Search found 831 matches

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: 3083

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: 3083

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: 328

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: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Early retirees, how much did you leave on the table?
Replies: 180
Views: 11423

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: 1125

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: 1125

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: 60
Views: 7922

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: 666

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: 685

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...
by curmudgeon
Wed Jul 20, 2016 7:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: IRS questioning my backdoor roth?
Replies: 32
Views: 3749

Re: IRS questioning my backdoor roth?

My memory is that several years ago TurboTax was not at all intuitive in handling backdoor Roth. You had to do some contortions and magic incantations to get it to spit out the correct forms for filing. If you didn't work things through carefully, you could end up in this situation. I think they've ...
by curmudgeon
Wed Jul 20, 2016 6:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should IRA lose money?
Replies: 30
Views: 1721

Re: Should IRA lose money?

It sounds like you are in the military currently, and so you get a pension, but not matching for the TSP. That's OK, you still probably should open a TSP account and put more focus on that over an IRA. If you don't have much knowledge of investing, I'd suggest just starting with a Target Date fund (...
by curmudgeon
Wed Jul 20, 2016 6:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Removing Broken Bolts
Replies: 54
Views: 3260

Re: Removing Broken Bolts

What is the difference between a left hand drill bit an an easy out? A left hand drill bit is just like an ordinary drill bit, except that the sharpened cutting edge faces the other (counter-clockwise) direction. It is meant to be used with the drill in reverse. An easy out is a piece of tool steel...
by curmudgeon
Wed Jul 20, 2016 4:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Removing Broken Bolts
Replies: 54
Views: 3260

Re: Removing Broken Bolts

What is the difference between a left hand drill bit an an easy out? A left hand drill bit is just like an ordinary drill bit, except that the sharpened cutting edge faces the other (counter-clockwise) direction. It is meant to be used with the drill in reverse. An easy out is a piece of tool steel...
by curmudgeon
Tue Jul 19, 2016 1:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Most economical overseas travels
Replies: 22
Views: 1921

Re: Most economical overseas travels

You may have specific priorities and interests that push you towards particular regions and locations. Getting a great deal to go somewhere that you won't really enjoy is like buying junk that just fills up your garage. Although keeping an open mind on locations can also lead to pleasant surprises. ...
by curmudgeon
Mon Jul 18, 2016 4:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Understanding I-orp Logic
Replies: 3
Views: 369

Re: Understanding I-orp Logic

The first point, of course, is to make sure that you have gotten all the data in cleanly, and understand the meaning of each field correctly. If I play with it, I definitely have to sanity check the results because I occasionally misinterpret a definition (or enter monthly amounts for annual, or don...
by curmudgeon
Sun Jul 17, 2016 7:45 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Early retiree: 3% SWR or 4% SWR for planning purposes?
Replies: 61
Views: 4803

Re: Early retiree: 3% SWR or 4% SWR for planning purposes?

So it's clear I'm a little stressed at work? :P Appreciate all the advice and pointers, lots to think about in the thread and lots of good advice. I'm going to do a check on where we are at the end of the year and then plan things from there. Really appreciate your insight here, thanks! I would giv...
by curmudgeon
Sun Jul 17, 2016 7:11 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Just got back from Europe...ready to sell my International...
Replies: 82
Views: 9387

Re: Just got back from Europe...ready to sell my International...

I dunno. I've actually been keeping an eye out towards buying some international (as a market timing move). It was on my schedule to evaluate around now, but I don't think the time is ripe yet, so on the back burner for another 6 months. No guarantee I will actually pull the trigger but if the excha...
by curmudgeon
Sun Jul 17, 2016 12:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Life Lease for condo
Replies: 9
Views: 794

Re: Life Lease for condo

An interesting concept, but like all less-proven "interesting concepts" you definitely want to do your due diligence. I would want to look into the financial structures involved to understand both the current strengths of the operation and the potential future paths. This might be somethin...
by curmudgeon
Sat Jul 16, 2016 4:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: how long should a practice retirement be?
Replies: 22
Views: 2192

Re: how long should a practice retirement be?

About 10 years ago I took 9 months off. I was burned out, and not sure if I wanted to do some form of ER or not. 9 months was a good amount of time to do a variety of projects and activities without time pressure. Eventually I realized I wasn't quite ready to retire then (mid-40's) and went back to ...
by curmudgeon
Fri Jul 15, 2016 9:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Sell Condo to pay off Student Loans?
Replies: 112
Views: 4670

Re: Sell Condo to pay off Student Loans?

