Search found 602 matches

by NoVa Lurker
Thu Jul 21, 2016 9:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Orlando Disney Parks
Replies: 41
Views: 3064

Re: Orlando Disney Parks

What are the cons of keeping it most flexible? I could think of extra cost and non availability of FastPass+. Okay, I'll add some detail around "extra cost" and some other obvious cons: --flights will likely be more expensive if you wait until two days prior as suggested --you won't be ab...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Jul 19, 2016 10:47 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What to do with a bit of extra money each month?
Replies: 40
Views: 2596

Re: What to do with a bit of extra money each month?

With more than 26 years left on the mortgage at age 41, I'd put any extra funds to the mortgage. On one hand, you have plenty of home equity and the mortgage interest rate is not that high. But on the other hand, you are 41 and you have a $385,000 loan that you're repaying over the next 26.5 years. ...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Jul 19, 2016 8:02 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Traveling to DC
Replies: 32
Views: 1679

Re: Traveling to DC

The Smithsonian museums along the National Mall are good to visit and would be a nice, indoor spot given the weather forecast, but you'd need at least a half day for each museum IMHO. It's true that the Smithsonian museums are free, generally worth visiting, and generally require time to explore th...
by NoVa Lurker
Mon Jul 18, 2016 8:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Orlando Disney Parks
Replies: 41
Views: 3064

Re: Orlando Disney Parks

Seems like a good start. You can buy tickets on Disney's site, or you can go to undercovertourist.com for a bit of a discount. Booking straight from Disney is quicker and easier, but I would have no worries booking from undercovertourist. I think most other ticket brokers are not recommended. One th...
by NoVa Lurker
Mon Jul 11, 2016 2:24 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: S&P500 vs 3.5% Guaranteed
Replies: 22
Views: 2769

Re: S&P500 vs 3.5% Guaranteed

But my attempts to simplify and optimize might have caused some serious compounding losses. :( To be clear, you didn't lose anything. You could say you lost opportunity, but some investments will always earn a higher return than others, post facto. Now, if you end up having trouble cashing out of t...
by NoVa Lurker
Mon Jul 11, 2016 2:21 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: S&P500 vs 3.5% Guaranteed
Replies: 22
Views: 2769

Re: S&P500 vs 3.5% Guaranteed

This Stable Value is insured by insurance companies thru GIC's and every quarter they release what the rate is gonna be, it has historically been great and even has beaten a fund like total bond for the past 5, 10 years. 3% is an unusual rate to get from that kind of fund these days. It would have ...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Jul 06, 2016 8:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Townhouse VS Stand Alone House ?
Replies: 8
Views: 790

Re: Townhouse VS Stand Alone House ?

We bought a SFH, after considering townhomes. This is in Northern Virginia, just over the river from DC. We had friends in the area who bought new million-dollar townhomes with thousand-dollar HOAs, and we thought they were crazy. Our home was built in 1947 - very cute with a big yard, lots of updat...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Jul 06, 2016 8:03 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Alternatives to Traditional Pasta?
Replies: 52
Views: 3035

Re: Alternatives to Traditional Pasta?

If I were making OP's salad, I would drop the tortellini and add grilled chicken (cut into bite-size pieces) and black beans instead.
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Jul 05, 2016 8:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Zero bonds at 38 yo... and no plans to buy any
Replies: 68
Views: 4984

Re: Zero bonds at 38 yo... and no plans to buy any

What many people 'learned' from 2008-2012 was that equities can suffer dramatic fluctuations, including a massive downward spiral that can last a few years, but equities will eventually rebound, so you will be okay if you don't immediately need the money and if you just have the stomach not to sell ...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Jun 28, 2016 2:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pay off mortgage immediately? Or keep plugging along?
Replies: 57
Views: 4165

Re: Pay off mortgage immediately? Or keep plugging along?

