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Re: Consulting fees: non working travel time

I am a retired engineer who is also doing some part time consulting for lawyers. I decided to charge full rates for the first 2 hours of travel and half time after that. Charge door to door in 15 minute increments with a 12 hour/day cap. Door to door is home to hotel, or hotel to hotel, or hotel to ...
by tractorguy
Mon Sep 22, 2014 5:46 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Consulting fees: non working travel time
Replies: 26
Views: 1125

Re: Home buying questions

re closing costs: There are several on line calculators that will give you an estimate for your particular situation. I'd check a couple of them to get an estimate. Some of these costs will be there even if you pay cash. You have to pay for inspections, title searches, etc. even if you pay cash. I w...
by tractorguy
Mon Sep 22, 2014 12:03 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Home buying questions
Replies: 5
Views: 704

Re: Advisor switching companies, self management a possibili

Now is a good time to get your GF to understand what this relationship with her advisor is costing her and where his real interests are. Have her ask the advisor for an idea of what he will do with her money assuming she brings it to him. It is likely that he will want to sell the investments he mad...
by tractorguy
Sun Sep 21, 2014 12:28 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advisor switching companies, self management a possibility
Replies: 11
Views: 630

Re: Shuffling between TSP, Edward Jones, and Vanguard

I would move my investments with Edward Jones to Vanguard immediately. My parents had accounts with EJ for decades. Not only did EJ make a ton of money from them over the years, but my parents would get phone calls for "portfolio reviews" every six months or so that frequently resulted in ...
by tractorguy
Sat Sep 20, 2014 5:19 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Shuffling between TSP, Edward Jones, and Vanguard
Replies: 14
Views: 1338

Re: Do you keep paper copies of your investment statements?

I don't get any paper statements so I don't have to worry about keeping or shredding them. I download activity from Vanguard to my Quicken register weekly so have a weekly check to see if anything unexpected happens. I do not look at the monthly statements from Vanguard because I trust that this is ...
by tractorguy
Tue Sep 09, 2014 2:29 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you keep paper copies of your investment statements?
Replies: 33
Views: 1894

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

I like the Takeshi Kovacs series by Richard Morgan. Its not fantasy but the "Science" makes some rather large assumptions re the directions technology is going to go.

I agree that its getting harder to find science fiction that isn't fantasy or a recycle of 30 year old ideas.
by tractorguy
Mon Sep 08, 2014 9:36 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Good Modern Science Fiction
Replies: 129
Views: 5329

Re: Employer finding out you have a financial cushion?

I think this is going to be highly employer dependent. My experience at a megacorp is that the company bent over backwards to ensure that all promotions and raises were supported by documented performance of the employee. Individual raises were defined by a formula that had as its only inputs perfor...
by tractorguy
Mon Sep 08, 2014 10:39 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Employer finding out you have a financial cushion?
Replies: 62
Views: 6128

Re: Why does the stock market "always go up"? Will this pers

I suggest you read, A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World by William J. Bernstein (May 14, 2009) . He gives an interesting historical perspective on the differences between the hugely long period of time (think Egypt at the time of the Pharaos) when the economy only grew at the rate of pop...
by tractorguy
Mon Sep 08, 2014 10:19 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why does the stock market "always go up"? Will this persist?
Replies: 42
Views: 3825

Re: Take slightly better job if you had to wait 1 year for 4

My answer to your question has two parts. 1) +1 on negotiating a signing bonus to cover the shortfall. I'd go for a higher salary first, then try for a hiring bonus if the salary increase gets turned down. The person who is hiring you or his immediate supervisor probably have authority to grant eith...
by tractorguy
Tue Sep 02, 2014 10:26 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Take slightly better job if you had to wait 1 year for 401k?
Replies: 19
Views: 910

Re: Advice on job opportunity abroad: taxes, cost of living,

IMOP, you're being offered a lousy deal. Your company is avoiding all risk of hiring an unknown local and not compensating you for the taking the risk of pulling up stakes and moving to a foreign country. I was an expat in the UK and Japan for a U.S. multinational for 10 years, returning in 2008. My...
by tractorguy
Mon Sep 01, 2014 11:20 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Advice on job opportunity abroad: taxes, cost of living, etc
Replies: 13
Views: 1109

Re: Best way to control someones account.

