Search found 1294 matches

by curmudgeon
Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What are the things you want to do between 55 and 65?
Replies: 83
Views: 4744

Re: What are the things you want to do between 55 and 65?

1) Spend time with my kids and grandkids with relaxed pace visits. We really enjoy time with family, and it's nice to have lots of flexibility. 2) Travel quite a bit; returning to some places I've enjoyed, staying for more extended periods (weeks, months) in some places. I don't have a big bucket li...
by curmudgeon
Mon Nov 20, 2017 11:49 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What percentage of your annual expenditures are you targeting for travel once you are retired?
Replies: 19
Views: 1213

Re: What percentage of your annual expenditures are you targeting for travel once you are retired?

We currently have a target travel allowance of about 50% of total budget, which in dollars is probably about 2.5x what we spent on travel pre-retirement. As we transitioned to retirement, we've also rearranged some other aspects of our lifestyle which have somewhat reduced expenses in our housing an...
by curmudgeon
Mon Nov 20, 2017 11:15 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Just Moved $1.6MM from 401K to Vanguard IRAs - now what?
Replies: 10
Views: 1816

Re: Just Moved $1.6MM from 401K to Vanguard IRAs - now what?

Dealing with large lump sums like this, especially in retirement, is always going to be a bit nerve-wracking. Among other things, you don't want to be the one discovering the next Bernie Madoff... As others have mentioned, the nice thing with IRA investments is that you can change your mind without ...
by curmudgeon
Mon Nov 20, 2017 1:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much do you budget for vacation?
Replies: 90
Views: 4891

Re: How much do you budget for vacation?

We retired this year (late 50's), and like to travel. Many years ago, when finances were tight, we budgeted fairly carefully. When income increased, we stopped budgeting and just relied our natural saving and LBYM tendencies. Since we have no pensions or other regular income until we claim SS, I am ...
by curmudgeon
Sat Nov 18, 2017 1:55 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Do you include the sale of your home as part of your retirement planning?
Replies: 75
Views: 3321

Re: Do you include the sale of your home as part of your retirement planning?

I actually did include the home sale in planning, in various ways. When we were 5-10 years away from retirement, we didn't make selling the house (in VHCOL area) a required part of our planning, but put it in the "likely to happen by age 75" category. We expected to downsize and move closer to kids ...
by curmudgeon
Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Flying first class, business, versus economy.
Replies: 184
Views: 16382

Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

Does anyone else get unusually exhausted on flights? Even a 2 hour flight in the same time zone requires a nap for me to recover. So for a long flight, if I can't sleep on the plane, it's very difficult when I get to the destination. I found that the noise on long flights was a major factor in tiri...
by curmudgeon
Thu Nov 16, 2017 5:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Upgrading a flight - what are your rules?
Replies: 40
Views: 3566

Re: Upgrading a flight - what are your rules?

My rule of thumb is asking myself what I could do with the cost of the upgrade when I arrive at my destination and if that is worth more to me than a few hours of discomfort. $1000 in Hawaii could make a lot of memories for a family. I've seen a few posters make similar statements. Are you saying t...
by curmudgeon
Wed Nov 15, 2017 4:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Flying first class, business, versus economy.
Replies: 184
Views: 16382

Re: Flying first class, business, versus economy.

I put in ORD-CDG using 1/9-1/16 and it was $2600 for business and $380 for economy. So I guess it depends when you go. I did +-3 days to see if it changed much and $2600 was the cheapest business and $380 was the cheapest economy. First class had $7054 as the cheapest. I used Kayak to search. We te...
by curmudgeon
Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Regrets after reaching retirement?
Replies: 42
Views: 4292

Re: Regrets after reaching retirement?

Minor regrets: should have not bought the large house, should have maximized both 401b and 457b earlier, should have spent time on managing money at the beginning of my career. But that is life, you cannot be 100% right at every step. Even these things can be hard to know which was best. We bought ...
by curmudgeon
Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Regrets after reaching retirement?
Replies: 42
Views: 4292

Re: Regrets after reaching retirement?

Not many regrets. There are always things that might have turned out better if I had taken the other path, but you make decisions based on the information you have at the time. I tend to spend a lot of time (maybe too much) evaluating a decision, and trying to keep options open, but once I'm past th...
by curmudgeon
Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:12 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Upgrading a flight - what are your rules?
Replies: 40
Views: 3566

Re: Upgrading a flight - what are your rules?

