Search found 717 matches

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: 5342

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: 21
Views: 2613

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: 21
Views: 2613

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: 21
Views: 2613

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: 5936

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: 5037

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: 1300

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: 17332

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: 1600

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: 1583

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: 1583

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: 2109

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: 8340

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: 1497

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: 1817

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: 3573

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: 3573

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...
by NorCalDad
Mon Oct 30, 2017 8:31 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: we bought a house - are we housepoor now?
Replies: 195
Views: 9214

Re: we bought a house - are we housepoor now?

Very few homebuyers in their 20s and 30s aren't going to be house poor. And most of them will have kids. That's just the financial risk many people have to take when they're starting out in life, especially in HCOLs. The key is making sure you're not house poor when you're 50.
by NorCalDad
Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:22 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Upgrade my Roku?
Replies: 34
Views: 3226

Re: Upgrade my Roku?

I don't understand why roku is still needed unless you have specific channels that you want other than Netflix, Amazon and Hulu as they are included in almost all newer smart tvs. Because there's nothing smart about my 2008 TV. :D Hardware can suffer over time and fall into obsolescence, including ...
by NorCalDad
Wed Oct 25, 2017 4:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Upgrade my Roku?
Replies: 34
Views: 3226

Re: Upgrade my Roku?

I have a Roku 2 and a Roku Streaming Stick. The latter far outperforms my Roku 2, which in recent months has been slow, had buffering problems and requires frequent reboots.
by NorCalDad
Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:34 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Can one have too much money in tax-deferred
Replies: 128
Views: 11545

Re: Can one have too much money in tax-deferred

I'd rather take advice from a good accountant than an FA on this. I'm guessing a good accountant could map out a strategy early on that would avoid or minimize the RMD issues that could arise at age 70. And if I have an RMD problem, at least it means I'll have a good roof over my head and food on th...
by NorCalDad
Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paternity/Maternity Leave & Its Influence on Career Trajectory
Replies: 23
Views: 1836

Re: Paternity/Maternity Leave & Its Influence on Career Trajectory

Congrats! Another vote here for staggering your time off - unless your wife really wants you to stay home. In my view, the main reason a spouse should stay home for 8-12 weeks after birth is to help your wife, who has to bear much more of the early childhood burdens. I would have a conversation with...
by NorCalDad
Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: For buying house: how do you know which schools are "good"?
Replies: 56
Views: 4113

Re: For buying house: how do you know which schools are "good"?

Agree with much of what has been said. I would start with your criteria of proximity to work. That should narrow your choices to a few districts at most. From there, you should be able to find state-level data on districts and schools. Whether high test scores equal "good" schools is up to you. Wher...
by NorCalDad
Wed Sep 27, 2017 7:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying 14 Plane Tickets - Sac to Cabo San Lucas
Replies: 14
Views: 1987

Re: Buying 14 Plane Tickets - Sac to Cabo San Lucas

Southwest is starting nonstops on that route next year. I believe Alaska already has them. Call group reservations for both airlines and see what you get.
by NorCalDad
Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Would you get flood insurance?
Replies: 25
Views: 1564

Re: Would you get flood insurance?

So I live in Houston and my house did not get flooded during Harvey. The water didn't even come up the drive-way. I'm debating on getting flood insurance. I'm not in a flood zone (apparently i'm in the 500 year flood zone according to the county). Would you get flood insurance now even though your ...
by NorCalDad
Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:45 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: To Refinance or not to Refinance
Replies: 17
Views: 1513

Re: To Refinance or not to Refinance

Anyone for option 2? Cons of option 2? Agree with much of what has been said. I would add that it seems like you should be able to beat 3.49% for a 10-year loan if you shop around; PenFed is showing a 3.125% 15-year rate, and I agree with fundseeker that a 15-year is a better approach, since the sm...
by NorCalDad
Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Potential downsides of placing a credit freeze?
Replies: 24
Views: 2165

Re: Potential downsides of placing a credit freeze?

When you thaw, do you have to thaw all 3 or 4? Or do lenders actually tell you which of the agencies they use to verify your credit?
by NorCalDad
Sun Sep 10, 2017 5:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Am I overinsured on my autos?
Replies: 20
Views: 1693

Re: Am I overinsured on my autos?

I would say you are underinsured on your limits and overinsured on the deductible. +1 Increase your deductible, increase your limits and shop around. 50/100 is low - I would have 100/300 as a bare minimum and go higher if you can. Also do a full review of your coverage. Do you need comprehensive/co...
by NorCalDad
Sat Sep 09, 2017 11:04 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone else freeze their credit score?
Replies: 126
Views: 12038

Re: Anyone else freeze their credit score?

