Search found 4483 matches

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: 3470

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: 1019

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: 8786

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: 1492

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: 1492

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: 58
Views: 3892

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: 660

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: 4626

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: 228
Views: 14312

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: 5285

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: 2894

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: 1655

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: 939

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: 3711

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: 2992

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: 2992

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: 3711

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: 1436

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: 3761

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: 822

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: 2759

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: 1815

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: 3120

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...
by stan1
Sun Jan 15, 2017 9:13 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Flagship Reps
Replies: 62
Views: 5259

Re: Flafship Reps

Vanguard's website has been optimized over 20+ years now and just about everything that needs to be done is self-explanatory and requests through their website are mostly reliable and accurate. That's good and for me has mostly eliminated the need to interact with a person at Vanguard. I do agree it...
by stan1
Fri Jan 06, 2017 1:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do we need life insurance?
Replies: 18
Views: 1206

Re: Do we need life insurance?

If you were both to pass away before the child is an adult would you want to give all money to them or leave some to a trusted caregiver? Multiple ways to handle this but one way would be to leave the inheritance to the child and the insurance payout to the caregiver. You may also be able to lower c...
by stan1
Thu Jan 05, 2017 8:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How many $ to self fund long term care?
Replies: 73
Views: 5096

Re: How many $ to self fund long term care?

All you can do is guess but could be $500K-$2M if you are in a high cost of living area and need care for two people for a long time. There are just too many variables, such as whether a healthier spouse will be able to perform as the primary care giver for the sicker spouse. Rather than trying to f...
by stan1
Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Prime shipping to post office for pickup?
Replies: 18
Views: 1276

Re: Amazon Prime shipping to post office for pickup?

I agree that in OPs situation USPS would have put the package out for delivery and that's why they didn't leave a note to come get it. In my area Amazon is now using their own Amazon-branded delivery trucks for many items although a few do still show up via USPS. None of their packages come by UPS a...
by stan1
Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to approach getting new wills, trusts, with a blended family
Replies: 51
Views: 2565

Re: How to approach getting new wills, trusts, with a blended family

This is an exercise in building Trust (firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone). You and your spouse have to trust each other to follow through after one of you passes away. What happens if you pass away first and then spouse remarries? What happens if your spouse pass...
by stan1
Mon Jan 02, 2017 9:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: PENFED 5 year CD rate 2.25%
Replies: 6
Views: 1351

Re: PENFED 5 year CD rate 2.25%

Navy Federal is offering a 17 month 2% CD right now (up to $50K). I think I'd forgo the extra 0.25% and go with the shorter term if you are eligible for Navy Federal membership (a lot more people are these days). I didn't look at the penalties for breaking since it is 17 months.
by stan1
Mon Jan 02, 2017 1:30 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard's new security key option
Replies: 48
Views: 6002

Re: Vanguard's new security key option

When you register for this service, your key will become your primary method of identifying yourself (along with your user name and password) when you log on to vanguard.com from a computer. It will replace security codes, a service that sends you a one-time code to enter when you log on. You'll ne...
by stan1
Sun Jan 01, 2017 11:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Thinking of upgrading primary residence, do you recommend?
Replies: 29
Views: 2166

Re: Thinking of upgrading primary residence, do you recommend?

Might the girls be spending more time doing activities as they head into junior high and high school so you might not even be home to "enjoy" the larger house?
by stan1
Sun Jan 01, 2017 4:07 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How to gain exposure to Alternatives?
Replies: 15
Views: 1103

Re: How to gain exposure to Alternatives?

Congrats on keeping your cost of living low so you can save while also living in NYC. What matters most is saving and investing a lot more than you are spending, and second investing with an appropriate amount of risk for your life expectancy. Don't worry about being off a few percentage points in a...
by stan1
Sun Jan 01, 2017 1:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is it safe to use debit cards? Anybody here have one compromised?
Replies: 67
Views: 4857

Re: Is it safe to use debit cards? Anybody here have one compromised?

A friend of mine did file a police report after his credit card was skimmed a few months ago. He lives in a suburb with about 100K people not a large city. It turns out his report was assigned to a detective who decided to follow up. Once the credit card issuer realized the police were going to acti...
by stan1
Sat Dec 31, 2016 12:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Military Retirement; Time value of drawing a pension at 20 years
Replies: 23
Views: 2178

Re: Military Retirement; Time value of drawing a pension at 20 years

I think professional and family considerations should be the first factors because there are big differences between serving in the military and working for government as a civilian or in the private sector. Defense contractor jobs can be volatile if you work in an environment where contracts are co...
by stan1
Mon Dec 19, 2016 10:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Employer Requiring Travel to "No Travel" Country
Replies: 48
Views: 6800

Re: Employer Requiring Travel to "No Travel" Country

I've been to several places on the warning list for work (including Saudi Arabia, Cameroon, Ukraine, Turkey) plus a few more that aren't on the list but probably could be. The trips have been memorable highlights of my career that I've learned a lot from. I would not hesitate to go back to parts of ...
by stan1
Thu Dec 15, 2016 8:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gift bag recommendation $5 to $15
Replies: 18
Views: 1409

Re: Gift bag recommendation $5 to $15

This year I went to the grocery store and bought an assortment of pre-packaged dried fruits (apricots, plantains) and "fancy" snack items such as wasabi peas.
by stan1
Sun Dec 04, 2016 10:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do You Consider Dividends As Income?
Replies: 65
Views: 4292

Re: Do You Consider Dividends As Income?

