Search found 1148 matches

by curmudgeon
Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: BMW Z3 or Z4 or nothing at all?
Replies: 49
Views: 2190

Re: BMW Z3 or Z4 or nothing at all?

We have a '98 Z3 2.8 that we bought used in 2000. It has been a solid car and is still my wife's daily driver. With the top down, I think that our Z3 offers everything you could ask for in a roadster. No major mechanical issues but the top needs to be replaced ($950). The car came with the optional...
by curmudgeon
Wed Jul 26, 2017 6:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: BMW Z3 or Z4 or nothing at all?
Replies: 49
Views: 2190

Re: BMW Z3 or Z4 or nothing at all?

Had a Z3 for a number of years. I preferred the styling and seating position vs the Z4, though the Z4 does have some of the details down better (top integration, for example). Really enjoyed the car, but hit a point where I was using it as a daily commuter in silicon valley traffic, and the heavy cl...
by curmudgeon
Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Manufactured Home Listing Agreement & Commission
Replies: 6
Views: 199

Re: Manufactured Home Listing Agreement & Commission

Big problem with an exclusive listing is that it won't be on MLS, which would significantly reduce the potential buyer pool. You want to understand how the listing agent is planning to market the property. I would look at how other similar places are sold for reference; have there been other sales i...
by curmudgeon
Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: COBRA vs. ACA plan - what to consider?
Replies: 48
Views: 2665

Re: COBRA vs. ACA plan - what to consider?

3. The covered CA ACA site seemed to be very oriented to dumping people into medicaid (medi-Cal). I don't think that's true at all from what I have seen of the site. I have used it to figure out hypothetical plan premiums, including subsidies. Medi-Cal is only one option, and only if your income is...
by curmudgeon
Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Looking for a house around San Jose, CA
Replies: 18
Views: 1706

Re: Looking for a house around San Jose, CA

It is definitely challenging. A big question is whether you are concerned about schools. If you don't need highly rated schools, sometimes you can find housing where the price is held down by poor schools, but which is still in reasonable neighborhoods. The eastside foothills are one potential area....
by curmudgeon
Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:10 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: COBRA vs. ACA plan - what to consider?
Replies: 48
Views: 2665

Re: COBRA vs. ACA plan - what to consider?

With COBRA, you are depending on a former employer for your health insurance. As a "former employee", there is no motivation for the employer to do things for your benefit. Depending on the details, they may even take a hostile view. This is a big concern for me. I think this is a big pot...
by curmudgeon
Sat Jul 15, 2017 10:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommendations...Italy
Replies: 29
Views: 1824

Re: Recommendations...Italy

Personally, I really like Venice. But you have to take it at a relaxed pace and avoid the Pl Roma -> San Marco zoo. If you just wander, and get away from the pure tourist areas, there is magic still. Sienna was another favorite. I much preferred it to Florence. If you are flexible on your hotel stan...
by curmudgeon
Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage contingency vs Appraisal contingency
Replies: 9
Views: 805

Re: Mortgage contingency vs Appraisal contingency

The appraisal contingency protects you from overpaying (in theory). The mortgage contingency is your out if for some reason you are unable to get a loan. Appraisals can be surprisingly random, which is why the seller doesn't like the contingency. One key for you is how well you understand the local ...
by curmudgeon
Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to save for and finance house move up
Replies: 64
Views: 3240

Re: How to save for and finance house move up

Personally, I would just do it now. You can never be perfect on this stuff. If your location/jobs are pretty stable, and your income will deal with the mortgage reasonably, waiting just risks that interest rates will be higher when you pull the trigger. You can do a simultaneous close, or more likel...
by curmudgeon
Sun Jul 09, 2017 11:36 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Non-working spouse Roth questions
Replies: 7
Views: 901

Re: Non-working spouse Roth questions

floppyb wrote:Does contributing via a backdoor make a difference?

Thanks again!


