Search found 1158 matches

by Kosmo
Fri Jan 20, 2017 8:58 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pay down 1.9% loan or invest
Replies: 41
Views: 2634

Re: Pay down 1.9% loan or invest

My personal threshold for paying down debt is 3% (after adjusted for tax implications). Debt above 3% gets paid down more aggressively, debt below 3% gets paid off according to schedule. I currently have no debt above 3%. Would you borrow cash @ 1.9% to invest and hopefully earn more than that? Abso...
by Kosmo
Fri Jan 20, 2017 8:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: NJ Daycare Costs: What do you pay?
Replies: 10
Views: 1248

Re: NJ Daycare Costs: What do you pay?

Not in NJ, but I'm in a Philly suburb. The current rate is around $1400 per month for a 1 yr old at my daycare. My kids are 3 and 4, but have been at the school since they were 4 months old. When my oldest started it was $950 per month. The rate decrease as the kids got older (lower teacher:child ra...
by Kosmo
Thu Jan 19, 2017 9:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Very confused with W4 Allowances
Replies: 33
Views: 2372

Re: Very confused with W4 Allowances

I use as a relatively close guideline the following: (# exemptions + schedule A deductions) / exemption amount Round this number down to the nearest whole number. The prior years values are a good start unless you have better estimates. Only 1 person uses this withholding exemptions number. The othe...
by Kosmo
Thu Jan 19, 2017 6:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: East Coast And Work/Life Balance
Replies: 68
Views: 5201

Re: East Coast And Work/Life Balance

Other than 4 years of college, I've lived my entire life in the northeast. Don't want to leave. Cost of living is what it is. Your salary should have increased to compensate for it. They aren't just giving you more money because they are more generous than the TX employer. Dining out for us is in th...
by Kosmo
Sat Jan 14, 2017 8:56 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Shouldn't everyone do a traditional IRA/401k instead of a Roth?
Replies: 132
Views: 7227

Re: Shouldn't everyone do a traditional IRA/401k instead of a Roth?

Consider the graph of function y=f(x). It's certainly possible that f(x)<0 and f'(x)>0 for some x, so parts of graph are below x axis and sloping upwards. And someone can can negative tax and positive marginal tax rate. For high positive marginal tax rate Trad typically beats Roth. Also, what FiveK...
by Kosmo
Fri Jan 13, 2017 8:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: downhill skiing
Replies: 32
Views: 2260

Re: downhill skiing

My dad is 68 and he goes skiing at least once a week. He has no intentions of giving it up. My mom stopped about 15 years ago.
by Kosmo
Sun Jan 08, 2017 8:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I ask this contractor to lower his quote?
Replies: 13
Views: 1613

Re: Should I ask this contractor to lower his quote?

You have poorly defined requirements. You know the end result you want achieved, but have not specified which tasks are done to accomplish it. But you've asked contractors to price out those tasks. Which work do you want to get done- Wall off 1 entrance and add a door or install 2 folding doors? Or ...
by Kosmo
Wed Dec 21, 2016 2:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: First-Time Home-Buyer Needs Advice
Replies: 19
Views: 1312

Re: First-Time Home-Buyer Needs Advice

Get a 5/1 ARM and pay it off before it resets. That should be under 4%. Although you may have trouble finding a lender for such a small amount. Do you plan on living in this house? If you intend to rent it out, then rates will be higher. Have you calculated if it's better to to pay capital gains tax...
by Kosmo
Thu Dec 15, 2016 9:27 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Front Wheel Drive (FWD) vs All Wheel Drive (AWD)
Replies: 136
Views: 7235

Re: Front Wheel Drive (FWD) vs All Wheel Drive (AWD)

Not only do AWD Siennas eat tires faster than other AWD vehicles they do not have a spare but instead come with run-flat tires. I was going to bring up this point. I would not buy a car that does not have a spare tire. My wife and I both have AWD cars with all weather tires. I'm considering getting...
by Kosmo
Tue Dec 13, 2016 1:01 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: I fundamentally don't understand bond funds
Replies: 22
Views: 2089

