Search found 691 matches

by hand
Fri Jun 26, 2015 3:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Traveling to] Hong Kong, activities that won't break the bank?
Replies: 21
Views: 1576

Re: [Traveling to] Hong Kong, activities that won't break the bank?

I enjoyed the ferry to Macau and Macau itself.
by hand
Wed Jun 17, 2015 11:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tips/Advice for Negotiating w/ Auto Dealerships
Replies: 18
Views: 2558

Re: Tips/Advice for Negotiating w/ Auto Dealerships

Don't buy from a dealer and buy before you *need* to replace your existing car. If I were buying, I'd look for a good condition, fairly priced car on Craigslist or similar that met my needs and was from an upscale neighbourhood, and get the car inspected by a trusted third party. It may take a bit l...
by hand
Wed Jun 17, 2015 8:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Rental property equity vs Mutual funds
Replies: 12
Views: 1872

Re: Rental property equity vs Mutual funds

Make sure you understand implications of taking additional loan on rental to your ability to take out a mortgage on the new property: 1) Does additional loan put your debt to income or payment to cash flow ratios out of range? 2) What is impact to credit score when you need new primary mortgage of h...
by hand
Thu Jun 11, 2015 8:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Toyota care plus prepaid maintenance
Replies: 10
Views: 1094

Re: Toyota care plus prepaid maintenance

What happens if your car is totalled or stolen before the end of the prepaid maintenance period? What happens if you no longer live near the / a dealer? What impact does performing the "required" (minimum?) maintenance on the car have on the car's longevity? How many sales pitches will you...
by hand
Mon Jun 08, 2015 1:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a New Construction Home - what do I need to consider
Replies: 32
Views: 2872

Re: Buying a New Construction Home - what do I need to consider

[*]Pre-drywall inspection is standard with this builder (thanks to those that suggested this -- I wouldn't have thought of that!) Hopefully this inspection is not exclusively performed by the builder or their agent? The cynic in me worries this is a tactic to prevent you from hiring your own pre-dr...
by hand
Mon Jun 08, 2015 12:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a New Construction Home - what do I need to consider
Replies: 32
Views: 2872

Re: Buying a New Construction Home - what do I need to consider

Wow, that's really slimy. It reinforces the need to look at the recorded Deed or Plan book at your local Recorder of Deed's office (or online if you can). I know that the woodland behind us is "open space" that is deeded to a trust in perpetuity and is not subject to further subdivision o...
by hand
Fri Jun 05, 2015 1:57 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Downside to Roth conversion of aftertax 401k money?
Replies: 5
Views: 878

Re: Downside to Roth conversion of aftertax 401k money?

I don't think you need to be overly concerned about the 10% penalty for early withdrawal assuming you have enough money to "retire" early. Look into a 72(t) withdrawal which allows you to take substantially equal withdrawals from retirement accounts (IRA only?) without penalty before 59.5....
by hand
Fri Jun 05, 2015 12:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying in NYC
Replies: 28
Views: 2919

Re: Buying in NYC

Valuethinker - I'm absolutely agreed with your assessment, and almost added a similar (but less clear and elegant) postscript regarding international money to my comment. Fundamentally, it seems that the decision to rent vs. own in these specialized "global" locations is a market timing be...
by hand
Fri Jun 05, 2015 9:20 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying in NYC
Replies: 28
Views: 2919

Re: Buying in NYC

Assumptions I have: * NYC rental prices will continue to grow at or higher than inflation. * NYC purchase prices will do the same, especially in areas with good public schools. These foundational assumptions can't be accurate indefinitely. At some point purchase and rent would obviously exceed the ...
by hand
Fri May 29, 2015 9:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling home - unexpected competition
Replies: 102
Views: 11180

Re: Selling home - unexpected competition

So did your agent get 2.5% of $880k instead of the 4% of $850k they wanted? I suspect this is why the agent was suggesting a quick acceptance rather than waiting. . Good data point. So. What fiduciary duty does a seller's agent have toward the buyer legally? Does it change when they are agents for ...
by hand
Thu May 28, 2015 11:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling home - unexpected competition
Replies: 102
Views: 11180

