Search found 126 matches

by informal guide
Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Honda Pilot vs Toyota Highlander?
Replies: 83
Views: 15735

Re: Honda Pilot vs Toyota Highlander?

In December 2016 ago we replaced an old Ford Explorer with a '17 Pilot. We chose the Pilot over the Highlander because we liked the feel of the engine/transmission better and, more importantly, we liked the third row legroom (great for three adult couples as well as just younger kids. We liked the x...
by informal guide
Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dad Needs Help Buying Wedding Liquor
Replies: 71
Views: 6402

Re: Dad Needs Help Buying Wedding Liquor

My first experience with it was at a wedding two years ago and the liquor folks also asked about it too, for planning quantities. B&G each identify a drink they like; it makes it easier for the bartenders too. We're planning a small posterboard next to the bar identifying the drink and its contents.
by informal guide
Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dad Needs Help Buying Wedding Liquor
Replies: 71
Views: 6402

Re: Dad Needs Help Buying Wedding Liquor

I am now in the midst of doing this. the liquor pro recommended Red Bull and huge amounts of Vodka (Tito's). We're cutting back some on the vodka and adding more tequila as the signature drink of the bride is tequila-based. Neither the Bride nor groom believed the Red Bull necessary, so we're cuttin...
by informal guide
Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:39 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Jack Bogle Is Worried About U.S. Pensions
Replies: 85
Views: 8291

Re: Jack Bogle Is Worried About U.S. Pensions

This is becoming routine, every week I see articles about John Bogle worrying about something. Stop worrying, just visit the nearest Mexican restaurant and enjoy some hot menudo aka breakfast for champions. Merry Christmas, and thanks for reading. Ah, menudo, aka Tripe soup - -cures what ails you, ...
by informal guide
Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:19 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Any reason not to rollover 403b to IRA?
Replies: 6
Views: 811

Re: Any reason not to rollover 403b to IRA?

Rolling the 403b over will indeed simplify things; also, direct Vanguard investments are certainly less expensive than VALIC, even if the VALIC investments are Vanguard funds. Two cautions: 1) he should be sure the beneficiary designations on the IRA are what he wants; it wwill apply to both amounts...
by informal guide
Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Trip to Los Cabos - do I need to have Pesos?
Replies: 12
Views: 1205

Re: Trip to Los Cabos - do I need to have Pesos?

The Tourist taxis in Cabo quote their prices in USD. Even in dollars, the prices differ significantly, so I urge you to agree on a fare before you start your trip. To be sure things are legit, ask your hotel concierge what the fare is to a given destination. The taxi fares from the airport tend to b...
by informal guide
Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Washer/dryer suggestions?
Replies: 43
Views: 3894

Re: Washer/dryer suggestions?

For what it is worth, here is the latest review that I just received on washers from The Wirecutter. They favor an LG Front loading model, the WM 3770HWA https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the-best-washer-and-dryer/?utm_source=Wirecutter&utm_campaign=59a60d74ec-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_11_21&utm_medium=em...
by informal guide
Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:25 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Donor Advised Fund costs
Replies: 22
Views: 1043

Re: Donor Advised Fund costs

I have had a Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund account for 18 years. I really like the ease of contributing, the tax reporting, and the choice of investments. I like the smaller minimum to open, the smaller minimum gift, and the greater automation versus the Vanguard Charitable Gift fund. Above all, I l...
by informal guide
Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:04 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Oregon makes you save, unless you object. NYT article
Replies: 50
Views: 3772

Re: Oregon makes you save, unless you object. NYT article

Agreed! Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard etc. cross subsidize small new accounts with the larger established accounts - -in IRAs, big rollovers from 401k plans pay lots of bills. Moreover, those in Oregon with more interest and knowledge will likely take the IRA route, meaning that there will be "adverse ...
by informal guide
Sun Nov 19, 2017 2:45 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Oregon makes you save, unless you object. NYT article
Replies: 50
Views: 3772

Re: Oregon makes you save, unless you object. NYT article

To Bogleheads and dedicated savers, 1% does indeed sound usurious. However, I would guess one of the elements that got the proposal approved by the legislature was that it wouldn't cost the state much money, at least on the margin. Here is some context from the recordkeeping perspective. In these da...
by informal guide
Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:21 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: buying a tux - any experience with Indichino?
Replies: 7
Views: 556

Re: buying a tux - any experience with Indichino?

