Search found 660 matches

by NorCalDad
Mon Apr 24, 2017 7:31 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Options for downpayment (Good or bad?)
Replies: 13
Views: 951

Re: Options for downpayment (Good or bad?)

Congrats on your daughter! Enjoy this time; the experiences with your first kid are particularly special. We were looking to buy a bigger home in 2008 about two years before our first was born. This was when the market started melting down, and our starter home's value plunged to the point that we h...
by NorCalDad
Fri Apr 07, 2017 9:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve
Replies: 51
Views: 2996

Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Agreed. During gas quarters, such as the last one, I stocked up on gas gift cards for the 5% to use going forward. Last year when drug stores were a category, I stocked up on gas gift cards then, too. This quarter they made drug stores/grocery stores one category for the Freedom, which is less than...
by NorCalDad
Fri Apr 07, 2017 8:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve
Replies: 51
Views: 2996

Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

I think these cards serve different purposes. For earning purposes, ignoring bonuses and other perks, I like CSR for the 1.5x on the Ultimate Rewards travel portal and 3% back on travel and restaurants. To maximize this, though, we use two other no-fee Chase cards - Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom U...
by NorCalDad
Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:41 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Age 40 - Financial Analysis Wanted
Replies: 42
Views: 5077

Re: Age 40 - Financial Analysis Wanted

We're the same age. Your situation looks strong to me, but I would suggest these tweaks. 1) Agree with others that your wife should max out a Roth. 2) I would suggest going up to at least $500,000 term and more if possible. Yes, your family could draw on Social Security survivor benefits and your as...
by NorCalDad
Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:15 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Not opting for 529... anyone else?
Replies: 175
Views: 9921

Re: Not opting for 529... anyone else?

...EddyB, He had responded that it does not affect him because he maxed up all tax-advantaged accounts. So, in his case, it is between the taxable account and 529. In both cases, the effect on financial aid is about the same. His actual words: << I'm not really counting on financial aid if our inco...
by NorCalDad
Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:09 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Not opting for 529... anyone else?
Replies: 175
Views: 9921

Re: Not opting for 529... anyone else?

OP, I do not save for my children's college education. My plan was if I am fully-employed long enough, I will have my Financial Independence (FI) fully funded. Then, I can use my taxable account and annual saving to "cash flow" my children's college education. It worked out for me. I am &...
by NorCalDad
Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Not opting for 529... anyone else?
Replies: 175
Views: 9921

Re: Not opting for 529... anyone else?

OP, I do not save for my children's college education. My plan was if I am fully-employed long enough, I will have my Financial Independence (FI) fully funded. Then, I can use my taxable account and annual saving to "cash flow" my children's college education. It worked out for me. I am &...
by NorCalDad
Sat Feb 04, 2017 5:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Looking for input on my financial situation - mid 30s
Replies: 7
Views: 1273

Re: Looking for input on my financial situation - mid 30s

I would read the wikis here, BH books and any threads here that explain the BH philosophy. You're right that your plan to stay conservative for 10 years waiting for a downturn goes against the BH approach because it involves market timing. You have a lot of time left and you're a good saver. Whateve...
by NorCalDad
Sat Feb 04, 2017 4:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cord cut strategy for young family
Replies: 67
Views: 6605

Re: Cord cut strategy for young family

It sounds like you could satisfy 95% or more of your TV needs by getting a rooftop antenna and a good DVR like Tivo Roamio because almost everything you mentioned is available on broadcast channels. Here's what we do, though we have Roku boxes instead of Apple TV: Kids shows: 1) Roku with PBS Kids a...
by NorCalDad
Sat Feb 04, 2017 10:00 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What other investment options I can use to save more
Replies: 18
Views: 2103

Re: What other investment options I can use to save more

I echo the suggestion of opening up a taxable account and use index funds. They are tax efficient, and you can use tax-loss harvesting to your advantage if the situation warrants. I'm assuming there's no spousal income. But if your spouse has a side business, a solo 401k or SEP IRA could be availabl...
by NorCalDad
Tue Jan 31, 2017 8:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Strategy for Purchasing a House
Replies: 21
Views: 2510