Not really. Just the standard backdoor limitations about other IRAs. Presumably your family income is greater than the direct Roth limit and also enough that you can't do deductible IRA contribution for spouse.
by curmudgeon
Sun Jul 09, 2017 11:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What do you splurge on?
Replies: 133
Views: 11010

Re: What do you splurge on?

I sometimes buy prime grade meats these days. I don't bother with organics, because I know some organic farmers; while "organic" is not just a marketing term (like "green" is), I'm not convinced that organic is inherently healthier. We sometimes splurge on travel, but more on len...
by curmudgeon
Sun Jul 09, 2017 11:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Induction Stoves?
Replies: 11
Views: 807

Re: Induction Stoves?

There are some older threads on here about them; you can try the search function. If we relocate to an area without ng service, I figure we will likely go the induction route, as I really dislike the older style electrics as well. Power requirements should be the same as a standard electric range. Y...
by curmudgeon
Sun Jul 09, 2017 4:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Considering a CCRC
Replies: 4
Views: 395

Re: Considering a CCRC

Consider your daily living model in each scenario. In-laws started with a similar sized house (duplex) in a nice CCRC. They liked the place and the services, but after a few years they switched into an apartment in the main building. Even though there was a shuttle service (and they had kept their c...
by curmudgeon
Sun Jul 09, 2017 3:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: how to destroy hard disk with personal info
Replies: 99
Views: 7307

Re: how to destroy hard disk with personal info

Knowing the tolerances of those things, I consider drilling (one) hole through the platters to be far more than enough. Running a full software write wipe (not a simple reformat) would also suffice for practical purposes, but the drill doesn't require the system to be running.
by curmudgeon
Sun Jul 09, 2017 1:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: health insurance after retirement?
Replies: 29
Views: 2705

Re: health insurance after retirement?

I retired at 63 and decided to go with ObamaCare rather than Cobra. I was able to keep my reportable income down and qualify for subsidies. Just polling people on here for costs is not very effective, since the cost varies by age, geography, income and whether you are a smoker. Best place for a qui...
by curmudgeon
Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anybody retired and relocated + bought a new house?
Replies: 26
Views: 2545

Re: Anybody retired and relocated + bought a new house?

We have this under consideration as well. In our case, it is primarily to be closer to kids/grandkids who are pretty well anchored in the other city. If you have a significant pension, it may still be possible to get a mortgage, but otherwise that part may be tricky. Definitely a challenge if you st...
by curmudgeon
Sat Jul 08, 2017 8:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What to wear for job interview - skip the tie?
Replies: 54
Views: 4009

Re: What to wear for job interview - skip the tie?

It is somewhat of a local environment thing. What do people wear who show up to interviews at your current company? Last time I wore a tie to a job interview was 35+ years ago, when I was graduating from college. But then I spent most of my career in silicon valley engineering roles. Around here peo...
by curmudgeon
Sat Jul 08, 2017 1:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: health insurance after retirement?
Replies: 29
Views: 2705

Re: health insurance after retirement?

I would divide the picture between "Early Retirement" (call that pre age 65) and normal retirement. Most folks become medicare-eligible at age 65, so that makes a good division point. Medicare (and supplements, drug plans, etc) is a whole world unto itself. I have a few years to go, so I h...
by curmudgeon
Sat Jul 08, 2017 12:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much of an increase of salary would you expect before switching jobs?
Replies: 94
Views: 6533

Re: How much of an increase of salary would you expect before switching jobs?

There is also one LESS week vacation. I currently have three weeks per year and they offer two. I would be losing my summer vacation that I planned later this summer. You can negotiate this. Yes I can negotiate to add a week of vacation but would it send the wrong message to take a new job and then...
by curmudgeon
Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:27 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Gift to son buy a condo in San Francisco. Co-ownership?
Replies: 55
Views: 4090

Re: Gift to son buy a condo in San Francisco. Co-ownership?

