Search found 739 matches

by curmudgeon
Sun May 29, 2016 1:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying and Selling Home via Redfin
Replies: 3
Views: 410

Re: Buying and Selling Home via Redfin

I watch the (fairly hot) RE market in my area regularly. I haven't seen any differences in the speed of sales whether houses are listed via Redfin or not. The agents on the other side of the transaction are generally getting a fairly standard commission. It's more of a question on the sell side if t...
by curmudgeon
Sun May 29, 2016 12:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Consumer Cellular - plan changes, eliminating overage charges
Replies: 11
Views: 742

Re: Consumer Cellular - plan changes, eliminating overage charges

I had to think about this for a bit when I got that email, but I'm actually content enough with the new process. With an overall reasonable bill, I don't pay too much attention, but I suspect we are over-provisioned (higher plan than we really need). This will let me shift it down a notch and not wo...
by curmudgeon
Fri May 27, 2016 2:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Advice on chemist going back for chemE?
Replies: 20
Views: 1106

Re: Advice on chemist going back for chemE?

I'm not in either field, so take this with a grain of salt. One concern I would have in making assumptions about compensation futures is whether the ChemE compensation has been somewhat skewed up by oil industry demand, and might skew down at an inopportune time. All those salary surveys tend to hav...
by curmudgeon
Fri May 27, 2016 10:55 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Circular Saw
Replies: 18
Views: 700

Re: Circular Saw

There are definitely worn out saws to be found on craigslist or garage sales. Contractors can be pretty hard on tools. If the bearings are badly worn, the blade will not track well (you can see it swerve a bit when the saw is started). I might be inclined to buy standard homeowners grade tools new f...
by curmudgeon
Thu May 26, 2016 8:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 10% down jumbo loan with no PMI
Replies: 3
Views: 456

Re: 10% down jumbo loan with no PMI

Jumbo loans tend to play by their own set of slightly different rules, as you are finding. You still want to really look at the details, as sometimes there are little other quirks under the cover of the headline rate. If you are tied into only one lender option, that could cost you a bit if rates sh...
by curmudgeon
Thu May 26, 2016 8:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Inherited IRA with RMDs in peak earning years -- other options?
Replies: 24
Views: 1558

Re: Inherited IRA with RMDs in peak earning years -- other options?

A quick google search indicates that gifting RMDs (known as QCD, or Qualified Charitable Distribution) is only available after age 70.5 And you can't have a Roth conversion count as the RMD, though you can do a Roth conversion of inherited IRA. Depending on the circumstances, and other investments/...
by curmudgeon
Thu May 26, 2016 7:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Inherited IRA with RMDs in peak earning years -- other options?
Replies: 24
Views: 1558

Re: Inherited IRA with RMDs in peak earning years -- other options?

A quick google search indicates that gifting RMDs (known as QCD, or Qualified Charitable Distribution) is only available after age 70.5 And you can't have a Roth conversion count as the RMD, though you can do a Roth conversion of inherited IRA. Depending on the circumstances, and other investments/f...
by curmudgeon
Thu May 26, 2016 6:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a vacation property in Florida
Replies: 14
Views: 1691

Re: Buying a vacation property in Florida

It is worth understanding how the local RE market is really working in that area. Some locations tend to have a greater spread between list prices and actual sale prices. Some areas have lots of listings that are at inflated, "make my day" prices, where the sellers are not really serious. ...
by curmudgeon
Thu May 26, 2016 2:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Forced use of automatic ACH withdrawals?
Replies: 18
Views: 1514

Re: Forced use of automatic ACH withdrawals?

I personally would strongly avoid doing business with an organization which required this. If it was a very unique service and very important to me, I would set up a special account for only this type of transfers, and transfer funds to it accordingly on a month-by-month or case-by-case basis.
by curmudgeon
Wed May 25, 2016 11:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Need what to do advice for elderly relative w/ memory loss.
Replies: 12
Views: 1103

Re: Need what to do advice for elderly relative w/ memory loss.

