Search found 710 matches

by Ron Ronnerson
Tue Aug 15, 2017 8:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is $9000 too much for a sectional sofa ?
Replies: 97
Views: 3952

Re: Is $9000 too much for a sectional sofa ?

You said you can afford it and that's a good place to start. The question I would ask in a situation like this to myself is: Does this purchase bring me and my wife enough joy above and beyond other less expensive alternatives that I'm willing to pay the difference in price? How much time will this ...
by Ron Ronnerson
Sat Aug 12, 2017 5:01 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Pay down home or increase Retirement Contributions
Replies: 21
Views: 1311

Re: Pay down home or increase Retirement Contributions

I suggest you calculate your effective rate to make an informed decision. Subtract any mortgage interest deduction benefit that you're getting that exceeds the standard deduction and also subtract your local/regional rate of inflation. Your actual rate seems to be great and you may even possibly be ...
by Ron Ronnerson
Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:54 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: First Portfolio Review! 31 and 30 y.o. NYC married couple
Replies: 29
Views: 2253

Re: First Portfolio Review! 31 and 30 y.o. NYC married couple

Do you have a similar portfolio to mine in terms of where you are investing and the things you are investing in? The underlying investments are essentially the same, though we don’t do target date funds. Our overall portfolio is roughly 50/30/20 (Total US Stock Market/Total International Stock Mark...
by Ron Ronnerson
Tue Aug 08, 2017 5:01 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: First Portfolio Review! 31 and 30 y.o. NYC married couple
Replies: 29
Views: 2253

Re: First Portfolio Review! 31 and 30 y.o. NYC married couple

You remind me a bit of my younger self. I’m also a business major who worked for a financial company and then became a teacher (about to start my 15th year). I’m a decade older and on the other coast but my salary and expected pension mirror yours closely (currently salary is about $105k, expecting ...
by Ron Ronnerson
Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:43 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Need help progressing in life after a massive setback
Replies: 35
Views: 6322

Re: Need help progressing in life after a massive setback

Appreciate all of the comments everyone. Something I was hoping to get a little more directive on is - still in my 20s and with a Bachelor of Business Administration and a 3.8, 4+ of years of management and sales experience, what would I be eligible/able to go back to get an advanced degree in? And...
by Ron Ronnerson
Sun Aug 06, 2017 10:04 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Townhome or condo?
Replies: 29
Views: 2199

Re: Townhome or condo?

I own a townhouse in the Bay Area and based on the two options you provided, I think it would be better to go for the townhouse because you get a lot more space for a little more money (in terms of percentage difference in square feet and price between the two choices). An extra room, an attached ga...
by Ron Ronnerson
Fri Aug 04, 2017 11:44 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much do kids cost in a high COLA?
Replies: 57
Views: 3684

Re: How much do kids cost in a high COLA?

Ours is maybe not the most conventional set-up but I thought I’d share it since there can be a wide range of experiences in this area. Basically, we’ve managed to spend very little on our kid in a VHCOL area (Bay Area). She is three years old. Our work schedule has stayed the same so there has been ...
by Ron Ronnerson
Thu Aug 03, 2017 1:56 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Burned out at 28. Do I have enough?
Replies: 62
Views: 9516

Re: Burned out at 28. Do I have enough?

Take a 6 month long vacation in another country with a lower cost of living. Try Costa Rica, or Thailand or for a more intense experience go to India. You will meet lots of interesting people who will give you a new perspective on life. You will meet lots of people like yourself who worked hard, sa...
by Ron Ronnerson
Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:21 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: A poll: How much money do you want to retire?
Replies: 270
Views: 20970

Re: A poll: How much money do you need to retire?

Sorry, I posted a few minutes ago without seeing that you had recently updated your original post. I'm expecting a pension that should be close to six figures in 2017 dollars. If I were to assume I'd get $0 from that instead, I'd probably want around $2.5M in my accounts. However, while pensions cou...
by Ron Ronnerson
Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:08 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: A poll: How much money do you want to retire?
Replies: 270
Views: 20970

Re: A poll: How much money do you need to retire?