Re: Strategy for Purchasing a House

I would go with the 30 yr mortgage since you are just about to start a family soon and your expenses will be increasing. You are also a dual income household now but how sure are you of that continuing in the future? ... Make sure you budget for childcare after you start your family. That will be a...
by NorCalDad
Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:03 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Paying off child education loan before retirement
Replies: 27
Views: 1720

Re: Paying off child education loan before retirement

Key data points missing to make a determination are: 1. His and your ages (this helps decide how many years to tolerate risk and contribution amounts you have) 2. Interest rate on the loan 3. Availability of TLH investments in the taxable vs. cap gains. Depending on these, I would vote for #3 YMMV ...
by NorCalDad
Sun Jan 22, 2017 10:32 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Trying to get on track
Replies: 35
Views: 2453

Re: Trying to get on track

Agree with others - first, get your spending in order. Forget about after-tax 401k. You and your wife have a combined $11,000 in Roth IRA room each year. And you won't have to backdoor for a long time. I said this recently in another thread, and I think many people don't realize it - you have to mak...
by NorCalDad
Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:45 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How does maxing out Roth IRA work?
Replies: 13
Views: 1429

Re: How does maxing out Roth IRA work?

I know that for 2016, our household income (thus the MAGI) was under 184k. Is "thus" actually correct? In other words, is your "household income" after you have subtracted the $36K available to you in 401k contributions, or before? I sort of took the easy way out. My total incom...
by NorCalDad
Sat Jan 14, 2017 6:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where do you buy coffee beans?
Replies: 96
Views: 5808

Re: Where do you buy coffee beans?

+1 The peets holiday blend (red carton) from Costco Peets beans from the Costco. About half the price of buying the same beans from Peets, and they work well for hot and iced coffee. FWIW, the Peet's coffee in grocery stores (including costco) is often stale. Check the roast date on the bag. Last w...
by NorCalDad
Sat Jan 14, 2017 6:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommendations for home paper shredder
Replies: 52
Views: 2529

Re: Recommendations for home paper shredder

Another idea: save stuff up in a box. Once every few months (or more) we take ours to the Center for Redcycling where we can use, for free, a heavy duty shredder. Or, our credit union, also has such a service. A[April 20th I go with a huge stack, basically year-old stuff from our "records rete...
by NorCalDad
Sat Jan 07, 2017 9:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Annual Vacation Budget
Replies: 320
Views: 24963

Re: Annual Vacation Budget

I would probably choose low-cost staycations if I had my way, but my wife loves getting away more than anything else. We spend about $9,000/year (with an additional $2,000 in points-subsidized travel). I thought that was a lot but it doesn't seem so high compared to the numbers I'm seeing here. Our ...
by NorCalDad
Tue Dec 27, 2016 12:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: I'll never save a 20% down payment. Rent for life?
Replies: 138
Views: 13343

Re: I'll never save a 20% down payment. Rent for life?

OP, I've you plan to live in that area for the next decade plus, I would buy with a FHA mortgage (5% or so down, yes you will have PMI for a while). That's what those programs are there for. It seems drastically cheaper to buy than rent in your city (seriously, if you can buy houses for 130k and re...
by NorCalDad
Tue Dec 27, 2016 9:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: I'll never save a 20% down payment. Rent for life?
Replies: 138
Views: 13343

Re: I'll never save a 20% down payment. Rent for life?

You are young. I would seriously consider looking at the possibility of getting additional training or education that would increase your income potential. You appear to be very organized and responsible. You cannot continue to drive down your standard of living as COL rises. It is not sustainable....
by NorCalDad
Sat Dec 24, 2016 9:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best candidate for a high deductible health plan?
Replies: 4
Views: 868

Best candidate for a high deductible health plan?

Every year after reading the boards about the benefits of an HDHP + HSA, I end up sticking with the Kaiser health plan that our entire family is on. I keep wanting to pull the HDHP trigger for myself through my employer (which contributes toward an HSA) and keep my wife and kids on the Kaiser plan t...
by NorCalDad
Sat Dec 24, 2016 9:09 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I Buy an IPhone 5S?
Replies: 36
Views: 3399

Re: Should I Buy an IPhone 5S?

