Search found 452 matches

by countofmc
Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best way to help sister?
Replies: 71
Views: 5822

Re: Best way to help sister?

My own opinion and experience is that once people hit that age (heck even people 10-15 years younger), they usually don't change. Your desire to teach her to fish rather than giving her fish is admirable, but I've found that people kind of need to figure it out on their own. And that usually takes h...
by countofmc
Sat Nov 26, 2016 3:01 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Investing in the 80's when CD rates were 17%?
Replies: 74
Views: 6567

Re: Investing in the 80's when CD rates were 17%?

I have a relative who started working in the 80s and saved all his money in CDs, savings accounts, and real estate only. To this day he says the only money he puts in stocks is the "match" portion of his 401k, which he feels is "free money" and just can let that ride. He actually...
by countofmc
Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:29 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Bonds And The Good News About Rising Rates"
Replies: 15
Views: 2051

Re: "Bonds And The Good News About Rising Rates"

Curious, so when and will these rising rates eventually lead to jumps in interest rates for savings accounts/ CDs?
by countofmc
Fri Nov 25, 2016 2:10 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Unpredictable income in 2017: IRA timing?
Replies: 4
Views: 456

Unpredictable income in 2017: IRA timing?

We usually have a very good sense of our income for the coming year, and thus like to make that year's IRA contributions in January. 2017 will be the first year where due to various job/career circumstances, our income is looking quite unpredictable. I wouldn't be surprised if we make little enough ...
by countofmc
Wed Nov 23, 2016 2:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Double Check Figures: Affording $1M Home
Replies: 81
Views: 6497

Re: Double Check Figures: Affording $1M Home

We are renters in the Bay Area. Income slightly less than yours. If I were in your shoes, I'd actually go the entire opposite direction. I would SELL your current place, bank the equity, maybe kick in another 50-100k cash if necessary, and downsize to a condo or something in the East Bay and complet...
by countofmc
Sat Nov 12, 2016 8:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Experience selling car to Carmax?
Replies: 32
Views: 2626

Re: Experience selling car to Carmax?

I sold two cars to them about 10 years or so ago. Really enjoyed the experience. The first one I sold was too old dealers were not even willing to take it as a trade-in, and Carmax actually gave me slightly more than any offer I was getting on Craigslist, so that was a pleasant surprise. Very easy p...
by countofmc
Mon Oct 31, 2016 11:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do I need to get a CPO car independently checked?
Replies: 27
Views: 1945

Do I need to get a CPO car independently checked?

So general rule of thumb in buying a used car is get it checked out by a mechanic before purchase. Do I need to do this for a CPO directly from a dealer (considering Acura or Lexus), or can I just rely on the CPO warranty for any issues? I guess I'm more concerned about unreported accident damage th...
by countofmc
Sat Oct 22, 2016 5:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How many have moved from California due to Cost of Living?
Replies: 108
Views: 10910

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

Back when I was working in the Bay Area, by boss and I talked over lunch about the crazy cost of living. He joked that if you really like the Bay Area but hate the cost (housing, taxes, etc), it might actually be cheaper to live in Texas and fly to the Bay Area every weekend than it would be to buy...
by countofmc
Sat Oct 22, 2016 4:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How many have moved from California due to Cost of Living?
Replies: 108
Views: 10910

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

If you weren't in the Bay Area, you could use that extra time and money to drive or fly back to visit family. This is a very good point too, imo. People's situations differ, but when I really think about how often I see family, it's usually only about once a month on average. Basically anywhere in ...
by countofmc
Sat Oct 22, 2016 4:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How many have moved from California due to Cost of Living?
Replies: 108
Views: 10910

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

We live in SV as well, and struggle with a lot of the same issues you bring up, though we don't own here so makes it even tougher to justify staying long-term. FWIW, I know a number of family members, friends, and co-workers that have left for financial reasons in recent years. I am sure you do too....
by countofmc
Tue Oct 18, 2016 4:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Non-reciprocated Gift Giving?
Replies: 21
Views: 1592

Re: Non-reciprocated Gift Giving?

