Search found 951 matches

by ray.james
Fri May 25, 2018 4:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which tickets would you buy in advance (Europe)?
Replies: 20
Views: 993

Re: Which tickets would you buy in advance (Europe)?

We found the Roma Pass to a good value in Rome during a three night stay. Access to major sites and some public transportation. ~Big Dutch +1 Even if you do not do Roma pass, if you want to do tours Colosseum,(+ underground/belvedere) tours are really good and sell out. Getting tickets early helps ...
by ray.james
Wed May 23, 2018 5:27 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Newly widowed, how do I invest 1.5 million life ins. proceeds
Replies: 72
Views: 7713

Re: Newly widowed, how do I invest 1.5 million life ins. proceeds

4stars, Some really thoughtful comments from others. I will add a few that weren't focused much --9K per year spending will go down as kids go to college. So your real need is possibly much less post kids phase, especially with paid off home. You start with high need of money which goes down slowly....
by ray.james
Thu May 10, 2018 4:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do we spend too much on food?
Replies: 71
Views: 5961

Re: Do we spend too much on food?

Me and my wife jokingly call our eating out spend in chipotle meter. At $8 with tax in our area, OP would get 600/8 = 75 chipotle meals. This is 37.5 meals per person in a family of 2 adults.. In this case essentially both are eating atleast one meal out in a day. We personally try to stick to no mo...
by ray.james
Thu May 10, 2018 4:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do we spend too much on food?
Replies: 71
Views: 5961

Re: Do we spend too much on food?

I'm really impressed by a number of the posters here with their incredibly low food spending budget, but even when I was single in graduate school cooking bulk curry meals over the weekend to last me for the next five days, I was spending more than $300 a month for ONE person. Caduceus , It is actu...
by ray.james
Thu May 03, 2018 6:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Not Wasting Food
Replies: 60
Views: 3523

Re: Not Wasting Food: planning perishables

We stopped buying some items from Costco - especially berries, grapes, some veggies, sauces/dips - just too much waste For us, we alternate between Costco and Asian grocery stores to get the best value. Any meal is 7 portions that covers two meals for 3.5 ppl. So most veggies/fruits get utilized wel...
by ray.james
Mon Apr 23, 2018 12:04 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hyundai Kona
Replies: 25
Views: 3137

Re: Hyundai Kona

Is this the same platform as kia niro?
by ray.james
Sun Apr 22, 2018 1:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: State and fed tax credits - buying a Bolt electric vehicle before it’s needed
Replies: 20
Views: 1627

Re: State and fed tax credits - buying a Bolt electric vehicle before it’s needed

I don't know, I think you should pass and wait for the technology to mature. We leased a Kia Niro this year for the mileage and safety features and will likely turn it in and buy a Leaf or something similar in three years. Or keep it if we can get a deal on the buy out. Or consider a used Nissan Le...
by ray.james
Sun Apr 22, 2018 12:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: State and fed tax credits - buying a Bolt electric vehicle before it’s needed
Replies: 20
Views: 1627

Re: State and fed tax credits - buying a Bolt electric vehicle before it’s needed

I was considering a phev/everyone as well due to 5 mile radius Max of everything we do except a weekend. 4 year s is too long in battery tech imo. What's stopping from using it right now? Especially given such a long commute.
by ray.james
Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Overall Help w/ Budget
Replies: 15
Views: 1521

Re: Overall Help w/ Budget

I think you are very much on right track, but you need atleast 15K emergency fund in case one you loses job and atleast 25K if both lose hours/reduced income to weather a recession. 1) Build up 20k emergency fund - this will take 1 year. I would even pause ira even...but does not matter at this stag...
by ray.james
Wed Apr 18, 2018 6:46 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Trying to simplify investments,--Please help
Replies: 15
Views: 1865

Re: Trying to simplify investments,--Please help

What are the benefits of a Joint Taxable account vs Separate His & Her Accounts ?? 1 account rather than 2 a tax time Stepped up basis when one of the spouse passes away.(need to check your state law) In case of death the ownership passes to other person automatically. - no will/estate asset alloca...
by ray.james
Wed Apr 18, 2018 1:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help me explain why pre-tax investing can help when retiring in same bracket
Replies: 83
Views: 7120

