Search found 487 matches

by sesq
Thu Apr 21, 2016 10:26 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Spouse's new job. Should we do Roth 401(k)?
Replies: 4
Views: 438

Re: Spouse's new job. Should we do Roth 401(k)?

Only a limited number of deductions reduce AGI. Itemized deductions, personal exemptions, standard deductions all reduce AGI to arrive at "Taxable Income". Look at your most recent 1040, you'll see the difference. Of course the measure for roth eligibility is not AGI, but MAGI or Modified ...
by sesq
Fri Apr 15, 2016 10:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?
Replies: 94
Views: 9904

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

I appreciate the posts. They give me perspective. Like some others my answer is "right now". My mega-corp is merging and rather than take a demotion I am negotiating severance. This will mean relocation and a new job and there is enough uncertainty around those issues that dealing with the...
by sesq
Wed Apr 13, 2016 9:45 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pay TV channels - streaming only
Replies: 15
Views: 1807

Re: Pay TV channels - streaming only

scouter wrote:Acorn TV has all the British series, at $5/month.


Thanks. I'll check it out when Dr Who comes back around.
by sesq
Tue Apr 12, 2016 5:19 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Looking for guidance
Replies: 4
Views: 342

Re: Looking for guidance

Move the 100K to Ally and at least get 1%, FDIC insured. Move the 50K car fund there too while you are at it. You could ladder the 100K into CD's and be closer to 1.5% or 2% (at Ally). I would dump the Vanguard Tax Exempt fund straight into the mortgage. Its earning 1.43% per this link. https://pers...
by sesq
Tue Apr 12, 2016 9:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pay TV channels - streaming only
Replies: 15
Views: 1807

Re: Pay TV channels - streaming only

I would cancel cable but the wife and kids still find value in it. I mostly binge watch old tv shows on netflix and prime. I supplement this with current movie rentals via VUDU. I fund VUDU by using my discover card rewards which gives me $25 of credit on $20 "rewards" I turn in. The promo...
by sesq
Tue Apr 12, 2016 9:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Harry Potter World: Trip Advice
Replies: 23
Views: 1836

Re: Harry Potter World: Trip Advice

We stayed at the Loew's Royal Pacific. I think I cashed like 30K AA miles for a one night stay. I am mile rich and cash stingy, so it was probably only a penny a point redemption but so be it. The hotel itself was really nice. We lounged by the pool the day we checked in and then did the overpriced ...
by sesq
Fri Apr 08, 2016 12:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Financial Planner - College
Replies: 29
Views: 2051

Re: Financial Planner - College

Sesq, why don't I ever get to sit on a plane next to an interesting and informative person? I always get the one who believes in . . . I better not say. The funny thing is on that flight all I wanted to do was sleep. I had been schlepped up to Boston to interview for my own job (mergers are fun) an...
by sesq
Thu Apr 07, 2016 4:43 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: OK to spend Roth funds early in retirement?
Replies: 13
Views: 2124

Re: OK to spend Roth funds early in retirement?

I'd run the numbers to see where you will be in your tax bracket this year versus in your earliest retirement years. The Roth IRA does not have RMD's, so it will benefit you when you are older than 70.5 to have more in there versus in the TSP. To that end, say you expect to be in the 25% bracket in ...
by sesq
Tue Apr 05, 2016 4:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Life insurance for stay at home mom?
Replies: 21
Views: 1226

Re: Life insurance for stay at home mom?

I got 20 year level term policies for my wife and I when our first child was en route. Mine was for $1M and hers was $500k. I also get a bit more on each of us as part of my employment. I have always viewed the policy on her as something that would give me options if she were to pass. Maybe I take t...
by sesq
Tue Apr 05, 2016 2:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Need a new online bank for checking (Capital One 360, Ally?)
Replies: 22
Views: 1764

Re: Need a new online bank for checking (Capital One 360, Ally?)

