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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
Fri Apr 24, 2015 8:31 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Hypothetical "Can he pull the plug?" [Retire early]
Replies: 37
Views: 2669

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
Tue Apr 21, 2015 9:26 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much do you pay in Property Taxes?
Replies: 175
Views: 8056

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 10:26 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Poll: What is the credit limit of your credit card?
Replies: 56
Views: 3445

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 8:26 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tree roots growing into sewer lines
Replies: 41
Views: 1834

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
Wed Apr 08, 2015 1:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Closing out my first 'snowbirding' winter
Replies: 84
Views: 10617

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 10:31 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Capital gain on primary residence
Replies: 20
Views: 1664

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
Mon Apr 06, 2015 6:26 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Capital gain on primary residence
Replies: 20
Views: 1664

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
Fri Apr 03, 2015 1:43 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Help/advice with Europe trip (France+/-Greece)
Replies: 22
Views: 1383

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
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: 1754

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 11:56 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Implications of the "Cadillac" tax of the ACA
Replies: 29
Views: 2995

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 11:02 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Extreme Roth IRA Horse Race
Replies: 20
Views: 2116

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 7:05 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Extreme Roth IRA Horse Race
Replies: 20
Views: 2116

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: 2116

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 9:45 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Implications of the "Cadillac" tax of the ACA
Replies: 29
Views: 2995

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
Mon Mar 30, 2015 1:32 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Implications of the "Cadillac" tax of the ACA
Replies: 29
Views: 2995

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: 26
Views: 3083

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: 1679

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: 1679

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: 4758

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: 1679

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: 20
Views: 1877

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: 21
Views: 2006

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: 1794

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: 1367

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: 1135

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: 1874

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: 1441

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: 5139

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: 2873

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: 6524

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: 24
Views: 2538

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: 4031

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: 1454

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: 3778

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: 1764

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: 1764

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: 222
Views: 65920

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: 1806

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: 1458

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: 729

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: 9288

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: 1761

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: 9124

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: 3035

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: 3923

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: 6193

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: 2955

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: 1739

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: 2186

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: 9809
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