Search found 2044 matches

by scrabbler1
Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?
Replies: 53
Views: 2714

Re: How Do People Without Computer Access Prepare and File Their Taxes?

Even with computer access, I have still made use of ordering tax forms through the mail and/or getting them from the local library. Through the mail, I have ordered forms because they come two-sided whereas on line they print one-sided (unless I re-enter the printed page), and the lengthier instruct...
by scrabbler1
Wed Feb 21, 2018 12:44 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: For munis: state specific or non-state specific funds best?
Replies: 14
Views: 1229

Re: For munis: state specific or non-state specific funds best?

I have been in the 50/50 neighborhood since the late 1990s. Some years, I had a little more in the instate bond fund, some years I had more in the national ones. Now it is very close to 50/50. The instate fund is long-term, the national fund is intermediate-term and acts as my second-tier EF because...
by scrabbler1
Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Auto Ins. Drop Comprehensive and Collision?
Replies: 13
Views: 880

Re: Auto Ins. Drop Comprehensive and Collision?

On my previous car, I eventually dropped Collision but kept Comprehensive for 2 reasons. The first is that Comp is pretty cheap compared to Collision, costing me about $50 per year. Second is that I wanted to have full coverage for glass losses because that type of loss is a high-frequency, low-seve...
by scrabbler1
Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What has been your most important skill in achieving financial independence?
Replies: 164
Views: 10757

Re: What has been your most important skill in achieving financial independence?

I'm 22 years old, beginning my career and I'm curious to hear from other people closer to financial independence what have been some of the most important "non-financial" skills they attribute to their FI. Right now I have a job I like and no debt, plus contributing 20-25% gross income to retiremen...
by scrabbler1
Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What has been your most important skill in achieving financial independence?
Replies: 164
Views: 10757

Re: What has been your most important skill in achieving financial independence?

For these reasons, I do my taxes in Excel instead of using TurboTax or alike. Victoria Hi Victoria - How do you prepare your income tax return in Excel? Are you preparing the actual tax return or creating supporting schedules in Excel in order to prepare the tax return? Best. I create schedules in ...
by scrabbler1
Sun Feb 18, 2018 6:23 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Sell me on the benefits of an emergency fund
Replies: 119
Views: 6773

Re: Sell me on the benefits of an emergency fund

I have my EF in layers, or tiers, as do many others in this forum. The first tier is about $500 over and beyond the minimum balance needed to avoid account fees in my local bank's checking account. This money, earning no interest, is easily accessible in cash from an ATM or from a personal check. It...
by scrabbler1
Sun Feb 18, 2018 12:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Single People and Retirement Question
Replies: 105
Views: 9463

Re: Single People and Retirement Question

I am 54, never married, and retired for the last 9 years. I have had a steady ladyfriend since 2004. She lives a few blocks away and works full-time. Before I retired 9 years ago at age 45, I worked 16 years full-time then 7 years part-time. It was in those 7 part-time years where I regained control...
by scrabbler1
Fri Feb 16, 2018 6:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I be paying $1300/yr. for under/uninsured motorist protection?
Replies: 76
Views: 4317

Re: Should I be paying $1300/yr. for under/uninsured motorist protection?

I worked in the actuarial field for 23 years (until 2008), specializing in personal auto insurance. I worked very closely with the UM and UIM coverages for most of those years. Much of what I have read is pretty much on the mark, although I can add some things which may not have been covered already...
by scrabbler1
Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: PSA: Bank of America now charges $12/month for checking
Replies: 103
Views: 6606

Re: PSA: Bank of America now charges $12/month for checking

I think about the changes in services offered by major banks in the last 30 years. Some are improvements, others are ways the banks have nickeled-and-dimed their customers, charging for things which used to be free. Early 1990s: No online banking, as the internet was in its infancy. But my bank offe...
by scrabbler1
Thu Feb 15, 2018 10:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Question for music experts about musical keys
Replies: 101
Views: 5629