Since dividends are reinvested (tax deferred) or swept into a money market account (taxable) proceeds stay in my investing accounts and I count them as investing returns for tracking purposes. Of course they get reported to the IRS appropriately. Dividends are about 10% of taxable annual income so n...
by stan1
Sun Dec 04, 2016 10:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Federal Blue Cross Standard versus Basic
Replies: 40
Views: 2803

Re: Federal Blue Cross Standard versus Basic

Agreed. But in our case it will work. We're out of pocket at least a grand on contact lenses alone... Wow. How many people wearing contacts? Unless you've already exhausted other medical options and have no other choice look into getting your contacts from a lower priced source or tell your optomet...
by stan1
Sat Dec 03, 2016 10:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Federal Blue Cross Standard versus Basic
Replies: 40
Views: 2803

Re: Federal Blue Cross Standard versus Basic

I think Basic is best for many people who live in locations where BCBS has a dominant presence and who don't need high priced medication. I found two main differences: 1) Out of network providers. When I had emergency surgery a few years ago a random physician (assisting anesthesiologist) who I neve...
by stan1
Sat Dec 03, 2016 12:31 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Not happy with my realtor
Replies: 48
Views: 4536

Re: Not happy with my realtor

Did you ask him if he would contact residents in your desired neighborhood? What did he say? It is not normal and recipients who might be potential future clients as a seller could find it annoying (as I do). I've generally seen it done by very inexperienced agents, low volume agents, or agents who ...
by stan1
Fri Dec 02, 2016 3:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: CBP (INS) Global Entry program worth it?
Replies: 38
Views: 2031

Re: CBP (INS) Global Entry program worth it?

It does somewhat depend. If you are flying through major hubs like ORD, LAX, EWR, IAD, etc. that have many flights arriving at the same time then absolutely yes. I usually fly into a smaller airport that has only one international flight arriving at a time. This airport also has automated self servi...
by stan1
Fri Dec 02, 2016 3:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: European Riverboat Tours
Replies: 22
Views: 2824

Re: European Riverboat Tours

Some river cruises turn into bus tours because of water levels in the river. Water too high: boats can't get under bridges. Water too low: boats run aground. It is a risk you have to be prepared for with European river cruises. Some rivers (such as the Rhine out of Basel) are more susceptible than o...
by stan1
Tue Nov 29, 2016 8:35 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to discuss salary offer as a manager?
Replies: 29
Views: 2716

Re: How to discuss salary offer as a manager?

Also be sure to check with the supervisors of this prospect. If they can't recommend them for a promotion and/or internal transfer, they will hate you for the rest of your career if not life. This can backfire also. "Oh sure he's a great guy -- when do you want him to start? He's available tom...
by stan1
Tue Nov 29, 2016 8:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to discuss salary offer as a manager?
Replies: 29
Views: 2716

Re: How to discuss salary offer as a manager?

Lol at an internal candidate EXPECTING to go from $54,000 to $65,000 to $88,000 in just a few months. Do they get a merit increase in January as well? :). Right, this salary progression over a few months would be a no-go in many companies (big and small) unless the individual was clearly in a pay i...
by stan1
Fri Nov 11, 2016 6:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Homeowners Insurance in a high risk fire area
Replies: 18
Views: 1274

Re: Homeowners Insurance in a high risk fire area

I'd suggest talking to your neighbors and other insurance brokers in your neighborhood. Market is changing very fast and companies who used to offer high risk policies are no longer doing so.
by stan1
Fri Nov 11, 2016 3:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Equivalent "Do Not Call" List for Wireless?
Replies: 18
Views: 1728

Re: Equivalent "Do Not Call" List for Wireless?

Try NoMoRobo (but it is $1.99/month) The do not call list is obsolete. The spammers are usually operating from outside the US placing voice over IP calls and are masquerading the caller ID. U.S. laws are not enforceable. I do not answer my cell phone unless caller ID shows up or I am expecting a call.
by stan1
Fri Nov 11, 2016 12:56 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: FERS TSP contribution percentage: How to
Replies: 5
Views: 466

Re: FERS TSP contribution percentage: How to

The method for setting up TSP contributions varies by department/agency. I do it through my department's HR website not through the website used for payroll. We can choose whether to make the contribution as a percentage of pay or fixed dollar amount each pay period. You'll need to log into the webs...
by stan1
Fri Nov 11, 2016 9:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Home shopping, Potential roof leaking despite new roof
Replies: 22
Views: 1385

Re: Home shopping, Potential roof leaking despite new roof

This is your decision not the realtors. 1) Is this a highly desirable house due to location, a special fit for your needs, or are there dozens of similar houses on the market that meet your needs? The more desirable the property or better fit for your needs the more I'd be willing to work with the s...
by stan1
Fri Nov 11, 2016 9:30 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Problem with Graduate School
Replies: 30
Views: 4412

Re: Problem with Graduate School

I don't want to go into all the details because it's not my story to tell. That being said there were some issues with an illness and because of that the department head and a couple of profs didn't feel that it was good fit with their school. And yes, there is evidence that grades were changed as ...
by stan1
Thu Nov 10, 2016 10:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Would a Computer Science certificate benefit my career?
Replies: 29
Views: 2013

Re: Would a Computer Science certificate benefit my career?

Since its free why not? But it would be more for fun. Someone making $160K/year needs relevant work experience not just a certificate (even if it is from Stanford). I don't think this will get you in the door at a company like Google unless they happen to also need your specialized mechanical engine...

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