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Re: Tract Home - Things to Watch During Construction

My suggestion would be to drop off a 12 pack of beer with the builder's site foreman and walk through the house with him several times during construction including at least once right before the drywall goes up. I bought a tract house before the slab was poured in 1999. My builder encouraged buyers...
by stan1
Tue Aug 19, 2014 7:37 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tract Home - Things to Watch During Construction
Replies: 17
Views: 873

Re: realtor advice..

Do you expect the old house to sell easily (multiple offers within two weeks)? Those types of sales are pretty straight forward, but if you expect the house to be on the market for awhile it is more important to have someone who specializes in and is physically located in the neighborhood where the ...
by stan1
Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:13 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: realtor [commision] advice..
Replies: 2
Views: 559

Re: Cost of an above ground pool, land prep and maintenance

Find some friends with kids the same as yours and a nice inground pool. Offer to bring them lots of food/drinks in exchange for letting the kids play. For younger kids a jacuzzi (turned off) with a bench to stand on will keep them happy for hours.
by stan1
Sun Aug 17, 2014 7:31 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cost of an above ground pool, land prep and maintenance
Replies: 20
Views: 1101

Re: Torn on reits...

REITs are optional.

Since most of your money is in the TSP, and without any specifics on your situation, I'd put domestic equities and bonds in the TSP and use Total Stock Market International in the IRA.
by stan1
Sat Aug 16, 2014 10:31 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Torn on reits...
Replies: 2
Views: 509

Re: Help-Do I need a chip/pin card in europe?

Does anyone know about this for Denmark? Denmark is a huge problem. Hotels are fine, but you should plan to use cash at restaurants although finding ATM machines can also be hard and you will find places that do not take cash (kiosks). Everywhere you go you will need to make sure you have a way to ...
by stan1
Sat Aug 16, 2014 9:54 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help-Do I need a chip/pin card in europe?
Replies: 17
Views: 1106

Re: Would you tip this tour guide?

If the tour was marketed and priced as a high end tour I would demand my money back (but would tip the driver unless the driver was also the owner -- not the drivers fault that the van could not accommodate the booked passengers comfortably). When I book tours I always ask about seating accommodatio...
by stan1
Fri Aug 15, 2014 12:01 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Would you tip this tour guide?
Replies: 22
Views: 2169

Re: The (un)freshness of Starbucks bakery products

I've never seen the date but it was obvious from the taste that those scones weren't fresh. I think they once were fresher but those days are gone. :oops:
by stan1
Thu Aug 14, 2014 9:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The (un)freshness of Starbucks bakery products
Replies: 43
Views: 3848

Re: tipping a house painter?

I would hand him $40-60 in cash since he's done a good job. It does build goodwill and since you have him doing future work it will pay off. I figure its better to have good construction guys/gals on my side rather than angry or indifferent towards me. I feel the same way about my pet sitter; she ge...
by stan1
Thu Aug 14, 2014 9:17 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: tipping a house painter?
Replies: 13
Views: 1291

Re: Mac Airbook

If you are using the Macbook Air at home you will probably want a larger monitor, external keyboard, and full size track pad.
by stan1
Wed Aug 13, 2014 10:36 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mac Airbook
Replies: 38
Views: 3100

Re: More on Computer Security

Here's one example from 2010. new tactic hackers are using: bombarding individual and business phones with incessant calls using automated dialing programs and, while the phones are tied up, raiding bank and brokerage accounts The phone line being attacked was the victim's -- not the brokerage's. It...
by stan1
Sun Aug 10, 2014 1:42 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: More on Computer Security
Replies: 17
Views: 1612

Re: Need for International Investing ?

To me U.S. only investing is an active play that Ford and GM will do better than Toyota and Hyundai; that Exxon will do better than BP and Shell; that Apple will do better than Samsung and Sony; and so on. Do you believe this to be true? Why? The reason can be logical or emotional and doesn't have t...
by stan1
Sun Aug 10, 2014 11:44 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Need for International Investing ?
Replies: 49
Views: 2469

Re: Good place to park ~$500k for house remodel/teardown?

