Search found 4082 matches

by stan1
Sun Jul 05, 2015 9:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Please help me improve my online security
Replies: 14
Views: 1148

Re: Please help me improve my online security

A friend of mine, a retired Federal employee, is currently "under attack" on both his home computer and his online investment accounts. He's cancelled all his online access to investments and gone paper -- just like pre-internet days. His investment companies are aware of the attack and h...
by stan1
Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:43 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: I was laid off June 30. Can you please help me figure out a few things?
Replies: 10
Views: 1638

Re: I was laid off June 30. Can you please help me figure out a few things?

Sorry to hear the news, but hopefully you'll find another opportunity fairly fast. Start networking with your current and former associates so you can learn about as many opportunities as you can. Yes, I'd roll the high expense 401k over to a Vanguard Traditional IRA for now unless your wife makes a...
by stan1
Sun Jul 05, 2015 11:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Internet storage and backup for Mac. Dropbox, iCloud, others?
Replies: 30
Views: 1132

Re: Internet storage and backup for Mac. Dropbox, iCloud, others?

Not sure why people feel that a cloud-based backup is preferred or even necessary. It's inherently less secure and more costly than a local backup. I have a Mac and a USB drive (about $60) directly connected to the Mac, and use the built-in Time Machine feature within the operating system. I sync a...
by stan1
Sat Jul 04, 2015 5:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Please help me improve my online security
Replies: 14
Views: 1148

Re: Please help me improve my online security

You've done a lot, but probably the most important thing to do is be very vigilant about what websites you visit (intentionally and unintentionally). Don't click on links in emails and or open email attachments unless you really need to. Make sure you are going to authentic websites e.g. http://www....
by stan1
Sat Jul 04, 2015 5:07 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Funds that exclude one country
Replies: 23
Views: 927

Re: Funds that exclude one country

Like trying to pick individual stocks, I would not pick (or exclude) individual countries. "Own the Market" works for me. Best wishes. Not trying to outwit the market. Moral objections due to personal family history. If the returns are lower, so be it. I don't want to name the specific co...
by stan1
Sat Jul 04, 2015 3:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Borrowing money from my 401k
Replies: 21
Views: 1376

Re: Borrowing money from my 401k

Have you looked into a re-fi on the car loan? I don't know whether it would work out in your case, but if you still have a large balance I might consider looking at options with a credit union now that you have verified income and credit history. I've tried but my credit history is too new and no o...
by stan1
Sat Jul 04, 2015 3:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Borrowing money from my 401k
Replies: 21
Views: 1376

Re: Borrowing money from my 401k

Have you looked into a re-fi on the car loan? I don't know whether it would work out in your case, but if you still have a large balance I might consider looking at options with a credit union now that you have verified income and credit history.
by stan1
Sat Jul 04, 2015 2:20 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How to best keep asset allocation on track
Replies: 6
Views: 777

Re: How to best keep asset allocation on track

That's one of the worst 401k/403b plans I've seen in awhile. Hopefully recent court decisions, including the Supreme Court's decision in Tibble vs. Edison International will help motivate your employer to be more proactive. The decision in Tibble vs. Edison International found that employers have an...
by stan1
Sat Jul 04, 2015 1:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: London Edinburgh by car
Replies: 24
Views: 1301

Re: London Edinburgh by car

The hardest part for me was right turns at intersections that didn't have a 4 way stop. Have to get used to looking both ways when you are making a right turn and then making sure you end up in the correct (left) lane after making a right turn (especially important if you are turning onto a high spe...
by stan1
Sat Jul 04, 2015 1:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: I'm spending 20% more than what i estimate. Easy way to track my expenses?
Replies: 41
Views: 2579

Re: I'm spending 20% more than what i estimate. Easy way to track my expenses?

Mint or Quicken will help with the data capture so you don't need to enter everything yourself -- but you may still need to spend some time making sure everything is categorized correctly. Your credit card issuer may also have some analysis tools built into their website to show you where money is b...
by stan1
Sat Jul 04, 2015 12:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replacing broken furniture drawer hardware.
Replies: 11
Views: 707

Re: Replacing broken furniture drawer hardware.

Taking everything to a local metal shop seems like a good idea if you like the style.
by stan1
Sat Jul 04, 2015 12:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Eating Out
Replies: 47
Views: 3800

Re: Eating Out

I'd try to keep the $90 meal down to once per month (at most). There are many less expensive places where you can have a good meal and enjoy time with your friends. Trying to keep up with your friends who spend a lot of money only gets harder in the future: they'll send kids to private schools so yo...
by stan1
Sat Jul 04, 2015 11:57 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Budget and Housing Question
Replies: 10
Views: 1120

Re: Budget and Housing Question

You are fortunate to some very low monthly expenses (car insurance $24, mobile phone $35, water/sewer $15, even cable/internet $76 are all much lower than you'd be paying in a lot of urban areas). You made the decision to pay off your mortgage quickly rather than invest with the 10 year loan. I don'...
by stan1
Fri Jul 03, 2015 1:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Obsessing towards zero balance on credit card.
Replies: 130
Views: 6639

Re: Obsessing towards zero balance on credit card.

