Search found 1901 matches

by ralph124cf
Fri Jun 08, 2018 11:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tipping HVAC installers?
Replies: 22
Views: 1905

Re: Tipping HVAC installers?

Is the installer the owner of the firm? Is the installer the person that came out to give you a quote? No tip.

Is the installer strictly a worker bee with no say in pricing? Tip.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Tue Jun 05, 2018 8:45 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New SS claiming calculator ["Open Social Security" - ObliviousInvestor]
Replies: 65
Views: 5055

Re: New SS claiming calculator

These calculators seem to be solving for maximum NPV. I think that they do a decent job of that. I do not believe that this is the best approach to determining when to take SS. I believe that delaying SS is more about longevity insurance than NPV. If you die early, you are unlikely to run out of mon...
by ralph124cf
Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tool board for basement - plywood or pegboard?
Replies: 30
Views: 1859

Re: Tool board for basement - plywood or pegboard?

You have a choice of 1/8" or 1/4" pegboard. Definitely go for 1/4 ". The size refers to both the thickness and the size of the holes. You have a choice of tempered or non-tempered. Tempered is smoother, harder and stronger. Note that many lumber clerks at big box stores like Home Depot have never he...
by ralph124cf
Tue May 29, 2018 6:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Purchase SPIA through Vanguard?
Replies: 18
Views: 1715

Re: Purchase SPIA through Vanguard?

Is your pension covered under PBGC? Is your pension above the coverage limit of PBGC? If you are covered, and below the limit of PBGC, you can safely take your employer's pension if it is more than the lump sum would buy in the market. A 65 year old would be covered for up to $5,420 in monthly incom...
by ralph124cf
Mon May 28, 2018 10:53 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: SPIA - inflation adjusted or not?
Replies: 12
Views: 1473

Re: SPIA - inflation adjusted or not?

The answer depends on when you plan to die. The annuity company has a very good idea of how many people out of 100,000 60 year olds will die in each of the next 40 years. They do not, and have no need to, know WHO will die in each of those years. They also know that people who buy annuities tend to ...
by ralph124cf
Sun May 27, 2018 9:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Genworth LTC (Again)
Replies: 19
Views: 1784

Re: Genworth LTC (Again)

My wife and I also have LT with Genworth. No increases yet in the ten years that we have had the policies. We do have a one year elimination period, so that has seriously reduced the cost of the policies. You would have no problem paying the first year charges, so I would recommend increasing your e...
by ralph124cf
Sun May 27, 2018 3:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: electrical outlet dead; fuse not tripped
Replies: 23
Views: 1543

Re: electrical outlet dead; fuse not tripped

There is a device which you can buy at a home store which will tell you what circuit breaker a specific outlet is on. Using this, you can determine if other outlets on the same circuit breaker are working. It probably will not work on the dead outlet, but it should give you an idea of which breaker ...
by ralph124cf
Thu May 24, 2018 12:09 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Renting vs Owning Your Home
Replies: 166
Views: 13359

Re: Renting vs Owning Your Home

The changes to the tax law for 2018 change the rent vs. buy calculation. The increased standard deduction means that, for many families, property tax and mortgage interest do not exceed the standard deduction. The property tax deduction is severely reduced or eliminated for many higher income owners...
by ralph124cf
Tue May 22, 2018 11:15 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buy now and wait one more year to move in?
Replies: 17
Views: 2162

Re: Buy now and wait one more year to move in?

I would buy that house right now. I would never rent out a house with a pool. Renters will not care for a pool properly. You may need to hire a weekly pool service. There is also serious liability for you if something happens to a guest of the renter. After previous owners move out, there are always...
by ralph124cf
Mon May 21, 2018 7:47 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: If RMD are large should you still defer into 401k
Replies: 32
Views: 3163

Re: If RMD are large should you still defer into 401k

Tell us when you (and your spouse) plan to die. That makes the calculations much easier.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Mon May 21, 2018 7:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Almost half of US families can't afford basics like rent and food
Replies: 19
Views: 1705

Re: Almost half of US families can't afford basics like rent and food

The middle class life style referred to in the article, pretty much by definition, can be afforded by a median income family. Also by definition, half of all family's must be below median income.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Sat May 19, 2018 11:18 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Buffett says Bonds are a terrible investment now. What should we invest in besides stocks?
Replies: 141
Views: 20229

Re: Buffett says Bonds are a terrible investment now. What should we invest in besides stocks?

Buffet says that bonds are a terrible investment. I can agree with that. He does NOT say don't buy bonds. Berkshire owns a lot of short term high quality "bonds" (debt instruments-many of which retail investors do not have access to). This provides liquidity for future opportunities that Buffet does...
by ralph124cf
Tue May 15, 2018 11:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Three sump pumps?
Replies: 10
Views: 1038

Re: Three sump pumps?

