Search found 75 matches

by snackdog
Sun Mar 26, 2017 3:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Does living at the beach reduce it's appeal?
Replies: 20
Views: 2066

Re: Does living at the beach reduce it's appeal?

We were beach front at Ipanema for several years. It wears off pretty quickly. Nice to always have a lovely view, sunrise, sunset, of course. But along with that we see a lot of chaos- traffic, people, etc. The sea air quickly ate our bikes, electronics, AC units, binoculars, etc. even though we nev...
by snackdog
Thu Mar 23, 2017 3:55 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vehicles as a percentage of net worth
Replies: 102
Views: 4560

Re: Vehicles as a percentage of net worth

Best to push this expense as low as you can by driving as little as possible, living near work and shopping, cycling more, etc. we haven't owned a vehicle for about five years. Employer provides me a leased and insured truck which I use to commute. We can walk to everything from home but will do a b...
by snackdog
Wed Mar 22, 2017 3:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where's the sweet spot in the cost/benefit curve for floor speakers?
Replies: 37
Views: 2149

Re: Where's the sweet spot in the cost/benefit curve for floor speakers?

The listening space makes a vast difference. A large room with high ceilings and plenty of wood will often demolish a conventional room, even with orders of magnitude equipment cost differential. Think symphony hall: The more your space resembles one the less speaker and amp you need for great sound...
by snackdog
Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Smart Will (or how to avoid a legal morass)
Replies: 21
Views: 1353

Smart Will (or how to avoid a legal morass)

I read somewhere recently that any specifications in a will regarding percentages (fractions) of a total estate are dangerous as they may attract legal challenges. For example, if your will said 10% of your estate would go to a charity, many charities would hire an attorney to follow up and ensure y...
by snackdog
Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Did I Buy Too Much Home?!?!?!
Replies: 42
Views: 4394

Re: Did I Buy Too Much Home?!?!?!

The numbers are acceptable, just very high. Your salaries might be better directed toward other means. You are risking your credit and down payment if one of you loses a job in the next tech bust. I would have scrimped a bit at your age and bought a less expensive place which was easier to afford on...
by snackdog
Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:27 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Windfall: should we pay cash for ~$1.3M home?
Replies: 96
Views: 5093

Re: Windfall: should we pay cash for ~$1.3M home?

I don't understand the earthquake hysteria. Just avoid ancient brick or mud homes and you should be fine. You really can't knock down a wood frame home. Make sure it is bolted to foundation and substrata are solid. Big quakes have had minor impacts in Calif. Even 1906 SF was mostly fire damage. Plac...
by snackdog
Sat Mar 04, 2017 8:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Windfall: should we pay cash for ~$1.3M home?
Replies: 96
Views: 5093

Re: Windfall: should we pay cash for ~$1.3M home?

You just boosted your investable savings to about where they should be. Take out 20% for a down payment if you must and no more. Keep PITI to no more than 40% of gross income unless you have enough discretionary spending which can be pared back.
by snackdog
Tue Feb 28, 2017 1:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Warning & Advice Requested
Replies: 19
Views: 1197

Re: Warning & Advice Requested

It is no longer illegal to wire money to Cuba.
by snackdog
Tue Feb 28, 2017 5:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Used German Luxury vs New Japanese
Replies: 89
Views: 7146

Re: Used German Luxury vs New Japanese

European cars have been wildly oversold in North America to the point where they have no cache at all. You can find them all over any working class suburb in America. Nearly every American owns one at some point. They are like diamonds - nothing special but market hype.
by snackdog
Mon Feb 27, 2017 5:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Used German Luxury vs New Japanese
Replies: 89
Views: 7146

Re: Used German Luxury vs New Japanese

You have the choices all backwards. When buying German, stay with new cars because they are a nightmare to keep running after 2-3 years. All your time will be spent in service centers.if you want one, lease a new one for 24 months. Read leasehackr to find the best deal. When buying Japanese, it is s...
by snackdog
Sun Feb 19, 2017 9:25 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is a 4% plus CPI withdrawal rate actually aggressive?
Replies: 232
Views: 10541

Re: Is a 4% plus CPI withdrawal rate actually aggressive?