Lots of circumstances factor into it for me. I don't have a simple rule. A couple of years ago we were flying to Hawaii, which is only a 5 hr flight for us. We were on Alaska, which doesn't abuse the economy passengers quite so much as some of the others. The day before the flights (off-season) they...
by curmudgeon
Mon Nov 13, 2017 4:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Warm Shirt for Winter
Replies: 41
Views: 4118

Re: Warm Shirt for Winter

Just had family and friends over for the weekend during our unseasonable cold snap (low 30s daytime, teens at night) and we had this discussion. The unanimous agreement was Uniqlo Heattech. It's a super thin and lightweight undergarment (comes in tops and bottoms) that you wear under your regular c...
by curmudgeon
Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Jetted Tub: Maintenance and type
Replies: 6
Views: 650

Re: Jetted Tub: Maintenance and type

Seeking experience from those who may have either a jetted tub and/or a walk in type tub. I've read that jetted tubs are not a good investment unless there is a person in the household who regularly takes baths, which is the situation. Moreover, the bath lover has been pining for a jetted tub for m...
by curmudgeon
Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Maximizing use of electrician - outlet repair/upgrades
Replies: 20
Views: 1412

Re: Maximizing use of electrician - outlet repair/upgrades

UPDATE: Problem solved. While checking the GYI outlets to see if they might have tripped, I noticed that a "light switch" on the bedroom wall was in the down position. We never use that switch so I generally don't pay much attention to it. But for kicks, I flipped it in the up direction and the dea...
by curmudgeon
Thu Nov 09, 2017 10:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Maximizing use of electrician - outlet repair/upgrades
Replies: 20
Views: 1412

Re: Maximizing use of electrician - outlet repair/upgrades

Make sure that the outlet is not behind a GFI somewhere which has tripped. Outlets (and switches) do tend to break down with extended age. The outlets can become worn and not grip plugs properly (sloppy feeling when you plug something in). If that stuff is getting to be 40-50 years old, I've been in...
by curmudgeon
Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:49 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Planning for a surviving spouse's income
Replies: 16
Views: 1649

Re: Planning for a surviving spouse's income

One thing I might do is once a year price a SPIA (single life, for your wife) which would replace the pension/SS income which would be lost on your death. Maybe not to fully replace the income, but most of it. Then make sure you have at least that much set aside in stable assets such as short/interm...
by curmudgeon
Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Palma, Malta, Sicily, or Spain for winter break?
Replies: 18
Views: 1362

Re: Palma, Malta, Sicily, or Spain for winter break?

Some helpful perspectives here, my thanks to those who have given their thoughts. I don't quite trust the weather for Croatia at this time of year, maybe because of spending a cold and drizzly New Year's in Venice one year; I always enjoy Venice, but needing to bundle up took away some of the pleasu...
by curmudgeon
Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:47 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: First year review.
Replies: 7
Views: 811

Re: First year review.

A few factors to consider: 1) Airlines are often boom-or-bust. Right now there is a lot of demand for pilots, but it's hard to see out 10-20 years on that. If you are low on the seniority list during a phase of mergers or shutdowns, it can be tough. 2) The value of a military pension, thought of as ...
by curmudgeon
Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:50 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: anyone sign up for a Kaiser high deductible HSA? What investment options are available?
Replies: 1
Views: 223

Re: anyone sign up for a Kaiser high deductible HSA? What investment options are available?

I currently have a silver Kaiser HMO plan off Covered CA. I pay about $375/mo. I am thinking of switching to a Kaiser SIlver HSA which is available only on their website. W/in the HSA, what investment options are available? Any current members have a list of Expense ratios and fees? Does it mean th...
by curmudgeon
Tue Nov 07, 2017 12:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Palma, Malta, Sicily, or Spain for winter break?
Replies: 18
Views: 1362

Re: Palma, Malta, Sicily, or Spain for winter break?

