Search found 1054 matches

by curmudgeon
Sat Mar 25, 2017 1:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Thoughts on bicycle route from Amsterdam to Passau, Germany
Replies: 3
Views: 327

Re: Thoughts on bicycle route from Amsterdam to Passau, Germany

Many years ago, I spent several days in Trier after a boat trip down both the Rhine and the Mosel. While it was nice then, I'm going to avoid it on this ride. I have friends who strongly recommended Baden-Baden, which is why I chose to got there. I've heard good things about the Black Forest, as we...
by curmudgeon
Fri Mar 24, 2017 10:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Thoughts on bicycle route from Amsterdam to Passau, Germany
Replies: 3
Views: 327

Re: Thoughts on bicycle route from Amsterdam to Passau, Germany

Looks like you will be heading through the tulip fields going south from Amsterdam; depending on weather and exact timing. If you hit a nice weekend, traffic (and contention for lodging) could be a challenge. You might want to do this on a weekday. It could be nice to make it as far as Brugge, in Be...
by curmudgeon
Fri Mar 24, 2017 2:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Capital Gains on real estate?
Replies: 9
Views: 562

Re: Capital Gains on real estate?

I kept all those old receipts for various improvements on a serial set of homes back in the day when you could only roll forward your gains on a home. What a pain, and I'm sure many of them had become unreadable over the years. I think that's why the IRS allows some reasonable estimates. I was happy...
by curmudgeon
Wed Mar 22, 2017 6:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vehicles as a percentage of net worth
Replies: 102
Views: 4536

Re: Vehicles as a percentage of net worth

Cars are a great way of preventing the accumulation of wealth. Too many people get sucked into spending disproportionate amounts of their income on them. I generally look at cars as an expense rather than an asset. In our usage model, there is a base level, and a luxury level. Our basic requirements...
by curmudgeon
Tue Mar 21, 2017 6:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Winter Travel
Replies: 29
Views: 1887

Re: Winter Travel

A few years ago we did a combination of Christmas markets in Munich/Salzburg and then overnight train to Rome and on to several other places in Italy. It worked very well for us. A few comments on this: Italy was a bit cool at this time of year; we had sun most places but rain/drizzle in Venice. You...
by curmudgeon
Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Northern Lights cruise, Norway, March 2018
Replies: 17
Views: 1355

Re: Northern Lights cruise, Norway, March 2018

Interesting thought, using what is effectively the ferry system for a cruise. I think my mom did one of these, many years ago, and she quite enjoyed it, but she was a budget traveler by nature and didn't miss the cruise ship service and meals. The schedules as I saw them gave very limited time onsho...
by curmudgeon
Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Temporarily registering new car at friend's address -- anything wrong?
Replies: 39
Views: 2098

Re: Temporarily registering new car at friend's address -- anything wrong?

The interesting point to me is that it appears the manufacturer is engaging in restraint of trade; attempting to prevent competition among it's dealers. The legality of such tactics is shaky in my mind, but that's not my field of expertise. Personally, if I found I was dealing with a manufacturer wh...
by curmudgeon
Tue Mar 14, 2017 5:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: CCRC [Continuing Care Retirement Community]
Replies: 10
Views: 1104

Re: CCRC

Have an aunt who moved to one about 25 years ago. She was quite active with various projects and volunteer activities for many years, though has slowed down recently. She was happy to give up home ownership responsibilities when she moved there. Her place was fairly well built and run, and has inves...
by curmudgeon
Tue Mar 14, 2017 1:24 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Newbie help needed for online CD and Savings rates and strategies?
Replies: 6
Views: 385

Re: Newbie help needed for online CD and Savings rates and strategies?