I would say it is a reasonable idea, as others have noted, it should only require a gift filing, not actual gift tax to pay. A few things that I would want to weigh in considering this: 1. Do you have other children, and would this create expectations of similar gifts? 2. How long does your wife pla...
by curmudgeon
Fri Jul 07, 2017 6:02 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: No "sequence of returns risk" what to do about withdrawals
Replies: 35
Views: 2767

Re: No "sequence of returns risk" what to do about withdrawals

You have also dropped off six years of the "guaranteed not to fail" scenarios (the ones where you died young). I'm not sure six years is enough to outweigh the inherent uncertainties involved in retirement planning. There are still plenty of unknowns to be allowed for. One thing you might ...
by curmudgeon
Tue Jul 04, 2017 2:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home canner
Replies: 14
Views: 1141

Re: Home canner

We may get back into this a bit this year and more next year. We will start with things that add high value to us; that is, stuff where we can do significantly better than store quality. Pears are a good example where sorting through the fruit and canning a few quarts each day when they are properly...
by curmudgeon
Thu Jun 29, 2017 9:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Helping MIL with FIL finances after death
Replies: 3
Views: 750

Re: Helping MIL with FIL finances after death

My FIL passed away a few months ago and my MIL is working to get the financial situation he left behind in order. I'm trying to help her get a general understanding of the issues so she has a basic understanding before talking to the attorneys and accountants. There a few issues to figure out. As a...
by curmudgeon
Mon Jun 12, 2017 3:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone else put together a Retirement Policy Statement?
Replies: 3
Views: 585

Re: Anyone else put together a Retirement Policy Statement?

That is a fairly simplistic starting point. While simple can be good for rough planning sometimes, in this case I think it is too simple to be useful for people planning ER. If you have a gap before starting SS or pension that needs specific consideration in a retirement plan. Similarly for health i...
by curmudgeon
Sun Jun 11, 2017 9:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Traveling to UK/France: Suggest a pre-paid SIM Card
Replies: 17
Views: 1145

Re: Traveling to UK/France: Suggest a pre-paid SIM Card

If you bought your phone from Verizon, it is likely locked (unless established otherwise). If you bought it outside for full price and took it to Verizon, probably unlocked. You need to be sure it supports GSM and European frequencies (I think that is normal for Iphone6, but I don't use iphone). If ...
by curmudgeon
Sun Jun 11, 2017 4:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best way to book multi-city international airfare itinerary?
Replies: 23
Views: 1910

Re: Best way to book multi-city international airfare itinerary?

Open jaw works pretty well with the main airlines. The other option (if you have them) is to use FF miles, as these, at least currently, don't usually penalize simple one-way tickets.
by curmudgeon
Sun Jun 11, 2017 3:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Traveling to UK/France: Suggest a pre-paid SIM Card
Replies: 17
Views: 1145

Re: Traveling to UK/France: Suggest a pre-paid SIM Card

two key questions: is your iphone unlocked (or can you get it unlocked based on your contract)? Which country will you start in?
by curmudgeon
Sat Jun 10, 2017 7:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 72t / SEPP payments
Replies: 3
Views: 451

Re: 72t / SEPP payments

I haven't looked closely, as we have sufficient non-IRA funds for the time until we hit 59.5, but one thing that seems like a good idea is to break up your IRAs into several different rollover IRAs *before* starting SEPP. As I understand it, SEPP is done on an IRA-by-IRA basis, so you could start wi...
by curmudgeon
Thu Jun 08, 2017 11:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Los Angeles house buying
Replies: 38
Views: 3963

Re: Los Angeles house buying

We cash-flowed college. Told the kids we would pay for in-state public U, and if they wanted more expensive alternatives, they needed to come up with a funding plan for the extra. When we hit that stage, the mortgage, while still significant, was not such a big chunk of our monthly cash flow, and we...
by curmudgeon
Tue Jun 06, 2017 11:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: DIY Toilet Repair Questions
Replies: 6
Views: 889

Re: DIY Toilet Repair Questions

I've never known one of the washer on the bolts for holding the tank to fail in place. There's not much water pressure, and no movement involved there. I would leave them be unless you needed to remove the tank.
by curmudgeon
Mon Jun 05, 2017 4:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Changing State Residences for ACA Coverage
Replies: 15
Views: 1406

Re: Changing State Residences for ACA Coverage

I suspect this would follow somewhat along with the state income tax rules, but with some other details for consideration. There are some details with the exchanges if you are moving and NOT in the open-enrollment period when signing up; they may want some more paperwork such as a lease/utility bill...
by curmudgeon
Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can anyone help re: calculating income for ACA eligibility?
Replies: 23
Views: 1196

Re: Can anyone help re: calculating income for ACA eligibility?