Maybe I should put all these answers in a blender and get a mix. I like Dulocracy's approach. $115k cash pile -$20K for EF -$30-$45K house repair (kitchen needs work, plus other things) -$50-65K to investments....maybe $10K each to kids college to boost those, then the other $30-45K to taxable. Van...
by NoVa Lurker
Thu Jun 09, 2016 2:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Battery Life - 2008 Toyota Hybrid Camry
Replies: 26
Views: 1653

Re: Battery Life - 2008 Toyota Hybrid Camry

As a side note - With a battery costing $4500 sounds like having the hybrid is a wash from a cost perspective if you are doing mostly city driving. Assuming an average $3 per gallon price over the last 8 years. Cost of Gas for 2008 Camry Hybrid @ 100,000 miles at 33 miles/gallon: $3*100,000/33 = $9...
by NoVa Lurker
Thu Jun 09, 2016 12:46 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: I need some help to understand why I should invest in bonds at such a young age
Replies: 235
Views: 13278

Re: I need some help to understand why I should invest in bonds at such a young age

You mention "a very long time". Are you prepared for the stuff before 20 years? You are young and could have some major life changes ahead. Where is the "OMG, we are having triplets" fund, or the "Now I need a new car" fund? Or perhaps the "and a bigger house fund...
by NoVa Lurker
Mon Jun 06, 2016 8:30 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vehicle for tall person and rear-facing child car seat?
Replies: 22
Views: 1338

Re: Vehicle for tall person and rear-facing child car seat?

With your first kid, you will most likely put the car seat in the middle of the row (i.e., not behind either the passenger or driver seat), so there should be no issue, even when rear-facing. Just look for any car that has LATCH for the middle seat (which should be almost all newer cars, I think). O...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Jun 01, 2016 10:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 529 Contribution Limits
Replies: 6
Views: 660

Re: 529 Contribution Limits

Isn't there a limit to state tax benefit? Say, only the first $5,000 per child per year? $4k per child per account , with unlimited carryforward to future years. My understanding is that you can't open two accounts with identical investment options for this purpose, but if you have, say, a stock ac...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue May 31, 2016 8:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pay off Low Int. Car Loan or Pay Down Home Loan
Replies: 6
Views: 615

Re: Pay off Low Int. Car Loan or Pay Down Home Loan

First assume you have a 6 month emergency fund, Pay off the Car, then put the auto payment into a saving account for the next vehicle purchase so you can pay cash. Once you have a good amount in the vehicle fund, the start paying down the mortgage. This is exactly what my wife and I are currently i...
by NoVa Lurker
Thu May 12, 2016 1:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage rate from our bank not matching the news
Replies: 12
Views: 1107

Re: Mortgage rate from our bank not matching the news

One thing you could consider is a higher "no fee" rate just to get through closing, and then refi with an online vendor. +1. We thought we had a good rate when we closed on our house six years ago. Since then, we have refi'd twice. In retrospect, we should have tried to do a no-cost mortg...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Apr 26, 2016 7:36 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best system for hanging pictures on plaster walls
Replies: 14
Views: 900

Re: Best system for hanging pictures on plaster walls

I use a small drill, slightly smaller than the nail for a hanger; drill a hole angled downwards; hammer anchor in gently. Usually works fine. I'll second this method. We do the same for hanging light stuff (mostly unframed canvas prints) on the plaster walls in the "old part" of our house...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Apr 19, 2016 11:56 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: mortgage pre payment, why?
Replies: 101
Views: 11741

Re: mortgage pre payment, why?

Just as annuities are appropriate for some people and thought to be about the worst possible investment by others, there are reasons to not pay off a mortgage and general formulas do not apply to everyone. +1. There are lots of threads on Bogleheads like this one, which amount to OP saying, "I...
by NoVa Lurker
Mon Apr 11, 2016 12:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax Question: Renting out and renting
Replies: 7
Views: 538

Re: Tax Question: Renting out and renting

Short answer - probably, nothing will happen to your taxes except they will get more complicated! The longer answer would require a lot more information. But basically, it looks like your annual expenses related to the condo (which can include the interest on the mortgage, HOA, property taxes, depre...
by NoVa Lurker
Thu Mar 31, 2016 8:58 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you pay for yardwork?
Replies: 61
Views: 5958

Re: Do you pay for yardwork?