I'm 42 with plans to retire around 60. Need $0. Want $1.5 M. Pension and social security should cover our necessary expenses.
by Ron Ronnerson
Mon Jul 31, 2017 8:22 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Do I Have Enough In My Emergency Fund?
Replies: 22
Views: 2770

Re: Do I Have Enough In My Emergency Fund?

I think you're likely fine with a six-month emergency fund.
by Ron Ronnerson
Mon Jul 31, 2017 4:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 2016
Views: 348777

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

If you fly to Hawaii from the west coast, you should consider getting the British Airways card. It's a chase card but isn't under 5/24. British Airways bases the required number of miles on distance. You can travel one way to HI from the west coast for 12.5k miles (25k round trip), on either Alaska...
by Ron Ronnerson
Mon Jul 31, 2017 3:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 2016
Views: 348777

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

For my Hawaiian vacation, I was flexible with my travel dates and found an itinerary that only cost 45k United miles round-trip. That would have been $875 if booked as cash, but I got it for 45k points/miles, which was about 1.9 cents per point. I've got another data point for a similar itinerary. ...
by Ron Ronnerson
Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Savings Rate Formula - Explicitly Spelled Out
Replies: 50
Views: 3915

Re: Savings Rate Formula - Explicitly Spelled Out

Just curious but how are you categorizing the principal portion of mortgage payments and any extra payments toward a mortgage? Any difference in treatment if it is not for a primary residence? The principal portion and extra payments are lumped into expenses. For a primary residence, I need a place...
by Ron Ronnerson
Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 2016
Views: 348777

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

I value Chase points around 1.6. When I book hotels though Chase Sapphire Reserve, the rate is 1.5. I've gotten around 1.7 when booking flights by transferring the points to Southwest or United.
by Ron Ronnerson
Sun Jul 30, 2017 9:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Savings Rate Formula - Explicitly Spelled Out
Replies: 50
Views: 3915

Re: Savings Rate Formula - Explicitly Spelled Out

Looking for savings rate formula around here, I seem to find too many textual descriptions of the savings rate and found it hard to decipher. I have a mathematical training as do most of us here, so here is my attempt to explicitly show the savings rate formula: Gross Income = Taxes + Spending + Sa...
by Ron Ronnerson
Sun Jul 30, 2017 8:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What are your monthly expenses?
Replies: 59
Views: 5882

Re: What are your monthly expenses?

Married with one kid (three year old) in the SF Bay Area: Mortgage: $1810 Property Taxes: $800 HOA: $290 House Cleaning: $270 Home Improvements/Repairs: $50 TV/Internet/Phone: $200 Electricity: $140 Cell Phones: $70 Water: $30 Garbage: $20 Health Insurance: $200 Auto/Home/Umbrella Insurance: $200 Li...
by Ron Ronnerson
Sun Jul 30, 2017 3:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Those Of You In a HCOLA - What's Your Financial Plan
Replies: 68
Views: 6975

Re: Those Of You In a HCOLA - What's Your Financial Plan

For those in HCOLA areas that own homes, how did you afford the down payment? Rent eats up everything and doesn't allow us to save toward a down payment, and the homes are so expensive that a 20% or even 15% down payment is prohibtive. We’re in the Bay Area and were making a combined income of a li...
by Ron Ronnerson
Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Another bay area housing thread..
Replies: 124
Views: 9643

Re: Another bay area housing thread..

Something I have not seen mentioned is that you can RENT out of the area,commute and live in a much nicer rental in a nicer area for less money. You really do not sound ready to buy a house for 1.7 M and why put so much at risk and it will still be a mediocre house unless you commute. Any examples ...
by Ron Ronnerson
Mon Jul 24, 2017 7:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Another bay area housing thread..
Replies: 124
Views: 9643

Re: Another bay area housing thread..

