Search found 161 matches

by ianferrel
Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:16 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Bitcoin: Significance of 12 transactions per second?
Replies: 28
Views: 2790

Re: Bitcoin: Significance of 12 transactions per second?

To cite an actual parallel in the past, if you lost money in the once-regarded-as-"reputable" Mt. Gox exchange, it is not very comforting to have someone say "you just need to be careful to use only a reputable exchange." In general, your post is excellent and I agree with all of it except the quot...
by ianferrel
Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?
Replies: 94
Views: 6265

Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

It's not just that styles have changed. It's that stuff has become cheap and space has become expensive. I really like this essay about the subject . Combine the trends of urbanization, increasing efficiency in manufacturing, and vastly increased housing prices in most places, and what you get is a ...
by ianferrel
Mon Oct 09, 2017 1:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best way to utilize monthly vehicle allowance from employer?
Replies: 10
Views: 634

Re: Best way to utilize monthly vehicle allowance from employer?

Rationally, you should be more willing to spend on a vehicle if you're paying with tax-free money. So, imagine what you'd buy if you just had the extra income (with no strings), and (probably) buy something nicer. Exactly how much you're willing to spend is still going to be a personal decision. OR ...
by ianferrel
Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Strategy for smartphones.
Replies: 31
Views: 2866

Re: Strategy for smartphones.

So I asked him what happened if this was 12 months and 1 week for an $800 phone and he said I'd be out of work. How do people handle this eventuality, as I am not a fan of insurance or extended warranties. You self-insure, and hope that you don't have to eat the cost. Stuff does break sometimes. Ar...
by ianferrel
Tue Sep 12, 2017 5:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Iphone X is $1000
Replies: 378
Views: 24883

Re: Iphone X is $1000

Yeah, $1,000 every two years for a phone is way too much, but I'm sure consumers will prove me wrong. When you upgrade, are you throwing your old phone in the garbage? A 2-year old iPhone is generally worth about $200-300 less than it was when new. No reason to expect that this one won't be pretty ...
by ianferrel
Wed Aug 23, 2017 12:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why do we consider cash flow from rentals but not our own homes?
Replies: 89
Views: 6144

Re: Why do we consider cash flow from rentals but not our own homes?

One way to think about this (in an even broader sense) is that humans are naturally short on all the things necessary for our survival. We are born with a need for food and shelter (at a minimum), and generally we also have societal needs for things like transportation and medicine. If you buy an as...
by ianferrel
Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you plan to ditch your laptop in travel soon?
Replies: 52
Views: 4282

Re: Do you plan to ditch your laptop in travel soon?

I've taken a few trips without my laptop recently, although I still generally take it. When I don't have it, one thing that's a necessity for me is a hardware keyboard that I can use with my phone/tablet. I like to write travelogs and longer emails when traveling, and the touchscreen keyboards are t...
by ianferrel
Thu Aug 03, 2017 5:04 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 250k in savings. need some advice and a kick in the butt
Replies: 31
Views: 3628

Re: 250k in savings. need some advice and a kick in the butt

Thanks. My company gives me a car allowance which i use to pay both car notes. So they are paying the interest really. I should have mentioned that also. I would assume that you would still get the car allowance if the cars were paid off. If so that makes no difference and paying them off still mak...
by ianferrel
Tue Aug 01, 2017 6:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How far off are Zillow's estimates?
Replies: 82
Views: 8303

Re: How far off are Zillow's estimates?

