Search found 1221 matches

by curmudgeon
Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is a Roth conversion worthwhile?
Replies: 8
Views: 721

Re: Is a Roth conversion worthwhile?

Here is another thing I was not aware of....since my income basically pencils out to next to nothing, doing a Roth conversion before I go onto Medicare could increase my premiums: The final gotcha is the premium is based on your income from 2 years prior. Meaning when it hits you it's probably way ...
by curmudgeon
Sun Sep 24, 2017 1:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Age you retired
Replies: 103
Views: 6217

Re: Age you retired

Retired at 58. Could easily have gone a few years earlier or later, as both the work environment and the finances were in good shape, but this felt like the right time.
by curmudgeon
Sun Sep 24, 2017 1:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is a Roth conversion worthwhile?
Replies: 8
Views: 721

Re: Is a Roth conversion worthwhile?

You should also look at taxation of Social Security benefits, which can cause a significant higher bump in effective marginal rates (especially as you get older and RMDs increase). Some people will stay comfortably under the SS "hump", while others will be well over it. If you might be in or near th...
by curmudgeon
Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone own a home and drop insurance coverage after mortgage paid off?
Replies: 36
Views: 2106

Re: Anyone own a home and drop insurance coverage after mortgage paid off?

I am considering dropping coverage. But I would want to keep liability coverage (required for my umbrella coverage). Land is probably 75% of my home value, though if you count rebuilding cost, it might be more like 65%. One thing to keep in the back of your mind is that there might be various tax co...
by curmudgeon
Sat Sep 23, 2017 1:12 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Retirees, what is your marginal tax rate?
Replies: 83
Views: 7181

Re: Retirees, what is your marginal tax rate?

Recently retired, late 50's, CA state taxes as well as Fed, MFJ. I have a lot of flexibility in what I choose to recognize as income, as we can live off savings and proceeds from a house sale. I'm keeping under $64K MAGI to preserve ACA subsidies at present. Because of the oddities of ACA rates in o...
by curmudgeon
Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Getting over emotional attachment to house
Replies: 70
Views: 5642

Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Petrocelli, I am not a homeowner but think I understand this - here goes: your new house has absolutely no impact on the calculation. Neither does your mortgage balance. What matters is your cost basis in the house you are selling, and the sale price (not your proceeds after paying down the mortgag...
by curmudgeon
Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Getting over emotional attachment to house
Replies: 70
Views: 5642

Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

Do remember that any gains beyond $500K will be taxable as long-term cap gains plus standard CA tax. And no income averaging or other tweaks, so it shows up as a big hit in one year. It can be worth doing a bit of tax modeling to understand the impact. As far as other ways, I haven't paid attention,...
by curmudgeon
Tue Sep 19, 2017 4:47 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Can I have 2 HSA accounts
Replies: 4
Views: 405

Re: Can I have 2 HSA accounts

If there are employer contributions, it might be worth keeping two HSAs. Note that the maximum family yearly contribution would include any amounts from both employers. In order to use the "over 55" extra $1000 of contribution space for both of you, you have to each have an account to contribute to....
by curmudgeon
Mon Sep 18, 2017 3:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Getting over emotional attachment to house
Replies: 70
Views: 5642

Re: Getting over emotional attachment to house

We actually went through a somewhat similar process this year, though we had only been in the house for 15 years. We had become fairly attached to the house (somewhat to our surprise), but it was a lot of space to clean and maintain for just the two of us. It was really a combination of factors that...
by curmudgeon
Sun Sep 17, 2017 12:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling Mom's condo and capital gains tax after a multi-year absence
Replies: 14
Views: 1275

Re: Selling Mom's condo and capital gains tax after a multi-year absence

I haven't needed to go deeply into this area myself, so take my opinions here with plenty of salt. My general point would be that being a primary residence is not specifically a matter of "which months", but rather the definition of which place was the center of your life. Lots of people have second...
by curmudgeon
Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What do you do in slow travels?
Replies: 55
Views: 4050

Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Hotels are less than ideal for slow travel. You get a bed, a bathroom, and maybe a tiny balcony. If you're lucky, there might be a refrigerator and microwave, but that seems less common overseas. You need to look at apartments and homes via sites like AirBNB or VRBO. There are weekly and monthly di...
by curmudgeon
Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Relocate for Early Retirement?
Replies: 41
Views: 3524

Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

It is quite possible that we will relocate in several more years. The tax burden isn't a key motivator, it's more a matter of being closer to family (and getting away from bay area traffic). Right now, the peculiarities of ACA mean that the net effective combined income tax for us (counting ACA sub...
by curmudgeon
Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Relocate for Early Retirement?
Replies: 41
Views: 3524

Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Well, I relocated about two blocks, does that count? :wink: It was really more of a tax management scenario, selling our prior residence as the gains were approaching the $500K exclusion, and setting up to potentially get a partial exclusion on the other house. It is quite possible that we will relo...
by curmudgeon
Mon Sep 11, 2017 12:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I sell a car to simplify?
Replies: 16
Views: 1006

Re: Should I sell a car to simplify?

I don't think I'd keep three cars with your lifestyle. It's just not worth the nuisance. Keep the two you prefer most, and unload the third. Don't obsess over sunk costs (tires, speakers), but evaluate in a forward-looking manner. I kept three cars for quite a while, but one was a 2-seat sports car ...
by curmudgeon
Mon Sep 11, 2017 12:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 24 care home care for family member
Replies: 23
Views: 2177

Re: 24 care home care for family member

I've watched four people in our neighborhood go through this mode, though I was not involved closely with them. These were people who had a high sense of ties to the neighborhood (which is not ideal for aging in place in terms of walkability); they had typically built the house with their spouse 50 ...
by curmudgeon
Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:48 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Another Help Mom (and me ) post
Replies: 18
Views: 1252

Re: Another Help Mom (and me ) post

Age 85 may be getting towards the top of the age range for good SPIA options. I'm not really familiar with that market, but you may want to do some investigations, as well as seeing what is available if age were 87, for example. I think I've seen comments that the age range 70-85 is somewhat of the ...
by curmudgeon
Sun Sep 10, 2017 5:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medical Insurance between COBRA & Medicare
Replies: 5
Views: 353

Re: Medical Insurance between COBRA & Medicare

I would agree that it is state (and sometimes county) specific in terms of what types of insurance may be available to you. If you are looking three years out, lots may change between now an then as well. A few factors that can significantly influence your options: 1) Are specific doctors important ...
by curmudgeon
Fri Sep 08, 2017 5:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Variable Percentage Withdrawal -> Before retirement Age
Replies: 35
Views: 3031

Re: Variable Percentage Withdrawal -> Before retirement Age

The key point is that you are allowing for a variable withdrawal with this system. This means that not just the percentage of your portfolio which you withdraw, but also the dollar amount each year will be variable. If you can't handle some variation in the yearly income, then the system won't work ...
by curmudgeon
Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Variable Percentage Withdrawal -> Before retirement Age
Replies: 35
Views: 3031

Re: Variable Percentage Withdrawal -> Before retirement Age

I think the intent here would be to use the CDs for a basic constant withdrawal, and the VPW on the remaining portfolio. It seems to me that in the example indicated, you would use $900K and age 57 for the initial withdrawal. Then adjust each year based on the new portfolio balance (still ignoring ...
by curmudgeon
Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Variable Percentage Withdrawal -> Before retirement Age
Replies: 35
Views: 3031

Re: Variable Percentage Withdrawal -> Before retirement Age

I think the intent here would be to use the CDs for a basic constant withdrawal, and the VPW on the remaining portfolio. It seems to me that in the example indicated, you would use $900K and age 57 for the initial withdrawal. Then adjust each year based on the new portfolio balance (still ignoring t...
by curmudgeon
Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: For those planning early retirement....
Replies: 67
Views: 8366

Re: For those planning early retirement....