Have you considered brokered CDs? The rates may not be the highest. However, they are competitive, and the "hoops" should be minimal. Are there disadvantages to Brokered CD's? thanks. The main disadvantage to brokered CDs is that you can't do an early withdrawal (even with a penalty). If ...
by curmudgeon
Tue Mar 14, 2017 12:44 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Another rent versus buy - moving from MCOL to VHCOL
Replies: 15
Views: 1401

Re: Another rent versus buy - moving from MCOL to VHCOL

Tough call. If you wait a year or two, mortgage rates will probably be somewhat higher. But if the area is new to you, it can be really hard to buy wisely, even aside from the question of job satisfaction. I've know lots of people who really liked SF as a place for a couple to live, but were ready t...
by curmudgeon
Sun Mar 12, 2017 12:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: gratuitous homeownership items
Replies: 218
Views: 16485

Re: gratuitous homeownership items

My view is definitely not gratuitous, even after 15 years of living here. I was thinking about that just this morning. I didn't expect to use the alarm system, and I haven't. Ditto the intercom system. The built-in vac system hasn't been useful to us, but I know others feel differently. The two fire...
by curmudgeon
Fri Mar 10, 2017 4:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Use cellphone tethering instead of home internet?
Replies: 24
Views: 1494

Re: Use cellphone tethering instead of home internet?

I will be interested to watch this, as I have been thinking about doing this myself (with a dedicated hotspot, not a phone). My wife and I don't generally do video over the internet, though there is autoplay html5 junk cluttering up some sites we visit. The nuisance might be when you hit the big win...
by curmudgeon
Fri Mar 10, 2017 2:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Total Annual Expenses
Replies: 57
Views: 3897

Re: Total Annual Expenses

As a pre-retiree who is evaluating retirement in the next 5 years, I think it is essential to include taxes in the "expenditures" estimate. I may be dense, but the various calculators and estimates available often are unclear about this. Figuring this out and then including taxes on vario...
by curmudgeon
Thu Mar 09, 2017 3:11 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: FI, early retirement at 40, how to get relevant tax advice?
Replies: 46
Views: 5367

Re: FI, early retirement at 40, how to get relevant tax advice?

A few points to think on: 1) Do you really want off the treadmill, or are you just somewhat burned out? After years in the center of things in silicon valley, will you get bored in Tennessee? I hit a similar state in my mid-40's, and took 9 months off from working. After the reflection and unwinding...
by curmudgeon
Tue Mar 07, 2017 12:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Steps to take now before family member's imminent death
Replies: 24
Views: 3058

Re: Steps to take now before family member's imminent death

One seemingly minor point, but worth noting. Dying peacefully at home may be an ideal scenario to many, but you want to be sure to have a medical provider able to sign a death certificate. If you have a hospice provider, they can probably guide through this. It can be a surprising hassle in these da...
by curmudgeon
Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Question for Retired Members--life mistakes
Replies: 64
Views: 8417

Re: Question for Retired Members--life mistakes

... On the side topic of travel in retirement, I'd be hesitant to plan for a two month on, two month off type of pace unless you have a background of that kind of lifestyle. It's not so much a matter of cost, but adapting to being on the road. Living out of what you brought in suitcases, and in a r...
by curmudgeon
Fri Mar 03, 2017 2:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Question for Retired Members--life mistakes
Replies: 64
Views: 8417

Re: Question for Retired Members--life mistakes

... My retirement starts in less than 90 days. An obvious mistake was not using the often-stated advice of using a household budget. Starting YNAB.com a few years ago definitely increased our savings rate. .... Congrats on the imminent retirement! We are about 2 months behind you, but took a slight...
by curmudgeon
Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Traveling to Italy - 3 weeks in 2017, advice appreciated
Replies: 119
Views: 8740

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

'Visa War': EU Votes to Bar Visa-Free Travel for American Citizens From the article: Since US won't allow visa-free entry for citizens of some EU member states, European Parliament voted to end visa-free travel for Americans. Victoria Remember that the European Parliament has a distinct resemblance...
by curmudgeon
Thu Mar 02, 2017 1:41 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Question for Retired Members--life mistakes
Replies: 64
Views: 8417

Re: Question for Retired Members--life mistakes

1) Biggest mistake... not really that big, but when my wife went back to work part time we didn't pay attention to the SIMPLE IRA option she could have used at that small company. We didn't really need the money, and the marginal tax rate on her work was quite high because of my income. We could hav...
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: 365

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: 432

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: 32
Views: 1982

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: 365

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: 293

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: 755

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: 172

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: 559

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: 5553

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: 4213

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: 1720

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: 2010

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: 2219

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: 2219

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: 1026

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: 1026

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: 6813

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: 4789

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: 684

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: 6813

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: 1218

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: 3742

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: 4147

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: 4789

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: 4147

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: 4147

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: 4147

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: 4147

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: 4147

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: 1818

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...

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