Search found 540 matches

by German Expat
Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Garage Parking Aid
Replies: 28
Views: 2157

Re: Garage Parking Aid

I used 2 different things. a) hanging tennis ball, e.g. something like this: https://www.amazon.com/Genie-GPS-R-Universal-Perfect-Parking/dp/B009VUGP9A/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1497904194&sr=8-4&keywords=ball+garage+parking Drawback is that it is working with your car, so if you park vario...
by German Expat
Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: VCOBX Google Finance
Replies: 2
Views: 252

Re: VCOBX Google Finance

Thanks for your reply. 23.62 was also not the previous day close and it was never even close to this amount since its inception. No idea where they are getting this value from and yahoo finance is ok.
I did use your link and reported it as a problem so curious if they fix it.
by German Expat
Tue Jun 06, 2017 5:43 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: VCOBX Google Finance
Replies: 2
Views: 252

VCOBX Google Finance

VCOBX is currently at 20.00 when looking it up at the Vanguard web site. Google Finance returns 23.62 though. This is throwing my automated google sheet off since the googlefinance function also gives the wrong value. If you look at the link you can see that the graph is ok but the value is wrong. h...
by German Expat
Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:12 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Flying first class, business, versus economy.
Replies: 105
Views: 7204

Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

I've never considered business or first class, can someone give an example of the prices? This is a bit of a very tricky question to answer and depends a lot on the dates. I use Europe now as an example. In economy you can usually find fares for 1k or less. In Business you usually pay 3-6k but you ...
by German Expat
Mon May 08, 2017 1:43 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: No losses to offset capital gains!
Replies: 14
Views: 1168

Re: No losses to offset capital gains!

Don't let the tax tail way your dog. I assume you sold long term capital gains and the rate is not that bad. I would not do anything fancy and just keep investing based on your plan. If a tax loss shows up because the market goes down use it but if not then its not the end of the world either. You w...
by German Expat
Fri May 05, 2017 11:31 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Is robo for me?
Replies: 34
Views: 3105

Re: Is robo for me?

I spend about 1-2 hours in total per year to to TLH. But I did spend a couple hours to figure out how tax loss harvesting works and the pros and cons. But I do like research and enjoyed doing the research and like to understand the ins and outs. For basic tax loss harvesting 1 hour reading will do a...
by German Expat
Mon May 01, 2017 6:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need a car for 9-12 months
Replies: 21
Views: 1870

Re: Need a car for 9-12 months

Considering you are waiting for a Tesla and ship dates can slip the best option is to buy a used car on Craigslist and sell it. Leasetrader is an option but then you have a fixed date when you need to return it and you might need to look again. If you buy in the below 10k range used and pick a decen...
by German Expat
Fri Apr 21, 2017 2:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: No Stress Chess board game for 7 year old
Replies: 13
Views: 1265

Re: No Stress Chess board game for 7 year old

We used no stress chess and it worked quite well for our son. Makes it much easier to understand the moves and play a bit an easier game. Also depends what you want to accomplish. We wanted to teach our son chess but without ever looking into him playing competitive.
by German Expat
Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 20yr fixed, 30yr fixed, or 7/1 ARM
Replies: 48
Views: 3485

Re: 20yr fixed, 30yr fixed, or 7/1 ARM

Did you also look at things like a 5/5 ARM from e.g. Penfed or Navy Federal? There each adjustment is capped at 2% with a life time cap of 5%. Also the rates are a bit lower and if your target range is 5 years it would match. Worst case you get a 2% adjustment for another 5 years.
by German Expat
Wed Apr 12, 2017 1:30 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: leaving early from work
Replies: 57
Views: 7723

Re: leaving early from work

I work in IT and did have multiple cases like this in my department in the US and now also in Switzerland. It was not always child related, e.g. one wanted to start quite early and leave early to avoid bad traffic during his long commute (it also helped that he then would see his children longer aft...
by German Expat
Sat Mar 25, 2017 4:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is there any downside to Home Equity line of credit even if we won't use it immediately?
Replies: 24
Views: 2870

Re: Is there any downside to Home Equity line of credit even if we won't use it immediately?

