Search found 282 matches

by dsmil
Fri Feb 05, 2016 11:20 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Balancing retirement goals with short term savings?
Replies: 3
Views: 266

Re: Balancing retirement goals with short term savings?

It depends on your situation but most people around here put saving for retirement as the #1 priority. If you are behind on saving for retirement, it could be better to put off the house for awhile, and get the retirement account up to speed before thinking about other goals. On the other hand, if y...
by dsmil
Thu Feb 04, 2016 10:57 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Saving for down payment
Replies: 43
Views: 2345

Re: Saving for down payment

Many people in real life are first time homeowners with a 3.5% down FHA mortgage after buying the maximum value home the bank would approve them for and little in reserve. Many Bogleheads recommend 20% down, 8 months of expenses in a cash reserve, a portfolio of financial assets at least as big as ...
by dsmil
Wed Feb 03, 2016 11:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What do you pay per year for daycare?
Replies: 33
Views: 1216

Re: What do you pay per year for daycare?

$0 because we decided that my wife would stay home. But for price comparison, daycares were quoting us at around $1,400 per month for an infant in Maryland. Did your wife leave her job to stay home with the kid(s)? Yes, she left her teaching job to stay home with our child and we see ourselves stic...
by dsmil
Wed Feb 03, 2016 10:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What do you pay per year for daycare?
Replies: 33
Views: 1216

Re: What do you pay per year for daycare?

$0 because we decided that my wife would stay home. But for price comparison, daycares were quoting us at around $1,400 per month for an infant in Maryland.
by dsmil
Wed Feb 03, 2016 9:48 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Clueless college new grad 22 yo, 200k income looking to start saving
Replies: 143
Views: 10984

Re: Clueless college new grad 22 yo, 200k income looking to start saving

Congrats on the great start to your career! This is one of the steps to creating wealth, but the next step is managing expenses. My wife also had a more privileged upbringing than I did and was used to spending money right out of college, even though I was at an entry-level job and she was a nanny. ...
by dsmil
Mon Feb 01, 2016 2:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Student Loan Quesation
Replies: 3
Views: 483

Re: Student Loan Quesation

This makes me think that fixed could be the better option. Realistically, I will not be able to pay off the loan in the next 4 years. If you can't afford to pay more than the 4.79% fixed rate - Advantage fixed If you could pay off loans early in the case of an interest rate hike - Advantage variable...
by dsmil
Mon Feb 01, 2016 1:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replacing timing belt on 2009 Accord(Do it or sell?)
Replies: 66
Views: 3402

Re: Replacing timing belt on 2009 Accord(Do it or sell?)

This is a little embarrassing but I'm going to come clean. My Accord is a four cylinder so apparently based on this thread I don't even have a timing belt. I have a chain. :oops: My last Accord had a belt so I just assumed this one was the same. Great news and thanks for the education. Just saw thi...
by dsmil
Mon Feb 01, 2016 1:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replacing timing belt on 2009 Accord(Do it or sell?)
Replies: 66
Views: 3402

Re: Replacing timing belt on 2009 Accord(Do it or sell?)

The financial answer to this question is to replace the timing belt. The great thing about Hondas and other good brands is that they generally last a very long time, so paying for scheduled maintenance and keeping the car for awhile is worth it. Cars eventually depreciate to nothing anyway, so if yo...
by dsmil
Thu Jan 28, 2016 10:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which news source do you use?
Replies: 67
Views: 4193

Re: Which news source do you use?

NPR and The Washington Post. NPR because it's the only radio station that works in my car, and the Washington Post because it's always in the lunchroom at work.
by dsmil
Thu Jan 28, 2016 3:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taxes - Am I Covered by a Retirement Plan at Work?
Replies: 17
Views: 1034

Re: Taxes - Am I Covered by a Retirement Plan at Work?

A special rule applies to certain plans in which it is impossible to determine whether or not an amount (other than earnings) will be allocated to an individual's account for a given plan year. If, with respect to a particular plan year, no amount attributable to forfeitures, employer contributions...
by dsmil
Thu Jan 28, 2016 2:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taxes - Am I Covered by a Retirement Plan at Work?
Replies: 17
Views: 1034

Re: Taxes - Am I Covered by a Retirement Plan at Work?

Do you have even one low-ER index fund available? Unless you will be at the same company about 30 years and ERs are 2%, it may make sense to hold your nose and contribute to defer current taxes. Most are around 1%, so I guess it's not terrible in the 401k world. We are moving from the 25% to 15% br...
by dsmil
Thu Jan 28, 2016 12:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taxes - Am I Covered by a Retirement Plan at Work?
Replies: 17
Views: 1034

Re: Taxes - Am I Covered by a Retirement Plan at Work?