Re: I fundamentally don't understand bond funds

Are you assuming the number of bonds dwindle rather than the fund buy more bonds? What does the bond fund buy more bonds with though? If the interest is paid to shareholders only the principal is left - which is lower each year due to defaults. (Assuming not government bonds) It seems to me by the ...
by Kosmo
Sun Dec 11, 2016 1:11 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Teaching a 401(k) class at work...need input
Replies: 17
Views: 1224

Re: Teaching a 401(k) class at work...need input

You need to take a half step back and cover what a 401k is. What's the difference between a tax advantaged account and a taxable account. Before you get into asset allocation (even if you don't use that term) you should go over the options available. You need to explain the inherent risks of stock v...
by Kosmo
Thu Nov 24, 2016 9:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Kitchen appliances
Replies: 15
Views: 1965

Re: Kitchen appliances

I can't say about kitchen appliances but my washer and dryer were made by LG. But they are branded Kenmore (Sears) and cost a few hundred dollars less. I haven't had the need to get any service for them but on other Kenmore appliances the customer service has been satisfactory. Don't set the bar too...
by Kosmo
Mon Nov 21, 2016 10:40 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Poker Training Software
Replies: 30
Views: 2590

Re: Poker Training Software

The best way to improve your poker skills is to play. Got any local casinos? Better yet, ask some of the guys in the group if they want to play on an off week for lower stakes. You'll get general playing experience and you'll learn how they play in particular.
by Kosmo
Fri Nov 18, 2016 2:18 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Son has some cash to invest
Replies: 37
Views: 2457

Re: Son has some cash to invest

Your son needs to be asking questions and doing this for himself. It's his money, so let him decide.
by Kosmo
Fri Nov 11, 2016 12:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Two Plumbing Tools
Replies: 13
Views: 1447

Re: Two Plumbing Tools

Yes to the basin wrench. They aren't going to break the bank and I have found other uses for them in similar shaped crevices to behind a sink. I can't say anything about the liquid wrench. Every time I've experienced corroded parts I've been replacing them. So destroying them in the removal process ...
by Kosmo
Fri Nov 11, 2016 8:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Home shopping, Potential roof leaking despite new roof
Replies: 22
Views: 1360

Re: Home shopping, Potential roof leaking despite new roof

If the roof really is under warranty then the sellers should have no issue getting it fixed for you. At the very least insist on that and that they cover the cost of a 2nd inspection by a different roofer (not home inspector) to make sure it was fixed properly. Or you could ask for a price reduction...
by Kosmo
Tue Nov 08, 2016 7:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: PA residents with a 529, do you use the 529 plan sponsored by the state?
Replies: 10
Views: 818

Re: PA residents with a 529, do you use the 529 plan sponsored by the state?

I use the NY plan for my 2 kids. But since I opened those PA has modified their plans. I have not revisited the decision to see if o should switch.
by Kosmo
Mon Nov 07, 2016 9:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Garage door opener issue
Replies: 19
Views: 1444

Re: Garage door opener issue

You've got to be kidding. When my garage door moves... well, let's just say that when the earthquake happened last night, I wasn't sure if it was an earthquake, or the garage door going up or down. The fact that you can hear a squeak is amazing. Normal garage door operation sounds like sticking you...
by Kosmo
Sun Nov 06, 2016 8:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Roth 401k not being taxed
Replies: 9
Views: 834

Re: Roth 401k not being taxed

You are specifying a percentage of gross pay to go into the 401k. But that doesn't mean you didn't pay taxes on that money. Do the math and figure out how much should have been withheld for taxes. Compare that to your paystub to check if it was done correctly.
by Kosmo
Sat Nov 05, 2016 7:57 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mandatory Debit Card use, with fee added
Replies: 16
Views: 2187

Re: Mandatory Debit Card use, with fee added

I don't think I've ever encountered a gas station that accepted debit cards but not credit cards. It is fairly common around here to give a discount for paying cash instead of using a card.