Note that if you're looking at zillow's estimate "chart", what they show you is their current estimation of past values, not a record of their past estimates. I bought in Dec. 2015. At the time, Zillow estimated the value of my house at around 4-5% over what we paid for it (their valuation was very ...
by ianferrel
Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Living on a boat in HI to save money
Replies: 17
Views: 2972

Re: Living on a boat in HI to save money

You can save money by living on a boat, but you're mostly saving money by living in a smaller space. It might not be possible to find a 200 sq. foot apartment (which is about comparable to a 35-40 ft boat in living space), but if he could, it's probably similar savings. You can't take it out fishing...
by ianferrel
Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bonus, in bitcoin
Replies: 21
Views: 2310

Re: Bonus, in bitcoin

Overstock has paid bitcoin bonuses to their employees. http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/bitcoin-friendly-overstock-introduce-digital-currency-bonus-scheme-employees-1459424 Have they? I can find a number of news stories from a few years ago that they were planning to do so. Zero stories that they actually ...
by ianferrel
Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bonus, in bitcoin
Replies: 21
Views: 2310

Re: Bonus, in bitcoin

mayday23 wrote:Unless she's in an industry that deals with cyrpocurrency,this is crazy shady.
Agreed. What is going on here? Be very suspicious.
by ianferrel
Fri Jun 16, 2017 12:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What if current year's IRA maxed on Jan 2nd but lose job next day & unemployed rest of year?
Replies: 14
Views: 1256

Re: What if current year's IRA maxed on Jan 2nd but lose job next day & unemployed rest of year?

Two options:

1. Withdraw the excess (and any earnings on it) before filing taxes. You then pay taxes on whatever the earnings were (probably at short term cap gains rate).
2. Pay 6% a year penalties forever on the excess.

(you should probably choose #1)
by ianferrel
Thu Jun 15, 2017 12:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying cost vs renting (specifically for me)... can anyone fact check this?
Replies: 36
Views: 2481

Re: Buying cost vs renting (specifically for me)... can anyone fact check this?

Your numbers are pretty close to my numbers (our rent was a bit less, our house was a bit more, our interest rate was a bit less) when my wife and I were looking at buying a house 2 years ago (we bought one), and while I didn't follow the full analysis you wrote, it's not too far off what I consider...
by ianferrel
Wed Jun 07, 2017 6:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "Paying" a minor for otherwise uncompensated work
Replies: 37
Views: 3407

Re: "Paying" a minor for otherwise uncompensated work

Once money goes into a Roth IRA, it can't come out for quite some time. You can withdraw contributions from a Roth IRA at any time with no tax or penalty. You just can't withdraw earnings without issue. I agree with the general consensus that I don't think the OP's dad can pay him for work done for...
by ianferrel
Tue May 02, 2017 5:12 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bitcoin Purchase
Replies: 99
Views: 12175

Re: Bitcoin Purchase

I bought a few bitcoins when they were under $4, sold several of them within a few percent of the historical high (I had forgotten about them until bitcoin was in the news for going up to $1000 each), and the rest got stolen when an exchange I had them on (got hacked/was a fraud/who knows). Can't sa...
by ianferrel
Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:00 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Real estate rate of return?
Replies: 34
Views: 3751

Re: Real estate rate of return?

Is there a minimum rental period they specify? In many places, you can do month-to-month furnished rentals at a significant premium. 30 days. We might end up doing that. It would give us more flexibility to use it as a personal guest-house sometimes, though it would also require more work. A good t...
by ianferrel
Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:56 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Real estate rate of return?
Replies: 34
Views: 3751

Re: Real estate rate of return?

Most tenants and landlords desire the same level of interaction: near zero. My impression is that many people worry more about having someone living on the same property than I do. I live in a (relatively) dense semi-urban area. There's always somebody living nearby. I've had someone living in my b...
by ianferrel
Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:51 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Real estate rate of return?
Replies: 34
Views: 3751

Re: Real estate rate of return?

That's $400 a square foot. You should be able to get it built for $250- $300 a square foot depending on material selections. That will put the cost between $125-150k. Like I said, I have estimates for that whole range. I will obviously do my research when it comes to hiring a contractor, but at thi...
by ianferrel
Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Real estate rate of return?
Replies: 34
Views: 3751

Re: Real estate rate of return?

Why not a) buy a separate condo or cottage house that you rent out, without going through the trouble of construction and permitting and having a stranger live in your back yard A separate condo or cottage house in this area would cost at least twice as much as our highest estimate. I definitely co...
by ianferrel
Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Real estate rate of return?
Replies: 34
Views: 3751

Re: Real estate rate of return?

