Search found 552 matches

by dsmil
Sun Jun 17, 2018 9:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which Supermarket are you?
Replies: 154
Views: 7315

Re: Which Supermarket are you?

Wegmans is my favorite. Price, selection, and the fact that they carry all of the other random things that you need on a daily basis. The Wegmans brand products are always great values. We aren't foodies but I could see foodies enjoying the variety of products offered. We recently moved further away...
by dsmil
Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Boring Job
Replies: 64
Views: 6998

Re: Boring Job

I personally wouldn't quit out of boredom, but a lack of advancement opportunities for a young person is a detriment. If there aren't advancement opportunities or this job doesn't lead to a better job at another company, it might not be the best place for you. I have a boring job but they pay me wel...
by dsmil
Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is your Take Home Pay / Gross Pay ratio?
Replies: 75
Views: 5660

Re: What is your Take Home Pay / Gross Pay ratio?

75% here. 8% for fed/state, 7% for SS/Med, 7% for health/dental, 3% to 401k. We won't owe or receive a refund at tax time.
by dsmil
Fri May 25, 2018 10:35 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do people still use AAA?
Replies: 293
Views: 23914

Re: Do people still use AAA?

We use the heck out of AAA. Two old cars and a ton of flat tires! My guess is that we've been using them 3x per year for the last few years. In a stressful situation when the car won't start, you get a flat tire, or you lock your keys in the car, it's nice to have AAA and not add to that stress.
by dsmil
Wed May 16, 2018 1:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paying off Debt vs. Investing
Replies: 25
Views: 1455

Re: Paying off Debt vs. Investing

Yes, I agree with your post, and this is why we haven't rushed to pay student loans at the cost of investing for retirement. Making the minimum $300 per month student loan payment means that they money is tied up and put to good use. Freeing up that $300 opens up the possibility of increased spending.
by dsmil
Wed May 16, 2018 12:02 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Fellow non-529ers
Replies: 43
Views: 3018

Re: Fellow non-529ers

My primary strategy is to use Roths for college before 529's. $11k per year of contributions should get us pretty far, followed by cash flow, and tapping into home equity if needed. We're 15 years away but this is the plan for now.
by dsmil
Tue May 15, 2018 8:58 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Advice for first time homebuyer
Replies: 12
Views: 1054

Re: Advice for first time homebuyer

I'd make sure that the major systems in the home are in working order before spending a ton of money on appearance upgrades. We immediately spent $10k on carpet and paint, and then realized that the roof was on it's last legs and that the home could use some insulation/sealing upgrades It might be g...
by dsmil
Mon May 14, 2018 7:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sumitomo Tires
Replies: 8
Views: 1199

Re: Sumitomo Tires

I have some Sumitomo HTR A/S tires and they were reasonably priced and I've been happy with them. So far they've gone 4 years and 40k miles. I know nothing about tires though, so you can take my positive experience with a grain of salt.
by dsmil
Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: new thinking under 2018 tax law?
Replies: 21
Views: 3221

Re: new thinking under 2018 tax law?

Nothing other than adjust my paycheck withholdings. Our overall tax bill goes down but our marginal rate goes up from 15% to 22%, so I'll continue to put a premium on tax deductible contributions.
by dsmil
Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Student Loan Re-financing (SoFi, others?) for friend
Replies: 6
Views: 707

Re: Student Loan Re-financing (SoFi, others?) for friend

My wife and I used SoFi to refinance student loans and it was a smooth process. I think that they'll have to do everything separately as we did. We were not offered close to the lowest rate as marketed on their website (the 3.25% that you mention) even though we have great credit scores, so I'm not ...
by dsmil
Thu Apr 19, 2018 12:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Effects of 20% Down payment over time, thoughts?
Replies: 19
Views: 2493

Re: Effects of 20% Down payment over time, thoughts?

Can you get a non-FHA with 3.5%? If not, PMI is now for the life of the loan on FHA, I believe. Did you add that in? The big idea behind 20% down, I think, is that you avoid PMI and your dollars build equity quicker. So even if you move before the lines cross, assuming they are correct, you are sti...
by dsmil
Thu Apr 19, 2018 11:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Effects of 20% Down payment over time, thoughts?
Replies: 19
Views: 2493

Re: Effects of 20% Down payment over time, thoughts?

I don't mind putting less than 20% down on a house because I've done it twice and have been happy with my decision. That being said, I don't think it makes sense to ignore the equity in the home, because you are recovering that additional $41,250 upon selling.
by dsmil
Wed Apr 18, 2018 12:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How old are you and how much do you save for retirement a year
Replies: 244
Views: 30104

Re: How old are you and how much do you save for retirement a year

Me: 30
Wife: 29

We save around $14k per year, which comes to 12% of gross income. 6% to the HSA, 3% to the 401k, and 3% employer contribution.
by dsmil
Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: First iPhone upgrade for VZW Post Contract Subsidies: Where to Buy?
Replies: 6
Views: 461

Re: First iPhone upgrade for VZW Post Contract Subsidies: Where to Buy?