9) Cyprus? I am in the process of booking a week in February. It is probably the warmest place in Europe at that time, though likely too chilly for skinny-dipping. You get a bit of Greece and (good) Turkey without having to visit those countries, plus British DNA. I have never been, and there seems...
by curmudgeon
Mon Nov 06, 2017 8:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Heavy duty cordless drill/hammerdrill recommendation
Replies: 42
Views: 3149

Re: Heavy duty cordless drill/hammerdrill recommendation

It is worthwhile to stick with one battery system, but having a lighter (12v) drill can be handy. For a sawzall, 18v seems better, and definitely for an impact wrench. Having a corded electric impact wrench might work for your specific use case rather than messing with two battery systems or a compr...
by curmudgeon
Mon Nov 06, 2017 12:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Palma, Malta, Sicily, or Spain for winter break?
Replies: 18
Views: 1362

Palma, Malta, Sicily, or Spain for winter break?

For various reasons, we may be visiting family in Germany this winter. While we would do some amount of local activities, we were also thinking of taking a week or so break to someplace warmer and sunnier. It would be 4 adults and 2 pre-school kids. I'm looking for thoughts on what might be some opt...
by curmudgeon
Sun Nov 05, 2017 12:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Social security regular vs disability
Replies: 10
Views: 1077

Re: Social security regular vs disability

I don't know the differences in benefits, but I will say that Social Security Admin can move pretty quickly on disability for clear-cut cases with a clear doctor's diagnosis and medical documentation. It's when the situation doesn't fit into one of the straightforward scenarios where things get bogg...
by curmudgeon
Sun Nov 05, 2017 11:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Heavy duty cordless drill/hammerdrill recommendation
Replies: 42
Views: 3149

Re: Heavy duty cordless drill/hammerdrill recommendation

From what I read an impact driver may not be strong enough for what I need, which is primarily to take the blades off a riding mower deck. For lug nuts I think one would do. The recip saw is to take apart small trees and limbs and general household tasks, no house reno or demo going on here. I plan...
by curmudgeon
Sun Nov 05, 2017 12:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How does a conversion to a Roth IRA affect cap gains tax rate?
Replies: 8
Views: 744

Re: How does a conversion to a Roth IRA affect cap gains tax rate?

Married filing jointly. My wife and I have a taxable income before any capital gains or Roth IRA conversion of $62,000 (wages, interest, etc.). We have converted $18,000 to a Roth IRA from a Trad IRA this year (basis for the TIRA was $0). We have taken a total of $42,000 in capital gains. My questi...
by curmudgeon
Sun Nov 05, 2017 12:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Heavy duty cordless drill/hammerdrill recommendation
Replies: 42
Views: 3149

Re: Heavy duty cordless drill/hammerdrill recommendation

I’d like to bump this. Not sure if what I need exists, but I want a battery operated/cordless system that can be a: - Cordless drill - cordless reciprocating saw - impact wrench Is there a system that will power all 3 of these tools? All the major brands will offer this. I think you want to stick w...
by curmudgeon
Sun Nov 05, 2017 12:28 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help choosing a Covered CA health plan?
Replies: 4
Views: 407

Re: Help choosing a Covered CA health plan?

MAGI is the adjusted gross income plus any amounts excluded from taxation by section 911 (the exclusion from gross income for citizens or residents living abroad), any tax-exempt interest received or accrued during the tax year, and any portion of the taxpayer's social security benefits that are ex...
by curmudgeon
Sat Nov 04, 2017 7:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help choosing a Covered CA health plan?
Replies: 4
Views: 407

Re: Help choosing a Covered CA health plan?

It is important to go through the process to find out what the MAGI would be for their case. Their Social Security is apparently not taxable (common with low incomes), but the untaxed SS would be added to the AGI to make the MAGI for ACA. This is key to understanding the subsidy options. If she choo...
by curmudgeon
Fri Nov 03, 2017 3:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Withdrawing cash from ATM in Ireland this morning
Replies: 13
Views: 1295

Re: Withdrawing cash from ATM in Ireland this morning

I was really annoyed with my credit union recently when I went to take cash out of an ATM while at the other end of the state. Slightly more than usual cash, but not by much. They locked up my atm card (and my wife's), but the message was very generic on the atm (something like "can't contact financ...
by curmudgeon
Thu Nov 02, 2017 8:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Costco kitchen Cabinets and design service....
Replies: 13
Views: 2634

Re: Costco kitchen Cabinets and design service....