Medical technology is advancing by leaps and bounds. If your grandparents lived into their 90s, you might live into your 100s. If you retire at 60, that could be a 50 year retirement. That alone argues for lower than 4%.
by snackdog
Sat Feb 11, 2017 9:22 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Medallion Signature Guarantee
Replies: 66
Views: 11329

Re: Medallion Signature Guarantee

I also moved a Vg taxable account in my name into a Vg account named in a living trust. They went back and forth on the medallion signature need. I finally got it done at my credit union. Only one manager in the country had enough signature authority, which seemed ridiculous.
by snackdog
Fri Feb 10, 2017 8:41 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Payment Method for Private Used Car Sale
Replies: 43
Views: 2428

Re: Payment Method for Private Used Car Sale

Definitely do the transaction at your bank and draw up some legal paper work to protect you. Also ensure title transfer occurs. Until they file the title transfer paperwork, the car is in your name. If they crash it or get parking tickets, you may have to deal with it.
by snackdog
Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:00 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Early retirement offer
Replies: 9
Views: 2228

Re: Early retirement offer

Negotiate for lifetime athletic facility access!
by snackdog
Sat Feb 04, 2017 5:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Lexus PreCollision Safety System (auto braking)
Replies: 35
Views: 2543

Re: Lexus PreCollision Safety System (auto braking)

Depending on how much you drive you might be far better served to minimize your driving to the bare minimum, daylight hours only and cycle/walk more. Combine all your errands into one trip every couple weeks. Never drive to work, etc.
by snackdog
Sat Jan 28, 2017 5:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Determining max amount to spend on a house?
Replies: 27
Views: 3356

Re: Determining max amount to spend on a house?

Paying cash, the imputed rent of a $2.5MM home at 6% is $150,000. Add $35k for taxes, $20,000 for repairs, $5k for insurance and you get around $200,000 per year. If you and wifey earn more than $600,000 net with stable jobs and marriage, you are good to go. I would skip the EQ insurance as price is...
by snackdog
Fri Jan 27, 2017 4:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is there a best way to buy a new vehicle that's not on the lot yet?
Replies: 24
Views: 2545

Re: Is there a best way to buy a new vehicle that's not on the lot yet?

If the new prices are cheaper, as you say, why not buy several and resell them at a tidy profit?
by snackdog
Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New SUV, $50G, Pilot/Highlander/Other
Replies: 143
Views: 17607

Re: New SUV, $50G, Pilot/Highlander/Other

Highlander is a great choice. It signals you want Asian quality and reliability and that you are not overly concerned with looks, 4wd, clearance, power, prestige, etc. I would definitely skip all the American and European brands which cost more and offer less in terms of reliability. Other comparabl...
by snackdog
Wed Jan 25, 2017 10:12 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Carribean island most like Hawaii
Replies: 63
Views: 7658

Re: Carribean island most like Hawaii

Dominican Republic without question is the *island* nation in the Caribbeean "most like Hawaii" for adventure and hiking. Snorkeling, scuba, surfing, caving, 3000m peaks for hiking, waterfalls, mountain biking, dune buggies, dolphin parks, you name it. You trade the dull Americanized, san...
by snackdog
Wed Jan 25, 2017 10:03 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Refusing to sign or altering hospital billing admission forms?
Replies: 79
Views: 5986

Re: Refusing to sign or altering hospital billing admission forms?

Just sign with an "X". Make them prove it was you later.
by snackdog
Sun Jan 22, 2017 5:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone file "decline in value" for property taxes? Advice?
Replies: 26
Views: 1846

Re: Anyone file "decline in value" for property taxes? Advice?

I have appealed successfully by letter in Contra Costa county. Be sure you know the rules in your county. For mine I needed to provide strong comps which: - sold within 90 days of Jan 1 - were within 1/2 mile of my house - were within about 200 sq ft of mine - same beds/baths - similar lot size - si...
by snackdog
Sun Jan 22, 2017 3:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Umbrella Insurance Stand-Alone
Replies: 10
Views: 2683

Re: Umbrella Insurance Stand-Alone

RLI will provide standalone umbrella. I am working on a policy just now. USAA, which seems more horrible every year, will not offer me umbrella even though I have homeowners and auto with them. They say nonsense on the phone like "we need a base policy on top of which to insure" - even tho...
by snackdog
Thu Jan 19, 2017 4:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to improve my income as software lead/manager?
Replies: 52
Views: 5354

Re: How to improve my income as software lead/manager?

Best way to boost your income would be to get a piece of the action - e.g. commission on sales or significant ownership in a startup. Sales has unlimited income, if you are good at sales. Startups can be low salary until they take off, then you hit the jackpot. Choose carefully, as only a few succee...
by snackdog
Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Thoughts on buying a house from a colleague
Replies: 37
Views: 3266

Re: Thoughts on buying a house from a colleague

Check all the risks and trade offs. Seller can sell fast and save commissions. You can maybe get a better price due to reduced commissions. Both are at risk if real estate attorneys are not used. You are at risk of: - buying a sub-optimal property for your needs because you are not 100% familiar wit...
by snackdog
Wed Jan 18, 2017 4:40 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Rental car--new windshield crack
Replies: 14
Views: 1655

Re: Rental car--new windshield crack

A cracked windshield is a safety issue. It could fail any time. If you are in an accident it will almost certainly fail and you could be injured or killed by the glass. Return the car.
by snackdog
Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:05 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Stealth Wealth: I’m Just an Ordinary Average Guy"
Replies: 331
Views: 55450

Re: "Stealth Wealth: I’m Just an Ordinary Average Guy"

We are closing in on eight figures but live pretty frugally. Save most of salary. Fly coach. Don't own a car. Max 3 star hotels for travel, typically with a kitchen so we can cook. No jewelry. Clothes up to 10 years old. We are minimalist but still have way too much crap. About half a 40' container ...
by snackdog
Sun Jan 08, 2017 12:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Annual Vacation Budget
Replies: 320
Views: 23804

Re: Annual Vacation Budget

5% of gross income.