Re: Help me explain why pre-tax investing can help when retiring in same bracket

Let me try... - The tax you have to pay on your traditional 401k is the “premium” - if you have a set back during your life as described, you pay less in tax i.e. “premium” and get to keep more of what you contribute to the trad 401k. (As opposed to pre-pay more tax in the case of Roth 401k, the ta...
by ray.james
Wed Apr 18, 2018 1:28 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help me explain why pre-tax investing can help when retiring in same bracket
Replies: 83
Views: 7120

Re: Help me explain why pre-tax investing can help when retiring in same bracket

I would add an emotional point rather than math point as an millennial. When I graduated in 2009/2010 it scarred enough to consider roth or taxable only. The first 25k/50k savings for any single person is very precious and confidence boosting. It certainly helped me in next phase to max out pre-tax ...
by ray.james
Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:04 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Trying to simplify investments,--Please help
Replies: 15
Views: 1865

Re: Trying to simplify investments,--Please help

You might want to consider a Joint taxable account... It simplifies a lot of things for a couple with simple will. Further, implementing a 2-4 fund portfolio is very easy. Her Taxable: 2% (VTMGX) Vanguard Developed Markets Index Fund Admiral Shares (0.07%) - Is this a TLH or sitting on a lot of gain...
by ray.james
Thu Apr 12, 2018 12:54 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: I'm Calling an Emerging Markets Bottom
Replies: 282
Views: 52638

Re: I'm Calling an Emerging Markets Bottom

Ding! Valuation alert. Fundamental index EM are now under 10 F-p/e. Yes this is not 2016 lows in pricing, but earnings were way up to bring it back under 10. The regular index is at 13.5 which is higher than 12 it was when this thread started but came down from 15. Both are at 3% yield. Which index...
by ray.james
Wed Apr 11, 2018 1:37 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Emerging markets tilt
Replies: 37
Views: 3250

Re: Emerging markets tilt

My tilt is similar to alphine_boglehead - 25% and it started a bit around when Grap started the EM value thread. Before that it was VSS - vanguard international small cap. My tilt is also entirely in Roth which makes it more valuable. My reason was value compared to others, market valuation in home ...
by ray.james
Wed Apr 04, 2018 2:06 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: U.S. stocks in freefall
Replies: 6550
Views: 1406400

Re: U.S. stocks in freefall

RetireBy55 wrote:
Wed Apr 04, 2018 1:53 pm
Love it. We now have a TOTALLY NEW type of market - the BUNNY MARKET!
YaY eeeyaa Yay eeya
Easter is over,
but bunny is here to stay
by ray.james
Wed Apr 04, 2018 12:31 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: State tax due at tax time - ever become deductible on Federal?
Replies: 3
Views: 435

Re: State tax due at tax time - ever become deductible on Federal?

I think you understand. State taxes are deductible in the year paid. So I think you are paying the $600 in 2018 but can not itemize for tax year 2018. In this case, it is “lost.” Thanks katietsu..I was coming to same conclusion but unsure. I wish I paid attention to all those tax prepaying threads....
by ray.james
Wed Apr 04, 2018 12:16 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: State tax due at tax time - ever become deductible on Federal?
Replies: 3
Views: 435

State tax due at tax time - ever become deductible on Federal?

I am trying to understand if the state taxes due at tax time are deductible if one is itemizing on federal? If I did not pay estimated taxes, and the next year given I will be using standard deduction, the excess state taxes paid at tax time is a lost deduction forever. How does this account work Sn...
by ray.james
Thu Mar 29, 2018 5:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Comparison of grocery prices?
Replies: 47
Views: 3891

Re: Comparison of grocery prices?

At my local costco Whole milk, gallon - $4.64 - 2 gallons Large eggs, dozen - $3.24 - 2 dozens Bananas, each - 1.36 - 7-8 bananas Ataulfo mangoes, each - $0.79 - same I think Large Hass avocados, six - $7.59 6 Organic Bell peppers - 6.99 Organic Jumbo Onions 10 pounds 4.64 Tomatoes on vine 1.86 per ...
by ray.james
Thu Mar 29, 2018 12:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Healthy eaters -- is this grocery budget normal to you?
Replies: 247
Views: 13342

Re: Healthy eaters -- is this grocery budget normal to you?

