
Fri Jul 04, 2014 1:20 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Please Help Me Plan A Trip To Italy
Replies: 26
Views: 1870

Re: Please Help Me Plan A Trip To Italy

With a week after the cruise, I'd probably just stick to Rome and Venice. You could possibly add in Florence, but it would be somewhat rushed. You can't do any of the cities you mention as reasonable day trips from Rome. Each of those cities is well worth three days if you can work it. Monaco is one...
by curmudgeon
Thu Jul 03, 2014 9:36 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Please Help Me Plan A Trip To Italy
Replies: 26
Views: 1870

Re: Do you set financial goals annually?

I don't really set much in the way of financial goals each year: 1) I generally have an idea of how much I'll likely donate. 2) I max the 401K. 3) I take advantage of any other reasonable tax deferrals. 4) We tend to pay some extra principal on the mortgages (primary and rental) "just because&q...
by curmudgeon
Tue Jul 01, 2014 9:43 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you set financial goals annually?
Replies: 44
Views: 2391

Re: stamp collection

My dad thought that collecting plate blocks from stamps issued in the 50's and 60's was going to be his special retirement booster. As others noted, it was a waste of time and effort, because he didn't understand the volumes involved. Same thing with "proof sets" from the mint. The stamp c...
by curmudgeon
Tue Jul 01, 2014 9:27 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: stamp collection
Replies: 19
Views: 1113

Re: what is my tax bracket after retirement

If the money is in a nondeductible IRA for several decades, hopefully the majority of what you withdraw will be taxable earnings rather than principal. You can also collide with the added taxation of SS benefits as your income increases (a whole 'nother topic, which only applies to some set of folks...
by curmudgeon
Mon Jun 30, 2014 11:07 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: what is my tax bracket after retirement
Replies: 11
Views: 1532

Re: POLL: Mortgage as a negative bond

I don't really let this drive my decision making, but I take a general view that yes, a mortgage has many characteristics of a negative bond. In counter-balance, though, I view the overall home ownership as having some characteristics of a long TIPS position. The house provides an inflation-protecte...
by curmudgeon
Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:46 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: POLL: Mortgage as a negative bond
Replies: 89
Views: 2926

Re: Washington state retirees?

I've been kicking around retirement in that area. Traffic (and the potential worsening) is very definitely something to keep in mind. If you expect to fly out (or pick up visitors) much, being on the north side of Seattle will subject you to a lot of traffic getting to/from the airport. Once you get...
by curmudgeon
Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Washington state retirees?
Replies: 29
Views: 1762

Re: Paid off home as LTC Insurance?

So what happens if there is a downturn in the housing market and it takes you two or three or ten years to sell? Are you prepared to let your house go at rock bottom prices? I'm not too concerned about market timing for selling a house. At the first order, even if health deteriorated quickly, my st...
by curmudgeon
Fri Jun 27, 2014 2:57 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paid off home as LTC Insurance?
Replies: 38
Views: 2005

Re: Low Exp. Ratio 0.0018% - Am I missing something

If this is just company stock, then it is quite possible to have a very low expense ratio. But having your retirement investments heavily into a single company stock is generally a bad idea; ask the folks who were working at Enron how that turned out...
by curmudgeon
Thu Jun 26, 2014 2:50 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Low Exp. Ratio 0.0018% - Am I missing something
Replies: 23
Views: 2539

Re: Best way to send money quickly to parents in Florence, I

I haven't had to do this, but I'd probably look into services from American Express. I tend to think of them as more global in their reach than Western Union.
by curmudgeon
Mon Jun 23, 2014 5:24 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best way to send money quickly to parents in Florence, Italy
Replies: 18
Views: 1524

Re: % of expenses in retirement

It was a bit interesting for me to think between the lines on this one. I gave the common 100-110% answer, but working my way towards a number wasn't completely straighforward, because expenses and cash flow are not identical. This made me realize that I don't really consider my mortgage payment as ...
by curmudgeon
Sun Jun 22, 2014 12:36 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: % of expenses in retirement
Replies: 47
Views: 3273

Re: It is time to retire when you .......

4) ...my cat dies and I am free to travel Had to laugh at that one, but it did sort of strike home. We plan to do more traveling when we retire, as well as likely relocating, and I'm not sure our older cats would do well with that. I used to strike a fairly utilitarian view about pets, and how they...
by curmudgeon
Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:26 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: It is time to retire when you .......
Replies: 104
Views: 9676

Re: Considering Paying off Home

I don't know that I would fully pay it off, but I would look into what kind of interest rate I could get for a 15-yr refi (or maybe even 5/1 ARM). If you could save 1% on interest, especially on a no-cost refi, it might be worth the trouble (the paperwork for a refi can be a pain these days, though).
by curmudgeon
Fri Jun 20, 2014 4:52 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Considering Paying off Home
Replies: 17
Views: 1166