So I have received the Costco cabinets (from "All-Wood Cabinets"). I have mixed feelings about them. They aren't bad, but the construction quality doesn't impress either. We'll see how it looks when everything is installed and adjusted. If I were doing it again, I might choose to go with Ikea (but t...
by curmudgeon
Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Out of network care
Replies: 84
Views: 4900

Re: Out of network care

We have twice had major emergency "out of network" cases with Kaiser (CA). One was an emergency appendectomy for a college student away at college, the other was at the local trauma center as result of a car accident. In these cases, the billing was absolutely seamless, and we actually had no out-of...
by curmudgeon
Thu Nov 02, 2017 1:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2018 ACA rates now live....
Replies: 228
Views: 14610

Re: 2018 ACA rates now live....

If you have an IRA, then do some Roth conversion next year to create income up to the level that you would like to hit. Yes. Thank you, Curmudgeon. On my way to $1/month premiums (and some IRA conversion fun). When you enter it in the application, I would advise putting 1/12 of the conversion in as...
by curmudgeon
Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:24 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2018 ACA rates now live....
Replies: 228
Views: 14610

Re: 2018 ACA rates now live....

Actually, you are better off estimating your income on the low side. This is because you can get additional premium tax credits refunded after the fact, but you can not get cost sharing reductions retroactively. While excess cost sharing does not need to be paid back. Now that I have read up on Med...
by curmudgeon
Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What was the main reason you retired?
Replies: 210
Views: 15091

Re: What was the main reason you retired?

The "main" reason why I retired was actually the sum of several factors, which were like weights in a balance scale that eventually tipped from the "stay" side to the "retire" side over a number of years. Finances didn't play much of a part; we had enough, and while we could always spend more money,...
by curmudgeon
Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2018 ACA rates now live....
Replies: 228
Views: 14610

Re: 2018 ACA rates now live....

Actually, you are better off estimating your income on the low side. This is because you can get additional premium tax credits refunded after the fact, but you can not get cost sharing reductions retroactively. While excess cost sharing does not need to be paid back. Now that I have read up on Med...
by curmudgeon
Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2018 ACA rates now live....
Replies: 228
Views: 14610

Re: 2018 ACA rates now live....

Though I could probably imagine a scenario, I am curious how someone that is retired early not have enough income to stay off Medicaid? What do you live off? Take someone who owns a house in a HCOL area. They have a $1M IRA, not much in taxable, and retire at 55. They sell the house for $1.5M, and ...
by curmudgeon
Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2018 ACA rates now live....
Replies: 228
Views: 14610

Re: 2018 ACA rates now live....

Though I could probably imagine a scenario, I am curious how someone that is retired early not have enough income to stay off Medicaid? What do you live off? Depends on your asset allocation and mix of taxable and tax-deferred investments. Given the current low interest rates, a big pile of cash he...
by curmudgeon
Sat Oct 28, 2017 10:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is on your Pre and/or Post Retirement Bucket List?
Replies: 23
Views: 1829

Re: What is on your Pre and/or Post Retirement Bucket List?

The movie was entertaining, but when I thought deeper about it, the "bucket list" thing didn't really strike a chord with me. Maybe because if it was so important to me, I would probably have done it already. We enjoy travel, but we've done many of our high priorities already and I don't have a burn...
by curmudgeon
Fri Oct 27, 2017 11:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Barcelona Trip
Replies: 23
Views: 1636

Re: Barcelona Trip

As much as I have enjoyed Barcelona, I might be hesitant to vacation there in the next several months (or until the political situation becomes more clear and stable). Not so much for fear of violence to my person, but the potential for major inconvenience from a general strike or other disruptions.
by curmudgeon
Fri Oct 27, 2017 6:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2018 ACA rates now live....
Replies: 228
Views: 14610

Re: 2018 ACA rates now live....

HEALTHCARE.GOV finally fixed the subsidy calculation for Married Couple, one who does not need coverage (first box checked in spouse information). Our subsidy which I knew was WRONG was $1506 and now is $462 per month. Now I have to do the math to see if ROTH conversions are more advantageous. Mini...
by curmudgeon
Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:47 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2018 ACA rates now live....
Replies: 228
Views: 14610

Re: 2018 ACA rates now live....