If you do an internet search, you may find deals here and there from the various companies. I also think that you'll be able to make payments on the phone over a period of 2 years, rather than paying for the whole thing up front. The cheapest deals are by finding people who are selling their phone l...
by dsmil
Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How Far is too Far, Commuting?
Replies: 211
Views: 12892

Re: How Far is too Far, Commuting?

A long commute is definitely a negative, so there needs to be something making it worth it (pay, hours at work, job). I'm in the car for 2 hours a day, but I get home before 5 everyday, have a ton of vacation days, a low stress job, and the total time commitment (job + commute) is 50 hours per week,...
by dsmil
Fri Apr 13, 2018 1:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home Maintenance/Upkeep Guide or Planner
Replies: 1
Views: 299

Re: Home Maintenance/Upkeep Guide or Planner

I recently bought "How to Operate Your Home" upon moving into my new house and I really enjoyed it. It summarizes the components of the major systems in the home and provides advice regarding maintenance. https://www.amazon.com/How-Operate-Your-Home-Professional/dp/098320182X https://htoyh.com/ http...
by dsmil
Fri Apr 13, 2018 8:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should you always use a 529?
Replies: 30
Views: 1631

Re: Should you always use a 529?

Are you already maxing a Roth? I like the idea of filling the Roth first, since there is less restrictions on the money. You'll only be able to pull out contributions tax free, but since your earnings will stay in there for retirement, you can decrease your retirement contributions during their coll...
by dsmil
Thu Apr 12, 2018 12:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Could you support family on 1 income?
Replies: 88
Views: 6290

Re: Could you support family on 1 income?

My wife has stayed home since our first child was born 3 years ago, and the plan is for her to stay home for the foreseeable future, unless she wants to go back or we have money issues. She always wanted to stay home, but we didn't really think it would be possible. Luckily, my career has gone bette...
by dsmil
Wed Apr 11, 2018 1:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: To HSA or HSA -- explain like I'm 5.
Replies: 32
Views: 2648

Re: To HSA or HSA -- explain like I'm 5.

It seems like you have low healthcare costs and you'd be getting a free $1,440 of contributions from your employer, plus saving $1,800 in premiums. To me it seems like a slam dunk to do the HSA. You say that you are not in a position to use the HSA as a retirement savings vehicle, but a lot of peopl...
by dsmil
Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:15 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Structuring Newlywed Finances for Fairness and Less Arguments
Replies: 84
Views: 6515

Re: Structuring Newlywed Finances for Fairness and Less Arguments

I think that you always want to communicate that you are on the same team financially, and try to make things as even as possible. While it might be "fair" to say that you work harder and should be able to spend more money, I would only do that if your wife is ok with this. Maybe you start at the sa...
by dsmil
Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Selling audio gear on ebay, 7-day auction or "30-day Buy it now"?
Replies: 20
Views: 1267

Re: Selling audio gear on ebay, 7-day auction or "30-day Buy it now"?

For items that won't get a lot of clicks, buy it now is probably the way to go.
by dsmil
Mon Apr 09, 2018 1:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cash flow problems - best way to handle?
Replies: 134
Views: 8445

Re: Cash flow problems - best way to handle?

I don't think 401k loans are a terrible idea, if you can pay it back and have a stable job. Just find a way to have the loan come from your bond holdings, so you aren't losing possible stock gains.
by dsmil
Fri Apr 06, 2018 8:45 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: House down payment - Smart for anything between 3.5% and 20%?
Replies: 23
Views: 1778

Re: House down payment - Smart for anything between 3.5% and 20%?

If the house is affordable for you, go ahead and pay PMI if you have to. 4% interest rates with some PMI on top is still a great deal historically. If you are putting <20% down, I'd recommend putting 5%, 10%, or 15% down because these amounts will get you to the lower PMI tiers. I did a 3.5% FHA loa...
by dsmil
Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:04 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Thoughts on approach to student loans
Replies: 16
Views: 1057

Re: Thoughts on approach to student loans

I think a lot depends on what other assets you have (emergency funds, retirement, etc.) If you are light on savings and you wipe out all of the debt, you could be unprepared for an emergency situation. If you are meeting your goals in those other areas, it makes wiping out the debt look better.
by dsmil
Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:12 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: HOA vs No-HOA
Replies: 94
Views: 11641

Re: HOA vs No-HOA

A lot has to do with the value per dollar that you are getting with the HOA. In my old townhouse, $75 per month got us common area maintenance, pool membership, tennis courts, and a playground. My sister paid $250 per month for a similar deal, without a pool, so to me that would not be worth it. You...
by dsmil
Wed Mar 28, 2018 1:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How Do You Value Your Home for Net Worth Purposes?
Replies: 150
Views: 9854

Re: How Do You Value Your Home for Net Worth Purposes?

