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by snowman
Sat May 16, 2015 10:24 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Emerging Markets: Yes or No?
Replies: 56
Views: 4006

Re: Emerging Markets: Yes or No?

Of course yes, but only if you are willing to stick with them long term, presumably forever. I own them because I want to be as broadly diversified as possible, not because I expect higher returns from them. You should not change your investment strategy based on some article. You need to be comfort...
by snowman
Fri May 15, 2015 4:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: passport card faster than passport?
Replies: 32
Views: 1964

Re: passport card faster than passport?

but we will apply for a non-expedited passport for her regardless and have her birth certificate in case her passport does not arrive in time. Can't do this .. the US dept of state will take your daughter's birth certificate for passport processing. So you won't have it until you get her passport. ...
by snowman
Fri May 15, 2015 2:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: passport card faster than passport?
Replies: 32
Views: 1964

Re: passport card faster than passport?

Get the book. You should be fine with 4 weeks - on your application you are required to state when and where you are traveling. They will make every effort to get that back to you on time. You can save money on your kid - as long as you are not flying to Canada (I assume you are driving), all you ne...
by snowman
Tue May 12, 2015 11:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mechanics fails to fix problem
Replies: 17
Views: 1399

Re: Mechanics fails to fix problem

You should definitely go back and tell them that the problem is not fixed; if they are good, reputable shop, they will charge you only for materials and necessary fees and taxes. If they are not willing to do that, I would look for a new place, preferably one that has been in existence for at least ...
by snowman
Mon May 11, 2015 12:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Lightweight camping gear
Replies: 41
Views: 2663

Re: Lightweight camping gear

I have been doing this for over 30 years. I started with a very, very bad quality equipment because I had no money at that time, but I really enjoyed being outdoors and I learned with each trip what works and what doesn't. Over time, you develop a list of essential items you must take with you, ever...
by snowman
Mon May 11, 2015 10:19 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Retirement in 2 years?
Replies: 16
Views: 2274

Re: Retirement in 2 years?

You are good to go. Your taxes might be lower in retirement - play with TT. Moving out of NY may lower taxes further. ACA is your friend - play with those numbers in TT as well. You have done well, congratulations!
by snowman
Thu May 07, 2015 11:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do Updates to Home Increase Market Value?
Replies: 32
Views: 2159

Re: Do Updates to Home Increase Market Value?

Let RE agents compete for your business. Start with 3 and go from there. Pick the one you are most comfortable with. If you are not happy with any of them, keep looking.
by snowman
Thu May 07, 2015 10:52 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Easy careers to last me to retirement?
Replies: 141
Views: 16991

Re: What job to get to coast to Retirement at age 59 1/2?

Just follow your passion. Hike, bike, fish, ski, whatever makes you happy. Travel around the world and work for room and board. Volunteer. Too many options to list. What do you like to do?
by snowman
Wed May 06, 2015 9:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Frugal car maintenance - Lexus serviced by Toyota
Replies: 49
Views: 3513

Re: Frugal car maintenance - Lexus serviced by Toyota

For what it's worth, many Lexi require 5000 mile oil changes. I've come to conclude that it's not worth it to use synthetic since good old dino remains lasts just fine for 5000 miles. My wife's newer 2014 RX350 and son's Corolla can go 10,000 miles so for them I will use the required synthetic. You...
by snowman
Tue May 05, 2015 10:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Frugal car maintenance - Lexus serviced by Toyota
Replies: 49
Views: 3513

Re: Frugal car maintenance - Lexus serviced by Toyota

2. Wiper blades - ignore your wife's advise, get the full replacement, 2 minutes and you are done. No dirty hands either. I'm not sure if the replacement wiper blade holder's quality was as good as Lexus. Anyone know about this? The only problem I ever had was with GoodYear wipers from Costco - the...
by snowman
Tue May 05, 2015 7:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Frugal car maintenance - Lexus serviced by Toyota
Replies: 49
Views: 3513

