Search found 1144 matches

by hand
Fri Jun 22, 2018 11:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Am I wasting money on my old car?
Replies: 28
Views: 2305

Re: Am I wasting money on my old car?

All prices in New Zealand dollars. ($1 US = NZ$1.45) I have a 1996 Toyota Corolla 118,000 miles. Get it serviced every 6 months as I know bugger all about cars and am prepared to have an expert check it out. It requires $1500 worth of work on it (including service, new cambelt and water pump). If y...
by hand
Fri Jun 22, 2018 6:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Boglehead guilt with buying a car - Volvo vs Toyota Highlander
Replies: 62
Views: 3296

Re: Boglehead guilt with buying a car - Volvo vs Toyota Highlander

Not sure why this is a Boglehead guilt issue, Bogleheads are about making good reasoned financial (life?) decisions which includes being mindful about costs - there's no requirement to drive cheap cars (though there is obviously a subset of Bogleheads who do both). To me, Volvo is nicer, likely safe...
by hand
Tue Jun 19, 2018 1:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retire at 50: Should I?
Replies: 93
Views: 11168

Re: Retire at 50: Should I?

[*]Cash-balance pension: $294,000 (see below) [*]Cash-balance Pension: 10.6%[/list] In my view, the cash-balance pension is bond-like, so I consider my bond allocation to be about 28% (I’ve wandered a little off my goal of 30%). The cash-balance pension pays interest at the 30-year T-bill rate, or ...
by hand
Tue Jun 19, 2018 1:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Road trip Pennsylvania,Maryland,and DC
Replies: 81
Views: 3578

Re: Road trip Pennsylvania,Maryland,and DC

Drive from Philly to DC is great - especially during rush hour, or construction, or bad weather, or holidays... Really gives you time to contemplate the realities of living in a large metro area. </Sarcasm> Given the stated goals (except the driving preference), I'd fly into Philly, stay downtown an...
by hand
Tue Jun 19, 2018 11:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Marriott hotels using Alexa/Echo in guest rooms?
Replies: 34
Views: 2910

Re: Marriott hotels using Alexa/Echo in guest rooms?

In principle, I'm against any types of listening devices in the rooms. That being said - biggest quality of life "improvement" in the hotels I stay in are the "smart" thermostats which decide in the middle of the night that there's no-one in your room and adjust the temperature accordingly so you 1)...
by hand
Mon Jun 11, 2018 12:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: House sale by owner - Problems & Pitfalls?
Replies: 30
Views: 1591

Re: House sale by owner - Problems & Pitfalls?

Reasons why an FSBO might be sub-optimal: - you may mis-price your house, in either direction (although, it is more likely that you will overprice your house), - marketing reach might be limited, - you may undervalue your house (different from under-pricing it) by not maximizing its 'show' value. C...
by hand
Tue Jun 05, 2018 2:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I replace my water heater?
Replies: 30
Views: 1354

Re: Should I replace my water heater?

I'd probably replace eventually, but depending on criticality of location (e.g finished second floor vs. unfinished basement) be tempted to wait until I got settled in the house and had a chance to prioritize other repairs / hidden issues. The key is to recognize that the home inspection wording is ...
by hand
Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dehumidifier for humid basement. I want one that lasts.
Replies: 37
Views: 8907

Re: Dehumidifier for humid basement. I want one that lasts.

I'm able to turn it off and open two basement windows on days when it is warm but with low humidity, such as today...70s with dew point in the high 40s. In addition, since we run the furnace fan continuously, I open the vents down there to add to the ventilation while dehumidifier is off. These ste...
by hand
Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dehumidifier for humid basement. I want one that lasts.
Replies: 37
Views: 8907

Re: Dehumidifier for humid basement. I want one that lasts.

Be sure to look at total cost of ownership especially if you live in an expensive electricity area. I've been happy with a Santa Fe unit for the last two years, and expect to continue to be happy for years to come, but the dehumidifier still needs to last several more years to get payback on the hig...
by hand
Wed Apr 25, 2018 1:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Term4Sale Agent - Am I getting bad advice?
Replies: 7
Views: 745

Re: Term4Sale Agent - Am I getting bad advice?

