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Re: On average, how often do you check your investment balan

Adding up total balances, probably once a month. Specific accounts more often, especially if I've got some short tem position open (I trade a bit in tax-deferred accounts).
by curmudgeon
Thu Dec 18, 2014 1:37 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: On average, how often do you check your investment balances?
Replies: 53
Views: 3107

Re: Ski questions from a Southerner

Most ski areas have beginner packages that include a lesson, beginner lift ticket, and ski rentals for not much more than a standard ticket. A lesson definitely helps to get you started. Do the lesson in the morning, then spend the afternoon practicing on your own, at your own pace. Some form of wat...
by curmudgeon
Wed Dec 17, 2014 9:36 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ski questions from a Southerner
Replies: 24
Views: 1493

Re: Selling my house

A lot depends on the area and specifics of your local market. Selling privately can be a reasonable mode, but make sure you understand the local RE market first. Spend a little time on sites such as redfin and zillow to see what has sold in the past year, and at what price. If you live in a neighbor...
by curmudgeon
Wed Dec 17, 2014 4:25 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling my house
Replies: 7
Views: 811

Re: Need help with men's exercise clothes please

I started exercising a lot more this year, and definitely found that moving to the newer exercise fabrics is a big step up from cotton. Look for the stuff that says "moisture wicking" in general. I get Champion brand underwear at Costco for a pretty low price that works well. For shirts an...
by curmudgeon
Mon Dec 15, 2014 6:27 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need help with men's exercise clothes please
Replies: 54
Views: 3091

Re: How to balance hassle with money/tax issues

I consider this balance and try to find my own comfort zone. I try not to alter or distort my life to optimize too greatly. It can be hard to really keep a good perspective on the relative value of some of these actions. I try to minimize my taxes, but I don't really sweat it that much if I end up g...
by curmudgeon
Mon Dec 15, 2014 2:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to balance hassle with money/tax issues
Replies: 7
Views: 570

Re: How do you figure out the best location to buy a house?

There is both micro location to consider, and macro location. Under the category of micro location, I would put things like relative value of neighboring houses, nearby high voltage lines, freeway noise, street traffic. Under macro location factors I would think about relative school quality, tax ra...
by curmudgeon
Mon Dec 15, 2014 1:38 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do you figure out the best location to buy a house?
Replies: 40
Views: 2900

Re: SS Spouse along with GPO Question

Since your wife applied early and started receiving benefits at age 62, her spousal benefit is also reduced. Her widow benefits, should you go first, will not be reduced. If she only applied for retirement benefits at 62 and waited for spousal benefits until her FRA, her spousal benefit will not be...
by curmudgeon
Sat Dec 13, 2014 4:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: SS Spouse along with GPO Question
Replies: 9
Views: 708

Re: "Why Retirement at 65 is a Fairy Tale"

This thread has been somewhat interesting (and more relevant than the original article). As one of the "boomer" generation, I see a wide variety of retirement preparedness among my peers. I definitely see the scenarios where people are unable to find well-paying work in their career field ...
by curmudgeon
Fri Dec 12, 2014 5:34 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "Why Retirement at 65 is a Fairy Tale"
Replies: 117
Views: 11487

Re: Gutters, drains and such

The heavy rain generated one small leak in my roof, and one in my rental house. Guess I know what I'll be doing tomorrow. I'm pretty sure I know the source in my roof (powered attic vent), but the rental house leak may take some crawling around in the attic. Such fun. Fortunately no major problems i...
by curmudgeon
Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gutters, drains and such
Replies: 2
Views: 1060

Re: Why did you quit your job?