... For fun I put in $80,000 estimated income instead, and our subsidy dropped to ZERO. So there's a big cliff in there somewhere. It's fairly important to manage your income in retirement if you are using the ACA system. Makes a huge difference. Is it income, or AGI? Would having a mortgage help? ...
by curmudgeon
Tue Oct 24, 2017 2:21 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dual Fuel Stoves
Replies: 19
Views: 1191

Re: Dual Fuel Stoves

Do you have a propane tank for other purposes? We currently have a dual-fuel range, and I definitely like it, but I don't think I would go to the trouble of installing propane service just for cooking. If we move someplace without gas service, we will try an induction range or cooktop. You can find ...
by curmudgeon
Fri Oct 20, 2017 4:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ACA Subsidies / HSA accounts / advance premium subsidies / Questions
Replies: 19
Views: 1935

Re: ACA Subsidies / HSA accounts / advance premium subsidies / Questions

For 2017 on my bronze HSA plan, I pay about 10% of income between $50K and $64K in premiums (MFJ). If I keep MAGI down to $50K, net premium is approx zero. If I let MAGI run up to $64K, net premium is about $1400/year. Can you explain about net premium? Do you mean the premium you pay after the APT...
by curmudgeon
Wed Oct 18, 2017 6:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Europe vacation, family of 5
Replies: 15
Views: 1448

Re: Europe vacation, family of 5

Think about where you want to go, to narrow your focus a bit. Some locations will fit certain styles of travel better than others. Don't spend too much time travelling between cities, as the process of moving around and finding/checking in to your hotels will chew up quite a bit of time. London is a...
by curmudgeon
Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: any good credit card sign up bonuses?
Replies: 15
Views: 1350

Re: any good credit card sign up bonuses?

depends on your usage for specialized bonuses. Southwest miles aren't much use if you don't fly them. There was a 60,000 mile SW bonus card offer from Chase recently, but I think it may have expired. My wife just got a targeted offer of 1yr companion pass plus 40,000 miles on SW card, which she plan...
by curmudgeon
Tue Oct 17, 2017 9:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ACA Subsidies / HSA accounts / advance premium subsidies / Questions
Replies: 19
Views: 1935

Re: ACA Subsidies / HSA accounts / advance premium subsidies / Questions

We don't currently take any prescription drugs, expensive or otherwise, so prescription costs don't figure in my baseline comparison between bronze and silver plans. By going with the bronze plan, I am leaving some premium subsidy on the table (for 2018 rates); there are some other plans (including ...
by curmudgeon
Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ACA Subsidies / HSA accounts / advance premium subsidies / Questions
Replies: 19
Views: 1935

Re: ACA Subsidies / HSA accounts / advance premium subsidies / Questions

Thanks for the detailed response! Can you please explain why you think managing income for the CSR's will be short-sighted in the long run? Personally, my retired income is not low enough for CSR's--I think! will have to double check when I dig into this after 11/1. I am retired, with income source...
by curmudgeon
Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ACA Subsidies / HSA accounts / advance premium subsidies / Questions
Replies: 19
Views: 1935

Re: ACA Subsidies / HSA accounts / advance premium subsidies / Questions

Some of the details for signups and how to fill out the income forms will depend on which state you are in. I would consider seeing if you can use an agent for buying exchange policies in your state; there has been a lot of flux around that, but it can help to have someone experienced in the system...
by curmudgeon
Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ACA Subsidies / HSA accounts / advance premium subsidies / Questions
Replies: 19
Views: 1935

Re: ACA Subsidies / HSA accounts / advance premium subsidies / Questions

Some of the details for signups and how to fill out the income forms will depend on which state you are in. I would consider seeing if you can use an agent for buying exchange policies in your state; there has been a lot of flux around that, but it can help to have someone experienced in the system ...
by curmudgeon
Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: First Post (gulp) - Request for Advice on selling inherited home
Replies: 20
Views: 1678

Re: First Post (gulp) - Request for Advice on selling inherited home

If there is a substantial amount of good furnishings and other stuff that you don't want, you can look into hiring an estate sale firm to handle selling the stuff. Typically they would look over the place and bid a percentage or fixed amount to handle the sale AND to clear away anything else. Just m...