Search found 1034 matches

by curmudgeon
Fri Feb 24, 2017 6:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to model/pay for serial conversion of [Large] IRAs--HELOC?
Replies: 5
Views: 308

Re: How to model/pay for serial conversion of [Large] IRAs--HELOC?

Circling back to this, let me offer a few additional points: 1) It is important to weigh this all in light of life objectives. When you have substantial assets, some folks want to spend as much as they can ("bounce my last check on the day I die"). Others want to leave a large legacy to fa...
by curmudgeon
Fri Feb 24, 2017 5:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: CapEx for rental property - where to declare/depreciate?
Replies: 7
Views: 377

Re: CapEx for rental property - where to declare/depreciate?

I would lean towards expensing these. Legal expenses would generally be just expensed, though if in conjuction with a refi it might be more fuzzy. Depending on the amount, I think there is a "De Minimis" level of $2500 where the IRS says you can just expense regardless. In general, if you ...
by curmudgeon
Fri Feb 24, 2017 4:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: critique Italian itinerary
Replies: 31
Views: 1708

Re: critique Italian itinerary

Some of those areas on on our list for visiting before long. My general thought would be to look a bit more closely at the implications of late-October for timing in the lakes and mountains. While the area will still retain it's natural beauty, a lot of tourist infrastructure may be closed and the w...
by curmudgeon
Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to model/pay for serial conversion of [Large] IRAs--HELOC?
Replies: 5
Views: 308

Re: How to model/pay for serial conversion of [Large] IRAs--HELOC?

A more conservative option might be to sell the current primary residence now, and use the big chunk of cash that is freed up for living expenses and paying tax on the conversions. The risk of the HELOC route is that interest rates move up and the property becomes harder to sell at the same time. I'...
by curmudgeon
Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HDHP (High Deductible Health Plan) via ACA for self-employed, HNW?
Replies: 3
Views: 261

Re: HDHP (High Deductible Health Plan) via ACA for self-employed, HNW?

From my exploration of the current ACA landscape, I suspect you would be most cost-effectively served by a HDHP+HSA combo. Look carefully at the plans and their networks, though, some of them are pretty limited (essentially extensions of the medicaid managed care plans). Expect changes over the next...
by curmudgeon
Thu Feb 23, 2017 1:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: phone battery
Replies: 10
Views: 684

Re: phone battery

look on Amazon. It's a good simple source for stuff like this. They are likely pretty cheap.
by curmudgeon
Wed Feb 22, 2017 3:36 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: ACL overfunding for loans.
Replies: 2
Views: 150

Re: ACL overfunding for loans.

Ouch! Sounds like you are swimming with the sharks. They keep trying to dress it up with other names, but the reality is that this is big commission for the agent, and generally poor value for you. All the fancy brochures and pretty graphs are just window dressing.
by curmudgeon
Tue Feb 21, 2017 5:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When To Enroll in ACA (Obamacare)
Replies: 6
Views: 528

Re: When To Enroll in ACA (Obamacare)

You can evaluate the various tradeoffs, and see which will work best for you. I am looking at some similar questions, though in my case I am retiring. There is a lot of uncertainty about ACA for the future (even before the election). Are you looking for work, and would that work likely have health i...
by curmudgeon
Tue Feb 21, 2017 1:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?
Replies: 93
Views: 5146

Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

While youtube videos can be a helpful reference, I like the do-it-yourself guide published by Reader's Digest. It gives a structured view of wiring and household systems that is useful whether you do the work yourself or have someone else do it. When you are dealing with 3-way switches or other less...
by curmudgeon
Sun Feb 19, 2017 3:21 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: economics of landlording
Replies: 46
Views: 4064

Re: economics of landlording

I personally find significant value in diversification of investments beyond "stocks" and "bonds". Directly owned real estate (to me) is valuable for that purpose (better than REITs or gold/commodities). There are definitely limitations in terms of liquidity and concentration ris...
by curmudgeon
Fri Feb 17, 2017 5:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Induction cooktop impressions?
Replies: 31
Views: 1625

Re: Induction cooktop impressions?

