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

Thanks guys. Painting I don't really mind as it is an excuse to declutter and clean behind things. I worked my way through college by painting for a big commercial painting company in Portland so I'm pretty handy with a brush and roller and learned all the tricks from the old journeymen guys. I can ...
by texasdiver
Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Prepping a house for sale: What are the priorities?
Replies: 10
Views: 322

Prepping a house for sale: What are the priorities?

My wife and I are coming together on a long term plan to relocate from Texas, most likely in the summer of 2016 when the kids are out of school. That means we'd be wanting to put our house up for sale sometime in the spring of 2016 more or less a year from now. Since I teach HS my main time off is t...
by texasdiver
Mon Apr 27, 2015 3:31 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Prepping a house for sale: What are the priorities?
Replies: 10
Views: 322

Re: Roasting green coffee beans at home

I've been roasting at home for 10 years how. First I used a Hearthware air roaster bought at Sweet Marias until the burner burned out after a few years as someone else had happen above. Second I modified an air popcorn popper I bought at Walgreens for about $20 and did that for a year or so but got ...
by texasdiver
Mon Apr 27, 2015 3:13 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Roasting green coffee beans at home
Replies: 8
Views: 492

Re: Feel like I made a mistake with buying a house: apprecia

Under Armor clothing is up 1025% in the past 5 years. I wish I had bought a bunch of Under Armor stock back in 2010, or Apple stock back in 2003. Or I wish I had put down $500k on the Patriots winning the 2015 Super Bowl. Such is life. All you can do is make the best choices you can going forward an...
by texasdiver
Mon Apr 27, 2015 2:00 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Feel like I made a mistake with buying a house: appreciation
Replies: 23
Views: 1271

Re: Why I Chose Target Retirement Funds

For many of us investing from within 403(b) or 401(k) plans there is often no savings to be had by going with individual funds rather than target date funds. in my own case, I have a 403(b) invested directly with Vanguard and my wife has the same thing for one of her 403(b) accounts. In both cases V...
by texasdiver
Mon Apr 27, 2015 1:53 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Why I Chose Target Retirement Funds
Replies: 54
Views: 6006

Re: What I learned at my mandatory employee 403(b) info meet

We were told it was due to the IRS what who knows. The email I got said the following: Mr. ____________ with ____________ Financial Services will be visiting the high school April 20th, 21st, and 22nd to visit will all employees to discuss some new changes to the 457 plan and a new account, A Roth ...
by texasdiver
Mon Apr 27, 2015 10:22 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What I learned at my mandatory employee 403(b) info meeting
Replies: 45
Views: 4020

Re: What I learned at my mandatory employee 403(b) info meet

Is there something different about Texas law that requires schools to inform employees about options in ways beyond just giving them the benefits paperwork? My wife has worked for several here in Michigan and has never had anything given to her beyond a giant binder with all of the policy\health\pe...
by texasdiver
Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:41 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What I learned at my mandatory employee 403(b) info meeting
Replies: 45
Views: 4020

Re: Approach to Second Act Career Switch

I would be interested in any advice about how to proceed with a "Second Act" career switch, particularly in terms of choosing a new path. I am about 50 and severely burned out in a government middle-management job. Make good money, have good benefits, but not sure I can tough it out menta...
by texasdiver
Mon Apr 27, 2015 8:54 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Approach to Second Act Career Switch
Replies: 20
Views: 1755

Re: Hypothetical "Can he pull the plug?" [Retire early]

I would use your time 6-18 months to get your affairs in order and model your projected retirement. Do it brutally and don't cheat on the budgets. Then you'll be walking into the next phase of your life with a lot more knowledge about where you stand. Several things could happen during that time: 1....
by texasdiver
Sun Apr 26, 2015 5:34 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Hypothetical "Can he pull the plug?" [Retire early]
Replies: 39
Views: 3324

Re: Anyone Manually Manage Quicken?