Somewhere this thread took a dirty turn! Back to OP, We struggle with somewhat same questions and recently with a young child. We concluded to do something different. Oats, Rice, Quinoa, Different beans/legumes, lentils,Dairy make up more than half of our diet. There is no difference between organic...
by ray.james
Tue Mar 27, 2018 6:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which of our cars should we use more, old or new?
Replies: 32
Views: 2406

Re: Which of our cars should we use more, old or new?

We had that conundrum until baby came along. Baby always gets the new safe car.

edit: spell error.
by ray.james
Mon Mar 26, 2018 6:59 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Blasphemy... DO PEEK!
Replies: 100
Views: 9601

Re: Blasphemy... DO PEEK!

I just want to bump this thread and the excellent suggestion made by siamond. For some peeking and becoming comfortable with changing asset values and the range of changes. We are at an 10 year bull term and many including me have some /considerable amount of money saved and seeing swings in the tun...
by ray.james
Mon Mar 26, 2018 2:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What Budget? Do you keep one?
Replies: 116
Views: 7393

Re: What Budget? Do you keep one?

I did budget for 1 year. That helped me understand my spending. I fixed my bad habits and now I just track the spending.
by ray.james
Tue Mar 20, 2018 2:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Those with high savings rate: why?
Replies: 246
Views: 31277

Re: Those with high savings rate: why?

Since I work in tech, and there is clear ageism. If you're 55+ - I'm sorry. And that isn't as far away as it used to be. I hope to be proven wrong, but that's what worries me. To be clear, I'm not living like a pauper, as my savings rate is not absurdly high (30%), but if I knew I could count on le...
by ray.james
Fri Mar 16, 2018 1:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How does everyone here earn so much?
Replies: 131
Views: 7293

Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

In addition to everything, people misunderstand how often high earners marry among 'themselve's. Doctors, high earning engineers, attorneys, sciences, sales and other high paying white collars frequent same places and thereby a higher chance to date/marry similar profiled people. In a city, this is ...
by ray.james
Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Q&A WITH JACK BOGLE - ASK YOUR QUESTIONS HERE
Replies: 43
Views: 8197

Re: Q&A WITH JACK BOGLE - ASK YOUR QUESTIONS HERE

First of all thanks for this opportunity to ask questions.

1) Given the current yield curve, is it any need/worth to take the "risk" by choosing a longer term bond like 10 yrs, 30 years.
by ray.james
Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:02 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Who's doing 100% international equity?
Replies: 79
Views: 9043

Re: Who's doing 100% international equity?

I'm getting deja vu all over again from this thread. I remember a few people doing this that worked for big US corporations. The lowest correlation is International Small Cap. I would also assume Emerging Markets would have a lower correlation as well. International developed large cap is pretty ti...
by ray.james
Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:00 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Who's doing 100% international equity?
Replies: 79
Views: 9043

Re: Who's doing 100% international equity?

CyberGuy wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:57 pm
For those with high international holdings, why not do something like VT?
expense ratio, less TLH opportunity in taxable.
by ray.james
Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should we buy my wife a new car?
Replies: 53
Views: 3633

Re: Should we buy my wife a new car?

I would do 3+4. Accidents are probability based on distance driven. Snow tires are a must for her car given the distance. I was in your shoes minus snow 4 years ago and glad I waited until a year after kid to buy. Keeps costs low, savings plus a brand new suv in due time for the second kid soon. Rem...
by ray.james
Thu Mar 08, 2018 3:15 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Inflation protection/investments for medium term savings
Replies: 13
Views: 1331

Re: Inflation protection/investments for medium term savings

Thank you all for the replies. Brokered CD's sound a pretty good approach. Secondary market is something I have never explored and might be worth getting informed on it. I will check resources on t bills/secondary markets and come back with more questions. I would probably just put the money in a hi...
by ray.james
Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Housing Budget Check (paging Watty / KlangFool)
Replies: 86
Views: 6731

Re: Housing Budget Check (paging Watty / KlangFool)

topofthebellcurve wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:12 pm

Good question -- I'll need to double check it. I've got $20K of interest in first year of a 30-yr loan at 4.125%.

