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Re: New homeowner: lawn care advice

I have and use an electric mower. But for Houston, with any decent sized yard, I'd think you'd want a gas mower. I bought the electric one when we lived in Austin, where you really only have to mow every week and a half or so.
by sls239
Mon Apr 14, 2014 6:11 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New homeowner: lawn care advice
Replies: 44
Views: 2634

Re: Is "sheltering" my GF financially hurting our future?

My experience has been that the qualifying income is tied to the credit score of the individual if both scores are halfway decent. So if a spouse has not as good credit, their income won't be used to meet the other qualifications for the mortgage, so it will reduce the size of the mortgage you will ...
by sls239
Mon Apr 14, 2014 11:52 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is "sheltering" my GF financially hurting our future?
Replies: 14
Views: 2194

Re: The slackening...

I'm not aware of any scientific evidence that worrying, stress, suffering, trauma, or any other similar hardship has any beneficial effect on human beings. Quite the contrary. There's no reason to believe that any disappointing offspring of a wealthy person would have turned out better if they weren...
by sls239
Mon Apr 14, 2014 11:25 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The slackening...
Replies: 54
Views: 4945

Re: Anyone else very reluctant to buy right now?

Because the market has done so well in recent years, I evaluated where we were in terms of our goals. I discovered that we now didn't need to take quite as much risk as we had just a few years ago to reach our goals. So we don't. Which was my preference. (from 85/15 to 75/25 give or take 5% ) Was it...
by sls239
Thu Apr 10, 2014 11:56 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Anyone else very reluctant to buy right now?
Replies: 124
Views: 11384

Re: Advice Needed on Transitioning to DIY Passive Portfolio

I was hoping to transition to a broadly diversified portfolio using just a few index funds to capture the desired U.S. stock/international stock/bond mix, not try to clone a complete copy of the current allocations. Is this a mistake? If you do it all at once and you really know what you want, then...
by sls239
Wed Apr 09, 2014 6:22 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advice Needed on Transitioning to DIY Passive Portfolio
Replies: 46
Views: 2609

Re: Netflix & Red Box

You can change your plan once a month. We alternate between DVDs in warm weather and streaming in winter.
by sls239
Wed Apr 09, 2014 9:17 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Netflix & Red Box
Replies: 26
Views: 1446

Re: What to do with Win computers?

It may sound funny, but I'm essentially converting my EE PC into a master cookbook.

Otherwise, many municipalities have an electronics recycling day where you can dispose of things you might otherwise have to pay to dispose of.
by sls239
Tue Apr 08, 2014 10:25 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What to do with Win computers?
Replies: 51
Views: 2074

Re: Car recommendations - Mazda6, accord, Prius

It isn't that hybrids don't get good mileage in highway driving - it is that conventional cars also get good mileage on the highway. Additionally, this may or may not matter to you, but on the Honda Accord Hybrid none of the back seat folds down. That really limits your ability to carry long things....
by sls239
Tue Apr 08, 2014 9:37 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car recommendations - Mazda6, accord, Prius
Replies: 23
Views: 1719

Re: 24 y/o investing inheritance

If the amount you can funnel into roth accounts is limited, I'd put my most aggressive investments there (including international stock if you don't itemize). And then for the bond side, you might consider putting some in I-bonds since they would be exempt from CA income tax. And they would be avail...
by sls239
Mon Apr 07, 2014 12:02 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 24 y/o investing inheritance
Replies: 15
Views: 1840

Re: Advice Needed on Transitioning to DIY Passive Portfolio

I think you have to ask yourself if you are more of a quit cold turkey kind of person or a nicorette kind of person. If you want to do this in baby steps you can. The basic idea is go for the low-hanging fruit first. Step 1 would be to get rid of the 1.25% management fee by transferring "in kin...
by sls239
Mon Apr 07, 2014 11:12 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advice Needed on Transitioning to DIY Passive Portfolio
Replies: 46
Views: 2609

Re: 1 Nice car vs 2 Decent cars (daily driver/weekend car)?

I'd take the luxury car I could drive all the time - hands down. A little bit of joy every single day. Renting a car isn't difficult if the need arises. There may even be a place where you could rent a car you are enthusiastic about for a special weekend - without the obligations that come with owne...
by sls239
Mon Apr 07, 2014 9:57 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 1 Nice car vs 2 Decent cars (daily driver/weekend car)?
Replies: 34
Views: 2397

Re: Best option for high interest earning no fee checking?

I'd go for a cash bonus first. Then spend some time looking for a halfway decent long-term rate.