I monitor 2 checking accounts, 5 credit card accounts, and about 10 investment accounts in quicken. Of those I am forced to manually manage one checking account from my local credit union because their web site doesn't play with Quicken. I also manually manage my Federal TSP account because Quicken ...
by texasdiver
Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:42 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone Manually Manage Quicken?
Replies: 46
Views: 1976

Re: HSA Receipt Documentation

I'm not sure anyone actually knows for certain. You don't actually ever show the receipts to anyone unless you are audited. You just keep them in case you ever are. Myself, I'm doing the same thing as you. What I do is the following: 1. Keep all major EOB statements. I discard the ones that are for ...
by texasdiver
Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA Receipt Documentation
Replies: 12
Views: 798

Re: What I learned at my mandatory employee 403(b) info meet

And the thing is....there's actually nothing to change at least here in Texas. We can already bypass the "advisor" guys and open our own no-fee accounts with Vanguard or Fidelity. I find this amazing. I don't recall other people having this opportunity. You are very lucky. I do blame my d...
by texasdiver
Sat Apr 25, 2015 5:01 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What I learned at my mandatory employee 403(b) info meeting
Replies: 45
Views: 4020

Re: Is the 1% Cost of Managing Money Worth It?

My parents in retirement pay their guy 1% to manage their money despite my suggestions to the contrary. But they are paying for far more than asset allocation. He also does their taxes and manages their affairs when they are traveling overseas for months at a time, moving money from their investment...
by texasdiver
Sat Apr 25, 2015 3:33 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is the 1% Cost of Managing Money Worth It?
Replies: 53
Views: 4045

Re: Best touristy places to live in the world?

Juneau Alaska. Lived there about 8 years. From May - September the town population doubles on any given day due to the cruise ship traffic and downtown Juneau becomes a theme park. But you get the place back the rest of the year, and even during the summer 99% of the tourists don't have cars so loca...
by texasdiver
Sat Apr 25, 2015 3:18 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best touristy places to live in the world?
Replies: 32
Views: 3185

Re: What I learned at my mandatory employee 403(b) info meet

most teachers ........ or (2) they are married to professional husbands and basically teach to keep busy while their husband earns the real money and takes care of the finances. This is us. I have a very good 401k so we maxed that out, then did Roth IRA's. Eventually, we started crowding the Roth c...
by texasdiver
Sat Apr 25, 2015 2:57 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What I learned at my mandatory employee 403(b) info meeting
Replies: 45
Views: 4020

Re: What I learned at my mandatory employee 403(b) info meet

Never mind the teachers. What about the kids? Guess we can't rely on schools to teach them personal finance basics. I asked Bogleheads, "where did you learn about investing/finances". I was surprised that almost everyone had learned on there own. No one said they learned it in school! Obv...
by texasdiver
Sat Apr 25, 2015 2:04 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What I learned at my mandatory employee 403(b) info meeting
Replies: 45
Views: 4020

Re: What I learned at my mandatory employee 403(b) info meet

I did speak up some, but they are very very sneaky in their approach. […] I did send out a school-wide email explaining that we do have other options such as Vanguard and Fidelity but only one teacher out of 150 (actually a counselor not a teacher) wrote back to thank me for the information. I am g...
by texasdiver
Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:44 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What I learned at my mandatory employee 403(b) info meeting
Replies: 45
Views: 4020

Re: What I learned at my mandatory employee 403(b) info meet

As for the 403(b) meeting that texasdiver attended, I think he should have spoken up. Rarely does anyone speak up. If one person speaks up, then that person gets labelled as "knowledgeable". I told my spouse to ask about index funds at her last 401(k) meeting. Afterwards, lots of her coll...
by texasdiver
Sat Apr 25, 2015 9:28 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What I learned at my mandatory employee 403(b) info meeting
Replies: 45
Views: 4020

Re: What I learned at my mandatory employee 403(b) info meet

livesoft, what is it about your spouse's plan that makes the 403b " instead of " Social Security? I am not completely sure. My spouse is doing this gig as a favor to a friend and does not get paid very much at all. As altruistic as she is, she didn't even know she was going to get paid, h...
by texasdiver
Sat Apr 25, 2015 9:14 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What I learned at my mandatory employee 403(b) info meeting
Replies: 45
Views: 4020

