Search found 462 matches

by countofmc
Tue Dec 27, 2016 1:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: I'll never save a 20% down payment. Rent for life?
Replies: 138
Views: 12529

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

I think income is the issue here. Honestly, everything else is just noise. I'd say hold off on things (including buying a house) until your children are in school, and then your spouse should seriously consider getting a job. I think that simple change would do the most to improve your family's fina...
by countofmc
Mon Dec 26, 2016 5:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: At what age, income, and NW would you buy a $50k car?
Replies: 174
Views: 10725

Re: At what age, income, and NW would you buy a $50k car?

I have an '07 Camry that's a V6 -- 268 hp. Are you saying that's a Lexus engine? Toyota uses the 3.5 V6 in the Camry and Lexus. Hmmm... how 'bout the Avalon? I think that's got a 268 hp engine. Same engine they use it in several models. OK, thanks. It's good to know I've got a Lexus engine, if not ...
by countofmc
Mon Dec 26, 2016 5:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: At what age, income, and NW would you buy a $50k car?
Replies: 174
Views: 10725

Re: At what age, income, and NW would you buy a $50k car?

Completely subjective and depends on what you value in life, I would think. If at age 35 I had 400k income with 2M net worth, I would not even hesitate. But we are talking about a car market nowadays where a well-optioned Toyota Highlander or Avalon can come in over $40k, to say nothing of a Lexus. ...
by countofmc
Tue Dec 20, 2016 6:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Car Value For $10K Or Less
Replies: 30
Views: 2024

Re: Best Car Value For $10K Or Less

I'd probably get a 2006 or earlier Lexus ES330. That's the ES from two generations ago. Can find some low-mileage examples that were pretty carefully driven (due to the,uh, demographic of the typical buyer of these particular models) for a couple of thousand under your 10k. These lower-tier luxury m...
by countofmc
Sat Dec 17, 2016 6:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Need Help: Drowning in Debt
Replies: 60
Views: 5744

Re: Need Help: Drowning in Debt

Strangely, I wouldn't overthink it too much. Your best asset is your income. I would do two things. First would be to get your expenses under your net income (not counting bonuses). You need to be positive cash flow (even if by a small amount) each month, or it's completely pointless and hopeless. W...
by countofmc
Fri Dec 16, 2016 10:23 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What happens if Vanguard is wiped out?
Replies: 17
Views: 2929

Re: What happens if Vanguard is wiped out?

No country has the military capability to wipe out 1/4 of the United States short of all-out nuclear war. In that scenario you are basically contemplating armageddon, so I think investments would be the least of anyone's worries as whoever survives would be looking at a completely different and new ...
by countofmc
Mon Dec 12, 2016 12:28 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Owning CDs in 401k
Replies: 3
Views: 391

Owning CDs in 401k

My 401k is administered by Fidelity. They offer some generic stock/bond type funds, and then the option to add BrokerageLink. Is it possible to use BrokerageLink to buy/own CDs issued directly by the banks inside my 401k? I believe there's definitely a way to buy brokered CDs through this method but...
by countofmc
Wed Dec 07, 2016 10:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retirement: Where $200K Will Last 30 Years
Replies: 113
Views: 18847

Re: Retirement: Where $200K Will Last 30 Years

As an American I might be slightly biased, but for a rich country I always felt like the USA provides a large number of so-called "2nd tier" cities that offer a very good balance of QOL and COL. One thing I've noticed in many other rich nations in Europe or Asia is that the populations see...
by countofmc
Wed Dec 07, 2016 6:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Purchasing a 2016 Honda CRV EX -- the best out the door price I have found is $25,875.20 -- is this reasonable?
Replies: 22
Views: 1872

Re: Purchasing a 2016 Honda CRV EX -- the best out the door price I have found is $25,875.20 -- is this reasonable?

The EX is the Acura engine and transmission. For a few thousand more you could buy an Acura. While you could buy a used Lexus, i guarantee you it will cost more to repair it, unless you find yourself handy with mechanical repairs. No it's not. The CR-V has an I-4 engine and CVT combination. The Acu...
by countofmc
Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best way to help sister?
Replies: 71
Views: 6270

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: 7523

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: 2368

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: 576

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: 7017

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: 42
Views: 5020

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: 2067

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: 11345

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: 11345

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: 11345

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: 1683

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: 1683

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: 3634

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: 1269

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: 1269

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: 1269

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: 8260

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: 689

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: 957
Views: 117720

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: 10983

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: 10983

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: 10983

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: 10983

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: 10983

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: 9304

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: 2609

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: 3918

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: 1348

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: 1416

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: 4820

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: 26140

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: 2578

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: 926

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: 2229

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: 2229

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: 2229

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: 7406

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: 5837

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 ...

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