Search found 2784 matches

by JamesSFO
Sun Apr 23, 2017 11:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying a home in the Bay Area
Replies: 25
Views: 2299

Re: Buying a home in the Bay Area

I live in San Mateo County and work in Santa Clara County, commutes are only getting worse. My 15 mile commute used to be 30 mins am and 45 min pm and is now more like 45 and 60 mins respectively. For me, the commute would be a deal breaker on buying over in Alameda County/San Leandro and face havin...
by JamesSFO
Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:59 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard individual Roth 401k employee only?
Replies: 5
Views: 227

Re: Vanguard individual Roth 401k employee only?

Focusing on your 1099 income say it was $10K. Let's assume your W2 income was $10K as well. You get one $18K employee contribution that can be either roth or traditional at either your I401K or Work401K. Say you put in 10K of W2 income at work to Work401K. You could put $8K of the $10K of 1099 incom...
by JamesSFO
Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cabo San Lucas ?
Replies: 13
Views: 1405

Re: Cabo San Lucas ?

We stayed nearer to downtown and just took a taxi once or twice last time we stayed, much easier. For fishing charters, highly recommend Pisces ( http://www.piscessportfishing.com/ ) For food, we mostly ate at our resort; however, all of the spots we tried along the marina were good and some were ev...
by JamesSFO
Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to be a good parent to an introverted kid
Replies: 29
Views: 2444

Re: How to be a good parent to an introverted kid

As a current introvert and one as a kid, my $0.02 is recognize that part of this is how he gets his energy back and so it's not something "fixable". So focus on helping him be comfortable with who he is.
by JamesSFO
Sat Apr 15, 2017 2:08 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard Customer Service
Replies: 229
Views: 22101

Re: Vanguard Customer Service

May I ask a silly question? So I kind of want to switch to Vanguard but the customer service horror stories are pulling me back and also the fact that you need to wait 2 weeks to talk to an adviser-that just doesn't sound right. The primary reason I thought I need to be with Vanguard is the lower c...
by JamesSFO
Sat Apr 15, 2017 2:05 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard Customer Service
Replies: 229
Views: 22101

Re: Vanguard Customer Service

The question is the sample. Was there any effort to solicit responses from brokerage customers or just CR readers that invest @ Vg. Since Vg has only been in the brokerage business for a handful of years since they "fired" Pershing most of the Vg respondents were likely fund only or fund ...
by JamesSFO
Fri Apr 14, 2017 5:36 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard Customer Service
Replies: 229
Views: 22101

Re: Vanguard Customer Service

I suggest the CR survey is not a representative sample of retail investors. Nor are Bogleheads for that matter. The fact that Bogleheads are sometimes critical of Vg lends credence to that criticism. The fact that Vanguard mutual fund investors don't have a critique of Vanguard Brokerage tells me n...
by JamesSFO
Fri Apr 14, 2017 7:26 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard Customer Service
Replies: 229
Views: 22101

Re: Vanguard Customer Service

I would not make major financial decisions based on a Consumer Reports reader survey. :confused The point isn't to make investment decisions, the point was that this board doesn't provide anything close to a representative sample of customer service experiences. A survey of consumer reports subscri...
by JamesSFO
Thu Apr 13, 2017 9:28 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard Customer Service
Replies: 229
Views: 22101

Re: Vanguard Customer Service

@JamesSFO Investment Company Buying Guide In September 2016, Consumer Reports Magazine published its Ratings of Investment Companies about what they really provide to their customers—and how customers value those services. Our findings were based on a survey about their experiences investors had wi...
by JamesSFO
Thu Apr 13, 2017 4:39 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard Customer Service
Replies: 229
Views: 22101

Re: Vanguard Customer Service

I can't recall any references to Consumer Reports studies. :?: Link (subscription required): http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/investment-companies.htm Vanguard ranked #1, categories included (left to right): investment returns, met goals, customer service , advice, online reports. Vanguard got th...
by JamesSFO
Thu Apr 13, 2017 2:52 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard Customer Service
Replies: 229
Views: 22101

Re: Vanguard Customer Service Who's in charge?