Thanks for the answers everyone! I think that I'm all set now.
by dsmil
Thu Jan 28, 2016 12:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taxes - Am I Covered by a Retirement Plan at Work?
Replies: 17
Views: 1034

Re: Taxes - Am I Covered by a Retirement Plan at Work?

Do you have even one low-ER index fund available? Unless you will be at the same company about 30 years and ERs are 2%, it may make sense to hold your nose and contribute to defer current taxes. Most are around 1%, so I guess it's not terrible in the 401k world. We are moving from the 25% to 15% br...
by dsmil
Thu Jan 28, 2016 12:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taxes - Am I Covered by a Retirement Plan at Work?
Replies: 17
Views: 1034

Re: Taxes - Am I Covered by a Retirement Plan at Work?

It looks to me as though your employer made a mistake. Regardless of whether your employer is willing to issue a corrected W-2, you should operate as though you ARE covered by an employer retirement plan in determining your eligibility for a deductible IRA. Good advice, thanks. I think that this is...
by dsmil
Thu Jan 28, 2016 11:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taxes - Am I Covered by a Retirement Plan at Work?
Replies: 17
Views: 1034

Re: Taxes - Am I Covered by a Retirement Plan at Work?

Raiddinn wrote:They might not be contributing if you haven't setup an account and contributed at least a little bit to get it started.


The account is setup and my employer did contribute to it in 2015.
by dsmil
Thu Jan 28, 2016 11:43 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taxes - Am I Covered by a Retirement Plan at Work?
Replies: 17
Views: 1034

Taxes - Am I Covered by a Retirement Plan at Work?

My company offers a 401k that I don't contribute to because there is no match and high fees. They do kick in around 2% of my salary regardless of my contributions. My W2 DOES NOT have the retirement plan box checked (box 13). Is this a mistake? Do I need a revised W2? It seems like it should be chec...
by dsmil
Wed Jan 27, 2016 2:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What 55" TV to Buy
Replies: 51
Views: 3317

Re: What 55" TV to Buy

I like using TheWireCutter.com for my electronics reviews. They recommend the Samsung UN55JU7100 (see link).

http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-tv/
by dsmil
Wed Jan 27, 2016 2:46 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I leave Ameriprise?
Replies: 28
Views: 1698

Re: Should I leave Ameriprise?

Even I could tell that Ameriprise was slimy when I was in college. They invited me to a seminar and one of their salesmen was going to drive 2 hours to my hometown to sell financial products to my family friends. The whole situation was very weird.
by dsmil
Tue Jan 26, 2016 9:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: perfectly happy with cable
Replies: 123
Views: 6050

Re: perfectly happy with cable

I will pay whatever it takes to make my sports viewing experience as convenient as possible (but I don't tell Comcast that when I'm haggling with them every year).
by dsmil
Sun Jan 24, 2016 9:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you pay for exercise?
Replies: 207
Views: 10512

Re: Do you pay for exercise?

With a 1 year old, I'm not getting a gym membership anytime soon, and I like the convenience of working out at home. In the last few years, I've spent a couple hundred on P90x, P90x2, Body Beast (all craigslist and came with equipment), and some dumbells with plates. I can get a pretty good workout ...
by dsmil
Fri Jan 22, 2016 9:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you use the service of a CPA or you do your tax yourself?
Replies: 82
Views: 4838

Re: Do you use the service of a CPA or you do your tax yourself?

I'm a CPA and if it weren't for reading personal finance books and using sites like this, I'd know nothing about taxes. Your situation doesn't seem too complicated so Turbo Tax should be fine.
by dsmil
Fri Jan 22, 2016 8:53 pm
Forum: Local Chapters and Bogleheads Community
Topic: Hope everyone is well [Preparing for Eastern US blizzard]
Replies: 102
Views: 4982

Re: Hope everyone is well [Preparing for Eastern US blizzard]

I'm in the DC area and did nothing to prepare, other than replace my broken shovel. Rather than do our weekly grocery shopping on Sunday, we'll probably do it on Monday. We plan on making the mile walk to our favorite breakfast spot on Sunday, and enjoying the snow. :sharebeer
by dsmil
Thu Jan 21, 2016 9:14 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tapping the emergency fund
Replies: 12
Views: 1474

Re: Tapping the emergency fund

Either way works because in this case, you're able to re-build your savings in only two months. If you had a $10k need, and you are only able to re-build your savings at $500 per month, I'm definitely draining the "general savings" account before the emergency fund. Same would go for a job...
by dsmil
Thu Jan 21, 2016 9:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are college costs really expected to go up in the future?
Replies: 19
Views: 1110

Re: Are college costs really expected to go up in the future?

