Search found 565 matches

by nordsteve
Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Help with what to do with drafty fireplace
Replies: 26
Views: 1301

Re: Help with what to do with drafty fireplace

Option 3 is to drop $50 on a Chimney Balloon, and take it out when you're operating the fireplace. If it turns out you use it a lot, do some of the other more expensive fixes. If not, you've solved your leaky flue problem for $50. I have one of these in my indoor grill flue (no damper) and it works ...
by nordsteve
Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Splitting Assets in Divorce
Replies: 51
Views: 4992

Re: Splitting Assets in Divorce

Check out 'collaborative divorce'. It's for couples who want a respectful, non-adversarial end to their marriage.
by nordsteve
Fri Dec 22, 2017 8:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is Software consulting considered a services business?
Replies: 13
Views: 1475

Re: Is Software consulting considered a services business?

Here's what I got in an email from an accounting firm: The 20% exemption is capped at the greater of: 50% of the amount of wages paid to employees and reported on a W-2. 25% of those same wages plus 2.5% of the cost of depreciable property owned by the business. This W-2-related threshold would not ...
by nordsteve
Sun Dec 17, 2017 2:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Terminology: condo vs apartment
Replies: 26
Views: 2116

Re: Terminology: condo vs apartment

Try searching for "buying an apartment in" and see which cities show up to see how it varies by region.
by nordsteve
Mon Dec 11, 2017 1:41 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: bitcoin - is there any real value here or is it a pure Ponzi scam?
Replies: 236
Views: 20561

Re: bitcoin - is there any real value here or is it a pure Ponzi scam?

Saturday, I was waiting at Costco by the stairs to the mezzanine employee lounge. The employees there were in a deep discussion of Bitcoin trading strategies.

It's a movie I've seen a couple times in my life.
by nordsteve
Fri Dec 01, 2017 4:50 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: BH philosophy on restricted stock units and employee stock purchase program?
Replies: 27
Views: 1411

Re: BH philosophy on restricted stock units and employee stock purchase program?

I work for a BigTech firm and generally sell each RSU grant as it vests. The majority of the price movement in our stock is captured by an index fund, with much less risk. I did retain some shares when the company's share price was low, which I use now for charitable contributions. I've seen people ...
by nordsteve
Sat Nov 04, 2017 12:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: A note of thanks, a progress report and follow-up questions.
Replies: 4
Views: 555

Re: A note of thanks, a progress report and follow-up questions.

Is the wife's existing 401k pretax or aftertax? Based on the order of items in the post I came away with pretax but worth clarifying.
by nordsteve
Sat Nov 04, 2017 11:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: A note of thanks, a progress report and follow-up questions.
Replies: 4
Views: 555

Re: A note of thanks, a progress report and follow-up questions.

Regarding #3, you can roll your wife's 401k into an IRA and avoid those fees. Many of us roll our 401k into a rollover IRA when we change employers, rather than rolling into the new employer's plan.
by nordsteve
Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:08 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 30th Anniversary of October 19, 1987 stock market crash
Replies: 36
Views: 3255

Re: 30th Anniversary of October 19, 1987 stock market crash

From the articles: ...a terrified woman came up to my friend and me. “Do you know what’s happening?” she asked. When I looked at her, I saw panic—and that’s when it hit me that something was going on. I was so scared that I got $10,000 out of the bank, took it home, and stored it in the rafters. How...
by nordsteve
Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:44 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 30th Anniversary of October 19, 1987 stock market crash
Replies: 36
Views: 3255

30th Anniversary of October 19, 1987 stock market crash

Those of us who have been investing for a while can't forget the memorable day of October 19, 1987. It's memorable because the S&P 500 lost over 20% of its value that day. Newer investors should think about how you'd feel if your equity allocation declined that much in a day. Two good articles looki...
by nordsteve
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:25 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Muni Bond Funds With Regard to Puerto Rico
Replies: 14
Views: 1112