I would probably put some of it into CA Intermediate Term TE because I wouldn't want to pay taxes in the interest earned.

So something like 50% in a 1% savings account and 50% in CA Intermediate Term TE.
by stan1
Sat Aug 09, 2014 8:16 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Good place to park ~$500k for house remodel/teardown?
Replies: 17
Views: 2419

Re: It won't matter if your password gets stolen

I have no plans to ever use a biometric identifier. Just imagine the problems remediating the theft and misuse of your finger, iris, or retina if biometric technologies were widely adopted. You could face hundreds or thousands of hours convincing credit agencies and governments that your identity w...
by stan1
Sat Aug 09, 2014 4:04 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: It won't matter if your password gets stolen
Replies: 20
Views: 2370

Re: It won't matter if your password gets stolen

I have no plans to ever use a biometric identifier. Just imagine the problems remediating the theft and misuse of your finger, iris, or retina if biometric technologies were widely adopted. You could face hundreds or thousands of hours convincing credit agencies and governments that your identity wa...
by stan1
Sat Aug 09, 2014 3:51 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: It won't matter if your password gets stolen
Replies: 20
Views: 2370

Re: BOA Cash Back Credit Card?

You might also want to think about the 3% gas BofA card and an Amazon Visa, which gives 3% at Amazon and 2% at restaurants, drug stores, gas stations; and 1% everywhere else.
by stan1
Sat Aug 09, 2014 1:11 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: BOA Cash Back Credit Card?
Replies: 2
Views: 462

Re: Will global entry or TSA Precheck help me?

I applied for Global entry, I was conditionally approved and I was able to get an interview scheduled in Twin Cities MN later this month. So wait times are not too bad in MN. Hopefully the combination of a redress number and a known traveler number (Global Entry) will improve your situation. Good l...
by stan1
Sat Aug 09, 2014 11:06 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Will global entry or TSA Precheck help me?
Replies: 27
Views: 1677

Re: Your opinion of mint.com

I use it for credit cards and my daily expense checking account (never more than $5K balance). I use the Mint application for OS X which puts a small icon in the menu bar on my Mac. With one click I can see a list of the most recent transactions on my card. I use this to watch for fraudulent activit...
by stan1
Thu Aug 07, 2014 6:26 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Your opinion of mint.com
Replies: 38
Views: 2892

Re: Buy a house with cash and then do cash-out refinance?

Yes, in a seller's market this sometimes helps if the seller is looking for a quick/low risk escrow. However a 50% cash offer is still very strong especially if the house is pushing up into the $1M range where most people with good incomes won't have the liquidity to make an all cash offer. However ...
by stan1
Thu Aug 07, 2014 6:13 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buy a house with cash and then do cash-out refinance?
Replies: 18
Views: 2266

Re: Will global entry or TSA Precheck help me?

FIrst, do you have a redress number? I think that's the most important thing you need. http://www.dhs.gov/dhs-trip You can enter the redress number on airline websites (in your profile or at time of booking). I know someone named Robert Smith. He got pulled aside every time he flew but now that he h...
by stan1
Mon Aug 04, 2014 9:00 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Will global entry or TSA Precheck help me?
Replies: 27
Views: 1677

Re: Caring for Parents

A CD ladder would work and should give you slightly higher yields for money that you don't expect to need within the next 12 months. I'd probably put something like $5K into a checking account, $95K into a "high yield" savings account, and the remainder ($140K) into 3 and 5 year CDs. She d...
by stan1
Sun Aug 03, 2014 9:50 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Caring for Parents
Replies: 4
Views: 533

Re: Lower Expense Ratio vs. Better Diversification

What do you have in your IRA accounts? I'd try to put bonds and international there if I could and put domestic equity in the 401K (80% S&P 500, 20% DFSTX). For the perfectionists: yes, there is a gap of mid cap companies between the S&P 500 index and DFSTX that would not be included but tha...
by stan1
Sat Aug 02, 2014 8:56 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Lower Expense Ratio vs. Better Diversification
Replies: 9
Views: 871

Re: Drought Management

We've always been very water efficient in most ways but one action we did take was to remove lawn and replace with a high quality artificial turf. The neighbors say it looks better than their lawns. This helps in our city in two ways: reduced water usage and reduced sewage fees since sewage fees are...
by stan1
Sat Aug 02, 2014 8:41 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Drought Management
Replies: 60
Views: 2979

Re: How often do you replace bath towels?