Thanks for the perspectives!
by informal guide
Mon Nov 13, 2017 5:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: buying a tux - any experience with Indichino?
Replies: 7
Views: 556

buying a tux - any experience with Indichino?

For 40 years, I've made do with the tux I bought in a NYC thrift shop - -I wear it 1-3 times a year. But it has outlived its life.

I need to look good for a family wedding. Anyone have experience on buying a tux from Indochino? Views on value for around $500?
by informal guide
Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:43 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Is 15,000 new gift tax limit=Higher 529 contribution?
Replies: 6
Views: 883

Re: Is 15,000 new gift tax limit=Higher 529 contribution?

In addition, if my memory is correct, those in PA will get a higher 529 plan contribution deduction from their PA State income tax return in 2018 - - it is indexed tot he gift the exclusion amount and, fortunately still applies to contributions to any 529 plan. If the 2018 gift tax exclusion indeed ...
by informal guide
Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 529 Savings - Is it enough?
Replies: 38
Views: 3880

Re: 529 Savings - Is it enough?

I have modestly overfunded 529 plans for my two children (both of whom graduated a few years ago). But my older child is now studying for an MBA so the overfunding in her account will go "poof." My other back-up plan is to use any excess to start accounts for grandchildren, if they materialize - -as...
by informal guide
Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bonus pushed back - should I be annoyed?
Replies: 43
Views: 3430

Re: Bonus pushed back - should I be annoyed?

My employer's bonus was pushed back a few years ago from December to January, but I found it actually good for me. First, the taxes owed on it were also pushed back; second, i had a better idea of what my taxable income was going to be earlier in the year for tax planning. Third, I retired early in ...
by informal guide
Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:30 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA’s: What level of risk do you prefer?
Replies: 58
Views: 4105

Re: HSA’s: What level of risk do you prefer?

Therefore if you are making traditional, deferred contributions to an IRA or 401k, bonds would take priority there over an HSA. Your last HSA dollar distributed might be treated as no worse than tax deferred but has a chance to be tax free. Your "HSA last dollar distributed" will be treated worse t...
by informal guide
Fri Oct 06, 2017 10:08 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Sell individual stocks now after transfer to Vanguard?
Replies: 14
Views: 1108

Re: Sell individual stocks now after transfer to Vanguard?

If you plan to sell in January anyway and the stocks are widely traded, you might want to consider selling covered call options (slightly out of the money) on the stocks - -It gives you the possibility of a higher sale price and reduces risk a slight bit. This adds some complexity short term - -not ...
by informal guide
Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:11 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Contribute to both HSA and FSA in same year?
Replies: 16
Views: 1086

Re: Contribute to both HSA and FSA in same year?

One other cold cash opportunity with your HSA. If your employer offers payroll deduction for an HSA, use that approach, rather than contributing directly. That is because an HSA contribution through payroll deduction occurs before either social security or medicare tax deductions are calculated and ...
by informal guide
Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:24 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Contribute to both HSA and FSA in same year?
Replies: 16
Views: 1086

Re: Contribute to both HSA and FSA in same year?

I'd suggest you carefully review the Wiki and the related IRS references on it. To answer your questions directly, when you converted on 10/1 to an HDHP, your FSA must become a limited purpose FSA or you will violate the FSA rules. You can use the FSA for pre 10/1 expenses, butr regardless of what y...
by informal guide
Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:54 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Transition to new health insurance company - cautions?
Replies: 10
Views: 827

Re: Transition to new health insurance company - cautions?

