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by johnep
Sun May 24, 2015 6:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Real cost of a Masters (in the US)
Replies: 35
Views: 2181

Re: Real cost of a Masters (in the US)

What are their undergraduate degrees in and what type of masters do they want to get? Those are key questions and if you respond with that information, you are likely to get some very good advice from this forum. Many have given general advice with caveat that "it depends" on the type of m...
by johnep
Sat May 23, 2015 8:13 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Investing after Retirement
Replies: 10
Views: 1193

Re: Investing after Retirement

It would be helpful to know how your 401k is invested before advising you on how to invest the $90k. You should look at an overall AA appropriate for your age and risk tolerance, which is probably something like 20/80 or 30/70 equity/fixed income. Will some of the savings be required for living expe...
by johnep
Fri May 22, 2015 9:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit
Replies: 17
Views: 1589

Re: Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit

I use Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Home Premium and have done so for a handful of years. Although not Anti-Exploit, I would give Malwarebytes a good rating from my experiences. +1. Malwarebytes is good product and I have used home premium version for a couple of years. I have a couple of friends that ...
by johnep
Wed May 20, 2015 6:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do Bogleheads (in general) plan to finance their healthcare for later life?
Replies: 34
Views: 3525

Re: How do Bogleheads (in general) plan to finance their healthcare for later life?

DW and I are retired and have Medicare A & B. My former employer provides supplement and prescription plan at no charge for me (except deductibles and co-pay). DW has medigap and part D. This works well for us. I never purchased LTC insurance and given the way that industry has gone, I am glad I...
by johnep
Sat May 16, 2015 6:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Back pain, Laptop Standing Desk
Replies: 10
Views: 997

Re: Back pain, Laptop Standing Desk

I solved my back pain problem by buying a Herman Miller Aeron chair (used). I had thought of trying the laptop standing desk but went this route instead and it has worked well.
by johnep
Sat May 16, 2015 6:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anybody know of a good no-cost HELOC?
Replies: 10
Views: 826

Re: Anybody know of a good no-cost HELOC?

I have had HELOC with Wells Fargo for about 20 years. It is prime - .5%. I have used it for home improvements and new auto purchases. I do not recall what fees there were to set it up but, if any, they were minimal.
by johnep
Sat May 16, 2015 6:08 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much does social security factor into your retirement income?
Replies: 161
Views: 9841

Re: How much does social security factor into your retirement income?

Began taking SS at FRA 4 years ago. DW and I live on my pension and SS. SS is about 35%. At present, RMDs are not needed for living expenses so I excluded them from calculation. I expect some form of means testing in future which could reduce my SS income.
by johnep
Thu May 14, 2015 7:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Amount needed for medical expenses in retirement
Replies: 14
Views: 1780

Re: Amount needed for medical expenses in retirement

Based upon our experience so far (ages 70 and 72 and retired 4 years), our annual cost for Medicare B, D and Medigap plus co-pays is about $8k. Over 30 years that is $240,000. However, our numbers assume the status quo. Neither of us has had any serious illnesses requiring expensive treatment or exp...
by johnep
Thu May 14, 2015 6:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to suggest downsizing to Parent
Replies: 23
Views: 2493

Re: How to suggest downsizing to Parent

My sister and tried to convince our mother to downsize when she was in her 80s and lived alone in her house. At first, she seemed interested and we took her to visit apartments. But she always had objections to whatever she saw and eventually said no, she was not going to move. At that point, the on...
by johnep
Thu May 14, 2015 6:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Too soon to change jobs? Pres/CEO types
Replies: 16
Views: 2111

Re: Too soon to change jobs? Pres/CEO types

As you said, there are no guarantees. However, to the extent you can assess the probability of this occurring, it would be helpful to your decision. For example, sometimes a person's leadership style may not fit the company culture even though the person is very capable. If you think you have a real...
by johnep
Thu May 14, 2015 6:23 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Share the life lessons that you learned in your 30's.
Replies: 27
Views: 2651

Re: Share the life lessons that you learned in your 30's.