I don't recall anything about future living / work locations in my term life application, though certain high risk sports (SCUBA etc.) were explicitly called out. Seems likely this agent is using term 4 sale as a tool to get prospects and "up-sell" in to products that are more lucrative to them (and...
by hand
Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:00 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Who benefits from "best and final offer" on condo?
Replies: 107
Views: 6206

Re: Who benefits from "best and final offer" on condo?

While "best and final" as described may not have ended with the highest possible sale price, it still could have been to the benefit of the sellers: 1) They have a time constraint on when they need to accept offer 2) They believe it is important to keep their implied word in terms of "best and final...
by hand
Tue Apr 24, 2018 7:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cashing out of the Bay Area
Replies: 84
Views: 10693

Re: Cashing out of the Bay Area

There's a big difference between knowing whether local real estate is at a peak and knowing whether selling a house an moving from a HCOL to a LCOL area will support your retirement or other financial requirements. While I don't disagree that real estate is less efficient than the stock market, I'd ...
by hand
Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Rebating buyer's agent for 1st time single-family home purchase
Replies: 40
Views: 2962

Re: Rebating buyer's agent for 1st time single-family home purchase

I guess, at this point, we are not confident in our ability to find a good relator who provides high value. Any suggestions for how to do this? While I know there must be good agents out there (and there seem to be some on this board) I personally decided it was easier to sell my house on my own th...
by hand
Mon Apr 23, 2018 2:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Rebating buyer's agent for 1st time single-family home purchase
Replies: 40
Views: 2962

Re: Rebating buyer's agent for 1st time single-family home purchase

In light of our circumstances, do Bogleheads think that (i) a rebating agent is good as we are quite motivated and capable of finding houses ourselves and are already doing a lot of the "homework" for our future purchase, or (ii) a regular 3% commission buyer's agent is better as this is our first ...
by hand
Mon Apr 23, 2018 11:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Your own General Contractor
Replies: 33
Views: 3059

Re: Your own General Contractor

What is "cheap crap"?? A lot of what goes into a new house is generic. Framing lumber, plywood sheathing, roofing, electrical wire, copper pipe (or pex), sheetrock, etc. Now things like cabinets, windows, flooring, tile, siding, lighting and plumbing fixtures, HVAC, interior trim and millwork certa...
by hand
Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Another discussion about private vs public schools?
Replies: 79
Views: 4692

Re: Another discussion about private vs public schools?

Funding model of a school does not in and of itself define the schools quality. I'd recommend determining for yourself what characteristics of a "good school" are important to you and doing some research on how well local options align with those characteristics. Off the top of my head there are a n...
by hand
Fri Apr 13, 2018 2:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: realtor wants to show house to buyer, no listing agent for me
Replies: 55
Views: 5033

Re: realtor wants to show house to buyer, no listing agent for me

Seems likely that one of the following is occurring: 1) There is a real buyer with interest and a realtor who is doing a good job for their client by finding hidden inventory with hopes of closing a fair (market, or market+) deal 2) There is an aggressive buyer and realtor who are hoping to buy a ho...
by hand
Thu Apr 05, 2018 3:51 pm
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%?

Others here are more knowledgeable about real estate, but you can remove PMI once you pay off a certain percentage of the home's original value. If you make a larger down payment, you are closer to that number, so you don't have as far to go. If you believe you can get a better return, elsewhere, d...
by hand
Thu Apr 05, 2018 2:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Creative home financing?
Replies: 2
Views: 367

Re: Creative home financing?

Want to build an 800K-ish retirement home. Very much prefer to have no mortgage after (could easily afford it, but with 2 kids in college, being 50+ and after not having a mortgage for years, would seem to be a bad idea; also would not want to mess with the construction loan process). The build nee...
by hand
Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paying Points on Purchase Mortgage - Worth It?
Replies: 28
Views: 2510

Re: Paying Points on Purchase Mortgage - Worth It?