I agree that $200k seems absurd for a ~500sq ft above-garage apartment. Yet, I have an actual estimate for that amount. I also have much lower estimates. I don't have any quotes. No one will give me an actual quote until I have plans and a permit, and the plan/permit process is several thousand doll...
by ianferrel
Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:58 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Real estate rate of return?
Replies: 34
Views: 3751

Re: Real estate rate of return?

Yes, we'd have to take out a loan, and we do currently have a mortgage. I haven't yet talked to bankers, but that sounds like the next step. (Mortgage lenders are not in the business to speculate on rental income. So they typically will not consider potential income in your qualifying for the additi...
by ianferrel
Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:52 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Real estate rate of return?
Replies: 34
Views: 3751

Re: Real estate rate of return?

What is your tax rate? Will this be taxed as ordinary income for federal and state purposes? How would you be taxed if you put the money into tax advantaged accounts, or even an after tax account? How will the apartment affect the resale value of the property? Is this something people are willing t...
by ianferrel
Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:05 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Real estate rate of return?
Replies: 34
Views: 3751

Real estate rate of return?

We're considering adding a small 1-bedroom apartment above our detached garage, initially for use as a rental. Estimates we've gotten for construction are between $120k and $200k (we're in pretty early planning stages), and based on the local rental market, I expect we could rent it for $1700-1800 a...
by ianferrel
Thu Apr 06, 2017 5:25 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Do Index Funds Drive Apple Up?
Replies: 27
Views: 2834

Re: Do Index Funds Drive Apple Up?

I've noticed Apple is increasing in value without many new products. The number of new products is probably the wrong thing to measure here. Apple is the iPhone and a bunch of little things. They could add one little thing a year, or three little things, and their expected revenue doesn't change mu...
by ianferrel
Fri Mar 24, 2017 11:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vehicles as a percentage of net worth
Replies: 102
Views: 7594

Re: Vehicles as a percentage of net worth

Kind of in the same way a refrigerator is an asset. You could sell it if you had to, then do without or replace with a cheaper model. But if replace with a cheaper model is a viable option, then you bought too expensive a refrigerator. Sure, but it's easier to sell cars, and they are generally wort...
by ianferrel
Thu Mar 23, 2017 5:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vehicles as a percentage of net worth
Replies: 102
Views: 7594

Re: Vehicles as a percentage of net worth

I think people are misusing the word "asset" when they claim personal vehicles aren't assets. They're clearly assets. They have value, you can sell them, and they (hopefully) generate value in the form of getting you places you want to go for less money or more conveniently than other alte...
by ianferrel
Tue Mar 14, 2017 1:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Time Saving Tactics: Kids Edition
Replies: 57
Views: 4298

Re: Time Saving Tactics: Kids Edition

1) Wash the lunch container as soon as you are done eating at work. That way, we are not left with a large pile of dishes at the end of the week. 2) Cut veggies and fridge them during the weekend, so that food preparation is much easier during the week. It's interesting that one of your tips involv...
by ianferrel
Wed Mar 01, 2017 11:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: BH thoughts on Time shares
Replies: 123
Views: 10125

Re: BH thoughts on Time shares

Most of it is physiological. They start by showing you how great the property is (which it may be a really nice place). Then they make the opening offer. Maybe $30k, they start to convince you that it is a really nice place, then keep lowering the price. Pretty soon you can get this same timeshare ...
by ianferrel
Mon Feb 27, 2017 2:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: BH thoughts on Time shares
Replies: 123
Views: 10125

Re: BH thoughts on Time shares

Could someone go more into detail about what it is that the salesguys do that convinces people? Everyone is saying that they somehow manage to convince people who think they have high sales resistance. I will admit, I think I have a pretty high resistance to sales. But maybe I'm just waiting to be a...
by ianferrel
Thu Feb 23, 2017 12:49 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Expense Ratio reported via 401k and Morningstar differ
Replies: 1
Views: 178