I get paid bi-weekly, not monthly. I pay off my credit cards every pay day weekend after funds become available in my account. I verify card balances with my records in Quicken. Then I transfer most of what's left in my checking account into a higher yielding MMSA account that I consider to be part ...
by stan1
Thu Jul 02, 2015 7:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Age for Claiming Social Security is Increasing
Replies: 2
Views: 1059

Re: Age for Claiming Social Security is Increasing

Several of my healthy coworkers with FERS pensions are retiring in the 67-70 range.
by stan1
Wed Jul 01, 2015 7:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Dealerships - is this bad service?
Replies: 21
Views: 1998

Re: Car Dealerships - is this bad service?

The dealership I'm using has a second shift (drop car off in late afternoon, pick it up most of the time the next morning). That's been convenient for routine work.
by stan1
Wed Jul 01, 2015 5:12 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help! Elderly father got snookered.
Replies: 36
Views: 5111

Re: Help! Elderly father got snookered.

Most banks/financial institutions fill out pages of documentation that an elderly customer has to sign if they appear confused or uncertain. Selling high cost mutual funds is not unethical by the standards of professional conduct although some may find it immoral. If your father told the bank that h...
by stan1
Mon Jun 29, 2015 7:53 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Housing Market in Southern California
Replies: 32
Views: 3432

Re: Housing Market in Southern California

Actually in some desirable upper middle class (but not luxury) Southern CA neighborhoods that I track we are starting to see a little softening (back to normalcy from a definite sellers market). $800-$1.2M houses are staying on the market a few weeks longer, and when houses do sell they are going fo...
by stan1
Sun Jun 28, 2015 7:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Caribbean vacation recommendations
Replies: 32
Views: 2668

Re: Caribbean vacation recommendations

We've found that December (after Thanksgiving and before Christmas) is a great time to go to the Caribbean. Not crowded, lower room rates, and great weather after hurricane season. My favorite Caribbean island is St. John. Lots of beaches, good mix of accommodations, much of the island is part of US...
by stan1
Sat Jun 27, 2015 5:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Move for a Federal Job - Finances?
Replies: 21
Views: 2380

Re: Move for a Federal Job - Finances?

I haven't seen this much third person since MunchkinMan took a break.
by stan1
Sat Jun 27, 2015 5:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need to dispose tube TV in Pennsylvania. Township won't pick up.
Replies: 37
Views: 2968

Re: Need to dispose tube TV in Pennsylvania. Township won't pick up.

Set it out on the curb and put a large sign on it that says "Still works -- FREE!" May or may not work, but worth a try. There's been one of those, including the "still works" part, on the opposite side of my street for at least three weeks now. I just checked: it's still there....
by stan1
Sat Jun 27, 2015 5:09 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: As a couple in late 30s, how bad are we doing?
Replies: 63
Views: 9788

Re: As a couple in late 30s, how bad are we doing?

You mentioned that you are trying to pay off your mortgage in 10 years. If it was me I would strive for a balance between paying off the mortgage and investing in retirement/investing accounts. I can understand the desire to be mortgage free but being diversified with different investments also is i...
by stan1
Sat Jun 27, 2015 2:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need to dispose tube TV in Pennsylvania. Township won't pick up.
Replies: 37
Views: 2968

Re: Need to dispose tube TV in Pennsylvania. Township won't pick up.

Set it out on the curb and put a large sign on it that says "Still works -- FREE!"

May or may not work, but worth a try.
by stan1
Sat Jun 27, 2015 2:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Moving costs
Replies: 5
Views: 860

Re: Moving costs

A pod is good if you need to declutter the stuff you need to keep from the old house prior to putting it on the market. Just make sure both the old and the new house have a place to put the pod. Sometimes it is helpful to do both a self pack pod and a mover, especially if you have some large items t...
by stan1
Sat Jun 27, 2015 12:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Condo HOA not allowing wood flooring due to noise concern... Is this a sign of shoddy construction?
Replies: 9
Views: 1091

Re: Condo HOA not allowing wood flooring due to noise concern... Is this a sign of shoddy construction?

It's a pretty common C&R in wood frame as well as concrete/steel construction in my area. In my house which has carpet upstairs and extra insulation we can hear people moving above. High heels, tap dancing, marching, and foot stomping are hard to mitigate. I think a lot of times the guilty party...
by stan1
Sat Jun 27, 2015 12:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home cleaning services
Replies: 30
Views: 3042

Re: Home cleaning services

You must live in a relatively LCOL area. $95 to clean a 3000+ square foot house is pretty cheap -- its less than what we paid back in 1998 in a HCOL area.

