Search found 688 matches

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: 108
Views: 3631

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: 35
Views: 2884

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: 5608

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: 3008

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: 1306

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: 6057

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: 37
Views: 5812

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 t...
by NorCalDad
Fri Jul 28, 2017 9:41 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Free Reading
Replies: 66
Views: 5854

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: 1799

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: 1635

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: 837

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: 5342

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: 2883

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: 220
Views: 17194

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: 1751

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: 2312

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: 4514

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...
by NorCalDad
Fri Jun 16, 2017 11:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Amazon Buys Whole Foods
Replies: 103
Views: 11103

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: 6596

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: 6096

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: 21
Views: 1561

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...
by NorCalDad
Tue May 16, 2017 8:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to stay on a budget?
Replies: 31
Views: 3741

Re: How to stay on a budget?

We stick to it for a week or two, then realize we have something we didn't plan for like a medical procedure, the dog looks sick and should be taken to a vet, or something similar, and we say screw it and dump the budget. We handle this with an emergency fund that we build upon each paycheck. Actua...
by NorCalDad
Wed May 10, 2017 8:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can We Afford to Move-In
Replies: 28
Views: 2817

Re: Can We Afford to Move-In

I'd like one of the resident tax experts to weigh in, but even accounting for California taxes and FICA, my back of the envelope math suggests that tax amount is high for two people at your combined income level with one maxing out 401k and two people presumably getting pre-tax health insurance. Do ...
by NorCalDad
Sat May 06, 2017 2:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Stay home with kids?
Replies: 103
Views: 8207

Re: Stay home with kids?

Outsource as much as you can in your current schedule and spend quality time with your kids. See if that satisfies you before quitting work. Given that OP spends $250,000 a year now, I'm guessing that their family already outsources a fair amount. But I agree; if there's any time to pay for service...
by NorCalDad
Sat May 06, 2017 8:35 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Stay home with kids?
Replies: 103
Views: 8207

Re: Stay home with kids?

I'm glad to see this question, and I agree with carolinaman that it speaks well of you that you'd even consider it. Does it have to be all or nothing in terms of your work? Can you find flexibility in your current job or find another position where you can get more flexibility? We have a similar fam...
by NorCalDad
Fri May 05, 2017 9:17 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Roth for Home Purchase Advice
Replies: 6
Views: 534

Re: Roth for Home Purchase Advice

I'd check the rules. You can always withdraw your contributions regardless of what you plan to spend on. But if you want to withdraw earnings for a first home, I think you're limited to $10,000 and only after you've had your Roth account for five years. What's your purpose in doing this? Tax-free ga...
by NorCalDad
Wed May 03, 2017 8:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New(er) car Financing Options
Replies: 4
Views: 308

Re: New(er) car Financing Options

I'd say cash is the best option, but presumes you have enough to cover the purchase. Absent that, I would consider credit union rates - PenFed is at 0.99 percent right now - and get preapproved. Use their car-buying service to get a comparison basis. Look at Costco. Then go to dealerships and negoti...
by NorCalDad
Mon May 01, 2017 7:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Dealing with regret
Replies: 102
Views: 9595

Re: Dealing with regret

Keep a gratitude journal. Jot down what you’re thankful for every day instead of worrying what you don’t have. Gratitude will make you happier, increase your productivity and help you sleep better at night. This. If you're not convinced, check out this Freakonomics podcast that explains why many of...
by NorCalDad
Mon Apr 24, 2017 7:31 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Options for downpayment (Good or bad?)
Replies: 13
Views: 1132

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: 4548

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: 4548

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: 5543

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: 11377

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: 11377

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: 11377

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: 1390

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: 7226

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: 2290

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: 2704

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: 1786

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: 2635

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: 1526

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: 6447

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: 2953

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: 27122

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: 14374

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: 14374

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: 1003

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: 3699

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: 1364

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...