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by sls239
Fri May 22, 2015 11:28 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Teaching 8 year old about stock market...
Replies: 22
Views: 1248

Re: Teaching 8 year old about stock market...

I'd just take away from this the fact that he's learned that more money is better than less money. It is hardly a shocking revelation at that age. You can have a conversation about it, just like with anything your child shows a passing interest in. But a good way to kill an interest is to overload i...
by sls239
Fri May 22, 2015 10:42 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Coverdell Education Savings Account thoughts
Replies: 6
Views: 361

Re: Coverdell Education Savings Account thoughts

Coverdells can be used for education outside the public school system even if your child attends public school. Tutoring for example can be a qualified expense. So can courses at community college, materials for AP coursework, or even tuition for online courses like at Art of Problem Solving. So a c...
by sls239
Thu May 21, 2015 12:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Teaching maths to a 4 year old
Replies: 18
Views: 1076

Re: Teaching maths to a 4 year old

For addition and subtraction there is an expected progression essentially from what you are describing to the full-on multi-digit standard algorithm, I can't quite remember the order it goes in but some of the intermediate things include: Drawing a representation of the object itself -> drawing a st...
by sls239
Mon May 18, 2015 11:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Aren't we overdoing electronic auto safety features?
Replies: 148
Views: 6507

Re: Aren't we overdoing electronic auto safety features?

I'm not sure that these safety features really do cost thousands of dollars. I think it may cost thousands of dollars to buy them the first year they are offered. And that isn't likely to be worth it. But after that, you have the choice of buying used. I'm not seeing "thousands of dollars"...
by sls239
Fri May 15, 2015 11:20 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Electronic Door Locks
Replies: 12
Views: 1134

Re: Electronic Door Locks

I don't expect anything to be safe from hackers. To be honest, I'm more interested in a convenient way to let people in than I am about keeping thieves out. However, these systems do also let you add cameras, motion sensors, smoke detectors, and it seems like anything a regular security system would...
by sls239
Fri May 15, 2015 10:56 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: My Home: Renovate or get out?
Replies: 13
Views: 1490

Re: My Home: Renovate or get out?

Just do #1 and #2.

It will be hard to sell if you don't do those two things anyway.
by sls239
Fri May 15, 2015 8:54 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Electronic Door Locks
Replies: 12
Views: 1134

Re: Electronic Door Locks

It was Vivant that was making the sales pitch to me. But I'm much more interested in the convenience factors than the security ones. I'm honestly not keen on paying for someone else to monitor it, when I could monitor it remotely myself. So I was looking at a more DIY system like MiCasaVerde, or Sma...
by sls239
Fri May 15, 2015 8:45 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is this a dumb thing to do? [Pied-a-terre to share with daughter]
Replies: 41
Views: 4869

Re: Is this a dumb thing to do? [Pied-a-terre to share with daughter]

So the $1600 in rent she pays now, where does that go in the new arrangement? I don't think footing the entire housing bill for your daughter is a good idea. Something like that distorts the financial picture - it becomes hard to evaluate how well you are doing if a major expense like that is absent...
by sls239
Thu May 14, 2015 9:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Electronic Door Locks
Replies: 12
Views: 1134

Electronic Door Locks

I was wondering if anyone could share their experience with this. I heard about a system through a home security company that would allow you to use your phone to unlock your front door, or send you a text when someone unlocked the door with a numerical code. The idea appeals to me, but I'd like to ...
by sls239
Mon May 11, 2015 3:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Lecture me about "too much house"
Replies: 49
Views: 5305

Re: Lecture me about "too much house"

If $234K seems like it might be too much, it probably is.

And if $163k seems to get you too little, then just keep looking.
by sls239
Mon May 04, 2015 11:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: selling/buying a car - NJ or TX?
Replies: 12
Views: 700

Re: selling/buying a car - NJ or TX?

Why not sell the car you have in NJ, rent one to get you to Texas, and then buy a car in Texas? Some things could make it obvious - like if the A/C doesn't work, don't bother trying to sell it in Texas. If it has heated leather seats, again, better to sell in NJ. If it doesn't handle potholes worth ...
by sls239
Fri May 01, 2015 9:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New car every 5 years instead of 10?
Replies: 129
Views: 9834

Re: New car every 5 years instead of 10?

One thing to consider is that if you buy a new car every 5 years, you are doubling the number of purchases you are making and doubling the chance that one of them will be a lemon. But even beyond that, you must consider that your experience isn't guaranteed to be average. You know what those numbers...
by sls239
Wed Apr 29, 2015 12:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: My new dishwasher doesn't clean
Replies: 64
Views: 7496

Re: My new dishwasher doesn't clean

Try running a rinse cycle at the end of every day that you don't run the full wash but have dirty dishes in the washer.