Given how you described your iPhone use, there's no problem buying a 5S as long as you accept that it may become obsolete or break down sooner than you want. This past summer, I replaced my three-year-old 5C with an unlocked 5C, used, for $100 (an "upgrade" from 16GB to 32GB). I have the s...
by NorCalDad
Sun Nov 27, 2016 5:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wise BGHeads - time to replace Macbook Air?
Replies: 19
Views: 1225

Re: Wise BGHeads - time to replace Macbook Air?

I just replaced the battery myself on my eight-year-old MacBook Air using iFixit They will sell you the replacement battery, the tool and give you a video on how to swap the battery. I am not particularly good at those things and it took me about 10 minutes and $100. Any idea how much Apple would h...
by NorCalDad
Sat Nov 19, 2016 12:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Prepaying 2017 state/local taxes before end of 2016
Replies: 25
Views: 2342

Re: Prepaying 2017 state/local taxes before end of 2016

Note that if you do what you propose by overpaying your estimated state income taxes in 2016, the refund of your 2016 state taxes that you file for in April 2017 will generally be taxable income to you (on line 10 of your 2017 Form 1040) and this is true EVEN IF you apply the refund to your estimat...
by NorCalDad
Sat Nov 19, 2016 11:58 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Prepaying 2017 state/local taxes before end of 2016
Replies: 25
Views: 2342

Prepaying 2017 state/local taxes before end of 2016

I'd like to pay as much of my state/local 2017 taxes by the end of this year for deduction purposes. I won't say exactly why, other than I believe it to be optimal tax planning for our household. I'm already planning to pay our 2017 spring property tax installment before Dec. 31, which our county al...
by NorCalDad
Sun Oct 23, 2016 10:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How many have moved from California due to Cost of Living?
Replies: 108
Views: 12166

Re: How many have moved from California due to Cost of Living?

Not every place is Ca is high priced. Just move out to Central Valley, or further north. This. We make in the mid-$200s and live extremely well in the Sacramento area. Very short commute, great neighborhood school. Access to wonderful restaurants, farmers markets and breweries within walking distan...
by NorCalDad
Fri Oct 21, 2016 10:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 15 year mortgage or 401(k)?
Replies: 29
Views: 2534

Re: 15 year mortgage or 401(k)?

However, if you're looking for a blanket rule I will say that a 15 year mortgage should not be chosen over a 30 year at the expense of the 401K, as would be the case in the OP's scenario. I agree with this. From the bank's point of view, a 15-year mortgage and a 30-year mortgage are equally good. T...
by NorCalDad
Tue Sep 27, 2016 7:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Does it matter what type of college one goes to?
Replies: 250
Views: 17009

Re: Does it matter what type of college one goes to?

Also, applying to Ivy League/highly ranked medical schools, law schools, or graduate schools might be easier to gain admission to if one comes from a top notch undergraduate university......some argue in favor of this view; others feel that one does not have to go to Ivy League/highly ranked med sc...
by NorCalDad
Thu Sep 15, 2016 10:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Fun Vacations v. Time with Family
Replies: 38
Views: 4221

Re: Fun Vacations v. Time with Family

I thought this was going to be a question about whether you should vacation with or without your kids! I think you should feel free to travel where you please now. I don't know if you plan to settle down, but you'll wish you traveled the world more for yourself should you have kids. I agree with the...
by NorCalDad
Fri Sep 09, 2016 10:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hailing runners and tech Bogleheads re:Apple watch 2
Replies: 27
Views: 2199

Re: Hailing runners and tech Bogleheads re:Apple watch 2

I recently replaced a failing iPhone 5c with a used 5c for $115. My plan had been to have the 5c tide me over until this week's iPhone release, but my used 5c works so well I may go another year or more with it. For starters, I'd look for a used iPhone 5 for your wife. As for the watch - I'm a high-...
by NorCalDad
Fri Sep 09, 2016 7:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Who is ready for iphone 7?
Replies: 149
Views: 13280

Re: Who is ready for iphone 7?

I'm ready for it. I usually get a new iPhone every 2 years. All I do is renew my contract with Sprint and trade in my old iPhone to get the upgraded phone for less than $20. At least I hope they would still offer me that deal this year. I used to be an Android guy but the simplicity of the iPhone k...
by NorCalDad
Sat Sep 03, 2016 7:39 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Who is ready for iphone 7?
Replies: 149
Views: 13280

Re: Who is ready for iphone 7?