Re: Question for music experts about musical keys

When I was a kid and into my 20s I played the piano and guitar a lot. I took piano and guitar lessons after my parents realized at age 5 I had perfect pitch, but I never had any interest in making a career out of it. In one of my early days of taking piano lessons, I was taught a lot of music theory...
by scrabbler1
Thu Feb 15, 2018 9:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retirement Salary requirements
Replies: 6
Views: 1263

Re: Retirement Salary requirements

It's not the salary, but the expenses I had to predict in retirement. I began with my current expenses but made the following adjustments: I eliminated my commutation expenses and FICA taxes and increased my health insurance costs. These amounts roughly offset each other perfectly, so the total befo...
by scrabbler1
Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:21 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: PSA: Bank of America now charges $12/month for checking
Replies: 103
Views: 6606

Re: PSA: Bank of America now charges $12/month for checking

A few years ago, a rep from my local BofA branch immediately waived a fee when BofA was starting end its practice of including canceled check images with their monthly account statements. There was a timing issue about when this would happen and the local branch rep had told me a few days earlier th...
by scrabbler1
Wed Feb 14, 2018 1:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: PSA: Bank of America now charges $12/month for checking
Replies: 103
Views: 6606

Re: PSA: Bank of America now charges $12/month for checking

Looks like what they did was to get rid of that special extra-low minimum balance checking account and bumped them up to their regular checking account which has the $1,500 min balance (I have had that for 12 years). Along with the $500 cash cushion I keep in there, it's a small price per year to ha...
by scrabbler1
Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:29 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Our 'cure' for emergency expenses
Replies: 96
Views: 10787

Re: Our 'cure' for emergency expenses

At the start of the year, I create on a spreadsheet a proposed checkbook register ("budget") with all the known cash inflows and outflows for the year. This includes all the known regular expenses and monthly cash inflows (monthly bond fund dividends, I am an early retiree) as well as the lumpier ex...
by scrabbler1
Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit Card Statement & Receipt Clearing - Help!
Replies: 42
Views: 2268

Re: Credit Card Statement & Receipt Clearing - Help!

I keep credit card receipts for one full calendar year plus the current year. So I just shredded the 2016 receipts when the 2017 calendar year ended. If I need the receipt for tax purposes, then it goes into the income tax folder. I don't charge too many thing per month, maybe 3-6 charges, so there ...
by scrabbler1
Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Old mechanical pencils
Replies: 11
Views: 1947

Re: Old mechanical pencils

I don't know the brand, but I have a mechanical pencil which uses 0.7 mm lead. I got a pack of 6 tubes of refill leads at the dollar store about 10 years ago and still have one tube left despite frequent use. I would have used up many, many regular pencils which were a PITA to keep sharpening all th...
by scrabbler1
Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: sudden overnight problem with spam email
Replies: 20
Views: 1382

Re: sudden overnight problem with spam email

Not to alarm you, but it is possible that your email address got out there on the DarkWeb. Back in 2016, my main financial institution discovered my email address and account username out there and suspended my online account privileges until my PC got "professionally scrubbed" for viruses and spywa...
by scrabbler1
Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:36 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What time do you go to work?
Replies: 72
Views: 5197

Re: What time do you go to work?

I am retired so the answer for the last 9 years has been "never." But when I was working, the time varied quite a bit. While working FT, we had a limited flex-time arrangement so at times I arrived at work as early as 8:15 AM and as late as 9:15 AM. Most of the time, it was in the 8:45-9 AM range. I...
by scrabbler1
Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:14 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: NUA / 401(k) 1099-R rollover, is it correct?
Replies: 19
Views: 749

Re: NUA / 401(k) 1099-R rollover, is it correct?

I went through a similar experience as BigJohn did back in 2008 when I had to liquidate my 401k when I chose to use NUA to cash out the large company stock portion of the account. I had 4 distinct portions in the 401k. The first was pretax contributions and company match, all non-stock. In the 1099-...
by scrabbler1
Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:33 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Retired or close to it -- what do you hold in bond portion?
Replies: 41
Views: 4007

Re: Retired or close to it -- what do you hold in bond portion?