Hi-tech hobo here. Somewhat typical of the industry. Job 1, for about 5 years out of college. Decent people and interesting job, but I could see the writing on the wall that the fun work was likely to go away (and the commute get worse with corp reshuffle), so took an offer across the country for a ...
by curmudgeon
Thu Dec 11, 2014 9:33 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why did you quit your job?
Replies: 37
Views: 4239

Re: (Poll) Did you tap into emergency fund in the past 10 ye

The closest I've come in my adult lifetime was carrying a balance on the credit card one month, about 30 years ago. It was more a matter of convenience rather than necessity, but it was a worthwhile educational experience, as I learned to read the fine print on the way interest is charged if you don...
by curmudgeon
Thu Dec 11, 2014 4:26 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: (Poll) Did you tap into emergency fund in the past 10 years?
Replies: 54
Views: 3471

Re: Help with seeing tax consequences, scenios for low incom

Taxcaster (free from the TurboTax folks) is an easy way to play with various tax and credit scenarios.

https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/calculators/taxcaster/
by curmudgeon
Thu Dec 11, 2014 2:42 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help with seeing tax consequences, scenios for low income
Replies: 7
Views: 914

Re: POLL: Timing of Jan 1st payments

archbish99 wrote:I'm curious about the folks who've said they pay in December for a reason other than bunching. Anyone want to elucidate?


A tax deduction in hand is better than one that is a the whim of congress next year.
by curmudgeon
Wed Dec 10, 2014 8:56 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: POLL: Timing of Jan 1st payments
Replies: 9
Views: 1462

Re: Concurrent Buy/Sell of Primary Home?

Your choices somewhat depend on the state/speed of the RE market in your area. It used to be quite common for people to do "move-up" purchases contingent on selling their previous home. Nowdays in hot markets, that is much more of a challenge. If larger houses in your market sell much slow...
by curmudgeon
Wed Dec 10, 2014 1:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Concurrent Buy/Sell of Primary Home?
Replies: 3
Views: 347

Re: Pay down mortgage or do nothing?

When I did refi's, I tried to also cut the mortgage term. It helps avoid the "forever payment". Having a house paid off has some distinct value in ER, as the implied rent you get by living there doesn't show up as income on the tax return. If you are still making payments, that's money you...
by curmudgeon
Wed Dec 10, 2014 1:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pay down mortgage or do nothing?
Replies: 27
Views: 2396

Re: Quintessential Australia/New Zealand Things To Do/Visit

Highly recommend Great Barrier Reef - Cairns or Port Douglas are decent options as a base for that, but there are lots of others. I personally don't set a priority for Ayers/Uluru, maybe because I've spent plenty of time in the southwest US deserts. The next time I visit Australia, I'd like to hit t...
by curmudgeon
Wed Dec 10, 2014 3:02 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Quintessential Australia/New Zealand Things To Do/Visit
Replies: 17
Views: 1316

Re: POLL: Timing of Jan 1st payments

Bunching doesn't do much for us, because most of our tax deductions are inflexible (and there aren't so many marginal rates these days). It may become more meaningful when we retire. I do sometime push or pull donations to one year or another based on what I think our combined marginal rate will be ...
by curmudgeon
Mon Dec 08, 2014 3:57 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: POLL: Timing of Jan 1st payments
Replies: 9
Views: 1462

Re: 54 with potential ER at 55-- Dreaming?

In my opinion, you are there, though it may not quite feel like it because of the mortgage. If you keep working longer, it should be because you want to, not because you need to. DO make sure, though, that your budget accounts for taxes. Staying longer might be because the work gives you focus and i...
by curmudgeon
Sat Dec 06, 2014 1:52 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 54 with potential ER at 55-- Dreaming?
Replies: 20
Views: 2948

Re: Retirement Planning: Estimating Med-Insurance Costs

I have a hard time planning for this even five years out. Too many political and economic wild cards in the deck. Since you need some basis for planning, I assume medicare (in US) will operate in some form similar to what it does now when I hit age 65. There are still significant expenses to be paid...
by curmudgeon
Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:02 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retirement Planning: Estimating Med-Insurance Costs
Replies: 12
Views: 923

Re: Buying a kids first car -- considerations?

I provided a car for my kids to drive while they were in high school. It was as much for our convenience as theirs. They mostly paid for gas, unless they were doing a bunch of driving to haul around a younger sibling. We set rules about driving, including not driving other kids during the first six ...
by curmudgeon
Thu Dec 04, 2014 4:35 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a kids first car -- considerations?
Replies: 25
Views: 2580

Re: [Poll] What's Your Tax Prep Strategy?