Re: What I learned at my mandatory employee 403(b) info meet

My spouse is teaching at the local community college. She was forced to enroll in the TIAA-CREF 403(b) since the CC contributes to the 403(b) instead of paying into Social Security. She got a phone call from a TIAA-CREF rep who left voice message to call them for help with making sure she was going...
by texasdiver
Sat Apr 25, 2015 1:10 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What I learned at my mandatory employee 403(b) info meeting
Replies: 45
Views: 4020

What I learned at my mandatory employee 403(b) info meeting

This week I received an out of the blue email from my school district employer informing me that we had a mandatory 403(b) and 457 information session to attend. Apparently my employer finally realized that they had an obligation to inform their employees about their retirement options, and had not ...
by texasdiver
Fri Apr 24, 2015 10:24 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What I learned at my mandatory employee 403(b) info meeting
Replies: 45
Views: 4020

Re: Costco and AMEX

More information regarding Costco and their credit card. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-17/costco-seen-paying-almost-zero-to-accept-cards-in-citigroup-deal Sounds as if it was a money decision on the part of Costco and it worked. Thanks to Finance Buff for the link. Reading this art...
by texasdiver
Fri Apr 24, 2015 8:57 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Costco and AMEX
Replies: 21
Views: 3345

Re: UPDATE: [physician, career options, life options]

Going through the same thing with my wife (the physician in the family) after she has put in 10 years attending in a residency program with lots of medicaid and whatnot. Basically we have 3 daughters fast approaching college age so quitting isn't an option. At this point the plan is to suck it up fo...
by texasdiver
Fri Apr 24, 2015 6:41 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: UPDATE: [physician, career options, life options]
Replies: 93
Views: 9558

Re: Advise For Buying A House From A Big-Box Builder

What I wished I had in my builder house are more outlets on the patio so my wife and I have places to plug in the laptops when working outside on nice days. With a cement patio and brick exterior walls it is a difficult thing to retrofit after the fact.
by texasdiver
Fri Apr 24, 2015 12:11 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Advice For Buying A House From A Big-Box Builder
Replies: 11
Views: 1759

Re: Inherited farmland: Should we sell or keep?

Also, the British aristocracy knew something when they required that estates be passed down in their entirety to the oldest son with everyone else getting nothing. If there is the desire to keep the land "in the family" then someone in the family should step up and take ALL of it. The join...
by texasdiver
Fri Apr 24, 2015 12:07 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Inherited farmland: Should we sell or keep?
Replies: 40
Views: 3024

Re: Inherited farmland: Should we sell or keep?

My mother inherited a tract of farm and woodland in PA along with her 4 siblings in the 1980s when her parents died. The farmland was high pasture land that a neighboring farm used marginally to bail hay but most of the land was woodland on a mountain and just sat there. Only one brother lived nearb...
by texasdiver
Thu Apr 23, 2015 3:45 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Inherited farmland: Should we sell or keep?
Replies: 40
Views: 3024

Re: Retirees: What is your SWR in retirement?

Do you guys distinguish between withdrawal and spending? I know my parents are withdrawing about 4% or higher from their IRAs and running into the minimum required IRA withdrawal requirements. However they are not spending anywhere near 4% and probably closer to 1% of what they withdraw, the rest go...
by texasdiver
Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:06 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Retirees: What is your SWR in retirement?
Replies: 45
Views: 3954

Re: HSA account with the lowest cost: HSA bank or Vanguard?

As long as you keep a minimum balance of 5k with HSA Bank and opt for paperless statements, annual fees total $0. There are no fees to transfer funds over to the TDA side, and no inactivity charges. By contrast, Elements Financial only requires a minimum of $2500 to avoid fees but pays 1% interest ...
by texasdiver
Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:00 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA account with the lowest cost: HSA bank or Vanguard?
Replies: 28
Views: 4648

Re: One Spouse Outearning the Other?

I think this topic has as much to do with class as income. And I think it is often the class differences rather than income differences that lead to friction within couples. For men, class and income are much more highly correlated than for women. Most working class jobs are going to be much lower p...
by texasdiver
Wed Apr 22, 2015 8:51 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: One Spouse Outearning the Other?
Replies: 64
Views: 5253

Re: How much do you pay in Property Taxes?