Before setting up trust, I suggest you also talk to a CPA re taxes (both income and inheritance). My parents set up education trusts to partially cover my daughters college tuition. As administrator I had to do the federal and state income tax every year. My impression was that the tax rates for tru...
by tractorguy
Tue Aug 19, 2014 9:06 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Best way to control someones account.
Replies: 22
Views: 1860

Re: “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't k

I also like your asset allocation but the more important thing is what you will think about it in the next downturn. Were you invested in 2008? During the drop, did you sell stocks, leave it alone, or buy more because they were cheap? Your behaviour during 2008-2010 is a good predictor of your behav...
by tractorguy
Fri Aug 15, 2014 8:53 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know"
Replies: 18
Views: 1928

Re: Poll - Do you use Quicken?

I use Quicken on a Windows 7 machine to both track investments and to remind me when to pay utility and CC bills. I log in once a week, take care of bill paying reminders, and then auto download bank, credit card, and investment account updates. Most weeks this takes 15 minutes. At the beginning of ...
by tractorguy
Sat Aug 09, 2014 2:43 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Poll - Do you use Quicken?
Replies: 85
Views: 5195

Re: How many Accounts do you log into and how do you manage?

I have no idea how many active accounts & passwords I have but its well over 100. Monthly, I only check about a dozen to pay bills and check status (2 credit cards, 2 banks, 2 brokerage houses, 3 utilities, etc.).However, everything from the newspaper to hotels.com to frequent flier programs to ...
by tractorguy
Thu Aug 07, 2014 11:51 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How many Accounts do you log into and how do you manage?
Replies: 52
Views: 2610

Re: Options for "mortgage pre-payment plan"

+1 on paying all of your "fund" towards your mortgage immediately. You'll reduce your loan balance and interest cost the day your payment is credited to your account. If you've decided that you want to pay it down there is no reason to let your money sit in a bank that is paying less inter...
by tractorguy
Fri Aug 01, 2014 8:06 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Options for "mortgage pre-payment plan"
Replies: 17
Views: 1201

Re: Vanguard not vigilant about taxes?

I can't tell what the OP is expecting Vanguard to do. The funds I invest in all have objectives that are a variant on "invest companies to reflect a market index and match the returns of the index." None of them have the proviso "except when mergers or buyouts affect capital gains tax...
by tractorguy
Wed Jul 23, 2014 5:32 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard not vigilant about taxes?
Replies: 15
Views: 1687

Re: Intimidated by Trustee and Investment Advisor

I'm not a lawyer but have had to deal with a trust when my father died. My mother was the trustee and the financial advisor was Edward Jones. I don't particularly like Edward Jones fee structure but they at least were totally professional and transparent about the investments and who owned them. IMO...
by tractorguy
Mon Jul 21, 2014 3:59 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Intimidated by Trustee and Investment Advisor
Replies: 32
Views: 3957

Re: Which kind of bike for recent retiree?

There are so many bike styles out there because each one appeals to a different kind of rider. We have many bike shops along the Fox River trail (western Chicago Suburb) that let you rent bikes for a day to ride on the trail. If I were just getting restarted, I'd probably rent one and take it out fo...
by tractorguy
Mon Jul 21, 2014 12:09 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which kind of bike for recent retiree?
Replies: 48
Views: 2831

Re: Buying a camper

We had a pop up trailer for 5 years when our children were younger. Took it everyplace from Florida to Idaho and I can't say that I ever felt that set up times were too much of an issue. It was usually a dead heat between me getting the trailer torn down in the morning and my spouse getting the 4 gi...
by tractorguy
Tue Jul 15, 2014 4:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a camper
Replies: 26
Views: 2730

Re: Allstate's Drivewise Program

I've been using drivewise for a few years. I save 13% on my car (which I use for about 6500 miles/year), pay full rates on spouses car which we put 16500 miles on per year. As the other poster said, Drivewise monitors mileage, hard braking, events of speed over 80, and time of day you're driving. My...
by tractorguy
Tue Jul 15, 2014 4:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Allstate's Drivewise Program
Replies: 3
Views: 724