I've been using TT for the last few years. I don't especially like TT (the interview format drives me nuts), but I'll probably stick with it for another year. I have been cutting down transactions in taxable accounts, so I may shift back to straight forms next year when importing brokerage data is l...
by curmudgeon
Tue Dec 02, 2014 3:56 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [Poll] What's Your Tax Prep Strategy?
Replies: 62
Views: 3291

Re: smartphone over wifi - still possible?

You might try the AT&T GoPhone. You can pick up a Nokia/Microsoft Lumia 635 phone for $99 at Target (or probably Walmart etc). $25/mo prepaid gets you 250 minutes plus unlimited texts. $45/mo gets you unlimited minutes and quite a lot of data. The "Windows phone" has plusses and minuse...
by curmudgeon
Thu Nov 20, 2014 9:36 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: smartphone over wifi - still possible?
Replies: 31
Views: 2670

Re: Vacation in France

In my experience, countryside France is significantly easier with a rental car. Yes, there is public transport, but often the schedule is quite limited, perhaps oriented to workers commutes. While it is possible to do without, places like the villages of Provence are more accessible via car, and you...
by curmudgeon
Wed Nov 19, 2014 8:29 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vacation in France
Replies: 96
Views: 6667

Re: Question About Retiring Early and Social Security

I think what you want is to play with the following: http://www.ssa.gov/retire2/estimator.htm You can put various stop work dates. Unfortunately it assumes that if you stop work before age 62 that you always start collecting at age 62, but you can apply the reverse discounting to get back to later c...
by curmudgeon
Wed Nov 19, 2014 12:30 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Question About Retiring Early and Social Security
Replies: 10
Views: 1984

Re: Chip and Signature (not PIN) in Europe

Metro station automated ticket machine in Spain didn't take either my standard US swipe card or my chip-and-signature card. It wasn't a surprise to me, so I just used cash. No problems in stores and restaurants with my standard swipe card. I try to minimize my use of credit card for small purchases ...
by curmudgeon
Tue Nov 18, 2014 11:31 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chip and Signature (not PIN) in Europe
Replies: 15
Views: 1073

Re: Any European skiing experts???

We were in Rome over Christmas a couple of years ago. The Colosseum was open (and free!) on Christmas day. But it is true that there are a fair bit of holiday closures. I would probably look on tripadvisor forums for more details on ski options. You don't want to end up someplace where the runs are ...
by curmudgeon
Sun Nov 16, 2014 11:53 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any European skiing experts???
Replies: 9
Views: 925

Re: Deciding When to Retire

Given your scenario, I think it's really a matter of personal preference. It's worth running some financial evaluations, but I suspect there is no issue on that side. It's probably worth spending some time with various retirement planning software, such as firesim and the Fidelity in-depth one. You ...
by curmudgeon
Sun Nov 16, 2014 3:44 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Deciding When to Retire
Replies: 47
Views: 5498

Re: Speaking with an Aging Relative about care & money

A few more thoughts: 1) Try to get a feel for the personality of some of the likely places in your area. Sometimes the nicest physical facility isn't necessarily the best fit. She will likely be happier with a place that has people who will have things in common with her - this can be cultural/relig...
by curmudgeon
Sat Nov 15, 2014 1:22 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Speaking with an Aging Relative about care & money
Replies: 24
Views: 2484

Re: Speaking with an Aging Relative about care & money

It can definitely be a challenge. Definitely consider the issues involved in uprooting and moving cross country, though by the time you hit the mid 90's you've generally outlived all your friends and peers, and may have less attachment. It's still a definite challenge to get all the new medical and ...
by curmudgeon
Thu Nov 13, 2014 10:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Speaking with an Aging Relative about care & money
Replies: 24
Views: 2484

Re: Pre Retirement Checklist?

I would say that creating it yourself would be the best thing to do. It gives you more time to think about what matters. In the case of involuntary sudden retirement, a checklist might be more useful, though. For a planned retirement, there are lots of potential paths, which will have different need...
by curmudgeon
Thu Nov 13, 2014 12:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pre Retirement Checklist?
Replies: 6
Views: 995

Re: Yes, another Roth conversion question!