Retired at 45 nine years ago. My taxable account, the one I live off, is 38/62, mostly in a long-term corporate bond fund. My IRA, one I can't begin tapping into for another ~5 years, is 54/46, mostly an intermediate-term corporate bond fund.
by scrabbler1
Fri Feb 02, 2018 5:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's your cash position
Replies: 99
Views: 8793

Re: What's your cash position

I keep about 0.2% of my taxable portfolio in cash over and above what I use to pay my monthly expenses. I get fresh infusions of cash from a bond fund every month and from a stock fund every 3 months. With these fresh infusions, I don't need to keep a lot of excess cash around, just as a cushion in ...
by scrabbler1
Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Doubling of Standard Deduction--Really??
Replies: 56
Views: 7042

Re: Doubling of Standard Deduction--Really??

Most of the time, my itemized deduction is around $8,000 (single, no kids). That's roughly the breakeven point when figuring out if the new, higher SD is better than or worse than eliminating the old personal exemption. I get to $8,000 as the difference between the new SD and the old PE. My income i...
by scrabbler1
Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:25 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: AA and early retirement
Replies: 6
Views: 598

Re: AA and early retirement

I retired 9 years ago at age 45. I have 2 AAs, one for the rollover IRA I can't touch for another 5 years, and another for the taxable account which provides me income to cover my expenses. The IRA's AA was originally slightly tilted toward stocks but has been creeping toward bonds and now is slight...
by scrabbler1
Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Rent (free at library) or buy books?
Replies: 50
Views: 2967

Re: Rent (free at library) or buy books?

The Los Angeles County library system absolutely rocks. I order books online and books are delivered to my local library from any library in all of LA County! All transactions occur online and notifications are sent via email. My county library system has similar features. From home on line, I can ...
by scrabbler1
Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Rent (free at library) or buy books?
Replies: 50
Views: 2967

Re: Rent (free at library) or buy books?

bengal22 wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:23 pm
I buy books I want to keep and borrow books from library.
Same here. One good source for buying cheap books is the local library's annual (used) book sale. I have picked up some great books that way for $1 each.
by scrabbler1
Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:47 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Where do you keep your emergency fund?
Replies: 93
Views: 9969

Re: Where do you keep your emergency fund?

I wrote about this in one of the other, many threads on this topic. I keep 2 tiers, or layers, of money to cover unforeseen expenses. This first is an extra $500 in my local bank's checking account beyond the minimum needed to avoid account fees. The money is highly liquid, as I can write a personal...
by scrabbler1
Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:42 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What unexpected emergencies require sizeable emergency cash funds available immediately in a checking account?
Replies: 95
Views: 8102

Re: What unexpected emergencies require sizeable emergency cash funds available immediately in a checking account?

Back in 2015, I had two instances where I unexpectedly needed to tap into some money immediately. The first was when my ladyfriend's out-of-state daughter needed $250 right away to cover an expense. My ladyfriend herself would have done it, but she was laid up in a rehab center after suffering an in...
by scrabbler1
Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:31 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: why emergency savings?
Replies: 42
Views: 3863

Re: why emergency savings?

So suppose I pull $20k out of savings and put it into stocks and bonds. Maybe to slightly increase my sense of security I increase my bond allocation by 1-2%. Now I have more money invested, and I can still virtually guarantee that I'll be able to sell up to $20k when I need to. What do you think? ...
by scrabbler1
Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Got raise. Taxes taking 41% of it?
Replies: 30
Views: 3995

Re: Got raise. Taxes taking 41% of it?

I remember this happening to me back in my working days, mainly the full-time working days of the 1990s. The tax rates, federal and state, were a little higher than they are now. My overall marginal tax rate was about 43% for a time. One thing I saw in your list which puzzled me: Why did the pre-tax...
by scrabbler1
Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Auto Insurance - Bodily Injury/Physical Damage Liability
Replies: 11
Views: 1013

Re: Auto Insurance - Bodily Injury/Physical Damage Liability

I worked in the actuarial field for 23 years, specializing in personal auto insurance, so I can add a few things to the good replies you have seen here so far. First, you can separately choose Bodily Injury (BI) and Property Damage (PD, not Physical Damage, that's Comprehensive and Collision) limits...
by scrabbler1
Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How long do you save tax returns?
Replies: 39
Views: 3279

Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Another forever here. Have my returns back to the first one I filed in 1963. They don't take up much room when you throw out all the supporting material. Gill Like Gill and Geologist, I keep everything after I toss the supporting material for all years since 1985, the first year I filed returns. I ...
by scrabbler1
Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone disenchanted with retirement?
Replies: 184
Views: 20135

Re: Anyone disenchanted with retirement?