2 things I could see as disadvantages (I always had one on our homes just as a backup in case we needed cash for a large emergency, it is easier to get them while you are employed etc.) 1. you can only deduct interest up to a limit of 100k, so your 400k example would not allow you to deduct the full...
by German Expat
Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Booster seat: Highback or no back for 7.5 year old?
Replies: 8
Views: 721

Re: Booster seat: Highback or no back for 7.5 year old?

Our son (now 11) is on the smaller side and we bought a booster with a high back that you could take off. The main advantage with the high back is that he can sleep much easier in it which matters on really long drives. Also the safety belt (ours does not have a 5 point) is better since it is lower ...
by German Expat
Tue Mar 07, 2017 4:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Advice on relocation or staying put
Replies: 83
Views: 6140

Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

CO has state income tax but relative moderate property taxes so dependent on income and house it can be a wash. But in general housing did get very expensive, we moved away a little less then years ago it went up a lot since then. Good school areas like Cherry Hill or Boulder county have relative ex...
by German Expat
Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:43 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Advice on relocation or staying put
Replies: 83
Views: 6140

Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

We were in Boulder county (Lafayette) and you had an assigned school but you could also open enroll. Open enrollment can be very competitive and you would not have a high chance to get into certain schools and it might be full with local kids already. We picked a charter school for our son (no schoo...
by German Expat
Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:43 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: furnishing an entire apartment
Replies: 12
Views: 1014

Re: furnishing an entire apartment

IKEA will assemble for you and you can find everything there. I also like their style for basic furniture. I bought all IKEA for a studio (we owned a 2nd home since I was commuting for my job) and worked out well. When we moved to Switzerland I had to buy closets and got them assembled too. I am in ...
by German Expat
Sun Mar 05, 2017 4:48 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Advice on relocation or staying put
Replies: 83
Views: 6140

Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Another vote for Boulder / Denver. We moved to Switzerland (job) from Boulder county and still miss the area. Best parts were the many days of sunshine, nature, skiing and very good schools. Also a booming job market but unfortunately a bit of a problematic housing market now. Look at Mr Money Musta...
by German Expat
Tue Feb 28, 2017 4:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Lease - Need Advice
Replies: 18
Views: 1837

Re: Car Lease - Need Advice

We used to lease my wife's BMW (she likes newer cars and we also did European Delivery). Everything here has been stated already. For BMW I went to the bimmerfest forum and looked there for a) invoice price of the car we wanted (with all extras) b) any incentives currently available (dealers might h...
by German Expat
Mon Feb 27, 2017 2:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Used German Luxury vs New Japanese
Replies: 89
Views: 8653

Re: Used German Luxury vs New Japanese

The Mercedes or BMW will be much more expensive to own. If you buy a brand new Toyota or Honda you can drive it 3-5 years longer then the 3 year old BMW and it will cost you a lot less in maintenance, tires etc. etc. The German cars will be more fun to drive but at the same time it depends a lot on ...
by German Expat
Fri Feb 24, 2017 2:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: home improvementl strategy
Replies: 19
Views: 2370

Re: home improvementl strategy

You could also consider getting a HELOC but not drawing any money. Then use half of your emergency fund to get the roof done and replenish your emergency fund back to its previous state with high priority. If there is an emergency in the short term you still have the HELOC available for worst case. ...
by German Expat
Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Early Retirement in Mexico, Healthcare
Replies: 26
Views: 4773

Re: Early Retirement in Mexico, Healthcare

I still do not quite understand what people do when they move there for black swan health events. If you have something smaller you can just pay out of pocket since most things are much cheaper. But what if you have something that requires long term expensive treatment and want to come back to the ...
by German Expat
Tue Feb 14, 2017 6:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Early Retirement in Mexico, Healthcare
Replies: 26
Views: 4773

Re: Early Retirement in Mexico, Healthcare

I still do not quite understand what people do when they move there for black swan health events. If you have something smaller you can just pay out of pocket since most things are much cheaper. But what if you have something that requires long term expensive treatment and want to come back to the U...
by German Expat
Fri Feb 03, 2017 3:06 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Keeping some investments in Europe - HOW TO?
Replies: 13
Views: 1052

Re: Keeping some investments in Europe - HOW TO?