I have made many calls. Each time the Representative I talk to has almost no knowledge of previous calls, etc. The last time I spoke to someone they promised they would sort this out with a Supervisor and I would be called back and things would be made right. That never happened. I would much rathe...
by JamesSFO
Thu Apr 13, 2017 2:50 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard Customer Service
Replies: 229
Views: 22101

Re: Vanguard Customer Service

This is disappointing. I was considering Vanguard v. Fidelity for a Roth IRA this year and this thread (along with others in a similar vein) are tilting the scales in favor of Fidelity. Take the posts here in context, this is a VG-focused forum that will draw out a disproportionate amount of VG com...
by JamesSFO
Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:30 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard Customer Service
Replies: 229
Views: 22101

Re: Vanguard Customer Service Who's in charge?

jamesrs wrote:I have a transaction that went bad recently. Just a simple contribution. It mysteriously worked out. In the end I am out $70. But, it was a mess.

I want to write to someone. Who is the head of customer services?


Have you tried just calling first to see if the issue can be addressed quickly?
by JamesSFO
Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:56 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard Forms Nightmare
Replies: 7
Views: 1621

Re: Vanguard Forms Nightmare

We had challenges moving our i401k from vanguard to a full service provider. I don't think there is a form. I got lucky my flagship rep intervened. I think in the end it just took a letter.
by JamesSFO
Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: home exchange experiences
Replies: 9
Views: 991

Re: home exchange experiences

letsgobobby wrote:Very affordable way to travel and become a true traveler rather than tourist. Obviously some pitfalls to watch for.


Sounds intriguing, hoping you get other responses here.
by JamesSFO
Sun Apr 09, 2017 4:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Detailed question on Back Door Roth
Replies: 6
Views: 251

Re: Detailed question on Back Door Roth

The inherited IRA will count too for pro-rating AFAIK. Inherited IRAs (IRAs held as the beneficiary of a decedent) will not count for pro-rata purposes in a conversion. (An inherited IRA will have its own non-aggregable RMDs.) Good to know, and the further clarification that some inherited IRA's if...
by JamesSFO
Sun Apr 09, 2017 3:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Detailed question on Back Door Roth
Replies: 6
Views: 251

Re: Detailed question on Back Door Roth

The inherited IRA will count too for pro-rating AFAIK.

And conversions are based on calendar year of conversion and year end IRA balance on 12/31 of that year so any Roth conversion in 2017 will care about IRA balances on 12/31/2017. Try practice filling out form 8606.
by JamesSFO
Sun Apr 09, 2017 2:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: home exchange experiences
Replies: 9
Views: 991

Re: home exchange experiences

Idiotic question: What is this concept? Do you swap homes for a week or something?
by JamesSFO
Thu Apr 06, 2017 5:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HDHP's - Does your employer offer them?
Replies: 47
Views: 1644

Re: HDHP's - Does your employer offer them?

HDHP's like HMO's started off great in terms of reducing spend/costs, but ultimately haven't succeeded in cutting costs as much as hoped.
by JamesSFO
Tue Apr 04, 2017 4:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA question
Replies: 3
Views: 255

Re: HSA question

Yes, he just needs to keep good receipts/records
by JamesSFO
Tue Apr 04, 2017 4:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Roll Over 401k to Vanguard for access to closed funds
Replies: 9
Views: 438

Re: Roll Over 401k to Vanguard for access to closed funds

Rolling over might close access to a backdoor Roth... Not sure if that's relevant for you but worth mentioning
by JamesSFO
Sun Apr 02, 2017 3:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Excel (Office 2007) Question
Replies: 9
Views: 946

Re: Excel (Office 2007) Question

You might get more help from the Microsoft communities where MVPs and similar post.

Is this Office on a PC or Mac? On the PC I know there is a dialog box where you can see all of the linkages which might explain what is going on and you can then determine which notebook has a stray cross-reference.
by JamesSFO
Sat Mar 25, 2017 8:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ACH deposits on weekends?
Replies: 10
Views: 848

Re: ACH deposits on weekends?

They have been working on speeding up ACH in this past year so I believe there are now multiple settlement times and 1 day turnarounds. So you may be getting some of the benefit of those changes.
by JamesSFO
Sat Mar 25, 2017 12:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: planning to visit San Francisco for a short break
Replies: 23
Views: 1567

Re: planning to visit San Francisco for a short break

Alcatraz is worth the trip IMHO, you probably need to reserve in advance Walking through the Ferry Building is fun Depending on interests lots of great museums (Cal Academy of Science, various art museums, Exploratorium [more hands on science]), zoo, etc. As for parking/locations, if you stayed near...
by JamesSFO
Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage APR 4.96% - too high?
Replies: 58
Views: 3176

Re: Mortgage APR 4.96% - too high?