I'll be interested to follow this thread, in particular folks that have switched between various forms. We've had gas cooktops (with electric ovens) for many years, and vastly prefer them to the various forms of electric resistance cooktops. We may be moving, and a number of the likely locations don...
by curmudgeon
Fri Feb 17, 2017 4:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to sell a funeral plot located in Hawaii on the slopes of Diamond Head (great views)?
Replies: 31
Views: 1921

Re: How to sell a funeral plot located in Hawaii on the slopes of Diamond Head (great views)?

One option might be to see if you can find some charitable organization to donate them to. Take the donation value to balance against current income/gains, and the organization can sell them off at their own pace/process. It might seem like an odd thing to donate, and not every organization would be...
by curmudgeon
Fri Feb 17, 2017 4:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Retaining Wall
Replies: 25
Views: 2130

Re: Retaining Wall

If you like a view, as my wife and I do, retaining walls are something you see and deal with on a common basis. I've seen the success or failure of quite a few over the years, and built a few myself. In my area, permits are required for anything over 3 feet of retained soil, but 3' or less is pretty...
by curmudgeon
Tue Feb 14, 2017 2:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Retaining Wall
Replies: 25
Views: 2130

Re: Retaining Wall

4x4 posts seem undersized for a 3+ foot retaining wall. I've had good results with the keystone-shaped stacking concrete blocks for quite a bit of retaining wall that I have built. I think they are 55 pounds each, and stack with a slight lean into the hillside. Nice thing is that if the wall fails (...
by curmudgeon
Fri Feb 10, 2017 5:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Extended Globus Europe Tour - Thoughts?
Replies: 13
Views: 981

Re: Extended Globus Europe Tour - Thoughts?

Thinking about this a bit more, and having looked at the Globus itinerary, I will throw our a few more points: 1) Before I had been to Europe, I found these types of trips very attractive on paper (these days, not so much). 2) I have known a number of people who have been on shorter versions of this...
by curmudgeon
Thu Feb 09, 2017 7:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Extended Globus Europe Tour - Thoughts?
Replies: 13
Views: 981

Re: Extended Globus Europe Tour - Thoughts?

Have you done shorter bus tours? 31 days is a long time to be in close proximity with one group. You might read between the lines, though, and find that this is actually several separate trips stuck together (though I'm not sure how much that would matter). My wife and I vastly prefer travelling at ...
by curmudgeon
Wed Feb 08, 2017 5:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Two Years to Retirement – Please review and comment
Replies: 53
Views: 6681

Re: Two Years to Retirement – Please review and comment

"You can also get the numbers on the Social Security web site where you enter different scenarios to see what the benefit amount will be. https://www.ssa.gov/retire/estimator.html. That is really great advice - we have used that estimator to simulate a number of options including earlier retir...
by curmudgeon
Tue Feb 07, 2017 5:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you account for likely life expectancy in retirement?
Replies: 63
Views: 4586

Re: Do you account for likely life expectancy in retirement?

I am sure part of my issue is I expect that somewhere between 67-72 we will slow down significantly and if I don't have any chronic health issues and haven't become addicted to what is likely to be 5 minute delivery by Amazon Prime at that point, our expenses should drop. Mainly observation. I just...
by curmudgeon
Tue Feb 07, 2017 12:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chase Sapphire Reserve - reg 300 travel credit
Replies: 5
Views: 657

Re: Chase Sapphire Reserve - reg 300 travel credit

You don't need to do anything to get the credit applied. However, it's possible that the credit won't be applied until the hotel charge is fully closed out (after you stay). There seem to be some subtle details to the way hotel charges work (that I had never noticed until I was trying to get the cre...
by curmudgeon
Mon Feb 06, 2017 3:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Two Years to Retirement – Please review and comment
Replies: 53
Views: 6681

Re: Two Years to Retirement – Please review and comment

I would urge you to double check your Social Security benefit calculation. You state that you are a "low income" couple and your wife's benefit of $8000/year at FRA would seem to confirm this, yet your plans for "$49,000 (my benefit + spousal benefit) at age 68" are at the level...
by curmudgeon
Mon Feb 06, 2017 12:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Form 2210 questions
Replies: 17
Views: 1133

