Search found 789 matches

by hand
Fri Apr 29, 2016 1:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Young Male Living with Parents
Replies: 83
Views: 3808

Re: Young Male Living with Parents

Just remember, when broke people are making fun of your financial plan, you're on the right track! :beer This is a great line, and applicable to the OP. If you want exceptional results, you need to do something different than the crowd. If you have a financial plan and are successfully executing wi...
by hand
Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:35 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Law School Advice
Replies: 88
Views: 6676

Re: Law School Advice

What is your daughter's employment goal after finishing law school? If she intends to end up in the public sector, or continue to teach, low cost may trump other options. If she intends to end up in biglaw or some other high paying job, it is probably worth a sanity check regarding likelihood of suc...
by hand
Mon Apr 18, 2016 3:07 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Emergency fund needed?
Replies: 17
Views: 1594

Re: Emergency fund needed?

Your point is well taken. I am not overly concerned with a sudden huge stock market crash. I have and monitor GTC sell orders on all my holdings at 5 to 8% reduction from their highs (while I've held them). In case of a market panic, where do you estimate these trades would actually execute? Not ob...
by hand
Mon Apr 18, 2016 1:26 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Emergency fund needed?
Replies: 17
Views: 1594

Re: Emergency fund needed?

I like the HELOC (home equity line of credit). I can write a check for $15,000 - say a replacement vehicle - and figure out the details of how much from which account over the next few days. Interest charge is daily rate so it costs almost nothing to borrow 10K for 5 or 10 days. HELOC and other lin...
by hand
Mon Apr 18, 2016 12:11 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Emergency fund needed?
Replies: 17
Views: 1594

Re: Emergency fund needed?

It is probably worth a bit of your time to consider the range of possible emergencies you want to prepare for (including "unknown"), the cost and timetable to address those emergencies. If you find that your list includes only items that require cash 3-5 business days in the future, and is...
by hand
Mon Apr 18, 2016 10:13 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying the most expensive house on the street?
Replies: 34
Views: 4506

Re: Buying the most expensive house on the street?

Thanks guys. We'll likely just follow our instincts. We fly out for our hopefully final house hunting trip this coming weekend. We are taking 3 days to visit and see everything we can and then will just pull the trigger on whatever feels the best. We have already narrowed down our search to just on...
by hand
Mon Apr 18, 2016 9:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling Rental Property ?s
Replies: 18
Views: 2131

Re: Selling Rental Property ?s

It was converted to a rental on 8/1/2013. Basis was set at $125,000 ($85,000 for home, $40,000 for land--from property tax statement) for depreciation when 2013 taxes were done. I'm not in any way an expert in tax treatment of rentals, but this is the internet, so here's a couple of thoughts anyway...
by hand
Fri Apr 15, 2016 7:58 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Installing AC: Rheem vs. Trane (or other) system
Replies: 28
Views: 2149

Re: Installing AC: Rheem vs. Trane (or other) system

As a somewhat knowledgeable consumer, I received 3 quotes for A/C replacement, and not a single provider bothered with a Manual J, and all oversized based on the pre-existing A/C size and a basic understanding of the house size. Because of this, I performed a Manual J on my own (not terribly compli...
by hand
Thu Apr 14, 2016 3:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Thoughts on HSA?
Replies: 13
Views: 893

Re: Thoughts on HSA?

Meh. For an individual with a max contribution of ~$3k / year it is tough to save a material amount in an HSA and it adds complexity, hassle, and possibly account and investment costs to a portfolio. I have slightly more than $20k in my HSA and in retrospect, would likely forgoe the tax benefits to ...
by hand
Thu Apr 14, 2016 10:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Switch to Geico from USAA
Replies: 32
Views: 2060

Re: Switch to Geico from USAA

I switched to Geico early this year after many years as a USAA customer. Unfortunately, USAA is not the company that it used to be-----it now seems to be more interested in becoming a large insurer, not necessarily a high-quality insurer for a select customer base. Would it be too much trouble to a...
by hand
Wed Apr 13, 2016 12:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage Refi Help
Replies: 14
Views: 515