Expense Ratio reported via 401k and Morningstar differ

I was looking at the investment options in my 401k, and I noticed that the Expense Ratio listed for a fund by the 401k provider (Merrill Lynch) is not the same as that listed by Morningstar. The fund in question is MDIIX. Morningstar shows an ER or 0.37%. Merrill Lynch shows an ER of 0.40%. I'm thin...
by ianferrel
Wed Feb 22, 2017 3:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: BH thoughts on Time shares
Replies: 123
Views: 10125

Re: BH thoughts on Time shares

Beware, the sales people are really really good at what they do. My wife and I sat through one of these two years ago and, honestly, it was phenomenally easy to say no. Maybe our guy was just not very good, or was too nice? Or maybe we just projected a "we're not suckers" vibe? Magic word...
by ianferrel
Wed Feb 22, 2017 12:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Utility Bills - How do ours compare?
Replies: 44
Views: 4382

Re: Utility Bills - How do ours compare?

Southern California, 3 people, 1300 sq foot home.

Electric: ~$50
Water+Sewer+Trash: ~$110
Gas: ~$50 for the three months a year we run the heater. ~$10 the other months.
by ianferrel
Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taxes for custodial account for minor child
Replies: 5
Views: 619

Re: Taxes for custodial account for minor child

Thanks for your help, all. Looks like I don't have to do anything for a while. And, although it's irrelevant to the question, I must correct myself and correctly attribute the generous gift to my wife's grandfather , not father. Also my son was born last year. This, uh, tax year. I guess the sleep d...
by ianferrel
Wed Feb 15, 2017 2:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taxes for custodial account for minor child
Replies: 5
Views: 619

Taxes for custodial account for minor child

My father in law has generously funded a custodial account for my son, born this year. This is a new thing for me, so I want to make sure I understand the tax requirements and best practices. The income this account has generated is relatively small. A few hundred dollars in dividends. According to ...
by ianferrel
Tue Feb 07, 2017 11:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Water softener or Scale Blaster??
Replies: 2
Views: 511

Re: Water softener or Scale Blaster??

I bought my water softener from ohiopurwater.com. Fleck 5600 model. Total cost was about $600 (I did the installation myself, but a local plumber said it'd be maybe $100 to install if you wanted someone else to do it). It's been about six months so far, and it seems to work great. I read a bunch of ...
by ianferrel
Wed Jan 18, 2017 6:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Has anyone ever asked for a refund of their Costco membership fee?
Replies: 19
Views: 7031

Re: Has anyone ever asked for a refund of their Costco membership fee?

I got the Executive card at one point, despite thinking that I probably would not spend enough to be worth it, because they told me it was risk free, that I could always get a refund of the $55 annual fee difference. A year later, come time to actually get that refund, and I had to sit at the member...
by ianferrel
Thu Nov 17, 2016 3:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: AppleCare on MacBook Pro?
Replies: 40
Views: 4239

Re: AppleCare on MacBook Pro?

100% yes on Applecare. I had someone at the genius bar seriously bail me out when I was in law school and my macbook died without warning during a lecture. I didn't have Applecare and it was a few months past the end of the one year warranty, but he took pity on a penniless student and authorized a...
by ianferrel
Wed Nov 16, 2016 12:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: AppleCare on MacBook Pro?
Replies: 40
Views: 4239

Re: AppleCare on MacBook Pro?

Extended warranty! How can I lose? --Homer Simpson Warranties are a form of insurance, and you should only insure against catastrophic losses, or you'll be just padding the profit margins of the companies who offer them. And the profit margins on extended warranties are very high. Is losing your $1...
by ianferrel
Fri Sep 23, 2016 11:11 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Need advice on mortgage principal prepayment
Replies: 16
Views: 2412

Re: Need advice on mortgage principal prepayment

Paying down your mortgage won't give you any benefit until the mortgage is paid off; for you, this will probably be when you sell the house. If you continue to live in the house for another 10 years, say, then you are effectively buying a 10-year taxable bond with a yield of 3.375%. You didn't list...
by ianferrel
Thu Sep 22, 2016 10:58 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: $200 Cash Back after spending $500
Replies: 3
Views: 1098

Re: $200 Cash Back after spending $500

Not this particular one, but these kinds of promos are common.

