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Re: Anyone know when CD rates will increase?

1 year into a 5 year, 3% CD for my mom. I'm hoping very hard she can get at least 3% on another 5 year CD when this one comes due in 2018. I think there's a fair chance I'll be disappointed.
by stan1
Wed Jan 28, 2015 5:36 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Anyone know when CD rates will increase?
Replies: 32
Views: 2225

Re: VNQ & VNQI

I'm thinking of an 80/20 split between VNQ/VNQI for my own portfolio. I don't think its worth owning any asset class that is less than 4-5% of your portfolio. It might make you feel your portfolio is "complete" by including small allocations like that, but it just isn't going to make a di...
by stan1
Wed Jan 28, 2015 5:33 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: VNQ & VNQI
Replies: 8
Views: 797

Re: Elderly Mother in MI - Assisted Living transition

But, the real issue is finding the best quality that she can afford. My mom was in a sprawling building that had Independent living, Assisted care, and Skilled nursing all under one roof. The quality seemed reasonably consistent in the three areas. After she lived in the Independent living wing for...
by stan1
Sun Jan 25, 2015 4:08 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Elderly Mother in MI - Assisted Living transition
Replies: 10
Views: 1002

Re: Netflix DVD delivery slowdown?

This week: Put 2 discs in the mailbox at the post office early Tuesday morning (before first pickup). Return disc arrived on Saturday so that's a 4 day turn around. Several years ago we had 2 day turn around, then it went up to 3, now it appears to be 4. We have the 3 disc + streaming plan. My guess...
by stan1
Sun Jan 25, 2015 4:00 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Netflix DVD delivery slowdown?
Replies: 38
Views: 3333

Re: 400ft Driveway - How do I plow the snow?

I have lived in Northern NE with a 450' driveway for 30+ years. My driveway is relatively flat with only a minimum grade. I have used a Compact 4WD Diesel Tractor that weighs about 3,300 lbs with a 6 foot plow blade and a two stage 50 " snow blower that works off the 3 point hitch. In my exper...
by stan1
Sun Jan 25, 2015 1:49 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 400ft Driveway - How do I plow the snow?
Replies: 61
Views: 4361

Re: Elderly Mother in MI - Assisted Living transition

When it comes time to look at an independent living, assisted living, or nursing home facility my recommendation is to look for a well maintained older facility (built 20+ years ago) that also maintains a high quality of care. We found such a place for my mom which costs almost half as much as a new...
by stan1
Sun Jan 25, 2015 1:30 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Elderly Mother in MI - Assisted Living transition
Replies: 10
Views: 1002

Re: rebalancing after an inheritance

There are two approaches, both of which are equally good in my view: 1) Buy a national or state specific municipal bond fund in the taxable account to maintain your asset allocation. 2) Rebalance your tax advantaged accounts and buy more Total Bond Market there to offset the new purchase of equities...
by stan1
Sun Jan 25, 2015 11:47 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: rebalancing after an inheritance
Replies: 7
Views: 714

Re: Success stories of NOT buying more/too much house

Bought a house equal to about 2.5 times annual income in 1999 in a HCOL area. One of us retired in 2008. We paid off the mortgage in 2013. Now we fly business class when we fly on 10+ hour flights two or three times each year (only when tickets are bought on sale, can get business class tickets at m...
by stan1
Sun Jan 25, 2015 11:35 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Success stories of NOT buying more/too much house
Replies: 65
Views: 5861

Re: Fidelity Donor Advised Fund

If I use a Fidelity DAF, can the fund's grants to charities (which I realize are really the DAF's grants, not mine, though they are based on my "recommendation") be associated with my name so that I personally get recognition for making the gift? I realize that this is not the important a...
by stan1
Sun Jan 25, 2015 11:25 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Fidelity Donor Advised Fund
Replies: 50
Views: 3354