Re: Mortgage Refi Help

Something doesn't look right with your numbers... Typically, loans at different durations from the same bank are "fair" in terms of markup and fees - if you've decided on a bank, simply choose the term that makes best sense for your situation. Shorter loans pay less in interest but have hi...
by hand
Wed Apr 13, 2016 9:10 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Switch to Geico from USAA
Replies: 32
Views: 2060

Re: Switch to Geico from USAA

I don't believe "A" shares are required, but from when I inquired there are other memberships / relationships that make you eligible for the same discount. Regarding USAA, I am planning the same change to GEICO after USAA's terribly unprofessional handling of a trivially low dollar claim. ...
by hand
Tue Apr 12, 2016 2:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Realtor Etiquette?
Replies: 19
Views: 3084

Re: Realtor Etiquette?

Your friend should be less worried about the realtor's commission and more worried about what he'll pay, and how competitive his offer will be. To fully understand the realtor's motivation ("fiduciary duty" notwithstanding), it is worth doing some basic math: Assuming 5% commission split 2...
by hand
Fri Apr 01, 2016 3:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Big spenders, anybody successfully downsized?
Replies: 30
Views: 4086

Re: Big spenders, anybody successfully downsized?

Eliminating Starbucks is obviously not going to be a critical part of your effort, however family buy in will be. Unless you and your spouse both enjoy detailed financial analysis and planning, I would recommend starting your tracking of current spend in such a manner that includes a large "mis...
by hand
Thu Mar 31, 2016 9:58 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Please explain "pocket-change prepayments" on a mortgage
Replies: 47
Views: 4188

Re: Please explain "pocket-change prepayments" on a mortgage

Hello. I'm reading Anthony Robbins' book: Money: Master The Game . In his section about mortgages, he says that interest on a mortgage will actually tack on 100% or more to a loan! So a $1M house, you would pay $2M over the 30-year period. Crazy. Robbins is lying with math (or you're reading a real...
by hand
Wed Mar 30, 2016 11:02 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Installing AC: Rheem vs. Trane (or other) system
Replies: 28
Views: 2149

Re: Installing AC: Rheem vs. Trane (or other) system

While it sounds like you have gone thorough a reasonable process (three quotes) to determine sizing, 5 ton seems large for a 2400 sq ft house in my limited experience, though difficult to know for sure without knowing more about your location and your house. Based on my research, there is a long tr...
by hand
Mon Mar 28, 2016 8:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Installing AC: Rheem vs. Trane (or other) system
Replies: 28
Views: 2149

Re: Installing AC: Rheem vs. Trane (or other) system

While it sounds like you have gone thorough a reasonable process (three quotes) to determine sizing, 5 ton seems large for a 2400 sq ft house in my limited experience, though difficult to know for sure without knowing more about your location and your house. Based on my research, there is a long tra...
by hand
Sun Mar 27, 2016 8:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Would you pay more for USAA?
Replies: 23
Views: 2415

Re: Would you pay more for USAA?

I wouldn't... I'm a long time customer who was recently disappointed with the lack of timeliness & professionalism as USAA (mis)handled a very minor auto insurance claim. My sense is that they may have been special at one point, but the recent drive to increase customer base has diluted whatever...
by hand
Tue Mar 22, 2016 8:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Take Small Mortgage or TSP Loan?
Replies: 11
Views: 807

Re: Take Small Mortgage or TSP Loan?

It is hard to go wrong owning outright, and this is almost certainty the lowest risk option (if you are committed to a concentrated bet on a single rental property.) A couple points in favour of a larger mortgage now (at higher risk, and greater short term cost): -Mortgage deductibility for mortgage...
by hand
Wed Mar 09, 2016 8:17 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Liquidate life savings and investments to buy a business
Replies: 23
Views: 1955

Re: Liquidate life savings and investments to buy a business

Assuming (net?) income of the business remains steady at $115k, and the business requires your full time participation, you are promising to pay $35k / year for the privilege of netting $80k / year. If there is any risk at all, you are potentially locked into making payments for years without income...
by hand
Mon Mar 07, 2016 8:29 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: We paid off our mortgage ...what to do with the extra money each month?
Replies: 28
Views: 3870

Re: We paid off our mortgage ...what to do with the extra money each month?