It's a tough situation when there is no clear path or pre-planning. Often there is what I would think of as a "grey area", where a person is not clearly incompetent, but is also not well able to deal with the complexities of modern life. Change is hard to adapt to when you are older. Somet...
by curmudgeon
Wed May 25, 2016 9:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Painting stucco home. Any experience?
Replies: 6
Views: 781

Re: Painting stucco home. Any experience?

The nice thing about stucco is that if you leave it alone, it doesn't require regular repainting ... Of course, if you don't like the color, there's not much you can do. But once you paint it, it will require repainting forever more. The paint may last well, or not, but you can't go back. I have see...
by curmudgeon
Mon May 23, 2016 5:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Advice on house
Replies: 12
Views: 1131

Re: Advice on house

300 feet is far enough that I think the affects on your house value would mostly be aesthetic. That is, if you had a nice view out that direction, and it gains powerlines in the middle, it will have some negative impact to value. The degree would be specific to your location and RE market. I might t...
by curmudgeon
Mon May 23, 2016 5:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: A toughie... Trust and Will but no one to ask... what to do?
Replies: 12
Views: 1074

Re: A toughie... Trust and Will but no one to ask... what to do?

I'm the executor for a friend. She thought I have the most financial knowledge. You can update it later if your friends died. Can I ask your opinion on something, as it's going on right now in my family....the executor of my grandmothers estate (eldest daughter) is wanting to take the "compens...
by curmudgeon
Thu May 19, 2016 9:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is living in the Bay Area this difficult?
Replies: 49
Views: 7409

Re: Is living in the Bay Area this difficult?

In general, I'd categorize this as silly clickbait (actually a bit worse, as a come-on to suck people into their "wealth management" services by implying they need special help). It does illustrate the power of compounding, where if you start with fractionally bogus assumptions and compoun...
by curmudgeon
Thu May 19, 2016 3:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Financing a move from one house to another
Replies: 29
Views: 1804

Re: Financing a move from one house to another

I think a key point here is TANSTAAFL. But while there may be no free lunch, there are certainly overpriced or bad ones to avoid... As a boglehead, the point is not so much to avoid spending money, but to gain good value for it. This case involves some significant chunks of net worth, so it is defin...
by curmudgeon
Tue May 17, 2016 11:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Financing a move from one house to another
Replies: 29
Views: 1804

Re: Financing a move from one house to another

Seems like there are really two concerns here. One is being excessively weighted to RE, by owning two HCOL houses at once. Higher priced houses generally take longer (sometime much longer) to sell, and if another panic like 2008 came along, that could stretch out even more. I'm personally not such a...
by curmudgeon
Tue May 17, 2016 6:38 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Early retirement: how to protect savings needed before age 59.5 against inflation?
Replies: 14
Views: 2314

Re: Early retirement: how to protect savings needed before age 59.5 against inflation?

It is possible to tap a trad IRA without penalty before age 59.5. See https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Substantially_equal_periodic_payments Consequently, I would not alter the asset allocation of my taxable account to lower downside risk or inflation risk for that specific account. Instead I would ...
by curmudgeon
Sat May 14, 2016 3:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you move after your home has appreciated by $500K?
Replies: 38
Views: 3551

Re: Do you move after your home has appreciated by $500K?

It is a relatively narrow population group who faces this particular issue. I did in fact put it on my mental checklist when we bought our current house, but it is something I would only weigh together with other factors. As an example, my mother kept her house until she had a very substantial tax b...
by curmudgeon
Fri May 13, 2016 3:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Free afternoon and evening in San Jose, CA
Replies: 36
Views: 1795

Re: Free afternoon and evening in San Jose, CA

If you like outdoors type stuff, then definitely look into renting a car for the day (should be some options near the convention center). Going up hwy 9 or 17 into the mountains towards the west you can see the redwoods in Big Basin or Henry Cowell state parks, then drop down into Santa Cruz for the...
by curmudgeon
Thu May 12, 2016 7:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cell Plans
Replies: 22
Views: 1867

Re: Cell Plans

Are you sure you are using your full amount of data? Or is your usage so low it doesn't even register? Check your usage once a day (or week), and see how it is moving. If you aren't watching video, you shouldn't be getting anywhere near that usage. Depending on your phone specifics, you can probably...
by curmudgeon
Thu May 12, 2016 5:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: When is cash better than plastic?
Replies: 74
Views: 6608

Re: When is cash better than plastic?

