Search found 750 matches

by NorCalDad
Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How Far is too Far, Commuting?
Replies: 211
Views: 11523

Re: How Far is to Far, Commuting?

Approx 30 years ago I turned down a job in the Chicago area that would have involved an hour and a half commute each way in favor of a job with a non-profit organization in Columbus, Ohio that had a 15 minute commute. I settled for a salary that was $5K lower and passed up a $15K signing bonus to b...
by NorCalDad
Sun Feb 25, 2018 6:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: I week in California, Road Trip Planning
Replies: 64
Views: 3497

Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

I saw where you were going, digarei. :D Sacramento isn't as exciting as San Francisco, sure. But it is immensely livable. It's probably one of the few places left in California where someone with our income can plan on retiring in our 50s and raise our kids in a family-friendly neighborhood with com...
by NorCalDad
Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: I week in California, Road Trip Planning
Replies: 64
Views: 3497

Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

I knew there would be several people saying to skip Sacramento, so let me chime in as a native - it all depends on what you're looking for. There aren't beaches, but there's plenty to do, and if you're looking for a place to live on a reasonable amount of money, it would be well worth your time to s...
by NorCalDad
Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:24 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: When do IRA's stop making sense?
Replies: 37
Views: 2823

Re: When do IRAs stop making sense?

I'm assuming you're the only income earner, since you mentioned a spousal IRA possibility, but if your wife works and has a 401k, max that out, too. If $39k is the sum total of your retirement savings and you have no pension, I would prioritize retirement ahead of 529s at this point. I would double ...
by NorCalDad
Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Suggest coffee maker please
Replies: 113
Views: 6963

Re: Suggest coffee maker please

I was digging through old BH threads on the topic, and the Bonavita coffee maker seems to come up frequently. Any thoughts on if it's really better than the $30-50 drip coffee makers (like Mr. Coffee, Black & decker). And if so, what makes it better? Yes, the Bonavita makes a great pot of coffee. W...
by NorCalDad
Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:58 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is this new car the smarter option?
Replies: 24
Views: 1744

Re: Is this new car the smarter option?

Isn't the better comparison what you could've paid for a used 2008 Yaris in 2010? I assume that would have been less than $12,000. Granted, when a new vehicle is that cheap and it's a Toyota, the savings on a used vehicle will be less significant than on a used luxury car.
by NorCalDad
Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:47 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much have kids added to your personal finance/expenses?
Replies: 111
Views: 8540

Re: How much have kids added to your personal finance/expenses?

A lot of good input on this thread. I would emphasize one more thing: time . Before kids, I never thought enough about how much my time was worth. Not my on-the-clock time, but all of those hours you now have at your leisure with no responsibility. When you have kids, especially young kids who can't...
by NorCalDad
Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to Minimize Your Emergency Care Expenses
Replies: 195
Views: 29611

Re: How to Minimize Your Emergency Care Expenses

Great advice. The recommendations are very logical. WCI, any idea what percentage of patients in the ED should have gone to urgent care or outpatient instead? I know some friends and family who are quick to head to the ED. There are the uninsured who go there because they think they have no alternat...
by NorCalDad
Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:23 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pay down student loan or mortgage first
Replies: 18
Views: 1205

Re: Pay down student loan or mortgage first

The initial House proposal would have killed the student loan interest deduction, but it survived in the final version. According to this Forbes post, the MFJ phaseout starts at $135k MAGI for 2018: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2017/12/17/what-the-2018-tax-brackets-standard-deductio...
by NorCalDad
Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pay down student loan or mortgage first
Replies: 18
Views: 1205

Re: Pay down student loan or mortgage first

I would probably go with option 3: saving more for retirement by maxing out 401k or using a spousal IRA. I'm going to guess that he's taking the standard deduction under the new tax plan, so no itemized deduction for mortgage interest. Student loan interest is still deductible above the line, so he ...
by NorCalDad
Sun Dec 31, 2017 2:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to take advantage of lowered property value?
Replies: 24
Views: 1646

Re: How to take advantage of lowered property value?