Just to emphasize, the FOMO (fear of missing out; e.g. on rates/appreciating homes) is causing you to rush into the purchase when the right answer is likely to rent a bit more. After taxes you should be taking home on the order of $8-10K/month you need about $20-30K extra saved up this should be a m...
by JamesSFO
Wed Mar 22, 2017 3:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What criteria warrants a need for Living Revocable Trust?
Replies: 20
Views: 1239

Re: What criteria warrants a need for Living Revocable Trust?

What state do you live in?

For example, in California, probate fees can be quite high and the RLT avoids nearly entirely and/or entirely and is a big win potentially. In other states less so.
by JamesSFO
Tue Mar 21, 2017 9:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Recording documents in California...Will, Living Will, Power of Attorney
Replies: 4
Views: 330

Re: Recording documents in California...Will, Living Will, Power of Attorney

California resident and attorney (not your attorney, not legal advice, etc). Short answer no. Never done it and never been advised to do so by the estate and trust attorneys I used for my own documents.
by JamesSFO
Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "Millionaire Next Door" Net Worth Formula
Replies: 169
Views: 15007

Re: "Millionaire Next Door" Net Worth Formula

I would say home equity is very much a part of net worth.My home is paid off and worth about 750K.I believe that could be quite useful down the road if I wanted to sell it and rent or move to a low cost area. I've debated this internally, the book "Your Money Ratios" has a good discussion...
by JamesSFO
Sun Mar 19, 2017 12:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "Millionaire Next Door" Net Worth Formula
Replies: 169
Views: 15007

Re: "Millionaire Next Door" Net Worth Formula

Again, it's a bit like BMI (body mass index), which is horrible... But also one of the easiest quick tools for assessing obesity and related health risks which is why it stays around. If folks don't want to try and use Firecalc (awesome but a bit unintuitive, http://firecalc.com/ ) or a similar mont...
by JamesSFO
Sun Mar 19, 2017 12:47 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "Millionaire Next Door" Net Worth Formula
Replies: 169
Views: 15007

Re: "Millionaire Next Door" Net Worth Formula

Homer has provided wisdom and common sense for this useless formula.I just do not understand why anyone would put any value on this.I guess there is some human emotional need to measure ourselves against some quasi standard of success or to feel more successful if we meet the numbers. Everyone want...
by JamesSFO
Sat Mar 18, 2017 4:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "Millionaire Next Door" Net Worth Formula
Replies: 169
Views: 15007

Re: "Millionaire Next Door" Net Worth Formula

I find these helpful for getting a quick calibration of "where am I at". I like the slightly more complicated ones from "Your Money Ratios" book that have the additional link of scaling based on age AND expected replacement income. For 80% replacement at age 65, the ratios are: A...
by JamesSFO
Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Did I Buy Too Much Home?!?!?!
Replies: 42
Views: 4509

Re: Did I Buy Too Much Home?!?!?!

Sorry, I shouldve been clearer. By "too much home," I meant in terms of price of home, not size of home. Still no real way to answer. For example, in the Bay Area, if you are trying to live between SF and SJ, that's not much above a starter home which is $1.2M easily. From your current in...
by JamesSFO
Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Did I Buy Too Much Home?!?!?!
Replies: 42
Views: 4509

Re: Did I Buy Too Much Home?!?!?!

Hard to say, you don't say how many bedrooms and how many kids you plan to have. ~$2M in parts of the SF Bay Area doesn't buy all that much house.
by JamesSFO
Mon Mar 13, 2017 5:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Power of Attorney Issue/Question
Replies: 62
Views: 3797

Re: Power of Attorney Issue/Question

afan wrote:So having the login information would not substitute for a DPOA.


Correct. It may be quite useful, but it is not a substitute.
by JamesSFO
Mon Mar 13, 2017 2:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Power of Attorney Issue/Question
Replies: 62
Views: 3797

Re: Power of Attorney Issue/Question

afan wrote:Is it true that everything you might ever need to do with retirement accounts can be done online with a login? Nothing that would require the participant's signature or other forms?


That is NOT true. Some items may require signatures and/or other forms.
by JamesSFO
Wed Mar 08, 2017 12:50 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: I Bonds & Revocable Living Trust
Replies: 2
Views: 273

Re: I Bonds & Revocable Living Trust

Based on prompting from prior threads ~3-4 years ago here, I have found that as a practical matter my trust and personal accounts @ Treasury Direct can each purchase $10K each of I/EE bonds. E.g. JamesSFO Individual Account can buy $10K I and $10K EE And JamesSFO Recovcable Trust Dated 1/1/2015 Acco...
by JamesSFO
Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:17 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Who holds Vanguard and/or iShares at TD Ameritrade?
Replies: 8
Views: 702

Re: Who holds Vanguard and/or iShares at TD Ameritrade?