Re: Muni Bond Funds With Regard to Puerto Rico

The risk varies by fund. Here's an example. I own a state-specific muni bond fund with about $530MM in assets. As of 3/31 it held about $2MM in PR bonds. Of that, about $600K is insured and the remainder was carried at 25-50% of principal amount. So the total at-risk amount is about 1.4MM, or 0.28% ...
by nordsteve
Thu Sep 21, 2017 9:23 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Going to try my hand at Mega Backdoor Roth
Replies: 16
Views: 1855

Re: Going to try my hand at Mega Backdoor Roth

I participate in a plan that allows rollovers of after-tax contributions. Some notes on my setup that might be useful to others. The plan is managed by Fidelity I try to roll contributions and gains monthly The destination Roth IRA is also at Fidelity, which allows the rollover transaction to be don...
by nordsteve
Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: blood pressure monitor recommendations?
Replies: 38
Views: 2669

Re: blood pressure monitor recommendations?

I have the Withings wireless blood pressure monitor and really like it. Can't tell you how it compares to others as it's the first one I've bought.
by nordsteve
Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Lightning strikes nearby locking up my new smart thermostat
Replies: 12
Views: 1616

Re: Lightning strikes nearby locking up my new smart thermostat

Can't say enough about having a residential surge suppressor. Mine is from Square D.
by nordsteve
Mon Aug 07, 2017 7:17 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Munis at Fidelity: FTABX or VTEB?
Replies: 41
Views: 3746

Re: Munis at Fidelity: FTABX or VTEB?

If you live in a high tax state, you might also consider a state specific fund. In my situation the incremental tax savings more that paid for the higher fee.
by nordsteve
Fri Aug 04, 2017 6:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Delta priority boarding - first timer
Replies: 80
Views: 6996

Re: Delta priority boarding - first timer

Lastly I did say riff raff. Even in zone 2 which we usually are...everyone lines up way before it'll even be their turn to board...they "cut" their way to the front...etc. It's a bunch of nonsense...no order whatsoever (unless you're flying SW). It's just a stampede. Yeah...I'm gonna stand by riff ...
by nordsteve
Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Personal loan to a family member
Replies: 114
Views: 8404

Re: Personal loan to a family member

While I'm generally with the others on this thread that family loans should be considered gifts, I will offer this counterexample: My parents, financially well off and not in need of the money, took a fully documented loan with mortgage on their cabin from my elderly grandmother. It was a much bette...
by nordsteve
Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?
Replies: 117
Views: 8539

Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

I travel four to six days a month, usually to the same city. It puts some stress on my family, but less so now that my children have left home. I wouldn't take a heavy travel job if I had a young family. It would interfere too much with family activities that I enjoy -- for example, difficult to coa...
by nordsteve
Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New roof suggestions.
Replies: 29
Views: 3361

Re: New roof suggestions.

Seconding the suggestion on checking with your insurance. On my recent roof replacement, the reduced insurance costs of impact resistant shingles paid off the increased cost in 5 years.
by nordsteve
Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Condo association - Does the budget seem sound?
Replies: 14
Views: 1330

Re: Condo association - Does the budget seem sound?

Is there a reserve study? How do the actual reserves compared to those called for in the study?
by nordsteve
Fri Jun 30, 2017 6:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Worker's Comp - Process Questions
Replies: 4
Views: 349

Re: Worker's Comp - Process Questions

Worker's comp is state-specific, so you're going to need to provide that to have a chance of getting relevant advice.
by nordsteve
Mon Jun 26, 2017 12:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best Practices for Managing Paper Receipts
Replies: 28
Views: 2978

Re: Best Practices for Managing Paper Receipts

I'm in the ScanSnap club. It's worth it if you care about your time. Paper documents worth keeping go in two piles -- "Scan then Shred" and "Scan then File" After scanning, filed documents go a couple ways: . Medical receipts that have not yet been reimbursed from HSA go into "HSA Reimbursable" file...
by nordsteve
Sun Jun 25, 2017 6:39 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How do you calculate "enough" for retirement accounts?
Replies: 14
Views: 2356

Re: How do you calculate "enough" for retirement accounts?

Understanding the spending side of the retirement equation is also important. This article from the wiki is a good place to start.
by nordsteve
Wed Jun 14, 2017 4:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do You Take Your Credit Card Receipts?
Replies: 85
Views: 7806

Re: Do You Take Your Credit Card Receipts?