But it will be virtually impossible to pin this on the seller or listing absent at this point, unless they just admit to having known and failed to disclose. Good luck. Even if they do straight up tell you they knew and didn't tell you, what are you going to do about it? There's no duty to disclose...
by NorCalDad
Fri Dec 29, 2017 1:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Confusion about prepaying property taxes
Replies: 139
Views: 14343

Re: Confusion about prepaying property taxes

Just got back from the treasurer/assessor's office in my town, where it's the rare person that doesn't itemize. People were lining up to prepay property taxes. I pre-paid the two payments that would have been due in the first half of 2018 - these are part of the 2017-18 fiscal year, so that seemed ...
by NorCalDad
Thu Dec 28, 2017 10:27 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Increasing 2017 charitable donations d/t 2018 tax bill?
Replies: 24
Views: 1509

Re: Increasing 2017 charitable donations d/t 2018 tax bill?

Yep, we're right around $22,000 in itemizations under the new rules (normally $33,000 under the old, except this year when we are bunching). We are opening a DAF today at Fidelity for the first time.
by NorCalDad
Wed Dec 27, 2017 5:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Regarding Chase Freedom Q1 categories
Replies: 7
Views: 908

Re: Regarding Chase Freedom Q1 categories

I always test Freedom's 5x on a small purchase before pouring in the entire $1,500. For example, some 7-Eleven stores code as gas stations and some don't, irrespective of whether they actually offer gas. In 4Q17 I discovered a Sears store that was selling Amazon gift cards, and after testing it on ...
by NorCalDad
Wed Dec 27, 2017 10:55 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help in Making Decision on Mortgage Refinance
Replies: 10
Views: 780

Re: Help in Making Decision on Mortgage Refinance

Do you have any cash to bridge the gap if the appraisal falls short? Yes.. I do.. I can contribute up to $20,000 if needed.. However; is that a wise move to use my savings to bridge the gap? Please advise. It depends. How long do you plan to stay in this house? What are you doing with that $20,000 ...
by NorCalDad
Wed Dec 27, 2017 10:05 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help in Making Decision on Mortgage Refinance
Replies: 10
Views: 780

Re: Help in Making Decision on Mortgage Refinance

Do you have any cash to bridge the gap if the appraisal falls short?
by NorCalDad
Wed Dec 27, 2017 9:09 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help in Making Decision on Mortgage Refinance
Replies: 10
Views: 780

Re: Help in Making Decision on Mortgage Refinance

That rate seems competitive with the best rates out there and is much lower than your current rates, so on that alone, it makes sense to me. Beyond that, the new tax law may not allow you to deduct that second mortgage interest, so it makes sense to me.
by NorCalDad
Mon Dec 25, 2017 9:52 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax Questions 2017 (Not all the crazy new stuff)
Replies: 16
Views: 1483

Re: Tax Questions 2017 (Not all the crazy new stuff)

Yes the first 4 deduction items are straight off the paycheck. 401k/403b/FSA/Premiums. The rest are itemizations and the medical does not double include premiums and only includes the portion over 7.5%. This still doesn’t seem likely to get me to 110k if the Charity, medical expenses, preoperty tax...
by NorCalDad
Sun Dec 24, 2017 11:41 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Not investing through your 30's
Replies: 60
Views: 5967

Re: Not investing through your 30's

Two thoughts: 1) If you establish a pattern of spending in your 30s, who's to say that you'll flip a switch and turn frugal saver when you're 40? 2) I would look for ways to find happiness without spending money. When my wife went back to school and I wasn't making much money, we went on a backpacki...
by NorCalDad
Sat Dec 23, 2017 11:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you see a meaningful change in your income with new Tax Bill?
Replies: 266
Views: 22403

Re: Do you see a meaningful change in your income with new Tax Bill?

What I'm more interested in though is another great year in the stock market! Come on baby! :happy Like others, I responded that the new tax bill will not meaningfully change my income, but rather my taxes. This got me thinking...the tax reductions to businesses...all (or almost all) of us BHs own ...
by NorCalDad
Sat Dec 23, 2017 11:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you see a meaningful change in your income with new Tax Bill?
Replies: 266
Views: 22403

Re: Do you see a meaningful change in your income with new Tax Bill?