Re: Frugal car maintenance - Lexus serviced by Toyota

Well, to all the well wishers, I've not touch my car since I was in the 20's, talking about lazy. Changing oil is dirty to say the least. As for the blade inserts, I'm OK to have someone else do it for me. In my past, I just got the whole blades from Costco and trashed the old ones but my wife said...
by snowman
Tue May 05, 2015 6:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Looking to Retire in Cleveland
Replies: 32
Views: 2485

Re: Looking to Retire in Cleveland

My extended family lives in Cleveland. I visit with them every few years. I don't quite get the bad reputation - I enjoy my visits there, I think it's a nice place. Personally, I would never leave Colorado for Cleveland, but I think that for the right person it's a great place to retire. I wish you ...
by snowman
Tue May 05, 2015 5:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Frugal car maintenance - Lexus serviced by Toyota
Replies: 49
Views: 3513

Re: Frugal car maintenance - Lexus serviced by Toyota

I understand you feel good about saving $250, but my impression is totally opposite of yours. Likely the only maintenance item on a 2012 Lexus at 30K miles is an oil change, possibly air filter change. You might want to check and potentially replace wiper blades and cabin air filter, but there reall...
by snowman
Mon May 04, 2015 8:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retiring before kids start college. Thoughts?
Replies: 26
Views: 4590

Re: Retiring before kids start college. Thoughts?

The numbers are approximate, but you get the point. Your income went up, your EFC more than doubled, yet your cost remained pretty much the same. You did not lose any aid. I didn't see any actual "aid" being provided in your example. Just a bunch of loans. I'm not close to retiring, but m...
by snowman
Mon May 04, 2015 11:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What to use to clean car
Replies: 45
Views: 3431

Re: What to use to clean car

For leather, I recommend: Meguiar's G10916 Gold Class Rich Leather Cleaner & Conditioner - 15.2 oz. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002V9IFU/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_i6Mrvb04K1052 For interior detailing, I recommend: Meguiar's G13616 Quik Interior Detailer Cleaner - 16 oz. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000AMLW...
by snowman
Mon May 04, 2015 10:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retiring before kids start college. Thoughts?
Replies: 26
Views: 4590

Re: Retiring before kids start college. Thoughts?

One danger that concerns me is that if there is an unexpected expense of any kind (or if I don't budget well) I could be forced to withdraw more than planned from retirement accounts, which would count as income for FAFSA, putting college costs up, and forcing even more withdrawals from retirement ...
by snowman
Mon May 04, 2015 10:24 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retiring before kids start college. Thoughts?
Replies: 26
Views: 4590

Re: Retiring before kids start college. Thoughts?

A couple of problems to watch out for with trying to keep your income real low for a few years. 1) By using a lot of your non-taxable assets while the kids are in college you could end up not owing any federal tax. This is a problem if you will have any non-refundable tax credits. 2) You may not be...
by snowman
Tue Apr 28, 2015 10:59 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: TD Ameritrade Solo 401k Questions
Replies: 23
Views: 850

Re: TD Ameritrade Solo 401k Questions

Thanks for the feedback. I called TDAmeritrade with my questions. I think I am going to do this. It will allow me to either defer income and lower my AGI and/or increase my Roth contributions each year. It looks like another little tax perk to being retired. Also, I get a bonus for transferring in ...
by snowman
Tue Apr 28, 2015 9:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Prepping a house for sale: What are the priorities?
Replies: 33
Views: 2905

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

You have it well covered. From my experience, I would just stress following: 1. Paint all the walls neutral color, it makes a huge difference. You can start now, and do it in stages. 2. Invite 3 realtors to your house and pick one that will be your agent. Ask lots of questions about what they think ...
by snowman
Mon Apr 27, 2015 12:54 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: TD Ameritrade user? Question regarding selling Free ETFs
Replies: 23
Views: 1099

Re: TD Ameritrade user? Question regarding selling Free ETF

livesoft wrote:LIFO matches my experience as well … even if specific ID of earlier shares is used. Now I could be confused, but I would not admit that. :)