Re: Foreclosed-Law Firm pursuing amount of second lo

Given the unemployment, large cc debt, and the 2nd mortgage I'd go straight into bankruptcy. What's not clear yet at least to me is how likely it is that the 2nd mortgage would be discharged under VA law. I don't know, but that's one reason why you need a bankruptcy attorney. The good news is that t...
by stan1
Sat Jan 24, 2015 9:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Foreclosed-Law Firm pursuing amount of second lo
Replies: 31
Views: 2289

Re: Elderly Mother in MI - Assisted Living transition

How much are the two properties worth if they were sold, or could they be rented out to generate income that together with her SS would pay for a lot of her care?
by stan1
Sat Jan 24, 2015 7:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Elderly Mother in MI - Assisted Living transition
Replies: 10
Views: 1002

Re: Portfolio Checkup

1) I think the TDA fixed rate fund guarantees the principal (no fluctuation in value) as well as the 7% rate of return, correct? If that's true I'd view it as a government guaranteed bond. I would keep it as long as you can. 2) If you think of the TDA as a bond then bonds are 4%+7%+38%+2%=51%. A 49/...
by stan1
Sat Jan 24, 2015 6:07 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Portfolio Checkup
Replies: 3
Views: 384

Re: Time for me to buy a condo?

It sounds like you want to get married and have kids, but haven't met the woman you want to do this with yet (or have you but didn't include her info)? You want to take a less stressful job that would reduce your salary from $350K/yr to $150K/yr. You aren't sure whether you want to stay in the HCOL ...
by stan1
Sat Jan 24, 2015 5:16 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Time for me to buy a condo?
Replies: 15
Views: 1096

Re: buying vs renting in Queens

Without a lot of details about your finances would you be able to find anything in the $500K range that is close to transit/family friendly neighborhood? Always tough in HCOL areas but when you get up over 3X income it's a big commitment. Also, have you made the decision to stay in the city or would...
by stan1
Sat Jan 24, 2015 1:07 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: buying vs renting in Queens
Replies: 18
Views: 1222

Re: Foreclosed-Law Firm pursuing amount of second lo

I am not an attorney, so this is not legal advice and I can't help you with the legal intricacies you present. If you have been advised to file for bankruptcy and are not doing so because you view that as an ethical/moral failure or are worried about social judgement (how others think of you) please...
by stan1
Sat Jan 24, 2015 6:56 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Foreclosed-Law Firm pursuing amount of second lo
Replies: 31
Views: 2289

Re: Negotiating Price of New Construction Home with Builder?

Good luck, I think its a mistake to incentivize your builder to cut corners and look for hidden ways to recoup his margin. Do you want the builder to hire a lower cost concrete or roofing subcontractor? Do you want apartment grade plumbing fixtures that you'll later upgrade yourself? Negotiating for...
by stan1
Fri Jan 23, 2015 11:41 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Negotiating Price of New Construction Home with Builder?
Replies: 9
Views: 1051

Re: How to climb up in a megacorp

Build and maintain your reputation the way you want to be recognized. If you want to be a technical specialist in one area its fine to stay in that area and do a few things very well, but if you want to "climb up" you will need to volunteer for and perform well in tasks/jobs that are chall...
by stan1
Fri Jan 23, 2015 7:29 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to climb up in a megacorp
Replies: 37
Views: 4823

Re: Selling a home - 1st timer

I'm going to disagree with some others and say leave your furniture in the home. If necessary, rearrange so that the room feels bigger. When walking through places I didn't care what someone elses furniture looked like, it was the placement that was key. Is there enough room to move around the furn...
by stan1
Fri Jan 23, 2015 10:51 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Selling a home - 1st timer
Replies: 26
Views: 2364

Re: Selling a home - 1st timer

My criteria when selling a house is to get it sold quickly, hopefully to a well qualified buyer. If you are living in the house it is a hassle to have it shown. A well qualified buyer will be more likely to close escrow quickly than a marginal buyer whose credit issues can cause escrow to drag out. ...
by stan1
Thu Jan 22, 2015 11:55 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Selling a home - 1st timer
Replies: 26
Views: 2364

Re: Question: Will Candles Heat up a Cold Room?