For us that is 1-2 intercontinental trips and 1-2 international trips (we live on multi-national continent!) for a family of two. I don't count intra-national travel since the cost is trivial and doesn't come out of income.
by snackdog
Sun Jan 08, 2017 7:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is driving for uber worth it for side money?
Replies: 67
Views: 10860

Re: Is driving for uber worth it for side money?

If you enjoy it, already own a vehicle, and don't have better alternatives it is fabulous. You are basically getting paid to drive your car. As long as the incremental cost is way less than you net, do it.
by snackdog
Sat Jan 07, 2017 1:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Conversion of Inherited Home into Primary Residence worthwhile?
Replies: 13
Views: 949

Re: Conversion of Inherited Home into Primary Residence worthwhile?

Uh, do you actually have an interest in living there? I assume you aren't going to upheave just to minimize taxes.
by snackdog
Sat Jan 07, 2017 1:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paying Cash vs. having a Mortgage on Retirement Home
Replies: 11
Views: 1254

Re: Paying Cash vs. having a Mortgage on Retirement Home

It entirely depends on your fortitude and situation. Financial math will always favor a 30 year mortgage as current rates are at historic lows and bound to rise. If investing the money and watching it rollercoaster up and down for a few decades doesn't bother you, borrow the money. If you can imagin...
by snackdog
Sat Jan 07, 2017 1:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any Audi Wagon owners?
Replies: 29
Views: 2142

Re: Any Audi Wagon owners?

Have you considered renting a 4wd vehicle the few days per year you need one rather than living with an expensive and sub optimized vehicle the other 360 days of the year??
by snackdog
Mon Jan 02, 2017 10:54 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What are you up YTD? [Year To Date]
Replies: 1288
Views: 212139

Re: What are you up YTD? [Year To Date]

Vanguard personal performance of all accounts says 2016 was 13.9% which should be similar to everyone else. Plenty of bonds and crummy stocks in there which pulled me down I guess.
by snackdog
Sun Dec 18, 2016 4:12 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How will you tip this Christmas?
Replies: 51
Views: 4431

Re: How will you tip this Christmas?

We gave each of our door men $75. I guess this week I should tip the parking valet guys at work but there are too many of them! Tipping is important as a reward for extra-personal service and to ensure it continues. If you are not happy with your service, it's probably because you are not tipping ap...
by snackdog
Fri Dec 16, 2016 9:23 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: If and how to bring up inappropriate conduct of former boss?
Replies: 60
Views: 4728

Re: If and how to bring up inappropriate conduct of former boss?

I don't see anything specific that is reportable. Your description is vague as to what is wrong. Seems like you don't like him and want revenge. Be careful as he may be more dangerous than you realize. These people tend to flame out in the end, but not without dragging a lot of innocents along with ...
by snackdog
Sun Dec 11, 2016 6:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Coffee: "breakfast blend" vs "donut shop"
Replies: 10
Views: 3143

Re: Coffee: "breakfast blend" vs "donut shop"

BB is designed and engineered to be consumed first thing in the morning. It pairs well with bacon, eggs, pancakes and whatnot.

DS is ideal halfway to lunch time. Be careful as it may also give an odd urge to write traffic tickets.
by snackdog
Mon Dec 05, 2016 9:43 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Retirement with $8M in investments
Replies: 164
Views: 19689

Re: Retirement with $8M in investments

I recall years ago the magic number to feel wealthy (as in no longer requiring an income) in the Silicon Valley was $40MM. The reasoning went that 1/2 would eventually fall into the hands of the tax man, $10MM was required for real estate, and the remaining $10MM was 40 years of incidental expenses....
by snackdog
Sat Nov 26, 2016 3:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to become a "U.S. citizen residing overseas"?
Replies: 26
Views: 3916

Re: How to become a "U.S. citizen residing overseas"?