The only thing we've ever purchased from Frontgate were a batch of thick towels (now 10+ years ago). We bought 8 body towels plus some hand towels and washcloths (with a cringe and a sigh as this was a lot of moeny), but they have held up pretty well. Now that the price of cotton has gone up signifi...
by stan1
Sat Aug 02, 2014 6:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How often do you replace bath towels?
Replies: 50
Views: 3700

Re: Help With Employment Process

Can she call some of her former bosses or coworkers and ask if they know of any openings? Networking is one of the best ways to get a job.
by stan1
Sat Aug 02, 2014 6:38 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help With Employment Process
Replies: 4
Views: 460

Re: Missing TSP Contribution?

Update: the missing TSP contributions finally showed up, 5 days late. Now, it gets interesting. I got paid yesterday and checked TSP today. My own contributions are there, but my agencies' are not. This is the first time I've seen this happen in 5 years. I could be reading more into this than there...
by stan1
Sat Aug 02, 2014 6:32 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Missing TSP Contribution?
Replies: 13
Views: 1871

Re: Rent or buy a home - area specific?

The New York Times has a calculator at: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/upshot/buy-rent-calculator.html?_r=0 You have to enter in some assumptions such as rate at which house prices will go up, rate at which rents will go up, inflation, and investment returns which make it work anywhere -- b...
by stan1
Sat Aug 02, 2014 6:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Rent or buy a home - area specific?
Replies: 2
Views: 394

Re: Too many goals - where do I start?

Dave Ramsey's advice is a good starting point: 1 1,000 to start an emergency fund 2 Pay off all non-mortgage debt using the debt snowball 3 Three to six months expenses in savings 4 Invest 15% of household income in Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement accounts 5 College funding for children 6 Pay off ...
by stan1
Sat Aug 02, 2014 12:50 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Too many goals - where do I start?
Replies: 53
Views: 3857

Re: Too many goals - where do I start?

Build up your emergency fund so that it has 6 months of expenses (especially important when a lot of your monthly income goes towards making payments on loans). Then pay off the personal loan (yes, I'd do that before you pay off other loans with higher interest rates). Repair your husbands car as lo...
by stan1
Sat Aug 02, 2014 12:46 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Too many goals - where do I start?
Replies: 53
Views: 3857

Re: Can't decide final New Construction Option for Master Ba

I think Im leaning towards the standard option. Every upgrade seems to be in addition to not in replacement of therefore Im paying for the base option already plus I'd be paying a marked up price for the upgraded option. As long as you can live with your choice for the time you live in the house. I...
by stan1
Fri Aug 01, 2014 12:54 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Can't decide final New Construction Option for Master Bath
Replies: 16
Views: 951

Re: TSP G Fund as Emergency Fund?

Would the TSP G Fund in my 401k be a superior substitute to CDs or I-bonds for the second (less liquid) tier of my emergency fund? The G Fund's investment objective is to produce a rate of return that is higher than inflation while avoiding exposure to credit (default) risk and market price fluctua...
by stan1
Fri Aug 01, 2014 8:47 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: TSP G Fund as Emergency Fund?
Replies: 6
Views: 647

Re: Can't decide final New Construction Option for Master Ba

OP, I would look at your budget closely and see if the builder offers tile upgrades. My experience is that most most mass tract builders will let you choose tile (if you haven't passed their cut-off deadline). When we had our house built by a tract builder (Brookfield) 15 years ago we put tile high ...
by stan1
Fri Aug 01, 2014 7:16 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Can't decide final New Construction Option for Master Bath
Replies: 16
Views: 951

