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

Property taxes in Texas at least depends not just on what city you are in. There are school taxing jurisdictions (public and community college), counties, cities, hospital districts, water districts and other utility districts. You'd have to look up the specific property at the county assessor's off...
by sls239
Tue Apr 21, 2015 9:28 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TX, MT, CO, and NM Comparative Tax Burden
Replies: 37
Views: 1855

Re: One Spouse Outearning the Other?

Actually it isn't just about personal insecurity. For example if the higher earning spouse gets a good job offer in a location that is less than ideal for the lower earning spouse - should they go? I think a lot of people would have a knee-jerk "yes" answer. But if the lower earning spouse...
by sls239
Mon Apr 20, 2015 10:51 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: One Spouse Outearning the Other?
Replies: 64
Views: 5214

Re: Investment made for emotional reasons--do they work out?

So you are considering spending 120K because the landlord doesn't want to uphold his legal responsibilities? Sometimes being an advocate is even better than being generous. And if you think dealing with a slacker landlord is a PITA, consider how much more a PITA it would be to maintain a residence h...
by sls239
Fri Apr 17, 2015 12:26 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Investment made for emotional reasons--do they work out?
Replies: 8
Views: 771

Re: Wells Fargo Customer Service

Well I don't know if what we experienced was because of my spouse's employer's HR department or because of Wells Fargo or both, but they are the custodian for the 401k. When first signing up, you apparently couldn't sign up online, you had to fill out the paperwork. So we did that and set a 3% withd...
by sls239
Fri Apr 17, 2015 9:58 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wells Fargo Customer Service
Replies: 8
Views: 730

Re: Buy new Acura? Nearest dealer service is 125 miles away

One thing that dealerships may be better at is keeping up with the technical service bulletins. Even if a car doesn't have a recall, it probably has more than one TSB. As an owner, you can keep up with them yourself too though. I know that my first Honda dealer knew TSBs backwards and forwards for H...
by sls239
Thu Apr 16, 2015 10:06 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buy new Acura? Nearest dealer service is 125 miles away
Replies: 23
Views: 1886

Re: House down payment vs. more retirement savings

In my opinion, you should be able to save 20% of gross for retirement and save for a house down payment on top of that. It sounds like they both are high priorities. Say you used the money just for the house down payment. What if you then decided you needed a new vehicle? Would you continue to put o...
by sls239
Thu Apr 16, 2015 9:46 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: House down payment vs. more retirement savings
Replies: 19
Views: 1614

Re: Why not rebalance with reinvested dividends?

I do this. I currently have all our bonds located in a rollover IRA. The rest of the IRA is the TSM fund. It is a rollover account, so we don't make contributions into this account. So all our new contributions go to buy stocks. I'm regularly exchanging TSM for bonds in this account just to keep the...
by sls239
Thu Apr 16, 2015 9:34 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why not rebalance with reinvested dividends?
Replies: 11
Views: 1713

Re: How to (diplomatically) challenge wife's active mgmt fun

I actually think the best argument in this case is an argument for simplicity. With index funds, what you see is what you get. It is easier to tell how much is in which asset class, and that stays relatively consistent over time, not changing dramatically based on the managers personal predictions. ...
by sls239
Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:21 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How to (diplomatically) challenge wife's active mgmt funds
Replies: 90
Views: 5235

Re: How to Prepare for a Baby

I'll be the voice of dissent - even a short NICU stay can eat up a ton of money and those aren't voluntary. Some babies need surgery shortly after birth to correct defects. I'd consider upping the emergency savings until baby is home. And that isn't even adding possible complications for the mother....
by sls239
Wed Apr 15, 2015 2:55 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to [Financially] Prepare for a Baby
Replies: 42
Views: 3639

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

Get an estimate from a flooring place on how much they would charge to demo the floor. They've got the equipment and the experience to do it the quickest.

Skilled professionals charge more for things they don't like doing or don't do very often.
by sls239
Wed Apr 15, 2015 2:26 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000?
Replies: 47
Views: 3143

Re: Does your family know about your net worth (ball park)?

1. They know we are doing just fine and that we have "some" money to help out if needed. 2. I really just know in general - either not much or just fine. I will say that I'm the youngest, but probably have the most money saved up. 3. I obviously can't answer since my family doesn't know. B...
by sls239
Tue Apr 14, 2015 11:33 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does your family know about your net worth (ball park)?
Replies: 98
Views: 11225

Re: Which 3 year old hybrid: Camry or Prius

I would not buy a Prius without a backup camera because of that bar they have that goes across the back and obstructs the view.
by sls239
Tue Apr 14, 2015 10:43 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which 3 year old hybrid: Camry or Prius
Replies: 36
Views: 2743

Re: Hate where we live, do we make major changes?