And I honestly can't recall ever seeing an Arco station. Is it a left coast chain?
by Kosmo
Thu Nov 03, 2016 10:21 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Rental Property Refinance
Replies: 11
Views: 484

Re: Rental Property Refinance

How much is it going to cost you to do the refinance? Can you even get a refinance rate that low on a rental property? How would this affect your income taxes? Is your goal increased cash flow through a lower monthly payment? Personally, I'd keep the existing mortgage. It's cheap long term debt and ...
by Kosmo
Thu Nov 03, 2016 10:04 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Dependent Care FSA vs Dependent Care Tax Credit?
Replies: 14
Views: 1061

Re: Dependent Care FSA vs Dependent Care Tax Credit?

Dependent care FSA is the way to go. It saves fed/state income taxes and FICA taxes. The alternative is 20% of $3k reduction in taxes = $600, not 20% of the amount paid up to $3k.
by Kosmo
Thu Oct 27, 2016 8:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Debit or Credit card with no fees
Replies: 25
Views: 925

Re: Debit or Credit card with no fees

J0NATHAN wrote:Not sure how low they're willing to go. This "debit card" would have a low, non-life altering amount on them. (<$1,000 at any given time; probably closer to ~$200)

Why go through all this hassle for ~$200 ?
by Kosmo
Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:30 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Equity insufficient funds
Replies: 8
Views: 613

Re: Health Equity insufficient funds

I just checked on my accounts at Health Equity (mine and my wife's) and both have the correct balance. I got a reimbursement via electronic transfer from them on Monday.
by Kosmo
Wed Oct 26, 2016 8:31 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Dream house sold yesterday :(
Replies: 41
Views: 6981

Re: Dream house sold yesterday :(

Does it ever work to offer the buyer more than they paid for the property once escrow closes? My realtor pretty much laughed me off when I mentioned this. If you bought the house, and immediately after you signed all the paperwork I offered you $20k over what you paid for it, would you sell it to m...
by Kosmo
Mon Oct 24, 2016 10:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where do you store your paper documents?
Replies: 36
Views: 2750

Re: Where do you store your paper documents?

Nature has yet to invade the large plastic storage bin in my basement. Although I am considering getting a small safe.
by Kosmo
Mon Oct 24, 2016 1:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Property Tax - Estimate
Replies: 10
Views: 776

Re: Property Tax - Estimate

I have no idea how California property taxes work, so your best bet is to listen to those who live/lived there. But the basics are that you need to know the assessed value and the millage rate. Assessed value could be triggered by a sale or a periodic re-assessment (or some other trigger). The milla...
by Kosmo
Fri Oct 21, 2016 11:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Finishing a Basement
Replies: 13
Views: 1478

Re: Finishing a Basement

Have you priced out basic materials yourself? Where are you coming up with $10k target? I have a long term plan to finish my basement (DIY) and it costs ~$15k in materials alone. Mine would be about 500 sq ft and includes a bathroom. You being the CG might be the most effective for cost and schedule...
by Kosmo
Thu Oct 20, 2016 6:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Details on taxable income with dividends
Replies: 11
Views: 855

Re: Details on taxable income with dividends

If you're in the 25% tax bracket aren't all the qualified dividends taxed at 15%? There's no pro rating? Then the rest of the income is taxed at the progressive rates?

I've not gone through this exercise because I have very little taxable investments.
by Kosmo
Thu Oct 20, 2016 5:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Calling all foodies and winos: T'giving "tasting menu" help
Replies: 21
Views: 1518

Re: Calling all foodies and winos: T'giving "tasting menu" help

If you can find it, a Brunello would go well with the cinghiale for an authentic Tuscan meal. Otherwise a red zinfandel. And that's definitely served before the turkey.