Do not move out of the Bay Area. You said you're in your early 30s and work for tech companies as software engineers making $550k/year if you include your pay, bonuses, and RSUs. You have saved $600k in your 401k and cash in a short amount of time since you were in school through much of your 20s. A...
by Ron Ronnerson
Mon Jul 24, 2017 5:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's your personal savings rate?
Replies: 135
Views: 11279

Re: What's your personal savings rate?

The more I read this, the more I think that the savings rate used in this thread could be improved. I use the one the Fed government uses, specifically the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA): m m Easier read: m I posted previously with a savings rate of 22.6% when I included what I contribute toward...
by Ron Ronnerson
Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Another bay area housing thread..
Replies: 124
Views: 9643

Re: Another bay area housing thread..

Looks like this will be a stretch for you based on your last post. Consider: Increasing commuting time (within reason, of course) and buying a home like the one you want Waiting to buy for another 2-3 years until you have more saved Buying a townhouse or condo Buying a less expensive single family h...
by Ron Ronnerson
Sun Jul 23, 2017 3:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 0 Percent CC - how to take advantage
Replies: 24
Views: 1798

Re: 0 Percent CC - how to take advantage

Palatineman, Perhaps I misunderstood. I thought you wanted to try to take advantage of the $62k of new credit line that's available at 0% for 12-15 months. In your response, you mention $4k. That's a big difference and I'm not sure how much you're looking to charge. In any case, if you'd like to spe...
by Ron Ronnerson
Sun Jul 23, 2017 11:58 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 0 Percent CC - how to take advantage
Replies: 24
Views: 1798

Re: 0 Percent CC - how to take advantage

Prepaying a big amount on your utility bills may not be great either. Factor in inflation. I've prepared a few months of my electric bill to meet minimum spending requirements for a bonus but wouldn't do $4k. Just because a credit line exists doesn't mean you have to use it. You could just do your n...
by Ron Ronnerson
Sat Jul 22, 2017 6:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's your personal savings rate?
Replies: 135
Views: 11279

Re: What's your personal savings rate?

Our gross income is about 155k and we contribute 35k into retirement accounts ourselves. This includes two Roth IRAs ($11k), a 457b ($18k), and a 403b ($6k). I did not include any of the following (but maybe should?): -My wife’s employer’s contributions into a SEP-IRA for her (they put in 15% of her...
by Ron Ronnerson
Fri Jul 21, 2017 5:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: simplicity vs chasing bonuses
Replies: 29
Views: 2407

Re: simplicity vs chasing bonuses

I've found that in this area, complexity pays. Life is about balance, though, and it sounds like you're overdoing it. I look for bonus offers too but only from time to time. I'm willing to accept that I won't be able to take advantage of every bonus offer out there and can live with that. To hunt t...
by Ron Ronnerson
Fri Jul 21, 2017 4:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: simplicity vs chasing bonuses
Replies: 29
Views: 2407

Re: simplicity vs chasing bonuses

I've found that in this area, complexity pays. Life is about balance, though, and it sounds like you're overdoing it. I look for bonus offers too but only from time to time. I'm willing to accept that I won't be able to take advantage of every bonus offer out there and can live with that. To hunt th...
by Ron Ronnerson
Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:17 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: State Farm vs Penn National- auto, renters, umbrella?
Replies: 58
Views: 5523

Re: Why does State Farm have poor reviews?

I've been with them for 20 years and been satisfied. I look around every couple of years and no one has been able to beat their price.
by Ron Ronnerson
Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:40 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard 403b Changes
Replies: 109
Views: 8098

Re: Vanguard 403b Changes

I've been putting money into an IRA and 457b for a while but only started a 403b a few months ago. I have several good options available and the primary reason I chose not to set up my 403b with Vanguard was because I couldn't buy their admiral shares. I wish they'd changed to this new structure jus...
by Ron Ronnerson
Thu Jul 20, 2017 2:23 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 403(b) Advice
Replies: 6
Views: 504

Re: 403(b) Advice

If you're going to go with a 403b, Vanguard makes sense since the funds you want have slightly lower fees. I had slightly lower fees available in a 403b too but was willing to pay a tad more for a 457b due to the provision that you can access the funds at any age if you separate from your employer. ...
by Ron Ronnerson
Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:23 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 403(b) Advice
Replies: 6
Views: 504