Absent itemizations, our 2018 comparison is fairly easy to calculate. We will no longer claim our mortgage/SALT deductions, but come out $1,800 ahead because of the lower tax brackets and we newly qualify for the child tax credit.
by NorCalDad
Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:42 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: A New (I think) Question About Dividends in a Roth IRA
Replies: 17
Views: 1876

Re: A New (I think) Question About Dividends in a Roth IRA

I've spent the last month reading through pages and pages of Bogleheads discussions as I try compile a long-term financial plan for my wife and children. My wife has a 403b with her work, but it offers only a handful of choices, and they dont match anything. So right now we are using it to bring us...
by NorCalDad
Fri Dec 22, 2017 9:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Please Post Tax Bill Questions Here [was Tax Bill Omnibus Thread]
Replies: 886
Views: 54183

Re: Tax Bill Omnibus Thread

The issue of the tax-deductibility of 529 distributions for secondary/ primary schools' education has gone back and forth that I am unable to find the ending conclusion to it. Is it a yea or nay? From the NYT yesterday: Yes, You Really Can Pay for Private School With 529 Plans Now https://www.nytim...
by NorCalDad
Fri Dec 22, 2017 8:56 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: flex account $500 carryover question
Replies: 9
Views: 382

Re: flex account $500 carryover question

I would ask your HR office. I know in our case, we forfeited the remaining carryover funds after one year despite getting conflicting information from the FSA administrator. Side note: If at all feasible, I would switch to an HSA, which doesn't face such limitations. I can't stand our health FSA adm...
by NorCalDad
Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:42 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Am I over the Roth IRA income limit?
Replies: 5
Views: 605

Re: Am I over the Roth IRA income limit?

Phaseout does not include gross. For what it's worth, we grossed more than $200,000 last year and were comfortably under the Roth phaseout due to 401k, 457, FSAs, health care.
by NorCalDad
Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Please Post Tax Bill Questions Here [was Tax Bill Omnibus Thread]
Replies: 886
Views: 54183

Re: Bunching mortgage for 1 year, 2 years?

markcoop wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:23 pm
mikep said this earlier: "I think you can only do Jan by the end of the year. Interest must be paid in the year accrued.. January is actually interest for the months of December so that's the only one that can be moved."
Good to know. Thanks.
by NorCalDad
Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Please Post Tax Bill Questions Here [was Tax Bill Omnibus Thread]
Replies: 886
Views: 54183

Re: Bunching mortgage for 1 year, 2 years?

Want to run this idea with you folks for my situation: 1. I am pretty sure I will hit hard by AMT in year 2017. 2. In HCOLA state. my SALT+Property tax is way over the allowed $10K. 3. Mortgage interest is about $18K in 2017, which makes my 2018 itemized-deduction ($27K) not too valuable compared t...
by NorCalDad
Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Confusion about prepaying property taxes
Replies: 139
Views: 14343

Re: Confusion about prepaying property taxes

The people participating in this thread seem to already know that pre-paying their 2018 property taxes before 12/31/17 has a tax advantage. Can someone please explain the necessary pre-conditions for someone to be looking into whether they can pre-pay 2018 property tax (ignoring whether it's allowe...
by NorCalDad
Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Please Post Tax Bill Questions Here [was Tax Bill Omnibus Thread]
Replies: 886
Views: 54183

Re: Tax Bill Omnibus Thread

I don't know if it's been said above (didn't read all 412 posts) but the thing I find most interesting about the new tax plan is that few people will itemize. A $24,000 standard deduction is huge. It takes a lot of donations + taxes + interest in order to justify itemizing. The takeaway on that is ...
by NorCalDad
Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Please Post Tax Bill Questions Here [was Tax Bill Omnibus Thread]
Replies: 886
Views: 54183

Re: Tax Bill Omnibus Thread

Folks, As per my understanding, I should donate to the charity now for whatever amount that I budgeted for next year. This is true if my total itemized deduction for 2018 will not exceed the new standard deduction limit. Please confirm. KlangFool Yes, I would do this. I also would consider a donor-...
by NorCalDad
Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Advance payment of property tax
Replies: 8
Views: 778

Re: Advance payment of property tax

Agree with jeffyscott; everything I've read thus far suggests the bill is silent on this particular local property tax question. I also live in California, and my county sends its bill with two payment coupons, one due by December, the other by April. I paid both last month and expect to deduct them...
by NorCalDad
Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax-planning - What to pay in '17 before it's too late?
Replies: 33
Views: 2024

Re: Tax-planning - What to pay in '17 before it's too late?