Re: Long Distance Walking

I too found this thread very interesting. I've been using this year to work on my weight and conditioning with some of these types of walks as potential options when retired. We'll see how this pans out. For now, the immediate goal is to be able to enjoy more local backpacking and skiing.
by curmudgeon
Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:17 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Long Distance Walking
Replies: 143
Views: 15477

Re: Home Warranty education needed

I've never been very impressed by home warranties. They typically contract with bottom-feeder service organizations, and will generally try to patch things up (with a substantial service fee each time). Lots of exclusions and fine print. Generally I'd rather stick the money into my emergency fund an...
by curmudgeon
Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:33 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home Warranty education needed
Replies: 10
Views: 678

Re: Shopping at Costco

It's a naive question, but I'll ask anyway. Is there a way you can shop at Costco even though you're not a member? I wanted to buy a few things from there, but don't think I'll use the membership regularly. Is there a way around for people like me? Thanks. Yes. Find a friend who is a member, and pa...
by curmudgeon
Mon Jun 16, 2014 9:03 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [can you] shop at Costco [without a membership?]
Replies: 68
Views: 4841

Re: On the Road/Air/Water Retirement

I've thought about this in various forms. I think one factor to keep in mind is the various expense ratios to help decide what is worthwhile. In my case, I don't think my wife will let us be out of the country for more than three months at a time, because she won't want to be that long away from the...
by curmudgeon
Mon Jun 09, 2014 4:15 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: On the Road/Air/Water Retirement
Replies: 52
Views: 4010

Re: The 2 comma paradox

I feel some of the same concerns. It was a number of years ago that I started noticing more the big daily swings, but maybe because I wasn't seriously contemplating retirement at the time I could still view them more complacently. Now that I'm contemplating ER in the next year or two, it seems to ha...
by curmudgeon
Sun Jun 08, 2014 1:10 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The 2 comma paradox
Replies: 155
Views: 14342

Re: POLL: Do/did you get a match? How much?

3% match in my current company. It's fairly poor relative to my previous jobs in the tech industry which tended to have at least 5% match. On the other hand, the non-salary compensation (options and RSUs) has done pretty well, so I don't scream too much.
by curmudgeon
Sat Jun 07, 2014 1:26 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: POLL: Do/did you get a match? How much?
Replies: 67
Views: 4184

Re: Large Capacity Wine Cooler recommendations

I might consider the alternative of adding temperature management to your existing wine cellar. You might be able to get a small "split system" AC/heat pump installed for a similar price. I have an acquaintance who went this route for his large wine collection. In this case, he closed off ...
by curmudgeon
Fri Jun 06, 2014 6:45 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Large Capacity Wine Cooler recommendations
Replies: 3
Views: 297

Re: Retirement vs. Non-retirement stash

At age 55, I'm about 1:1. If I added real estate equity, it might be 1:1:1. As others note, this is largely the effect of external circumstances. In the early years, as a single-income family, we didn't come close to maxing out 401K, but we did build a lot of RE equity. In more recent years, we've b...
by curmudgeon
Thu Jun 05, 2014 10:35 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retirement vs. Non-retirement stash
Replies: 37
Views: 2274

Re: Should I buy the most expenisve house in the neighborhoo

If the house is clearly way overpriced relative to comps, I'm not sure I would even bother to get involved with it or make an offer. I doubt the sellers are serious, and negotiations are likely to lead nowhere and just drain energy and focus from you which would be better spent looking elsewhere. I ...
by curmudgeon
Wed Jun 04, 2014 11:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I buy the most expensive house in the neighborhood?
Replies: 39
Views: 4294

Re: Poll: Luxury and Happiness

I said very rarely, though I suppose I could have said "never". I generally feel like I get good value for the luxuries I buy, but they don't necessarily contribute to happiness, and I don't expect them to. I've never observed (in myself or others) that happiness or satisfaction in life ha...
by curmudgeon
Wed Jun 04, 2014 9:24 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Poll: Luxury and Happiness
Replies: 141
Views: 8116

Re: Vessel For Real Estate Savings

To me, the question is "need" vs "want" to buy the real estate. If the RE purchase is a high priority to you, I'd just keep the money in some form of savings account. If the RE purchase is more of an overall investment direction, and you wouldn't be bothered by ending up delaying...
by curmudgeon
Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:17 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vessel For Real Estate Savings
Replies: 10
Views: 686

Re: Establishing new state residency before CA home sale

My current CA home has appreciated beyond the tax-exclusion limit and I will pay income tax on the sale. I assume if I've established residency outside of CA the year I sell my CA home, I can avoid the CA state income tax. For those that have done this, I'd appreciate any thoughts. I think there is...
by curmudgeon
Wed Jun 04, 2014 2:40 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Establishing new state residency before CA home sale
Replies: 9
Views: 670

Re: Should I get free SolarCity panels installed?