62, married, retired. Pension begins at 65, wait til 70 for SS, will file and suspend at 66 so wife gets spousal benefit. Using Taxcaster to project my future RMD/taxes, etc, even if I converted $30,000/year for six years, starting at age 65, I would still be in the 25% marginal bracket at age 70 1...
by curmudgeon
Wed Nov 12, 2014 7:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Yes, another Roth conversion question!
Replies: 4
Views: 559

Re: Transition from Saving to Spending

If I die and my spouse inherits, no immediate problem. She just rolls it over into her own IRA and leaves the grand reckoning to later. But when she dies, our kids have a tax problem. At best, they get to roll their shares into an "Inherited IRA" and take RMDs using my life expectancy (an...
by curmudgeon
Wed Nov 12, 2014 7:04 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Transition from Saving to Spending
Replies: 37
Views: 4860

Re: How do you track the value of your illiquid assets ?

I know the area that Madbrain refers to, and yes, the automated valuation programs are pretty useless there. On my block, there are houses ranging from 1000sf to 6000sf, 5 to 70 years old, and widely varying construction quality. Keeping track of the house valuation can be a somewhat relevant (and c...
by curmudgeon
Wed Nov 12, 2014 1:24 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do you track the value of your illiquid assets ?
Replies: 50
Views: 3251

Re: Should I buy this car?

If you don't want extra features, the lightly used market for cars is pretty thin. Many people either want or get upsold a bunch of extra stuff (and those are the people more likely to resell sooner). For base models, if you plan to keep it for quite a long time, it can be worth just buying new. I w...
by curmudgeon
Tue Nov 11, 2014 9:50 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I buy this car?
Replies: 17
Views: 2895

Re: If your networth is over $3 million, how did you do it?

I suppose we are about at that level. In our case it roughly comes from: 10% inheritance 30% retirement savings/investment in 401K and rollover IRA (largely equities) 30% real estate (about half through appreciation, and half through mortgage paydown) 30% post-tax savings and stock options Largely b...
by curmudgeon
Tue Nov 11, 2014 12:57 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: If your networth is over $3 million, how did you do it?
Replies: 270
Views: 33342

Re: Should I shelter all my income?

It doesn't seem like there would be much point in sheltering ALL your income at these levels. You could run some tax estimates to get a picture of your tax bill (maybe try taxcaster, which is available free). I would guess that it might be worth sheltering $20K or so, depending on what your tax scen...
by curmudgeon
Mon Nov 10, 2014 3:34 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I shelter all my income?
Replies: 3
Views: 698

Re: HSA Contribution

To the best of my understanding, you can only contribute to the individual limit when your wife/family do not have HDHP coverage.
by curmudgeon
Mon Nov 10, 2014 11:31 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA Contribution
Replies: 4
Views: 352

Re: Supreme Court Blues

If you can afford insurance without subsidy, why would it matter? Health insurance existed before the ACA, it would continue to exist without it. Because those who cannot afford it without the subsidy will drop out, causing the risk pool to shrink, and rates to rise. I guess, indirectly, we get a s...
by curmudgeon
Sat Nov 08, 2014 12:34 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Supreme Court Blues
Replies: 34
Views: 2210

Re: What have you done to cut costs this year?

We've generally had a pretty good handle on costs in our household. For example, my wife tends to know which of the three major grocery options has the best price for our most heavily used items (it's often different stores for different things). Most of that runs on autopilot for us. We still do al...
by curmudgeon
Fri Nov 07, 2014 4:09 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What have you done to cut costs this year?
Replies: 134
Views: 12389

Re: What To Do With $85K Inheritance?