Re: Can't decide final New Construction Option for Master Ba

Where I live a bathroom without a tub will count as a 3/4 bath -- not a full bath. I would go with the separate tub and shower -- even if the tub is rarely used. I have a 48x48 window in my bathroom. We put in shutters that can be left closed half way while open at the top which lets a lot of light ...
by stan1
Fri Aug 01, 2014 12:05 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Can't decide final New Construction Option for Master Bath
Replies: 16
Views: 951

Re: Home Appraisal

For an appraisal part of what they are looking at is whether the house is intact: is the kitchen and bath(s) intact? is there flooring? are there walls missing/unfinished? Is the house flooded/water damaged? These are more important to the lender than whether you have Grohe faucets, wainscoting, or ...
by stan1
Wed Jul 30, 2014 9:29 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Home Appraisal
Replies: 20
Views: 1486

Re: Help with a new $5m portfolio for an old lady

2% return on $5M is $100K/year (not even counting SS). You can easily get this with FDIC insured CDs.

In addition she could earn 0% and withdraw $100K/year from her mattress for the next 50 years until she is 132.

Party on -- I hope I am healthy enough to live life large at age 82 on $100K/year!
by stan1
Tue Jul 29, 2014 9:23 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help with a new $5m portfolio for an old lady
Replies: 59
Views: 4455

Re: Which is King: Income Stream or $ Invested

bigez17 wrote:Example: would you rather have $4 million invested or guaranteed (I.e. Pension, fixed annuity, etc) of $160,000/year?


I'd rather have a half of each: $2m invested and $80K/year annuity/pension.
by stan1
Tue Jul 29, 2014 3:42 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Which is King: Income Stream or $ Invested
Replies: 52
Views: 4571

Re: Bathroom remodel, cost per square foot

You should get a second quote You might be in one of these situations: 1) Very skilled contractor who can charge a premium because he always has work available based on strong recommendations/repeat customers. 2) Contractor does not want to do the work for some reason and has given you a high bid ho...
by stan1
Mon Jul 28, 2014 10:33 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bathroom remodel, cost per square foot
Replies: 17
Views: 1585

Re: Where to keep "emergency fund" and how much to keep in b

If you needed $5000 would you go to the bank and withdraw it in cash or would you charge $5000 to a credit card and pay the bill next month before interest started to incur? If you would charge the expense to your credit card that gives you plenty of time to sell some mutual fund or ETF shares at Va...
by stan1
Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:32 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Where to keep "emergency fund" and how much to keep in bank?
Replies: 19
Views: 2757

Re: Selling House - Do We Need a Listing Broker?

I agree, the current real estate business model should be killed stone dead. I hired a full service broker to sell my home, and 11 days after the house hits the MLS, with poor description and photos I might add, I still have no sign on the property. And now the guy is not returning my calls or emai...
by stan1
Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling House - Do We Need a Listing Broker?
Replies: 61
Views: 2762

Re: Kitchen Remodel... Or Not?

You are making $400K/year and living in a $250K house. You are (almost) millionaires at 32/33 on one income with two kids. Of course you can spend $70K on a remodel, but I think in a 130 year old house you'd want to assume that the final number will be closer to $100K once you get done due to unexpe...
by stan1
Mon Jul 28, 2014 5:50 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Kitchen Remodel... Or Not?
Replies: 53
Views: 2895

Re: 33 yo single parent: Need financial advice

Child support is something you are paying out, as in non custodial parent? Why would it stop in four years? Or are you just say these are your expenses for your child, and when they go to public kindergarten vs daycare you won't have to pay so much? The $1700 is 50% child support payments that I am...
by stan1
Sun Jul 27, 2014 9:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 33 yo single parent: Need financial advice
Replies: 12
Views: 1016

Re: Selling House - Do We Need a Listing Broker?