You may already buy your max for other purposes, but we're rolling our savings over into I-bonds.
by sls239
Mon Apr 07, 2014 9:46 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Best option for high interest earning no fee checking?
Replies: 19
Views: 1590

Re: Moving cross-country....best value type movers

I wouldn't rent a U-haul, but I would rent a Penske. If those things are important enough for you to move them when you've gotten rid of everything else, you might as well keep them with you. Also, I don't know if live plants or pets are on your list, but those would have to travel with you anyway -...
by sls239
Mon Apr 07, 2014 9:37 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Moving cross-country....best value type movers
Replies: 4
Views: 380

Re: Why pay off your house?

Well the obvious reason to pay off the house is because you think you might sell the house before the risk-free rate goes above your mortgage rate and you don't want to place a bet on the opposing side of that. If we are talking about paying down , and not just paying off - a good reason to pay down...
by sls239
Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:28 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Why pay off your house?
Replies: 119
Views: 8398

Re: Why is Vanguard defending high frequency trading?

Both Bogle and Gus Sauter (who used to be head man at Vanguard) have stated that on balance HFT lowers transaction costs and that those costs have decreased as HFT has increased. But the whole cost of the techniques used by HFT are not necessarily contained within what is labeled "transaction ...
by sls239
Fri Apr 04, 2014 6:43 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why is Joe Brennan defending high frequency trading?
Replies: 54
Views: 3465

Re: Buying for someone who "has everything"

I'd probably say screw Christmas etc. and give you cut roses from my garden when they are in bloom. Roses from the florist don't smell like our roses.
by sls239
Fri Apr 04, 2014 5:40 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying for someone who "has everything"
Replies: 43
Views: 2277

Re: Extreme ways to avoid college loan debt

I confess. After an engagement of barely two months, I got married on December 19th. I was an out-of-state student and the university had one scholarship for out-of-state students and another scholarship for in-state students and marriage offered instant residency. And filing MFJ lowered DH taxes co...
by sls239
Fri Apr 04, 2014 5:03 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Extreme ways to avoid college loan debt
Replies: 8
Views: 576

Re: To MBA or not MBA?

Is the area / industry you work in well represented in Cincinnati? There's networking in general, and then there's networking with people who really know your industry. For example the University of Texas programs are crawling with people in the tech industry, but no so much the steel industry, kwim?
by sls239
Fri Apr 04, 2014 4:50 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: To MBA or not MBA?
Replies: 57
Views: 4421

Re: Spouses that struggle with budgets

He basically suggested cutting back, so really the goal is to just support each other in trying to do what each wants to do. There are strategies for changing behavior. Wanting to change a behavior often isn't enough. For some people it isn't just a "don't do it" matter. There are even pre...
by sls239
Tue Apr 01, 2014 3:35 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Spouses that struggle with budgets
Replies: 27
Views: 2226

Re: Mr. Money Mustache: Hero or Foolish?

I don't really like it when anyone says "Just do this, this, and this." Also, I really don't like the notion that retirement is the only goal that matters. To be honest, even if I didn't like a particular job that well, I've always grown as a person through doing them. I don't spend my lif...
by sls239
Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:27 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Mr. Money Mustache: Hero or Foolish?
Replies: 225
Views: 23345

Re: Saving on major renovations

No comment on the renovations.

But I will say that Black Friday is a good day to go appliance shopping, especially if you are wanting the top-of-the-line for a mainstream brand.
by sls239
Tue Apr 01, 2014 8:43 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Saving on major renovations
Replies: 33
Views: 2456

Re: Being older/younger in class -- benefits, issues?

One thing I will say, just as an anecdote - I knew 4 girls who skipped later grades and went to college early and had emotional issues in college. I think there is a difference between being young from the start and becoming relatively younger in midstream. I also think it is easier to skip a year o...
by sls239
Mon Mar 31, 2014 10:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Being older/younger in class -- benefits, issues?
Replies: 98
Views: 4743

Re: 25yo, Married, House, Baby, and looking for help!

I'd say do pre-tax at least until you get below the child tax credit phaseout range. And here is my emergency contingency plan in order: 1) reduce retirement contributions 2) use EF 3) access retirement funds The more you contribute to retirement, the more room you have at step #1, making step #3 mu...
by sls239
Tue Mar 25, 2014 3:57 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 25yo, Married, House, Baby, and looking for help!
Replies: 17
Views: 1940

Re: Selling House - Build a New Garage First?

I think the standard logic is if the improvement would bring it up to the standards of the neighborhood, it would likely help the house sell quicker. That may or may not be important to you. If the improvement would set it above the standards of the neighborhood, you are probably just wasting your m...
by sls239
Tue Mar 25, 2014 3:43 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Selling House - Build a New Garage First?
Replies: 11
Views: 799

Re: Best Mortgage Type for 1st-timers: 30-YR Fixed?