You need to take a holistic view of your finances. There's a saying that "money is fungible", which means that money you put into one area tends to come from another. If you sell your condo to pay down student debt, then you have to pay rent, potentially for the rest of your life. It might...
by curmudgeon
Fri Jul 15, 2016 2:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Township wants me to pay business tax on my rental property income. Are they right?
Replies: 15
Views: 1827

Re: Township wants me to pay business tax on my rental property income. Are they right?

I personally would just "round-file" the letter. No way would I be sending copies of my personal income tax records to somebody sending out trolling letters. If they really want them, they can (try to) subpoena them. That said, you probably opened the can of worms by registering the rental...
by curmudgeon
Fri Jul 15, 2016 11:12 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Yahoo Finance redesign
Replies: 42
Views: 3793

Re: Yahoo Finance redesign

I noticed the layout change this morning on Firefox on Linux and was mildly disappointed because the new layout changed the order of the ETFs I track with a bookmarked URL that has all my tickers separated by commas. I had it neatly organized according to domestic funds, international funds, and bo...
by curmudgeon
Thu Jul 14, 2016 2:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 22 days Eurail Global Pass for Scenic Rail Journeys in Europe
Replies: 35
Views: 2522

Re: 22 days Eurail Global Pass for Scenic Rail Journeys in Europe

Hi DiehardDoc,

It's always nice when people come back to give an update on how things went. Any particular highlights for you (or lowlights)? Spending some time in Slovenia and Croatia has been on our list for a while, but hasn't yet bubbled up to the top; maybe if we retire next year...
by curmudgeon
Wed Jul 13, 2016 9:03 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Early retirement: We're close, right?
Replies: 3
Views: 1143

Re: Early retirement: We're close, right?

Sounds reasonable. When the dependents drop off the tax return, the taxes likely go up a chunk. There's a long thread around here about paying near zero taxes in ER with kids/college deductions. Health insurance is one planning challenge, as it tends to get substantially more expensive as you age. R...
by curmudgeon
Wed Jul 13, 2016 8:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Car Buying Dilemma
Replies: 53
Views: 4377

Re: Car Buying Dilemma

Shop around and you should be able to get a *new* Altima for about $17K +tax/lic. Most people would stay down a step, at Corolla/Sentra level for a first car, though. Aside from the cost, the slightly smaller size makes parking easier. While it's nice to be able to pay cash for your cars, in my opin...
by curmudgeon
Wed Jul 13, 2016 6:25 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Yahoo Finance redesign
Replies: 42
Views: 3793

Re: Yahoo Finance redesign

abuss368 wrote:I must be going crazy! I use it every day and I did not notice a difference. I am curious and will look again.


It's only partly rolled out. Mobile devices not affected yet, and possibly some browser or window sizes? I will probably shift to Google Finance.
by curmudgeon
Wed Jul 13, 2016 2:51 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Yahoo Finance redesign
Replies: 42
Views: 3793

replacement for Yahoo Finance?

[Thread merged into here, see below. --admin LadyGeek] So the Yahoos are continuing down their path to irrelevance by trying to turn Yahoo Finance into facebook (at least for desktop users). I've used it for many years, but it keeps going further down the path of more auto-play videos, more bloated...
by curmudgeon
Tue Jul 12, 2016 10:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a Fifth Wheel-Help
Replies: 34
Views: 3138

Re: Buying a Fifth Wheel-Help

death spiral part 3 was posted yesterday. http://rvdailyreport.com/opinion/rv-death-spiral-suppliers-in-a-tough-spot/ I don't think he's written anything worth reading. Reminds me of one of those people you meet at a party who thinks he knows everything that's wrong with the world, and has a soluti...
by curmudgeon
Mon Jul 11, 2016 11:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a Fifth Wheel-Help
Replies: 34
Views: 3138

Re: Buying a Fifth Wheel-Help

Thanks to all for the responses. You have convinced me of the virtues of a "test drive" prior to purchase. I have the TRUCK figured out. Next is the TRAILER decision. I was not aware of the rental possibilities. It turns out that there are many. In fact, you can rent a Trailer on site at ...
by curmudgeon
Sat Jul 09, 2016 10:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Getting rid of Credit cards
Replies: 34
Views: 3070