And what stops people from canceling the card is mostly forgetfulness or inertia. Enough people will keep the card that it's worth it to them in the long run (or they think it is).
by ianferrel
Mon Aug 22, 2016 7:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What is your system for dealing with coins?
Replies: 123
Views: 9961

Re: What is your system for dealing with coins?

So far, my plan has been to leave them in the car ashtray until someone breaks into the car and steals them.

My returns aren't great, but it has been very simple to implement and track.
by ianferrel
Tue Aug 16, 2016 8:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Changing Rental Lease info on the fly
Replies: 2
Views: 425

Re: Changing Rental Lease info on the fly

If you (owner), he (rental manager), and the renter all agree to it, it's legal.

Have everyone initial the change.
by ianferrel
Fri Jul 15, 2016 5:26 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Pokemon Go" -- should buying Nintendo have been obvious?
Replies: 88
Views: 6755

Re: "Pokemon Go" -- should buying Nintendo have been obvious?

Now, looking back, it was rather obvious what would happen. No it wasn't. It seems obvious now, because it happened . Thinking that things that already happened were obvious before they happened is a logical fallacy. It's easy to come up with a rationalization for why things happened. It's hard to ...
by ianferrel
Wed May 18, 2016 5:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Did your children ever completely move out?
Replies: 53
Views: 5201

Re: Did your children ever completely move out?

Not old enough yet to opine, but at some point in my 20s, when I'd been out of my parents' house for several years, they told me that I should go through the stuff I'd left behind and take what I wanted, and they'd trash the rest. It worked for us. I kept some stuff. They ended up keeping a few thin...
by ianferrel
Mon May 16, 2016 6:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is it OK to leave home wifi on?
Replies: 55
Views: 5198

Re: Is it OK to leave home wifi on?

How does your WiFi broadcasting identify your home address? It's not very hard to figure out the general location of a wifi router. If it's inside your house, then they'll know which house it belongs to. It's like if you had a neon sign on top of your house that was sometimes on and sometimes off. ...
by ianferrel
Thu Mar 17, 2016 9:20 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Roth backdoor - Incorrect 8606 filed. How to fix?
Replies: 6
Views: 731

Re: Roth backdoor - Incorrect 8606 filed. How to fix?

I've actually filed amended returns before. I'm not sure what I'd do in this case, though. None of the fields in the 1040X has any changes. I'm not changing my deductions or exemptions or taxes paid.

I read the instructions for the 1040X, and it doesn't really seem to cover this.
by ianferrel
Mon Mar 14, 2016 11:23 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Roth backdoor - Incorrect 8606 filed. How to fix?
Replies: 6
Views: 731

Re: Roth backdoor - Incorrect 8606 filed. How to fix?

Yes, I made both a traditional contribution and a Roth conversion in 2014. There was nothing to tax because the value converted was less than the initial value contributed. And I did file the 8606, I just did it with the wrong values. So now I have to fix that. Thanks for the answers. I'll just file...
by ianferrel
Sun Mar 13, 2016 4:15 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Roth backdoor - Incorrect 8606 filed. How to fix?
Replies: 6
Views: 731

Roth backdoor - Incorrect 8606 filed. How to fix?

So, doing my 2015 Federal taxes, I discovered that I failed to report my nondeductible IRA basis in form 8606 for 2014 taxes. It was correct on 2013, then I didn't carry it forward... I of course noticed it this year because I need that basis to do the Roth conversion. How do I fix this? 1. File an ...
by ianferrel
Thu Mar 10, 2016 1:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Property tax California
Replies: 11
Views: 1430

Re: Property tax California

If they've owned the home all that time, then something doesn't add up here. Prop 13 caps property tax increases to 2% a year. So, if they bought the house in 1997, then the assessed value for tax purposes can have gone up at most by a factor of (1.02)^(2016-1997) == 1.45. So their property taxes sh...