Search found 872 matches

by curmudgeon
Wed Aug 24, 2016 4:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Car purchase - Cash vs Finance
Replies: 8
Views: 883

Re: Car purchase - Cash vs Finance

I read the OP as someone with a good, but limited, credit history considering using the loan primarily for the purpose of a longer term improvement to their credit rating. There is certainly a reasonable argument to be made in favor of this; a longer term payment schedule and a different type of cre...
by curmudgeon
Wed Aug 24, 2016 1:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: AC blower motor died. need replacement
Replies: 20
Views: 1059

Re: AC blower motor died. need replacement

Grainger can be a good source for HVAC parts, depending on how close they are. They won't be the absolute cheapest, but they have real stores so you can actually eyeball the part before accepting it.
by curmudgeon
Wed Aug 24, 2016 12:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Rented a car on business, received a parking ticket 11 months later?
Replies: 29
Views: 2335

Re: Rented a car on business, received a parking ticket 11 months later?

I think San Francisco puts any unpaid parking tickets against the vehicle registration without sending further notice. So the owner may not be aware until registration comes up for renewal. In the past it was clear that they just went by license number without correlating other details, so a transcr...
by curmudgeon
Tue Aug 23, 2016 4:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: cost to build a deck?
Replies: 10
Views: 945

Re: cost to build a deck?

I paid about $6500 labor for my deck replacement four years ago. About 15' off the ground, a bit smaller but with a staircase so probably somewhat more labor, re-used the iron railings though and just added a new wood cap to them so less work there, re-used existing footings which are quite deep and...
by curmudgeon
Mon Aug 22, 2016 9:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Has a SUV helped anyone's back?
Replies: 22
Views: 1335

Re: Has a SUV helped anyone's back?

Nissan brags about their zero gravity seats. You could ask on a Nissan forum whether they help. http://www.nissanusa.com/blog/zero-gravity-seats We have these seats in the Nissan Rogue (weren't directly part of our buying decision). Both my wife and I have commented that these seats are definitely ...
by curmudgeon
Sun Aug 21, 2016 12:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Early planning for ACA 2017
Replies: 11
Views: 1355

Re: Early planning for ACA 2017

It seems like there is really a two-sided dance to all this. On the one side are the intertwining of income, prices, and subsidies. The second half is the makeup of the specific plans themselves. I'm concerned that there is a "race to the bottom" going on in terms or provider networks (and...
by curmudgeon
Sat Aug 20, 2016 11:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby
Replies: 100
Views: 3701

Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

We did plenty of roadtrips with our kids. Different modes work for different families. We had some sets of activities, kids books and books on tape. My wife did a couple of pretty long trips with just the kids (about 1,3,5 at the time); south Forida to New Brunswick, and south Florida to California,...
by curmudgeon
Thu Aug 18, 2016 3:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: credit score hit when closing cc accounts?
Replies: 11
Views: 626

Re: credit score hit when closing cc accounts?

If you can answer any of these questions with a "yes", then you should just hold on to them: 1) Is either card a significant percent of your available credit? 2) Is either card your oldest account? 3) Are you potentially going to use your credit score soon? (house, car, etc) Fees start to...
by curmudgeon
Thu Aug 18, 2016 2:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Efficient way to build credit
Replies: 21
Views: 838

Re: Efficient way to build credit

I'm not an expert on this, but I don't think churning the balance multiple times a month is going to do anything (and it's probably best to make sure you don't actually hit the limits). Part of the question will be what factors went into the current score. Specific black marks - many late payments, ...
by curmudgeon
Wed Aug 17, 2016 9:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Keep working and how much beach house?
Replies: 30
Views: 2903

Re: Keep working and how much beach house?