My experience is that people who buy FSBO's want a bargain. Some people will not consider buying a FSBO because they don't want to deal with the homeowner, and many realtors will not actively show a FSBO because they know they'll get stuck doing most of the selling agent's work as well as the buyer'...
by stan1
Sun Jul 27, 2014 8:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling House - Do We Need a Listing Broker?
Replies: 61
Views: 2762

Re: POLL: My home is worth less/more in 2014 than in 2007?

In my immediate neighborhood of 21 houses 5 sold between Oct, 2013 and May, 2014 for prices above what they would have sold for in 2005 (which was the plateau here). The owners had been waiting to sell for some time (move closer to kids private schools, larger house/lot).
by stan1
Sun Jul 27, 2014 5:48 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: POLL: My home is worth less/more in 2014 than in 2007?
Replies: 94
Views: 5690

Re: best place to buy kitchen appliances

I'd look at a local/regional discount appliance store. Where I live we have Pacific Sales and I've used them in the past with good results. They were quite a bit cheaper than Sears for the Whirlpool washer/dryer and refrigerator we bought a few years ago. I just noticed that they are now partnered w...
by stan1
Sun Jul 27, 2014 5:26 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: best place to buy kitchen appliances
Replies: 15
Views: 1165

Re: Stop Extra Payment Toward Mortgage?

Personally I would not want to borrow money to pay for household repairs or car repairs like you describe so I would not even consider the HELOC option. I would stop making extra payments on the mortgage until your emergency fund is back where you want it to be. I think you have a good plan.
by stan1
Sun Jul 27, 2014 5:17 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Stop Extra Payment Toward Mortgage?
Replies: 31
Views: 2036

Re: I have access to a military TSP...worth it?

Most of any negativity you might be hearing about the TSP from your buddies or other websites is because it doesn't have active funds/individual stocks. There are plenty of people out there who want those choices but you won't find them here on Bogleheads. The TSP is the best 5-fund retirement plan ...
by stan1
Sun Jul 27, 2014 5:08 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: I have access to a military TSP...worth it?
Replies: 13
Views: 1085

Re: Providing cars to employees - employer point of view?

Some random thoughts/questions I would want to understand the answers to: - what is reasonable and customary in the industry? - what is the policy on personal use - are the people expected to drop everything and report to work if they get a phone call even on weekends, thereby making personal and or...
by stan1
Sat Jul 26, 2014 7:01 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Providing cars to employees - employer point of view?
Replies: 7
Views: 787

Re: Vanguard quietly adds longevity annuities

I think its going to be a long time before insurers offer to accept a lot of risk as they did with pre-2008 annuities and long term care policies.
by stan1
Sat Jul 26, 2014 6:57 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard quietly adds longevity annuities
Replies: 85
Views: 6749

Re: Buying a Home - Town permit records don't match disclosu

If I was the seller I might cough up a few thousand to finish the deal off, but if that didn't do it I'd put the house back on the market (especially if there were multiple offers). It's a seller's market right now so why deal with difficult buyers?
by stan1
Sat Jul 26, 2014 2:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying a Home - Town permit records don't match disclosures
Replies: 57
Views: 3559

Re: Mileage Reimbursement or Company Car?

Reimbursement would not be taxable income. I think the car is in fine shape. I'm going to keep it until it (or I) die. My initial thinking is to pocket the reimbursement money and deduct some of the mileage on my taxes... You can't do that (legally). You can't get reimbursed by your company for bus...
by stan1
Sat Jul 26, 2014 11:35 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mileage Reimbursement or Company Car?
Replies: 17
Views: 1012

Re: Mileage Reimbursement or Company Car?

I would use the company car/gas card. Also check to see how auto insurance will be handled. It's possible you might come out ahead by a few thousand dollars using your own car, but there's the risk of a lot of hassle if your car gets broken into or involved in an accident. With the company car you m...
by stan1
Sat Jul 26, 2014 11:34 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mileage Reimbursement or Company Car?
Replies: 17
Views: 1012
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