I'm going to point my wife to this thread and see what happens...
by Kosmo
Thu Oct 20, 2016 11:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Duct/Furnace Advice
Replies: 9
Views: 1081

Re: Duct/Furnace Advice

There's a lot of missing information. Who's responsible for the ducts? Whoever is responsible pays for the repairs and I'd suspect it's not the HOA. Is there actually asbestos? No work should be done until it's determined that it needs to be done. But in general, no ducts don't need to be cleaned. T...
by Kosmo
Thu Oct 20, 2016 6:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Electric Dryer - Wiring
Replies: 9
Views: 1049

Re: Electric Dryer - Wiring

Most likely it doesn't matter since it's just a resistive heating element. You can't install a resistor backwards, they have no directionality.

I'm not an electrician nor an electrical engineer.
by Kosmo
Wed Oct 19, 2016 6:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Really stupid retirement tax question
Replies: 12
Views: 1477

Re: Really stupid retirement tax question

Wait, anything sold is taxed? If I invest $100 in a mutual fund and it grows to $200 and I decide to sell half my holdings so I withdraw $100, isn't there no gain on that? Or is there no FIFO rule? You can choose FIFO, but that applies to shares sold, not dollars sold. If your $100 is 2 shares at $...
by Kosmo
Wed Oct 19, 2016 6:15 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How do I calculate my basis for a Mutual Fund.
Replies: 12
Views: 964

Re: How do I calculate my basis for a Mutual Fund.

Thanks everyone. I calculated my cost basis using (your initial investment + all your reinvested dividends and capital gains = your total cost basis) and it looks like I have almost a $2k loss which seems weird since I invested $13k originally and after 13 years the value is $29,463. which equates ...
by Kosmo
Wed Oct 19, 2016 6:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Really stupid retirement tax question
Replies: 12
Views: 1477

Re: Really stupid retirement tax question

The short answer is no, it doesn't work like that.

Are you saving money in tax advantaged accounts? Tax treatment is very different in a taxable account vs a traditional 401k/IRA vs a Roth 401k/IRA.
by Kosmo
Wed Oct 19, 2016 9:41 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Storm damage to house with large insurance payout
Replies: 19
Views: 1299

Re: Storm damage to house with large insurance payout

I never heard of a mortgage company wanting to hold onto the check until after the work is complete. Thats really shady. What if all of the work only equates to $90k. Are they not going to release the check for the amount agreed on? Also, forgot to add, that the check is in the name of both my fath...
by Kosmo
Tue Oct 18, 2016 9:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Multiple kids in daycare. Financial options outside of DC FSA?
Replies: 10
Views: 1173

Re: Multiple kids in daycare. Financial options outside of DC HSA?

Other than additional income tax deductions...none that I've found.
by Kosmo
Mon Oct 17, 2016 11:58 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I keep paying extra on my house?
Replies: 9
Views: 1835

Re: Should I keep paying extra on my house?

My wife needs a home office that's suitable for client meetings, we need a small show room for our rental business, and we need a place to store up to 5 large trailers. Before, we just needed a place to live. Sounds like you need an actual office/warehouse. Alternatively, a property large enough to...
by Kosmo
Mon Oct 17, 2016 10:17 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Snowblower
Replies: 39
Views: 3778

Re: Snowblower

Source of "in winter, the power rarely goes out"? Ice can take out power lines as can ice on tree limbs which then get heavy, topple onto power lines and take them out. It really depends where you live and on how reliable your transmission grid is. Just ask the folks last year who lost po...
by Kosmo
Mon Oct 17, 2016 9:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: recs on gas forced air furnace replacement?
Replies: 34
Views: 2690

Re: recs on gas forced air furnace replacement?