Recently retired, in my late 50's. We plan to do quite a bit of traveling; several grandkid visits a year, maybe two ~4 week international trips a year. Also considering a RV for some extended US traveling. We downsized at retirement, and while the house is quite livable, it is 60 years old and ther...
by curmudgeon
Wed Sep 06, 2017 4:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: setting up a CD/bond ladder for short/medium term drawdown
Replies: 5
Views: 808

Re: setting up a CD/bond ladder for short/medium term drawdown

I have spent a little time looking at the secondary market from brokered CD in Schwab and Fidelity. I'm curious if folks have experience/thoughts on those. In the last couple of days, I'm finding yields on Schwab to be a bit lower (for similar durations) than what I see on Fidelity, but I don't full...
by curmudgeon
Wed Sep 06, 2017 1:03 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Set aside money for my Niece
Replies: 16
Views: 1001

Re: Set aside money for my Niece

If you want to retain control and flexibility, I would set up a separate brokerage account, in your name, with her as POD beneficiary. Fund the account each year and invest in a tax-efficient mutual fund. When the appropriate time comes, you can gift the entire account. Under current laws, you would...
by curmudgeon
Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:37 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: setting up a CD/bond ladder for short/medium term drawdown
Replies: 5
Views: 808

Re: setting up a CD/bond ladder for short/medium term drawdown

OP, a generic comment on CDs, re: Ally bank. It has one of the most flexible web interfaces for managing CDs and some of the best products right now. There is an 11 mo no penalty (no EWP) 1.50% return ($25k min). Ally definitely looks fairly good for the shorter term. I have appreciated the data on...
by curmudgeon
Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wine in laptop
Replies: 33
Views: 2323

Re: Wine in laptop

This is why my maximum laptop price is $250 :D If something bad happens to it, I just throw it away. But that's not helpful for your scenario. I would consider backing it up, removing the battery, then rinsing that keyboard area with 90% isopropyl alcohol, and drying with an air duster. Don't use th...
by curmudgeon
Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Name something you had to have and now you regret purchasing it?
Replies: 275
Views: 23318

Re: Name something you had to have and now you regret purchasing it?

A large deluxe BBQ from Costco. It was all stainless, and while the outside held up very well, after several years the burners started to fail and because it had been a special one-off production run for Costco, I couldn't get replacement parts. Can't you return it to Costco, then ? I suppose I cou...
by curmudgeon
Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:03 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: setting up a CD/bond ladder for short/medium term drawdown
Replies: 5
Views: 808

setting up a CD/bond ladder for short/medium term drawdown

I'm looking at setting up a fund/bucket/LMP that I plan to draw down over the next 10 years. This is to generate cash flow for these years equivalent of our SS benefit (which we plan to start drawing in 68-70 age frame). I have a large lump sum from real estate sale (currently sitting in cash/mm) th...
by curmudgeon
Tue Sep 05, 2017 5:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Name something you had to have and now you regret purchasing it?
Replies: 275
Views: 23318

Re: Name something you had to have and now you regret purchasing it?

A large deluxe BBQ from Costco. It was all stainless, and while the outside held up very well, after several years the burners started to fail and because it had been a special one-off production run for Costco, I couldn't get replacement parts.
by curmudgeon
Tue Sep 05, 2017 3:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ACA 9.69% Affordability rule
Replies: 6
Views: 928

Re: ACA 9.69% Affordability rule

IRA (and HSA) are "above the line" deductions to AGI, so they do reduce MAGI for ACA purposes. Similarly, certain things like state income tax refunds (for the prior year) are additions for MAGI.
by curmudgeon
Mon Sep 04, 2017 3:55 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Fixed Income: Percentage Of Portfolio Or Specific $ Amount?
Replies: 19
Views: 1931

Re: Fixed Income: Percentage Of Portfolio Or Specific $ Amount?