I retired 9 years ago at age 45. Disenchanted with retirement? HELL NO! Every time I see some problem with the trains or when it's bad weather or blistering hot in the summer or cold in the winter, I say to myself, I am soooooooo glad I don't have to deal with that CRAP any more!" Superstorm Sandy? ...
by scrabbler1
Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "Emergency Fund" Strategy
Replies: 39
Views: 4111

Re: "Emergency Fund" Strategy

I have a layered, or tiered approach to the money in my portfolio. Call it an EF or not, I have had this tiered approach both before and after I retired 9 years ago. The first tier is a small buffer, or cushion, I keep in my local bank's checking account, over the minimum balance requirement to avoi...
by scrabbler1
Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: anyone else enjoying an afternoon nap in retirement?
Replies: 19
Views: 1825

Re: anyone else enjoying an afternoon nap in retirement?

When I was working full-time, I would nap on the weekends for about 60-90 minutes in the late afternoon. Also sometimes on Fridays when I got home from work (I would make sure to get home a little earlier than usual) before I'd go out that night and stay out late. Best sleep I'd get all week, someti...
by scrabbler1
Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Someone spoofing my phone number?
Replies: 65
Views: 5224

Re: Someone spoofing my phone number?

from the Washington Post magazine: 'How robo-callers outwitted the government and completely wrecked the Do Not Call list' https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/how-robo-call-moguls-outwitted-the-government-and-completely-wrecked-the-do-not-call-list/2018/01/09/52c769b6-df7a-11e7-bbd0-9...
by scrabbler1
Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Someone spoofing my phone number?
Replies: 65
Views: 5224

Re: Someone spoofing my phone number?

For those getting spam and robocalls there are apps for that. If you have land line phone via internet provider, many of those give you option to use “nomorobo”. It works very well. Eliminates almost 100% of robocalls. You get one brief ring but then no more. There are also apps for mobile phones. ...
by scrabbler1
Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can you ever win the game?
Replies: 50
Views: 5276

Re: Can you ever win the game?

Can an investor (not a famously rich person) ever reasonably say, I have won the game and have saved enough money to support myself in retirement for the rest of my life? Moe I say "Yes." I retired 9 years ago at age 45 and had as a condition to it no change to my everyday lifestyle. I am living of...
by scrabbler1
Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: When to drop comprehensive auto coverage?
Replies: 25
Views: 2559

Re: When to drop comprehensive auto coverage?

On my previous car, a 1991 Prism, I dropped Collision after 13 years but probably should have dropped a year or two earlier. I kept Comprehensive, which for that car was cheap ($60 per year, $250 deductible with full coverage glass, a must) because I wanted the high-frequency glass claims protected....
by scrabbler1
Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:45 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Keeping a checkbook register
Replies: 95
Views: 5904

Re: Keeping a checkbook register

I use a spreadsheet check register and do balance it when I get my statement. The paper register in the checkbook is only used when I am out and writing a check so I don't forget to put it in my spreadsheet. Back when I wrote a few more checks than I do today, especially monthly ones, my checkbook ...
by scrabbler1
Fri Dec 29, 2017 10:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Keeping a checkbook register
Replies: 95
Views: 5904

Re: Keeping a checkbook register

I keep a checkbook register but also have a spreadsheet which replicates the paper register and does a lot more than the register itself. The only special thing I use the register for any more is when I balance the checkbook - I can make easy notations to keep track of outstanding checks. I write ve...
by scrabbler1
Sat Dec 23, 2017 5:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Please Post Tax Bill Questions Here [was Tax Bill Omnibus Thread]
Replies: 886
Views: 51175