October 15?? maybe you mean September 15? When I retired early last year, I used COBRA for my wife and me through the 16 months until Medicare for me and the full 18 months for her. For me it was a good deal cheaper than comparable ACA. More importantly the deductible/co-payment amounts carried over...
by informal guide
Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:21 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Question for car guys & gals: Two vs Three Row AWD vehicle...?
Replies: 16
Views: 1052

Re: Question for car guys & gals: Two vs Three Row AWD vehicle...?

We bought a '17 3 row Pilot 8 months ago and love it.The third row can actually handle smaller adults like no other SUV we looked at. We looked at it after my brother in law told us about it - -he uses it for business because he sometimes travels with 5 other adults - -it is unbeatable for that. We ...
by informal guide
Sat Sep 23, 2017 2:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help me calculate returns on Whole Life Policy - Keep it or cancel it?
Replies: 19
Views: 1687

Re: Help me calculate returns on Whole Life Policy - Keep it or cancel it?

Thank you for all of posts in response to helping me value the WLi policy. I'm a little unclear on dividends. I have a couple of much older participating policies from NWM; I am taking the dividends, over the premiums, in cash, at least until the tax basis of the policies reach 0 (then the cash div...
by informal guide
Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help me calculate returns on Whole Life Policy - Keep it or cancel it?
Replies: 19
Views: 1687

Re: Help me calculate returns on Whole Life Policy - Keep it or cancel it?

Your math for the first (newer) policy includes about $220 per year for riders that are doing more than buying the stated amount of insurance. The $196.50 for the right to buy more insurance at some given price - -probably more whole life insurance. My guess is that is a particularly lousy deal unle...
by informal guide
Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Memory Foam Mattress Recomendations
Replies: 51
Views: 4808

Re: Memory Foam Mattress Recomendations

Here is a current review site that I like - -we're also considering a foam mattress:

http://thesweethome.com/reviews/best-fo ... uy-online/
by informal guide
Sun Sep 17, 2017 11:50 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: NY 529 Plan
Replies: 8
Views: 781

Re: NY 529 Plan

My 30 day example was random; I recall there is (understandably) a delay of at least a week to ensure they don't disburse money that was not ultimately honored by the bank upon from which the deposit was made. If it is important to you, you may wish to call the NY 529 plan representatives to ask. Ou...
by informal guide
Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:05 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: NY 529 Plan
Replies: 8
Views: 781

Re: NY 529 Plan

And, in addition, if you are a taxpayer of New York or a few other states (such as Pennsylvania) you get to deduct your contributions to the plan from your state level taxable income (in NY limited to $10k (married filing jointly) or $5k per taxapayer) in the calendar year of your contribution. That...
by informal guide
Fri Sep 15, 2017 3:44 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: NY 529 Plan
Replies: 8
Views: 781

Re: NY 529 Plan

There are specific Federal and NY State tax regulations that permit tax-free withdrawals if (and only if) the funds are used for 'qualified higher education expenses. From a practical standpoint, that means that these expenses are incurred in the same calendar year of the withdrawal. Both myself (Fe...
by informal guide
Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:30 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard Customer Service
Replies: 301
Views: 33793

Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Another option is to simply transfer Vanguard mutual fund Admiral shares in kind to another provider - -I did that successfully to Fidelity several years ago. Are you sure those were Admiral shares that you transferred to Fidelity? Yes, in funds such as Primecap Admiral. At the time I was told one ...
by informal guide
Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:46 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard Customer Service
Replies: 301
Views: 33793

Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Another option is to simply transfer Vanguard mutual fund Admiral shares in kind to another provider - -I did that successfully to Fidelity several years ago. I have never tried to make additional purchases, but I still successfully do dividend reinvestment at no cost and my tax lot information succ...
by informal guide
Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:22 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard Global Bond Index Portfolio (annuity)
Replies: 11
Views: 1776

Re: Vanguard Global Bond Index Portfolio (annuity)