2. A completely different basic idea is to mentally separate the portfolio into two parts. One part is low risk and aligned with certainty of meeting certain objectives, such as withdrawal for spending. The other part is high risk and aligned with speculative objectives such as discretionary spendi...
by curmudgeon
Mon Sep 04, 2017 3:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How long do cars last these days (electronics)
Replies: 32
Views: 2283

Re: How long do cars last these days (electronics)

To my view, most auto electronics will last a reasonable usage lifetime. I might be a bit concerned about 20-year old touchscreens and displays, but not so much the compute and storage. Electro-mechanical components are a different question, and largely dependent on design and quality standards of t...
by curmudgeon
Mon Sep 04, 2017 3:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Jason Zweig's tax bomb example
Replies: 28
Views: 3634

Re: Jason Zweig's tax bomb example

I have been considering this issue in the context of Wellington fund. I personally see some benefit to a fund which tightly controls expenses without sticking to a pure index approach. Now that I'm retired, I don't have a big objection to the fund paying out a modest amount of cap gains each year. T...
by curmudgeon
Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Keep/sell rental? What are the tax considerations?
Replies: 2
Views: 235

Re: Keep/sell rental? What are the tax considerations?

The "about two years ago" may be a key factor. He can potentially still use the primary residence capital gains exclusion ($250K for single), but only if he fits specific timing rules. Need to look closely at IRS publication 523 https://www.irs.gov/publications/p523/index.html In any case he would o...
by curmudgeon
Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:35 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Obamacare even cheaper for millionaire early retirees
Replies: 22
Views: 7038

Re: Obamacare even cheaper for millionaire early retirees

Is the subsidy going to be more than the benefit of realizing long-term gains at the 0% federal rate? For 2017, MFJ with standard deduction and 2 exemptions (no children) is $20,800. So the first $20,800 in ordinary income is taxed at the 0% rate. The next $75,900 would be eligible for the 0% cap g...
by curmudgeon
Mon Sep 04, 2017 10:36 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How I use I-ORP, and who shouldn't
Replies: 121
Views: 11263

Re: How I use I-ORP, and who shouldn't

You will create some odd results doing this. If you have a higher return in one type of account, i-orp will try to overweight that account. Probably not what you want. Note also that the default i-orp will assume perfectly smoothly growing markets, which makes the conversion optimization calculable...
by curmudgeon
Mon Sep 04, 2017 10:19 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Has Firecalc or I-ORP altered your retirement plans?
Replies: 17
Views: 1935

Re: Has Firecalc or I-ORP altered your retirement plans?

Using the various online calculators gave me additional information I needed to determine that we had "enough". I wouldn't say by itself it convinced me but it gave me a larger psychological comfort level with my determination. Likewise for me. In our case, the margin between our default comfortabl...
by curmudgeon
Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:12 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How I use I-ORP, and who shouldn't
Replies: 121
Views: 11263

Re: How I use I-ORP, and who shouldn't

How much to trust these results. It sounds too good to be true. I know I need to rerun it to fully comprehend all the strategies. It sounds like I'm going to leave larger estate than I had planned. Time to buy the Bugatti ? I like the IORP as well and use if for comparisons as well as Roth conversi...
by curmudgeon
Sat Sep 02, 2017 11:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Primary residence and capital gains
Replies: 11
Views: 956

Re: Primary residence and capital gains

We "capital gains harvested" our residence 15 years ago, and then again this year. That kept our gains under the exclusion each time. When you count the real estate fees and other costs, it wasn't necessarily a net win, but it felt good. The pile of cash from our last sale means that we have a lot o...
by curmudgeon
Fri Sep 01, 2017 8:05 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Ally savings rate raised to 1.20%
Replies: 41
Views: 5352

Re: Ally savings rate raised to 1.20%

Wow. An extra $50 a year for every $100,000 saved. What a deal. Man, I miss my ole 5.25% passbook savings account. :( Me too, but I don't miss the inflation that started making those accounts losers... (which then forced the S&Ls to turn to CDs for funds and hung them out to dry because of inversio...
by curmudgeon
Fri Sep 01, 2017 7:56 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Start TSP disbursements and delay social security -- or the other way around?
Replies: 39
Views: 2471

Re: Start TSP disbursements and delay social security -- or the other way around?

It is probably best, at a minimum, for your wife to start drawing SS at FRA. If her benefit is less than half yours (at your FRA), then when you file, she will get a bump up in her benefit (spousal). I personally would be inclined to delay the higher benefit to 70 and use TSP withdrawals to fill in ...
by curmudgeon
Fri Sep 01, 2017 11:23 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Ally or Capital One 360 online savings account?
Replies: 47
Views: 8323

Re: Ally or Capital One 360 online savings account?