I calculate my net worth with and without the value of my home/mortgage. I used the zillow estimate until I recently moved to my new house, since the zillow estimate isn't very accurate with this one. I'll just use my own estimate until zillow catches up.
by dsmil
Wed Mar 28, 2018 8:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Healthy eaters -- is this grocery budget normal to you?
Replies: 247
Views: 13799

Re: Healthy eaters -- is this grocery budget normal to you?

That's double what we were paying at Wegmans before we had kids. Whole Foods is on the expensive side but Trader Joe's is usually well priced. Are you buying a lot of expensive meat? Substituting expensive meats for things like eggs, rice, beans, or plain greek yogurt is a way to keep the foods heal...
by dsmil
Tue Mar 27, 2018 6:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Savannah or Charleston?
Replies: 49
Views: 4299

Re: Savannah or Charleston?

We went to Charleston for a few days a couple of years ago and it was a great visit. Our son was 9 months old so we mostly walked around, went to the shops and out to eat, and did a couple of tours. I just sent an email to a co-worker and recommended Charleston so here is what I recommended: “Free” ...
by dsmil
Fri Mar 23, 2018 2:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: "free" ticket w/ miles or pay $?
Replies: 24
Views: 1247

Re: "free" ticket w/ miles or pay $?

I'd go with miles, personally, but not everyone likes playing the credit card game. We're about to pay $4k on some work that was done in the house, and I'll open up a Chase Sapphire to pay for it, which will earn us 60k Chase Ultimate Rewards Points. Those are worth about $1,200 and will pay for one...
by dsmil
Thu Mar 22, 2018 12:36 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Best utilization of an HSA? Reimbursements?
Replies: 7
Views: 468

Re: Best utilization of an HSA? Reimbursements?

If you aren't able to max the Roth and the HSA, you can pay medical expenses out of pocket, withdraw funds from the HSA, and deposit them into the Roth. So you are getting the up-front tax break with the HSA, and the flexibility of the Roth. This is better than leaving the money in the HSA and not m...
by dsmil
Thu Mar 22, 2018 9:17 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paying Points on Purchase Mortgage - Worth It?
Replies: 28
Views: 2501

Re: Paying Points on Purchase Mortgage - Worth It?

I'd rather add $8,800 to the down payment, rather than paying points, to lower the payment. I just feel weird about paying money like that to the lender without having to. Lowering you mortgage liability looks good on the net worth side of things, and will lower you payment in a similar way to payin...
by dsmil
Tue Mar 20, 2018 11:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cost of College vs Starting Income
Replies: 94
Views: 4526

Re: Cost of College vs Starting Income

I've heard a rule of thumb to not take on more college debt than what your expected starting salary after graduation will be. It seems like a reasonable rule to take note of. I took on $40k of debt (parents paid other $80k) and my starting salary was $52k.
by dsmil
Wed Feb 28, 2018 2:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: # X Gross = Home price?
Replies: 81
Views: 6077

Re: # X Gross = Home price?

We just bought a house at 4x gross, in an area where housing prices are 2x the national average. I think that this ratio is less meaningful at higher income levels, because there is more money left over after making the mortgage payment to pay for the rest of your living expenses. Plus, those living...
by dsmil
Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:02 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Comcast Modem Rental
Replies: 41
Views: 3058

Re: Comcast Modem Rental

Go ahead and buy a compatible one. I think in my case, it paid for itself in just a few months.
by dsmil
Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: First time home buyer- Tips?
Replies: 18
Views: 2319

Re: First time home buyer- Tips?

I recommend goodmortgage.com (First Guaranty Mortgage Corp). I received good faith estimates from them, as well as some local lenders, and they beat the others by .6 points. The process was completely done online, my loan officer was very responsive, and we closed in 30 days. I really only used them...
by dsmil
Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: April in Paris - Your favorites or suggestions?
Replies: 48
Views: 2311

Re: April in Paris - Your favorites or suggestions?