My situation was different than yours as I had a wife and 2 children when I was in my 30s. You said you typically work 7 days a week. You need to find more balance in your life. Working like that will make you old before your time and leads to a dull life. Find some hobbies or other interests outsid...
by johnep
Tue May 12, 2015 7:23 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advisor: buy a nicer home pre-retirement
Replies: 31
Views: 2976

Re: Advisor: buy a nicer home pre-retirement

I think having a senior friendly home is very important and something all people should consider for retirement. This can be done by modifying your current home to better accommodate seniors. However, if you have a 2 story home which requires frequent use of steps, there are limits to how well this ...
by johnep
Tue May 12, 2015 6:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should we purchase home without permits?
Replies: 70
Views: 4181

Re: Should we purchase home without permits?

I added a closet to our recreation/office room. A RE agent advised me to do that saying it could be counted as a 4th BR which would increase the value of the house. The cost of adding the closet was minimal and did not require a building permit. I did not add another bath, and if I had, would have h...
by johnep
Mon May 11, 2015 8:11 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Leather sofa sets for my living room
Replies: 11
Views: 1419

Re: Leather sofa sets for my living room

$2500 will likely not buy very good quality for leather sofa and love seat. Roomstogo is at best average quality and Ashley even less. I do not know where you live but if in reasonable proximity, it may be worth your while to come to North Carolina. There is still a lot of leather furniture being ma...
by johnep
Mon May 11, 2015 7:40 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bonds: All Treasuries or Mixture?
Replies: 17
Views: 1903

Re: Bonds: All Treasuries or Mixture?

I prefer a diversified portfolio of primarily intermediate bonds that includes treasury, govt agency, investment grade corporate, a small amount of TIPS, HY corporates and munis. I do not own international bonds.
by johnep
Mon May 11, 2015 7:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Age 70 1/2: Think through your RMD choices.
Replies: 9
Views: 1803

Re: Age 70 1/2: Think through your RMD choices.

I am 70 and 1/2 this year. It would be great to defer the RMD until 2016 but that would mean I have 2 RMDs in 2016. The added income would increase my income past Medicare Part B income limit and increase my wife and I's Part B premiums. Therefore, I plan to take my first RMD this calendar year.
by johnep
Mon May 11, 2015 6:05 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Which Company Do You Have Auto Insurance With?
Replies: 105
Views: 5290

Re: Which Company Do You Have Auto Insurance With?

State Farm for 30+ years. I have only had a couple of small claims but they were handled efficiently. I also use State Farm for homeowner's and umbrella.
by johnep
Thu May 07, 2015 7:22 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How to Move to Bond Funds
Replies: 8
Views: 938

Re: How to Move to Bond Funds

Thanks for the feedback. It sounds like I shouldn't worry that this is a bad time to reallocate to bonds, but should just go for it, in order to reduce risk right away. Given that, I could use specific fund recommendations. Here's more about our portfolio: + 80% of our total portfolio is in tax fav...
by johnep
Thu May 07, 2015 6:47 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medicare Decisions - still working
Replies: 6
Views: 531

Re: Medicare Decisions - still working

If you considering enrolling in Part D prescription plan or Medigap policy, be sure to carefully review their rules as well, which can vary from Part A/B, especially if you do not enroll when first eligible.
by johnep
Thu May 07, 2015 6:23 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paying off student loans by selling house
Replies: 43
Views: 2576

Re: Paying off student loans by selling house

I really believe you should give this some serious thought before you proceed. Think of the worst case scenario....the marriage not working out....you have no home and she has no debt.....if you don't do this you would still have 50% of each..... I just don't think it is a good idea. Good luck This...
by johnep
Thu May 07, 2015 6:09 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What to do with 1940's refrigerator that still works?
Replies: 36
Views: 2696

Re: What to do with 1940's refrigerator that still works?