Re: Two month car rental

I rented a Cruze for 3 weeks in California. I wouldn't do it again. My back started hurting the second day of driving and didn't stop until I was home for 3 days. The seats don't have any lower back support and I couldn't get it adjusted to get comfortable. I talked to a neighbor who used to be a GM...
by tractorguy
Wed Jul 02, 2014 5:48 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Two month car rental
Replies: 28
Views: 1981

Re: US citizens abroad cannot invest through a US brokerage

I lived abroad from 1998-2008. This is not new. At that time, I had to maintain a U.S. mailing address (not a PO box) that was the address of record for all my accounts with Vanguard, Fidelity, & Schwab. I never asked the firms why I needed a U.S. postal address but I'm guessing that they are no...
by tractorguy
Wed Jul 02, 2014 11:22 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: US citizens abroad cannot invest through [Fidelity]
Replies: 97
Views: 8291

Re: Reliable car for a long commute

Find a car that has seats that fit her. You may need to rent one for a couple of days and take some longer (several hour) test drives to judge this. For long trips, we've opted for 6 way power seats with lumbar adjustment. I tried Honda and the seats just didn't fit me. We've settled on a Camry LXE ...
by tractorguy
Wed Jun 18, 2014 5:29 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Reliable car for a long commute
Replies: 19
Views: 880

Re: Great long-term reliability data for used cars

Reliability (Which I define as it always starts, everything fits properly, and everything works for the first five years) and Durability (How long it keeps running before it gets too expensive to repair) are not the same thing. The web site referenced in this string is all about Durability. JD Power...
by tractorguy
Sun Jun 15, 2014 9:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Great long-term reliability data for used cars
Replies: 3
Views: 584

Re: Young boglehead: Materials science, chemE, or mechE for

You should check the prerequisites for the courses you will need to get a masters in the degree options you are considering. Engineers typically take more math than chemistry majors are required to. They also take courses (structural mechanics, etc.) that are unique to engineering. I think you will ...
by tractorguy
Fri Jun 06, 2014 9:13 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Young boglehead: Materials science, chemE, or mechE for grad
Replies: 28
Views: 1952

Re: Mistake: extra dirt

Keep the dirt, don't pay the supplier. It's their mistake. If they wanted you to pay for it, they would have said so (and I would have refused). My experience with dirt is that it will be no problem making a couple of extra yards disappear in the garden and yard. It will just be a little extra work ...
by tractorguy
Thu Jun 05, 2014 9:01 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mistake: extra dirt
Replies: 24
Views: 2198

Re: does frugality result in lower career ambition?

I think there may be correlation between spending style and career ambition but I don't think its cause and affect. IMOP, they are both the result of a particular outlook on life. I've known many highly competitive people who are ambitious for bigger job titles and also spend a lot on big, expensive...
by tractorguy
Mon Jun 02, 2014 3:06 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: does frugality result in lower career ambition?
Replies: 113
Views: 8581

Re: Medical Residency Retirement - Why don't we get a match?

Disclaimer; I've never worked in a hospital and don't know anything about their cost and pay structure. However, I was trained as an engineer (another discipline that trains its practitioners to focus on quality and doesn't talk much about business realities in school). In my career, I spent enough ...
by tractorguy
Mon Jun 02, 2014 10:16 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medical Residency Retirement - Why don't we get a match?
Replies: 57
Views: 3481

Re: Appreciated Securities...Concentrated Positions Question

I don't think its super critical to sell right now (at 7%, this is a large but not overly so part of your portfolio). If you've been re-investing dividends, then you may have some short term gains. I'd hold those for a year to convert them to long term and then sell. Its a bit of a toss up if you wa...
by tractorguy
Thu May 29, 2014 1:11 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Appreciated Securities...Concentrated Positions Questions
Replies: 7
Views: 453

Re: declining job due to travel

As others have said, you need to decide what you want out of life and what you'd be happy with as a career 5/10/15 years from now. I'd also think about what you want to be doing when the kids are older and don't need all of the quality time with Dad. I've got a lot of friends in engineering that are...
by tractorguy
Fri May 23, 2014 9:22 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: declining job due to travel
Replies: 92
Views: 11322

Re: How to Attack Wife's Student Loans

You don't say what the interest rate is on the loans. My approach to them would be dependent on this. If its low, (< about 4%), I'd probably pay them off in 12 months or so. If its higher than 4%, I'd pick the highest rate loan, pay it off now, and then make payments on the other one while the emerg...
by tractorguy
Thu May 22, 2014 5:01 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How to Attack Wife's Student Loans
Replies: 25
Views: 1896

Re: Buy house or car first?