One thing you might be able to do is to shift some amount of income from one year to another. If you have some ability to shift income, business expenses, and deductible retirement contributions around, you might be able to get a subsidy on alternate years. I'm definitely not making any long-term pl...
by curmudgeon
Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Favorite Thriller Authors and Why
Replies: 54
Views: 8868

Re: Favorite Thriller Authors and Why

Dick Francis. More "whodunnit" than "thriller", but I always found a bit more depth to his novels than the typical. Perhaps because he tended to tie a bit of the British horse-racing scene into his books and he had a real background there (former champion jockey).
by curmudgeon
Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Flying first class, business, versus economy.
Replies: 105
Views: 7259

Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

We fly a lot of 1-2 hour flights on the west coast; for those I don't care. For cross-country flights I mostly grit my teeth and bear economy, but I've learned the hard way to avoid particularly badly cramped planes (United 737-900 was an ugly example). International is an interesting question. Most...
by curmudgeon
Sun Jun 04, 2017 4:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can anyone help re: calculating income for ACA eligibility?
Replies: 23
Views: 1196

Re: Can anyone help re: calculating income for ACA eligibility?

From my experience even before ACA, "small business" plans were pretty much equivalent in cost to individual plans. The potential for people to only sign up and pay premiums when they saw medical expenses looming was just too great, and the small business definitions couldn't prevent that....
by curmudgeon
Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: KF's Worst Case Retirement Plan [KlangFool's]
Replies: 252
Views: 18592

Re: KF's Worst Case Retirement Plan

I am of the camp that considers a mortgage to be like a "negative bond". It's not an exact thing, but it has aspects of that nature if you don't have income. If you take it in that form, then your logical AA would be 90/10, a bit aggressive for this scenario. On the other hand, I also thin...
by curmudgeon
Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Different Flavor Should I Time the Market
Replies: 7
Views: 756

Re: Different Flavor Should I Time the Market

I would not make abrupt moves in this manner. If you were at 90% equities, it might be different, but with a reasonably conservative allocation already, I think staying the course is appropriate. There is no need in this case to make big changes while under a lot of stress. Re-evaluate in six months.
by curmudgeon
Thu Jun 01, 2017 2:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Changing Car Cabin Air Filter - after how much time
Replies: 45
Views: 2461

Re: Changing Car Cabin Air Filter - after how much time

I tend to do this once every five years or so, but we don't get a lot of dust/pollen to clog things up. I go about 40,000 miles on engine air filters, for the same reason. While I don't consider cabin air filters a necessity, I do think they help allergy sufferers such as myself a bit.
by curmudgeon
Mon May 29, 2017 1:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Play Money for Spouse....
Replies: 138
Views: 9884

Re: Play Money for Spouse....

For the first few years of our marriage, we had to watch our finances pretty tightly (single income, kids, buying houses in HCOL). Once we got off to a comfortable start, we stopped paying much attention to the incidentals (we had set cost-conscious habits by then). We pay for most minor things with...
by curmudgeon
Sun May 28, 2017 4:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cell phone service abroad
Replies: 79
Views: 6551

Re: Cell phone service abroad

There are a few factors to get straight first, and a big one is to verify which radio bands your phone supports. Some phones try to save on costs (usually chip license fees) by only supporting a US subset of the worldwide bands. And then there is CDMA vs GSM even in US. Once you know the phone can c...
by curmudgeon
Sun May 28, 2017 1:47 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Idea for Fun Money Account, Good, Bad or Ugly?
Replies: 32
Views: 1947

Re: Idea for Fun Money Account, Good, Bad or Ugly?