Old refrigerators are a death trap for small children. When I was growing up in the 50s we often heard of a small child suffocating in an abandoned refrigerator. They crawled in and shut the door and could not open it from the inside. If yours is like that with an outside handle to open it, be caref...
by johnep
Wed May 06, 2015 6:40 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Florida Vacation
Replies: 28
Views: 1735

Re: Florida Vacation

It sounds like a nice trip. I hope that you enjoy it. I am pretty familiar with Charleston area. My favorite restaurant is the Boathouse which is located on Isle of Palms adjacent to the bridge connecting IOP to Sullivans Island. It over looks the intracoastal waterway and has great seafood and othe...
by johnep
Sun May 03, 2015 6:54 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Deciding on an Executor
Replies: 9
Views: 695

Re: Deciding on an Executor

We have 2 children and will have our daughter be executor. She has degree in finance and is very good with financial matters. She also got experience helping her husband handle his father's estate 2 years ago. Our son, who is older, is also trustworthy but not as capable with finances. Our daughter ...
by johnep
Sun May 03, 2015 6:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How To Find The Best Doctor
Replies: 42
Views: 2859

Re: How To Find The Best Doctor

A good starting point is your primary care physician if you have one. That has usually been successful for me. I agree with your point that nurses are a good choice if you know some. Our community has several lists of top doctors published annually. Most of these lists are supposedly voted on by doc...
by johnep
Fri May 01, 2015 6:35 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Too late for career change/worth it?
Replies: 44
Views: 5841

Re: Too late for career change/worth it?

It is definitely not too late. I went to school at night for 6 years while working fulltime and got BS in Accounting at age 33. It was one of the best things I ever did and launched me into a management career. I recommend that you take it one step at a time. Get your BA degree first and then decide...
by johnep
Fri May 01, 2015 6:20 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Retirees - What would you have done differently?
Replies: 48
Views: 6552

Re: Retirees - What would you have done differently?

OP: None of the below may apply to you. Just throwing out there things that helped or would have helped me. If you haven't already, get control of your diet and exercise situation. Many people do get much better at that after retirement, but it sure is easier if you've started beforehand. I really ...
by johnep
Wed Apr 29, 2015 6:55 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help Choosing Survivor Pension Option (50% vs 100%)
Replies: 25
Views: 1856

Re: Help Choosing Survivor Pension Option (50% vs 100%)

I had to make this decision when I retired. I chose 50% survivor for my wife because 1) she is 2 years older than me and some serious health issues which makes it more likely that I will outlive her, 2) she will get my full SS benefit if she survives me, 3) combination of 50% pension and SS will ena...
by johnep
Mon Apr 27, 2015 3:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Prepping a house for sale: What are the priorities?
Replies: 33
Views: 2910

Re: Prepping a house for sale: What are the priorities?

A good realtor could give you ideas of things to do or not do. However, you seem to have a good handle on the basics. I would not replace the carpets until you are ready to put house for sale, that gives the dogs less time to mess it up.
by johnep
Sun Apr 26, 2015 7:12 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Drive a local car, rent for trips ?
Replies: 40
Views: 3221

Re: Drive a local car, rent for trips ?

If you run the numbers, I doubt it ever makes sense money-wise to rent a car when you have a reliable car that meets your needs on size. 1. The often-quoted 55 cents a mile cost to driving a car includes gas which you are on the hook for regardless. 2. That rate factors in city driving, which wears...
by johnep
Sun Apr 26, 2015 7:04 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: “How Does Aging Affect Financial Decision Making?”
Replies: 67
Views: 4749

Re: “How Does Aging Affect Financial Decision Making?”

... so this will assure finances are managed soundly when I no longer am capable of handling. How would you know? I read a study recently that decision-making ability declines, but one's confidence does not. L. I will review our plan and any changes to our investments with my daughter at least annu...
by johnep
Sat Apr 25, 2015 7:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Drive a local car, rent for trips ?
Replies: 40
Views: 3221

Re: Drive a local car, rent for trips ?