It sounds like a celebration is in order!

Once you've celebrated appropriately, consider using some of your "extra" income to making your finances more sustainable - create a sinking fund(s) for infrequent, but large expenses such as car replacements and housing maintenance.
by hand
Fri Mar 04, 2016 9:39 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cast Iron Frying Pans
Replies: 71
Views: 6558

Re: Cast Iron Frying Pans

I've never been good in the kitchen and have never had much interest. I've learned how to cook on the grill, however, and started making meat, chicken and fish on an All-Clad teflon frying pan on the stove top. I was told that I should try a cast iron frying pan. I'd like to learn more. Why cast ir...
by hand
Thu Mar 03, 2016 3:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: should I refinance
Replies: 9
Views: 715

Re: should I refinance

The refinance is going to cost nothing. I haven't gotten a specific rate yet but it looks like it could be anywhere between 3.25-3.75% If this is a no cost refinance, rate is lower than your current rate, term is the same, and you will keep paying / prepaying at the same level as today, you absolut...
by hand
Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:47 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Maxed out 401k, young high-income earner--what to do next?
Replies: 14
Views: 1670

Re: Maxed out 401k, young high-income earner--what to do next?

Do you have any debts you can repay? Saved interest is tax free! +1 to the back door Roth assuming you don't roll the 401(k) into an IRA. It is also worth checking to see if you are eligible for a "mega backdoor Roth" If you are healthy, a HSA could be a useful savings vehicle, though fees...
by hand
Tue Mar 01, 2016 2:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying our first home - Should I sign a buyer contract?
Replies: 13
Views: 1427

Re: Buying our first home - Should I sign a buyer contract?

quote] I should add that it's very rare for a Buyer to be paying the Buyer's Agent but it does happen in private transactions. I work with some non-MLS properties and the Buyer and I have to agree on a fee. No doubt buyer paying is an infrequent occurrence, and as you note there are certainty circu...
by hand
Tue Mar 01, 2016 12:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are we ready to drop Life Insurance?
Replies: 37
Views: 3466

Re: Are we ready to drop Life Insurance?

There's really three separate considerations here: 1) What is your need? If your husband is within 6 years of a financially secure retirement for two people, it is likely you have already saved enough for a secure retirement for one person. Do your own math, but from this perspective, you likely hav...
by hand
Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying our first home - Should I sign a buyer contract?
Replies: 13
Views: 1427

Re: Buying our first home - Should I sign a buyer contract?

It is not unreasonable for the agent you are working with to ask you to formalize the working agreement with a contract - especially if they have already done the work to find you a house. A contract is a way to do this and is likely appropriate. As always, the devil is in the details: 1) Is the con...
by hand
Fri Feb 26, 2016 3:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buy a house at age 75?
Replies: 59
Views: 4073

Re: Buy a house at age 75?

I am 75, spouse 73. Unhappy in current home. Would it be crazy to sell and buy again at our ages? Sounds like it would be crazy to stay where you are unless a move is not financially feasible. The math gets trickier if you are looking to recoup the moving and transaction costs and end up with more ...
by hand
Thu Feb 25, 2016 8:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What next?
Replies: 40
Views: 2838

Re: What next?

I too question why you'd sit on $160k cash in addition to your emergency fund while having outstanding debts. As an alternate to partially paying down the equity loan, have you considered fully paying off the $84k of Auto and School loans? This is essentially the high class version of Dave Ramsey's ...
by hand
Wed Feb 24, 2016 9:11 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinace HELOC into Mortgage?
Replies: 5
Views: 528

Re: Refinace HELOC into Mortgage?