LIFO matches my experience as well, although it's been a while.
by snowman
Fri Apr 24, 2015 11:54 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I apply for manager's job or continue as a techie?
Replies: 145
Views: 9680

Re: Should I apply for manager's job or continue as a techie

OP, I am not a techie (I was a manager in strategy/finance), but I used to work with IT managers (some VP level, mostly director level) on a daily basis. Questions like you are currently facing were frequently brought up in personal meetings/lunches I have had with them. Other posters are providing ...
by snowman
Fri Apr 24, 2015 10:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Approach to Second Act Career Switch
Replies: 22
Views: 2288

Re: Approach to Second Act Career Switch

There is no single approach that works the same for everyone. I have done it, and it worked for me, but I am a risk-taker. Most people in general are a lot more cautious, and on this board most people (seems to me) are extremely cautious! For example, with your amount of savings and future pension/S...
by snowman
Thu Apr 23, 2015 9:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Transmission oil one inch over the full line would that be a
Replies: 19
Views: 1332

Re: Transmission oil one inch over the full line would that

Have you exactly followed the directions in your car's manual for checking the transmission oil level. Very often there are specific steps involved, not just checking the level while running. There is generally guidance on how long to warm up the engine and how you should let it cool down if you ha...
by snowman
Wed Apr 22, 2015 9:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Using Zillow/Zestimate to value a home?
Replies: 43
Views: 4839

Re: Using Zillow/Zestimate to value a home?

Does it even really use the purchase price? If so, it's not a strong factor in the algorithm. My Zestimate was $80k low (~12%) before purchase, and that didn't change even after it logged the purchase in the system. The house next door (sold a bit more than a year later) has had the same trend. You...
by snowman
Tue Apr 21, 2015 5:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Broken Oxygen Sensor on Car
Replies: 43
Views: 2903

Re: Broken Oxygen Sensor on Car

I have a 2001 Toyota Tundra and apparently one of the oxygen sensors went bad on a trip to Disney in 2006. When I got home, I was told it was one of the four sensors and they would not be able to tell which one. They wanted to replace them at about $200 each. My total bill would be between $200-800...
by snowman
Tue Apr 21, 2015 5:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Broken Oxygen Sensor on Car
Replies: 43
Views: 2903

Re: Broken Oxygen Sensor on Car

$500 is too much. Also, "broken" O2 sensor doesn't sound right. Here are the steps I recommend: 1. Check your warranty. It may still be covered. Get it fixed for free if within warranty period. 2. If outside of warranty, and you are somewhat handy, get the code, google the part, buy on ama...
by snowman
Tue Apr 21, 2015 3:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: engineers - please help with engineering school selection
Replies: 185
Views: 12019

Re: engineers - please help with engineering school selectio

The intern and co-op opportunities with the local companies are abundant. While U of MN engineers are not always 'famous' nationally, the U of M - college of Engineering, specifically - has a lot of influence in the region. 3M, Medtronic, General Mills, Boston Scientific, Cargill, St Jude Medical, ...
by snowman
Tue Apr 21, 2015 3:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: engineers - please help with engineering school selection
Replies: 185
Views: 12019

Re: engineers - please help with engineering school selectio

Also, interestingly, the Economist put out an article that suggests that engineering graduates on average earn the same amount of money regardless of where they go to school. This appears to be true. Before applying, he did look up starting salary information for both mechanical and chemical engine...
by snowman
Tue Apr 21, 2015 2:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: engineers - please help with engineering school selection
Replies: 185
Views: 12019

Re: engineers - please help with engineering school selectio

I went to CSU and i think Mines (where my daughter went) is IMO vastly superior to either CU or CSU in terms of internships, academic rigor and post-graduation opportunities for employment and grad schools. Thanks, MnD, I have similar thoughts as you do. He did receive outstanding merit scholarship...
by snowman
Tue Apr 21, 2015 11:28 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

Amarillo is kind of odd-man-out in terms of what is immediately local and things to do compared to the other cities you have listed. I couldn't even be paid to live in Amarillo. And yes, I have been there. So tell me what the attraction is? Are you from Amarillo? Do you have grandkids in Amarillo? ...
by snowman
Tue Apr 21, 2015 10:40 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

OP, You got some good replies regarding CO already, I will just offer some additional thoughts for your calculations. Water is expensive here. I suspect it's expensive in any of the cities you are considering, but the water bill may be substantially higher compared to what you are paying today. For ...
by snowman
Sat Apr 18, 2015 6:27 pm
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)?