I use cash at most small establishments. Not so much to save them the merchant fee (handling cash has costs as well), but because I'm not fully convinced of the security of their credit card processing systems. Not a perfect solution, big stores get hacked too, but we have had very little problem wi...
by curmudgeon
Thu May 12, 2016 1:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Costco Car Rental-Any Experience
Replies: 25
Views: 2869

Re: Costco Car Rental-Any Experience

For rentals in the US, Costco is a good first stop. Prices do vary over time, so if you reserved well in advance, it can pay to check back later. I didn't find them a good option for car rentals in Europe, though.
by curmudgeon
Tue May 10, 2016 3:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Has your workplace transitioned to "open/collaborative space?"
Replies: 51
Views: 4177

Re: Has your workplace transitioned to "open/collaborative space?"

In 35 years in the tech industry, I've had them all. Cube farms are depressing, but tolerable. Current management started making lots of noise about going to new open-plan office space. The engineering staff met the concept with torches and pitchforks, being loud and vocal about it at every opportun...
by curmudgeon
Tue May 10, 2016 3:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a house for an adult child (child adult?)
Replies: 94
Views: 8166

Re: Buying a house for an adult child (child adult?)

I would dig out the book "The millionaire next door" by Tom Stanley, and maybe the follow on book, and make sure your wife reads the chapters on "Economic Outpatient Care". It brings together a number of the themes mentioned here, and being a bestseller book may carry more credib...
by curmudgeon
Tue May 10, 2016 3:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Noise Reduction
Replies: 59
Views: 4609

Re: Noise Reduction

A concrete block wall (or earth berm) can make a significant noise reduction. A solid fence is less effective. Planting trees or hedges do little for noise, though they give a nice visual break and can be more effective than fences or walls in sheltering from winds. There are techniques for sound ma...
by curmudgeon
Mon May 09, 2016 3:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cities good for living abroad?
Replies: 110
Views: 10021

Re: Cities good for living abroad?

Missed this thread the first time around... We have been considering some similar concepts in early retirement. Lots of good points have been brought up already. Some additional thoughts: 1) Schengen visa limits need to be considered, but just because having 90 days (for US citizens) is trivial does...
by curmudgeon
Fri May 06, 2016 5:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Primary Residence Capital Gain over 500K Strategy question
Replies: 17
Views: 1987

Re: Primary Residence Capital Gain over 500K Strategy question

There are previous threads here on the issue. This is something to keep an eye on. What makes sense for you personally will depend on a variety of factors. Keeping track of improvement costs to add to your basis is useful (but remember that many expenses such as paint, roof, etc count as repairs not...
by curmudgeon
Fri May 06, 2016 2:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Couples: Are you and your significant other on the same page financially?
Replies: 65
Views: 5794

Re: Couples: Are you and your significant other on the same page financially?

Are you and your significant other on the same page financially? We are and that's a major reason that we have been married for over 55 years. I should add that I have done all of the investing and watched our retirement savings carefully. She won't learn....she just won't. That worries me, but wha...
by curmudgeon
Thu May 05, 2016 8:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anybody have success reducing memory overhead on windows computers?
Replies: 22
Views: 1946

Re: Anybody have success reducing memory overhead on windows computers?

I have found that a number of anti-virus programs can get really clunky when they have been installed for too long (haven't noticed this with Msft Win Defender yet). I think it has to do with the way they keep adding new rules and checks on top of old ones. You might try uninstalling any outside ant...
by curmudgeon
Mon May 02, 2016 6:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Medicare help!
Replies: 25
Views: 2574

Re: Medicare help!