To a lot of families, the gift-giving isn't an important part of holidays and birthdays. If Uncle Countofmc randomly came to Thanksgiving with Christmas presents, I'd be a little weirded out, honestly. You might not see it this way, but just respect your wife's family tradition of not making a big ...
by countofmc
Tue Oct 18, 2016 4:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Non-reciprocated Gift Giving?
Replies: 21
Views: 1592

Non-reciprocated Gift Giving?

Short background. My wife grew up in a family where gift giving wasn't a huge thing. Christmas/Birthdays were a bit muted, and while her parents would get her and siblings presents, the siblings themselves wouldn't exchange gifts. My family otoh were pretty big with gift giving. I had younger siblin...
by countofmc
Wed Oct 12, 2016 7:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Leasing a Car with Intention to Buy at End
Replies: 40
Views: 3523

Re: Leasing a Car with Intention to Buy at End

Recently bought out a leased car for family. With the fees, I calculated we paid an extra $1k rather that buying/financing to begin with. Plus two extra trips to a dealer to buy. Mind sharing what roughly the MSRP of the vehicle was? Honestly paying $1k for the "option" to keep a car long...
by countofmc
Mon Oct 03, 2016 1:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Credit Card Airline Miles for infrequent traveler
Replies: 11
Views: 1218

Re: Credit Card Airline Miles for infrequent traveler

TravelGeek wrote:Southwest Companion Pass is great if you like to travel a lot because you essentially get unlimited free travel for your companion. Doesn't sound like the OP wants to travel a lot in a given year, though.


Yep, just planning 1-2 trips (if even that)
by countofmc
Sun Oct 02, 2016 8:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Credit Card Airline Miles for infrequent traveler
Replies: 11
Views: 1218

Re: Credit Card Airline Miles for infrequent traveler

I think your strategy sounds pretty solid. You should try to monitor the market for the extra-special promotions (i.e. Delta typically offers a 30k sign up bonus but sometimes they do a special 50k promo). Also, if you can get a friend to refer you typically they will give you both an extra bonus. ...
by countofmc
Sun Oct 02, 2016 7:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Credit Card Airline Miles for infrequent traveler
Replies: 11
Views: 1218

Credit Card Airline Miles for infrequent traveler

I've have not been on a plane in years and that was for work. For personal travel, haven't flown in much longer. This is because I just really dislike flying, not that big on travel, and if I do travel I kind of like to pick a destination last minute and just go there (not conducive to flying due to...
by countofmc
Fri Sep 23, 2016 3:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?
Replies: 91
Views: 7957

Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

I like shopping there due to their excellent customer service (at least so far) and rather eclectic selection. There aren't a lot of grocery stores in my area that sell both some rather exotic Asian food selections and also generic cheap deli meat. I do not think they are that great of a value $ wise.
by countofmc
Fri Sep 23, 2016 2:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Question about using spouse's HSA
Replies: 9
Views: 665

Question about using spouse's HSA

My wife and I work for the same employer, and each have identical Individual HDHPs through the company. We each have separate HSAs we contribute the annual max to. My question is: Under these circumstances, am I allowed to use HER HSA to reimburse MY qualified medical expenses? My reason for wanting...
by countofmc
Sat Sep 10, 2016 9:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 898
Views: 102099

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

My wife was just approved for CSR. She already has CSP, I have Freedom. She's thinking of downgrading the CSP to a Freedom, instead of just outright cancelling. Essentially we'd both have separate Freedom cards, and would be authorized users on each. Would we be able to "double up" on the ...
by countofmc
Wed Jul 27, 2016 4:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any retirees here who have been life-long renters?
Replies: 140
Views: 10719

Re: Any retirees here who have been life-long renters?