You say you hate where you live but all you mention is the weather. IMO, weather is not a good reason on its own for moving away. Hostile people, inadequate schools, lack of job opportunity - those are reasons to move away. It is much cheaper and easier to turn the thermostat up a couple degrees and...
by sls239
Fri Apr 10, 2015 2:13 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hate where we live, do we make major changes?
Replies: 132
Views: 12270

Re: Cost of College & Weighing the Merits of Top Schools

Many lower cost institutions have "honors colleges" or something to that effect where they get special seminars, their own academic advisers, honors classes, can even stay in different dorms, have access to more independent study, flexible internships, early opportunities for research, and...
by sls239
Tue Apr 07, 2015 11:21 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cost of College & Weighing the Merits of Top Schools
Replies: 304
Views: 16724

Re: Family member asking for money

When someone needs money, you will always be able to find something they could spend less money on. But really, do you think your BIL should drive a beater and eat ramen noodles because he has a son with extensive medical (and developmental?) needs? Sometimes it is a few luxuries that help keep us s...
by sls239
Tue Apr 07, 2015 10:53 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Family member asking for money
Replies: 141
Views: 13571

Re: Battery or Gas Lawn Mower

I'd say it largely depends not on how much area you are mowing, but on how thick the grass is where you are mowing. When I was in Austin, the electric mower was great because the grass grew quite slowly and it was quiet enough that I didn't feel bad mowing in the early morning during the hottest par...
by sls239
Tue Apr 07, 2015 9:15 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Battery or Gas Lawn Mower
Replies: 33
Views: 2085

Re: Did you learn anything from 2008?

I learned just how big a leap of faith our country has taken. In order to have enough for retirement, especially considering the prediction of lower SS payouts, middle class people in my generation are basically required to take on a large amount of equity risk simply for the hope of having a reason...
by sls239
Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:09 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Did you learn anything from 2008?
Replies: 105
Views: 8504

Re: Why Buying a *New* Car Makes Sense? Please help!

You haven't mentioned the 2014. Don't they have an LE eco trimline as well? What you really want is a 2014 with very low mileage - less than 10K. There will be 25K miles left on the manufactures warranty, so CPO is just not necessary, I'd ignore that completely. You should be able to get one for 3K ...
by sls239
Tue Mar 31, 2015 9:30 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why Buying a *New* Car Makes Sense? Please help!
Replies: 63
Views: 5544

Re: Fly or drive?

What is the weather expected to be like? We are a lot more likely to fly in winter. I think the key for longer drives with kids is to have a stop where they can be really active. We've done 6 hours to a state park, camped, hiked the next morning, and drove another 6 hours in the afternoon. My sister...
by sls239
Wed Mar 11, 2015 9:42 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Fly or drive?
Replies: 84
Views: 4998

Re: Vanguard et al disintermediated?

I think that is ignoring the cost of intellectual property.

The S&P has rights to their indexes, you can't legally just reverse engineer it and get it for free.

Vanguard negotiates the legal minefield for us, and I imagine they do so efficiently.
by sls239
Tue Mar 10, 2015 3:09 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard et al disintermediated?
Replies: 39
Views: 2842

Re: High Cost of Fruits and Vegetables

Sorry I can't get past the whole I'm going broke because of spinach, arugula, and kale thing.

Have you ever heard of cabbage?
by sls239
Tue Mar 10, 2015 1:43 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: High Cost of Fruits and Vegetables
Replies: 126
Views: 7440

Re: Wife tired of saving...

I think you need to examine what your money does for you. Money is a means to an end, not an end in itself. But that doesn't mean that money must be spent to achieve an end. Sometimes the end is security, which would require not spending the money. It sounds like you see security in having a lot of ...
by sls239
Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:02 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Wife tired of saving...
Replies: 203
Views: 20080

Re: College readiness

Just have him take the hardest classes he can handle.

Persistence and love of learning is more important than anything.

The other thing is to encourage him to get comfortable speaking to adult professionals and asking them questions.
by sls239
Tue Mar 10, 2015 8:30 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: College readiness
Replies: 27
Views: 1885

Re: Does My Daughter Need A Prenup?

Let's face it, you don't really know what is going on with their relationship because it is none of your business. Consider, however, the possibility that he is only doing "OK" because he has chosen to remain where your daughter is. For all you know, he is already making financial sacrific...
by sls239
Fri Mar 06, 2015 12:54 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does My Daughter Need A Prenup?
Replies: 175
Views: 6567

Re: Buy home in area with only good PK-8 public schools?