Re: Form 2210 questions

Form 2210 would seem to be completely irrelevant to you this year. You overpaid, not underpaid, your tax. 2210 is not a normal form to file.
by curmudgeon
Mon Feb 06, 2017 12:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Plumbing issue - advice sought
Replies: 47
Views: 3706

Re: Plumbing issue - advice sought

It's not unusual for the "wax ring" that seals between the toilet and the drain pipe flange to develop leaks. Especially true if the toilet rocks a slight bit with weight applied. Replacing the ring is not complex, but depending on the floor, getting everything set solidly to avoid future ...
by curmudgeon
Mon Feb 06, 2017 1:24 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 70% marginal tax rate !?!
Replies: 25
Views: 4065

Re: 70% marginal tax rate !?!

While it may not have seemed actionable, writing the original post, and bouncing ideas off the forum has really been helpful in making me think out the various options and tradeoffs of this tax situation. It has helped my wife and I clarify our priorities; we may end up going down the most tax-effic...
by curmudgeon
Sun Feb 05, 2017 10:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you account for likely life expectancy in retirement?
Replies: 63
Views: 4586

Re: Do you account for likely life expectancy in retirement?

I am sure part of my issue is I expect that somewhere between 67-72 we will slow down significantly and if I don't have any chronic health issues and haven't become addicted to what is likely to be 5 minute delivery by Amazon Prime at that point, our expenses should drop. Mainly observation. I just...
by curmudgeon
Sat Feb 04, 2017 10:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 70% marginal tax rate !?!
Replies: 25
Views: 4065

Re: 70% marginal tax rate !?!

1. What's the effect of funding a Donor Advised Fund this year? 2. Your situation is a bit odd in that you are choosing to realize 400k in capital gains in a year where you are only taking 30k in earned income. What would your marginal rate be if you upped your earned income to $100k? 3. Why not ju...
by curmudgeon
Sat Feb 04, 2017 6:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 70% marginal tax rate !?!
Replies: 25
Views: 4065

Re: 70% marginal tax rate !?!

Is there a way for you to negotiate with your boss to be paid differently? Like in an extra employer contribution to your 401k or to be paid on next year's payroll instead of this year? The work side is an inflexible megacorp. Not much to be done there. I'm maxing the 401K and HSA, but that is abou...
by curmudgeon
Sat Feb 04, 2017 5:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 70% marginal tax rate !?!
Replies: 25
Views: 4065

Re: 70% marginal tax rate !?!

A few more thoughts. It's actually pretty easy to see this using a somewhat simpler scenario using one of the tax calculators without getting into all the details of depreciation recapture and such. The TaxAct calculator is pretty easy to use. https://www.taxact.com/tools/tax-calculator.asp A couple...
by curmudgeon
Sat Feb 04, 2017 1:52 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 70% marginal tax rate !?!
Replies: 25
Views: 4065

Re: 70% marginal tax rate !?!

"The earned income displaces LTCG/qualified dividends out of the 0% bracket and into 15/20%+ACA zone, while at the same time being taxed itself at AMT+phaseouts. Then add CA and payroll taxes, and 69% is gone from every additional dollar I earn. " Can you show the breakdown of the various...
by curmudgeon
Sat Feb 04, 2017 12:29 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 70% marginal tax rate !?!
Replies: 25
Views: 4065

70% marginal tax rate !?!

OK, I exaggerate. It's only 69.05% Still hard to stomach working for 31 cents on the dollar. The tax code has so many pitfalls and snares for the unwary that I never trust the concept of tax brackets to truly show the impact of additional earnings or deductions. Instead, I take my tax software (turb...
by curmudgeon
Fri Feb 03, 2017 1:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Thule "clamp-on" car roof rack
Replies: 20
Views: 1716

Re: Thule "clamp-on" car roof rack

I would look for a model-specific forum for your car. There are a surprising number of those, and you might find some special-case reference solutions that would work. In general, I would have thought you could get model-specific roof rail clamps to mount your crossbars, and then use mounts position...
by curmudgeon
Thu Feb 02, 2017 3:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Computer for elder novice
Replies: 36
Views: 1211