We did a bike tour of Paris and it was my favorite part of the trip. It was 4 hours long and we got to see a ton of sites. The entire route is flat, so the only hard part is trying to stay with the group while biking among the traffic. Here is the company that we used... https://www.bluefox.travel/p...
by dsmil
Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:44 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Buying a home - Financial Benefits? HCOL
Replies: 75
Views: 4125

Re: Buying a home - Financial Benefits? HCOL

Buying a home is definitely more about the psychological benefits than the financial benefits. Your peers have probably pictured themselves owning a home, raising a family in a home, and being able to call it their own. People like to justify home purchases by stating the financial benefits, but the...
by dsmil
Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:04 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What are you up YTD? [Year To Date]
Replies: 1857
Views: 340086

Re: What are you up YTD? [Year To Date]

17.5% for me in 2017. 90/10 stocks/bonds allocation.
by dsmil
Tue Nov 07, 2017 3:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How Much should I fund my HSA and Why?
Replies: 21
Views: 2651

Re: How Much should I fund my HSA and Why?

I'd max the HSA before contributing to the Roth. With the HSA, you get an up-front deduction (not the case with a Roth) and can take the money out tax free for medical expenses. Even if you accumulate more in the HSA than you have in medical expenses, it simply gets taxed like a 401k would (deductio...
by dsmil
Tue Nov 07, 2017 3:24 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Am I doing HSA wrong?
Replies: 12
Views: 1459

Re: Am I doing HSA wrong?

I put my after tax money in my HSA. Like out of my bank account. Are you supose to ask your employer to deduct pretaxed money from your paycheck? How do you do this? I dont think my employer offers any match. I use hsa bank. I do the same thing as you since my company doesn't offer a way to directl...
by dsmil
Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What are you driving? And would you buy your current ride again?
Replies: 130
Views: 9285

Re: What are you driving? And would you buy your current ride again?

1997 Acura Integra, which they don't make anymore, so no. But considering that I've had it since high school and now have two kids, my requirements for a new car have changed quite a bit.
by dsmil
Thu Oct 05, 2017 9:55 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Switching from High Deductible Plan when planning children
Replies: 15
Views: 1837

Re: Switching from High Deductible Plan when planning children

Your summary of benefits and coverage may estimate the costs of a child birth for you. For us, the total bills were around $12k. We had to meet our $2,600 deductible and didn't pay a penny more.
by dsmil
Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much worth house should one buy?
Replies: 73
Views: 5151

Re: How much worth house should one buy?

I prefer putting the housing costs into your budget and seeing how it looks. But if a rule of thumb is to be used, I think PITI (plus HOA if applicable) as a % of gross income is a decent place to start, and maybe make 25% your ceiling. I would also note that people with higher incomes can push the ...
by dsmil
Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is this housing budget reasonable?
Replies: 28
Views: 1836

Re: Is this housing budget reasonable?

With that large down payment, the mortgage seems pretty reasonable, but it really just depends on how it fits in with the rest of your budget. The car payment is large and I'm guessing that you have daycare costs as well, so just plug it into your budget and see how it looks.
by dsmil
Tue Oct 03, 2017 2:00 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What are you up YTD? [Year To Date]
Replies: 1857
Views: 340086

Re: What are you up YTD? [Year To Date]

Up 13% YTD, but it's not an exact number. I took my total returns and divided them by the average of my ending balances each month.
by dsmil
Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 20% Down Payment Sub-optimal?
Replies: 54
Views: 5342

Re: 20% Down Payment Sub-optimal?

Does anyone know if conventional mortgage interest rates are always better with the more you put down? As in, if you put down 5%, will your rate be worse than if you put down 20%? I believe so. What about 15% instead of 20%? Just curious if there's a percentage where it plateaus. Would be a helpful...
by dsmil
Tue Sep 26, 2017 10:54 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 20% Down Payment Sub-optimal?
Replies: 54
Views: 5342

Re: 20% Down Payment Sub-optimal?

I'm about to put either 5% or 10% on a house and don't mind at all. 3.5% interest rates and monthly PMI payments for a few years is a fine deal to me. Rather than saving for another 3 years for 20%, and risking unknown interest rates, that money is going straight into the market.
by dsmil
Tue Sep 26, 2017 9:36 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Warren Buffett Books
Replies: 35
Views: 4126

Re: Warren Buffett Books

I read "The Snowball" and considering that I finished the book, I must have enjoyed it.
by dsmil
Fri Sep 22, 2017 2:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads
Replies: 233
Views: 29332

Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

I'm a 30 year old not-so-rich Boglehead, but very happy with where I am. Famly of 4, own a home and have $20k of student loans, $120k income, save 12% of income towards retirement, another 12% for other savings (college, down payment), and $180k of net worth. We put 3.5% down on our first house (FHA...
by dsmil
Fri Sep 22, 2017 1:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying/Selling Home at Same Time
Replies: 8
Views: 758

Re: Buying/Selling Home at Same Time

Are you in agreement for what type of house you want to buy, and in what neighborhood? Are you looking online and do you have an idea of how frequently desirable houses come on the market? When we bought our current house we were not totally on the same page regarding what house to buy and really d...