I had regularly upgraded every two years on AT&T until they switched their pricing/subsidy policy in the last 18 months. AT&T did me a huge favor because I discovered MVNOs and went off contract, saving a ton of money each month. And since I now have to pay full price for our phones, I am fa...
by NorCalDad
Sat Aug 27, 2016 8:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TERM Life Insurance Only On Breadwinner?
Replies: 16
Views: 1198

Re: TERM Life Insurance Only On Breadwinner?

Who will take care of your child if your wife dies? You will need to go to work. Price out day care and after care, My daughter pays $1500 a month for each child and you will pay for after school care until you get off work and can pick your child up). I'm 68 and we take care of 2 young grand kids ...
by NorCalDad
Fri Aug 26, 2016 7:28 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How do you view debt?
Replies: 108
Views: 7612

Re: How do you view debt?

I see debt as a tool. My bottom line is building long-term net worth. I believe our net worth in 30 years will be higher if we invest rather than pay down our historically low-interest, deductible mortgage interest. I'd feel differently, however, if I weren't in my prime accumulation years and my in...
by NorCalDad
Fri Aug 26, 2016 7:11 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Maxing out 401k and Traditional IRA
Replies: 2
Views: 398

Re: Maxing out 401k and Traditional IRA

I agree with Nightfall. Also, since you are newly above the Roth limit, make absolutely sure that you have maximized your relevant above-the-line deductions before ruling out your Roth eligibility. Based on gross income, we are tens of thousands above the Roth limit. But since we can reduce our modi...
by NorCalDad
Mon Aug 22, 2016 11:19 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 30 and 29 y.o. married couple portfolio and plans
Replies: 19
Views: 3259

Re: 30 and 29 y.o. married couple portfolio and plans

You guys are doing fine savings wise. Keep at it. One observation: you mention an early retirement goal, as well as having kids in the next three years, all while remaining in NYC. Kids are expensive anywhere, but particularly in New York. Assuming you both have to work (at least when you're not off...
by NorCalDad
Sat Aug 20, 2016 10:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby
Replies: 100
Views: 5238

Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

If you go through with this, I'd plan on lots of breaks and one extra night each way. And, depending on your comfort with your 3-year-old watching video, plenty of time with an iPad. If I were you, I'd fly. You and your wife can get TSA PreCheck to have a better chance at avoiding long security line...
by NorCalDad
Thu Aug 11, 2016 8:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Try to Fix Old LED TV or Buy New
Replies: 57
Views: 3587

Re: Try to Fix Old LED TV or Buy New

Looks like you already bought another TV, and I can't say I blame you given how cheap they are now. My TV cost somewhere in the range of $1,200 on sale when I bought it to watch the 2008 Olympics in HD; it's amazing how a TV with more features can now be had for under $300. If you're interested in k...
by NorCalDad
Fri Aug 05, 2016 8:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: To pay or not to pay off mortgage?
Replies: 16
Views: 1747

Re: To pay or not to pay off mortgage?

Great feedback from all. Delamer and CppCoder, we are pretty solidly in the 28%/jointly so I am not giving much consideration to tax implications. While the 10 or 15 yr notes seem reasonable, I bought the home about a year ago and am not really up to refinancing again. Agree with delamer and Coder....
by NorCalDad
Thu Aug 04, 2016 11:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Marriage, budgeting, and taxable accounts
Replies: 41
Views: 3155

Re: Marriage, budgeting, and taxable accounts

I think the OP's approach is fraught with problems. Logically, I agree with where he is coming from. But I think it's problematic because it makes his spouse feel guilty. The only way in which I think you relieve this guilt is if you say that you intend to spend this invested savings on a major purc...
by NorCalDad
Sat Jul 30, 2016 8:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should we sell our beach house?
Replies: 11
Views: 1911

Re: Should we sell our beach house?