My DW and I have taken several very long road trips (5,000+ miles each) since retirement and plan to do more. Even though our own vehicles would be capable and comfortable for such trips, I have chosen to rent cars. The primary reason is it is cheaper to rent than to put all those miles on your own ...
by johnep
Sat Apr 25, 2015 7:47 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: “How Does Aging Affect Financial Decision Making?”
Replies: 67
Views: 4749

Re: “How Does Aging Affect Financial Decision Making?”

I am age 70, DW is 72, so we need to plan for this, whether or not it happens. First step is AA simplification. Most of our AA are in a few core accounts but we should consolidate all into a few low ER funds. Second is review our portfolio with a trusted relative. In our case it would be our daughte...
by johnep
Sat Apr 25, 2015 6:55 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: My PC is driving me nuts.
Replies: 28
Views: 2121

Re: My PC is driving me nuts.

t3xn wrote:Try Malwarebytes and check for ad-ware/malware.

https://www.malwarebytes.org/mwb-download/

Scan your system and see if it finds anything. Do you have anti-virus software?


+1 for Malwarebytes. It is a good product and I have had security consultants recommend it to me.
by johnep
Sat Apr 25, 2015 6:52 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Costco and AMEX
Replies: 26
Views: 4692

Re: Costco and AMEX

I have had Costco Amex CC for years. It used for mostly gas and some other purchases. I usually get $40 to $50 credit at EOY. For us, it would not be worth it to sign up for just one year. We do plan on keeping our Amex card until their deal with Costco expires though.
by johnep
Sat Apr 25, 2015 6:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best touristy places to live in the world?
Replies: 36
Views: 4589

Re: Best touristy places to live in the world?

Charleston, SC. My daughter lives there and we visit often. It gives you the ability to do touristy things when you want to and live like a local otherwise.
by johnep
Fri Apr 24, 2015 9:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Who still have Cable TV?
Replies: 63
Views: 3087

Re: Who still have Cable TV?

Who still have Cable TV? $100 bucks a month. What a waste. *sigh* Whether it's about cable, or Macs, or Rolexen, or luxury cars, these sorts of judgmental threads all miss one very important point: There's nothing wrong with paying money for something from which you legitimately derive commensurate...
by johnep
Thu Apr 23, 2015 7:21 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Broken Oxygen Sensor on Car
Replies: 43
Views: 2907

Re: Broken Oxygen Sensor on Car

I had to recently replace oxygen sensor on our Avalon. After confirming code at auto parts store for free and checking Toyota Forum, I decided to have an independent garage that specializes in Toyota to replace the sensor. It saved me about $200. I did not consider replacing it myself because the sp...
by johnep
Thu Apr 23, 2015 6:56 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Recommended stock to bond ratio??
Replies: 15
Views: 1718

Re: Recommended stock to bond ratio??

Levett wrote:Wonderful post, as usual, Nisi.

Few people make more effective pedagogical use of Morningstar data than you.

Lev


+1. I agree. Nisi makes his points with solid data in a very simple way.
by johnep
Tue Apr 21, 2015 12:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TX, MT, CO, and NM Comparative Tax Burden
Replies: 37
Views: 2314

Re: TX, MT, CO, and NM Comparative Tax Burden

Real estate taxes can be tricky with multiple variables. The assessment rate is not always based upon 100% of value. I am not familiar with any of these specific states to know if you have comparable taxes on RE or not.
by johnep
Fri Apr 17, 2015 8:13 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amelia Island vacation
Replies: 11
Views: 1474

Re: Amelia Island vacation

JDaniels wrote:I'm going to 2nd a vote for Ponte Vedra Beach for obvious reasons. Lol. Then, drive down scenic A1A to St. Augustine. Once there, I recommend Columbia restaurant. Excellent food!