Do the refi, put any monthly cashflow "savings" aside in a separate account and pay off the loan well before the 15 year term of the new loan.
Alternately look at a 10 year loan or ask for a 12 year loan to keep payments similar but accelerate payment.
by hand
Tue Feb 23, 2016 11:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Unfinished basement ideas
Replies: 34
Views: 2965

Re: Unfinished basement ideas

A popular choice is to airseal the rim/sill plate area (can be hired out with spray foam outfit), which can make it much warmer and less drafty in the winter, and reduce humidity problems in the summer. Pays for itself over time in reduced energy bills. Also reduces insect and spider populations. I...
by hand
Tue Feb 23, 2016 7:58 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: NYTimes on inadequate pre-purchase house inspection
Replies: 30
Views: 3201

Re: NYTimes on inadequate pre-purchase house inspection

As someone who will likely buy a house in a year or so, this is terrifying. Forewarned is forearmed - it is well worth your time to understand all the players in the real estate transaction, how they are compensated and how their monetary incentives conflict with their stated objectives and your go...
by hand
Mon Feb 22, 2016 8:17 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: NYTimes on inadequate pre-purchase house inspection
Replies: 30
Views: 3201

Re: NYTimes on inadequate pre-purchase house inspection

Before relying on anyone (particularly in a process as financially material as buying a house) it is important to understand what they do and don't do, and how they are being paid. At their core, inspectors (and realtors) profit from continued business and closed deals. Because realtors are compensa...
by hand
Wed Feb 17, 2016 9:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The Big Short
Replies: 153
Views: 16895

Re: The Big Short

I enjoyed the movie as entertainment, and thought it did a decent job of explaining complexities of CDOs, and regulatory conflicts. That being said, I felt that the movie missed badly on two important components of the crisis: 1) The individual responsibility of the borrowers who overreached - witho...
by hand
Thu Feb 11, 2016 10:57 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Sell or Rent House
Replies: 14
Views: 1149

Re: Sell or Rent House

It is unlikely that your preferred residence for 10 years is also a money making rental property. Your baseline option should be selling the house and realizing the tax free gain. As a side note, if you do keep the property, consider refinancing as an owner prior to converting to a rental to take ad...
by hand
Thu Feb 11, 2016 10:41 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Washer - Frontload or HE Top Load
Replies: 48
Views: 4383

Re: New Washer - Frontload or HE Top Load

I too would like to hear about actual (as opposed to hearsay) experience of a Speed Queen ownership. Consumer Reports rates these pretty low, so I am confused by all the raving I hear about them. The three Speed Queen top loader models listed on their website are $800, $900 and $1000, so definitely...
by hand
Fri Feb 05, 2016 10:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The Coming Boglehead Zombie Apocalypse (LED bulbs)
Replies: 94
Views: 7603

Re: The Coming Boglehead Zombie Apocalypse (LED bulbs)

We are behind the times, have no LED bulbs, have no problems. I got a laugh out of your comment, and recognize that like any good comedy there is more than a kernel of truth - no doubt your lighting performance exactly meets your expectations. Unfortunately, my bet is that you've been institutional...
by hand
Thu Feb 04, 2016 10:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Purchasing Business Class Tickets
Replies: 37
Views: 3515

Re: Purchasing Business Class Tickets

If you would like business class, but don't need business class, consider booking economy / premium economy on a flight that is likely to have "vacancies" in business. Depending on airline and unfilled seats, when you check in, you may be presented with the opportunity to upgrade to busine...
by hand
Thu Feb 04, 2016 10:45 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The Coming Boglehead Zombie Apocalypse (LED bulbs)
Replies: 94
Views: 7603

Re: The Coming Boglehead Zombie Apocalypse (LED bulbs)

Possibly more important than bulb color in many applications is the bulb's Color Rendering Index (CRI). An incandescent bulb has a CRI of 100, typical low cost LED is 80 or below CRI, but for a modest upcharge higher quality LED can be found with 92+ CRI. For interior lighting, I've been pleased wit...
by hand
Thu Feb 04, 2016 10:30 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Teacher's Retirement
Replies: 17
Views: 2118

Re: Teacher's Retirement

While this sounds like it is a good deal assuming the pension pays out as promised, it is hard to truly evaluate without understanding the underlying funding and stability of the specific pension plan. For example, the Michigan Public Schools Employees’ Retirement System (MPSERS) has an unfunded lia...
by hand
Thu Feb 04, 2016 9:13 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Muni bond ladder vs fund for large $$$$
Replies: 42
Views: 3391

Re: Muni bond ladder vs fund for large $$$$

Thanks for all great input. Lots of food for thought. "The question is will the actively managed ladder pay back the extra expense through superior performance?" That is the question, isn't it Yes this is at the heart of the issue. In theory if the muni bond market is efficient and there ...
by hand
Fri Jan 29, 2016 4:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Wouldnt you recast the mortgage at this stage?
Replies: 19
Views: 1785

Re: Wouldnt you recast the mortgage at this stage?