Re: Tax Bill Omnibus Thread

On another issue, I have seen people posting that they won’t be able to itemize anymore. That is incorrect. You can always itemize, even if the standard deduction is larger. I don’t know why you would want to, but you are free to do so. If you are using tax software you still want to enter itemize ...
by scrabbler1
Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Please Post Tax Bill Questions Here [was Tax Bill Omnibus Thread]
Replies: 886
Views: 51175

Re: Tax Bill Omnibus Thread

Does paying estimated tax in December vs January 2018 apply to both state and federal tax, or just state? I have a large, anomalous capital gain this year for which I was planning to pay the tax in April. But it seems like I should pay in 2017 in order to itemize; having said that, I don't know if ...
by scrabbler1
Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Please Post Tax Bill Questions Here [was Tax Bill Omnibus Thread]
Replies: 886
Views: 51175

Re: Tax Bill Omnibus Thread

How can you submit a new W4 in Jan when it appears there will be no legal W4s to submit? Must get done before year end then. I submitted a new W4 yesterday. I'm strongly considering this action myself. I'd rather be headed towards an underpayment right now and then have to add extra withholding a l...
by scrabbler1
Thu Dec 21, 2017 8:35 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Please Post Tax Bill Questions Here [was Tax Bill Omnibus Thread]
Replies: 886
Views: 51175

Re: Tax Bill Omnibus Thread

Starting in 2018, my days of bunching deductions will very, very likely be over. For the last several years, my itemized deduction has been between $5,000 and $7,500 (single filer). This range has been ripe to bunch some deductions so I can get a decent bump-up to the standard deduction (~$6,000) in...
by scrabbler1
Thu Dec 21, 2017 8:16 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax Planning - 11 days to donate "stuff" from garage/basement
Replies: 27
Views: 2118

Re: Tax Planning - 11 days to donate "stuff" from garage/basement

I had been contemplating a donation of old clothes for a while. The tax law change gave me the needed kick-in-the-pants to organize this and make the call for a pick-up last week. It is very, very unlikely that I will be itemizing my deductions in 2018 and beyond, so the last chance I will have to g...
by scrabbler1
Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why You Took an Adjustable Rate Mortgage?
Replies: 43
Views: 3404

Re: Why You Took an Adjustable Rate Mortgage?

When I took a mortgage on my co-op apartment back in 1989, all that was available was ARMs. I didn't like the interest rate risk for 1-year ARMs at the time, especially with rates in general so high (nearly 11%). I was teetering between a 3-year ARM and a 5-year ARM and opted for the latter. Turned ...
by scrabbler1
Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:21 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much do you spend on food per month, per person?
Replies: 151
Views: 9376

Re: How much do you spend on food per month, per person?

I don't strictly track my food expenses but my best guess is $200-$225 per month. I always to load up on boneless chicken on sale for well under $3 a pound and freeze it for later. That's my biggest food expense but also my biggest source of savings on food. I rarely eat out (for dinner), maybe once...
by scrabbler1
Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:12 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Dividends
Replies: 40
Views: 4117

Re: Dividends

I am retired and I take nearly all or all dividends from my taxable accounts in cash to pay my expenses. In my IRA, I reinvest dividends because I am still at least 5 years away from having unfettered access to it. Any excess dividends I reinvest but I do that only a few times a year, when it is cle...
by scrabbler1
Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Getting rid of junk mail?
Replies: 21
Views: 1531

Re: Getting rid of junk mail?

What fills up my junk mail lately are all the inserts and ads included with legit bills. Yes, I could switch to paperless billing but I actually do like having those paper bills in front of me, especially if I have to call them about a billing question, which happens more often than I want it to.
by scrabbler1
Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: For those in retirement, how close is your post retirement spending to your pre-retirement estimate?
Replies: 26
Views: 2669

Re: For those in retirement, how close is your post retirement spending to your pre-retirement estimate?

When I was putting together my ER plan back in 2007-08, I looked at my expenses to guess what would change in my spreadsheet. I eliminated two items, the FICA taxes and the commutation expenses, both going to zero (YAY!). But in return, I used those savings to pay the added health insurance premiums...