Search found 1079 matches

by curmudgeon
Sun Apr 23, 2017 6:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Are CCRCs a good deal?
Replies: 9
Views: 582

Re: Are CCRCs a good deal?

We've had three family members (or couples) in the older generation of our family go this route. I think all have been pretty well satisfied with their choice. It's definitely something to approach with some care and investigation about the specific facility. You need to look not only at the space, ...
by curmudgeon
Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: More advice for BigLaw Survivor, please?
Replies: 178
Views: 18781

Re: More advice for BigLaw Survivor, please?

For a true master class in tax avoidance, you can lease your primary residence, move into your condo for two years claiming that as your primary residence, sell it without tax consequences, move back into the old place and reclaim it as your residence. W B They closed that particular loophole about...
by curmudgeon
Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: More advice for BigLaw Survivor, please?
Replies: 178
Views: 18781

Re: More advice for BigLaw Survivor, please?

For a true master class in tax avoidance, you can lease your primary residence, move into your condo for two years claiming that as your primary residence, sell it without tax consequences, move back into the old place and reclaim it as your residence. W B They closed that particular loophole about...
by curmudgeon
Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: More advice for BigLaw Survivor, please?
Replies: 178
Views: 18781

Re: More advice for BigLaw Survivor, please?

I'm sure after years of paying six figures in taxes, it was really nice to have a zero tax bill this year. As others have mentioned, though, it's probably not the optimal thing to do over the medium/long term. Once you stop living off of the return of your law firm capital, much of the money for you...
by curmudgeon
Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Obamacare Tax Penalty when insured through a foreign insurer
Replies: 12
Views: 1357

Re: Obamacare Tax Penalty when insured through a foreign insurer

Of course, Obamacare rules are throwing me a curve ball. I am now looking into starting a religion that objects to the use of health insurance, which would exempt me from the penalty :) I was amused to note that the local welfare office isn't sending the certificates of insurance required by ACA to...
by curmudgeon
Sun Apr 16, 2017 5:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New phone..any advantages to buying at Costco?
Replies: 24
Views: 2907

Re: New phone..any advantages to buying at Costco?

I think Costco still only sells contract phones. That's generally a way too be locked into an overpriced plan. If you want something simple and straightforward, Consumer Cellular has decent phones, plans, and good service. You can either buy the phone outright, or pay for it over time. There are che...
by curmudgeon
Sat Apr 15, 2017 10:00 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Capital Gains on Real Estate Sale
Replies: 6
Views: 749

Re: Capital Gains on Real Estate Sale

It really helps to set up a dummy tax return in tax software for this. There are a lot of odd interactions and phaseouts that come in and out in that income range. This, of course, assumes that tax rules stay the same from year to year, which is by no means a given at this point. Perkunas estimate s...
by curmudgeon
Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: You can never go "home" - retirement
Replies: 85
Views: 11812

Re: You can never go "home" - retirement

I think about it occasionally. My home town ticks a lot of retirement bullet items, and I see it mentioned on here sometimes as an ideal spot for retirement. It's expensive, but less so that our current location. But travel connections are poor (which helps preserve it from overbuilding), and we exp...
by curmudgeon
Sun Apr 09, 2017 1:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to get out of ACA limbo situation?
Replies: 12
Views: 1042

Re: How to get out of ACA limbo situation?

Thanks for the feedback. CoveredCA actually has a plan in my area that I am perfectly happy with; I actually prefer it slightly over my previous employer plan, and the cost after subsidy is pretty low. I know this isn't necessarily likely to last, but it will work for this year. The piece I needed t...
by curmudgeon
Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to get out of ACA limbo situation?
Replies: 12
Views: 1042

Re: How to get out of ACA limbo situation?

If you think you will not get a subsidy for 2017, you can go directly to the insurers who will sell you ACA compliant health insurance for a straight monthly premium. That's what I have done for the period between full-time employment and Medicare. Good luck. I have the ability to "manage"...
by curmudgeon
Sat Apr 08, 2017 11:29 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to get out of ACA limbo situation?
Replies: 12
Views: 1042

How to get out of ACA limbo situation?

The Setting: I have just retired, and I thought the short term health insurance situation was settled, even if the medium term (until medicare) is still somewhat cloudy. The plan was to switch to an ACA plan through CoveredCA using the special enrollment period corresponding to my employer coverage ...
by curmudgeon
Fri Apr 07, 2017 6:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: HVAC H-E-L-P! Water leaking from intake (return)
Replies: 12
Views: 518

Re: HVAC H-E-L-P! Water leaking from intake (return)

You can get a remote camera on a probe to look around up there. You can even just wave your smartphone around and take some pictures to start with. That might give you some more clues. Sometimes the flashing around the roof opening is just not quite right, and water is getting underneath it from fur...
by curmudgeon
Thu Apr 06, 2017 11:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Calif Tax Refund Length of Time to Receive
Replies: 12
Views: 830

Re: Calif Tax Refund Length of Time to Receive

I e-filed CA in early March, got a check in about 3 weeks. Up until a few years ago they were pretty quick on dealing with paper filings as well, but it wouldn't surprise me if they have gotten slower now.
by curmudgeon
Thu Apr 06, 2017 4:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Fire HD 10" tablet
Replies: 8
Views: 792