I do the weekly work myself. I like to mow. We have a little over 1/4 acre plot, but our house has a big footprint, we have a semi-circular driveway, lots of mulched, planted areas, etc., so the grass areas are not that big. We pay once a year, usually around $600, for some combination of tree-trimm...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Mar 30, 2016 11:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Europe Trip in August
Replies: 99
Views: 5967

Re: Europe Trip in August

Don't cancel if you're otherwise looking forward to it! Went to Italy, France and Switzerland in October 2001, after my friend found very cheap airfare. I remember how worried our families were, still shaken by 9/11. We had an amazing trip, and most of the touristy places were not that crowded. I am...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Mar 30, 2016 8:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to decide how much to spend on a house?
Replies: 22
Views: 3233

Re: How to decide how much to spend on a house?

If I were you and had the money in non-retirement accounts, and were otherwise in good shape financially, I would probably spend the money to improve the commute, if the rest of your family is on board with moving. But you should understand that you are losing liquidity and probably taking on more r...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Mar 29, 2016 2:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Competing Offers when Selling Home
Replies: 20
Views: 1438

Re: Competing Offers when Selling Home

Just put our vacation home on the market today; crossing our fingers that there will be interest. OP - Your problem is a good one to have!! My vote would be along the lines of what bigred77 suggested. It is hard for me to imagine any legitimate, prospective buyer who will take the trouble to bid and...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Mar 08, 2016 3:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: We paid off our mortgage ...what to do with the extra money each month?
Replies: 28
Views: 4118

Re: We paid off our mortgage ...what to do with the extra money each month?

"Whatever you do with the extra cash, TELL NO ONE about the paid-off mortgage," is the best advice in this thread. It also might be the hardest to follow.
by NoVa Lurker
Fri Feb 19, 2016 8:20 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Best Way to Save for New Larger House
Replies: 3
Views: 541

Re: Best Way to Save for New Larger House

I agree with your approach of paying down your mortgage. Even factoring in the tax benefit on mortgage interest, you're getting a no-risk return over 2.5% on amounts you pay off. Right now, any investment that beats that is going to come with risk, and you don't want to take much risk with funds tha...
by NoVa Lurker
Thu Feb 11, 2016 2:48 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The 10 Year Treasury is at 1.60
Replies: 25
Views: 2685

Re: The 10 Year Treasury is at 1.60

10 year treasury is down something close to 20% since Fed Funds rate was bumped up. What is the end result, at least right now, of the fed funds bump if all other interest rates are falling? It seems like it only hurt Borrowers borrowing off that rate and conversely helped commercial banks. If all ...
by NoVa Lurker
Thu Feb 11, 2016 2:40 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The 10 Year Treasury is at 1.60
Replies: 25
Views: 2685

Re: The 10 Year Treasury is at 1.60

patrick013 wrote:The rates can't go lower to "help" the economy
that's for sure.


Why not?
by NoVa Lurker
Thu Feb 11, 2016 8:35 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Boglehead mentality re todays oil price
Replies: 22
Views: 2335

Re: Boglehead mentality re todays oil price

If you think the price of oil is bound to go back up, you may want to read the following before putting your money behind that bet: http://www.bp.com/content/dam/bp/pdf/speeches/2015/new-economics-of-oil-spencer-dale.pdf This is the Chief Economist of BP, making a solid argument that low oil & g...
by NoVa Lurker
Mon Feb 08, 2016 11:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Adult Coloring Books
Replies: 16
Views: 2123

Re: Adult Coloring Books

I have no experience with adult coloring books, but I can see the appeal. When I offer my four-year-old son a bunch of options of what to do together (read, play soccer, build something with legos, etc.), I have been surprised to realize recently that I always hope he picks coloring. It's very relax...
by NoVa Lurker
Mon Feb 08, 2016 10:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sibling's destination wedding?
Replies: 110
Views: 7440

Re: Sibling's destination wedding?