OP, I'm in the home buying process as well and have decided to do the same thing - put more down rather than mess with points. The escrow discussion has piqued my interest. With money market accounts and CD rates on the rise, I see a convincing argument to pursuing a mortgage agreement without escr...
by hand
Tue Apr 03, 2018 8:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Kitchen Faucet & Sink recommendations?
Replies: 55
Views: 5142

Re: Kitchen Faucet & Sink recommendations?

I've standardized on Grohe in the last couple of years and been very happy so far... "SilkMove" cartridges are great and I have no reason to question that the faucets I've purchased will last for decades (and are warranted for life). That being said, Grohe offers differing levels of quality, and has...
by hand
Mon Apr 02, 2018 3:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Does agent get paid if property taken by eminent domain?
Replies: 13
Views: 1918

Re: Does agent get paid if property taken by eminent domain?

A couple of thoughts: 1) Perhaps fire broker now to start (and end) the 180 day exclusion period earlier. 2) Irrespective of whether seizure is covered by contract, perhaps agent is only paid for buyers they brought in - tough to make the case that agent brought in the government, and if they did, s...
by hand
Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replacing a deck
Replies: 14
Views: 2064

Re: Replacing a deck

If "noticeable slant" represents an obvious defect, you'll probably partially double pay should you sell the house without repairing... Once when the buyers factor the issue into their offer, and a second time when the inspector raises it as an issue and you re-negotiate price to close the sale. For...
by hand
Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tires: Where to Get? Warranty? And Questions?
Replies: 74
Views: 6039

Re: Tires: Where to Get? Warranty? And Questions?

I've had generally good experiences with Costco, though the logistics of leaving a car at Costco until work complete can be a hassle.

Latest experience with Tire Rack & a mobile installer through Tire Rack was great - guy in a truck showed up and mounted, balanced and installed tires in my driveway!
by hand
Mon Mar 26, 2018 7:31 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Thinking about capitulating on house
Replies: 34
Views: 4189

Re: Thinking about capitulating on house

Since you already own the house, relevant financial evaluation isn't how much of the current house you do (or don't) use. Look at carrying costs of the current house vs. transaction costs + carrying cost of the alternative. If you expect to desire 800 sq ft for the next 5-10 years or more, probably ...
by hand
Wed Mar 21, 2018 3:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cookware Brands - Demeyere?
Replies: 43
Views: 3733

Re: Cookware Brands - Demeyere?

Commercial cookware seems to be a better value than the "premium" home brands. If it can stand abuse from harried chefs and line cooks, it'll probably last generations in a home kitchen. Vollrath has a broad range of stainless-clad cookware. I have one of their pans and like it. Available from vari...
by hand
Tue Mar 20, 2018 2:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bought house six months ago - now feeling like we're treading water and can't save money
Replies: 189
Views: 17268

Re: Bought house six months ago - now feeling like we're treading water and can't save money

And I technically have life insurance through my place of employment, but it's only $60,000. Would be nice to have more like $500,000 on both of us. It's not the possession of the blood that's the concern, it's the drawing of the blood - and not for any religious reason. It's the needle. It's both ...
by hand
Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:47 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bought house six months ago - now feeling like we're treading water and can't save money
Replies: 189
Views: 17268

Re: Bought house six months ago - now feeling like we're treading water and can't save money

We have no life insurance. We looked into it briefly awhile ago, but it seemed like the insurance agent wanted to take a sample of my blood? So I declined. Ideally, yeah, we'd have both my wife and I covered. To me, this is more than an "ideal" it is a fundamental requirement of caring for your fam...
by hand
Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...
Replies: 235
Views: 13325

Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

- Is a degree from a LAC useful from an employment point of view ? My take (coming from a top 20 LA background) is that a liberal arts degree is different from a vocational degree - few employers specifically hire for liberal arts skills, however those same critical thinking, reading, writing skill...
by hand
Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:50 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: As a home buyer, do you use your own realtor or agent?
Replies: 25
Views: 2252

Re: As a home buyer, do you use your own realtor or agent?

Since it costs you nothing, I am not sure why you wouldn't get a buyer's agent. Almost all appointments are still made by phone (at least where I live). Let someone do this for you and try to coordinate going to look at properties (preferably lumping multiple into a few hour window). They may provi...
by hand
Mon Mar 12, 2018 3:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: As a home buyer, do you use your own realtor or agent?
Replies: 25
Views: 2252

Re: As a home buyer, do you use your own realtor or agent?

