Search found 4510 matches

by stan1
Wed Mar 22, 2017 6:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: whole house water filter --your thoughts?
Replies: 15
Views: 1156

Re: whole house water filter --your thoughts?

Why whole house? More cost effective to focus on one faucet in the kitchen that you use for drinking water (plus a tap to the ice maker if you want). That way you aren't filtering water headed back into the sewage system. Also consider filter replacement costs. Given your concerns I'm not sure you w...
by stan1
Sat Mar 18, 2017 3:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Home buying advice for first time buyer
Replies: 4
Views: 378

Re: Home buying advice for first time buyer

I'd take the stock options off the table unless you are going to exercise them and convert to cash. We had some up until a few years ago and treated them as a windfall when we exercised them (due to retirement). If you don't want to exclude them at least convert to a post tax value because you will ...
by stan1
Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance
Replies: 43
Views: 2769

Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Many health insurance plans do not cover eye exams. As an example for federal employees it is additional coverage purchased separately from health insurance and for many people it is not a good deal even if you replace your glasses frequently. Vision care for adults is not a minimum essential benefi...
by stan1
Sat Mar 18, 2017 1:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance
Replies: 43
Views: 2769

Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

I bought a pair from Warby Parker last year and will probably do so again. They have a retail store near me. Unlike most other opticians they have frames well organized by size so you don't spend a lot of time looking through frames that are too small or too big.
by stan1
Sat Mar 18, 2017 10:53 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Portfolio Check-Up
Replies: 2
Views: 147

Re: Portfolio Check-Up

Lifestyle: modest, and try to save money wherever we can in a relatively expensive city; nonetheless, the last couple years have had lots of big expenses that have cut into our savings rate substantially Your asset allocation is fine and secondary to your savings rate at this point. Is there a ligh...
by stan1
Sat Mar 18, 2017 9:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a Storage Unit with Condo...?
Replies: 23
Views: 1477

Re: Buying a Storage Unit with Condo...?

First, sounds like you need it and I'd think having the onsite storage would be much better than renting storage space elsewhere. You'll be more likely to use your equipment if it is easy to access and less likely if you have to drive a few miles to load it up. When it comes time to sell there could...
by stan1
Sun Mar 12, 2017 6:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: (Updated Again- Happy Ending) Issue With Contractor. What to do?
Replies: 53
Views: 4645

Re: Issue With Contractor. What to do?

Give him time to respond. If you have an email address I'd follow up with that as well. I've found a lot of people (myself included at times) are not great about following up on voice mail these days. Or you can text him during working hours. No accusations, just state the ducting is not connected a...
by stan1
Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:21 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Has anyone had problems gifting Vanguard shares to an organization?
Replies: 24
Views: 1378

Re: Has anyone had problems gifting Vanguard shares to an organization?

If you want to do this regularly move your holdings out of Vanguard. In my experience Vanguard is not set up to handle transactions like this. They will make a mistake and then you will have to spend a lot of time with them to correct. Perversely I have begun to wonder if Vanguard would actually rat...
by stan1
Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?
Replies: 44
Views: 3160

Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Agree some people might be offering advice who are not federal employees. Advice would be very different in that situation. My experience (as a federal employee, supervisor, and manager) has been that capable federal employees in critical jobs who tell management they intend to retire in less than 2...
by stan1
Sun Mar 05, 2017 11:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: London (UK) Recommendations – Theater, Comedy, Tea, Activities
Replies: 8
Views: 606

Re: London (UK) Recommendations – Theater, Comedy, Tea, Activities

Look at the London Walks website and pick some off the beaten path neighborhoods for a 2 hour guided walking tour (such as Hampstead or "Little Venice").
by stan1
Sun Mar 05, 2017 11:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Yet Another Home Purchase Advice Thread
Replies: 2
Views: 240

Re: Yet Another Home Purchase Advice Thread

Let's apply the often referenced "willingness, ability and need" principle: Yes, someone who makes $600K/year is "able" to afford a $950K house. No one "needs" a 4200 square foot house. So the question is whether you want to buy the house or not ("willing"). I...
by stan1
Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should the money earmarked for certain expenses be part of net worth?
Replies: 52
Views: 3091

Re: Should the money earmarked for certain expenses be part of net worth?

I view $1 as $1. Doesn't matter whether it is in a 401K, IRA, Taxable investment account, CD, TreasuryDirect I-Bond, checking account, wallet, or mattress. If I spend $30K on a new car the corresponding drop in net worth reminds me that I need to take steps to watch and adjust my future spending. I ...
by stan1
Sat Mar 04, 2017 10:15 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Crazy idea? Take over parents' loans
Replies: 32
Views: 2334

Re: Crazy idea? Take over parents' loans

Keep it simple. If you want to help your parents out financially -- and are able to do so -- give them a gift.
by stan1
Sat Mar 04, 2017 10:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Windfall: should we pay cash for ~$1.3M home?
Replies: 96
Views: 5034

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

Values? Please. Choosing to live in a HCOL area is not a values decision. Quality of life tradeoff with some pros and cons -- absolutely yes.
by stan1
Sat Mar 04, 2017 9:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: By how much to 9 foot ceiling add to house price?
Replies: 15
Views: 1899

Re: By how much to 9 foot ceiling add to house price?