Very basic question. Our itemized deductions, MFJ, are: State Tax: $24K Prop Tax: $14K Mort Int: $12K Under the new likely regs, I'm limited to $10K in state inc and prop tax. Thus the new itemization is $10K +$12K (Mort Int) = $22K. Which means we'll take the standard deduction? Assuming you don't...
by NorCalDad
Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax-planning - What to pay in '17 before it's too late?
Replies: 33
Views: 2024

Re: Tax-planning - What to pay in '17 before it's too late?

Very basic question. Our itemized deductions, MFJ, are: State Tax: $24K Prop Tax: $14K Mort Int: $12K Under the new likely regs, I'm limited to $10K in state inc and prop tax. Thus the new itemization is $10K +$12K (Mort Int) = $22K. Which means we'll take the standard deduction? Yes, that's my rea...
by NorCalDad
Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:23 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does this happen to you? Educating friends about personal finance
Replies: 104
Views: 6678

Re: Does this happen to you? Educating friends about personal finance

If friends ask you for advice, go ahead and offer what you know and stay on point. But don't go out of your way to criticize their approach. Replace "personal finance" with "diet" or "exercise routine." If I want someone's advice on my diet or exercise, I'll ask. But I don't want them interjecting w...
by NorCalDad
Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:28 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: PSA: consider pre-paying your property taxes and January mortgage payment
Replies: 25
Views: 3599

Re: PSA: consider pre-paying your property taxes and January mortgage payment

I just read about setting up a donor-advised fund and getting an immediate tax deduction. Thinking of going with Fidelity. We usually donate in small amounts to local charities, so I could see using this for at least the next few years. viewtopic.php?t=201611
by NorCalDad
Sat Dec 02, 2017 10:16 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: PSA: consider pre-paying your property taxes and January mortgage payment
Replies: 25
Views: 3599

Re: PSA: consider pre-paying your property taxes and January mortgage payment

We pay our annual real estate taxes into escrow. We have a payment due in June 2018 that i’d love to make before the end of 2017, and I’m certainly willing to write a check for the amount and send it in directly to the local treasurer. But, does anyone know how that works with the escrow company......
by NorCalDad
Sat Dec 02, 2017 8:44 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: PSA: consider pre-paying your property taxes and January mortgage payment
Replies: 25
Views: 3599

Re: PSA: consider pre-paying your property taxes and January mortgage payment

While discussions of proposed legislation are OT, this year may be a good year to be ready to prepay on short notice. I think it's fair game now. Other references have already been shut down. I get it. While this may be a rare instance in which pending legislation is actionable only for a short win...
by NorCalDad
Fri Dec 01, 2017 9:57 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Invest or pay off mortgage?
Replies: 77
Views: 7630

Re: Invest or pay off mortgage?

My personal plan is that if the market has been doing very well (which is has), then I will put my extra money into my mortgage. If the market has been tanking, then I will put the extra into buying more stock every month. Eventually you will hit the bottom and enjoy the additional gains of the rec...
by NorCalDad
Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:17 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: failing at hobbies and leisure
Replies: 47
Views: 5422

Re: failing at hobbies and leisure

Find a new sport. In winter, this might mean some basketball or indoor soccer leagues; in spring, find a rec softball league. That's an easy way to meet people. I personally would suggest running. You can do this on your own schedule. You can also find a local running club or a training group geared...
by NorCalDad
Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Prepaying property taxes
Replies: 12
Views: 1464