The only thing you can save is interest on your "extra" payments (less the tax deduction if applicable and interest you could have received from your high yield savings account/CD) between now and when the sale closes. For this minimal return, you a) have lots of nit-picky math to do to en...
by hand
Wed Jan 27, 2016 9:33 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How to get out of our High Cost Investments, and to save for a house
Replies: 19
Views: 1328

Re: How to get out of our High Cost Investments, and to save for a house

2) I understand the desire to save for a house and the desire to save for college, but it is likely not tax efficient to be saving money in taxable when you don't appear to be maxing out your Roth or TSP. So, we should max out our Roth or TSP, but not necessarily both, right? I guess we feel like t...
by hand
Wed Jan 27, 2016 9:18 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How to get out of our High Cost Investments, and to save for a house
Replies: 19
Views: 1328

Re: How to get out of our High Cost Investments, and to save for a house

5) With a 5 year time horizon, Roth funds could be withdrawn to pay for the house - if funding allows, (and especially if post-military work options include a significant pay and tax rate increase) I would work to increase Roth contributions now and pull from them for a house later if needed. I nev...
by hand
Tue Jan 26, 2016 9:57 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How to get out of our High Cost Investments, and to save for a house
Replies: 19
Views: 1328

Re: How to get out of our High Cost Investments, and to save for a house

A coupe of things jump out at me: 1) It is difficult to provide definitive advice without understanding a) whether military pension is a likelihood, b) whether likely pension + personal retirement assets is sufficient to support your retirement needs 2) I understand the desire to save for a house an...
by hand
Fri Jan 22, 2016 12:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit Card or other plan for diamond purchase
Replies: 17
Views: 977

Re: Credit Card or other plan for diamond purchase

Cheapest way to buy a diamond from a major retailer is often a wire transfer which will allow the vendor to reduce price by cost of credit card fees. That being said, caveat emptor - many "major diamond retailers" simply slap their brand and marketing surcharge on sub-par diamonds and laug...
by hand
Fri Jan 22, 2016 11:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Questions about getting a dishwasher
Replies: 28
Views: 1445

Re: Questions about getting a dishwasher

Did you check the spray arms on your dishwasher? Maybe the orifices are clogged. If it has a screen make sure it's clean. Be a shame to throw out an appliance that might only need a little maintenance. Unless you just want a new one regardless. +1 Poor cleaning performance is often related to poor ...
by hand
Sun Jan 17, 2016 10:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling house, disappointed in realtors. Am I expecting too much?
Replies: 23
Views: 3305

Re: Selling house, disappointed in realtors. Am I expecting too much?

I would be infuriated to receive such poor service from supposed professionals... That being said, it is probably worth taking a moment to determine what little you really need from a realtor given that you are supported by a relocation package. The lack of professionalism on the part of the realtor...
by hand
Wed Jan 13, 2016 1:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage Math: 15% + extra payments vs. 20%
Replies: 13
Views: 1345

Re: Mortgage Math: 15% + extra payments vs. 20%

...I've toyed with the idea of putting 15% down and putting the remainder towards our retirement accounts and then paying an extra $2,000 towards principle for the first 6 months to get rid of PMI quickly. Beware, PMI is a fee that benefits the bank, not you. It is in the bank's best interest to ma...
by hand
Tue Jan 12, 2016 2:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I keep my term life insurance in force?
Replies: 22
Views: 1901

Re: Should I keep my term life insurance in force?

This is in essence an investment-- that's another way to conceptualize it. To be honest, at say 60, most of us (male) probably have a 0.5% chance of dying over 2 years. According to the following site, [remaining] life expectancy of a generic (US?) 60 year old male is 21.3 years and probability of ...

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