Isn't IL changing their test this year? Test results tend to depend a lot on the test itself. If the EL test is too hard, then students are being tested more on how they come in than how much they've learned. If the HS test is too easy, then a lot of schools score well and the results have less mean...
by sls239
Thu Mar 05, 2015 1:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buy home in area with only good PK-8 public schools?
Replies: 44
Views: 2983

Re: Wife tired of saving...

i think this is one of the warning signs of breaking away from the long term goal


What is the long term goal?
by sls239
Thu Mar 05, 2015 1:29 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Wife tired of saving...
Replies: 203
Views: 20080

Re: Trying to avoid extra $100/mo. to keep min balance on es

Why not just put an extra $1100 into the escrow account and keep your monthly payment the same?

At least you'd get that $1100 back if you sold, unlike the $925 fee.
by sls239
Mon Mar 02, 2015 3:52 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Trying to avoid extra $100/mo. to keep min balance on escrow
Replies: 13
Views: 753

Re: Paris France help/suggestions for women

A cross body bag with an outer and inner zipper should do the trick. I'm fond of Baggallini, and you can find them sometimes at TJMaxx.
by sls239
Mon Mar 02, 2015 1:02 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Paris France help/suggestions for women
Replies: 22
Views: 1665

Re: Arkansas: Expensive 529 Plan (math help on B/E point pls

Well if you itemize, then you end up having to pay federal taxes on that $210 (because you can no longer write it off), whether your put it into the 529 or not. I'll admit that my scenario was much less of a close call (total stock admiral has ER of .05) and so I was not dealing with longer periods ...
by sls239
Fri Feb 27, 2015 6:37 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Arkansas: Expensive 529 Plan (math help on B/E point pls)
Replies: 7
Views: 602

Re: Favorite Vacation/Trip

How early in the summer can you go?

Because my inclination would be to say go to Vegas and use that as a base to hit up a couple national parks. But you'd want to do that in May, not July.
by sls239
Fri Feb 27, 2015 11:51 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Favorite Vacation/Trip
Replies: 47
Views: 6063

Re: Interesting story on NPR, International Investing

It is an argument for investing both in soda and in aluminum and in mining (Aluminum is not mined, bauxite, aluminum ore, is). US mining companies own mines overseas, with the miners paid in local currency, but the price of ore set on the world market. So presumably, they too are making money. The o...
by sls239
Fri Feb 27, 2015 11:18 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Interesting story on NPR, International Investing
Replies: 4
Views: 1265

Re: How to hedge a 5/5 ARM?

You say you are in a volatile industry - what are the chances you would have to re-locate before you get a chance to break even?
by sls239
Fri Feb 27, 2015 10:38 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How to hedge a 5/5 ARM?
Replies: 20
Views: 1402

Re: Life insurance - how much is needed

It is rather a personal decision. What you need to do is talk about what your wife thinks should happen in the event you pass away. Some SAHMs feel strongly that they would return to work and have good earning capacity, others don't. Some spouses would expect to keep the same standard of living, oth...
by sls239
Fri Feb 27, 2015 10:25 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Life insurance - how much is needed
Replies: 18
Views: 1437

Re: How to hedge a 5/5 ARM?

Why are you accepting a mortgage with a 4 year break even time frame when the interest is only guaranteed to be lower for 5 years? (Because a 2% increase would be 4.5%, well over the 3.125% you have now) Seems like an awful lot of trouble to save on 1 year of interest. Why not just take the points a...
by sls239
Fri Feb 27, 2015 9:59 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How to hedge a 5/5 ARM?
Replies: 20
Views: 1402

Re: Interesting story on NPR, International Investing

So you are putting up Russia as an alternative? Some people believe that you shouldn't invest in what you don't understand. I know I can't really claim any understanding of Russian private property or Russian markets. Investing in something because it happens to be making a lot of money right now is...
by sls239
Fri Feb 27, 2015 9:49 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Interesting story on NPR, International Investing
Replies: 4
Views: 1265

Re: How much is a pension worth?

Is your career one that has a fairly steady career trajectory? For example teaching is pretty steady - salary tends to go up a little with inflation and with experience. But many other career trajectories can include large sudden increases, especially when changing employers. In some professions, it...
by sls239
Fri Feb 27, 2015 9:35 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How much is a pension worth?
Replies: 23
Views: 3679

Re: How does one increase their typing speed and accuracy?