Barefootgirl (and others) have cautioned ... there are too many location and lifestyle specific variables to make sweeping generalizations. Moderator, perhaps the time has come to lock this thread as it has become more & more argumentative perhaps endlessly and less & less answering the OP'...
by countofmc
Wed Jul 27, 2016 1:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any retirees here who have been life-long renters?
Replies: 140
Views: 10719

Re: Any retirees here who have been life-long renters?

Barefootgirl (and others) have cautioned ... there are too many location and lifestyle specific variables to make sweeping generalizations. Moderator, perhaps the time has come to lock this thread as it has become more & more argumentative perhaps endlessly and less & less answering the OP'...
by countofmc
Mon Jul 25, 2016 5:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any retirees here who have been life-long renters?
Replies: 140
Views: 10719

Re: Any retirees here who have been life-long renters?

Could be a very small or non-existent group here. But I keep hearing the siren song of home ownership, but I am not sure if this is ever going to happen for me. I guess I need to hear from some folks that may have been able to retire and "win the game" without having been home owners. Not...
by countofmc
Mon Jul 25, 2016 5:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any retirees here who have been life-long renters?
Replies: 140
Views: 10719

Re: Any retirees here who have been life-long renters?

Life-long renters here and no desire to own. No kids. Won the game unless inflation hits very hard. We live frugally. I believe it is easier to FIRE (Financially Independent Retired Early) as renters if you have the discipline to save. You can move easily to better opportunities, higher paying jobs...
by countofmc
Mon Jul 25, 2016 3:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any retirees here who have been life-long renters?
Replies: 140
Views: 10719

Any retirees here who have been life-long renters?

Could be a very small or non-existent group here. But I keep hearing the siren song of home ownership, but I am not sure if this is ever going to happen for me.

I guess I need to hear from some folks that may have been able to retire and "win the game" without having been home owners.
by countofmc
Thu Jul 21, 2016 1:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What really happens to people who run out of their money in retirement
Replies: 61
Views: 9213

Re: What really happens to people who run out of their money in retirement

Not being flippant, but they are probably dead. Average life expectancy is still a tad under 80, so you might not see a lot of homeless people in their 80s since there aren't THAT many people in their 80s to begin with. I would imagine folks of limited means that may be in a situation to run out of ...
by countofmc
Tue Jul 19, 2016 5:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bay Area Salary Thread
Replies: 22
Views: 2571

Re: Bay Area Salary Thread

Why not use your W2 as a stick in the ground for a year's worth of compensation? I'm pretty surprised. I'm on the high end of the previous posts, on the east coast with much lower cost of living with one year well above all previous posts. In a tech position? My impression FWIW is that the Bay Area...
by countofmc
Thu Jul 07, 2016 11:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Thinking of purchasing a home, talk me out of it. can my plan work?
Replies: 47
Views: 3873

Re: thinking of purchasing a home, talk me out of it. can my plan work?

I'm not against taking risks, but you are taking too many at once. A 401k loan that would be repayable immediately if you quit or were laid off/fired. Monthly mortgage payments that could eat up all of your disposable income if you can't find renters. Maybe I missed it or you just forgot to include ...
by countofmc
Mon Jul 04, 2016 9:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Need to get over irrational fear regarding investing instilled by parents
Replies: 10
Views: 1344

Need to get over irrational fear regarding investing instilled by parents

Hope everyone is having a wonderful extended weekend. My parents are immigrants from a country that was quite poor and unstable. Average people did not invest in the stock market, and even the banking system was somewhat unreliable due to periods of inflation and government instability. The common t...
by countofmc
Fri Jul 01, 2016 3:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Most frustrating company with worst customer service
Replies: 21
Views: 1334

Re: Most frustrating company with worst customer service

Haha, I thought this was going to be an open thread without your personal experience, and I was going to say AT&T.
by countofmc
Fri Jul 01, 2016 1:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Condo vs Townhouse Living
Replies: 35
Views: 4632

Condo vs Townhouse Living

So one thing for those that may not be familiar with this. In California (where we are looking) usually there is no legal difference in the ownership structure of a condo or townhouse. In California a "townhouse" is usually a condo in terms of legal ownership, and refers more to the struct...
by countofmc
Thu Jun 30, 2016 8:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Where were you financially when you were at 30?
Replies: 226
Views: 25505

Re: Where were you financially when you were at 30?