Re: Selling home - unexpected competition

Unless there are unusual contingencies in that offer, I'd be inclined to accept an offer that is 50k over asking. I agree, I would think the same in a typical market. But in 2014 and 2015 in the Bay Area most houses sell for $50K+ above the list price (when listed "correctly"). This part ...
by hand
Thu May 28, 2015 11:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What to do in Raleigh
Replies: 18
Views: 1600

Re: What to do in Raliegh

Raleigh, Durham & Chapel Hill are within easy driving distance of each other.

I would suggest attending a Durham Bulls minor league baseball game and eating some barbeque (I'm partial to the Q Shack & Smokeys BBQ shack).
by hand
Thu May 28, 2015 9:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tips for extended European Trip
Replies: 23
Views: 1657

Re: Tips for extended European Trip

4. I am considering buying a prepaid Euro card that I buy this week, while the Euro is low. Does this work? Isn't that market timing, and therefore verboten :wink: I would think of this more as insurance than market timing if goal is to ensure trip remains affordable rather than to bet on currency ...
by hand
Wed May 27, 2015 7:09 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Max 401k or Prepay 30yr Mortgage in 15yrs
Replies: 25
Views: 2221

Re: Max 401k or Prepay 30yr Mortgage in 15yrs

I live in the Metro DC area high cost of living. If my condo is paid off at 45 as opposed to 60 I can retire before 60 and move to a cheaper part of the country hopefully around 55. I just hate having all my retirement money (401k 403b Roths) tied up until I reach a magic age number. :sharebeer Ret...
by hand
Wed May 27, 2015 6:52 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: New Investor- how does Berkshire Hathaway fit in a Portfolio
Replies: 12
Views: 1813

Re: New Investor- how does Berkshire Hathaway fit in a Portfolio

I also happen to hold equity in both Berkshire Hathaway and Eli Lilly. Both of these come from inheritance that was passed down to me, and are held in a separate brokerage account. I intend on holding them for the foreseeable future. Given that I hold equity in both Berkshire Hathaway and Eli Lilly...
by hand
Tue May 26, 2015 1:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage - Extended Rate Lock
Replies: 15
Views: 1093

Re: Mortgage - Extended Rate Lock

If I were them, what motivation do I have to honor the float down 30 days before closing (if the rate goes below 4%) and give me a fair price once I know that the customer is going to lose the 1% deposit if I go anywhere else? So, whatever rate I agree to now for the lock will be the closest to wha...
by hand
Tue May 26, 2015 10:43 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 32 year old--help investing in taxable for first time
Replies: 3
Views: 582

Re: 32 year old--help investing in taxable for first time

Are you sure you are maxing tax advantaged accounts? I assume you mean you are maxing 1) 401(k) and 2) IRA. If it were me, I would be additionally considering using the cash cushion to 1) convert a big chunk of my Emergency funds to I-Bonds and 2) perhaps move to a High Deductible health insurance p...
by hand
Tue May 26, 2015 8:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling home - unexpected competition
Replies: 102
Views: 11180

Re: Selling home - unexpected competition

As you suspect, your agent's interests and your interests are now completely different. Your agent wants to sell quickly, minimize additional effort/ time into the transaction, and maximize their commission. You (presumably) want to maximize price and sell within a reasonable amount of time. If your...
by hand
Fri May 22, 2015 10:10 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Confirming that I should not use my 401k
Replies: 18
Views: 1322

Re: Confirming that I should not use my 401k

I think you're on the right track... Only situations I can think of where 401(k) would be preferable to IRA are as follows: 1) Current matching (not applicable), some addition of future matching, or some sort of special profit sharing contribution from the company 2) 401(k) has better funds availabl...
by hand
Thu May 21, 2015 12:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: homeowner vacancy insurance - yikes
Replies: 18
Views: 1404

Re: homeowner vacancy insurance - yikes

Perhaps you could change the status from vacant somehow and restart the 60 day clock?