I take them, and keep them for a couple days. My theory is that errors in tip entry are less likely to occur when you take the receipt.
by nordsteve
Mon May 08, 2017 5:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to start a scholarship?
Replies: 9
Views: 1104

Re: How to start a scholarship?

Many cities have community foundations that do this exact thing. My grandparents used the MN Community Foundation when they endowed a scholarship in the small town they lived in. My city has two local foundations:

http://bloomingtonfoundation-mn.org/
http://efbmn.org/
by nordsteve
Fri May 05, 2017 5:37 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Deferred comp/457 vs. self-directed IRA?
Replies: 5
Views: 416

Re: Deferred comp/457 vs. self-directed IRA?

Just to clarify, it's cheaper than VFINX until you qualify for the Admiral Share level ($10000), after which it's more expensive. But the difference in contribution limits is a big deal regardless.
by nordsteve
Fri May 05, 2017 5:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Deferred comp/457 vs. self-directed IRA?
Replies: 5
Views: 416

Re: Deferred comp/457 vs. self-directed IRA?

Don't be too quick to dismiss it. The 457 plan I contributed to has VIIIX at 0.02% expense ratio, plus a plan fee of 0.10% capped at the first $125,000 of the account. That's cheaper than buying VFINX in an IRA. Your plan might have similar options. The contribution limits on the 457 plan are likely...
by nordsteve
Thu Apr 20, 2017 5:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Small Clear Trash Bags for Bathroom
Replies: 9
Views: 1348

Re: Small Clear Trash Bags for Bathroom

Another source is grocery stores that have an area to recycle the bags.
by nordsteve
Thu Apr 20, 2017 4:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best surface for garage, epoxy, polished concrete, something else?
Replies: 24
Views: 3261

Re: Best surface for garage, epoxy, polished concrete, something else?

I saw a similar tile floor when visiting my parents in Sun City West. It was very nice.
by nordsteve
Thu Apr 20, 2017 4:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How to Handle Taxes on One Time Windfall (sale)
Replies: 13
Views: 1339

Re: How to Handle Taxes on One Time Windfall (sale)

Another option: if you have enough w-2 income, you can go the additional withholding path and avoid estimated tax payments entirely.
by nordsteve
Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Require Access to School Records?
Replies: 113
Views: 7397

Re: Require Access to School Records?

My child's college (small liberal arts) asked us not to sign the form. They use the threat of the form as part of their response to bad grades.
by nordsteve
Tue Feb 14, 2017 2:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Kids in Apartment Sharing Bedroom - Workable?
Replies: 55
Views: 4425

Re: Kids in Apartment Sharing Bedroom - Workable?

My boys shared a bedroom for several years. They loved it. The youngest stayed in our bedroom until he was ready to go join his brother.
by nordsteve
Tue Feb 14, 2017 2:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: BRK Annual Shareholder Meeting- is it worth going?
Replies: 20
Views: 2546

Re: BRK Annual Shareholder Meeting- is it worth going?

I've been twice. Both times we stayed at a hotel along I80, between Des Moines and Omaha, and got a reasonable rate. You could fly to Des Moines and head over -- it's only a 2 hour drive, and weather won't be a factor at that time of year.
by nordsteve
Fri Feb 03, 2017 1:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Thule "clamp-on" car roof rack
Replies: 20
Views: 3115

Re: Thule "clamp-on" car roof rack

I moved the location of the clamps on my Yakima roof box when I got my Outback. Closed up the old openings with silicone caulk. Works fine.
by nordsteve
Wed Feb 01, 2017 11:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Windows 10 Security on a Tablet
Replies: 17
Views: 1595

Re: Windows 10 Security on a Tablet

cheese_breath wrote:(3) How do I shut down an app so the next time I bring it up it comes up clean instead of restarting from where it left off?
Long swipe from top to bottom will close an app. See http://bgr.com/2015/03/19/windows-10-new-gestures/ for details on the four edge swipe options.
by nordsteve
Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Storing pictures on long trips
Replies: 24
Views: 1777