+1 for Columbia Restaurant. We stop there almost every time we go to Florida. Great food!
by johnep
Thu Apr 16, 2015 7:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000?
Replies: 47
Views: 3457

Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

I am not expert on this type of demo but if your are replacing the sub floor too, it seems a much better approach is to remove the sub floor and tiles all together. Why chisel the tiles out when you are going to remove sub floor anyway? You can use a sawzall to cut out sections and use crowbar to pr...
by johnep
Thu Apr 16, 2015 6:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is 2007 Accord 60K mile service worth $300?
Replies: 54
Views: 4638

Re: Is 2007 Accord 60K mile service worth $300?

I have driven Toyotas for past 30 years. I take my cars to dealer for simple maintenance like oil change (they are competitive with others on this) or if I have a suspected problem. The reason I do that is they will check my car for other issues and let me know of any recommended maintenance or repa...
by johnep
Thu Apr 16, 2015 6:30 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you wish you retired earlier?
Replies: 28
Views: 3700

Re: Do you wish you retired earlier?

I retired at age 66 and feel that was the right time for me. I would have retired at age 64, but that was 2008 and I decided to work a couple of more years and rebuild my savings/investments. I am glad that I did as it makes for a more comfortable retirement. BTW, I liked my job which makes a big di...
by johnep
Tue Apr 07, 2015 6:15 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Visiting continental Europe (first time) with kids
Replies: 20
Views: 1925

Re: Visiting continental Europe (first time) with kids

I agree that Rick Steves' books are excellent. Also, http://www.tripadviser.com has forums on European countries and major cities that are excellent. You can search forums and find that most likely your questions have already been asked and answered. If not, you can post and get answers from experie...
by johnep
Tue Apr 07, 2015 6:09 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When to start taking pension payments?
Replies: 11
Views: 1088

Re: When to start taking pension payments?

Based upon what you have told us, I would probably begin taking the pension when you retire in about 4 years. I am assuming your marginal tax rate will be less then, which should offset the decline of your non COLA pension due to inflation. If you do not need the money at that time, simply invest it...
by johnep
Mon Apr 06, 2015 6:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buy riding mower or hire service to cut grass?
Replies: 56
Views: 4179

Re: Buy riding mower or hire service to cut grass?

likegarden wrote:I have a 0.45 acre lot and mow it with a self propelled Toro Mulching mower. I am 75 and like to do it.


+1. I am 70 and have always mowed my grass with push or self propelled mower. Sure, it takes a little time but also gives you some exercise.
by johnep
Mon Apr 06, 2015 6:44 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Considering Doing My Own Investing...but I'm not sure I shou
Replies: 49
Views: 5229

Re: Considering Doing My Own Investing...but I'm not sure I

I think you will do fine managing your own investments. Financial advisers can be ok for people without the ability, desire or discipline to manage their own investments, but you are much more than capable of doing this yourself. I like and totally agree with your view that if people cannot explain ...
by johnep
Fri Apr 03, 2015 8:38 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Did you learn anything from 2008?
Replies: 105
Views: 9041

Re: Did you learn anything from 2008?

The old quote about Wall Street, "Nobody knows nothing" was never more true than it was in 2008. I am still amazed that so few experts saw the financial meltdown coming. I did not see it coming but I am not an expert. I still think some of the "so called experts" should have seen...
by johnep
Thu Apr 02, 2015 7:36 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bernanke's Blog: why are interest rates so low?
Replies: 52
Views: 7144

Re: Bernanke's Blog: why are interest rates so low?

The article makes sense and is well written. Thanks for sharing. What the article does not address is the Fed's QE which did impact interests rates by buying up huge amounts of treasuries, and driving down the interest rates.
by johnep
Sat Mar 28, 2015 8:00 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Boomer forced to retire (unemployed)
Replies: 34
Views: 4195

Re: Boomer forced to retire (unemployed)

54 is a tough age to be laid off. He is too young for retirement but encounters age discrimination in his job search. I have hired several managers in that age range who worked out well for me. I based my decision more on their experience and references than how they presented themselves. I remember...

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