You might take a look at www.depositaccounts.com to review local options in your area as well. My long-time credit union has poor savings rates, but I found another solid local option which is very close to Ally/CapOne rates. I don't tend to worry too much about the interest rate on checking account...
by curmudgeon
Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Are Roomba's effective?
Replies: 45
Views: 3054

Re: Are Roomba's effective?

We have one, and I would call it marginally worthwhile. It is definitely no panacea for us. You may have to adapt your house a bit for it. We start it manually because we need to pick up one rug (with tassels) and occasionally rescue the roomba when it gets stuck under certain furniture. If you tend...
by curmudgeon
Wed Aug 30, 2017 12:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much sooner could you retire with NO property taxes?
Replies: 116
Views: 7197

Re: How much sooner could you retire with NO property taxes?

I'm not sure I could retire at all with NO property taxes. That would imply no fire or ambulance service, no road maintenance, no police or sheriff; all things I'm not willing to live without. Local property definitely has lots of variation, in rates, services, exemptions, etc. It is just one factor...
by curmudgeon
Tue Aug 29, 2017 8:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Self insure vs Medigap when on "traditional" Medicare
Replies: 73
Views: 4632

Re: Self insure vs Medigap when on "traditional" Medicare

DM, A few things to consider. When you're considering your options, bear in mind that there is some state-to-state variability. What one poster will offer may not apply to you so it benefits you to do your research. Within 6 months of beginning Medicare, you'll need to decide whether or not you wan...
by curmudgeon
Sun Aug 27, 2017 3:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Self insure vs Medigap when on "traditional" Medicare
Replies: 73
Views: 4632

Re: Self insure vs Medigap when on "traditional" Medicare

It is very common here to see many recommendations to "self insure" for many kinds of risks and potential expenses. Maybe I have missed them, but I don't recall seeing such recommendations to "self insure" for expenses not covered by regular Medicare vs. purchasing a Medigap supplement. Wouldn't ch...
by curmudgeon
Sat Aug 26, 2017 9:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 2129
Views: 372786

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

I usually get my trans-Atlantic flights with reward points, but now I am considering something else: Every summer I visit Northern France and then travel to another European city. Normally, I fly Economy but the summer flights are fully booked, which makes it difficult for me to sleep on my way to ...
by curmudgeon
Fri Aug 25, 2017 9:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Obamacare even cheaper for millionaire early retirees
Replies: 22
Views: 7038

Re: Obamacare even cheaper for millionaire early retirees

I am currently controlling my income to arrive at the 138%-150% of poverty level to obtain both the subsidies and the silver plan low ded/out of pocket. This means no SS, minimum income from pension, dividends and taxable interest at low amounts... It appears we will only need the coverage for abou...
by curmudgeon
Fri Aug 25, 2017 12:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip
Replies: 45
Views: 3572

Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Any thoughts about the places that offer breakfast, half-board or even full board as opposed to doing it on your own in these areas, especially Lourdes and Carcassonne? The pricing varies quite a bit, but may be a good deal if local restaurants are expensive with mediocre service/food (as I've note...
by curmudgeon
Fri Aug 25, 2017 12:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tax Implications of Selling Personal Residence
Replies: 11
Views: 841

Re: Tax Implications of Selling Personal Residence

In general, if you fit under the exclusion amounts, you don't need to report anything. This DOES depend on you having filled out forms correctly in the sale process to identify the proper conditions to the escrow holder, otherwise they will report the sale in a way which may trigger IRS questions (t...
by curmudgeon
Thu Aug 24, 2017 8:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Obamacare even cheaper for millionaire early retirees
Replies: 22
Views: 7038

Re: Obamacare even cheaper for millionaire early retirees

Yep, that's the way we are working it for now ourselves. I think it falls out from the funky subsidy calculations and the higher rates involved for older folks, as well as various factors in our somewhat competetive local insurance market. A bronze HSA plan for my wife and myself will cost us somewh...