Anyone use or look into First Internet Bank of Indiana? Schwab looks like a decent option, but they do a hard pull which is unfortunate. I have had FIBI for over ten years. They were one of the first to do ATM rebates - although it was limited to $6/mo. I think that changed. I pull cash so rarely n...
by sesq
Tue Apr 05, 2016 2:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Financial Planner - College
Replies: 29
Views: 2051

Re: Financial Planner - College

I sat on a plane with a chatty woman who does financial aid for a Boston area private school (she didn't say which one, although a past job was Wellselley). Her school uses FAFSA and CSS Profile. Being interested I asked her about the planning people do to try to maximize aid. Her reaction was swift...
by sesq
Wed Mar 09, 2016 5:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Netflix, Your Current Favorite Show
Replies: 178
Views: 14649

Re: Netflix, Your Current Favorite Show

Downton is on Amazon Prime (except for the most recent, final season).
by sesq
Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:22 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 27 year old newbie. How to handle $190,000 "windfall"?
Replies: 28
Views: 4306

Re: 27 year old newbie. How to handle $190,000 "windfall"?

Fund the IRA's, max the TSP, keep the apartment, and GO SLOW with the girlfriend. New love is exciting and blinding. You do not want to be married, bitter and stuck because you were too impatient to see each other in good times and in bad before escalating the commitments.
by sesq
Mon Feb 22, 2016 11:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone ever buy Hilton's Timeshares (HGVC)?
Replies: 39
Views: 4712

Re: Anyone ever buy Hilton's Timeshares (HGVC)?

I watched a documentary called the "Queen of Versailles" on Netflix (recommended) last night about about a family that owns a big time share operation and how things went south when access to cheap capital dried up in the financial crisis. Anyways, the footage from the team meeting to hype...
by sesq
Fri Feb 19, 2016 4:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: I've had it with USAA insurance
Replies: 26
Views: 2374

Re: I've had it with USAA insurance

My comment is suck it up. Yes it is more time consuming to quote multiple policies, but that is the solution to your quandry. I did this two years ago and I got car/home/umbrella quotes from Erie (mid-atlantic) and Amica. Both were less and I went with Erie. I may have to do this again in April if t...
by sesq
Thu Feb 18, 2016 10:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Division of assets in divorce
Replies: 28
Views: 3426

Re: Division of assets in divorce

Probably best to mind your own business. I am not a lawyer, but as a finance type I get asked for advice on divorces with some regularity. That said, it sounds like 20 of 25 pension earning years was in the marriage and may likely be a marital asset (beneficiary elections are likely irrelevant). Per...
by sesq
Fri Feb 12, 2016 7:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Washer - Frontload or HE Top Load
Replies: 48
Views: 4381

Re: New Washer - Frontload or HE Top Load

With our front loader, we religiously kept the door open in a spacious laundry room. Still got mold. Much happier with the HE top loader (whirlpool).
by sesq
Wed Feb 10, 2016 4:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Critique my budget/debt plan
Replies: 13
Views: 1252

Re: Critique my budget/debt plan

If you are able to treat the emergency fund as an emergency fund and not a slush fund you may wish to put it into a Roth IRA. You can still contribute $5,500 for 2015 (assuming your wages in 2015 were at least that much). In the future, for an emergency you can pull the principal without penalty and...
by sesq
Wed Feb 10, 2016 9:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Washer - Frontload or HE Top Load
Replies: 48
Views: 4381

Re: New Washer - Frontload or HE Top Load

Avoid the mold - top loader all the way. They come in two versions - basic and effective or fancy and giant. We bought the fancy and giant one to replace a moldy front loader.

We didn't buy the pedestals.
by sesq
Mon Feb 08, 2016 11:30 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: $50 Amazon tablet
Replies: 39
Views: 3369

Re: $50 Amazon tablet

I have debated a dedicated chromebook for finances. But I hate tablets (keyboard purist, not big on touchscreen interfaces).
by sesq
Mon Feb 08, 2016 10:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chicken rub
Replies: 34
Views: 2438

Re: Chicken rub

I am also lazy, so I take this recipe and multiply it by 6 and store the excess. This is from Weber's beer can chicken recipe which has been a family staple for 13 years. For the rub: 1 teaspoon dry mustard 1 teaspoon granulated onion 1 teaspoon paprika 1 teaspoon kosher salt ½ teaspoon granulated g...
by sesq
Fri Jan 29, 2016 11:29 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Eating money eating out! Going on a 401k diet. Help!
Replies: 27
Views: 3009

Re: Eating money eating out! Going on a 401k diet. Help!