$8,500 tax on an appraised value of about $340,000 in a typical Central Texas suburb that is within the city limits. It is a 3300 sf 4br, 3.5ba home on a typical suburban lot. With 3 kids in school I figure it is a whole lot cheaper than 3 private school tuitions as over half the tax goes to the loc...
by texasdiver
Wed Apr 22, 2015 8:33 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much do you pay in Property Taxes?
Replies: 184
Views: 9225

Re: "How much of your portfolio is in index funds, and why?"

About 75% is in index funds. The 25% that is not indexed is in my wife's Profit Sharing account where there are no good index fund choices and we use Vanguard Wellington instead as the least bad option (it's actually been pretty good). We'd be 100% in index funds if they were available at low cost i...
by texasdiver
Wed Apr 22, 2015 8:22 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "How much of your portfolio is in index funds, and why?"
Replies: 65
Views: 5755

Re: What is safest vehicle on the road today?

but a monster SUV will be significantly safer, even a big pickup that doesn't have to meet all the safety regs. Safer, that is, for its occupants... significantly more dangerous for everyone else on the road (so I'm not advocating anyone escalate the vehicle-weight arms race). From the page:. This ...
by texasdiver
Wed Apr 22, 2015 8:16 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [What is safest vehicle on the road today that I can buy?]
Replies: 83
Views: 4521

Re: Ted Talks

I show them in my science classes from time to time...or else assign them as homework. There are a lot of good science related talks by luminaries in the field. Talks I show frequently are oceanography and marine science talks by Robert Ballard, Sylvia Earle, and Edith Widder. One particular non-sci...
by texasdiver
Wed Apr 22, 2015 8:07 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ted Talks
Replies: 15
Views: 2233

Re: Teachers: 9 or 12 month salary?

My district pays on a 12 month schedule. I find it convenient that way to live on a smaller paycheck. I don't have the option to do anything else.
by texasdiver
Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:48 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Teachers: 9 or 12 month salary?
Replies: 26
Views: 3384

Re: Dealing with tourists taking photos. Etiquette question

Location is everything. If some tourists are taking photos at an obvious tourist viewpoint that people visit for no other purpose than tourism then I'm quite tolerant. Like say the rim of the Grand Canyon. Been there and done that myself. Everyone else is there for tourism. On the other hand, if tou...
by texasdiver
Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:29 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dealing with tourists taking photos. Etiquette question.
Replies: 34
Views: 3705

Re: Need advice for buying a blu ray player

They are getting pretty commoditized these days. I bought a second one at Costco a month ago for I think $79. Some random Samsung model. Works perfectly well and loads faster than the much older Sony I have in the other room. If you want internet connectivity then WiFi is a must unless you want to b...
by texasdiver
Mon Apr 20, 2015 8:54 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need advice for buying a blu ray player
Replies: 15
Views: 828

Re: Car for teenager

I would never buy any sort of expensive car for a teenager. A 10-year old smaller Japanese or Korean car is about right. A Corolla, Civic, CR-V , Hyundai, etc. Basic cheap reliable transportation is all they need. You don't want your child to have the coolest car in her crowd because she'll be doin...
by texasdiver
Mon Apr 20, 2015 6:36 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car for teenager
Replies: 52
Views: 2785

Re: Car for teenager

Our oldest daughter turned 16 this past July so we were faced with this issue. We ended up handing down "loaning her" my wife's old 2003 Honda CR-V that had 150,000 miles while my wife upgraded to a new Highlander. It worked out decently for us because it was time for us to get a new famil...
by texasdiver
Mon Apr 20, 2015 5:10 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car for teenager
Replies: 52
Views: 2785

Re: Collecting: A Hobby First, Investment Second

There's always Tibetan Mastsiffs. In two years they have gone from $200,000 each to being sold at $5 a head for cat food

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/18/world ... china.html
by texasdiver
Sat Apr 18, 2015 3:06 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Collecting: A Hobby First, Investment Second
Replies: 33
Views: 2869