We gave serious consideration to beach or mountain houses at one time. On the financial side, there are tons of variations to consider: base cost, ongoing taxes/insureance/upkeep, do you rent in out etc. If you keep your head on straight, you probably won't get into trouble on the finance side. The ...
by curmudgeon
Sat Aug 13, 2016 2:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Water pressure in the master bathroom
Replies: 10
Views: 565

Re: Water pressure in the master bathroom

Depending on where you live and the type/age/condition of your water supply pipes you may have mineral buildup restricting the water flow. In our area of CA, houses that were build with galvanized iron water pipes often have this problem. After 30-40 years, the water flow area can be squeezed down v...
by curmudgeon
Sat Aug 13, 2016 1:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Roth conversion & state income taxes
Replies: 12
Views: 965

Re: Roth conversion & state income taxes

So it's pay 24% now to (probably) save 34% later, with a whole lot of uncertainty about where the tax code will be in 10 years thrown in. Paying taxes earlier than you have to is no fun.
by curmudgeon
Sat Aug 13, 2016 11:23 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Roth conversion & state income taxes
Replies: 12
Views: 965

Re: Roth conversion & state income taxes

It might be worth combining your conversions with a "bunching" strategy for deductions. If the state tax rate is fairly level across a wide range of income, you might try to pull some property tax payments ahead, maybe a DAF donation as well, combined with the higher estimated state tax pa...
by curmudgeon
Sat Aug 13, 2016 11:07 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Understanding I-orp Logic
Replies: 22
Views: 1998

Re: Understanding I-orp Logic

Why would the Roth earn higher rates of return that an IRA or taxable account? You enter pre-tax returns and it applies the specified tax rates to the earning. At least, that is my understanding of what the instructions say. You might choose to hold more (or less) aggressive allocations in the Roth...
by curmudgeon
Fri Aug 12, 2016 1:05 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Anyone else noticing the economy improving?
Replies: 78
Views: 4152

Re: Anyone else noticing the economy improving?

Seriously, other than the gas cost, I would assume the "normal" commute for an American is 45-60 minutes each way? America is a very spread out country, and people live in places like Atlanta where the traffic is diabolical (also true of LA, SF Bay, NYC, Washington DC, Seattle?). There ha...
by curmudgeon
Fri Aug 12, 2016 12:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: High Annual Mileage Bogleheads?
Replies: 20
Views: 2001

Re: High Annual Mileage Bogleheads?

25000 miles of city driving says "Prius" to me. Or one of the other similar hybrids if you prefer a different body style. That's the type of usage model where you should actually come out ahead with a hybrid, and is why you start to see lots of Prius taxicabs.
by curmudgeon
Thu Aug 11, 2016 3:49 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Refinancing mortgage to 15-year vs. college savings
Replies: 22
Views: 1383

Re: Refinancing mortgage to 15-year vs. college savings

There's a lot of interest rate speculation involved, and it's difficult to predict whether rates will normalize in the next few years or not. Some of us have inflation scars that influence us, just as an older generation had great depression scars. These can cause us to skew our choices; I may be in...
by curmudgeon
Thu Aug 11, 2016 1:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much vacation time do you get at work?
Replies: 137
Views: 7524

Re: How much vacation time do you get at work?

I get 5 weeks of PTO per year (after 5 years with company) plus another 10-12 holidays. I can carry a portion over from year to year, but can hit accrual limits. This is the most I've ever had while working in a variety of tech companies over the years. I really like taking 3-day weekends that are N...
by curmudgeon
Thu Aug 11, 2016 11:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA - Refund from provider
Replies: 3
Views: 291

Re: HSA - Refund from provider

Might be easiest just to pay this one yourself directly (put it on CC?). Then claim reimbursement from your HSA to yourself. Just because your HSA offers a debit card doesn't mean it's the only way to draw payments. My HSA provider lets me do this all online, so I just save up the bills and ask for ...
by curmudgeon
Thu Aug 11, 2016 11:13 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommend some nice, comfy mens work socks
Replies: 16
Views: 681

Re: Recommend some nice, comfy mens work socks

I believe Cool Max and Thorlo are outrageously priced brand names for acrylic, but if not, I'm sure someone will come along and correct me. I paid about $1 per pair for the Cool Max on sale from Kohls. I can live with that. While I like Thorlos, and they wear well, $12-15 per pair was expensive if ...
by curmudgeon
Thu Aug 11, 2016 10:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommend some nice, comfy mens work socks
Replies: 16
Views: 681