I spend a fair bit on eating out. One thing that hit a tone with my inner cheapskate was watching the restaurant shows on CNBC. To make the metrics work these places must keep food cost below 30%. So, when you eat out you are paying triple what the actual food costs (plus tips!). Obviously the value...
by sesq
Tue Jan 26, 2016 11:58 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Inheritance Asset Allocation
Replies: 15
Views: 1244

Re: Inheritance Asset Allocation

Don't forget that you have till April 15th to make a 2015 Roth contribution.
by sesq
Sun Jan 24, 2016 3:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Stats on Americans 'cutting the cable' ?
Replies: 42
Views: 3847

Re: Stats on Americans 'cutting the cable' ?

I would consider cutting the cord but Verizon repriced me to a reasonable ($88 including taxes) number for a triple play bundle including most of the extended channels I'd want (no BBC). I estimate I'd be at least $55 for just cable, then $5-ish for an Ooma type landline with e-911 (we have kids, I'...
by sesq
Sun Jan 24, 2016 2:12 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: I Bonds
Replies: 27
Views: 3051

Re: I Bonds

Assuming you meet the income requirements, depositing the proceeds of your ibonds into a 529 plan of which YOU or YOUR SPOUSE are beneficiaries does count as a "qualified educational expense" to make the interest tax free. If you subsequently change the beneficiary of the 529 plan to anot...
by sesq
Sat Jan 23, 2016 2:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Most anticipated retirement purchase
Replies: 107
Views: 7409

Re: Most anticipated retirement purchase

I am hoping to be a little nomadic when I retire. I want to go to Spain (or someplace spanish speaking) and rent a place for six months or so. I used to be fluent in spanish (8 years of training + a semester abroad) but have forgotten most of it. It comes back a bit on a trip, but then I go home. I ...
by sesq
Sat Jan 23, 2016 2:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Amazon Prime Member w/streaming - need recs
Replies: 26
Views: 1975

Re: New Amazon Prime Member w/streaming - need recs

Downton Abbey
The Americans
Orphan Black
+1 to Justified
+1 to early HBO (especially The Wire)

May not float your boat, but I really enjoyed the campy T&A action buddy show Strike Back which they have I think three seasons of. Its a cinemax show, so, there is that.
by sesq
Fri Jan 22, 2016 2:55 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Dave Ramsey recommends Active funds?
Replies: 35
Views: 2937

Re: Dave Ramsey recommends Active funds?

I gave up on his podcast not just because of the bad investment advice, but the bad tax advice, and worst of all is his growing cadre of niche "gurus" whose books are constantly pimped.

Clark Howard is a much better podcast. As a bonus he refuses to endorse anything!
by sesq
Fri Jan 22, 2016 2:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Credit Card For Monster Hotel Bill
Replies: 23
Views: 2505

Re: Best Credit Card For Monster Hotel Bill

You can get 3% all day - AARP or Amex Simply Cash. You used to be able to use Simply Cash to get 8% at Hyatt (3% + 5% OPEN savings) but Hyatt dropped out of the OPEN program just recently. If they will take them some hotel gift cards can be purchased at a discount either on the second hand market - ...
by sesq
Fri Jan 22, 2016 2:02 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: have large sum of money and age 38 with W2 income
Replies: 24
Views: 2737

Re: have large sum of money and age 38 with W2 income

do you guys think paying off the investment property mortgage better or paying off the primary home mortgage better given same interest rate? Whichever has the higher interest rate? Or, if you are cashflow oriented, whichever has the lowest balance, assuming the payoff would take out the entire loa...
by sesq
Wed Jan 20, 2016 6:11 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: I have no more money to invest
Replies: 76
Views: 6556