I'd be tempted to have someone in my family set up a temporary living arrangement at the house to keep it from being vacant if that met the standard. Perhaps just a weekend at the old home would qualify?
by hand
Fri May 15, 2015 3:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a New Construction Home - what do I need to consider
Replies: 32
Views: 2872

Re: Buying a New Construction Home - what do I need to consider

On the subject of sump pumps, most below grade basements should have them. Especially if you have a finished basement, it is very much worthwhile to have a second sump pit installed at the time of pouring the foundation, with a crossover pipe. This is easy and cheap during construction, hard and ex...
by hand
Fri May 15, 2015 9:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a New Construction Home - what do I need to consider
Replies: 32
Views: 2872

Re: Buying a New Construction Home - what do I need to consider

Wow sounds like an exciting time! A couple of things to keep in mind: Volume builders come with pros and cons: PROS: a) Economies of scale help with costs b) Ability to develop entire communities that include desirable amenities c) Market tested designs which likely include some of the latest trends...
by hand
Fri May 15, 2015 9:10 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Evaluating my 401k elections at 25 years old
Replies: 18
Views: 1498

Re: Evaluating my 401k elections at 25 years old

While it looks like you're on the right track in terms of fund selection, and have received some great advice about optimizing your fund choices / asset allocation / keeping fees and complexity low, it is worth noting that early career, the amount you save and the savings habits you build are probab...
by hand
Tue May 12, 2015 10:20 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is this a dumb thing to do? [Pied-a-terre to share with daughter]
Replies: 41
Views: 5050

Re: Is this a dumb thing to do?

It seems there is an unspoken assumption that the daughter will want to reside in Cambridge "on her own" indefinitely... If the goal is to buy a place as a pied a terre, with a side benefit of sharing the good fortune with the daughter as long as she is interested, go for it. If the goal i...
by hand
Tue May 12, 2015 8:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Which Company Do You Have Auto Insurance With?
Replies: 105
Views: 6014

Re: Which Company Do You Have Auto Insurance With?

Amica for last 2 years but just switched back to USAA. Why back to USAA? I am considering going to Amica after 30+ years with USAA. They just low-balled with a totaled car and the whole experience wasn't what I've previously experienced there. Progressive for motorcycles and boat. I've recently had...
by hand
Fri May 01, 2015 2:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: House Next Door for Sale...Kind Of: Ethics Issue?
Replies: 38
Views: 5397

Re: House Next Door for Sale...Kind Of: Ethics Issue?

If your goal is to eliminate the for sale sign, engage a sales agent from his brokerage and request a showing.
When the showing is not offered, the sales agent should be motivated to complain to the broker.

If the goal is to buy the house, submit a written offer to the seller.
by hand
Wed Apr 29, 2015 1:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: lost a bid for questionable practice of seller's agent
Replies: 28
Views: 3576

Re: lost a bid for questionable practice of seller's agent

If I were in your situation and believed I had a stronger offer, I would go directly to the seller (not the seller's agent) with an offer immediately. Haha. I did this once and was called by my agent who said, "The seller's agent called and ordered me to 'control my buyer.'" It's a sleezy...
by hand
Tue Apr 28, 2015 11:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: lost a bid for questionable practice of seller's agent
Replies: 28
Views: 3576

Re: lost a bid for questionable practice of seller's agent

It is not clear that the seller's realtor actually received an offer from you before the seller accepted the first offer. Keep in mind that the offer needs to be complete and in writing. So I don't think you know whether there was impropriety here. I don't think that matters.... The offer should ha...
by hand
Tue Apr 28, 2015 11:00 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgages - Broker vs Credit Unions
Replies: 15
Views: 1501

Re: Mortgages - Broker vs Credit Unions

With most parts of the realestate transaction, your realtor's interests are partially aligned with the buyer, and partially misaligned. Specific to getting a mortgage, the realtor is often interested in the easiest close irrespective of cost, and you are likely focused on the best cost with a succes...
by hand
Tue Apr 28, 2015 6:47 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: lost a bid for questionable practice of seller's agent
Replies: 28
Views: 3576