I could see the gap between in-state and out-of-state tuition closing, since more students are probably choosing to stay in-state to save money. Is there an inherent reason why schools charge more for out-of-state students?
by dsmil
Thu Jan 21, 2016 8:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What was your % pay raise?
Replies: 100
Views: 6937

Re: What was your % pay raise?

9% for me this year. I've been lucky with my pay basically doubling since graduating 6 years ago, but I know that annual 3% raises are going to be the norm very soon (unless I switch jobs).
by dsmil
Sun Jan 17, 2016 5:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Where does the "need" to max out all retirements accounts come from?
Replies: 55
Views: 5068

Re: Where does the "need" to max out all retirements accounts come from?

OP, if you are on track to replace 100% of your income in retirement, than you are doing well and shouldn't feel pressure to put every penny into retirement accounts. Many Bogleheads max everything out because they have very high incomes, but saving between 10-20% of income for retirement is usually...
by dsmil
Fri Jan 15, 2016 11:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are 529s the best vehicle for college savings?
Replies: 51
Views: 3530

Re: Are 529s the best vehicle for college savings?

I'm not sure how I can save up $400k over 18 years through a Roth IRA if I can only pull out contributions? If Roth limits go up with inflation, that will help. $11k x 18 years puts you right around $200k, which would be the current price for 2 kids. If you're short on contributions, you could figu...
by dsmil
Fri Jan 15, 2016 10:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are 529s the best vehicle for college savings?
Replies: 51
Views: 3530

Re: Are 529s the best vehicle for college savings?

Other than the name, what advantage is the OP getting by shoving money into a 529 versus a ROTH? Yes you get access to the earnings but that is a cash flow issue that doesn't seem unworkable. The downside is that you have a FASFA asset and if you end up with money not needed for college, you end up...
by dsmil
Fri Jan 15, 2016 10:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are 529s the best vehicle for college savings?
Replies: 51
Views: 3530

Re: Are 529s the best vehicle for college savings?

OP, I don't see anything wrong with you using a 529. Sure, you could come out ahead with using other methods, but there is something to be said about simplicity. As you said, you feel like you're on track with retirement and maxing out all tax-advantaged retirement space is not necessary for your re...
by dsmil
Fri Jan 15, 2016 3:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Traditional 401k versus Roth 401k
Replies: 219
Views: 9565

Re: Traditional 401k versus Roth 401k

Even after tax deductions/exemptions, aren't a lot of people in the 15% bracket or close to it simply from social security? I am not collecting SS until more than 10 years from now, so I have some time to do Roth conversions before then. Good point! I didn't think about the early retirement angle.
by dsmil
Fri Jan 15, 2016 3:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Traditional 401k versus Roth 401k
Replies: 219
Views: 9565

Re: Traditional 401k versus Roth 401k

FiveK wrote:This leads to a 0% marginal rate and would thus suggest that some contributions should have been traditional.


Even after tax deductions/exemptions, aren't a lot of people in the 15% bracket or close to it simply from social security?
by dsmil
Fri Jan 15, 2016 11:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's your company 401k contribution
Replies: 105
Views: 4653

Re: What's your company 401k contribution

Technically discretionary but it usually comes in at around 2% of salary, and has nothing to do with employee contributions.
by dsmil
Thu Jan 07, 2016 12:59 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Decisions: Eliminate PMI, Max 401k, or Pay Student Loans?
Replies: 14
Views: 1254

Re: Decisions: Eliminate PMI, Max 401k, or Pay Student Loans?

After getting your 401k match, I'd go after the student loans. It's always debatable whether investing should take priority over debt reduction, but you are doing well with your investment balance at your age and income level.
by dsmil
Thu Jan 07, 2016 12:48 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Which Retirement Account to Max Out First?
Replies: 11
Views: 980

Re: Which Retirement Account to Max Out First?

Definitely get the match, and then I'd try to max out your IRA before adding more to the 401k. An IRA with Vanguard most likely has better choices and less fees than your 401k does. I'm guessing that you're in the 25% bracket which makes the Roth vs. Traditional choice difficult. I generally like th...
by dsmil
Wed Jan 06, 2016 10:52 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Roth vs Traditional + Taxable vs ...
Replies: 47
Views: 2547

Re: Roth vs Traditional + Taxable vs ...

I will say that one should use their effective tax rate in retirement on the funds they withdraw from their retirement accounts and NOT their marginal rate with this calculator. That reflects the actual taxes one pays on their retirement withdrawals. It doesn't matter if one pays 50% tax on the las...
by dsmil
Wed Jan 06, 2016 8:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Savings % Target 2016?
Replies: 168
Views: 8771

Re: Savings % Target 2016?