The nice thing about third party sites (Zillow, Trullia etc.) is that they are easy to use and typically free to list, so contain a superset of realtor listed properties (from MLS) and properties listed by owner that may not be on the MLS. Additionally, they are unfiltered by any agent, so you are a...
by hand
Sat Mar 10, 2018 11:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is this too much for a kitchen?
Replies: 69
Views: 6977

Re: Is this too much for a kitchen?

7. We rescheduled our meeting to discuss the quote due to priorities :) but have told them we will need price break downs for things. The quote does include a beautiful Kohler under mount farmhouse sink, a few allowances, LED lighting, 2 lazy Susan's, and a raised peninsula (about 38” high), 3 open...
by hand
Fri Mar 09, 2018 3:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sump Pump Issues - What can I do, if anything?
Replies: 27
Views: 3060

Re: Sump Pump Issues - What can I do, if anything?

A couple of thoughts in no particular order: 1) Not stated in your problem statement is the risk of flooding should your pump fail or power go out - priority one for me would be ensuring I had a functioning backup pump and battery / generator backup 2) Idea of triggering pump at a higher level to po...
by hand
Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:19 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Does Anyone Invest In Berkshire Hathaway Instead Of Index Funds?
Replies: 69
Views: 10110

Re: Does Anyone Invest In Berkshire Hathaway Instead Of Index Funds?

There is yet one more advantage of owning Berkshire. They have vowed to defend the shares at 110% book value. That protects shareholders on the downside unlike any other equity. I doubt shortsellers would attempt to pit themselves against the cash reserves of Mr. Buffett even in the severest of mar...
by hand
Fri Mar 09, 2018 10:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is this too much for a kitchen?
Replies: 69
Views: 6977

Re: Is this too much for a kitchen?

I can't imagine spending $50k or $40k or even $30k and having mdf cabinets (IKEA). Plywood boxes. Do you know anyone that has Ikea cabinets and had them fall apart? I recall Consumer reports rating them in the top 2 a few years ago. We also have no idea what portion of the estimate is cabinets. I h...
by hand
Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone ever have success getting out of a lease?
Replies: 27
Views: 2175

Re: Anyone ever have success getting out of a lease?

Recognize you're dealing with two things here: 1) Formal lease language & applicable laws 2) The bureaucracy of the management company / self interest of the employees to do nothing Personally, I'd likely try to win over the management company & employees with kindness by asking what you can do to h...
by hand
Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:02 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Advice re: Flat Fee Real Estate Brokers.
Replies: 59
Views: 3542

Re: Advice re: Flat Fee Real Estate Brokers.

Disclaimer: I'm a former real estate agent - not active in the business anymore. If you are a buyer, contacting the listing realtor is a terrible idea, because the listing agent works for the seller and has a fiduciary responsibility to represent them in the transaction. They won't reveal informati...
by hand
Thu Mar 08, 2018 1:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is this too much for a kitchen?
Replies: 69
Views: 6977

Re: Is this too much for a kitchen?

There's not an absolute answer here. Clearly $45k is a lot for a kitchen, but determining worth is both site specific and a bit of a value judgement. What is the house worth now vs. what will it be worth with a $45k kitchen? Are there any reasonable alternatives to the quote you have in hand? To the...
by hand
Thu Mar 08, 2018 8:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replacing vanities?
Replies: 21
Views: 1954

Re: Replacing vanities?

Step one for any old water connections is to make certain you can cut off water to the house (and actually have the water stop flowing - some old system shutoff valves don't really do so), and then check to make certain you can shut off the under vanity valves without leaking. I had the pleasure of...
by hand
Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Advice re: Flat Fee Real Estate Brokers.
Replies: 59
Views: 3542

Re: Advice re: Flat Fee Real Estate Brokers.