Sounds like the typical active fund, but without the ER (or the research resources). I guess the concept could be thought of as trying to "front-run" the indexers by getting declining companies out of your portfolio before the market weighting moves them down. If some stock prices are bein...
by curmudgeon
Sat May 27, 2017 1:04 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Need help before receiving inheritance
Replies: 18
Views: 2522

Re: Need help before receiving inheritance

She should be having quite high medical expenses, so that deduction may offset some of the tax cost for Roth conversion. Since she is fairly close to the estate tax exclusion, there are some options. You would also want to pay attention to the potential for state estate/inheritance taxes. If her inh...
by curmudgeon
Fri May 26, 2017 10:11 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Can I really pay no capital gains on $100k?
Replies: 31
Views: 6158

Re: Can I really pay no capital gains on $100k?

In the past I used TaxCaster a lot. But about a year ago it adopted a question-and-answer interface that I find cumbersome. Also, if doesn't yet seem to let one choose 2017 as the tax year. These days I generally just use my spreadsheet. If you download the apple app, that's still mostly the old st...
by curmudgeon
Thu May 25, 2017 10:40 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How to calculate the top of the 15% bracket?
Replies: 23
Views: 2379

Re: How to calculate the top of the 15% bracket?

Also, remember that she needs to pay taxes on the conversion, so that money needs to come from somewhere and will count against the 15% limit. Not sure I follow the "count against the 15% limit" part? I haven't researched the whole process yet, but I thought she would just write a check (...
by curmudgeon
Sat May 20, 2017 2:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What are your priorities for retirement?
Replies: 56
Views: 5497

Re: What are your priorities for retirement?

Having just started on my retirement, I have some priorities, but I'm also open to see what comes to us and sticks. For a few months I'm taking it fairly unstructured, but I expect some volunteer work later this year or sometime next year. Current priorities: 1. Continue to spend plenty of time with...
by curmudgeon
Wed May 17, 2017 7:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: House Sale in Year of Divorce
Replies: 15
Views: 2293

Re: House Sale in Year of Divorce

We signed a Certification for No Information Reporting on the Sale or Exchange of a Principal Residence form at the time of the sale in 2016, so no 1099-S was issued. The point of this is so that you do not need to report ANYTHING about the house sale on your taxes. The IRS will not know anything a...
by curmudgeon
Wed May 17, 2017 5:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone else agree with my logic on silicon valley housing?
Replies: 84
Views: 7588

Re: Anyone else agree with my logic on silicon valley housing?

Heck my wife and I are not in tech, and we still have enough income to qualify for $600k mortgage, not too hard at today's interest rates. I mean if I was interpreting those numbers I'd say short of some kind of major 2000-style tech implosion, home prices are not really in danger of a huge decline...
by curmudgeon
Wed May 17, 2017 3:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Delay SS, but claim if market plunges
Replies: 49
Views: 4469

Re: Delay SS, but claim if market plunges

I am currently planning to delay to age 70, but I do consider that there are non-trivial political risks to doing so, especially given the SS funding challenge that is visible down the road. It's not worth going off into the weeds with political speculation, but I keep it in mind, especially the po...
by curmudgeon
Wed May 17, 2017 11:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Delay SS, but claim if market plunges
Replies: 49
Views: 4469

Re: Delay SS, but claim if market plunges

I am currently planning to delay to age 70, but I do consider that there are non-trivial political risks to doing so, especially given the SS funding challenge that is visible down the road. It's not worth going off into the weeds with political speculation, but I keep it in mind, especially the poi...
by curmudgeon
Thu May 11, 2017 10:42 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How I use I-ORP, and who shouldn't
Replies: 37
Views: 3401

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

I tried i-Orp a few years ago but found that their tax algorithms were simplistic and flawed. perhaps they have enhanced them since then. +1 I found also that the suggested approach was way too aggressive (like converting TIRAs to Roths within the first 2 years and a number of other odd directions....

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