Re: Getting rid of Credit cards

My personal rule is to keep at least two credit cards, from different issuers, so that fraud/problems/whatever with one will still leave me with a backup. I don't use debit cards, because I don't like the direct link into my bank account. There may be specific reasons (cash back, Costco link, foreig...
by curmudgeon
Sat Jul 09, 2016 10:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Building a (taxable) Bridge to Retirement
Replies: 39
Views: 3245

Re: Building a (taxable) Bridge to Retirement

We have four options for the bridge, due more to circumstances than specific planning: 1) Substantial taxable account as a result of some unusually high income years. It does have large cap gains associated, though. 2) Large pool of home equity projected from downsizing and moving from HCOL to MCOL ...
by curmudgeon
Sat Jul 09, 2016 9:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do I use stopovers and open-jaws to get the most out of travel?
Replies: 8
Views: 1097

Re: How do I use stopovers and open-jaws to get the most out of travel?

We have used open-jaw for many years on our trips as an efficiency measure. Some locations are more conducive than others, of course. Stopovers were less common because we usually were trying spend most of our time at our destination, and not that anxious to add one more to/from airport exercise at ...
by curmudgeon
Fri Jul 08, 2016 5:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Can I get a little house or townhouse for under $400K in Maryland or Virginia?
Replies: 59
Views: 4291

Re: Can I get a little house or townhouse for under $400K in Maryland or Virginia?

redfin.com is a good site for browsing real estate listings. You can set a variety of search parameters and filters, and use a map view. Sometimes adding in Google street view for particular locations can help give some context to the neighborhood. I would give some consideration to the "over-5...
by curmudgeon
Fri Jul 08, 2016 12:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 1031 exchange - tax reduction or elimination?
Replies: 14
Views: 1234

Re: 1031 exchange - tax reduction or elimination?

Use the proceeds to buy other investments in real estate in a 1031 setting. Rent it over two tax years (one rental year where you claim rental income over two tax years), move in after, live there for two years, sell the house and claim the $500,000 exclusion for principal residence. I thought this...
by curmudgeon
Thu Jul 07, 2016 10:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 1031 exchange - tax reduction or elimination?
Replies: 14
Views: 1234

Re: 1031 exchange - tax reduction or elimination?

Note that the value of what he is exchanging to needs to be at least equal to the value of what he is selling, not just the amount of the capital gains (I think you were aware of that, but just wanted to point it out). Lots of options for property management in Hawaii due to the nature of the market...
by curmudgeon
Thu Jul 07, 2016 5:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Trip to Scotland Balance Cash or Miles?
Replies: 3
Views: 198

Re: Trip to Scotland Balance Cash or Miles?

If you are talking about paying in pounds by check on a US bank, then definitely pay by credit card. Paper checks tend to be expensive and difficult to deal with for the payee in that scenario. If your check is local currency (or possibly euro), then it might be less of a problem.
by curmudgeon
Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 361
Views: 33424

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Thanks for the thoughts on global entry, bfwolf and chiefilini.... I will likely do something with that feature. If you are thinking about doing Global Entry, start sooner rather than later. The wait for an interview slot (only available at a few locations nationwide) can be really long (like over ...
by curmudgeon
Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Costco Tires - Anyone ever frustrated?
Replies: 86
Views: 5619

Re: Costco Tires - Anyone ever frustrated?

Costcos in my area (there are three that are reasonably convenient to get to in the course of a week) normally have pretty long waits for tire service. I've bought our tires there for many years, because the combination of price, service, and nationwide reach was attractive. The time factor is getti...
by curmudgeon
Wed Jul 06, 2016 2:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a Fifth Wheel-Help
Replies: 34
Views: 3138

Re: Buying a Fifth Wheel-Help

Definitely think hard about the use model you expect. Long road trips? State parks? Snowbirding? Each will push in different directions for the choices. I haven't seen many fifth-wheel rentals in the US, but I did see some a few years ago in Canada (Rockies area). It might be worth investigating. Do...
by curmudgeon
Wed Jul 06, 2016 1:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Input wanted on where to live
Replies: 10
Views: 809

Re: Input wanted on where to live

The city-data forums are a potential source of deeper info on various places you might consider. But be aware that a lot of folks find it challenging to relocate in retirement without something that gives them specific ties to the area. A specific retirement community will have lots of other folks l...
by curmudgeon
Wed Jul 06, 2016 12:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Insurance for Retirees ?
Replies: 35
Views: 4809

Re: Health Insurance for Retirees ?