Personally, I'd start by putting enough into the home mortgage to get rid of the PMI. You can run the numbers, but I suspect that would be the best low-risk ROI. The rest I might sit on for a while, at least until the career/relo discussion settles out. If all your rentals are in one area, that's qu...
by curmudgeon
Wed Nov 05, 2014 10:25 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What To Do With $85K Inheritance?
Replies: 46
Views: 2848

Re: Planning to Retire at 55

I agree that you are in good shape. A common strategy that folks with adequate savings consider would be to delay taking your SS until age 70. That gives a bigger chunk of inflation-protected income for the long term. Your wife might start taking now (or delay as well). It means you draw more from y...
by curmudgeon
Wed Nov 05, 2014 8:46 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Planning to Retire at 55
Replies: 22
Views: 3481

Re: Too much house?

I would base my decision more on whether I expected to stay in place for a reasonable amount of time (preferably 5+ years), and then start weighing other factors. Remember that when you are paying a mortgage (especially at lower interest rates), you are socking away a decent chunk in equity each mon...
by curmudgeon
Tue Nov 04, 2014 8:23 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Too much house?
Replies: 10
Views: 2114

Re: 2015 Suburu Outback

We were thinking of buying a Subaru Outback/Forester as well but now we are seriously considering the new Nissan Rouge. The third row (even with cramped leg space) comes handy when we have to haul more kids or ride along with grand parents. I bought a new Nissan Rogue last month. Very happy with ri...
by curmudgeon
Mon Nov 03, 2014 3:48 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2015 Suburu Outback
Replies: 52
Views: 5543

Re: 2015 Suburu Outback

Beware of Subaru dealers who try to get you take their 30K, 60K and 90K service packages. We're getting close to 30k and the dealer is quoting $650 for the 30K service. For example, they recommend replacing brake fluid at 30K. I don't ever recall replacing brake fluid on any vehicle unless brake wo...
by curmudgeon
Mon Nov 03, 2014 12:41 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2015 Suburu Outback
Replies: 52
Views: 5543

Re: Do you optimize for consistent cash flow? (max 401k earl

It's definitely worth understanding the details of your company match model. They vary widely. Some have really stupid quirks. My company only matches a limited amount on a paycheck-by-paycheck basis, so I have to spread the contributions out across the full year to get the full match. What's really...
by curmudgeon
Sun Nov 02, 2014 11:53 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you optimize for consistent cash flow? (max 401k early)
Replies: 7
Views: 868

Re: Are manufacturer vehicle owner warranties transferrable

Definitely read the fine print. Lots of warranties carry through ownership changes, but sometimes there are odd conditions.
by curmudgeon
Thu Oct 23, 2014 9:17 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Are manufacturer vehicle owner warranties transferrable
Replies: 5
Views: 405

Re: Athens and London, what to do and where to stay?

London is a pretty easy city to wing it, but it's not cheap. Don't think there's any need to go to $350/night unless you want a business-type hotel. Even if you do, I wouldn't stay near the Tower, but someplace more central; Marriot County Hall would be central and higher end, or Premier Inn County ...
by curmudgeon
Thu Oct 23, 2014 9:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Athens and London, what to do and where to stay?
Replies: 36
Views: 2081

Re: Car Rental Return Frustration in Spain

My favorite car rental return was in the Cook Islands... It was: 1) park the car in the lot at the terminal 2) put the keys under the floormat and catch your plane. Definitely felt a little odd.
by curmudgeon
Wed Oct 22, 2014 4:04 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Rental Return Frustration in Spain
Replies: 17
Views: 1582

Re: Debit Card was hacked. Should I just use cash from now

This question arises every now and then on the forum. I will not own a debit card. I asked my bank for an ATM only card. Below is a post I made in 2011 on the same subject. The cited article explains why debit cards are not a good idea. Jeff This story appears in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. http://...
by curmudgeon
Wed Oct 22, 2014 3:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Debit Card was hacked. Should I just use cash from now on?
Replies: 56
Views: 3983

Re: Car Rental Return Frustration in Spain

Returning a rental car at a train station in the big city can often be frustrating. We get used to these big lots with plenty of signage at the airports, so the return parking in the downtown is a real challenge. I've seen similar situations in Munich and Nice. It's not one of those things that you ...
by curmudgeon
Wed Oct 22, 2014 2:25 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Rental Return Frustration in Spain
Replies: 17
Views: 1582
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