Re: I have no more money to invest

I get paid my bonus in April and was planning to make 2015 and 2016 backdoor roth contributions for both me and my wife (so $22,000 total). I am a little tempted to draw the $22,000 from the HELOC and push it into the market. It would cost me about $200 in interest, or $135 net of taxes. The bonus h...
by sesq
Wed Jan 20, 2016 5:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 401k withdrawl prior to divorce
Replies: 8
Views: 1227

Re: 401k withdrawl prior to divorce

I would also caution you to be wary of timetables when it comes to divorce. I give financial advice to a few friends who are going through acrimonious divorces and nothing takes mere months - its years. Consider if you can handle the monthly payment until the house sale happens or what happens if th...
by sesq
Tue Jan 19, 2016 3:36 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: have large sum of money and age 38 with W2 income
Replies: 24
Views: 2737

Re: have large sum of money and age 38 with W2 income

I would fund IRA's for you and your wife either Roth IRA's or Backdoor Roths. If your wife has access to a 401(k) plan I would have her max it. I would pay off the 350K 3% mortgage rather than collect 0% in the checking account. If I wanted to hold cash for a possible house purchase or downpayment I...
by sesq
Thu Jan 14, 2016 10:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Powerball math: annuity is better?
Replies: 56
Views: 5320

Re: Powerball math: annuity is better?

Comic thought: Schrödinger's ticket - it could be a winner - I haven't checked the number, & nobody has (as yet) claimed the prize... Bravo. I buy a single ticket somewhat often. I usually don't check my tickets for a couple months unless there is a press report that says a winning ticket was s...
by sesq
Tue Jan 12, 2016 12:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Share your networth progression
Replies: 306
Views: 67954

Re: Share your networth progression

New year, any updates folks? :) I edited my post on the first page, but I was up about 8%, almost entirely driven by savings since the market wasn't great. My one winner was company stock, which I am incentivized to hold after vesting (yay for luck). The prior 3 years had increases in the 30% range...
by sesq
Tue Jan 12, 2016 11:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best DNA genealogy testing kits
Replies: 44
Views: 4029

Re: Best DNA genealogy testing kits

My wife and I did 23 and me a couple years ago. She actually corresponded a bit with a few second/third cousins and was able to figure out how they fit into the family trees. For me, although my paternal grandfather is a bit of a mystery most of my relatives were distant. We actually did it because ...
by sesq
Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:47 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Possible windfall
Replies: 7
Views: 1387

Re: Possible windfall

I think your plan is sound. Without knowing the specifics I would mentally prepare that it may take a long time, and don't get married any dollar figures. I had my leg cut off by a weedwacker with a blade attachment. My product liability lawsuit took over 7 years, almost 8 and we settled at the pre-...
by sesq
Fri Jan 08, 2016 6:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Include 529 in net worth?
Replies: 32
Views: 2488

Re: Include 529 in net worth?

I include them and don't book a liability for the future college expenses since I am not legally obliged to pay it. There are lots of scenarios good and bad where the money could be spent by me on something other than my kid's college. I have said elsewhere that if I got divorced and there was a cou...
by sesq
Thu Jan 07, 2016 6:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Netflix, Your Current Favorite Show
Replies: 178
Views: 14649

Re: Netflix, Your Current Favorite Show

Thanks for the Black Mirror recommendation. I watched two episodes last night. Love it! I (so far) agree with the updated Twilight Zone characterization (minus the iconic narration).
by sesq
Thu Jan 07, 2016 2:45 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Our company just added a Roth 401(k) option, but....
Replies: 6
Views: 710

Re: Our company just added a Roth 401(k) option, but....

My plan (Fidelity) will let me set up a separate bucket for amounts rolled in, but won't let me tweak the ongoing contribution from the match (always tax deferred) or my Roth contributions. I have about $20k from a frozen pension plan that was converted and rolled it wasn't worth the effort. Left to...
by sesq
Thu Jan 07, 2016 2:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Waste of money? [High-end home theater]
Replies: 140
Views: 8136

Re: Waste of money? [High-end home theater]

blackjack4808 wrote:Monitor Audio speakers and rythmik are suppose to be very high quality at a decent price...