We're shooting for 20% of gross in 2016. 10% for retirement and 10% for extra payments on student loans.
by dsmil
Wed Jan 06, 2016 8:47 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How do you organize your finances? Do you use Mint.com?
Replies: 57
Views: 3975

Re: How do you organize your finances? Do you use Mint.com?

Excel for us as well. We have a budget in excel and type in all of our monthly spending. It's tedious of course, but it keeps us on track. I also track our net worth at the end of every month in excel.
by dsmil
Tue Jan 05, 2016 9:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Incorporating your home into networth calculation
Replies: 100
Views: 4212

Re: Incorporating your home into networth calculation

Yes, definitely include your house and mortgage into your net worth calculation. To be conservative, you could subtract 6% (closing costs) from your home value to get the true value if you had to sell.
by dsmil
Wed Dec 23, 2015 11:13 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Share your current asset allocation?
Replies: 94
Views: 5957

Re: Share your current asset allocation?

All with Vanguard

44% Total U.S.
17% Developed International
10% Emerging Markets
9% Small Cap Value
10% REIT
10% Total Bond Market
by dsmil
Tue Dec 22, 2015 10:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Biggest lucky break in your personal finances?
Replies: 160
Views: 12126

Re: Biggest lucky break in your personal finances?

I could call my luckiest break both a positive or a negative to our personal finances. I changed companies in order to have more family time, and figured that I would be giving up some pay. Fortunately, I've gained the family time as planned, and the company has paid me more than I expected. The hig...
by dsmil
Tue Dec 22, 2015 10:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much do you spend on groceries?
Replies: 109
Views: 7382

Re: How much do you spend on groceries?

$600 for everything that we buy at the grocery store for 2 of us and a baby, another $150 for dining out.
by dsmil
Mon Dec 21, 2015 4:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming for Hyatt Hotel stays
Replies: 21
Views: 1407

Re: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming for Hyatt Hotel stays

I transferred the points to Hyatt and then booked with them. Don't listen to anything that the Chase rep is telling you. You'll generally find the best "value" at the most expensive destinations. Of course you could argue that the actual "value" is whatever replacement price a no...
by dsmil
Mon Dec 21, 2015 3:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming for Hyatt Hotel stays
Replies: 21
Views: 1407

Re: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming for Hyatt Hotel stays

I redeem almost all of my Ultimate Rewards with Hyatt and it's worked out very well. I got 3 cents per point for a stay in Paris and 2 cents per point in Charleston, SC.
by dsmil
Mon Dec 07, 2015 1:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Verizon Cell Phone Plans
Replies: 23
Views: 2205

Re: Verizon Cell Phone Plans

When I calculated it for my wife and I, if we upgrade every 2 years, than the new plans and old plans are basically even. If we decide to wait longer than 2 years and pay the full price for the phones, we come out ahead. We chose to go with the new plan, paying $40 less per month, and will eat the f...
by dsmil
Thu Dec 03, 2015 3:52 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What are you up YTD? [Year To Date]
Replies: 753
Views: 110855

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

I'm basically at 0% YTD. My worst performer is the emerging markets fund which is down 13% and is 10% of my portfolio.
by dsmil
Thu Dec 03, 2015 11:49 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Too much in tax-advantaged accounts?
Replies: 115
Views: 11092

Re: Too much in tax-advantaged accounts?

There is definitely such thing as having too much in tax-advantaged accounts. Most people don't need to max out every tax-advantaged account in order to have a comfortable retirement. Maxing out multiple 401k's, IRA's, etc. is a ton of money. I think that retirement money should definitely go into t...
by dsmil
Thu Dec 03, 2015 11:42 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Replacing non-vested 401(k) match as part of salary negotiations?
Replies: 2
Views: 251

Re: Replacing non-vested 401(k) match as part of salary negotiations?

It's basically like asking for a signing bonus. Hopefully there isn't any harm in asking, anything is negotiable.
by dsmil
Thu Dec 03, 2015 9:07 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Traditional or Roth 401k for GF?
Replies: 12
Views: 620

Re: Traditional or Roth 401k for GF?

Her gross income is at the very top of the 15% federal bracket. We aren't married yet. I'm in the 25% bracket, and together we would be in the 25% bracket. Keep in mind that tax brackets are determined by taxable income, not gross income. At a minimum, your taxable income includes the standard dedu...
by dsmil
Wed Dec 02, 2015 2:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What age did you hit $100,000?
Replies: 136
Views: 18088

Re: What age did you hit $100,000?

Fingers crossed, we should go from $85k to $115k next year from savings and debt repayment, in our upper 20's

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