You will get a better price by not going through a company/franchise. Get references from neighbors/friends.
by stan1
Sat Jun 27, 2015 12:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: are these legit Vanguard reviews?
Replies: 38
Views: 4498

Re: are these legit Vanguard reviews?

Over 20 million investors had accounts at Vanguard as of December 31, 2014. https://about.vanguard.com/who-we-are/fast-facts/ 8 complaints out of 20 million customers is pretty good. I'd be hard pressed to find any other large business with that record (airline, cable company, bank). I don't discoun...
by stan1
Fri Jun 26, 2015 9:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Move for a Federal Job - Finances?
Replies: 21
Views: 2380

Re: Move for a Federal Job - Finances?

One more thing regarding federal civil service pensions: they may not be as secure as you think. Contributions are already much higher for new hires (4.4% of pay vs 0.8%, non-law enforcement). Major changes to the program only require two majority votes in Congress and one Presidential signature. St...
by stan1
Fri Jun 26, 2015 9:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Move for a Federal Job - Finances?
Replies: 21
Views: 2380

Re: Move for a Federal Job - Finances?

The major upside is Mark gets his coveted hard to get into fed job. Not sure if whatever he plans like career progression etc will be possible as we don't know anything about the agency in Indy! Mark gets his wish. Is this fed job worth so much? Hard to say, federal jobs are very diverse so can't s...
by stan1
Fri Jun 26, 2015 8:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Condo - HOA Rules for Leasing
Replies: 27
Views: 2114

Re: Condo - HOA Rules for Leasing

No portion of any unit (other than the entire unit) shall be leased for any period; provided, however, that a reasonable number of roommates is permitted . That's pretty well worded to give owners flexibility and give the HOA some ability to avoid situations that detract from the value of the commu...
by stan1
Fri Jun 26, 2015 8:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Condo - HOA Rules for Leasing
Replies: 27
Views: 2114

Re: Condo - HOA Rules for Leasing

It would be helpful if you posted the exact language in the by-laws. Our condo association restricts occupants of a single unit to being members of the same family. The intent is to prevent a unit being turned into a college dorm unit, with all the fun and games that potentially go with those kinds...
by stan1
Fri Jun 26, 2015 7:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Condo - HOA Rules for Leasing
Replies: 27
Views: 2114

Re: Condo - HOA Rules for Leasing

Yes, don't use terms like rent and lease. That implies you are operating a rental property business with a profit/loss and income/expenses. Use terms like roommate and contributing towards household expenses (as you would do if your significant other moved in).
by stan1
Thu Jun 25, 2015 9:37 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Did 2008 change your investing strategy?
Replies: 58
Views: 4746

Re: Did 2008 change your investing strategy?

Yes, I tax loss harvested most of my active funds (and then tax loss harvested the ETFs I replaced them with a couple more times).
by stan1
Thu Jun 25, 2015 8:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much house can I afford (Los Angeles)?
Replies: 15
Views: 2495

Re: How much house can I afford (Los Angeles)?

$1M bucks house........be prepared to work harder just to pay property tax!!! :mrgreen: The parents $1K/month contribution to household expenses would cover most of the property tax. OP pays tax so he gets the income tax deduction, parents chip in by providing OP money to cover shared household liv...
by stan1
Wed Jun 24, 2015 10:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Questions about brick paver driveway
Replies: 12
Views: 1783

Re: Questions about brick paver driveway

I personally would not do it. I do not find the basic, lowest cost pavers at Home Depot to be attractive since they look like cinder block. I realize that's subjective but I would want something that looks more like stone or clay brick with the durability of concrete. I'd also be afraid the installe...
by stan1
Wed Jun 24, 2015 8:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much house can I afford (Los Angeles)?
Replies: 15
Views: 2495

Re: How much house can I afford (Los Angeles)?

$1M bucks house........be prepared to work harder just to pay property tax!!! :mrgreen: The parents $1K/month contribution to household expenses would cover most of the property tax. OP pays tax so he gets the income tax deduction, parents chip in by providing OP money to cover shared household liv...
by stan1
Wed Jun 24, 2015 8:01 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: I've got $80k burning a whole in my pocket, what should I do with it?
Replies: 21
Views: 2688

Re: I've got $80k burning a whole in my pocket, what should I do with it?

OP is hoping for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). I don't know enough about that program to offer advice on whether to pay down the loan now or not.
by stan1
Tue Jun 23, 2015 8:08 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much house can I afford (Los Angeles)?
Replies: 15
Views: 2495

Re: How much house can I afford (Los Angeles)?