Interesting. 70/30 is the US/EXUS bond split found in the LifeStrategy and TR funds. LifeStrategy Income would probably be a better choice here? A true global bond fund (with market cap weights, as per above post) would make it trivial to hold William Sharpe's World Bond/Stock portfolio. My guess i...
by informal guide
Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medical Insurance between COBRA & Medicare
Replies: 5
Views: 450

Re: Medical Insurance between COBRA & Medicare

My employer offers a good option. Because I retired (as defined by my company policy) my spouse and I were eligible for the same coverage, through the same providers, as my employer plan when working. However, I am required to pay full freight - -$750-$950 a month for an HDHP and drug coverage per p...
by informal guide
Sun Sep 10, 2017 1:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 7 year old son's coin collection (& my observation on circulation?)
Replies: 14
Views: 2389

Re: 7 year old son's coin collection (& my observation on circulation?)

I really caught the coin collecting bug when I started delivering newspapers in 5th grade in the early 1960s. In those days, the "paper boy" also collected payment, typically knocking on doors each month to collect $2.50. My earnings, before tips and assuming no bad debts, were 2 1/2 cents per paper...
by informal guide
Sun Sep 10, 2017 12:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Safe Deposit Box Fee (Bank of America)
Replies: 35
Views: 14237

Re: Safe Deposit Box Fee (Bank of America)

My experience suggests BofA doesn't take Safe Deposit boxes very seriously. When I moved to my current town more than 2 decades ago, I rented a box at the local branch of the bank I had used where I used to live. My spouse and I signed the 5x7" old fashioned card. We visit it 1-2 times a year, every...
by informal guide
Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Travel Insurance and Irma
Replies: 5
Views: 563

Re: Travel Insurance and Irma

Our experience has been good - - I'd encourage you to wait a few weeks and see what the resort you booked at is telling you, rather than exercising the "cancel for any reason at 75% term" now. A couple years ago we booked an expedition cruise through a travel agency that chartered the boat and arran...
by informal guide
Fri Sep 01, 2017 9:51 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: BenefitWallet HSA Lowers Fund Expenses, adds Vanguard Institutional Shares
Replies: 2
Views: 378

Re: BenefitWallet HSA Lowers Fund Expenses, adds Vanguard Institutional Shares

It is nice to see price reductions in the HSA arena. Admittedly, the providers have significant costs to offer them (e.g., high # of transactions, debit card costs, specialized processing that is more complicated than IRAs) and average balances are much lower than other accounts, but for those of us...
by informal guide
Wed Aug 30, 2017 3:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: NYS 529 Direct plan (Vanguard/NYSaves.org) fee reduction
Replies: 3
Views: 476

Re: NYS 529 Direct plan (Vanguard/NYSaves.org) fee reduction

There are no other fees, unless you choose to have a wire transfer (rather than a check or payment directly to a college) used for a withdrawal. The only downside I am aware of for this plan is the NY State tax rules for those who pay taxes within NY State. If, as a New York income taxpayer, you do ...
by informal guide
Thu Aug 03, 2017 10:06 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Individual 401k question
Replies: 3
Views: 403

Re: Individual 401k question

Also, some Solo 401ks offer the option for employee contributions to be Roth contributions -- Vanguard does, but I don't believe that Fidelity permits it.
by informal guide
Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:36 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help: Fidelity or Vanguard
Replies: 33
Views: 2753

Re: Help: Fidelity or Vanguard

One question to ask if you are thinking about the Fidelity solo 401k is whether they accept Roth contributions - -I haven't checked recently, but last time I did, Vanguard did take Roth solo 401k contributions but Fidelity did not.
by informal guide
Tue Aug 01, 2017 2:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vanguard Money Market vs. Savings Accounts
Replies: 42
Views: 6834

Re: Vanguard Money Market vs. Savings Accounts

Like MrDogg, I use a short term bond fund - -in my instance, the Vanguard Short Term Investment Grade Admiral fund. SEC yield (today, 2.02%) is consistently higher than money funds (and bank money market deposit accounts). However there are two tradeoffs: 1) there is modest principal volatility and ...
by informal guide
Tue Aug 01, 2017 2:34 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Emerging Markets, not Emerging Market Indexes
Replies: 21
Views: 1874