3. My mother did not foster good relationships among us siblings. There was always unhealthy rivalry going on, as well as golden-child/scapegoat phenomenon. If I did something good or remarkable, she would always comment how my rival sibling did it better etc. He lives flashy lifestyle – expensive ...
by snowman
Sat Apr 18, 2015 4:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: engineers - please help with engineering school selection
Replies: 185
Views: 12019

Re: engineers - please help with engineering school selectio

Still, he was either rejected or (mostly) waitlisted at all top private schools he applied to. It may be a longshot, and I don't want to raise any hopes, but some students are accepted off the wait list. How many wait lists is he on? What has he done about it? If accepted at any of the private scho...
by snowman
Sat Apr 18, 2015 11:29 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: engineers - please help with engineering school selection
Replies: 185
Views: 12019

Re: engineers - please help with engineering school selectio

May I take my engineering hat off for a moment? The school name as many have mentioned, is not that important when dealing with great programs such as these and honors much less so especially in fields like engineering that are about creating/producing. Your son is very young still and although it ...
by snowman
Sat Apr 18, 2015 10:35 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: engineers - please help with engineering school selection
Replies: 185
Views: 12019

Re: engineers - please help with engineering school selectio

I am a graduate of CSE at the University of Minnesota, so you should take that into account. First, if he's willing to work hard, both colleges will serve him well. I don't think there's a mistake to be made. I would write off the Boulder "party school" chit chat. It's a big enough place ...
by snowman
Fri Apr 17, 2015 8:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: engineers - please help with engineering school selection
Replies: 185
Views: 12019

Re: engineers - please help with engineering school selectio

I don't think your son can go wrong, and if the aid offer is better at Minnesota, that may be the tiebreaker. BUT, I will say that he should be REALLY sure he's ready to put with the Minnesota winter for 4 years and is willing to put up with Midwest Winters for a few years after that. Minnesota is ...
by snowman
Fri Apr 17, 2015 8:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: engineers - please help with engineering school selection
Replies: 185
Views: 12019

Re: engineers - please help with engineering school selectio

OP, as a person who got a state engineering school degree, only to become a computer programmer: State Engineering school is incredibly painful, even for smart kids. It is not exaggerating to say it is 4 years of hell. If there is even a 20% chance he doesn't want to do (real) engineering for a liv...
by snowman
Fri Apr 17, 2015 4:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: engineers - please help with engineering school selection
Replies: 185
Views: 12019

Re: engineers - please help with engineering school selectio

As a chemical engineer that attended a party school that also is well respected for its engineering programs (believe it or not, those two can coexist)...I stronly encourage your son to think about which place he'd enjoy living at. Engineering is a tough program. From your post, it sounds like he'l...
by snowman
Fri Apr 17, 2015 3:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: engineers - please help with engineering school selection
Replies: 185
Views: 12019

Re: engineers - please help with engineering school selectio

This is an easy choice, which state does he want to live in immediately following graduation? Yes, we have thought about that aspect, and it's really a tie. He loves CO and wouldn't mind staying here. He also likes northern belt - MN through ME. Cold, less sun, but more trees. His plan (I know it's...
by snowman
Fri Apr 17, 2015 2:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: engineers - please help with engineering school selection
Replies: 185
Views: 12019