If you are here to stay in the US why not just move the money to the US and keep only a checking account in Europe? I had a similar letter from my German bank years ago that I can not have any investments anymore. It is now only a checking account. We did actually move to Switzerland but I am still ...
by German Expat
Fri Feb 03, 2017 8:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Expat Forums or Advice on Expat Package?
Replies: 10
Views: 1397

Re: Best Expat Forums or Advice on Expat Package?

I am curious if you get a full Expat package or not. Those are on the way out and for good reasons. We had a couple expats in Hongkong and with schooling, housing, flights home etc. this more then doubled their salary. I would expect with 6 kids (soon all school aged) and very expensive housing in L...
by German Expat
Fri Jan 20, 2017 11:02 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Robo-advisors vs Vanguard
Replies: 36
Views: 5863

Re: Robo-advisors vs Vanguard

I think the tax loss harvesting has some advantages but the robo advisory tend to overstate this in their numbers. If you do at least a little bit of leg work yourself (I tax loss harvest once in a while manually, maybe look at it 2-3 x per year) then you can gain most of the advantages with not tha...
by German Expat
Fri Jan 20, 2017 3:42 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Robo-advisors vs Vanguard
Replies: 36
Views: 5863

Re: Robo-advisors vs Vanguard

You should look into the Walgreen plan what they match for your contributions. In case they do this is close to free money. You should then consider if you use their plan up to the amounts they match. I did only a quick search and found some info here and it seems like they have good Vanguard option...
by German Expat
Thu Jan 19, 2017 9:27 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Basic question on Hybrid cars
Replies: 64
Views: 4434

Re: Basic question on Hybrid cars

The shape of the Prius was the biggest part of its success. Everybody that saw you driving one immediately associated with it how 'green' and 'hip' you are. If you drove a Accord Hybrid only a really close look would reveal the difference. Yes, there were some advantages to the Prius design that gav...
by German Expat
Tue Jan 17, 2017 2:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker? (or similar)
Replies: 29
Views: 1957

Re: Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker? (or similar)

I had a Saeco fully automatic before and it was much cheaper to run. What is the quality/taste difference between the Saeco and the capsules? Which Saeco model did you give up? Most of the coffee s̶n̶o̶b̶s̶ aficionados avoid the capsules and my limited experience is of similar mind. I gave the mach...
by German Expat
Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker? (or similar)
Replies: 29
Views: 1957

Re: Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker? (or similar)

We like our Nespresso. Price of capsules is relative high but I also do buy (much cheaper) 3rd party capsules. I still do find the original Nespresso better but dependent what I want use the lower priced ones especially for longer coffees. For Espresso I still prefer the Nestle capsules. We use the ...
by German Expat
Sat Dec 31, 2016 1:46 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: US citizens resident in Europe -- what do you do?
Replies: 10
Views: 1534

Re: US citizens resident in Europe -- what do you do?

We are in Switzerland and keep investing in the US. We have a 50% international equity rate though (but only US bonds). I am not too worried about the USD but the Swiss Franc might go up over the years. We do plan to buy an apartment eventually (currently renting) and this will give us more local cu...
by German Expat
Wed Dec 14, 2016 5:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Your fava 70% dark chocolate brand?
Replies: 40
Views: 3296

Re: Your fava 70% dark chocolate brand?

Lindt Excellence, I also get the 85% once in a while. Have to admit though I still do like the higher sugar a bit more but try to stay away from them.
by German Expat
Wed Nov 30, 2016 7:40 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Have Nexus but not able to use tsa precheck
Replies: 16
Views: 1794

Re: Have Nexus but not able to use tsa precheck

Only domestic airlines partner with TSA on the program (and a few of the smaller ones still don't participate) There are now a couple international airlines as well, e.g. Lufthansa https://www.tsa.gov/news/releases/2016/08/31/tsa-partners-lufthansa-offer-tsa-precheck-0 Other airlines are Aeromexico...
by German Expat
Fri Nov 11, 2016 2:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any advantages to multiple citizenships?
Replies: 33
Views: 2435

Re: Any advantages to multiple citizenships?