Re: Collecting: A Hobby First, Investment Second

I had an uncle who was a model railroad buff and had a room in his house dedicated to vintage model trains, brass model engines, and other railroad memorabilia like signs and semaphores. It was his lifetime hobby and his train room was like a museum with some really cool old stuff. I know when he pa...
by texasdiver
Sat Apr 18, 2015 2:55 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Collecting: A Hobby First, Investment Second
Replies: 33
Views: 2869

Re: Taking stock at midlife financially

It sounds like you are in great shape and well ahead of me and my wife at similar ages, although we started our career paths much later in life than you did. But it is hard to actually give an opinion about how well you are doing without some idea of your income. If you got where you are now after w...
by texasdiver
Sat Apr 18, 2015 2:43 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Taking stock at midlife financially
Replies: 20
Views: 3413

Re: 403(b) in-service transfers/contract exchanges

The answer is almost certainly no. My wife is in the same boat and stuck with a Standard Insurance 403(b) until she leave her job. Unless by chance your employer happened to have multiple 403(b) choices with different providers. This is sometimes the case with large institutions such as school distr...
by texasdiver
Sat Apr 18, 2015 2:33 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 403(b) in-service transfers/contract exchanges
Replies: 2
Views: 286

Re: TSP Participant Account Balances

I've read that many of the very high TSP account balances are a result of rollovers into the TSP from 401(k)s, IRAs, etc. I'm not sure how that would increase the average balance, other than allowing people who've spent part of their careers outside the federal government to catch up to their peers...
by texasdiver
Sat Apr 18, 2015 2:16 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TSP Participant Account Balances
Replies: 13
Views: 1664

Re: Baby boomers bad for stock market?

I'm skeptical What percentage of investors in the US stock market are middle class boomers who will be forced to sell their holdings to fund retirement compared to the total of all investors? I would imagine that a much larger portion of the stock market is held by large institutions, pension funds,...
by texasdiver
Fri Apr 17, 2015 12:39 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Baby boomers bad for stock market?
Replies: 27
Views: 2517

Re: HSA in retirement

Strictly speaking you can use your HSA to pay for anything in retirement (or before retirement) if you have documented your qualifying medical expenses during the time you maintained the HSA and were paying those costs out of pocket. Also note that regular retirement accounts allow for penalty-free ...
by texasdiver
Thu Apr 16, 2015 6:13 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA in retirement
Replies: 10
Views: 637

Re: HSA account with the lowest cost: HSA bank or Vanguard?

I'm using Elements. I have over $2500 account balance so zero fees and earn 1% on my balance. My last transfer to TD Ameritrade was before they instituted their new $25 wire transfer fee but even with the fee which I will only be paying once a year, Elements still comes out ahead of all the other op...
by texasdiver
Thu Apr 16, 2015 2:39 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA account with the lowest cost: HSA bank or Vanguard?
Replies: 28
Views: 4648

Re: Major issues with new HSABank.com website

I've been happy with Elements Financial (formerly ELFCU Credit Union) since switching from HSA Bank. They pay 1% on your account balance and have two basic fees. There is a $3 monthly fee if your account balance drops below $2500 and they have a $25 wire transfer fee to transfer money to TD Ameritra...
by texasdiver
Wed Apr 15, 2015 9:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Major issues with new HSABank.com website
Replies: 27
Views: 2660

Re: Can't Just Do Nothing

A dollar saved is a dollar earned. You can also work the spending side of the equation: Coupons, energy efficiency in your house, audit all of your monthly bills (phone, TV, internet, etc.) and look for savings. Churning your internet and TV can also produce substantial savings if you rotate between...
by texasdiver
Wed Apr 15, 2015 11:37 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can't Just Do Nothing
Replies: 45
Views: 6127

Re: Help me choose: HDHP/HSA or Regular Health Care Plan

What is your tax bracket? If you are in the 28% tax bracket then your $6650 HSA contribution for 2015 will earn you a tax savings of $1862 In other words, the government is giving you almost $2 grand per year if you use the HSA plan. If you are young and healthy then it is likely you'll never even u...
by texasdiver
Wed Apr 15, 2015 10:43 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Help me choose: HDHP/HSA or Regular Health Care Plan
Replies: 13
Views: 1120
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