A friend bought a house with 8 foot ceilings and took off the roof to raise the ceilings to 9 foot. He is a contractor so labor was "free".
by stan1
Sat Mar 04, 2017 8:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Describe your Reasonable Dream Home
Replies: 51
Views: 3065

Re: Describe your Reasonable Dream Home

⋅  Free standing house in a cohousing community ⋅  walkable neighborhood (walk score 80+) ⋅  pre WWII construction ⋅  3 bedroom, 1.5+ bath ⋅  garage space somewhere on the property ⋅  parking for the motor home ⋅  gas fireplace &...
by stan1
Sat Mar 04, 2017 8:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pay off car loan early or contribute to Roth IRA(s)?
Replies: 24
Views: 1522

Re: Pay off car loan early or contribute to Roth IRA(s)?

I'd pay off the loan now with your emergency fund and build it back up as quickly as you can. It seems like you have good savings discipline. You can use your taxable investing account as a "second tier" emergency fund if something really important were to come up such as losing a job or a...
by stan1
Fri Mar 03, 2017 9:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Echo Dot question
Replies: 9
Views: 1162

Re: Amazon Echo Dot question

I don't know how you plan to use the quotes but it may be more interesting to get quotes for the equivalent ETF (such as VTI for Total Stock Market) because it will change throughout the day.
by stan1
Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Want to downsize, best option for funding home improvements
Replies: 22
Views: 1158

Re: Want to downsize, best option for funding home improvements

Agree with taking care of issues like the bathroom and windows/sliding door now so that you can maintain a firm asking price through negotiations and the inspection. Moderate cost with quality appropriate for the neighborhood is the way to go. If you leave those items undone they will become negotia...
by stan1
Tue Feb 28, 2017 9:43 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best Way to Give Our Son a Down Payment
Replies: 18
Views: 2471

Re: Best Way to Give Our Son a Down Payment

What states do you each live in and how do they tax capital gains? For example California taxes capital gains as ordinary income so that is often a 9.3% tax rate and you might want to avoid that. Other than that since the intent is to help your son out and you have the means I'd sell the AAPL shares...
by stan1
Mon Feb 27, 2017 9:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you clear your inbox?
Replies: 49
Views: 2968

Re: Do you clear your inbox?

At work I have 300-500 emails every month that I never read (based off subject and sender). Every month I move all received emails out of my Outlook inbox and into a local .pst file named YEAR_MONTH_Received and all sent emails to a folder YEAR_MONTH_Sent. My employer imposes a mailbox size limit so...
by stan1
Mon Feb 27, 2017 9:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sellers disclosure form has sections not marked
Replies: 26
Views: 1895

Re: Sellers disclosure form has sections not marked

Just about every house has had some sort of plumbing leak and who knows what happened 2 or 3+ owners ago with an older house. Many times there are leaks before the builder turns a new house over to the original buyer. I'd guess most are never disclosed. The existence of a leak should not be disquali...
by stan1
Sun Feb 26, 2017 9:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "Tithing" money to your parents?
Replies: 12
Views: 1851

Re: "Tithing" money to your parents?

Just give them a gift. I've been doing that for 15 years. No income tax implications for them or you at $500/month.
by stan1
Sun Feb 26, 2017 8:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Household budget
Replies: 28
Views: 3032

Re: Household budget

You are saving 30% of your income (including college) and tithing another 10%. That's 40% right there. I think most people include college savings in their savings rate. Tax amounts go up with income since they are based on percentages but many expenses such as food, vacation, and day care don't nec...
by stan1
Sun Feb 26, 2017 2:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why does Vanguard endorse TurboTax?
Replies: 6
Views: 1187

Re: Why does Vanguard endorse TurboTax?

I don't think it is a public service or an endorsement just like when my local newspaper runs an ad for Best Buy or Kroger. I assume Vanguard is getting compensated for the link and referrals (either in cash or in kind such as reciprocal ads on Intuit's Mint web site). If it helps keep Vanguard's ex...
by stan1
Sun Feb 26, 2017 9:33 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: House as Temporary Pseudo-Proxy for Bonds
Replies: 37
Views: 1557

Re: House as Temporary Pseudo-Proxy for Bonds

Why not both? Seems like you are trying to rationalize not owning bonds. If you are comfortable losing half of your portfolio, go ahead at your own risk. Right, if your personal situation allows you to take more risk and you understand the potential upside and downside then go ahead and do it. Rati...
by stan1
Fri Feb 24, 2017 8:30 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Ethical dilemma involving birthdays and wine..
Replies: 35
Views: 3568

Re: Ethical dilemma involving birthdays and wine..