If you plan to travel out of the country, remember that traditional medicare (alone) will not cover you there. Medigap/Advantage plans generally do, or you could go with specific travel insurance for those cases.
by curmudgeon
Mon May 02, 2016 5:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Transitioning Family Members from HSA to ACA
Replies: 7
Views: 878

Re: Transitioning Family Members from HSA to ACA

It is definitely important to understand how and when open/special enrollment periods work with this. Details can matter. I don't know if you transitioning to medicare would automatically provide a special enrollment window to be able to transition mid-year. And maybe the fact that you would be tran...
by curmudgeon
Mon May 02, 2016 5:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Couples: Are you and your significant other on the same page financially?
Replies: 65
Views: 5794

Re: Couples: Are you and your significant other on the same page financially?

My wife and I were largely on the same page when we married 35 years ago, and have converged even more over the years. We've learned a lot together over the years to better differentiate between "cost" and "value". We tend to talk over purchases with each other, and value each ot...
by curmudgeon
Mon May 02, 2016 3:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do Bogleheads TRAVEL?
Replies: 81
Views: 8147

Re: How to Bogleheads TRAVEL?

One of the nice things about travel is that there are lots of ways to go. I'm not sure Bogleheads fall into any particular bucket as to quality and frugality. It's more a matter of thoughtful choices and getting value for the money. For some folks, the value comes from spending very little money, wh...
by curmudgeon
Fri Apr 29, 2016 3:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: koobface anyone?
Replies: 7
Views: 764

Re: koobface anyone?

You probably didn't actually get in contact with HP. Some scammers will buy domains/phone numbers similar to HP's for this kind of scam. I believe that's just what happened. I made a mistake and Googled HP printer support. Got to something that really looked good. Can't find it now. If you click on...
by curmudgeon
Fri Apr 22, 2016 1:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wintering in Australia - Any Financial Tips or Others ?.....
Replies: 10
Views: 1432

Re: Wintering in Austraila - Any Financial Tips or Others ?.....

Oh, a couple of additional points: Make sure you understand your visa limitations. There can be stay limits, and Australia does (or did) actually do some level of check before granting it; it's not just a stamp on entry. Probably not an issue, but worth being sure. I've heard that there can be signi...
by curmudgeon
Thu Apr 21, 2016 5:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wintering in Australia - Any Financial Tips or Others ?.....
Replies: 10
Views: 1432

Re: Wintering in Austraila - Any Financial Tips or Others ?.....

I don't have much to offer here, but I will be interested to follow along this thread, as we are keeping an eye on this type of option for the future. A couple of stray points: you can sometimes hit decent flight options through New Zealand, and throw in a stopover there on the way to Oz via AirNZ (...
by curmudgeon
Tue Apr 12, 2016 4:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Selling a house with solar panels
Replies: 38
Views: 3986

Re: Selling a house with solar panels

My understanding is that solar panels that have a leasing agreement actually decreases the value of the house. It can actually be a hassle to get the new owner to accept the agreement, and if they don't you have to buy out the lease. Where as, solar panels that have been purchased outright, slightl...
by curmudgeon
Mon Apr 11, 2016 4:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Online Tax Filing Hitch - cannot locate any tips or help
Replies: 3
Views: 318

Re: Online Tax Filing Hitch - cannot locate any tips or help

Sometime the "efficient" electronic mode is not worth hassling that much. Just print the form, fill it out by hand, and mail it in.
by curmudgeon
Mon Apr 11, 2016 3:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax Question: Renting out and renting
Replies: 7
Views: 505

Re: Tax Question: Renting out and renting

There are some gotcha's if you have significant gains or losses in the value of the place when you finally go to sell. Right now, gains up to $250K (single) would be tax free. If you keep it as a rental several years, those gains would become partially to fully taxable as long-term capital gains (an...
by curmudgeon
Fri Apr 08, 2016 2:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Projecting taxes in retirement
Replies: 23
Views: 2545

Re: Projecting taxes in retirement

I would sit down for an hour or two with taxcaster, running a variety of scenarios and making notes. Very straighforward to use if you have fairly standard income sources like you described. Then maybe spend an hour with i-orp to get a feel for what it recommends. If you do that before you talk to y...
by curmudgeon
Wed Apr 06, 2016 4:14 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 1st time Roth Conversion-- Can I use funds from brokerage account?
Replies: 5
Views: 455

Re: 1st time Roth Conversion-- Can I use funds from brokerage account?