Re: Emerging Markets, not Emerging Market Indexes

A different option that's trickier and likely increases risk is to buy actively traded ADRs of EM companies that meet your criteria and, together with EM funds, offer sufficient diversification. For example, my EM portfolio is over 80% in funds but also includes KOF (Coca Cola Femsa, a Mexican and S...
by informal guide
Sun Jul 30, 2017 1:41 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: PA 529 and GSP after moving here recently
Replies: 1
Views: 227

Re: PA 529 and GSP after moving here recently

Two comments that may be helpful to you in considering your options. 1) The PA income tax deduction is for contributions to ANY 529 plan, not just the two you mentioned that are PA-based. The Vanguard 529 plan (NV) assets are reoprted on your Vanguard.com logon (and count for flagship status qualifi...
by informal guide
Sun Jul 16, 2017 5:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommendation for things to do in Seattle area
Replies: 18
Views: 1265

Re: Recommendation for things to do in Seattle area

If you are into food, I suggest a "savor Seattle walking tour." My wife and I did it one afternoon three years ago and really loved it - -food (small plates), and frequently wine - at 6-7 places.

Another real winner is a trip up to the Boeing factory - -truly amazing!
by informal guide
Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 100k milestone
Replies: 49
Views: 6344

Re: 100k milestone

When I was young, my milestone was not net worth, but annual income. I graduated from college in the mid-70's and made my first small individual stock investment in late 1974. Too bad that was all I had! (Dow around 650). In those days there was no Vanguard; mutual funds were almost always sold by b...
by informal guide
Wed Jul 05, 2017 1:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Delta Air - various classes of service
Replies: 59
Views: 4052

Re: Delta Air - various classes of service

I flew that route R/t earlier this year - -on Air Canada out of Newark (EWR). At least then, Air Canada was flying a 787 - -a significantly better airplane IMO. 787's pressurize at a lower altitude than most other planes, with higher (but still low) humidity. The lower altitude and higher humidity m...
by informal guide
Fri Jun 30, 2017 10:44 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: HSA question
Replies: 9
Views: 1008

Re: HSA question

One other benefit of contributing to your HSA through your workplace is that the funds contributed through payroll go in before social security and Medicare taxes are assessed (just like health insurance premiums). For folks making more than the social security wage limit over a year, this reduces t...
by informal guide
Wed Jun 21, 2017 11:30 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard invite - transition to a Brokerage Acct
Replies: 33
Views: 3220

Re: Vanguard invite - transition to a Brokerage Acct

I wonder if the invite is some sort of test or pilot project, given no one else is reporting receiving this?
by informal guide
Sat Jun 17, 2017 9:04 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Considering switching from AMEX BCP to BCE
Replies: 5
Views: 646

Re: Considering switching from AMEX BCP to BCE

Six months ago, I closed a fee-based Amex card (Delta Platinum.). when I spoke with Amex customer service, they indicated that one can cancel a card until the bill due date on the month the annual fee is charged. So I did it and my fee was credited back to my now closed account and my final Delta mi...
by informal guide
Tue Jun 13, 2017 7:51 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Variable Life Insurance as an Investment Vehicle
Replies: 39
Views: 3040

Re: Variable Life Insurance as an Investment Vehicle

Even the Ameritas VUL product (among the better ones) skims 3% off premium payments. The only reason I have one is that when I was a kid (in the 60's) my mother bought a Mutual Benefit whole life product. The company went into "rehabilitation" (insurance speak for bankruptcy); when it emerged in the...
by informal guide
Tue Jun 13, 2017 7:29 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: medicare premium amount
Replies: 51
Views: 4533

Re: medicare premium amount

I looked carefully on the notice/bill - -there was no mention of a fee. The only cost I identified is the stamp. The downside is that you apparently cannot set this up as auto-instructions for the credit card. One must do it (and mail it) each time. I will let you know in a week or so when it is pro...