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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: 1742

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: 1659

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: 14
Views: 867

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: 508

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: 60
Views: 6782

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: 1232

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: 1316

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: 14
Views: 1075

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: 14
Views: 1075

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: 1422

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: 4887

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: 5325

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: 5295

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: 3357

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: 3357

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: 1381

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: 3357

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: 1264

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: 931

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: 1721

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: 2889

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: 4859

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: 1968

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: 7592

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: 2040

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: 1797

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: 1529

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: 3257

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: 2993

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: 1351

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: 2843

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: 3811

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: 5703

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: 5647

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: 1342

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: 2476

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...
by hand
Thu Mar 19, 2015 8:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The BIG question Regarding Home Loan
Replies: 14
Views: 2476

Re: The BIG question Regarding Home Loan

It will just continue to be a thorn in my side when I run amortization calculations to see the $30k-$50k we could save in intrest!!! I just think of all the other things/projects/trips that money could go to. While there are many worse things to do with your money than paying off debt, I too have a...
by hand
Tue Mar 17, 2015 12:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How Much To Negotiate Realtor Commission
Replies: 31
Views: 2899

Re: How Much To Negotiate Realtor Commission

6% as the standard commission is a bit of a myth - especially for higher priced houses. The Economist, referencing REAL Trends, states average real estate commission in 2011 was 5.4% http://www.economist.com/node/21554204 If house is higher priced, and market is hot, I would be very aggressive in ne...
by hand
Tue Mar 17, 2015 7:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is a larger home downpayment worth it?
Replies: 18
Views: 2501

Re: Is a larger home downpayment worth it?

To my mind, the biggest benefit of a larger downpayment is the cash flow improvement over the life of the loan due to the smaller required payment.
by hand
Tue Mar 10, 2015 2:01 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Loans from 401k -- back door investing?
Replies: 11
Views: 725

Re: Loans from 401k -- back door investing?

You may be missing at least three things: 1) The amount invested outside the 401(k) isn't guaranteed to return in excess of the interest you are paying back to your 401 - you may end up with $0 or less than $0 outside the 401(k) 2) In most cases there is a penalty if you are unable to pay back your ...
by hand
Mon Mar 09, 2015 8:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Fly or drive?
Replies: 84
Views: 5239

Re: Fly or drive?

The discussion seems to think that there is no cost to driving. It is money to fly compared to time to drive. Driving costs. You just don't think of them directly except for gas. At $0.575 per mile the 2,100 mile round trip by car is about $1,200 in car costs . This is the 2015 reimbursement rate f...
by hand
Mon Mar 09, 2015 2:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Fly or drive?
Replies: 84
Views: 5239

Re: Fly or drive?

1) Rent a car at home and do the drive if you can find a cheap rental price + unlimited mileage 2) Catch a cheaper direct flight to a location nearish to your location with cheap rental cars (Las Vegas?) and drive the rest of the way - this saves you a layover, and cuts rental car costs. Curious ab...
by hand
Mon Mar 09, 2015 1:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Fly or drive?
Replies: 84
Views: 5239

Re: Fly or drive?

Consider the following options: 1) Rent a car at home and do the drive if you can find a cheap rental price + unlimited mileage 2) Catch a cheaper direct flight to a location nearish to your location with cheap rental cars (Las Vegas?) and drive the rest of the way - this saves you a layover, and cu...
by hand
Tue Mar 03, 2015 2:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying a home without a realtor
Replies: 23
Views: 1818

Re: Buying a home without a realtor

Wow, sounds like a great opportunity to strike a deal without some of the typically high friction costs of buying / selling a home (5+% for realtor alone). Specific to negotiating, keep in mind that your goal doesn't have to be to get the perfect price, but merely to get an acceptable price that is ...
by hand
Mon Mar 02, 2015 4:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Landlord requested addendum to lease
Replies: 24
Views: 2257

Re: Landlord requested addendum to lease

I agree with previous posters that this seems ridiculous and I would likely ignore, and if pressed actively decline to sign. That being said, be aware that not signing likely guarantees your lease won't be renewed at the end of the lease and plan accordingly. Also, CA is known to have very tenant fr...
by hand
Fri Feb 27, 2015 4:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Foreign film night recommendations.
Replies: 124
Views: 6490

Re: Foreign film night recommendations.

A second vote for Three Idiots (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1187043/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1)

Also, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120735/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1)
by hand
Fri Feb 20, 2015 9:57 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: UGA: Locking in the Current Price of Gasoline
Replies: 15
Views: 1372

Re: UGA: Locking in the Current Price of Gasoline

Would you sell a small portion of the fund every time you filled up the gas tank? I would be cautious about the time required to manage, costs associated with the fund, and the tax drag / accounting hassle. Perhaps it is worth reconsidering the goal: 1) by reconsidering how much gas/oil you use both...
by hand
Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best Condo Sell Strategy?
Replies: 17
Views: 1041

Re: Best Condo Sell Strategy?

Consider ways to publicize that the property is available for the right price without formally listing. Strategies I have used / heard of include: 1) a pocket listing with a well known local agent 2) listing a make me move price on Zillow and similar sites 3) talking to buyers agents with purchases ...
by hand
Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Early rental lease termination - what is reasonable?
Replies: 20
Views: 1259

Re: Early rental lease termination - what is reasonable?

Ugh, don't agree to take the security deposit in lieu of rent - what happens if there are damages to the property? Take the extra time, collect whatever rent is agreed as outcome of your negotiations and return security deposit only if property is turned over in appropriate condition. I'd also consi...
by hand
Fri Feb 13, 2015 9:37 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advice: New Retirement Offerings
Replies: 11
Views: 609

Re: Advice: New Retirement Offerings

In the unlikely case where some of the new funds have a front end load, you would almost certainty want to move to cash prior to the switchover and then be thoughtful about how you invest.

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