No. But if you do it anyways be careful about soot build up. My mom went through a scented candle phase and ended up with soot all over her curtains, walls, and carpet. She was too stubborn to see the damage until it was extremely obvious and ended up spending a lot of money on repairs.
by stan1
Thu Jan 22, 2015 11:11 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Question: Will Candles Heat up a Cold Room?
Replies: 21
Views: 1698

Re: Land - Me or my Neighbor

Some questions are better unasked. This might be one of them.
by stan1
Tue Jan 20, 2015 8:35 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Land - Me or my Neighbor
Replies: 44
Views: 3411

Re: Can we afford to buy a house?

Is it supposed to feel painful when I liquidate assets in a taxable account? Because it sure feels that way. No! I look at it the opposite way. A taxable account gives me options I wouldn't otherwise have. Keep in mind you are paying taxes on the GAINS when you sell assets in a taxable account, not...
by stan1
Mon Jan 19, 2015 2:42 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can we afford to buy a house?
Replies: 28
Views: 2411

Re: Can we afford to buy a house?

Based off what you've posted I think you can afford a $215K house (assuming it doesn't need $100K of upgrading/repairs right away). You have the liquidity to get to the 20% down between the cash on hand, taxable accounts, and a TSP loan. The first thing I would do is look at your cost basis in the t...
by stan1
Mon Jan 19, 2015 1:46 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can we afford to buy a house?
Replies: 28
Views: 2411

Re: Two CSR Fed Employees Retiring 2015 - Need Input Please!

With your stable and inflation indexed pension income you'll eventually come to the conclusion that you are investing for your heirs. You can either decide to stay conservative because you don't need to take risk or you can decide to invest with an asset allocation appropriate for your heirs because...
by stan1
Mon Jan 19, 2015 1:33 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Two CSRS Fed Employees Retiring 2015 - Need Input Please!
Replies: 43
Views: 2386

Re: Will we get a 1099-S on home sale?

notmyhand wrote:We received our 1099-s at closing I believe.


Ah, that is helpful, thanks.
by stan1
Mon Jan 19, 2015 1:25 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Will we get a 1099-S on home sale?
Replies: 6
Views: 412

Re: Will we get a 1099-S on home sale?

HueyLD wrote:In addition, they might have asked questions such as: "Was the house ever used for anything other than her principal residence?" If she said "yes" to that question, she will get a 1099-S.


We would have said "no" to that one.
by stan1
Mon Jan 19, 2015 1:25 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Will we get a 1099-S on home sale?
Replies: 6
Views: 412

Re: Will we get a 1099-S on home sale?

Thanks, now that you mention it I do recall the Realtor asking if she would have more than $250K in gains, and I told her "no". The paperwork was all done in a web-based document workflow system and I don't have a copy of it (she lives in a different state). Hopefully this means she won't ...
by stan1
Mon Jan 19, 2015 12:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Will we get a 1099-S on home sale?
Replies: 6
Views: 412

Re: 7 nights- Scotland or Ireland?

I would definitely not recommend trying to do both in one 7 day trip. Both Ireland and Scotland deserve at least a week each for an initial visit and both have many rural sights that take time to get to which are as interesting as Dublin/Edinburgh. In both counties you'll want to rent a car for a fe...
by stan1
Mon Jan 19, 2015 12:34 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 7 nights- Scotland or Ireland?
Replies: 31
Views: 1991

Will we get a 1099-S on home sale?

We sold my mom's house in Jan, 2014 for $259K. She paid $11K for buyer closing costs, transfer fees, termite inspection, and buyer's warranty and another $15K in Realtor commission making her net proceeds about $233K. Even without considering her cost basis (about $45K) she won't owe tax on the gain...
by stan1
Mon Jan 19, 2015 12:16 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Will we get a 1099-S on home sale?
Replies: 6
Views: 412

Re: 7 nights- Scotland or Ireland?