I have 2 passports, USA and Germany. I did not find any investment advantages yet and now have the privilege to pay extra taxes in the US (tax rates where I live in Switzerland are lower then the US). From an investment side they still don't like me here at the banks and won't allow me to buy many i...
by German Expat
Fri Nov 11, 2016 3:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Looking for recommendations on aerobic exercise equip.
Replies: 55
Views: 3237

Re: Looking for recommendations on aerobic exercise equip.

Why do you not like the elliptical? I tore my MCL and ACL last year skiing and the ACL was not replaced. I work out about twice a week for 45 minutes while watching a good TV show (Sopranos recently) and works very well for me. I do use a sleeve for the knee as well. I also went back to skiing last ...
by German Expat
Sun Nov 06, 2016 7:09 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Wiring funds abroad from Vanguard
Replies: 34
Views: 6377

Re: Wiring funds abroad from Vanguard

I never used Vanguard to wire so can't really add my experience with Vanguard per se. I transfer the money to my Charles Schwab account and wired from there to Europe (Switzerland) when we moved there to get setup. Recently I am sending monthly money to the US to Vanguard (via Charles Schwab) and Sc...
by German Expat
Sat Oct 29, 2016 5:27 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone have experience with au pairs?
Replies: 13
Views: 2867

Re: Anyone have experience with au pairs?

We had 4 Au Pairs and had no major issues. We did change the first Au Pair though because our son was very young at the time and she was a better match for an older child. Was no problem with the agency and we stayed a bit in contact with her and it was the right choice for her and us. It did work o...
by German Expat
Tue Oct 25, 2016 8:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where do you store your paper documents?
Replies: 36
Views: 3153

Re: Where do you store your paper documents?

We bought a fire and waterproof safe from Costco a couple years ago and use it for important documents. Rest either scanned or just in a regular (locked) filing cabinet. We also store some cash in it. I do not see it as a deterrent for a thief, this is only for a building fire but also to have a spa...
by German Expat
Sun Oct 23, 2016 7:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cheapskate for not flying business class?
Replies: 81
Views: 7505

Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

I live in the petro Middle East where there is no personal income tax but we do get free medical, education, etc. Main headache is the ever present spectre of political instability... Frankly, there is enough money available to design a political system that shares better and assures long term stab...
by German Expat
Sun Oct 23, 2016 1:40 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cheapskate for not flying business class?
Replies: 81
Views: 7505

Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

Do you mind telling us where you live, at least the general area and how you like it? Sounds like you are somewhere in Asia and the 14 hour flights are back to the US?
by German Expat
Sat Oct 22, 2016 3:19 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cheapskate for not flying business class?
Replies: 81
Views: 7505

Re: Cheapskate for not flying business class?

I would say the answer depends a bit how much of your money this would take out and what else you plan to do with it. Also how often a year do you travel that far? 14 hours is a long time and there is a chance for deep vein thrombosis ('economy class syndrome'). Also it is much more comfortable, the...
by German Expat
Tue Oct 04, 2016 1:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The Best Air Miles Rewards Program
Replies: 29
Views: 3476

Re: The Best Air Miles Rewards Program

Best is to collect points with Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi Thank you Points and Amex Membership Rewards rather then straight inside the airline programs. This gives you more flexibility and the cards (e.g. Chase Saphire Reserve now with 100k sign up bonus) tend to be better. As an example Chase tra...
by German Expat
Mon Oct 03, 2016 11:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Credit Card Airline Miles for infrequent traveler
Replies: 11
Views: 1467

Re: Credit Card Airline Miles for infrequent traveler

Go for cards with points that can be converted to airline or hotel programs. In those you can also get cash value out. e.g. the new Chase Saphire Reserve (did you reach 5/24 recently already?) card offers 100k Chase points which you can e.g. convert to 100k United Miles. It does have a large yearly ...
by German Expat
Tue Sep 27, 2016 6:36 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: has anyone leased a luxury/sport car to get it out of their system?
Replies: 45
Views: 4787

Re: has anyone leased a luxury/sport car to get it out of their system?