Re: Computer for elder novice

It is a challenge. Are you sure you don't want to go the tablet route? While they have a lot of limitations, they can be somewhat more intuitive. For a regular computer, set up a few simple games according to her interests (maybe word games, minesweeper, sudoku, etc) that will interest her and get h...
by curmudgeon
Thu Feb 02, 2017 3:41 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: HSA reimbursement for 2015 cataract surgery
Replies: 28
Views: 1788

Re: HSA reimbursement for 2015 cataract surgery

Let me piggyback on this thread for a question: My spouse was never covered by my HDHP / HSA. She has her own employer-sponsored health insurance. I am now on her insurance and no longer participate in that old HDHP plan. Can I use my HSA funds to pay for her fancy intraocular lenses? To the best o...
by curmudgeon
Mon Jan 30, 2017 7:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mom wants an air fryer?
Replies: 29
Views: 2912

Re: Mom wants an air fryer?

Our waffle maker gets fairly regular use. Air fryers look like infomercial gimmicks to me. I did bite on the "Sous Vide" bandwagon for this last Christmas, and we have been pretty happy with that for cooking several styles of meats (pork chops, steaks, tri-tip). Less than $100 on Amazon, a...
by curmudgeon
Mon Jan 30, 2017 1:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Utilizing a trainer to maintain fitness in retirement
Replies: 39
Views: 2659

Re: Utilizing a trainer to maintain fitness in retirement

I am in my late 50's, and looking to retire this year. Using a trainer for fitness at this point is a somewhat foreign concept to me. I am definitely looking forward to having more time for maintaining a somewhat higher level of fitness, but even gym membership is not high on my priority list in my ...
by curmudgeon
Mon Jan 30, 2017 12:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Donor Advised Fund options
Replies: 23
Views: 1446

Re: Doner Advised Fund options

I have found Schwab DAF extremely easy to work with, but I have only funded with stock actually held at Schwab.
by curmudgeon
Sun Jan 29, 2017 2:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: health insurance & sorta early retirement, should I stay or should I go?
Replies: 19
Views: 2092

Re: health insurance & sorta early retirement, should I stay or should I go?

There is certainly an argument for keeping that gold-plated federal health plan (it may not feel gold-plated from the inside, but to most of the rest of us, it is). The downside is giving up the two most active years of the rest of your life, in a way. I'm in a somewhat similar age/position, though ...
by curmudgeon
Sat Jan 28, 2017 2:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Nissan? (Cars.)
Replies: 52
Views: 3315

Re: Nissan? (Cars.)

I have three Nissans at the moment. I've found them to be somewhat better value than the Honda/Toyota options, at least in my area. I mostly buy new, and figure to keep until 150K miles or so. Mine have been very low maintenance. I'm not tied to the brand, but I always check out their offerings when...
by curmudgeon
Fri Jan 27, 2017 7:11 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Warning: Max out 401k early - lose some of the match
Replies: 32
Views: 2060

Re: Warning: Max out 401k early - lose some of the match

my company won't "true up" AND won't match the over 50 "catch up" contributions. So when you hit $18,000 in September the company matching stops even though your contributions continue through the end of the year? That sounds like a bug in their payroll software or something. Ar...
by curmudgeon
Fri Jan 27, 2017 4:12 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Warning: Max out 401k early - lose some of the match
Replies: 32
Views: 2060

Re: Warning: Max out 401k early - lose some of the match

Far more annoying, my company won't "true up" AND won't match the over 50 "catch up" contributions. So if you just set an even contribution throughout the year, the company match stops around end of September.
by curmudgeon
Wed Jan 25, 2017 10:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Insurance ACA vs STM solutions/options between retirement age and medicare?
Replies: 36
Views: 2094

Re: Health Insurance ACA vs STM solutions/options between retirement age and medicare?