Re: 403(b) Advice

I'm a California teacher and have both a 403b and 457b with CalSTRS Pension 2. I have it set up so that I put in $18k/year into Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund in the 457b and put $6k/year into the Vanguard Total Bond Fund in the 403b. These are the same funds Cycling Duo mentioned. I hold in...
by Ron Ronnerson
Thu Jul 20, 2017 1:20 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Those Of You In a HCOLA - What's Your Financial Plan
Replies: 68
Views: 6975

Re: Those Of You In a HCOLA - What's Your Financial Plan

You’re doing great if you’re saving $4k out of $9k per month and are only in your mid-20s. The thing to watch for is not adjusting your lifestyle up too much as you get pay raises in the years ahead. That can occur easily if you don't watch it. We live in the Bay Area and are in our early 40s with ...
by Ron Ronnerson
Wed Jul 19, 2017 8:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Those Of You In a HCOLA - What's Your Financial Plan
Replies: 68
Views: 6975

Re: Those Of You In a HCOLA - What's Your Financial Plan

You’re doing great if you’re saving $4k out of $9k per month and are only in your mid-20s. The thing to watch for is not adjusting your lifestyle up too much as you get pay raises in the years ahead. That can occur easily if you don't watch it. We live in the Bay Area and are in our early 40s with a...
by Ron Ronnerson
Wed Jul 19, 2017 4:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Eliminate 0% CC balance?
Replies: 30
Views: 2299

Re: Eliminate 0% CC balance?

This is an interesting thread. It seems there are two camps: those who feel pressure when they have any outstanding debt and those who dislike the idea of leaving free money on the table. While I'm generally with Earl Lemongrab on this in that I think of debt as a tool and not something inherently b...
by Ron Ronnerson
Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:44 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How much to put in a 457?
Replies: 7
Views: 588

Re: How much to put in a 457?

The advice above is excellent. I'm a public school teacher and, after pension contributions, prioritize in this order: Max our Roth IRAs Max my 457b Put $6k/year into my 403b Doing this allows us to stay in the 15% tax bracket and qualify for almost all of the child tax credit. Save what you can in ...
by Ron Ronnerson
Tue Jul 18, 2017 8:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Eliminate 0% CC balance?
Replies: 30
Views: 2299

Re: Eliminate 0% CC balance?

Mentally, it's bothering me to have the debt. However I do understand it's for lack of better terms free money. Would it be considered rational to just pay it off? It is 6,000. Or should I just continue my 12 month schedule to pay it down and invest/save the money instead? The best thing to do in t...
by Ron Ronnerson
Tue Jul 18, 2017 4:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Term Life Insurance Questions before I buy
Replies: 8
Views: 630

Re: Term Life Insurance Questions before I buy

I would agree with the points Rupert outlined re amount of coverage. Buy coverage for both of you. You'll appreciate that you bought a 30 year plan, and as noted, you can always drop if you really don't need. The employer offered life is probably age banded, and rates likely will go up every five y...
by Ron Ronnerson
Tue Jul 18, 2017 12:15 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses
Replies: 512
Views: 73937

Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Earl I think you mentioned earlier that you were going to try and get a Scottrade bonus (might be the last opportunity before they merge with Etrade). Did you go ahead with that ? It seems like Scottrade's best bonus right now is around $300 for 100K, $600 for 250 K and so on. No competing bonus fo...
by Ron Ronnerson
Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses
Replies: 512
Views: 73937

Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Earl I think you mentioned earlier that you were going to try and get a Scottrade bonus (might be the last opportunity before they merge with Etrade). Did you go ahead with that ? It seems like Scottrade's best bonus right now is around $300 for 100K, $600 for 250 K and so on. No competing bonus fo...
by Ron Ronnerson
Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Looking for a house around San Jose, CA
Replies: 18
Views: 1804

Re: Looking for a house around San Jose, CA

Anyways, we have substantial money saved for a down payment, with some flexibility, around $120K to $160k. That means with 20% down payment, our budget is limited to $600k to $800k which is pretty laughable for bay area ...The only houses within our budget are south and east San Jose, which are con...
by Ron Ronnerson
Mon Jul 17, 2017 4:01 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Are stock market returns doomed by the Baby Boomers?
Replies: 27
Views: 3015

Re: Are stock market returns doomed by the Baby Boomers?