You might also try running your hot water at the faucet until the water coming out is quite hot immediately before running the washer.
by sls239
Tue Apr 28, 2015 1:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: engineers - please help with engineering school selection
Replies: 185
Views: 12020

Re: engineers - please help with engineering school selectio

UMN would win IMO. The structure of the system and the scholarship would give access to high quality programs that aren't strictly engineering, but reasonably lucrative fields that a strong math /science student could get drawn into - chemistry, geology, math, physics, and so forth. I suspect it may...
by sls239
Tue Apr 28, 2015 10:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: DIY distance moving
Replies: 37
Views: 2567

Re: DIY distance moving

Costco / Sams have moving boxes kits. That's probably the best time/space/money tradeoff. Well that and selling / giving away / chucking anything not worth moving. Also, they are more costly, but Rubbermaid Roughneck containers (medium size) stack very well are easy to carry, and can be used for oth...
by sls239
Tue Apr 28, 2015 8:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Another reason NOT to use (free) Wifi
Replies: 53
Views: 6228

Re: Another reason NOT to use (free) Wifi

Who in their right mind would think that free wi-fi would actually be free? It just so happens that some people sometimes will find the exchange a worthwhile one and others won't. True, you often don't know exactly what you are exchanging, but you can make a good guess or just assume the worst. It s...
by sls239
Tue Apr 28, 2015 7:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Thinking about a new desktop PC.
Replies: 55
Views: 3881

Re: Thinking about a new desktop PC.

I prefer VelocityMicro PCs and they will let you choose Win 7 if you want. Although I don't see why you would want. Like PP said, Win 8.1 has a great search function, you don't have to navigate any menu layers if you don't want to. I think people pushing 7 are probably just making 8.1 more complicat...
by sls239
Mon Apr 27, 2015 8:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How far away from a freight railroad track should you live?
Replies: 51
Views: 3326

Re: How far away from a freight railroad track should you li

In my experience, it really really depends on where they blow the horn. So not really where the tracks are so much as where the crossing is. We are less than a mile from the tracks, but probably a good 3 miles from an at grade crossing. I can hear the horn (it just sounded as I was reading the threa...
by sls239
Sun Apr 26, 2015 12:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Spendy spouse
Replies: 110
Views: 10677

Re: Spendy spouse

I think where you are going wrong is in believing that what you want equates to "security" and what she wants equates to "trivial." A lot of fashion is about social relationships and there can be more real security found in those social relationships than in most people's savings...
by sls239
Sun Apr 26, 2015 9:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Advice Needed
Replies: 10
Views: 1203

Re: Car Advice Needed

The car you have is a used car and a fairly inexpensive one at that. I don't think trading it for some other used car is going to get you very far unless you are willing to drive a 2001 Focus or something. If you can afford to pay off the loan and drop collision, then that probably makes the most se...
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: 2310

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
Mon Apr 20, 2015 10:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: One Spouse Outearning the Other?
Replies: 64
Views: 5486

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
Fri Apr 17, 2015 12:26 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Investment made for emotional reasons--do they work out?
Replies: 11
Views: 1120

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 9:58 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wells Fargo Customer Service
Replies: 8
Views: 764

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
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: 1951

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 9:46 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: House down payment vs. more retirement savings
Replies: 19
Views: 1674

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 9:34 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why not rebalance with reinvested dividends?
Replies: 11
Views: 1753

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 8:21 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How to (diplomatically) challenge wife's active mgmt funds
Replies: 90
Views: 5385

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
Wed Apr 15, 2015 2:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to [Financially] Prepare for a Baby
Replies: 42
Views: 3797

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 2:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000?
Replies: 47
Views: 3438

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
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: 11535

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 10:43 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which 3 year old hybrid: Camry or Prius
Replies: 36
Views: 2842

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
Fri Apr 10, 2015 2:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hate where we live, do we make major changes?
Replies: 132
Views: 12869

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
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: 17476

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 10:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Family member asking for money
Replies: 141
Views: 14045

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 9:15 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Battery or Gas Lawn Mower
Replies: 33
Views: 2252

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 Mar 31, 2015 10:09 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Did you learn anything from 2008?
Replies: 105
Views: 9025

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 9:30 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why Buying a *New* Car Makes Sense? Please help!
Replies: 63
Views: 5839

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
Wed Mar 11, 2015 9:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Fly or drive?
Replies: 84
Views: 5215

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
Tue Mar 10, 2015 3:09 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard et al disintermediated?
Replies: 39
Views: 2903

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 1:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: High Cost of Fruits and Vegetables
Replies: 126
Views: 7637

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 9:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Wife tired of saving...
Replies: 203
Views: 20503

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 8:30 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: College readiness
Replies: 27
Views: 1946

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
Fri Mar 06, 2015 12:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does My Daughter Need A Prenup?
Replies: 175
Views: 6932

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
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: 3079

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 1:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Wife tired of saving...
Replies: 203
Views: 20503

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
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: 762

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 1:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Paris France help/suggestions for women
Replies: 22
Views: 1709

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
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: 633

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 ...

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