Thanks everyone so much for your help. My wife and I went through the ACA to get the "Silver" plan for BlueCross/Blue Shield. Mahalo, Depending on what is available on your marketplace, and your expected healthcare usage, I might have suggested getting a "Bronze" HSA-eligible pl...
by curmudgeon
Wed Jan 25, 2017 4:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Insurance ACA vs STM solutions/options between retirement age and medicare?
Replies: 36
Views: 2094

Re: Health Insurance ACA vs STM solutions/options between retirement age and medicare?

The STM data on pre-existing conditions has a 5 year span for a company I looked into. So, if, just for example, I had multiple spine surgeries greater than 5 years in the past, then any injury or such would be covered. Though, as insurance companies go, I would not be surprised that they would dig...
by curmudgeon
Wed Jan 25, 2017 4:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ACA, Medicare and possible changes
Replies: 8
Views: 659

Re: ACA, Medicare and possible changes

Way too soon to know. ACA sucked a huge pile of money out of medicare (with a lot of handwaving about who was officially getting cut) to pay for premium subsidies in the marketplace. The executive order is authority to relax various regulations and grant waivers in the interpretation and application...
by curmudgeon
Tue Jan 24, 2017 11:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Insurance ACA vs STM solutions/options between retirement age and medicare?
Replies: 36
Views: 2094

Re: Health Insurance ACA vs STM solutions/options between retirement age and medicare?

ACA costs are very location dependent. Some states or regions have much more competitive insurance markets than others. Health insurance at older ages is just flat expensive because of the risk profile. It is my understanding that people your (my) age have roughly 5x the insurance claim amounts vs t...
by curmudgeon
Tue Jan 24, 2017 6:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cell service abroad, what did I do wrong
Replies: 29
Views: 2387

Re: Cell service abroad, what did I do wrong

I preloaded my maps so GPS didn't depend on data access (in my case it was HERE maps, but there are other options as well). I also set up skype so I had phone calling anytime I had wifi. After that, things could be a bit messy. In my case, I wanted coverage for five scattered European countries. Voi...
by curmudgeon
Mon Jan 23, 2017 6:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refuse to pay California State Tax—what can they do ?
Replies: 16
Views: 3157

Re: Refuse to pay California State Tax—what can they do ?

State income tax authorities have far less reach than the IRS. But it is still not something I would like to have hanging around unresolved. I am not sure you are going to get the CA tax board to give up easily. One question is whether your wife actually officially established residence in another s...
by curmudgeon
Mon Jan 23, 2017 5:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommenations for Travel 220 to 110V transformer
Replies: 11
Views: 429

Re: Recommenations for Travel 220 to 110V transformer

I didn't know that iPad chargers work at 220V. This will save me some money! A big thank you to all! More importantly than money, it will save weight and space! The plug converters for euro use are quite small (UK is larger). Just DON'T try to use it with a hairdryer or other electric heating appli...
by curmudgeon
Sun Jan 22, 2017 4:51 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Reflecting the value of pre-IPO shares in Net Worth
Replies: 20
Views: 1357

Re: Reflecting the value of pre-IPO shares in Net Worth

You do realize that just because you own real shares in this negative profit company does not mean anything. Start ups have huge debts and lots of "owners" that have various positions for their stock and debt. Think about the control the Venture capital people have to change things after ...
by curmudgeon
Sun Jan 22, 2017 4:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone file "decline in value" for property taxes? Advice?
Replies: 26
Views: 1821

Re: Anyone file "decline in value" for property taxes? Advice?

Given you are Prop 13 with a greatly reduced tax base is this even worth your time or am I missing something? I agree. Aren't we really talking peanuts? Gill Prop 13 doesn't work that way. If you are a recent purchaser, you are paying full base rate. Prop 13 only limits future increases. My county ...
by curmudgeon
Sun Jan 22, 2017 4:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Extensive Travel & Mobile Lifestyle in Retirement
Replies: 8
Views: 1161

Re: Extensive Travel & Mobile Lifestyle in Retirement

Full-time RV travelers often choose South Dakota as a state of residence. No state income tax, but also pretty flexible on other stuff and doesn't have high registration/tax for an expensive RV. There is a mini-industry of places that will maintain a mailing address and residency for you there. If y...

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