Re: Storing pictures on long trips

Looks like Apple also makes a lightning to USB adapter that seems designed for your scenario.
by nordsteve
Wed Jan 25, 2017 11:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Storing pictures on long trips
Replies: 24
Views: 1777

Re: Storing pictures on long trips

You could take a more flexible device, like an Android or Windows tablet, that allows you to transfer photos to the device and then into a cloud storage account.
by nordsteve
Tue Jan 17, 2017 7:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Quality Shears/Scissors; General Purpose/Kitchen
Replies: 18
Views: 1344

Re: Quality Shears/Scissors; General Purpose/Kitchen

We have two pairs of Fiskars Cuts More scissors -- one in the kitchen and one in the workshop. They are great for opening boxes and plastic clamshell containers.

We have a separate pair of kitchen scissors for cooking.
by nordsteve
Tue Jan 17, 2017 7:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Reflectors to reflect only tail lights (or battery LED motion strip)
Replies: 26
Views: 2050

Re: Reflectors to reflect only tail lights

The issue with reflective tape is that the light source is often not well aligned with the mirror of the car, which is what's needed to make the tape work. I agree with others that some form of lighting might be the best solution to your problem.
by nordsteve
Sun Jan 08, 2017 3:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: how do I attach phone wire to a house?
Replies: 7
Views: 677

Re: how do I attach phone wire to a house?

If you go the cable tie route, be sure to purchase UV stabilized ties.
by nordsteve
Sat Jan 07, 2017 9:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: S Corp payroll co for single owner/employee?
Replies: 31
Views: 3334

Re: S Corp payroll co for single owner/employee?

When I had a consulting business, I did quarterly payroll using numbers provided by my accountant. The whole process took about 15 minutes each payroll. I couldn't justify paying someone to do it for me.
by nordsteve
Thu Jan 05, 2017 9:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gaming an Account Hack
Replies: 5
Views: 1148

Re: Gaming an Account Hack

In my case the hacker would need to invade my house and sit at my land-line telephone. After typing in ID and password and Submit, he would then get a phone call from Vanguard which would tell him a temporary code number to complete the sign-in at V. Don't need to be in your house to intercept that...
by nordsteve
Tue Dec 27, 2016 4:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Commercial real estate basics resource recommendation?
Replies: 9
Views: 1227

Re: Commercial real estate basics resource recommendation?

I'll second the Reed book series.

Owning in a separate entity is a must. Among other factors, you'll want to consider carefully the future relationship between building ownership and ownership of the underlying business.
by nordsteve
Tue Dec 27, 2016 2:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Study Table for kids
Replies: 16
Views: 1207

Re: Study Table for kids

The IKEA tabletops are fine for desks. My home office has two of the Linnmon tabletops with OLOV adjustable legs on them for my sitting desks, and the (remaining) child bedroom has one as well. The adjustable legs allow for a fairly wide range of heights, and they're very stable. I also have the Sta...
by nordsteve
Sun Dec 18, 2016 8:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Family ski trip without breaking the bank
Replies: 39
Views: 4275

Re: Family ski trip without breaking the bank

We buy the Epic 4 day pass in advance, stay in Breck, and rent a walk in/out 1br condo for about $250/night. As others suggest, you can save a bit by staying down in Frisco/Dillon area. Another housing option is to rent someones timeshare. tug2.net has an owner-to-renter timeshare marketplace that I...
by nordsteve
Sat Dec 10, 2016 4:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What site do you prefer for online doc storage?
Replies: 18
Views: 1910

Re: What site do you prefer for online doc storage?

FidSafe is something new to me, so I took a look. There's nothing special about the security of that site that is different than what's offered by Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive. A useful difference is being able to see whether someone has looked at a document you gave them access to. Interestin...
by nordsteve
Thu Dec 08, 2016 1:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where do you buy coffee beans?
Replies: 96
Views: 7481

Re: Where do you buy coffee beans?

Seattle Coffee Gear has a nice selection. I often go there when I'm in Seattle.

Locally, I buy from Spyhouse Coffee.