After an expensive flood, I installed a second sump pit with a crossover pipe and battery powered backup pump, both pumps powered by separate 20 amp circuits. Both pits have separate discharge pipes. I also have a third pump in the primary pit that is water powered, and will not activate unless both...
by ralph124cf
Tue May 15, 2018 10:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Larry Swedroe: Risks Of Short Selling
Replies: 8
Views: 1169

Re: Larry Swedroe: Risks Of Short Selling

In theory shorting losers should add to returns but it also can increase risk substantially relative to a long-only portfolio. This risk particularly shows up in MOM where short positions in high beta stocks that have gotten killed during the a long severe bear market suddenly backfire when the mar...
by ralph124cf
Tue May 15, 2018 5:22 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 84 - Need to adjust portfolio
Replies: 4
Views: 503

Re: 84 - Need to adjust portfolio

I haven't checked the 2018 tax law, but up to last year the nursing home counted as a deductible medical expense if it exceeded 7.5% of your income. This would probably wipe out any tax liability.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Tue May 15, 2018 1:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How can I clear $40-60,000/yr with $1,000,000 cash... Low Risk?
Replies: 71
Views: 10783

Re: How can I clear $40-60,000/yr with $1,000,000 cash... Low Risk?

I saw a sign in an auto mechanics shop: We work good, fast, and cheap. Pick one.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Tue May 15, 2018 1:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax calculation with Rental and W2 income over 150k
Replies: 13
Views: 883

Re: Tax calculation with Rental and W2 income over 150k

Comments on depreciation: You can only depreciate your basis in the building, not the land under the building. Your basis in the building is the lower of cost or current market when you start renting out the property. If you are in a low cost of living area, the building is probably worth 5-10 times...
by ralph124cf
Tue May 15, 2018 7:16 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Am I working with the wrong realtor?
Replies: 22
Views: 2731

Re: Am I working with the wrong realtor?

The last time I bought a house, my agent passed a house on the street that looked perfect. When I asked about it, I was told that there was an offer on it, and that the agent could not ethically present another offer until the owner decided on the first offer. (Listing agent and buying agent also wo...
by ralph124cf
Tue May 15, 2018 7:07 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Avoiding Federal Capital Gains Tax on Company Sale By Taking a Zero Salary
Replies: 18
Views: 1863

Re: Avoiding Federal Capital Gains Tax on Company Sale By Taking a Zero Salary

A good tax lawyer in your location should have dealt with this situation a few times already.

Find one, and pay for a few hours of consultation.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Wed May 09, 2018 8:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Condo Association - who pays for septic repair?
Replies: 19
Views: 1424

Re: Condo Association - who pays for septic repair?

Are you sure that this is a condo? It sounds more like a townhouse, which would likely have different rules than a condo.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Tue May 08, 2018 7:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: most compelling TV character ever
Replies: 175
Views: 16554

Re: most compelling TV character ever

Matt Dillon.

OK, I'm showing my age.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Tue May 08, 2018 7:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which City to spend 4-6 weeks?
Replies: 47
Views: 4643

Re: Which City to spend 4-6 weeks?

No objection to any of the previous picks, but add Athens.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Tue May 08, 2018 7:16 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Simplifying portfolio for parents
Replies: 5
Views: 526

Re: Simplifying portfolio for parents

Fidelity has a very simple, user friendly online tool to distribute RMDs monthly. Schwab does not. I don't know about Vanguard.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Tue May 08, 2018 1:59 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Military Retirement and Next Career
Replies: 8
Views: 1071

Re: Military Retirement and Next Career

Consider the mix of tax deferred versus ROTH money you want to have available when you retire. Also consider and plan for what you think will be the most probable tax law changes. The immediate rewards for putting money into tax deferred versus ROTH have been reduced this year compared to last year....
by ralph124cf
Tue May 08, 2018 1:25 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Factors Suggesting One Should Buy SPIA
Replies: 90
Views: 6840

Re: Factors Suggesting One Should Buy SPIA

I mean, nobody’s going to put all their money into an spia, right? That's exactly what people with pensions have done. They put 100% into a (deferred immediate) annuity. Just because the annuity is run by a public company or a government instead of an insurance company doesn't make it not an annuit...
by ralph124cf
Thu May 03, 2018 10:56 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Better Inflation Protection: Vanguard REIT, TIAA Real Estate or Schwab Fundamental Global REIT?
Replies: 10
Views: 903

Re: Better Inflation Protection: Vanguard REIT, TIAA Real Estate or Schwab Fundamental Global REIT?