I'd been maximizing credit card point offers for travel, so I didn't freeze our reports, but I'm doing so now. This breach seems much bigger than any of the ones before.
by NorCalDad
Thu Aug 17, 2017 8:04 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is it worth it? [demanding jobs vs time with family]
Replies: 182
Views: 13027

Re: Is it worth it?

This is a tough question, especially on Bogleheads. Most of us believe in financial security, many in retiring earlier than our peers. We want to give our kids every opportunity in life. These are prime earning years. However, there's a balance, and it sounds to me like it's swung too far toward wor...
by NorCalDad
Sun Aug 13, 2017 10:39 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cheapest way to upgrade iPhones ?
Replies: 37
Views: 4003

Re: Cheapest way to upgrade iPhones ?

Some great suggestions here. If you can hang on just a little longer, wait until the next iPhone release expected sometime this fall. A lot of people will upgrade, and there should be an even greater supply of used phones after that happens.
by NorCalDad
Fri Aug 11, 2017 9:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Struggling with Justifying an Expensive Car Purchase
Replies: 120
Views: 7050

Re: Struggling with Justifying an Expensive Car Purchase

Have you considered how you will react the first time you notice muddy footprints from your kid's soccer cleats on the nice leather of your 70k car? It won't completely wash off (ask me how I know). My kids get mud and sand on the seats, spill milk and other beverages, drop cereal and snacks, apply...
by NorCalDad
Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:19 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Will my older self thank me?
Replies: 38
Views: 3361

Re: Will my older self thank me?

Focus on saving, but also spending on experiences at your age. I think you're right not to care about clothes and other material things. At 26, you have the advantages of time and health, and you'd be wise to take advantage. For instance, if you have a desire for adventure travel, do it now. Not too...
by NorCalDad
Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit Card that lists running balance online
Replies: 17
Views: 1563

Re: Credit Card that lists running balance online

All of my Chase cards show a current balance online. It's listed in the left-hand column once you log in. What kind of Chase card do you have?
by NorCalDad
Sun Jul 30, 2017 9:43 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can I afford it ? [A new car]
Replies: 95
Views: 6930

Re: Can I afford it ? [A new car]

To respond to a lot of comments above, it's not correct to say that one can only afford a car that they can pay cash for. Plenty of people - millions and millions of Americans - purchase cars and choose to finance them, and the vast majority of these folks pay back their car loans. So, let's stop w...
by NorCalDad
Sun Jul 30, 2017 9:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: NYT: Buy more takeout and hire a maid, study suggests
Replies: 36
Views: 6184

NYT: Buy more takeout and hire a maid, study suggests

The NYT has a story on research showing that people derive more happiness when they spend money to save time than on material goods. The headline: "Want to Be Happy? Buy More Takeout and Hire a Maid, Study Suggests" ( https://nyti.ms/2tMRLzf ) I asked the community a couple years ago for time-savers...
by NorCalDad
Fri Jul 28, 2017 9:41 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Free Reading
Replies: 67
Views: 7167

Re: Free Reading

Do brick-and-mortar libraries have a useful purpose anymore? Are they worth the public funds they cost? Just asking. If you have kids, they are invaluable. Not only the programs, but the way they help motivate kids to appreciate reading. I would rather have my kids leave the library with a stack of...
by NorCalDad
Sun Jul 16, 2017 8:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: San Jose and San Francisco Trip
Replies: 24
Views: 1978

Re: San Jose and San Francisco Trip

Cal Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park and Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley are great options. Agree with the Giants game - one of the best stadiums in MLB and tickets are dirt cheap on Stubhub since the team is so awful this season. I'm a big fan of Embassy Suites with kids (you get your r...
by NorCalDad
Wed Jul 12, 2017 8:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is booking travel via Chase Travel Portal cheaper?
Replies: 15
Views: 1868

Re: Is booking travel via Chase Travel Portal cheaper?