Re: Prepaying property taxes

My county also sends the full bill in the fall, with the first half payment due in December, the second due in April. We have the option to pay in full for the 17-18 tax year. I did that this month for the first time, and I expect to deduct the full 17-18 plus the April half of the 16-17 payment on ...
by NorCalDad
Sat Nov 25, 2017 12:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets
Replies: 336
Views: 19897

Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

This seems very individual in nature. And I don't think it's a recent trend - this has been discussed for decades. I would offer this take, however: whether you spend on items or vacations, what matters is the joy you derive from their use. If you buy a luxury car, you may get satisfaction from driv...
by NorCalDad
Thu Nov 23, 2017 8:42 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Playing the Car Insurance Deductible Game
Replies: 20
Views: 1992

Re: Playing the Car Insurance Deductible Game

ThePlayer- if I understand your question, my policy says I have bodily injury liability of "$300,000 per person/$300,000 per occurrence" and Property Damage Liability of $100,000 per occurrence. So I interpret that to mean $300,000 in coverage. I still plan to purchase an umbrella policy so that I ...
by NorCalDad
Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Questions for Boglehead runners
Replies: 28
Views: 1750

Re: Questions for Boglehead runners

Thanks for all the replies. Cool to see those of you trying to fit the miles in with kids and work. Also cool to see the dedication of longtime runners like azurekep, bklyn96, TimeRunner and livesoft - I've been a runner for 25 years and hope my body will allow me to keep this as my main hobby once ...
by NorCalDad
Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:36 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Questions for Boglehead runners
Replies: 28
Views: 1750

Questions for Boglehead runners

After a thread about marathoner gift suggestions revealed how serious some of us are about running, I thought I'd ask: 1) How much do you spend each year on running, including gear/shoes, entry fees, PT, travel, etc.? 2) How do you fit the miles into your presumably busy life? 3) If you listen to po...
by NorCalDad
Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Iphone 4
Replies: 37
Views: 2486

Re: Iphone 4

You can get an iPhone SE for $99. I would highly recommend the upgrade. Can you tell me how to get the SE for $99? That's such a killer deal. The SE is quite capable. I'm assuming this is an unlocked phone. I just bought a brand new "unlocked" SE for my wife (her 5S was failing). It was $349 from A...
by NorCalDad
Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:28 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: $23k credit card emergency
Replies: 76
Views: 8999

Re: $23k credit card emergency

Having been in literally this exact situation, the best thing I did was work on my income. Your expenses aren't really out of line for a young professional on the West Side and for better or worse, the austerity measures proposed by helpful posters aren't easy to execute in LA (though I ate more th...
by NorCalDad
Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "Starter House" - to pay off or not?
Replies: 13
Views: 1710

Re: "Starter House" - to pay off or not?

Agree with not paying it off. We were more competitive buying our second home because we had a lot of cash on hand rather than tying it up in our home. You'd rather not be a contingency buyer. If you really only plan to be there for 1-2 years, I'd consider a no-closing-cost ARM to get your rate clos...
by NorCalDad
Fri Nov 10, 2017 8:27 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gifts for a marathoner
Replies: 25
Views: 2092

Re: Gifts for a marathoner

Agree with the Running Warehouse gift card. Can't go wrong there. Clothing and gear are very individual-specific. Some of us will never run with a belt, phone band, etc. The runner may already have a foam roller. We're all very picky about what kind of shorts we wear. I've got a couple tops sitting ...
by NorCalDad
Fri Nov 10, 2017 8:09 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers
Replies: 53
Views: 4171

Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

I just got a certified iPhone SE (32 GB) at Consumer Cellular for $110 plus tax. No contract necessary, as far as I know. And Consumer Cellular just dropped their data prices, so our bill last month for two phones and 3 GB of data was $55 including fees. We used to pay $120/month at AT&T through ab...
by NorCalDad
Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers
Replies: 53
Views: 4171

Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

I just got a certified iPhone SE (32 GB) at Consumer Cellular for $110 plus tax. No contract necessary, as far as I know. And Consumer Cellular just dropped their data prices, so our bill last month for two phones and 3 GB of data was $55 including fees. We used to pay $120/month at AT&T through abo...