This is not an ethical dilemma or a hard problem! Your wife is exactly right. Just send him a short note thanking him for the monthly wine delivery. He'll understand it or he won't. In either case you've done your duty. If he follows up by calling you simply and politely decline saying you are happy...
by stan1
Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How long do you keep your kitchen sponge?
Replies: 44
Views: 3616

Re: How long do you keep your kitchen sponge?

Are you getting sick from them? I realize this is a little snarky but if you use common sense (such as not using a sponge to soak up raw juices from meat or poultry) I think this is a very minor issue. Whether your annual budget is $5/year or $50/year it's a minor expense.
by stan1
Wed Feb 15, 2017 9:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Confusing Vanguard 1099-Div tax forms
Replies: 9
Views: 1096

Re: Confusing Vanguard 1099-Div tax forms

No need to add them up yourself if you are using tax software. Just enter them as two 1099s. That's how Vanguard is reporting them to the IRS.
by stan1
Wed Feb 15, 2017 8:15 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: -$280k Net Worth Has Me Up At Night
Replies: 68
Views: 8936

Re: -$280k Net Worth Has Me Up At Night

Sorry if someone already posted this but what I'd do is continue living on your current salaries after your wife graduates and gets a nursing job. Hopefully that will let you put tens of thousands of dollars per year towards paying off the student loans quickly (three or four years at $25-30K/year)....
by stan1
Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Munich,Germany- advice on things to not miss
Replies: 34
Views: 1561

Re: Munich,Germany- advice on things to not miss

Also fun is a drive along at least a part of the Deutsche Alpenstrasse if the road is open when you are there.
http://www.deutsche-alpenstrasse.de/en/home/

Driving in Bavaria is easy and very scenic with mountains, villages, and farmland once off the autobahns.
by stan1
Sun Feb 12, 2017 9:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Munich,Germany- advice on things to not miss
Replies: 34
Views: 1561

Re: Munich,Germany- advise on things to not miss

If you like art museums the Pinakothek (Alte, Neue, Moderne) plus the Brandhorst are all nice to visit. The Moderne brings together Picasso plus a nice display of industrial design. They are small museums compared to other European capitals but that means you'll recognize many of the famous painting...
by stan1
Sun Feb 12, 2017 3:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Kitchen cabinets
Replies: 73
Views: 5621

Re: Kitchen cabinets

For cabinet interiors: get almost all drawers on the base cabinets with authentic Blum soft close drawer slides. Get multiple 36" to 39" wide drawers if you can (we a 36" and a 39" base cabinet). The only thing we've found that works better on a shelf than in a drawer are large p...
by stan1
Sun Feb 12, 2017 3:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Situation changing
Replies: 5
Views: 687

Re: Situation changing

I realize not everyone will be able to do this but we maxed our retirement accounts first. Then we made sure we had enough in a combination of savings and taxable accounts for liquidity so that we could buy a new car or make a repair/upgrade to the house when we needed to (or wanted to). When we bou...
by stan1
Sat Feb 11, 2017 5:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which luxury auto brand depreciates the most?
Replies: 38
Views: 4720

Re: Which luxury auto brand depreciates the most?

I'm even more contrarian. A car is a purchase not an investment. I assume a car has no value once I drive it off the lot. Whatever value it has when it comes time to get a new car is a reduction in price of a replacement car (less money I need to spend) since I always will need a car at least until ...
by stan1
Sat Feb 11, 2017 10:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why do you go to restaurants?
Replies: 229
Views: 15344

Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

I live in a VHCOL area. WIthin walking distance of my house there are at least ten restaurants that offer a nice meal for $10-12 per person. Some are walk up service and but some are sit down so add $3 for a tip. I have Mexican, hamburgers, sandwiches, Lebanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Poke bowl, Japanese...
by stan1
Tue Feb 07, 2017 11:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hardwood floors vs Wood Look Tile?
Replies: 68
Views: 5510

Re: Hardwood floors vs Wood Look Tile?

We put in wood plank porcelain about 3 months ago in our main downstairs rooms. It was a great choice for us. There are many choices out there now with some having a lot of texture and variation. We have a slab foundation and run the AC much more often than the heater so will appreciate the tile flo...
by stan1
Mon Feb 06, 2017 8:45 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Washer and dryer - upstairs or downstairs?
Replies: 52
Views: 3040

Re: Washer and dryer - upstairs or downstairs?

We downsized from a 3200 square foot house with an upstairs laundry room to a 1700 square foot house that has the laundry in the garage. I wouldn't build a house today with the laundry in the garage but the inconvenience for us is minor.
by stan1
Thu Feb 02, 2017 9:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: online engineering degrees- waste?
Replies: 13
Views: 1697

Re: online engineering degrees- waste?