I'm in agreement with your husband. I would not exhaust my emergency fund by spending every penny I have on a house down payment when I know that I have a possible big bill coming in the form of a car repair or down payment on a replacement. I would also never spend all I have on a down payment in g...
by tractorguy
Wed May 21, 2014 10:00 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buy house or car first?
Replies: 6
Views: 761

Re: Factoring TLH Into Decision Whether To Use An Advisor

Livesoft pointed out the possible benefit of... tax-loss harvesting now could shift the future long-term capital gains tax for this individual from 20% to 0% . How likely is this to really happen? To pay a 20% long term capital gain, the tax payer would have to be in the 39.6% federal bracket (incom...
by tractorguy
Mon May 19, 2014 3:04 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Factoring TLH Into Decision Whether To Use An Advisor
Replies: 34
Views: 1346

Re: Should we have new ducts installed with our new a/c?

I've no experience replacing a furnace of this age but speaking as an engineer, I'd ask the contractor why he wants to replace them. Unless you have noticed problems with balance (ie some rooms don't get warm while others are too hot), are buying a new furnace that has a much higher capacity blower,...
by tractorguy
Mon May 19, 2014 1:03 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should we have new ducts installed with our new a/c?
Replies: 19
Views: 1125

Re: I have too much for retirement???

The 4% safe withdrawal rate assumes that you are only going to need to draw down the account for 30 years. If you are going to retire early or live long, you'll need a bit more. A withdrawal rate somewhere around 3% or less is probably the threshold for having enough money to live on safely for esse...
by tractorguy
Mon May 19, 2014 10:07 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: I have too much for retirement???
Replies: 35
Views: 5732

Re: New PC - Buy Office or use free alternatives

I was in your situation 3 years ago. I switched to LibreOffice for all on my non-email activities and Google's web interface for e-mail. I haven't had any reason to switch back. My Windows 7 laptop came pre-installed with the de-featured version of Office (I think its called the "starter" ...
by tractorguy
Mon May 19, 2014 9:58 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New PC - Buy Office or use free alternatives
Replies: 29
Views: 2133

Re: Replace Gas Guzzler with Toyota Prius Lease?

I'm with several other posters. A lease is hardly ever a good financial deal for you. Its a great financial deal for the car dealer (which is why there are so many ads for them). Your financial calculations should take into account the residual value of the car you are driving at the end of the leas...
by tractorguy
Fri May 16, 2014 10:40 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Replace Gas Guzzler with Toyota Prius Lease?
Replies: 24
Views: 1929

Re: Need Portfolio Advice - Already Retired [UK / US]

I was thinking today about your withdrawal rate and want to backtrack slightly on my comment about 3% probably being OK. The study that everybody references that says about 4% is "safe" assumed that you were increasing your withdrawals at the rate of inflation every year. However, since yo...
by tractorguy
Thu May 15, 2014 12:11 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Need Portfolio Advice - Already Retired [UK / US]
Replies: 11
Views: 855

Re: Need Portfolio Advice - Already Retired [UK / US]

I am also a recent retiree (3 years & counting) who has been a do it yourself investor for 15 years now. I'll give you my opinions on your questions but I'm not an expert by any means. 1. Looks to me that I should only need a 3% withdrawal rate even if my pension vanishes. Do you agree and does ...
by tractorguy
Wed May 14, 2014 12:07 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Need Portfolio Advice - Already Retired [UK / US]
Replies: 11
Views: 855

Re: Investing in the Frey!! Please HELP

You're doing much better than I was at your age (and for 10 years after!!!). The most important thing for someone starting out is to START!. Which you have done. Put your money in a low cost, broad index mutual fund. If you're not sure what to do, one of the retirement target date funds like Vanguar...
by tractorguy
Mon May 12, 2014 10:11 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Is my 401k boat Setting Sail for FAIL??
Replies: 31
Views: 1775

Re: eBook Readers and EPUB files?