If you include the $1,000/month contribution to household expenses from your parents plus the side job income, yes I think about $1M would be your maximum (under $800K would be better -- but you've said properties with a back unit aren't available at that price point). But there's some risk to that ...
by stan1
Sun Jun 21, 2015 12:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Schools in South Bay Area?
Replies: 10
Views: 1578

Re: Schools in South Bay Area?

My only insight to offer is "welcome to life in a very high cost of living area". If you are looking for something actionable my suggestion would be to rent a home for a while to determine whether your family is happy in Silicon Valley and then to identify the neighborhood that is the righ...
by stan1
Sun Jun 21, 2015 11:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Blue Apron
Replies: 63
Views: 6710

Re: Blue Apron

A two person Blue Apron meal is $9.99/person. Portion size is 500-700 calories, though, so some might feel a two person meal is actually a one person meal or would want to add additional sides like a salad, fruit, or vegetable. Where I live (HCOL area) one would be hard pressed to find a high qualit...
by stan1
Sun Jun 21, 2015 11:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pools in San Jose - Worth it?
Replies: 7
Views: 1212

Re: Pools in San Jose - Worth it?

Several of my neighbors who put in pools for their kids came to realize the kids didn't use it very much -- especially after the kids were older than about 10. The kids became involved in other activities: sports, scouts, birthday parties, music, etc. My suggestion would be to see if the kids develo...
by stan1
Sat Jun 20, 2015 5:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: investing vs. mortgage payoff
Replies: 10
Views: 1824

Re: investing vs. mortgage payoff

The advice depends on your overall financial situation which you haven't provided. Do you have pensions? How much are you saving per year in 401K/IRA accounts and what are their balances? My suggestion is to first max out retirement account contributions, then save some in a taxable investing accoun...
by stan1
Sat Jun 20, 2015 1:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: is it better to work for small company rather than big firm?
Replies: 36
Views: 4691

Re: is it better to work for small company rather than big firm?

No employer today is going to deliberately eliminate their workforce over the age of 50. quote] I disagree. An employer of mine did exactly this. They wanted to get rid of a large group of well-paid over-50 people who were about to be vested in a generous but grandfathered retiree-medical and pensi...
by stan1
Sat Jun 20, 2015 12:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: OPM breach and credit freeze
Replies: 161
Views: 13050

Re: OPM breach and credit freeze

Without any additional information I'd assume at a minimum that any data that might show up on an SF-171 or SF-86 has been breached (or corresponding websites OPM operates like USAJobs and E-Qip). That's names of family, addresses, personal references, former employers, resumes, salary history, educ...
by stan1
Sat Jun 20, 2015 11:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: OPM breach and credit freeze
Replies: 161
Views: 13050

Re: OPM breach and credit freeze

I'm a current federal employee, although I have not received anything from OPM regarding the breach. My impression is that it affected everyone, but it sounds like they are being more selective in their notifications. I put a 90-day fraud alert on my credit report -- very easy to do -- and am consi...
by stan1
Sat Jun 20, 2015 9:45 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Password manager recommendations?
Replies: 86
Views: 8265

Re: Password manager recommendations?

I have been very pleased with the free DASHLANE. For the cryptography experts on here: from a security architecture standpoint, is there much difference between LastPass and Dashlane? I suspect LastPass has more users/higher profile and thus might be a larger target. Other than that is there any re...
by stan1
Fri Jun 19, 2015 11:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: OPM breach and credit freeze
Replies: 161
Views: 13050

Re: OPM breach and credit freeze

Vanguard has security questions based on personal information, such as grandmother's first name or the street you grew up on. That information might be on someone's SF-86. Most questions only ask the employee to go back at most 10 years (so you don't have to list every place you've lived since you ...
by stan1
Fri Jun 19, 2015 8:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: OPM breach and credit freeze
Replies: 161
Views: 13050

Re: OPM breach and credit freeze

I'm not sure why people think that OPM has their passwords in some sort of database. The only reason you would have to change passwords on Vanguard is if your password is based on some aspect of your life, which is a major no-no. Passwords should be nearly random. Vanguard has security questions ba...
by stan1
Fri Jun 19, 2015 8:11 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: diesel luxury cars - any owners?
Replies: 11
Views: 1695

Re: diesel luxury cars - any owners?

I have a BMW 335d. For me it has been reliable and with 425 lb-ft of torque it is very fun to drive (although admittedly I get most of my enjoyment on freeway onramps and passing slow movers while climbing hills). There's extensive discussion about the problems some owners have experienced with carb...
by stan1
Thu Jun 18, 2015 10:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Password manager recommendations?
Replies: 86
Views: 8265

Re: Password manager recommendations?

You do not want to use answers to security questions that could be found in your personal information or which could be aggregated from the internet (relatives name, maiden name, high school or high school mascot, street name where I previously lived). Your employer has many of these details in thei...

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