Re: Recommend some nice, comfy mens work socks

I shifted to Hanes "Cool Max" several years ago. My feet sweat easily, and these work well for keeping them dry. I used Thorlo for a long time (they are more of a hiking style), but they are pretty expensive, so I was open to alternatives.
by curmudgeon
Wed Aug 10, 2016 8:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying a new home at age 50 in a nicer neighborhood
Replies: 76
Views: 5889

Re: Buying a new home at age 50 in a nicer neighborhood

The advantage of being frugal and saving well is that you have flexibility to choose some luxuries without having them take away your financial security. The key is to choose wisely and not overcommit yourself. We made a somewhat similar move in our mid-40s. I weighed the additional property taxes a...
by curmudgeon
Wed Aug 10, 2016 12:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Activate iPhone 4s without sim?
Replies: 6
Views: 541

Re: Activate iPhone 4s without sim?

You could just stop by Target and buy the cheapest prepaid sim available, probably $10 for tmobile or consumer cellular. Just throw it away afterwards rather than activate it. I did that once when I wanted to make sure that I had gotten through the unlock sequence correctly before travelling overseas.
by curmudgeon
Tue Aug 09, 2016 4:51 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Friend wants to pay for my kids' college expenses: how best to do this
Replies: 18
Views: 2401

Re: Friend wants to pay for my kids' college expenses: how best to do this

529 seems like a good option. I'm surprised you say you don't expect financial aid. With the income you've listed and the fact that you are now a single parent, your kids would likely qualify for substantial financial aid at undergrad institutions meeting full need. That includes many of the 'elite...
by curmudgeon
Tue Aug 09, 2016 12:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: European Vacation Cost
Replies: 13
Views: 1379

Re: European Vacation Cost

I like Rick Steves' guidebooks for the big European cities. +1, he will have suggested hotels in different price ranges. I don't know about Paris but when we went to London a few years ago all of the more moderately priced hotels with decent reviews from his book and Tripadvisor were booked up well...
by curmudgeon
Mon Aug 08, 2016 4:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: auto air conditioner recharge
Replies: 15
Views: 1419

Re: auto air conditioner recharge

Used to do it quite a bit, but if a 2012 need recharge, I'd think there is likely a leak that should be fixed first. With modern systems, you do need the pressure guage, not just the old "look for bubbles in the sight glass" of the old 1970's ACs. Take the time to fully understand the dire...
by curmudgeon
Mon Aug 08, 2016 4:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: European Vacation Cost
Replies: 13
Views: 1379

Re: European Vacation Cost

Lots of variability when you get down to the nitty-gritty of food and lodging costs. If you want Hilton/Marriot it will cost you, just like it would in the center of a big US city, or maybe a bit more. We won't stay out in the suburbs while on vacation, but we try not to get hung up on hotel ameniti...
by curmudgeon
Mon Aug 08, 2016 3:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mounting on Cinder Block
Replies: 15
Views: 1324

Re: Mounting on Cinder Block

Stucco over the cinder block? You could use a backing board for the numbers and then fasten that to the block using conventional concrete fasteners (larger diameter). If the numbers are good quality and should have long life of looking good, I might just use construction adhesive and glue them on.
by curmudgeon
Sun Aug 07, 2016 12:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: IPv6 disabled on wife's Windows 10 machine, how do I reenable it?
Replies: 10
Views: 919

Re: IPv6 disabled on wife's Windows 10 machine, how do I reenable it?

Can't imagine any need to have IPv6 enabled on a personal machine. That should be completely irrelevant to your problem. Messed up browser configuration, network interference, bogged down antivirus would all be far more likely. Doing a full reboot of router and system is a starting point. Then try a...
by curmudgeon
Thu Aug 04, 2016 4:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Family Europe Trip
Replies: 31
Views: 1999

Re: Family Europe Trip

A few more thoughts: There are lots of great museums (and old churches, and palaces) in both cities; don't try to see them all in one trip. Pick a couple of top priorities with the family, then have a list of additional options to do if you feel like it. In London, a couple of lesser-known but very ...
by curmudgeon
Thu Aug 04, 2016 1:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Depending on stability of ACA marketplace for next 8 years?
Replies: 40
Views: 2904

Re: Depending on stability of ACA marketplace for next 8 years?