What do you mean best handle inflation? Why do you believe real estate stocks will give you this inflation protection? REIT stocks may or may not, but historically actual real estate has. With respect to the TIAA Real Estate fund, the stated ER has no comparison to the mutual fund ERs of a REIT fun...
by ralph124cf
Thu May 03, 2018 9:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Real Estate Commissions - How Negotiable?
Replies: 31
Views: 2063

Re: Real Estate Commissions - How Negotiable?

You want to avoid shooting yourself in the foot. When an agent has a client who is looking for a house, and you're below standard % commission, they're going to show every available house with standard commission before yours. I've been on a house hunting trip where an agent would not take "no" for...
by ralph124cf
Wed May 02, 2018 4:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: term life insurance - inquiry
Replies: 7
Views: 867

Re: term life insurance - inquiry

Get a policy now that would cover till the age you feel is enough (60 or 65) and with an amount that is enough. After you pay the first premium of the new policy you go and cancel the current one. There are two basic types of term insurance. In one type of term, you pay a constantly increasing (usu...
by ralph124cf
Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Include dividends/interest in savings rate calculation ?
Replies: 26
Views: 1528

Re: Include dividends/interest in savings rate calculation ?

If you could have spent it, (including "spending" on taxes), it is income. I believe that the simplest way is to take line 22 of the 2017 IRS form 1040, and add tax exempt interest, the non-taxable portion of social security, and any Roth withdrawals. This does include interest and dividends in your...
by ralph124cf
Sat Apr 28, 2018 6:45 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: AF pilots and retention bonus, glad you stayed or happy you went?
Replies: 27
Views: 3750

Re: AF pilots and retention bonus, glad you stayed or happy you went?

Is the pilot interested in an airline career? If so, now is the time to get out (get into the reserves or ANG ASAP). The guard or Reserves will provide a pension at age 60, and the airline will give a much higher quality of life. If recalled to active duty, seniority will continue to accrue at the a...
by ralph124cf
Fri Apr 27, 2018 12:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Lawyer - how to outsource / offload grunt work for biz dev
Replies: 8
Views: 969

Re: Lawyer - how to outsource / offload grunt work for biz dev

Are you saying that she would be hiring this person herself, not thru her firm? It might be time for a meeting with her boss.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Thu Apr 26, 2018 11:41 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Car insurance quotes for 23 year old (male-don't know if this matters)
Replies: 19
Views: 1082

Re: Car insurance quotes for 23 year old (male-don't know if this matters)

Talk to insurance brokers where you will be moving to. Sometimes choosing a place a couple of blocks away may make a big difference in your insurance rate.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Wed Apr 25, 2018 3:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Needing some sage advice on mom's Uni Life policy
Replies: 10
Views: 773

Re: Needing some sage advice on mom's Uni Life policy

Mom (82) has a 15k universal life policy: current cash value $9K Interest rate of 4.85% death benefit: $24K Premiums are $480 annual (and rising) her premiums are paid from the cash value. At the current rate of COI, the certificate will lapse in 5 years*. (0 cash value) * as indicated in her last ...
by ralph124cf
Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Criteria used to make Roth Conversion decision
Replies: 48
Views: 4220

Re: Criteria used to make Roth Conversion decision

I am fully retired, and my wife is partially so. The majority of our income is withdrawals form tax deferred accounts. This year I plan to mostly live off my cash and taxable investments, while converting up to the top of the 24% bracket. Ralph I'm sure you are aware that the "top of the 24% bracke...
by ralph124cf
Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Use 25k From Brokerage Account For Investment Property?
Replies: 29
Views: 2429

Re: Use 25k From Brokerage Account For Investment Property?

Most property management firms ask 10% of actual rental income. The firm you are asking about wants 15%. Why?

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bargaining with Lenders--whom do I choose?
Replies: 8
Views: 1055

Re: Bargaining with Lenders--whom do I choose?

Many lenders impose a lot of garbage fees knowing that customers get a mortgage very seldom, and are not really familiar with what the fees should be. An unknown lender MAY be more likely to be trying to screw you with fees to make up for the lower interest rate.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cruises: How to Value Onboard Credit
Replies: 29
Views: 1773

Re: Cruises: How to Value Onboard Credit

Option B would definitely win for me. Will you be buying trip cancellation insurance? Frequently there are breakpoints every thousand or five hundred dollars, so you could save a significant amount if you are already planning to buy the insurance. If not buying the insurance, and you must cancel, th...
by ralph124cf
Fri Apr 13, 2018 2:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mini Air Compressor
Replies: 22
Views: 1644