I'd sell it. In past threads, when people have advocated for keeping or buying a vacation property, they've mentioned some intangible, emotional attachment to it. From a financial and time perspective, though, it doesn't seem worth it to me. I can have the same access to a rental property without th...
by NorCalDad
Wed Jul 27, 2016 7:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gas grill recommendations please
Replies: 52
Views: 2896

Re: Gas grill recommendations please

Our old Kenmore died after 11 years, many more years than we probably deserved for what we paid. I looked into repairing it but ran into so many roadblocks that I decided it would be worth buying a Weber for the first time. It comes with a 10-year warranty and the major components, plus I figure I'l...
by NorCalDad
Sat Jul 02, 2016 8:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Living on one income so partner can go to school
Replies: 31
Views: 2854

Re: Living on one income so partner can go to school

You've done well to save $345,000 on those incomes at your age. 1) Why would your husband want to take out a 3.5% loan with 1% origination but pay off a 2% loan? Even accounting for interest tax deduction, that doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I can understand wanting more cash, but you'd be payin...
by NorCalDad
Thu Jun 30, 2016 10:21 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pay off mortgage immediately? Or keep plugging along?
Replies: 57
Views: 4870

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

It may be helpful to know the rate and term of the loan and whether or not you are able to get a tax deduction on any of the interest. Based on how much you have saved in retirement accounts and your age, my first impression (without knowing the terms of your mortgage) would be to keep the loan and...
by NorCalDad
Fri Jun 24, 2016 8:56 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Housing/mortgages the boglehead way
Replies: 20
Views: 1981

Re: Housing/mortgages the boglehead way

Agree with Moose on babies not needing much space. Our first child spent his first 2.5 years in the small 1,000-sf starter home we bought as a young couple. As we planned for our second, we moved to a 4/2, 1,850-sf home. It is enough space for four of us, though considered small by today's standards...
by NorCalDad
Sat Jun 11, 2016 3:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: help moderate-income family get ducks in a row?
Replies: 24
Views: 2740

Re: help moderate-income family get ducks in a row?

Some thoughts: 1) Life insurance: I'd explore a term life policy outside your employer and increase your coverage significantly. I'd suggest the same for your spouse, but given the health situation, what you have may be what you can get there. 2) You mention 403b rather than 401k; does this mean tha...
by NorCalDad
Tue Jun 07, 2016 10:08 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Auto Loan Vs. Investing
Replies: 36
Views: 2807

Re: Auto Loan Vs. Investing

However, the OP mentions only a (singular) 401k, so presumably there are unused tax-sheltered investment options, such as her 401k, her spousal TIRA (if she has no employer plan), her Roth IRA, or his Roth IRA. Here, the safe investment would have to guarantee "only" 3% ... still a fail. ...
by NorCalDad
Mon Jun 06, 2016 8:54 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advice on How to Keep our Roth IRAs?
Replies: 6
Views: 1128

Re: Advice on How to Keep our Roth IRAs?

I would probably just do what you laid out: $18k traditional 401k + $18k wife's traditional 401k to reduce your AGI below $184,000. Agree with others that you should use traditional 401k rather than Roth. Unless, say, you plan to move to California in retirement, where you'd pay state income taxes (...
by NorCalDad
Fri May 27, 2016 8:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Running in new pair of shoes
Replies: 41
Views: 2886

Re: Running in new pair of shoes

To some extent cushioning on a shoe absorbs energy and slows you down but the average runner should never trade cushioning for speed. Unless you are an elite runner running a 10K in racing flats could severely strain your legs and joints. Flats have very little cushioning compared to a training sho...
by NorCalDad
Mon Apr 25, 2016 8:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Buying Advice
Replies: 31
Views: 3456

Re: Car Buying Advice

Thanks for your service. In my view, car incentives are just noise to get you in the door, kind of like how mall retailers always seem to have 50% off sales. There will always be another rebate, and if there isn't one that's advertised, they'll find a way to create one once you negotiate. I believe ...
by NorCalDad
Sat Apr 23, 2016 3:19 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Student Loans vs. Retirement
Replies: 9
Views: 1132

Re: Student Loans vs. Retirement

First off, welcome to Bogleheads! C is the worst option. As James noted, you'll pay a penalty and taxes. I would just leave the money where it is, assuming the expense ratio at Fidelity is low, which I would generally expect unless your previous employer had an unusually bad 401(k) plan. You could r...

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