Flip a coin. Go to one this year and the other next year.
Or -- pick the one with the cheapest airfare.
by stan1
Mon Jan 19, 2015 11:44 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 7 nights- Scotland or Ireland?
Replies: 31
Views: 1991

Re: Fidelity Donor Advised Fund

As long as you keep less than $16,667 in the fund you keep your overhead fee to the $100 minimum. The mutual fund fees are nominal if you use their Spartan funds. $16,667 is about 8 years of giving for me. I'd rather make contributions each year to even out my tax liability since I have relatively ...
by stan1
Mon Jan 19, 2015 9:57 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Fidelity Donor Advised Fund
Replies: 50
Views: 3354

Re: Fidelity Donor Advised Fund

My goal is to keep the balance of my DAF low for most of the year (under $500). My schedule is to contribute to the DAF in November (to make sure the funds are transferred in that tax year) and make most of the grants for the next year in early January.
by stan1
Mon Jan 19, 2015 5:46 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Fidelity Donor Advised Fund
Replies: 50
Views: 3354

Re: Land - Me or my Neighbor

Need the specifics. For example, if you built a treehouse on your neighbors land and a kid falls out of it and is paralyzed I'd expect both the owner of the land and the person who built the treehouse to need attorneys.
by stan1
Mon Jan 19, 2015 5:37 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Land - Me or my Neighbor
Replies: 44
Views: 3411

Re: how to get a reference from a current employer?

Federal jobs require several references and an insanely detailed resume. Overkill, but that's the game. My first boss told me what he did before he left - he asked that his reference (non-profit board chair) not be contacted until the final round of interviews / decisions, if possible. OK, it is im...
by stan1
Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: how to get a reference from a current employer?
Replies: 16
Views: 1236

Re: Concentration of ETF Issuers

ETFs are indexed. Index investments are commodities and the big providers are going to get efficiencies from scale. Makes sense that there can't be 20 different Walmarts. About 3 plus some niche players makes sense. Now for active managers it makes sense there would be a bunch of boutique mutual fun...
by stan1
Sun Jan 18, 2015 10:17 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Concentration of ETF Issuers
Replies: 4
Views: 473

Re: how to get a reference from a current employer?

Have you been asked to provide references? Many employers do not ask for references (due to potential legal liabilities). If you haven't been asked I would not include references on your resume, or you could write that references are available on request. I would always want to talk to the potential...
by stan1
Sun Jan 18, 2015 10:12 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: how to get a reference from a current employer?
Replies: 16
Views: 1236

Re: Bond portfolio advice

I think they're pretty risk averse, but they want to make some sort of yield that beats their current money market account or CDs. I'm going to put together a few options for them and I'm looking for some suggestions. I recommended TIPS, but they weren't interested. Look around the internet to see ...
by stan1
Sun Jan 18, 2015 10:00 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Bond portfolio advice
Replies: 7
Views: 701

Re: Bond portfolio advice

Are they willing to accept any losses? It's not clear what you mean by "maintaining a safe principal". Bond mutual funds can lose value and be worth less than they invested. If they are unwilling to accept any loss of principal they should be investing in FDIC insured CDs -- even if they d...
by stan1
Sun Jan 18, 2015 9:09 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Bond portfolio advice
Replies: 7
Views: 701

Re: Fire Wife's Advisor and Incur Tax Hit or Stay The Course

If you can benefit from a large one-time charitable deduction and you plan to give to charities in future years, setting up a Donor Advised Charitable Gift Fund might be a good option for some of the funds, especially those with the highest unrealized gains. You can fund the charitable account with...
by stan1
Sun Jan 18, 2015 6:54 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Fire Wife's Advisor and Incur Tax Hit or Stay The Course?
Replies: 19
Views: 1885

Re: Honda Civic vs Fit Safety Question

Also consider if you might have a second child within the next 5 years. Would make no sense to buy a depreciating asset only to sell it in 3-5 years because you need something bigger. As soon as I post that a Fit or Civic is too small for two car seats someone will post that it worked fine for them ...
by stan1
Sun Jan 18, 2015 4:44 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Honda Civic vs Fit Safety Question
Replies: 55
Views: 3318