Re: lost a bid for questionable practice of seller's agent

As a Realtor- Yes, the agent is required to present all offers to the seller. That said, you stated there was a "Pending" offer already accepted. If the seller had already accepted another offer then they're obligated to go forward with that offer. While this may be true, sellers typicall...
by hand
Mon Apr 27, 2015 12:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Shared Fence Issue with (Commercial) Neighbor
Replies: 10
Views: 1298

Re: Shared Fence Issue with (Commercial) Neighbor

If the fence is partially on your property, why not thank the commercial owner for "taking care of the fence" and for moving it fully on to their property especially given that your suggested course of action would likely have been cheaper and easier for the commercial property owner. Let ...
by hand
Mon Apr 27, 2015 12:16 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Income estimate too optimistic with financial engines ?
Replies: 13
Views: 988

Re: Income estimate too optimistic with financial engines ?

Financial Engines has a "methodology and assumptions" in their "will you reach your goal" section. Key points include: 1) Dollars shown are pre-tax "To estimate your retirement income, we use a process called annuitization and adjust for inflation to translate estimated port...
by hand
Wed Apr 22, 2015 2:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: $6 billion of 401(k) loan defaults each year
Replies: 9
Views: 1741

Re: $6 billion of 401(k) loan defaults each year

While I'm in agreement that easy debt (from 401(k), equity loan or otherwise) is financial dynamite to many with spending / savings / financial management problems, I do see a place for these loans in specialized cases. That being said, the $6B in "defaults" strikes me as a sensationalized...
by hand
Wed Apr 22, 2015 8:27 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best home mortgage lenders?
Replies: 26
Views: 3010

Re: Best home mortgage lenders?

From my limited experience: 1) Online lenders: available through bankrate.com, google search etc. You'll get a great rate, but very slow processing and crappy customer service. It can be frustrating if you're trying to close on deal quickly 2) Big Banks: poor rates, but marginally better customer s...
by hand
Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Using Zillow/Zestimate to value a home?
Replies: 43
Views: 5035

Re: Using Zillow/Zestimate to value a home?

Zillow actually publishes information related to the accuracy of their estimates: http://www.zillow.com/zestimate/#acc Bottom line, Zillow valuations are based on a computer algorithm which basically looks at square footage, bathrooms and bases value on nearby sales of similar properties. In my expe...
by hand
Thu Apr 16, 2015 1:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Would you invest your house down payment?
Replies: 22
Views: 2094

Re: Would you invest your house down payment?

Much of my down payment was invested until days before the contingencies on the purchase contract were eliminated. This was in 2009, so very "exciting." My thought process was 1) that the house purchase was a "want" not a need or commitment, and 2) that I was a) comfortable with ...
by hand
Fri Apr 10, 2015 6:10 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Hypothetical End Game Scenario w/ 5M retirement account
Replies: 74
Views: 8076

Re: Hypothetical End Game Scenario w/ 5M retirement account

Perhaps some thought regarding the differences between fixed and variable expenses in retirement along with a concrete plan to fund the fixed expenses would help. This would allow you to determine the baseline lifestyle / costs you are comfortable with, set aside the appropriate amount of reserves a...
by hand
Thu Apr 09, 2015 11:43 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cheapest way to get Credit Card cash advance.
Replies: 24
Views: 2199

Re: Cheapest way to get Credit Card cash advance.

mr_scaramanga wrote:Are there ways to do this without paying any cash advance fees? I am not looking for a 0% APR - I intend to pay it off before next statement.


I thought interest on credit card cash advances accrued the day you took the advance - no grace period like a purchase?
by hand
Thu Apr 09, 2015 9:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Another Housing Thread (450k)
Replies: 18
Views: 1944

Re: Another Housing Thread (450k)

Are you married? How many kids does your spouse want? Will this be within reasonable distance of your spouse's family? What type of schools / school district are right for your kids? If you haven't nailed down all of these important life details that impact your housing needs, I would suggest waitin...
by hand
Wed Apr 08, 2015 10:54 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Which mortgage is better to pay off?
Replies: 18
Views: 1606

Re: Which mortgage is better to pay off?