I think with a 30 year fixed you are paying a premium to have that rate for 30 years. If you aren't going to take advantage of all 30 years, then you should consider if another product would save you money and allow you to pay down the principal faster. A 10/1 or even a 7/1 with good caps might be w...
by sls239
Tue Mar 25, 2014 3:37 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best Mortgage Type for 1st-timers: 30-YR Fixed?
Replies: 19
Views: 1180

Re: Ashamed - Wells Fargo crushing me on credit/debit card f

I like the Quicksilver card. I like Chase too in general, but most years we don't charge enough for the Sapphire card to be worth it. What I like about Cap One is the simplicity and consistency. I started with a "no hassles" card 10 years ago or so and they never tried to reduce or dilute ...
by sls239
Tue Mar 25, 2014 3:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Ashamed - Wells Fargo crushing me on credit/debit card fees
Replies: 18
Views: 2032

Re: Accounts with no new contributions - how often to rebala

We have a rollover that holds all the bonds and also a good bit of stock and only use the 401K for a stock index fund. What I did was set up an automatic monthly exchange from stocks to bonds in the rollover in the amount that would represent the appropriate percentage of the 401(k) contribution. I ...
by sls239
Tue Mar 25, 2014 3:03 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Accounts with no new contributions - how often to rebalance?
Replies: 4
Views: 406

Re: The least productive post ever

I think it varies with income. I think that for lower income people, the effect of doubling up is more dramatic than for higher income people. Housing is a big source of savings, and for lower income people it represents a higher proportion of their income. A higher income couple might spend a lot o...
by sls239
Tue Mar 25, 2014 2:52 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The least productive post ever
Replies: 18
Views: 1660

Re: Teaching Kids Money Management (under age 10)

We only do long-term saving with our son - age 7. And I'm careful to not suggest that it is allocated for anything like a car or college either. I believe in saving for the sake of saving, or rainy day, or whatever you want to call it. I don't do the short-term "saving" for wants because I...
by sls239
Mon Mar 24, 2014 4:31 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Teaching Kids Money Management (under age 10)
Replies: 11
Views: 931

Re: Prius performance in extremely hot climates

I had a Honda Civic hybrid when I lived in Austin. Using the A/C in a hybrid has basically the same effect as using the A/C in a regular car of the same size. And theoretically, I can think of one advantage - friction brakes generate a lot of heat. Heat does affect how often you are supposed to get ...
by sls239
Fri Mar 21, 2014 5:22 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Prius performance in extremely hot climates
Replies: 14
Views: 1010

Re: Rule of thumb for replacing a used car?

If it is "haunted." That is, if there's a problem and it can't quite be identified, is intermittent, or something fails more than once, or there seems to be several problems with the same system - stuff like that would lead me to replace a car.
by sls239
Fri Mar 21, 2014 4:38 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Rule of thumb for replacing a used car?
Replies: 27
Views: 1774

Re: Need advice on lawn not being taken care last year

Step one is to take photographs of the lawn. Hopefully you have photographs of what the lawn looked like before. When we rented out our old house we had a clause in the lease that if the tenant didn't take care of the lawn they would be charged for a lawn care service in addition to rent. Even witho...
by sls239
Fri Mar 21, 2014 10:07 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need advice on lawn not being taken care last year
Replies: 11
Views: 1321

Re: Cars: Lease vs. buy. (Similar to houses? rent vs. buy?)

Going from buying and keeping Honda / Toyotas to leasing a new luxury car every 3 years is really two steps up the expense ladder. You might want to take it one step at a time. Leasing can make sense if the residual value of the vehicle is unpredictable because you'd be paying someone to take that r...
by sls239
Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:50 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cars: Lease vs. buy. (Similar to houses? rent vs. buy?)
Replies: 47
Views: 2908

Re: HOA lawyer sends threatening letter, need advice

Offer $255 to settle all outstanding matters. Judges don't really like it when one party turns down a reasonable settlement offer. Then start talking to other property owners. The county probably has contact information listed in their public records, probably online searchable by address. Ask them ...
by sls239
Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:41 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: HOA lawyer sends threatening letter, need advice
Replies: 46
Views: 4218

Re: Buy a used car or pay $5,000 more to get a new one?

I know you said you need one ASAP. Check for a used Mazda 3. It comes in a hatchback and doesn't have the Honda premium but is a good reliable car. You might not like it as much as the new Subaru, but you should be able to save significantly more than $5K. And after all, $5K is still $5K. How many r...
by sls239
Thu Mar 20, 2014 7:33 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buy a used car or pay $5,000 more to get a new one?
Replies: 62
Views: 4219

Re: advice requested from engineers

Both my spouse and I went to UT - me for undergrad - I started in ChemE, but changed majors and my spouse for graduate school - also ChemE, then later an MBA. One thing I would strongly advise for undergrad is if he is interested in biomedical engineering - don't forget the biomedical part. UT has a...
by sls239
Wed Mar 19, 2014 3:33 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: advice requested from engineers
Replies: 85
Views: 4401

Re: Children: Are they worth every penny?