Re: Need guidance on my portfolio

Assuming you are planning to stay in CA you should look into Vanguard CA Intermediate Term Tax Exempt Bond Fund (to avoid the 9.3% or 10.3% CA tax on dividend income). Thanks Stan. I am a CA resident. I am trying to decide between the CA Intermediate Tax Exempt (VCAIX) or the Federal Intermediate (...
by stan1
Sun Jan 18, 2015 3:03 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Need guidance on my portfolio
Replies: 20
Views: 1226

Re: Need guidance on my portfolio

Assuming you are planning to stay in CA you should look into Vanguard CA Intermediate Term Tax Exempt Bond Fund (to avoid the 9.3% or 10.3% CA tax on dividend income).
by stan1
Sun Jan 18, 2015 2:40 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Need guidance on my portfolio
Replies: 20
Views: 1226

Re: 5.6% stable value fund - what allocation?

Keep in mind there's essentially two different guarantees here: first, the stable value part (no loss of value) and second the high rate of return. You need to understand how both parts of that are being guaranteed. If the guaranteed rate of return drops in the future you can always move your assets...
by stan1
Sun Jan 18, 2015 2:24 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 5.6% stable value fund - what allocation?
Replies: 12
Views: 945

Re: Help - Escaping from bad funds

Calculate how much tax you would owe rather than looking at the gain. Do this for each holding in the taxable account. You'll need to figure out the cost basis and then figure out what your effective capital gains tax rate is (federal plus state). Looking at the amount of tax owed is less intimidati...
by stan1
Sun Jan 18, 2015 2:12 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help - Escaping from bad funds
Replies: 4
Views: 710

Re: mortgage advice

I would go with the 2.75% 15 year loan and no points. You can always pay it off early if you choose but I would only do so if you are maxing out your retirement accounts and also saving in taxable accounts. That's a great rate. No need to speculate about how long you'll live in the house by paying p...
by stan1
Sun Jan 18, 2015 2:03 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: mortgage advice
Replies: 8
Views: 684

Re: Should I use zero interest CC checks for emergency cash?

Agree it seems reasonable given the expected home sale (hopefully house will sell and close within 6 months). If you will get back $100K from the sale of the house you have the ability to lower price if the house doesn't sell quickly. Nothing in life is without risk, but I think in your case this is...
by stan1
Sun Jan 18, 2015 1:56 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I use zero interest CC checks for emergency cash?
Replies: 11
Views: 1236

Re: 5.6% stable value fund - what allocation?

You are describing a very unusual situation. To be honest if I had access to this I'd put as much into it as I could. I would want to understand who is making the guarantee and how they are able to do it. I would expect that rate of return is being subsidized or there is a backstop of some sort in c...
by stan1
Sun Jan 18, 2015 1:42 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 5.6% stable value fund - what allocation?
Replies: 12
Views: 945

Re: Fund Placement Concerns - Rebalance or Pay Cap Gains Tax

I do not plan to ever sell anything in taxable just to rebalance. Here's everything I do to manage taxable accounts: 1. Rebalance with dividends and new contributions. During drawdown pull out from what's overweight. 2. Plan ahead and make gradual changes with a glide slope, not sudden changes (go 6...
by stan1
Sun Jan 18, 2015 1:30 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Fund Placement Concerns - Rebalance or Pay Cap Gains Tax?
Replies: 12
Views: 715

Re: Fidelity Donor Advised Fund

My problem with these funds is what happens to the money after I die? I get to specify (request) how the money gets allocated during my lifetime, but once I pass on, can I have left a directive on allocating money to charities? My understanding is, no, and that the director of the DAF then will don...
by stan1
Sun Jan 18, 2015 10:39 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Fidelity Donor Advised Fund
Replies: 50
Views: 3354

Re: Should I invest in a taxable brokerage account?

Personally I don't find an HSA to be worth the hassle although I realize there are some on here who feel differently. If you are maxing out your retirement accounts and saving in other ways the HSA will rapidly become a small percentage of your overall portfolio. The HSA offered by the insurers in m...
by stan1
Fri Jan 16, 2015 8:17 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I invest in a taxable brokerage account?
Replies: 3
Views: 685
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