Yes, there should be little ridges on the "F" and "J" keys. There should also be one on the 5 of a 10 key set-up on the side. So you can, if you have a long string of numbers, pop your right hand over to that and bring it back to the letters by using the ridges. In addition to no...
by sls239
Thu Feb 26, 2015 6:02 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How does one increase their typing speed and accuracy?
Replies: 70
Views: 4358

Re: Arkansas: Expensive 529 Plan (math help on B/E point pls

A higher growth rate will make the higher expenses equal the tax deduction after fewer years, not more. The value of the investment after year one is initial investment*(1 + growth rate - expense rate). And the value of the investment after two years is YearOneValue*(1 + growth rate - expense rate)....
by sls239
Mon Feb 23, 2015 8:42 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Arkansas: Expensive 529 Plan (math help on B/E point pls)
Replies: 7
Views: 602

Re: Spring Break Ideas for Apr 4-11 for girls 4,6 yrs

DC has the National Zoo and the National Geographic Museum, and the Smithsonian Native American museum has activities that kids can participate in and the cafeteria food is interesting, even for DC.
by sls239
Tue Feb 17, 2015 9:12 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Spring Break Ideas for Apr 4-11 for girls 4,6 yrs
Replies: 45
Views: 2604

Re: Tenants won't let us show the rental: what do we do?

Any decent person would feel like they were between a rock and a hard place given the "letter of the law" - either let people traipse around without doing anything special, or go to a lot of effort to make the place super neat and clean and not get anything in return. Offer money for them ...
by sls239
Mon Feb 16, 2015 3:25 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tenants won't let us show the rental: what do we do?
Replies: 60
Views: 7316

Re: deciding on big ticket item - fitting it into financial

I'm a pay yourself first type person. I wouldn't be choosing between my financial goals and spending. I would be choosing between this spending and other spending. If I am ahead on saving for retirement, then I reduce the risk, I don't reduce the contributions (as a percentage). I suppose if I had r...
by sls239
Mon Feb 16, 2015 12:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: deciding on big ticket item - fitting it into financial plan
Replies: 19
Views: 1367

Re: Should I raise my tenants rent?

Do you ever plan on raising the rent? If so, I'd suggest raising it a nominal amount this year just as an indicator. Even $10 / month would be sufficient. The reason is, as PP mentioned, inflation. But you must consider that while inflation is low, it also compounds over time. You don't want to get ...
by sls239
Mon Feb 16, 2015 12:44 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I raise my tenants rent?
Replies: 35
Views: 1939

Re: How to make this fair: gifting to kids with different me

I think the real flaw is that OPs parents think that handing kid B the money to fund a Roth IRA is something that encourages saving. A better way to go about it would be to match funds - for what kid B puts into a Roth IRA, the parents match. That encourages saving, which is what the parents think t...
by sls239
Fri Feb 13, 2015 9:56 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to make this fair: gifting to kids with different means
Replies: 108
Views: 9253

Re: Valentine’s day dinner I could cook?

Well I think some of this will come down to what equipment you have. If you have a roasting pan and a roasting rack, and a meat thermometer, a whole chicken is about the easiest thing in the world to make. Cook's Illustrated Cookbook has several ways to roast a chicken with very detailed directions ...
by sls239
Tue Feb 10, 2015 11:07 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Valentine’s day dinner I could cook?
Replies: 40
Views: 2511

Re: When 60/40 just isn't appropriate

All theory aside - Doesn't this come down to approximately spending 40 years at 70/30 pinning your hopes on the stock market and then spending the next 30 years at 30/70 pinning your hopes on the bond market? But approximately, if instead of 3/7ths of your years being dominated by the bond market, w...
by sls239
Sun Feb 08, 2015 9:41 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: When 60/40 just isn't appropriate
Replies: 127
Views: 13803

Re: Are car loans really that bad?

So my point was - to bring it back around to the loans - it is one of the ways they talk you into spending more than you would otherwise. You can go in thinking I'll buy used and pay cash - then they say don't you want to buy new, it only costs a little more and you can get this great interest rate....
by sls239
Wed Feb 04, 2015 1:53 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are car loans really that bad?
Replies: 86
Views: 7114

Re: Are car loans really that bad?

I don't know where you are getting those numbers. There is a 2013 Accord LX with 20K miles on it with an asking price of 19K - meaning you could probably get it for 18K. A new Accord LX probably costs about 22K. So for getting a car virtually identical, but with 20K miles on it (leaving 15K miles le...
by sls239
Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:56 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are car loans really that bad?
Replies: 86
Views: 7114

Re: Are car loans really that bad?

A 4-year-old model with 40-50k miles would have saved me ~25% But percentage of purchase price is not the appropriate way to measure the savings. And that is the problem. If a $50 item is on sale for 50% off, many would go out of their way to get it. But 5% of $5000 is deemed "not worth it.&qu...
by sls239
Tue Feb 03, 2015 3:07 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are car loans really that bad?
Replies: 86
Views: 7114

Re: Used Car Recommendations for Friends

I think they will need to try the car itself. For example how easy it is for them to reach the seat belt can be very important, especially if they have arthritis. Also how easy it is to get in and out of the vehicle is important, as is how well they can handle the controls for the audio / climate.
by sls239
Mon Feb 02, 2015 6:23 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Used Car Recommendations for Friends
Replies: 12
Views: 871
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