Unfortunately, Simple IRAs have special rules on conversion or rollover :( I think the bottom line is that you have to wait at least two years from when you opened it before doing a rollover/conversion, else you will face a significant penalty. You should do a little digging on this point for yourse...
by curmudgeon
Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Independent up sell? Balancing Tires / Cleaning Brakes?
Replies: 15
Views: 971

Re: Independent up sell? Balancing Tires / Cleaning Brakes?

Overall seems doubtful to me. I'd probably keep looking for another place. I'm personally in the habit of always changing filter along with the oil, as are many folks, so that is pretty normal. But I only rebalance wheels if there is a clear sign of issues, either vibration or wear pattern on the tr...
by curmudgeon
Fri Mar 25, 2016 1:30 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Fisher Investment
Replies: 26
Views: 2597

Re: Fisher Investment

I randomly get fancy-looking marketing materials from them. It just goes straight to the recyle bin unopened along with the timeshare pitches. I don't know anything explicitly wrong with them (other than the amount they spend on marketing), but I have no interest in their services. When/if I want in...
by curmudgeon
Wed Mar 23, 2016 7:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Strategy Games
Replies: 31
Views: 6234

Re: Strategy Games

I'm glad you resurrected this thread. There were a lot of old PC-based strategy games which had pretty good playablity, but haven't survived the operating systems upgrades (and sheer speed of cpus) over the years. Newer games have whizzier graphics, but not better playability. I'll have to take a lo...
by curmudgeon
Wed Mar 23, 2016 7:13 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Withdrawal Strategies for Larger Purchases after Retiring
Replies: 39
Views: 3014

Re: Withdrawal Strategies After Retiring

People like to say "money is fungible", but when it is in tax-deferred accounts, that's not so true, is it? When you have much of your retirement funds wrapped by a tax cost to withdraw, it definitely takes some thought about what is the right way to fund big one-time expenses. I would spe...
by curmudgeon
Wed Mar 23, 2016 6:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: housing: am I just being too picky?
Replies: 60
Views: 6599

Re: housing: am I just being too picky?

typical fees locally are $20,000 to do a short plat (fewer than 10 lots). There is city water, sewer, electricity, and cable right at the street. There would need to be a small road. We can afford the house as is but we would be paying a premium to own a superhuge lot in a desirable area where the ...
by curmudgeon
Wed Mar 23, 2016 3:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: housing: am I just being too picky?
Replies: 60
Views: 6599

Re: housing: am I just being too picky?

On subdividing: Definitely one of those cases where specific local knowledge is key. I would take the time to actually go and talk to the relevant city/county office, to get some perspective, but they very possibly won't want to make any specific statements beyond what is written. RE agents are a bi...
by curmudgeon
Mon Mar 21, 2016 9:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Windows 10
Replies: 54
Views: 5317

Re: Windows 10

I upgraded a low-end (2Gb ram) laptop from Win 8.1 to Win 10 a few weeks ago. I didn't have a ton of apps on it, so didn't really care one way or the other about the user interface. Win 10 just seemed (in) consistently slower, especially on startup. I ended up reverting it back to Win 8.1 I did con...
by curmudgeon
Mon Mar 21, 2016 3:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Windows 10
Replies: 54
Views: 5317

Re: Windows 10

I upgraded a low-end (2Gb ram) laptop from Win 8.1 to Win 10 a few weeks ago. I didn't have a ton of apps on it, so didn't really care one way or the other about the user interface. Win 10 just seemed (in) consistently slower, especially on startup. I ended up reverting it back to Win 8.1 I did cons...
by curmudgeon
Tue Mar 15, 2016 3:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is California income tax-friendly for early retirees?
Replies: 71
Views: 6230

Re: Is California income tax-friendly for early retirees?

One more note about COL for California. While the income tax is not necessarily that bad for a retiree, there are also a lot of what I would call "unfunded mandates" involved in living in CA. There are various "good things" that either the electorate, the legislature, or the bure...

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