Re: Mini Air Compressor

If you are only using it occasionally to blow off leaves or inflate things then almost any compressor will work OK. I would second the recommendation for a simple pancake compressor. I had one made my Porter-Cable and it served me well for years. You can still buy them or simular models at Home Dep...
by ralph124cf
Mon Apr 09, 2018 9:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 20 years old house - budgeting for maintenance
Replies: 18
Views: 2067

Re: 20 years old house - budgeting for maintenance

Generally the skylights would be considered part of the roof system, and thus the responsibility of the association. If all the townhouses have skylights, it is no financial difference to have the individual owners replace them. Generally, associations want to maintain a uniform exterior look. Gener...
by ralph124cf
Sun Apr 08, 2018 9:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is fallen tree my responsibility or town's?
Replies: 10
Views: 1569

Re: Is fallen tree my responsibility or town's?

Regardless, i would contact my homeowners’ insurance, and get the cleanup going. If it turns out that the town is responsible, let the insurance company try to get reimbursed. This is not a large enough cost to warrant contacting the homeowner's insurance. Doing that could open up the OP to other i...
by ralph124cf
Sun Apr 08, 2018 9:30 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cost of Dental Implant
Replies: 81
Views: 9126

Re: Cost of Dental Implant

One variable that has been mentioned, but not emphasized, here is the bone graft. If you do not need a bone graft the cost will be substantially less and the total time for the procedure may be shortened by several months. This, of course, is not something that you can self diagnose, and is also som...
by ralph124cf
Thu Apr 05, 2018 5:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Permanent DINK couples - Considerations, thoughts, etc?
Replies: 40
Views: 4623

Re: Permanent DINK couples - Considerations, thoughts, etc?

The real decisions come farther down the road. What will you do when you are no longer competent to manage your own financial affairs? If there is no competent relative around whom you trust, you may be left with a high cost bank trust department or something similar. There are many threads on here ...
by ralph124cf
Thu Apr 05, 2018 4:15 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: LLC for rental property?
Replies: 20
Views: 1618

Re: LLC for rental property?

Yes, SE tax is due, even on sole proprietorships. It is automatically calculated if you plug your info into Turbo Tax, etc. This might be true for single member LLCs. It is not true for multi-member LLCs unless the members actually take a salary for services performed or actively manage the LLC's o...
by ralph124cf
Wed Apr 04, 2018 5:05 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Sale of home; depreciation; unrealized passive losses; taxes
Replies: 7
Views: 555

Re: Sale of home; depreciation; unrealized passive losses; taxes

It is time to hire a tax professional.

All the good ones are fully booked until tax day, so you don't have time to do it for this year, so file for an extension. Find somebody after May first.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:50 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: BP PLC Dividend Vanguard Brokerage Account
Replies: 12
Views: 649

Re: BP PLC Dividend Vanguard Brokerage Account

My Schwab account shows that the BP dividend was received 3/29/2018.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Sun Apr 01, 2018 9:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: NC State Taxes for remote worker
Replies: 9
Views: 653

Re: NC State Taxes for remote worker

Remote workers are a very new thing (to state tax law writers), so the law has not yet caught up to reality. I would do whatever worked best for me, and let the state(s) send me a letter if they disagree. At most you will be out a tiny bit of interest for underpayment. It is always possible that bot...
by ralph124cf
Sat Mar 31, 2018 3:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tired of gas grills rusting out...
Replies: 54
Views: 4466

Re: Tired of gas grills rusting out...

I bought my large Weber propane grill 15 years ago at a garage sale for $75. I do not know how old it, but it is still going strong. No cover, currently snow covered.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Thu Mar 29, 2018 11:29 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Long term care options - FPO at what age
Replies: 5
Views: 683

Re: Long term care options - FPO at what age

If you are sort of on the edge of being able to self insure, then you have enough to fund the first year of Long Term Care. Taking a one year elimination period dramatically reduces the premium for long term care.

In my mind, "winning" at LTC insurance means never collecting a dime.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Mon Mar 26, 2018 10:55 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Seven-Year Investor Old Beats Harvard’s Endowment Fund
Replies: 21
Views: 2913

Re: Seven-Year Investor Old Beats Harvard’s Endowment Fund

How would they have done against the best of 100 monkeys throwing darts?

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Mon Mar 26, 2018 10:48 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should we take income from our tax-deferred acct first?
Replies: 7
Views: 871

Re: Should we take income from our tax-deferred acct first?

The equation involving SS, RMDs, capital gains, AGI, MAGI, taxable income, income taxes, and Medicare IRMAA charges has many moving parts, all of which need to be considered at the same time. In general, the lowest lifetime tax is obtained by maintaining a constant taxable income, possibly inflation...