My gut reaction is to pay down primary residence first: 1) Quicker increase in cash flow (only need to pay down 275k vs. 290k and 15 year term vs. 30) 2) Bigger increase in cash flow once paid off for primary residence 3) Easier / cheaper to get money back out of primary residence if needed with equ...
by hand
Mon Apr 06, 2015 7:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Rental flooring decision
Replies: 36
Views: 3509

Re: Rental flooring decision

patriciamgr2 wrote:+1 on Allure. I haven't seen long-term results in wet areas--but short-term, it performed very well & looked as good as many laminates I've seen..


I've heard lots of good feedback on Allure for rentals.
by hand
Mon Apr 06, 2015 7:52 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Can I stop being unemployed and retire?
Replies: 14
Views: 3104

Re: Can I stop being unemployed and retire?

A couple of things pop out from your post: 1) $2M portfolio & 40k/ yr. annual expenses = 2% withdrawal rate which is generally considered pretty conservative even without your wife's income. 2) Health issues likely to limit lifespan unless changes made - sounds like a clarion call to shift focus...
by hand
Thu Apr 02, 2015 10:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How does home office tax deduction work?
Replies: 14
Views: 1453

Re: How does home office tax deduction work?

I am buying a $700 k house ($540 k mortgage with 3.5% interest rate) and I am planning to use 30% of the house for my business. I am of course planning to write off the mortgage interest rate and property tax as a personal tax deduction... Be certain you understand documentation and retention requi...
by hand
Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:52 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: My deployed soldier is coming home!
Replies: 24
Views: 2948

Re: My deployed soldier is coming home!

Not an expert by any means, but I thought there were special financial opportunities for military while deployed. Here's the first article I found when searching: http://www.kiplinger.com/article/saving/T065-C000-S001-5-key-financial-moves-before-and-after-deployment.html Key points appear to includ...
by hand
Thu Mar 26, 2015 8:32 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What would you do with 1.25 million dollars for 1 year?
Replies: 39
Views: 3973

Re: What would you do with 1.25 million dollars for 1 year?

Are there estimated taxes due before the 1 year period is complete?
by hand
Wed Mar 25, 2015 12:01 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Excess Cash - Play Monopoly or Repay Debt?
Replies: 67
Views: 6026

Re: Excess Cash - Play Monopoly or Repay Debt?

I like rentals so you won't get any guff from me about that. That said I think a bit of de-levering might be in order before buying more properties, more from a safety than returns perspective. I'd recommend the following: 1) Pay off the car loans for sure, you've got $37k in cash coming and only o...
by hand
Wed Mar 25, 2015 9:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Building a new house. Any recommendations?
Replies: 53
Views: 6095

Re: Building a new house. Any recommendations?

In general, I would focus on the quality / infrastructure / mechanical items that are difficult or more costly to address after construction is complete: Electrical Indoor electrical outlets under each front window + front outdoor outlets tied to a single switch / timer for holiday lighting. Use Tam...
by hand
Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:11 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Get rid of PMI or Max out 401K?
Replies: 13
Views: 1438

Re: Get rid of PMI or Max out 401K?

Be 100% sure you understand the mechanics of eliminating PMI before you commit to a course of action. In my (limited) experience, it is often not as simple as reducing outstanding balance to 80% of value, and may include fees for re-appraisal. Given today's low mortgage rates, if I were in your shoe...
by hand
Fri Mar 20, 2015 6:11 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The BIG question Regarding Home Loan
Replies: 14
Views: 2705

Re: The BIG question Regarding Home Loan

Hand, how do your calculations change if you only keep the house for 5 years? To account for your cost on an annualized basis in this way you need to assume you pay the whole mortgage according to schedule, right? Real annual cost of the loan continues to be 1% even if you keep the house for 5 year...

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