Ebay and audiogon helped too. Patience paid off.
by sesq
Thu Jan 07, 2016 2:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [Fidelity drops AmEx, Bank of America credit cards]
Replies: 152
Views: 15739

Re: [Fidelity drops AmEx, Bank of America credit cards]

For Amex Serve users - what's a good alternative card once this goes away? Curious what others have to say about this. I was just going to close my Serve account. :annoyed There is a Flexperk's Amex. Kind of a wonky currency (tiered redemptions), but handy for domestic economy flights. I use an old...
by sesq
Wed Jan 06, 2016 4:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Waste of money? [High-end home theater]
Replies: 140
Views: 8136

Re: Waste of money? [High-end home theater]

I think you said you were having a kid. You should think through how much you will be able to use it without waking the baby. In my old house, at a similar income level, I built a dedicated home theater as part of a basement remodel. My equipment was cheap, sub $3k, but I wouldn't be surprised if th...
by sesq
Wed Jan 06, 2016 10:10 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Incorporating your home into networth calculation
Replies: 100
Views: 4472

Re: Incorporating your home into networth calculation

The larger question is this: how much the house value should be in relationship to the overall portfolio? My home has fluctuated as a percent of my net worth (calc'd the old fashion way) as I have moved, borrowed, remodeled or suffered losses. It hasn't really changed my behavior other than feeling...
by sesq
Tue Jan 05, 2016 11:07 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Incorporating your home into networth calculation
Replies: 100
Views: 4472

Re: Incorporating your home into networth calculation

I include it. I am in the words have meaning camp and net worth is all assets less all liabilities (including deferred taxes). I also track personal financial assets (NW-home equity, cars and 529 plans) and do my asset allocations based on that. You asked how - I just use zillow. My house has had a ...
by sesq
Mon Jan 04, 2016 6:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [What will you do differently in] 2016
Replies: 62
Views: 6734

Re: [What will you do differently in] 2016

This is the year I will pay off the mortgage. 12 years into the home owning experience. Wanted to do it in ten, but priorities shifted. With luck I will not have to move due to the merger at my mega-corp and can enjoy having a paid off home and not be moved to a higher cost area and be thrown back o...
by sesq
Mon Jan 04, 2016 6:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I Tell My Children About My Inheritance Plan?
Replies: 57
Views: 4594

Re: Should I Tell My Children About My Inheritance Plan?

My father is an estate planning attorney (now 80, still working, by choice, I think) and shares nothing with his four kids. Its not a big deal since we all know the jist is whatever is left to the kids will be split more or less evenly. It would be helpful to receive assurances that they don't and w...
by sesq
Wed Dec 23, 2015 11:40 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Talking to your wife about finances
Replies: 31
Views: 2617

Re: Talking to your wife about finances

Are you paying PMI? If so, how close are you to not? Is your loan one that would let you out when you pay down or are you stuck with it for five years absent a refi? I only ask to the extent that the PMI makes your mortgage more expensive than the higher rate student loans. Otherwise I join chorus o...
by sesq
Wed Dec 23, 2015 11:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pay down mortgage, or invest?
Replies: 61
Views: 3754

Re: Pay down mortgage, or invest?

You can deduct up to 100K of a HEL or HELOC in addition to the $1M cap on mortgages. So you may be able to borrow as a HELOC, pay down the mortgage and shift an additional $100K into the "deductible" category. It would depend on how the HELOC rates compare to the 3.75% mortgage and whether...
by sesq
Tue Dec 22, 2015 10:11 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Biggest lucky break in your personal finances?
Replies: 160
Views: 12795

Re: Biggest lucky break in your personal finances?

I put a market order in after hours to buy Tyco. In the overnight the fraud speculation came out and the share price went from like $40 to an open at $25, which is what I had bought at. By mid-day it had bounced back to $30. I was a lucky "genius". This luck reversed (and more) when I trie...

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