Lease a sports car and combine it with European Delivery to drive it at least once close to its maximum speed. e.g. a M series BMW, RS Audi, Porsche etc. There used to be excellent lease specials available and combined with European delivery the lease of a M3 would not be that much more then leasing...
by German Expat
Sun Sep 25, 2016 1:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best way to play the points in Marriott-Starwood merger
Replies: 23
Views: 2614

Re: Best way to play the points in Marriott-Starwood merger

The best way to spend Marriott points is on vacation packages because you do get miles as well. So for 90k SGP points you could get 7 nights at a cat 1-5 Marriott and up to 132k miles (United, American is 120k miles).

https://www.marriott.com/rewards/usepoints/morepack.mi
by German Expat
Fri Sep 16, 2016 4:36 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which city for part time home during retirement?
Replies: 86
Views: 7069

Re: Which city for part time home during retirement?

Booulder, CO was probably the most liberal town I was ever living at. Also weather is great in the winter, most of the time sun but it is cold. What is your definition of good weather? Warm? I am ok if its cold as long as its sunny, the rest is just a matter of proper clothing but in fairness I do l...
by German Expat
Mon Sep 05, 2016 1:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chase Sapphire Preferred
Replies: 53
Views: 7345

Re: Chase Sapphire Preferred

Just opened this card for the 50,000 bonus points and have the option of adding wife for another 5,000 points. Planning to close the account after I get the bonus. I HAVE A QUESTION! If I add my wife as an authorized user, then she opens her own card in 6 months for her 50,000 points, will she qual...
by German Expat
Thu Aug 18, 2016 9:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Efficient way to build credit
Replies: 21
Views: 1225

Re: Efficient way to build credit

Your action of using the credit cards for all purchases and paying them at the end of the month are not good. This will show a high utilization on her cards because the limits are so low. What you should do is that she is an authorized user on your cards and mainly uses them (also I assume you have ...
by German Expat
Sun Aug 14, 2016 1:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Advice on purchasing a new Honda CRV
Replies: 26
Views: 3078

Re: Advice on purchasing a new Honda CRV

I bought a new Honda CRV almost 3 years ago. Unless I lived in the snow or planned on going up to the snow I wouldn't (and I didn't) buy a 4-wheel drive. And if you are short emergency cash I wouldn't get the higher end. We bought the cheapest CRV and it has been a good vehicle. I did go online to ...
by German Expat
Tue Aug 09, 2016 4:59 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Calling all real estate gurus [condo rent vs sell]
Replies: 7
Views: 813

Re: Calling all real estate gurus [condo rent vs sell]

Sell, the rent per month is less then 0.5% of the value of the property, your target should be closer to 1%. Not attractive at all. It is even with your low mortgage balance barely cash flow positive and if you consider 1 month out of 12 empty then it changes to negative. Your return on your 213k eq...
by German Expat
Thu Jul 14, 2016 11:56 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: taking back a mortgage
Replies: 27
Views: 3035

Re: taking back a mortgage

I got a mortgage on my (at the time) L1 Visa very shortly after we arrived in the US. We actually did pick the house before we moved since it was new construction. Moved in about 10 weeks after our arrival (took also about the same time for the furniture to ship). This was in 2001 though so things m...
by German Expat
Wed Jul 13, 2016 8:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you tip Uber drivers?
Replies: 49
Views: 6527

Re: Do you tip Uber drivers?

I do not tip on either Uber or Lyft and find this one of the bigger advantages of the platform. I also don't see why I should tip a cab driver, the company should pay them a decent wage and yes I know it is a separate discussion. Most people I know do not tip and I don't either and my rating is stil...

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