I always comparison shop before using UR points on the Chase portal. I haven't observed a major price difference between the stated price on UR and the price on the carrier or Kayak, but I have seen instances where the inventory is smaller on UR. For instance, for a recent trip, there was only one b...
by NorCalDad
Tue Jul 11, 2017 8:16 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage contingency vs Appraisal contingency
Replies: 9
Views: 988

Re: Mortgage contingency vs Appraisal contingency

The seller might have chosen your offer because you plan to put 30% down, compared to many buyers who put 20% or less down. That was an indication that you have more cash than competing buyers to overcome a low appraisal. A lower appraisal would cause the bank to reduce the amount it is willing to l...
by NorCalDad
Tue Jul 04, 2017 2:40 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: When, if ever, does it make sense to cease contributing the 401K max?
Replies: 40
Views: 5888

Re: When, if ever, does it make sense to cease contributing the 401K max?

for instance, me being 30 years old and playing catchup in my 401K (currently have $60K between 401K and ROTH IRA) but wanting to start saving for a house downpayment. We reduced 401k contributions for 2-3 years before buying our current house with $100k down payment. No regrets. We live in a great...
by NorCalDad
Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:11 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help with cashflow
Replies: 24
Views: 3281

Re: Help with cashflow

This is a budgeting issue and a peace of mind issue, not so much cash flow. Agree that paying off 0% loans would serve no purpose. It sounds like your biggest fear may be having no cash cushion each month and possibly running in the red. Do you have a monthly budget, or do you just transfer whatever...
by NorCalDad
Fri Jun 30, 2017 9:17 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying house - Very important decision
Replies: 228
Views: 21162

Re: Buying house - Very important decision

I agree with almost everything that's been said. Additional thoughts: 1) Cleaning: Who's going to clean this 3,600 sf home? Our home is about half that size and we pay to get it cleaned every other week because we just don't have the time. With kids, it gets filthy faster than you realize. It's eith...
by NorCalDad
Wed Jun 28, 2017 10:27 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Traveling with 5 and 2 Year Old from Atlanta to Orlando - Is It Worth Flying?
Replies: 46
Views: 2121

Re: Traveling with 5 and 2 Year Old from Atlanta to Orlando - Is It Worth Flying?

We did a similar drive from Northern California to Anaheim during spring break. We thought driving was preferable, and we even broke up the trip each way with a hotel stop in between. However, we concluded after the trip that we would've flown if we had to do it over again. The main reason for us wa...
by NorCalDad
Mon Jun 19, 2017 9:21 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Auto Loan vs Mortgage
Replies: 29
Views: 2606

Re: Auto Loan vs Mortgage

I agree with refi+remove PMI. Dropping your interest rate below 4% plus eliminating PMI outweighs paying off a 0.9% auto loan. Sounds like your biggest fear is not having sufficient cash to get to 80% LTV, but you could start shopping for refis and see what the computer appraisals say before you agr...
by NorCalDad
Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:07 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Why do we need an emergency fund?
Replies: 70
Views: 5296

Re: Why do we need an emergency fund?

Not everyone "needs" an emergency fund. If you have access to sizable credit accounts and/or easily accessible taxable accounts, the need to keep a bunch of cash on hand is minimized. Like most personal finance topics, it depends on your situation, comfort level and net worth. Agreed. The ones who ...
by NorCalDad
Fri Jun 16, 2017 11:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Amazon Buys Whole Foods
Replies: 103
Views: 12756

Re: Amazon Buys Whole Foods

Major grocery retailers saw their stocks fall today on the Amazon news. I've seen stories suggesting that even Bogleheads' beloved Costco is threatened by Amazon's purchase. Investors believe Amazon could disrupt the grocery marketplace the same way it has so many other industries. Whether Amazon ca...
by NorCalDad
Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:09 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: I'm considering buying a house in the $800k range.. can I?
Replies: 67
Views: 7349

Re: I'm considering buying a house in the $800k range.. can I?

I agree more with noles. From an affordability standpoint, you're probably fine buying this house. But why buy the family home years before you have the family? If you do this, I'd view the excess home you buy as an investment, a luxury or both. Are you better off investing short-term in a larger ho...
by NorCalDad
Sun May 21, 2017 11:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sell 2015 Subaru or Keep?
Replies: 71
Views: 6724

Re: Sell 2015 Subaru or Keep?

Hard to say without knowing your full financial picture. If your retirement savings is on track and you have enough money for emergencies, then keep the car for many years. If you have very little savings, you're driving too much car for your situation.
by NorCalDad
Sat May 20, 2017 3:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Auto Insurance Question
Replies: 37
Views: 3022

Re: Auto Insurance Question

Have you played with the variables? Higher deductibles, no comprehensive/collision, no add-ons like towing, etc.? I'm guessing you will still want comprehensive/collision on a car with 15,000 miles, but maybe not. Given how little you drive, have you done the math on going without a car? Are there U...