What I'd really prefer is a catastrophic plan with access to negotiated rates where I would pay directly for all normal medical care, but ACA outlawed that for me :confused I didn't realize HSAs were "outlawed", confused curmud. HSAs are still allowed, (though they get attacked regularly)...
by curmudgeon
Thu Aug 04, 2016 12:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Family Europe Trip
Replies: 31
Views: 1999

Re: Family Europe Trip

Avoid August if possible, as that is peak vacation month there. There may also be local school cycles that impact how busy things are in some areas (e.g. June was better than July in Cornwall). You can generally get cheaper flights travelling on tues/wed if you have some flexibility (may or may not ...
by curmudgeon
Thu Aug 04, 2016 11:56 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Depending on stability of ACA marketplace for next 8 years?
Replies: 40
Views: 2904

Re: Depending on stability of ACA marketplace for next 8 years?

Insurance rates are going up because of increased claims and participation and advances in expensive medical procedures. ACA cost stability will probably vary by locality. Probably the best source on ACA is the Kaiser Family Foundation and their report: http://kff.org/health-reform/issue-brief/anal...
by curmudgeon
Wed Aug 03, 2016 7:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Depending on stability of ACA marketplace for next 8 years?
Replies: 40
Views: 2904

Depending on stability of ACA marketplace for next 8 years?

I know this can be a touchy subject that easily gets into politics, please try to stay on the narrow topic if possible (I'll understand if mods feel the need to lock the thread). One of the big challenges for early retirement when you don't have a company retiree medical plan is figuring out what to...
by curmudgeon
Wed Aug 03, 2016 2:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I flip my neighbor's house to save the neighborhood?
Replies: 72
Views: 6615

Re: Should I flip my neighbor's house to save the neighborhood?

If it doesn't sound like a project you're excited to be involved in then just wait. Either someone else will buy it and fix it up or it will eventually get foreclosed on and you or someone can buy it even cheaper. You could also just low ball them even further if it's not selling. Maybe it's paid o...
by curmudgeon
Tue Aug 02, 2016 10:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Eastern Europe Trip Planning - Advise?
Replies: 33
Views: 2312

Re: Eastern Europe Trip Planning - Advise?

Dug out some notes I wrote from our time in Prague last year (mid-Sept): we are staying in a short-term apartment rental in the old town section of Prague. This apartment is quite nice, spacious and centrally located, though no elevator in the building. The first couple of days were fairly warm, whi...
by curmudgeon
Mon Aug 01, 2016 7:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Living in various places 4 months out of the year.
Replies: 43
Views: 3363

Re: Living in various places 4 months out of the year.

At one level this is just a variation of the standard "snowbird" model that many retired folks use. We've considered this as well, though we are somewhat oriented toward foreign locations. There are two side of the problem to solve, both of which have various solutions. You need a model to...
by curmudgeon
Mon Aug 01, 2016 7:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Eastern Europe Trip Planning - Advise?
Replies: 33
Views: 2312

Re: Eastern Europe Trip Planning - Advise?

Most chargers (but NOT ALL) can accept 110v or 220v. It tends to be in the very tiny print on the device somewhere. If this is the case, all you need is a plug adapter to go from the US flat prongs to the round pins used there. Maybe $2 at a drugstore. But it is important to be sure, since you can f...
by curmudgeon
Mon Aug 01, 2016 5:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I flip my neighbor's house to save the neighborhood?
Replies: 72
Views: 6615

Re: Should I flip my neighbor's house to save the neighborhood?

The big challenge here is "cost matters". It's really easy to go over budget on this type of thing unless you've got good contacts with efficient contractors. The theory about your contractor having skin in the game is nice, but creates a lot of management challenges. I might be more incli...
by curmudgeon
Sun Jul 31, 2016 11:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Eastern Europe Trip Planning - Advise?
Replies: 33
Views: 2312

Re: Eastern Europe Trip Planning - Advise?