Happiness is not a function of how many siblings you have. A big family doesn't guarantee a happy one and a small one doesn't doom someone to unhappiness. And personally I think you are right to be concerned about a child with special needs. At 53, your spouse is most likely in the peak earning year...
by sls239
Wed Mar 19, 2014 3:10 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Children: Are they worth every penny?
Replies: 68
Views: 4587

Re: Point & Shoot Camera for a Senior

What specifically is giving her trouble with the controls? What is she trying to do?
by sls239
Wed Mar 19, 2014 11:38 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Point & Shoot Camera for a Senior
Replies: 22
Views: 845

Re: Single Income Family with 4 Children (so far)

You say by the time you are 45 that you will debt free. But what you really need is to be ahead of the game at that point. You need money to eventually replace those cars, you need money to maintain that house. You need to be able to save for those future expenses in addition to your current expense...
by sls239
Tue Mar 18, 2014 2:54 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Single Income Family with 4 Children (so far)
Replies: 69
Views: 4667

Re: Online Wills

The first thing to do is decide exactly what you want. A lawyer cannot tell you what you want anyway so you have to do this yourself. I suggest reading an estate planing book (Nolo has good ones). You must consider the possibility that one spouse will live much longer than the other and decide what ...
by sls239
Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:15 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Online Wills
Replies: 27
Views: 2380

Re: Amazon Prime Increase

It has been remarkable in terms of time savings to order stuff straight from Prime rather than drive out to Home Depot, etc. on the weekend, to browse the aisles. I often have the opposite experience. Last thing I bought at Lowes was seeds. It was quite easy, even including driving time to peruse t...
by sls239
Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Prime Increase
Replies: 185
Views: 7594

Re: Vanguard CFP: Does the individual advisor matter?

Honestly, I think a lot of the uncertainty you have and a lot of the questions you have are not of the sort that anyone else can answer for you, not even a CFP.
by sls239
Sun Mar 16, 2014 9:01 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard CFP: Does the individual advisor matter?
Replies: 13
Views: 1170

Re: insurance for my 8 yr old accord

Assuming it wasn't the teenager who bought the car, I would drop to liability only but would not let the teenager drive the car unless they wanted to pay the $400 and reinstate the full coverage. (And if I were the teenager, I would find a way to pay the $400 because that is still cheaper than havin...
by sls239
Sun Mar 16, 2014 8:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: insurance for my 8 yr old accord
Replies: 11
Views: 677

Re: Renting vs. Buying a Home

I would be comfortable buying a newer house, where there just isn't much that is likely to be worn out or outdated assuming the area has a strong building code or you can identify the builder as a high quality builder. 20 years old or newer would be fine as long as the HVAC and roof are fairly new. ...
by sls239
Sun Mar 16, 2014 8:27 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Renting vs. Buying a Home
Replies: 15
Views: 1496

Re: How did you decide how much to save?

A little over 22%. 15% will probably be for retirement, 2% college for the kid, and 5% just for the sake of saving. We spend just about all the rest at some point. We have an essentially endless list of places we'd like to go so we just pick one that matches how much we have leftover and our time of...
by sls239
Fri Mar 14, 2014 2:43 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How did you decide how much to save?
Replies: 119
Views: 9147

Re: Amazon hikes cost of Prime to $99

There's always something I can add to my order to get it to the $35 free shipping threshold - a hepa filter here, a package of toothbrush heads there. And the price isn't inflated on those items either.
by sls239
Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:37 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Prime Increase
Replies: 185
Views: 7594

Re: Car Buying Strategy

I just wanted to point out that there are cars that are nearing the end of their design cycle, so even at 4-5 years old, you might be getting essentially the same car as someone buying new today. It is worth looking at - Wikipedia generally has the "generations" of the cars listed. Also, d...
by sls239
Wed Mar 12, 2014 10:14 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Buying Strategy
Replies: 46
Views: 3781

Re: best tips for passwords?

Nobody is going to be able to break into my password vault that is encrypted with a very long password and and thousands of rounds of a strong hashing function. You have a password for your password vault do you not? Or do you use some sort of physical two factor thing to access your password vault...
by sls239
Tue Mar 11, 2014 8:26 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: best tips for passwords?
Replies: 141
Views: 8379

Re: best tips for passwords?

Those are actually still pretty hard to remember if you have to remember more than a couple. I only have a couple at a time, paired with a numbering scheme for different accounts. So my list would have something like Amazon | Presidents | 6 and Vanguard | Candy | 2 It doesn't even really look like ...
by sls239
Tue Mar 11, 2014 8:09 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: best tips for passwords?
Replies: 141
Views: 8379
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