As long as your spouse is okay with spending the money, I would go, bring your whole family, and just look for some ways to limit the cost. This is your sibling, and it really is a once-in-a-lifetime thing.
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Feb 03, 2016 10:31 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anybody budget for daycare like it is college?
Replies: 54
Views: 3707

Re: Anybody budget for daycare like it is college?

I don't have kids, but my wife and I have one on the way so we will be facing this issue head on. My main question as we address this is "what do the people who can't afford college-tuition-level daycare expenses do for their kids?" Just because I can afford it doesn't mean every problem ...
by NoVa Lurker
Mon Dec 28, 2015 11:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: A week in Lake Como, Italy
Replies: 10
Views: 1347

Re: A week in Lake Como, Italy

Jealous. Was in the Lake Como area for just a few days, 15 years ago. Still have very fond memories of those days. I imagine any advice I would give is outdated. Have an amazing time!
by NoVa Lurker
Mon Dec 14, 2015 2:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Dealing with rental house we don't want anymore but is profitable
Replies: 22
Views: 3020

Re: Dealing with rental house we don't want anymore but is profitable

"I mostly want to not have the house because we don't want the maintenance liability hanging over us anymore when we are not there in person to make sure we're getting a fair shake." Think that probably answers the question. Yep, life is short, and a rental property is not a completely pa...
by NoVa Lurker
Mon Dec 14, 2015 1:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any Biglaw attorneys on the board?
Replies: 53
Views: 8978

Re: Any Biglaw attorneys on the board?

My current schedule is much more docile - typically in office by 8, leave between 5:30-6:30; work a few evenings at home after kids / wife go to bed. Sometimes a bit of work on weekend, but generally nothing that ruins the weekend. Wow, it looks like you've got things figured out and should stay in...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Dec 09, 2015 9:28 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Pay-off Car Loan or Pay-down Mortgage?
Replies: 16
Views: 1690

Re: Pay-off Car Loan or Pay-down Mortgage?

I don't necessarily disagree with any of the advice above, but 2.9% on the home loan is not that bad. Your time has value too, and I wouldn't devote a ton of effort to trying to get that 2.9% down to (for example) 2.625%, when you only have 7 years left on it (and maybe less, if you prepay a bit). I...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Dec 02, 2015 12:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What am I missing ? ... Smart Phones $100 vs. $600
Replies: 65
Views: 6764

Re: What am I missing ? ... Smart Phones $100 vs. $600

Let's say the price difference is $480, and you only have the phone for 2 years. That's $20/month. (That's not exactly Boglehead-ish thinking, but it's very common thinking, and there's some logic to it.) Many people can easily afford the luxury phone but find it tougher to justify/"afford"...
by NoVa Lurker
Thu Oct 15, 2015 12:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bicycle commuting
Replies: 91
Views: 7221

Re: Bicycle commuting

But whether I'm a pedestrian or driver I hate cyclists... :) The safety rule-of-thumb I always go by is that if you're on a motorcycle, you should drive as if the cars can't see you. If you're on a bicycle, you should drive as if the cars can see you... and are actively trying to kill you. :P This ...
by NoVa Lurker
Thu Oct 15, 2015 12:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 50% pay increase to move from family, 5 years from retirment
Replies: 27
Views: 2704

Re: 50% pay increase to move from family, 5 years from retirment

Echoing the other responses - will you have your weekends free? If so, a 3-hour drive is not a bad distance. My wife and I have young boys, and my parents are 2.5 hours away. It's a good distance for a bunch of reasons. They have their own lives, and they honestly don't have the stamina to spend hou...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Sep 30, 2015 8:41 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car seat for 2+ year old
Replies: 16
Views: 1207

Re: Car seat for 2+ year old

In our two cars right now, we have three Britax Roundabouts and one Britax Frontier. They are all great. The Frontier feels like more of a "big kids" car seat, but even for our 4-year-old, we actually like the Roundabout better, because he can rest his head to the side more easily, and sle...
by NoVa Lurker
Mon Sep 28, 2015 7:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hiring plumber before house purchase
Replies: 11
Views: 822