Is the $10K max for state deduction include both income and property tax combined?
yes , from 2018 as per the TCJA law.
by ray.james
Wed Mar 07, 2018 4:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Housing Budget Check (paging Watty / KlangFool)
Replies: 86
Views: 6731

Re: Housing Budget Check (paging Watty / KlangFool)

Given your high income, on a risk scale, I will check 7 year ARM. You can pay off the loan at the end of 7 years(if not 100% may be 60-70%) if you make a decision that this is forever home for your kids. Else you have enjoyed a 15 year loan rate anyway and now you can make the move to a different ho...
by ray.james
Wed Mar 07, 2018 4:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Housing Budget Check (paging Watty / KlangFool)
Replies: 86
Views: 6731

Re: Housing Budget Check (paging Watty / KlangFool)

I talked to a tax adviser: he said "borrow $750K and not a penny more or less" (i.e. max out deductions under new tax plan) Given my marginal tax rate, a 30-yr loan would be a 2.8% effective rate after deductions. Sounds good to me :sharebeer I think this math is correct...or i am missing informati...
by ray.james
Wed Mar 07, 2018 4:00 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Inflation protection/investments for medium term savings
Replies: 13
Views: 1331

Inflation protection/investments for medium term savings

We often have threads on inflation protection for one's asset allocation.- - stocks, tips, I bonds. This thread is for medium term savings like house down payment /car/any major purchase over a span of 3-5 year saving period. I can only think of I-bonds. Are there any others that provide inflation/b...
by ray.james
Tue Mar 06, 2018 2:07 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Avoiding future RMDs with Roth conversions as a non-resident alien
Replies: 6
Views: 723

Re: Avoiding future RMDs with Roth conversions as a non-resident alien

So the final Roth balance is the same , but the cumulative tax bill is lower . And where the conversion tax is being paid from other taxable savings, by paying it earlier through a bit of front-loading I have effectively taken money out of taxable savings and put it into a Roth where it can now gro...
by ray.james
Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:02 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Avoiding future RMDs with Roth conversions as a non-resident alien
Replies: 6
Views: 723

Re: Avoiding future RMDs with Roth conversions as a non-resident alien

I agree with the multiplicative nature of the tax. I did not do a good job of explaining my idea. However it is not that huge in the grand scheme of things but a good optimization overall. Lets assume one is converting 600K ira in 10 year span. As of today 12% bracket ends 38700 22% ends at 82500 24...
by ray.james
Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:32 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Avoiding future RMDs with Roth conversions as a non-resident alien
Replies: 6
Views: 723

Re: Avoiding future RMDs with Roth conversions as a non-resident alien

Hi Ted, some additional thoughts; Assuming you are able to cover the taxes, will it be profitable to convert all 22%//24% of next 13 years now as long as it fills up to 24% bracket. I think this is one scenario that will help looking at marginal rate than average rate. The advantage is the compoundi...
by ray.james
Fri Mar 02, 2018 7:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Funding 401k to Roth IRA conversion taxes for a non-resident alien
Replies: 13
Views: 1765

Re: Funding 401k to Roth IRA conversion taxes for a non-resident alien

I fear this post might be too late. Personal exemptions are going away in 2018. So 2017 is the last year when there can be 4K tax free withdrawal since no standard deductions is allowed on 1040-NR/NR-EZ
by ray.james
Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can we afford to stay in HCOL area?
Replies: 72
Views: 5777

Re: Can we afford to stay in HCOL area?

In general, yes of course you can afford it based on your current numbers and maybe some compromises here and there. That being said, there are quite a bit of these threads being started about the Bay Area, and I also hear anecdotal stories (as a current resident of the area). The weird thing to me...
by ray.james
Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can we afford to stay in HCOL area?
Replies: 72
Views: 5777

Re: Can we afford to stay in HCOL area?

Belmont, foster city, Burlingame have some of the excellent school districts where you can still find median houses at 1.5 mill-2mill. There will be now new construction on peninsula unless it is luxury condo/townhome styles but definitely not a SFH. I will echo growing up post which is where our bu...
by ray.james
Tue Feb 27, 2018 5:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax reform SALT affecting in Bay Area?
Replies: 67
Views: 9392

Re: Tax reform SALT affecting in Bay Area?