There is a real potential challenge when it comes time to sell the house. You will have encumbered the title with a long-term lease that may scare away a significant portion of the possible buyers. Your installation may well still have economic value, but many buyers will still be dubious (they'll f...
by curmudgeon
Wed Jun 04, 2014 12:07 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I get free SolarCity panels installed?
Replies: 14
Views: 1247

Re: Living in or near San Diego

1. Many NY/NJ folks will find they miss the activities and pace of life (and the "service with a snarl"). 2. Air flight options tend to be more limited and require connections. 3. They run out of water periodically/perpetually. 4. The more rural areas catch on fire periodically 5. Any time...
by curmudgeon
Mon Jun 02, 2014 8:34 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Living in or near San Diego
Replies: 17
Views: 1381

Re: Considering "horse race" Roth conversion

In general, I haven't been able (or found it worthwhile) to have a Roth IRA. Income is too high for direct contributions, and I've got a large tIRA with many years of 401k rollovers so the backdoor method doesn't really work either. I plan to do a fair bit of Roth conversions in early retirement, b...
by curmudgeon
Thu May 29, 2014 10:12 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Considering "horse race" Roth conversion
Replies: 7
Views: 998

Re: BoA - Paying extra on mortgage principal

I've been thoroughly annoyed with our most recent mortgage on the subject of additional principal payments. And we actually do payments with a paper payment stub and a check. They keep selling the loan servicing rights around to another company, and each time they are really slow about sending out n...
by curmudgeon
Thu May 29, 2014 2:04 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: BoA - Paying extra on mortgage principal
Replies: 26
Views: 2525

Considering "horse race" Roth conversion

In general, I haven't been able (or found it worthwhile) to have a Roth IRA. Income is too high for direct contributions, and I've got a large tIRA with many years of 401k rollovers so the backdoor method doesn't really work either. I plan to do a fair bit of Roth conversions in early retirement, be...
by curmudgeon
Wed May 28, 2014 1:23 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Considering "horse race" Roth conversion
Replies: 7
Views: 998

Re: Worst "Large purchase" ever?

Through a combination of good luck and good management, we haven't really had any large purchases that we really regretted. Some of the most problematic, though: The house we bought in Florida back in the 1980's. Nothing wrong with the house, but we had relocated for a job and after a couple of year...
by curmudgeon
Tue May 27, 2014 11:27 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Worst "Large purchase" ever?
Replies: 110
Views: 11634

Re: Best Large Purchase(s) Ever?

Probably my BMW Z3. I bought it 3 years old, but low mileage. I only paid $22K for it, and it has given me 9 years of driving enjoyment for about $1K/yr depreciation and $500/yr maintainance. I actually probably got just as much fun out of the old 1971 Triumph TR6 that the BMW replaced, but the BMW ...
by curmudgeon
Tue May 27, 2014 10:48 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Large Purchase(s) Ever?
Replies: 45
Views: 3216

Re: owning more cars a cost-saving measure?

My memory seems to tell me that insurance companies tend to base rates on the most expensive of the possible drivers for a given car. If you have two expensive vehicles with two adults and a teen driving, one of the expensive cars gets rated with the teen driver ($$$). If you add a third beater (lia...
by curmudgeon
Mon May 26, 2014 3:15 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: owning more cars a cost-saving measure?
Replies: 16
Views: 2016

Re: Housing Market Catch 22

The only real advantage to having a larger chunk of equity in your situation is that it allows you to "leverage up" to a higher priced property without losing the advantages of a 20% down mortgage (no PMI, no escrow account required). If you really feel you need/want the more expensive pla...
by curmudgeon
Thu May 22, 2014 2:57 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Housing Market Catch 22
Replies: 10
Views: 1254

Re: Any issues giving [relatively expensive] gifts to parent

Much depends on the personalities and mindsets of the people involved. Some parents will have a hard time taking expensive gifts from their kids (others may expect them). Sometimes there are ways to somewhat split the difference in a form that seems less like a large gift and gives more a sense of j...
by curmudgeon
Tue May 20, 2014 10:33 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any issues giving [relatively expensive] gifts to parents?
Replies: 11
Views: 933

Re: West coast snowbird questions

This has helped me to build some perspective. We've always been well over on the buy side of the "buy vs rent" choice, buying our first house at age 23, but I can also look back and see that the two times where we made what I would think of as "non-optimal" buying choices were wh...
by curmudgeon
Mon May 19, 2014 4:34 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: West coast snowbird questions
Replies: 14
Views: 1255

Re: Net weight inaccurate on food items ?

If you are keeping rasperries in a "frost-free" fridge for any length of time, you are dehydrating them due to the low humidity maintained by the fridge. For that matter, most fruits and vegetables are susceptible to this, but rasberries might be one of the more extreme examples due to the...
by curmudgeon
Mon May 19, 2014 4:00 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Net weight inaccurate on food items ?
Replies: 17
Views: 1258
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