Not so much. Millenials/echo boomers are a larger demographic than the BBers and they have LOTS of earning years in front of them. Agreed. https://knoema.com/infographics/egyydzc/us-population-by-age-and-generation Yes, and the generation after the Millennials is just as large, or according to some...
by Ron Ronnerson
Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is it still worth buying a house in a state with insane property taxes
Replies: 96
Views: 9209

Re: Is it still worth buying a house in a state with insane property taxes

There isn't enough information to properly answer your question. Do you have enough saved for a down payment? Are you interested in being a home owner? Do you plan to stay in the area for the long term? How much is rent for a home similar to the one you might buy? Can you afford to buy and still mee...
by Ron Ronnerson
Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to use retirement funds for college without penalities or taxes?
Replies: 31
Views: 2055

Re: How to use retirement funds for college without penalities or taxes?

I get what you're saying as well. The funds in retirement accounts can't be used until later without penalty. However, money being saved in a 529 for college expenses while kids are young is sort of in the same situation. Now let's say that later day finally arrives. If someone's kid does go to col...
by Ron Ronnerson
Sun Jul 16, 2017 2:12 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to use retirement funds for college without penalities or taxes?
Replies: 31
Views: 2055

Re: How to use retirement funds for college without penalities or taxes?

Retirement accounts offer flexibility since 529s have to be used for education to avoid taxes and penalty. It is possible to over-contribute to a 529 and have extra money left over. For example, a child may not go to college or college costs could go down in the future. I disagree that retirement a...
by Ron Ronnerson
Sun Jul 16, 2017 1:15 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to use retirement funds for college without penalities or taxes?
Replies: 31
Views: 2055

Re: How to use retirement funds for college without penalities or taxes?

Retirement accounts offer flexibility since 529s have to be used for education to avoid taxes and penalty. It is possible to over-contribute to a 529 and have extra money left over. For example, a child may not go to college or college costs could go down in the future. I disagree that retirement a...
by Ron Ronnerson
Sat Jul 15, 2017 9:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to use retirement funds for college without penalities or taxes?
Replies: 31
Views: 2055

Re: How to use retirement funds for college without penalities or taxes?

My question is simple. How do you withdraw money from retirement accounts when your children are college age that you don't end up having to pay penalties and/or taxes? The penalties can be avoided if you're old enough. In a 457b, you just have to separate from your employer and can be any age. For...
by Ron Ronnerson
Fri Jul 14, 2017 1:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to use Retirement Funds for College Savings
Replies: 53
Views: 2648

Re: How to use Retirement Funds for College Savings

I never said I wish/need to max out my retirement accounts, either. What I said was that while I can still contribute to retirment accounts, I see no reason to contribute anywhere else. I can use retirement money to pay for college expenses, or whatever else I want, while also getting tax advantage...
by Ron Ronnerson
Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to use Retirement Funds for College Savings
Replies: 53
Views: 2648

Re: How to use Retirement Funds for College Savings

529s are great in some situations whereas retirement accounts used for college may make sense in others. But's let's clarify. The only account that you can use for college, prior to retirement, is contributions to a Roth IRA, correct? I don't believe you can use 401k / 403b money for college withou...
by Ron Ronnerson
Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to use Retirement Funds for College Savings
Replies: 53
Views: 2648

Re: How to use Retirement Funds for College Savings

Everyone’s situation will be different but we’re saving for college only in retirement accounts. The main reason is flexibility since the funds don’t have to be used only for education. We’re unable to max out the space in our retirement accounts but we’re contributing what we can to them. We’ve be...