For train tickets, check the national rail site for the country you are starting from. It sometimes takes a little digging to find the real site rather than a reseller. From Prague that would be https://www.cd.cz/en/ From Vienna, http://www.oebb.at/en/ Sometimes you might save a bit by buying from t...
by curmudgeon
Sun Jul 31, 2016 6:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Eastern Europe Trip Planning - Advise?
Replies: 33
Views: 2312

Re: Eastern Europe Trip Planning - Advise?

on using your smartphone in Europe: 1) Simplest thing is to just set it in "airplane mode", and then enable wifi when you are at your lodging or someplace else with free wifi. Your GPS function will still work, but you will want to download maps in advance so that you can make use of it. 2...
by curmudgeon
Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Traveling to Italy - 3 weeks in 2017, advice appreciated
Replies: 64
Views: 3405

Re: Traveling to Italy - 3 weeks in 2017, advice appreciated

We would fly from Seattle. Is there a downside to just doing one way trip into Venice and a return trip from somewhere else? This is typically not a problem. It is what is called "open jaw", and is quite common for trips to Europe. If you are staying with the same airline, there is usuall...
by curmudgeon
Tue Jul 26, 2016 4:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Traveling to Italy - 3 weeks in 2017, advice appreciated
Replies: 64
Views: 3405

Re: Traveling to Italy - 3 weeks in 2017, advice appreciated

Open-jaw is definitely preferable for this trip. Flying into Venice is a good choice; depending on where you are flying to/from, many routings to US from Venice have early morning departures which can have awkward logistics. With four of you it might be worth taking a water taxi from the airport (a ...
by curmudgeon
Tue Jul 26, 2016 11:30 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: SWR for work hiatus
Replies: 5
Views: 367

Re: SWR for work hiatus

My wife and I have good jobs and have saved more than we would have ever imagined in our retirement lifestyle accounts. For the most part we enjoy our jobs but would like to take some time off work to have more time to spend with our kids and things that we love. Depending on how much we work (at l...
by curmudgeon
Mon Jul 25, 2016 11:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Early retirees, how much did you leave on the table?
Replies: 202
Views: 14807

Re: Early retirees, how much did you leave on the table?

If I retire early next year at age 56/57 (current rough goal), I figure I'd probably leave around $1m (plus the investment returns) on the table vs carrying on to 64/65 age range. Maybe a bit more. That's figuring after-tax net which currently goes into savings and living expenses, employee benefits...
by curmudgeon
Sun Jul 24, 2016 12:09 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: HSA in CA (things to consider?)
Replies: 13
Views: 1191

Re: HSA in CA (things to consider?)

... then a US stock index fund has a low tax cost. This is the part I don't understand. While S&P500 is tax efficient for federal tax purposes, it doesn't apply the same way for the purpose of CA tax. CA doesn't have special treatment for long term capital gains or qualified dividends. So, S&am...
by curmudgeon
Sat Jul 23, 2016 11:34 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: HSA in CA (things to consider?)
Replies: 13
Views: 1191

Re: HSA in CA (things to consider?)

I put my CA HSA investment into an S&P500 index fund. A low cost option, and fairly tax-efficient. So far, if I am planning to take reimbursements, I have just directed incoming money into a cash account for a few months, and then draw from that, so I don't have any cap gains. We expect to be in...
by curmudgeon
Thu Jul 21, 2016 2:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What really happens to people who run out of their money in retirement
Replies: 61
Views: 8878

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

If you are still able to live alone, you move into senior citizen subsidized housing. Your rent is capped at 1/3 of your income and includes utilities. You sign up for Medicare "extra help" and PACE which takes care of your medical costs. You sign up for free or reduced cost meal delivery...
by curmudgeon
Thu Jul 21, 2016 11:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: London theatre tickets
Replies: 10
Views: 706

Re: London theatre tickets

There is the same-day ticket booth at Leicester Square. You will always be able to see *something* although it may not be your first choice. http://www.tkts.co.uk/ The last time I was in London, a couple years ago, I did not find it to be as good a deal as it was when I visited several times in the...
by curmudgeon
Wed Jul 20, 2016 7:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Insurance Discount -- comes with a trap
Replies: 4
Views: 704

Re: Insurance Discount -- comes with a trap

Definitely a concern. I think there are some specific federal regulations around these "wellness discounts", they are not just something your company dreamed up, but I wouldn't want to bet that the protections and privacy considerations were all that well worked out. edited to add the foll...

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