Ken, If you are not eligible for subsidy under ACA, then COBRA is definitely worth considering at retirement. At least until the next year when you have less income, and possibly for the full 18 months. This can especially be the case if you are part of a large group with younger workers, as the act...
by curmudgeon
Tue Jul 05, 2016 1:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Experiences with "speed ovens" (combo microwave/convection)
Replies: 8
Views: 706

Re: Experiences with "speed ovens" (combo microwave/convection)

Thanks for the feedback. We went around in circles with this for a couple of days, and finally ended up just going with our option 1 (standard built-in microwave plus single convection oven) that fit the existing space/circuits. Biggest factor was avoiding the need to run a new 20-amp circuit for th...
by curmudgeon
Sat Jul 02, 2016 4:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Experiences with "speed ovens" (combo microwave/convection)
Replies: 8
Views: 706

Experiences with "speed ovens" (combo microwave/convection)

Looking at replacing the current wall oven in the kitchen. My wife would have a preference for a double oven, but they don't quite fit the space available. The existing layout is a single conventional oven with a built-in microwave above. Trying to decide among the following options: 1) Single conve...
by curmudgeon
Sat Jul 02, 2016 10:51 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: $400,000 Roth Conversions Between Ages 66-69?
Replies: 109
Views: 10513

Re: $400,000 Roth Conversions Between Ages 66-69?

Gotta tell you, I've tried to use http://www.i-orp.com multiple times, and given up in frustration every time. It's just a hard program to get a handle on and feel comfortable using. Maybe I'll try again, for the 10th time ..... I have to agree that i-orp can be a challenge. The first thing is to t...
by curmudgeon
Fri Jul 01, 2016 8:12 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: $400,000 Roth Conversions Between Ages 66-69?
Replies: 109
Views: 10513

Re: $400,000 Roth Conversions Between Ages 66-69?

Play with http://www.i-orp.com to get some pictures of various scenarios. It takes some time to get a feel of the various pieces and how they interact. It is possible to misinterpret what to put in for some of the input data, so look at the outputs in some depth to make sure you understand why it is...
by curmudgeon
Fri Jul 01, 2016 4:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: LONG: Help in deciding on a refinance for house repair....
Replies: 11
Views: 573

Re: LONG: Help in deciding on a refinance for house repair....

At this age, you can start making a bit more detailed plans about what you expect your income and expenses to look like in retirement. I tend to think of up through your forties, you just put money in 401K/investments, but there are too many unknowns to actually plan in detail. Now you are reaching ...
by curmudgeon
Thu Jun 30, 2016 4:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do we have enough to retire?
Replies: 87
Views: 6482

Re: Do we have enough to retire?

A few thoughts on the original theme: 1) Don't waste much time on the retirement models. The timeframe is too long, and the uncertainties too great. 30 years, where a good portion of the expenses can be covered by drawing down your capital (and you have other income sources) is very different than 6...
by curmudgeon
Wed Jun 29, 2016 6:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How best to take little kids sightseeing?
Replies: 37
Views: 2326

Re: How best to take little kids sightseeing?

Sightseeing is pretty much drudgery for kids at that age. Playgrounds (or the hotel pool) and other kids are much more fun. Around age 11 it might start getting better, but still with some care in selection of what you are doing. Younger than that, and you are mostly just trying to keep them (and yo...
by curmudgeon
Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Will - Remarried with Troubled Kids
Replies: 37
Views: 4974

Re: Will - Remarried with Troubled Kids

I would say that I am not necessarily in favor of completely disinheriting troubled kids, even those in prison or with drug problems. There are lots of factors that can be at play that can't be judged clearly in an internet posting. Trying to leave money only to grandkids could create some significa...
by curmudgeon
Thu Jun 23, 2016 9:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: AMT + Disallowed Property Tax = Home Basis?
Replies: 9
Views: 693

Re: AMT + Disallowed Property Tax = Home Basis?

You sound wildly optimistic on what you are trying to include. If it was a rental property, maybe, (though still not necessarily in the basis). "Maintain" is pretty specifically excluded as well.

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