Re: engineers - please help with engineering school selectio

This is OP, It occurred to me that some of the posters who previously provided very helpful replies might have missed the update I made to the OP, so for your convenience, I'm quoting it here: Updated by OP – April 2015: I wanted to provide an update to all of you that graciously responded to my thr...
by snowman
Fri Apr 17, 2015 2:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: engineers - please help with engineering school selection
Replies: 185
Views: 12019

Re: engineers - please help with engineering school selectio

Thanks for reply; my comments/questions are in blue. I'd pick the University of Minnesota as it is a more recognized name throughout the country due to being in the Big 10. Many companies have mandates to recruit student from higher ranked schools. I'm pretty sure my company has a goal to hire a cer...
by snowman
Fri Apr 17, 2015 10:52 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. No. I grew up in a poor family in a relatively poor country where everyone had a NW of roughly zero. Most of their NW is in housing which isn’t all that much by our standards. To my family, we are probably rich because of our big house in a beautiful neighborhood in the US, but I don’t think they...
by snowman
Sun Apr 12, 2015 12:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit drop because of high utilization on one card?
Replies: 8
Views: 591

Re: Credit drop because of high utilization on one card?

My wife and I recently had some large purchases we funnel through my card for cash back (Insurance, vet bills, auto registration, birthday gifts for my wife, a new couch, etc...), which put the balance of the card at ~50% (total utilization is ~16%). Apparently, this was enough to drop my score by ...
by snowman
Fri Apr 10, 2015 2:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cost of College & Weighing the Merits of Top Schools
Replies: 304
Views: 17471

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

Harvard, etc. Essentially free. If your kid gets accepted into an elite college, you've hit a major financial jackpot in terms of lower costs. Yup. HYPS are practically free if you aren't rich. Harvard is literally free if your household income is under $100k/year. $150k households only pay 10% of ...
by snowman
Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:09 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cost of College & Weighing the Merits of Top Schools
Replies: 304
Views: 17471

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

I've looked at Net Price Calculators to make cost comparisons, for moderate incomes. UC Berkeley (or any UC) and many other state flagships, out of state Stratospherically expensive. 2nd tier privates Stratospherically expensive. Harvard, etc. Essentially free. If your kid gets accepted into an eli...
by snowman
Thu Apr 09, 2015 1:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cost of College & Weighing the Merits of Top Schools
Replies: 304
Views: 17471

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

Thanks for all the replies....lots of food for thought. For us it seems to be boiling down to one big question.... Do you use your qualifications to just get IN to a top tier school, OR do you use them to get a big discount at a second tier school? WalterMitty, I understand your dilemma, but this i...
by snowman
Wed Apr 08, 2015 1:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Sandwich generation
Replies: 17
Views: 1911

Re: Sandwich generation

Is she a US citizen? If not, moving here is not a realistic option as I don't think you would be able to afford her healthcare. It looks like the ACA has some coverage for legal residents who are not citizens. I didn't look at it in detail. ACA covers people up to age 65. His mom is 72. If she is n...
by snowman
Wed Apr 08, 2015 12:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Sandwich generation
Replies: 17
Views: 1911

Re: Sandwich generation

Is she a US citizen? If not, moving here is not a realistic option as I don't think you would be able to afford her healthcare.
by snowman
Wed Apr 08, 2015 9:50 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 50.00 Fee from Fidelity for transfer
Replies: 26
Views: 2497

Re: 50.00 Fee from Fidelity for transfer

Ketawa wrote:However, I recently transferred an entire IRA out of TD Ameritrade and they didn't charge me a fee, which is contrary to their stated fees.


TDA does not charge closing account fees for APEX customers. Assuming you were APEX customer, they just followed their rules by not charging you any fees.
by snowman
Fri Apr 03, 2015 5:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Unexpected Car Expenses
Replies: 21
Views: 2560

Re: Unexpected Car Expenses

Regarding the part failure issue: I'd want to be completely sure the catalytic converter is actually bad before replacing it. How sure are you this is not just a dead oxygen sensor? I would be tempted to just replace that (it's about a $50 part for, I assume the upstream sensor, and easy to do your...

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