I think it's hit or miss and depends on what equipment you need. Last summer I had a new Lennox gas furnace and AC installed through Costco. The discount brought the price about $2k below the price from other local HVAC contractors for the same/equivalent equipment (Elite series). Plus I got a cash...
by Kosmo
Mon Oct 17, 2016 8:12 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: raised lettering on credit and debit cards?
Replies: 17
Views: 1878

Re: raised lettering on credit and debit cards?

When I have a service technician come to the house to check the furnace, or fix an appliance they will take a credit card for payment. However, in my experience, they write the numbers on the invoice by hand. Using cash would be inconvenient and I would not get my rebate. :moneybag In my experience...
by Kosmo
Mon Oct 17, 2016 7:50 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: recs on gas forced air furnace replacement?
Replies: 34
Views: 2690

Re: recs on gas forced air furnace replacement?

In my area, at least, Lennox is sold through Costco. I would think that their price would be competitive, and if there are problems, you would have Costco standing behind it. We recently changed our A/C system and even with the Costco discount, and we had the best discount available as executive me...
by Kosmo
Wed Oct 12, 2016 7:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Looking for Help from BH Bridge Players
Replies: 23
Views: 1453

Re: Looking for Help from BH Bridge Players

I have no practical advice, but I will offer an anecdotal story. My grandmother played bridge at least weekly until she was about 95. This was mostly at a senior center, but once she found a good group to play with they had additional private games at their houses. It kept her mind sharp as a tack. ...
by Kosmo
Mon Oct 10, 2016 10:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: remodel where to start
Replies: 13
Views: 1458

Re: remodel where to start

I will be hiring contractors for everything. If you're going to do this all at once, hire a general contractor. They will schedule and prioritize accordingly. If you're doing it yourself, it's more complicated. When you say remodel, do you mean taking the room down to the studs and starting over, o...
by Kosmo
Fri Oct 07, 2016 2:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Paint peeling off in ceiling
Replies: 23
Views: 1282

Re: Paint peeling off in ceiling

That PVC pipe is most likely a plumbing vent. Water could be leaking into the attic at the vent collar on the roof. It's then running down the outside of the PVC and soaking through the drywall into your shower. That framing is also getting wet but it appears to be drying out. The drywall isn't dryi...
by Kosmo
Wed Oct 05, 2016 1:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Marriage and Taxes
Replies: 10
Views: 1181

Re: Marriage and Taxes

If you switch your withholding status to married you are most likely going to be underwithholding for the year and will owe a large lump sum when filing your return in April 2018. The short explanation is that withholding calculations that are used in your company's payroll dept don't know your full...
by Kosmo
Wed Oct 05, 2016 11:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Roof Drainage
Replies: 14
Views: 1176

Re: Roof Drainage

For multiple aesthetic reasons, I built my own dry wells on 1 side of my house. For 2 dry wells it cost ~$50 in materials and a Saturday of labor. $350 is very reasonable to have someone else do it. It gets the rain water/snow melt where I want it to go and it looks much better than what used to do ...
by Kosmo
Wed Oct 05, 2016 10:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Rental agent etiquette question
Replies: 13
Views: 2161

Re: Rental agent etiquette question

His friend doesn't pay the realtor, you do. What's your contract with the realtor say about paying commissions if you find a tenant?

Would you accept this person as a tenant without screening him? That's one of the reasons to hire a realtor to find a tenant.
by Kosmo
Wed Oct 05, 2016 7:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Deciding not to refi... Have I missed something?
Replies: 20
Views: 1748

Re: Deciding not to refi... Have I missed something?

Have you looked at options other than a 15 yr mortgage? You have 9 yrs remaining on the original mortgage, have you checked 10 yr fixed, 10/1 ARM, or 7/1 ARM? What about no cost refis? I'm in the 25% bracket, itemize, and mortgage interest is my single largest deduction by far. Don't let this be a d...
by Kosmo
Tue Oct 04, 2016 6:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What you guys do with the bonus
Replies: 59
Views: 5245

Re: What you guys do with the bonus

Last year we took a family vacation to Disney world. My wife instructed that this year will be the same...

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