This deserves a bump, so I'll chime in with my somewhat relevant experience. Quick version is that I did a DIY sale of a commodity townhome in a moderate market, which seems like an extreme version of the flat fee broker approach. Most of the listing items are not difficult if you don't mind spendin...
by hand
Fri Mar 02, 2018 2:53 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Morgan Stanley wants my 410K and everything else, Why?
Replies: 63
Views: 5634

Re: Morgan Stanley wants my 410K and everything else, Why?

Just wondering why everyone wants my 401K and looking for maybe some insight/advice on dealing with my MS FA. Thank you very much, glad I found the forum. Welcome, Regarding dealing with the MS FA, the right answer is undoubtedly to stop taking their calls, and to work with your low cost provider o...
by hand
Fri Mar 02, 2018 11:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Kitchen features
Replies: 108
Views: 8009

Re: Kitchen features

Biggest features are usability and quality... these aren't obvious on Pintrest, but if you plan to use the kitchen for years, take the time to understand how you (and your family) will interact the kitchen and ensure design and functionality support. Loves from our kitchen remodel: 1) Quality, easy ...
by hand
Thu Mar 01, 2018 6:22 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Anyone heard of Blueprint Income?
Replies: 4
Views: 752

Re: Anyone heard of Blueprint Income?

Bloomberg mentioned in a recent article: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-01/how-to-retire-without-running-out-of-money Short version is that it is an annuity funded with small amounts periodically rather than a lump sum. Periodic contributions are hoped to be easier to stomach for th...
by hand
Thu Mar 01, 2018 10:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New construction woes
Replies: 30
Views: 3093

Re: New construction woes

Not clear as to whether this is a true custom house (your site, architect, builder etc.) or a production built house where you had some input on design and finishes (confusingly also marketed as "custom"). If you worked with a production builder (Toll Bros. or similar), they likely have a set of for...
by hand
Thu Mar 01, 2018 9:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling Condo without putting on the market
Replies: 20
Views: 1182

Re: Selling Condo without putting on the market

Be aware that one of the classic ways of getting new listings is to let a potential seller know that they have a buyer lined up and ready to make an offer. Often, the mystery buyer backs out..... Interesting, but I am not sure how this would benefit anyone? How does an agent identify "potential sel...
by hand
Thu Mar 01, 2018 9:29 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling Condo without putting on the market
Replies: 20
Views: 1182

Re: Selling Condo without putting on the market

Opportunity to buy a property without competition is worth a premium to the buyer - they've already established that by pursuing non-traditional channels to attempt to purchase. Selling without the hassle of showings, risk of the open market / changing market conditions and with flexible close / ren...
by hand
Thu Mar 01, 2018 9:16 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Your Paradigm for Long-term Inflation Risk?
Replies: 29
Views: 1898

Re: Your Paradigm for Long-term Inflation Risk?

I don't suppose keeping a couple trillion dollars (Zimbabwe) around as a sort of momento mori counts as a reasonable response? Rationally, my paradigm is that inflation is one of many possible risks that are fundamentally unknowable and hopefully already priced into the relevant markets (stock, bond...
by hand
Wed Feb 28, 2018 4:17 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Outward signs of a private company failing
Replies: 20
Views: 1330

Re: Outward signs of a private company failing

Late / non payment of vendors...
Perhaps a trailing indicator, but Dun & Bradstreet provides business credit reporting.
Perhaps additionally, talk directly to some of the companies key (as well as smaller) vendors.
by hand
Tue Feb 27, 2018 3:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dealership oil change worth it?
Replies: 69
Views: 5364

Re: Dealership oil change worth it?

Numerous benefits to dealer oil change: 1) Dealer keeps record of the service, potentially increasing resale value 2) Dealer more likely to know, have and use manufacturer specified oil and filter 3) Dealer may be able / willing to update car's firmware as part of service at little or no charge 4) D...
by hand
Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: AC/Furnace Questions- 1 stage or 2 stage?
Replies: 45
Views: 2855

Re: AC/Furnace Questions- 1 stage or 2 stage?

1) Ability to monitor outside temperature and home heating / cooling performance to deliver a specific temperature at a specific time (e.g. 68 degrees at 5pm) rather than simply turning on the heat at 5pm. Heat would not be turned on at 5 pm unless the Return temp was 68 deg, the Leave temp was les...