I use Vanguard and hold my funds there, no problems with tax reporting. Basically hold 3 fund portfolio + about $10-15K that I very occasionally trade individual stocks with.
by JamesSFO
Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can COBRA be frozen on the account of travel to outside of Country
Replies: 5
Views: 423

Re: Can COBRA be frozen on the account of travel to outside of Country

sure, if HR will allow it, or if the Plan is designed that way (which would be extremely rare). I'm not sure why (even if allowed by ERISA/COBRA) any employer would so design their plans? Employees that pick continuation coverage through COBRA are often sick(er) than the general population and can ...
by JamesSFO
Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Just laid off - what to do
Replies: 75
Views: 10738

Re: Just laid off - what to do

Assuming your finances can afford it make sure to take a small bit of down time, it can be stressful being laid off but it also can be a rare opportunity to get a bit of a break from the grind. I still treasure the ~60 days I was able to take off between two jobs ~10 years ago and take some once in ...
by JamesSFO
Sun Mar 05, 2017 10:10 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: should i payoff mortgage early?
Replies: 17
Views: 1711

Re: should i payoff mortgage early?

+2 on never met someone who regretted. You can also go part way. Eg pay say $50k extra a year for 3 years while preserving liquidity.
by JamesSFO
Sat Mar 04, 2017 11:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Underestimated Lease Mileage - Options
Replies: 2
Views: 399

Re: Underestimated Lease Mileage - Options

Worrying about ~$1,500 now for something that might or might not happen in ~3 years seems pointless. As you get further into the lease you'll have a better sense of how real that amount is and can either save for it, manage usage downward a bit, etc.
by JamesSFO
Sat Mar 04, 2017 1:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Free ynab? [You Need A Budget]
Replies: 20
Views: 2132

Re: Free ynab? [You Need A Budget]

Here's a somewhat recent Reddit thread asking the same question: https://www.reddit.com/r/ynab/comments/527wiv/ynab_alternatives/
by JamesSFO
Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: US expats abroad: should I buy health insurance even though I'm covered by employer?
Replies: 24
Views: 1293

Re: Should I buy health insurance even though I'm covered by employer?

Could you edit the Subject Header to include something like "[in Singapore]" so that everyone knows that from the start? Otherwise, there is a lot of wasted time thinking about how to help you, regardless of whether it then gets posted or not. Thank you. RM Ok, I edited the subject to spe...
by JamesSFO
Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:31 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: US expats abroad: should I buy health insurance even though I'm covered by employer?
Replies: 24
Views: 1293

Re: Should I buy health insurance even though I'm covered by employer?

bluejello wrote:Ok, thanks. So when you change employers, the new healthcare plan will always cover any pre-existing conditions you have?


Correct, if there is no gap in coverage.
by JamesSFO
Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:24 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: US expats abroad: should I buy health insurance even though I'm covered by employer?
Replies: 24
Views: 1293

Re: Should I buy health insurance even though I'm covered by employer?

Does anyone else buy a health insurance plan even if they are currently covered by their employer? Does it make sense to buy into such a plan young and then keep the same plan for decades? Any other insights or advice on this? No it does not make sense unless your employer plan is atrocious. Even t...
by JamesSFO
Tue Feb 28, 2017 1:49 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What's Happened to Vanguard Reps?
Replies: 17
Views: 2046

Re: What's Happened to Vanguard Reps?

This forum is a clear zone for people frustrated with VG customer service to complain to. If you look at say Consumer Reports, VG ranked well on customer service.

As for a particular investment choice question from the OP, I'm not sure the reps are allowed to provide advice.
by JamesSFO
Sat Feb 25, 2017 12:46 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Mixing Roth 401k and 401k funds
Replies: 4
Views: 193

Re: Mixing Roth 401k and 401k funds

Also: you could do $18K Roth 401K + $11K backdoor roth in the same year. Though at your income levels traditional 401K is probably a better choice.
by JamesSFO
Sat Feb 25, 2017 12:45 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Mixing Roth 401k and 401k funds
Replies: 4
Views: 193

Re: Mixing Roth 401k and 401k funds

No problems whatsoever!

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