Re: Amazon Fire HD 10" tablet

If you are satisfied with the limitations of the Amazon app store, it would be fine. I found the app limits a bit of a nuisance, so my smaller fire tablet mostly gathers dust. If you only use a few apps, it may be fine.
by curmudgeon
Thu Apr 06, 2017 4:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Help on how to spend more on myself (First World Whine)
Replies: 93
Views: 5193

Re: Help on how to spend more on myself (First World Whine)

Jonathan Clements has a book titled How to Think About Money . He has some ideas on how to squeeze out more happiness out of the dollars you have. Just to be clear, I am not unhappy nor do I feel deprived. Frankly I am as content as I have ever been almost zen like for the most part except in traff...
by curmudgeon
Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Enjoying the journey to retirement
Replies: 23
Views: 2274

Re: Enjoying the journey to retirement

It's kind of funny. I was on a similar path of knowing I was getting closer to retirement, doing some specific planning and preparation, but reasonably content and occupied by my work. The finances were pretty well in place, and I sometimes joked that I was only continuing to work so we could fly bu...
by curmudgeon
Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: replace or keep car with 60k miles?
Replies: 39
Views: 2992

Re: replace or keep car with 60k miles?

To my mind, transaction costs are what really gets you in changing cars. Unless you are a really great horse trader and willing to spend a fair amount of time, you are better off keeping a car that is reasonably meeting your needs than trying to optimize to some ideal. If you suddenly shifted to a 1...
by curmudgeon
Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying House with Odor (not cigarette)
Replies: 36
Views: 2659

Re: Buying House with Odor (not cigarette)

I will agree the dealing with odors (or possibly allergens) can be a challenge. Carpeting can be a likely source (either pet/whatever in the old carpet or off-gassing from new carpet). If it is just the carpet, it might be manageable, but sometimes it is into the subfloor or walls and would be a maj...
by curmudgeon
Mon Apr 03, 2017 7:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Did you and your spouse have different opinions on retirement income need?
Replies: 31
Views: 2415

Re: Did you and your spouse have different opinions on retirement income need?

For most of us, there are a set of trade-offs around various luxuries in our lives. Keeping up a second home, whether an apartment in the city, or a beach cottage, or a mountain cabin, is a luxury that has to be balanced against other priorities. Retiring early could be another luxury, or extensive ...
by curmudgeon
Mon Apr 03, 2017 3:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Europe Cell Roaming after July 2017 Question
Replies: 18
Views: 597

Re: Europe Cell Roaming after July 2017 Question

Hopefully you will get some more current info; this is something I will want to track for myself as well. Even 18 months ago, the roaming charges for voice and sms were pretty minimal. Data was the challenge across country boundaries. We were buying in Spain, and most available plans only supported ...
by curmudgeon
Sun Apr 02, 2017 6:41 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Some 'hints' about brokered CDs
Replies: 15
Views: 1752

Re: Some 'hints' about brokered CDs

A timely thread for me, as I expect to build a few years of a fixed income ladder in the next few months. I'm chewing over options of individual bonds, brokered CDs, direct CDs, and bond funds. I will probably end up with a mixture.
by curmudgeon
Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone Familiar w/ Uber/Lyft Taxation?
Replies: 7
Views: 840

Re: Anyone Familiar w/ Uber/Lyft Taxation?

I'm not directly familiar with this, but I wonder if some of the other fees could be things like airport taxes or insurance costs (since Uber provides coverage while actually driving for them)? So one fee is the Uber slice of the fare directly to the company, and the other is other costs not include...
by curmudgeon
Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Insurance Options - family with 1 part-time job
Replies: 16
Views: 984

Re: Health Insurance Options - family with 1 part-time job

If you *want* to stay off medicaid (various reasons why you might or might not), be careful in planning your income, especially in a transition year. Many folks would prefer a subsidized ACA plan, but it can be tricky dealing with the details of the income qualification. I've started trying to navig...
by curmudgeon
Mon Mar 27, 2017 6:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Versatile economical RV recommendations for a frugal retiree?
Replies: 59
Views: 3956

Re: Versatile economical RV recommendations for a frugal retiree?

I would probably be inclined to start in one of two ways: 1) minimalist - just a taller camper shell and build in a good bed/mattress. For the rest of it, a camp stove , cooler, and folding chair. For one person, in much of the west, this will work fine. If the weather is bad, just head back home (o...
by curmudgeon
Mon Mar 27, 2017 6:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Using Schwab for primary checking account
Replies: 18
Views: 1443

Re: Using Schwab for primary checking account

Thanks for several good points on how to configure a Schwab bank account to have less risk to my overall investments. These may make me more inclined to make use of this myself.
by curmudgeon
Sat Mar 25, 2017 1:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Thoughts on bicycle route from Amsterdam to Passau, Germany
Replies: 15
Views: 1278

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: 15
Views: 1278

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: 612

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: 5393

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: 2032

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: 1529

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: 2246

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: 1179

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: 410

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: 1461

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: 18248

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: 1594

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: 4083

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: 5617

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: 3154

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: 8810

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: 8810

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: 9016

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: 8810

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: 388

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: 462

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: 2046

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: 388

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: 307

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...

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