Read Calif FTB Pub 1031 on residency status. Basically, if you 1) are transferred out of state for work, and 2) stay out 546 days except for visits of less than 45 days per year, you are non-resident. We have properties in CA, driver's licenses, and are registered voters there (absentee ballot). Hav...
by snackdog
Wed Nov 16, 2016 3:52 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Share your net worth progression
Replies: 495
Views: 118890

Re: Share your networth progression

Working 20 years. Ours seems to increase 10-fold every ten years, which seems about right combining market returns and increasing savings rate on increasing earnings. Definitely do not plan on nor need to work another ten years.
by snackdog
Tue Nov 15, 2016 8:14 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much is business worth?
Replies: 49
Views: 4665

Re: How much is business worth?

I would take my wife out of the equation before selling. For max value, hire someone to do her role. If sales are not increasing, you may have saturated the market for your location. This depends on the size of the city. People don't like to drive more than 15 minutes to the gym. If you think the fr...
by snackdog
Wed Oct 26, 2016 4:41 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Declining Service Expectations. Are there any excellent companies still out there?
Replies: 81
Views: 6911

Re: Declining Service Expectations. Are there any excellent companies still out there?

USAA was good years ago but has steadily declined. Their phone support is pretty wretched anymore. I routinely get banged around between workers and supervisors and asked all sorts of weird questions. Not sure what happened to them, but haven't canceled insurance yet. Prices used to be great but now...
by snackdog
Mon Oct 24, 2016 1:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: My recent car buying experience.
Replies: 13
Views: 1655

Re: My recent car buying experience.

Internet haggling seems to work well. I have even heard about people who photo-shopped offers from dealers to show to other dealers, who then matched them.
by snackdog
Mon Oct 24, 2016 9:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Declining Service Expectations. Are there any excellent companies still out there?
Replies: 81
Views: 6911

Re: Declining Service Expectations. Are there any excellent companies still out there?

Supermarket lines are a dream in the US. There is no place on earth with such short lines. In Latin America, the grocery has almost nothing worth buying, high prices and even if you are so lucky as to be third in line at the register, you are looking at fifteen minutes wait as the checkout lady play...
by snackdog
Mon Oct 24, 2016 4:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Declining Service Expectations. Are there any excellent companies still out there?
Replies: 81
Views: 6911

Re: Declining Service Expectations. Are there any excellent companies still out there?

Service in the US is light years ahead of Europe, Latin American or Australia. Enjoy what's left of it while you can!
by snackdog
Mon Sep 05, 2016 3:02 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Next Weekend Car - Dodge Viper to What?
Replies: 65
Views: 5550

Re: Next Weekend Car - Dodge Viper to What?

Sell both the Viper and your daily driver and get a Tesla P85. Four doors and nearly 900 torques.
by snackdog
Tue Aug 23, 2016 5:45 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Annuity for 28 Year Old Hippie
Replies: 41
Views: 5049

Re: Annuity for 28 Year Old Hippie

Financially, the best solution is to invest it. If you want to help him keep his hands off it, set up a revocable trust to manage it and have someone else as trustee. Only trustee can change investments or withdrawal schedule.
by snackdog
Sun Aug 21, 2016 7:44 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: A quick poll--pension annuity vs. lump sum
Replies: 67
Views: 6401

Re: A quick poll--pension annuity vs. lump sum

Lump sum vs annuity is a simple NPV calculation. The NPV of the lump sum is the lump sum. Calculate the NPV of the income stream from the annuity using your chosen discount rate. Most lump sums assume a pretty low rate, like 3%. If you think you can invest the lump sum in the stock market at get his...
by snackdog
Sun Aug 07, 2016 4:32 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Pension - Lump Sum vs Annuity
Replies: 9
Views: 1217

Re: Pension - Lump Sum vs Annuity

Depends on how long you think you will live, if you need to pass on anything and your expectations for inflation. That is a 5.7% withdrawal rate equivalent, so it will pay you 50% more than the invested lump sum (at 4% SWR) at first and stays ahead overall up to about 30 years. After that, even low ...
by snackdog
Mon Jul 18, 2016 5:45 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car totaled, no collision insurance
Replies: 78
Views: 7768

Re: Car totaled, no collision insurance

Four cars seems excessive.
by snackdog
Sun Jul 17, 2016 6:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Gross Income $600K/yr Working 12 Months VS $133K/yr Working 4 Months (And 8 Months Off)?
Replies: 66
Views: 7712

Re: Gross Income $600K/yr Working 12 Months VS $133K/yr Working 4 Months (And 8 Months Off)?

If your business is turning $600k/yr in profit why not sell it for $5mm and retire now? Depending on th industry, 7-10x net profit is not an unreasonable figure to for which to sell it.
by snackdog
Sat Jun 18, 2016 4:35 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Who has needed to use their umbrella insurance?
Replies: 70
Views: 7712

Re: Who has needed to use their umbrella insurance?

The weird thing about umbrella is that you can only get it on top of other insurance, which the insurer normally wants to also hold and to ensure you have set the limits to their satisfaction. For example, my insurer would want me to have auto and home insurance with them with fairly high coverage l...

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