I don't completely understand your question. What I meant was for MFJ, the standard deduction is now $24k. There is a "gap" of $14k you need to fill up between $10k (SALT cap) and $24k (standard deduction you are getting anyway even if you don't have a mortgage). For most W2 workers, this $14k gap ...
by ray.james
Mon Feb 26, 2018 7:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How long would a 09' Hyundai Sonata last?
Replies: 13
Views: 1202

Re: How long would a 09' Hyundai Sonata last?

Sure we paid less for them when new but we're just breaking even at the 9 year mark. I'd rather drive Honda quality for 9 years versus Hyundai for the same total cost of ownership. At this rate, I'll need to keep the car a few more years to amortize the cost and it looks like it's got quite a few m...
by ray.james
Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Make $90k, pay no Federal Income Tax in 2018? Check / critique this scenario.
Replies: 76
Views: 12129

Re: Make $90k, pay no Federal Income Tax in 2018? Check / critique this scenario.

It's totally possible. A friend of mine who is married and has three children is in a position to pay no federal income tax with an income above $200k. His California state tax would be much higher at around $1500. Deductions and the child tax credit make this possible. Wow, that is crazy tax optim...
by ray.james
Sun Feb 25, 2018 8:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How long would a 09' Hyundai Sonata last?
Replies: 13
Views: 1202

Re: How long would a 09' Hyundai Sonata last?

I have 09 elantra. Last year I did major items after doing oil change every year(+tires) so far. Brake changes, timing belt and transmission fluid. I intend to keep the car for another 3-4 years atleast. My friend has 08 Sonata and he went through this 2 years ago. That car itself has been trouble f...
by ray.james
Fri Feb 23, 2018 5:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Defining "House Poor"
Replies: 299
Views: 16972

Re: Defining "House Poor"

My definition of house poor 1) When the total housing budget encroaches/cuts into needs/basic wants budget(Wants to a large extent is okay in my view) 2)During retired/house paid off phase, a substantial net worth locked in house that prevents ones needs/basic wants to be cut down in $ to accomodate...
by ray.james
Fri Feb 23, 2018 4:40 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Thoughts on an ESPP with 2 year contribution period?
Replies: 29
Views: 1195

Re: Thoughts on an ESPP with 2 year contribution period?

I have to read up a little, but the gains in this case will qualify for long term capital gains? ESPP with 2 year holding period. Not all plans qualify though as per IRS definition. This is a partial advantage of 2 year holding period. The capital gains treatment depends on how long you hold the se...
by ray.james
Fri Feb 23, 2018 4:23 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Thoughts on an ESPP with 2 year contribution period?
Replies: 29
Views: 1195

Re: Thoughts on an ESPP with 2 year contribution period?

I have to read up a little, but the gains in this case will qualify for long term capital gains?
ESPP with 2 year holding period. Not all plans qualify though as per IRS definition. This is a partial advantage of 2 year holding period.
by ray.james
Thu Feb 22, 2018 2:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Time for twins to go to daycare
Replies: 38
Views: 2847

Re: Time for twins to go to daycare

If I understand correctly you are asking which savings to slow down to meet the expenses. If your tax rate is high, I would slow down roth(350) + misc savings(by 150). Once you fill emergency fund to your needed, you can route that money to roth. Does you/spouse have Dependent care FSA.(unrelated bu...
by ray.james
Tue Feb 20, 2018 2:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sams Club vs Costco
Replies: 78
Views: 6508

Re: Sams Club vs Costco

40% of our food budget happens to be costco. The denominator includes eating out, fast food, grocery and convenience items etc. However one has to be careful not to overspend there as walking through isles will make you pick a lot more. Our crockery, utensils, car tires/oil/wipers, clothes, gifts, b...
by ray.james
Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:23 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Did you learn anything from the market correction?
Replies: 160
Views: 12061

Re: Did you learn anything from the market correction?

This correction was pretty much a blip compared to early 2016/2011 one. I graduated in 2009-10 :- scared, jobless, hopeless, student loans, extended credit cards, weeks from bankruptcy. I do not think I will ever be that scared or learning something as substantial as was during that period. On the c...