I've had a Kindle Touch for about 2 1/2 years. I mostly use it to read library books although I've bought a few and my children have given me some. I think the Touch is similar to the Paperwhite but without an illuminated screen. If I were buying it now, I'd get the Paperwhite. As others have said, ...
by tractorguy
Fri May 09, 2014 4:12 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: eBook Readers and EPUB files?
Replies: 22
Views: 1358

Re: Should I move my portfolio?

I'm not as experienced as many who post here but here is my 2 cents worth. Re the 0.3% advisor fee. I consider this high. You could just roll the retirement focused investments into a Vanguard all in one fund such as VTIVX (Target retirement 2045). It is currently running a 90/10 stock/bond allocati...
by tractorguy
Tue May 06, 2014 11:12 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I move my portfolio?
Replies: 10
Views: 603

Re: Trying to decide between current job and a job offer

You don't say how much increased the new job was over the salary you used to have at your current employer. If your current employer can match the offer quickly, then I'm going to guess that it wasn't a big enough increase to cover the increased risk of moving. Any new job is a risk that the chemist...
by tractorguy
Mon May 05, 2014 5:29 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Trying to decide between current job and a job offer
Replies: 7
Views: 816

Re: No More Oil Based Paint?

You can still get oil based paint in Illinois but it is very pricy. Off the street price for a gallon of industrial grade oil based paint is about $62.00. A "premium" latex base from the same manufacturer is running in the $40's. My local paint dealer and an expert who used to develop pain...
by tractorguy
Fri May 02, 2014 6:24 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: No More Oil Based Paint?
Replies: 6
Views: 882

Re: Trying to pick the lesser of two evils (ETN vs Active fu

What's an ETN? Do you mean an Exchange traded fund (ETF)? I assume that TER means total expense ratio? I would normally go for the lowest total cost but active traded funds can suffer from mission creep as their traders try to predict the market. You don't want to set your allocation to x% foreign a...
by tractorguy
Fri May 02, 2014 9:42 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Trying to pick the lesser of two evils (ETN vs Active funds)
Replies: 10
Views: 770

Re: How do you walk away from a good job?

For me, the trigger was losing a good friend to cancer when I was 57. He was in his mid 40's, in wonderful shape, when he was diagnosed with melanoma. He only survived for a year after they found it. This was a wake up call for me. I enjoyed my job and always had in the back of my mind that I'd stay...
by tractorguy
Tue Apr 29, 2014 5:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do you walk away from a good job?
Replies: 38
Views: 5419

Re: Cost to change struts in lexus

If you haven't done so already, you should find a good mechanic that you can trust and have him quote it. Ask around at work and also your neighbors. I have a local guy who's repeatedly told me that something I asked him about didn't need anything (ie passed up a chance to soak me). He's about 2/3 t...
by tractorguy
Tue Apr 29, 2014 11:17 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cost to change struts in lexus
Replies: 12
Views: 2171

Re: Pay ahead on my mortgage vs max-out Roth

Another vote for the Roth. You've got a mortgage interest rate that is very very low by historical standards (the mortgage on my second house had an 11% rate that was 6% under market!!!). Over the time span of your loan, interest rates may go up or stay the same but are unlikely to go much lower. Ov...
by tractorguy
Tue Apr 29, 2014 11:05 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Pay ahead on my mortgage vs max-out Roth
Replies: 8
Views: 1827

Re: work 3 years for 20x payout or retire and wait 10 years

You don't give enough information to have a meaningful opinion on your options. What is the source of this lump some payment and what is the risk that it may be significantly devalued (as go to zero) in 3-10 years? If it is a stock option, many on this board would give it zero value in all of their ...
by tractorguy
Sat Apr 26, 2014 12:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: work 3 years for 20x payout or retire and wait 10 years
Replies: 11
Views: 1638

Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

+1 on figuring out what you want to do before you quit. I've known a few people who've had successful mid life career changes and all of them set a goal and then did what was necessary (additional schooling, apprenticeships, etc) to move towards it. The people I know who jumped from place to place w...
by tractorguy
Thu Apr 24, 2014 11:20 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Moving
Replies: 123
Views: 28180
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