I really have to give kudos to the folks here who have just turned 30. You guys probably graduated around 08, 09, and we know what that was like. A lot of the people I know around that age seem just now to have really gotten their footing underneath them and making inroads into a career and saving m...
by countofmc
Sun Jun 26, 2016 4:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon - customer service issues
Replies: 31
Views: 2498

Re: Amazon - customer service issues

Depends on who you get and what they can do for you. I contacted Amazon because a blu-ray I ordered didn't arrive. The customer service agent kept telling me they'd have to locate what happened to the item before they could do anything. I asked why they can't just cancel that order and send me a new...
by countofmc
Sat Jun 25, 2016 2:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is there an "advantage" to being paid and saving in USD?
Replies: 11
Views: 895

Is there an "advantage" to being paid and saving in USD?

This is just a matter of pure curiosity. I'd say the majority of folks here are working and living in the United States. We get paid in USD, save in USD in US institutions. The USD has de-facto reserve currency status and the US is often seen as a safe haven when things like Brexit happen. As such, ...
by countofmc
Sat Jun 25, 2016 1:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: house affordability question
Replies: 39
Views: 2179

Re: house affordability question

so, i have a new question, and thank you so far to everyone who has replied. you've been a huge help and i appreciate all the feedback... in the very short term, i've decided that home ownership isn't as important to me as physically being in a home. i know that probably sounds weird, but i'm sick ...
by countofmc
Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: house affordability question
Replies: 39
Views: 2179

Re: house affordability question

I find opinions on these issues to be quite interesting. My opinion is you seem a-ok to purchase, but most opinions so far seem to be the opposite. Meanwhile there were 2 recent threads on home buying here in the Bay Area where one person was looking at a $1 million home and another somewhere in th...
by countofmc
Fri Jun 24, 2016 5:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: house affordability question
Replies: 39
Views: 2179

Re: house affordability question

I find opinions on these issues to be quite interesting. My opinion is you seem a-ok to purchase, but most opinions so far seem to be the opposite. Meanwhile there were 2 recent threads on home buying here in the Bay Area where one person was looking at a $1 million home and another somewhere in the...
by countofmc
Thu Jun 23, 2016 8:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Your favorite country to possibly retire to?
Replies: 88
Views: 7197

Re: Your favorite country to possibly retire to?

Maybe I'm romanticizing this, but I'd love to stay in the USA but move to a small town. One of those towns with a main street full of small businesses and charming store fronts. Small enough that people say hi and are willing to lend a helping hand, but large enough that they know to mind their own ...
by countofmc
Mon Jun 20, 2016 10:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can we/Should we buy this house (SF Bay Area)
Replies: 54
Views: 5763

Re: Can we/Should we buy this house (SF Bay Area)

I personally would not because of your professions. I don't think there is a tech bubble, but let's just assume there is. If that bubble bursts, there is the potential for job loss for software developers, right at the same time as a potential local real estate crash. I think you and your wife BOTH ...
by countofmc
Mon Jun 06, 2016 7:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a Rolex Watch
Replies: 171
Views: 17707

Re: Buying a Rolex Watch

Nothing wrong with a Rolex at all, I have my own "luxury purchase" preferences. But the primary reason I'd never buy a Rolex is that it wouldn't match anything else about me. I'd have an expensive watch with mediocre clothes, old cheap car, etc. I can just see myself cleaning baby poop of...
by countofmc
Mon Jun 06, 2016 5:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a Rolex Watch
Replies: 171
Views: 17707