I would not do an engineering degree unless the program was ABET accredited. The list of online ABET accredited programs is short and you would want to do due diligence by checking on student experiences. As an example of why the US Government will not hire someone into an engineering position unles...
by stan1
Thu Feb 02, 2017 9:42 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Does boglehead style investing benefit from being "Too big to fail"
Replies: 7
Views: 980

Re: Does boglehead style investing benefit from being "Too big to fail"

Looking back over the last 9 years I absolutely would say that total market index fund investors received some protection from risk (volatility) driven by "too big to fail" policies but next time will be different so impossible to predict what you could do differently.
by stan1
Thu Feb 02, 2017 9:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can We Afford A $550k House - Your Opinion?
Replies: 29
Views: 3794

Re: Can We Afford A $550k House - Your Opinion?

Are you planning to fund four years of college educations for the 4 kids? If so then I think you should stay put unless you are expecting large salary increases over the next decade. Also, I think the lender for the new house would insist that the old house be in escrow if not closed before funding ...
by stan1
Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pet insurance for new puppy
Replies: 54
Views: 3163

Re: Pet insurance for new puppy

Find a vet, who does the job for the passion, have a modest office setup and charges nominally. You do not want to walk into a vet's office with TVs, Music, Massage, Fragrances for your pet. Avoid the marketing hype and find a good vet, you will be fine. Mentally be prepared to spend some $$$ from ...
by stan1
Thu Feb 02, 2017 4:58 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pet insurance for new puppy
Replies: 54
Views: 3163

Re: Pet insurance for new puppy

My spouse decided to buy it for a few years against my advice. We never filed a claim. The policy got a lot more expensive after about the age of 7 and terminated after age 10. We stopped it when the rates started going up about age 7. Our dog is now 13 and there is no such thing as pet medicare so ...
by stan1
Thu Feb 02, 2017 4:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can We Afford A $550k House - Your Opinion?
Replies: 29
Views: 3794

Re: Can We Afford A $550k House - Your Opinion?

Yes you can afford it, but I'm surprised a house that is 77% larger is only $100K (22%) more within the same "greater neighborhood". Especially if the larger house is newer construction. Are you giving up anything to get a lot more square footage? Traffic, commute time, noise, schools, cur...
by stan1
Tue Jan 31, 2017 9:16 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Donor Advised Fund options
Replies: 23
Views: 1503

Re: Doner Advised Fund options

I have my DAF at Fidelity Charitable due to the lower initial contribution. I have had problems transferring ETF holdings at Vanguard Brokerage to my Fidelity DAF. Brokerage holdings and specific identification cost basis still seem to challenge our friends at Vanguard. It gets done but not without ...
by stan1
Sat Jan 28, 2017 12:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Input on Apple Watch-Buy or Not?
Replies: 64
Views: 3907

Re: Input on Apple Watch-Buy or Not?

My mobile phone is always within easy reach whenever I want to use it plus after having not warn a watch for over a decade I now prefer not having to wear a band on my wrist. FIgure out what your use case is and I think that will help you decide whether to buy it. Since you are just thinking about i...
by stan1
Sat Jan 28, 2017 10:50 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Glass top for a new kitchen table
Replies: 15
Views: 869

Re: Glass top for a new kitchen table

How large is the surface of the wood table you want to cover? I think you are saying you want to cover the entire table (this is not a pedestal). There are a few practical considerations. The table (or even a large piece of glass) may not lie perfectly flat so you might need to add extra plastic shi...
by stan1
Mon Jan 23, 2017 8:58 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Backtesting Home Prices against regular investments
Replies: 34
Views: 2877

Re: Backtesting Home Prices against regular investments

It's not an investable index so not sure what good it is to track. There's no REIT that holds tens or hundreds of thousands of single family residences and condo units across the country. Housing is local. Some cities will do better or worse than others. Some neighborhoods better or worse than other...
by stan1
Sun Jan 22, 2017 5:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone file "decline in value" for property taxes? Advice?
Replies: 26
Views: 1838

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

I too live in California. I think you are on the right path. Gather recent sales data from nearby houses and submit the form. I don't think you have anything to lose other than your time. They may accept your data and there won't be a hearing. If they do want a hearing then you can decide whether it...
by stan1
Fri Jan 20, 2017 9:17 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Thoughts on buying a house from a colleague
Replies: 37
Views: 3261

Re: Thoughts on buying a house from a colleague

Well, you are kinda stuck. At first glance your wife wants a $465K house and you want a $350K house. A realtor won't help you with that situation but since you aren't familiar with what's on the market it is going to be hard for you to know whether the seller's $465K ask is reasonable. Since you are...

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