Re: Hiring plumber before house purchase

Absolutely a case of nerves. This is a first home purchase, so of course I'm expecting the house to crack in half the minute they hand over the keys. Thanks for calling it like it is :beer When we bought our first home, the basement flooded the morning we moved in. (It was - and is - a nice, finish...
by NoVa Lurker
Mon Sep 21, 2015 7:45 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: I simply want to beat inflation with my cash savings
Replies: 34
Views: 4766

Re: I simply want to beat inflation with my cash savings

Carpentermaass84, maybe you need a new approach. We always recommend investors hold an emergency fund. This is for money that may be needed immediately, or in a week, or a month, or even longer if employment suddenly disappears. Depending on a few factors such as job security and spouse working, th...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Sep 16, 2015 8:21 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I leave Federal Job for a Private Sector Job?
Replies: 40
Views: 4211

Re: Should I leave Federal Job for a Private Sector Job?

So, please excuse this rather blunt question; but, what specifically in your background qualifies you for this job and a 65% increase in pay? I don't doubt your competence; I'm more concerned about why they want you. And, to a more important matter, how long do you think that your competitive advan...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Sep 15, 2015 11:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bids on Home Project
Replies: 6
Views: 516

Re: Bids on Home Project

Certainly, if you got a better impression from the $3400 bid and want to work with them, it is fair to explain that you want to use them, but you got another bid for $2700, and ask can they lower the price a bit?
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Sep 15, 2015 11:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pay mortgage up front for a year?
Replies: 23
Views: 2319

Re: Pay mortgage up front for a year?

Let's say I have a $1,000 / month mortgage at 4%. I have $12,000 in the bank for the mortgage payments earning 1% interest. Is there an option to pay 12 months of mortgage payments all at once and would it be worthwhile? I have pre-paid my mortgage a few months ahead of time when I was traveling by...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Sep 02, 2015 2:53 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Can the market go up forever?
Replies: 80
Views: 6807

Re: Can the market go up forever?

If M2 money supply grows at a real rate of 2% per year, in about 4000 years there will be more dollars than there are atoms on planet Earth. Get the picture? I am not much for predictions of the future, but physical money will likely be phased out in much less than 4000 years. I don't see how M2 co...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Sep 02, 2015 1:54 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Home Equity When Estimating Savings for Retirement
Replies: 47
Views: 3342

Re: Home Equity When Estimating Savings for Retirement

Right, we don't count home equity at all. We might downsize a bit in retirement, especially because we currently live in a relatively high-priced metro area, but we don't want to depend on that. However, we do assume that our mortgage will be fully repaid. As a result, our projected expenses in reti...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Sep 02, 2015 12:51 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Large short term market swings - why?
Replies: 10
Views: 898

Re: Large short term market swings - why?

You may enjoy this somewhat old academic paper -- Why Does the Stock Market Fluctuate?, by Robert Barsky and Brad Delong -- which I believe still holds up well: http://delong.typepad.com/fluctuate.pdf Basically, the idea is that stock prices are derived from the present value of dividends that will ...
by NoVa Lurker
Mon Aug 24, 2015 11:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax deduction on co-owned property?
Replies: 4
Views: 329

Re: Tax deduction on co-owned property?

Answer to your actual question (with the caveat that I am not a tax expert, but we did co-own a property for 7 years): it depends on who pays what. For example, if you are splitting everything 50-50 on the second unit (including property taxes and interest), then you would split the deductions 50-50...
by NoVa Lurker
Thu Aug 20, 2015 8:12 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: (Seriously) What exactly is meant by the phrase "interest rates," plural?
Replies: 9
Views: 934

Re: (Seriously) What exactly is meant by the phrase "interest rates," plural?

Well, I can tell you what I always thought it meant. I could be misunderstanding it, though. I have always taken this to mean that, when the Fed takes action, the effect is to raise/lower interest rates for many different types of instruments and trades. So the phrase "interest rates" make...

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