Re: Buying a Rolex Watch

Nothing wrong with a Rolex at all, I have my own "luxury purchase" preferences. But the primary reason I'd never buy a Rolex is that it wouldn't match anything else about me. I'd have an expensive watch with mediocre clothes, old cheap car, etc. I can just see myself cleaning baby poop of...
by countofmc
Mon Jun 06, 2016 4:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Protecting self against frivolous lawsuits?
Replies: 23
Views: 2665

Protecting self against frivolous lawsuits?

http://www.indystar.com/story/news/2016/06/06/he-sold-40-printer-then-he-sued-indiana-30000/85219140/ I'll admit, because of the society we live in, this is one of my fears. Seems like his legal fees were actually pretty modest, but I've heard of cases like this where lawyer fees were much higher. W...
by countofmc
Mon May 16, 2016 5:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Taking new-ish car to independent mechanic?
Replies: 18
Views: 1962

Re: Taking new-ish car to independent mechanic?

Gill wrote:I never return the car to the dealer after I drive it off the lot unless it is for warranty work, and that is for two high-end cars.
Gill


Good to know, thanks. I thought maybe I was a weird one for thinking of taking a non-old car to an Indy, but seems I have company.
by countofmc
Mon May 16, 2016 12:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Taking new-ish car to independent mechanic?
Replies: 18
Views: 1962

Taking new-ish car to independent mechanic?

2014 Accord, 15k miles. Usually when a car is "new" enough to be within its bumper-to-bumper warranty period, I take it to the dealer. I know the "if you don't take it to dealer it voids your warranty" is a myth, I just do it because if the dealer finds any other issues that need...
by countofmc
Sun Apr 24, 2016 3:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pros/Cons of Condo Living?
Replies: 43
Views: 4779

Re: Pros/Cons of Condo Living?

I live in and am a board member in our 44 unit condo. It's been a very positive experience and I really enjoy not doing yard work and exterior maintenance. The first thing to do is check for any rental restrictions. Many condos have none, many do, and they can be more or less restrictive. Ours has ...
by countofmc
Sun Apr 24, 2016 2:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pros/Cons of Condo Living?
Replies: 43
Views: 4779

Pros/Cons of Condo Living?

We are considering buying a condo in another city (where my parents currently live). The idea is that my parents are probably going to sell their house in the next 1-2 years as they transition into retirement and want to downsize. The key is they want to sell their home while the market is doing wel...
by countofmc
Thu Apr 14, 2016 5:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Soapbox (car safety features)
Replies: 240
Views: 25111

Re: Soapbox (car safety features)

I have a few thoughts about this new technology: One is technology that assists the driver vs technology that can actually take control of the vehicle. So the former would be lane departure warning (without the steering guidance that pulls you back) or a backup camera. Latter would be auto-braking u...
by countofmc
Thu Apr 14, 2016 1:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Credit Card Churning : Airline/Hotel points for Amazon GCs?
Replies: 3
Views: 700

Credit Card Churning : Airline/Hotel points for Amazon GCs?

So I don't think I'm anywhere near hardcore churning, but I have signed up for a couple of cards with some good bonuses. I don't travel much and rarely fly, so I usually convert the points to cash (such as the Chase Sapphire) or Amazon GCs. It's not the most efficient way to redeem points, but I sti...
by countofmc
Sun Apr 10, 2016 8:39 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Decided not to buy home in Bay Area - changing gears [to] investing
Replies: 6
Views: 1567

Decided not to buy home in Bay Area - changing gears [to] investing

So I've asked several questions on this issue and gotten very helpful responses. With an eye towards hopefully buying a home in the SF Bay Area and knowing we'd need a hefty down payment, we've put retirement savings on hold for about the last year or so and just been saving cash in a savings accoun...

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