Search found 290 matches

by skylar
Sat Jul 07, 2018 3:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tipping at non sit down places
Replies: 94
Views: 7790

Re: Tipping at non sit down places

I'll tip 20% - I feel fortunate to have the money to go to a place and have someone else deal with preparing the food. We eat out so rarely (sit-down or not) so this <$100/year, and I just don't worry about it.
by skylar
Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:17 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is HSA Bank + TD Ameritrade still the best HSA choice?
Replies: 61
Views: 13087

Re: Is HSA Bank + TD Ameritrade still the best HSA choice?

Is there a way to pay the HSA Bank fees without having them come out of your tax protected account? Like sending in a check or paying from another account? That's an excellent question, but I don't know the answer. If there is no way to avoid the fee coming from the HSA balance, then that's another...
by skylar
Wed Feb 14, 2018 7:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit Card Statement & Receipt Clearing - Help!
Replies: 42
Views: 2650

Re: Credit Card Statement & Receipt Clearing - Help!

Another reason I'm in the habit of keeping receipts is that I travel occasionally for government-sponsored work (either as my day job, or as a consultant). Depending on what budget the money comes out of, I might have different reporting requirements - sometimes I need food receipts, sometimes I nee...
by skylar
Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:26 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Has Seeking Alpha Become Worthless?
Replies: 29
Views: 6472

Re: Has Seeking Alpha Become Worthless?

I used to read them occasionally but found that Bogleheads does a better job in communicating what things I really should care about (really, not much besides expense ratios and asset allocation). :)
by skylar
Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taxes Withheld Different For Each Paycheck?
Replies: 10
Views: 987

Re: Taxes Withheld Different For Each Paycheck?

I'm salaried and paid twice monthly, and I've noticed that some of my state deductions (workers comp, etc.) fluctuate a bit. I have a feeling it has to with them being prorated daily, and the length of the second pay period in a month varies with the length of the month, but the difference is so sma...
by skylar
Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit Card Statement & Receipt Clearing - Help!
Replies: 42
Views: 2650

Re: Credit Card Statement & Receipt Clearing - Help!

We keep receipts for a year, separated by month regardless of credit card. We have 12 folders hanging in a drawer (one for each month), with the current month in front. Every month, the rear folder gets its contents dumped and moved to the front. I shred receipts by hand (no mechanical shredder yet)...
by skylar
Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:32 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Health Equity HSA--New Passive Plan
Replies: 80
Views: 23320

Re: Health Equity HSA--New Passive Plan

I expect to be doing a transfer soon. I'm interested in hearing from anyone who has had experience with doing a partial transfer from Health Equity HSA (leaving enough behind to keep account open). Was there a transfer fee or not? How long did it take? Any problems? I've been doing regular transfer...
by skylar
Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Rent (free at library) or buy books?
Replies: 50
Views: 3336

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

I only buy books that I know my partner and I will both read (and preferably read several times). Shelf space is too valuable a commodity to waste on books that will only be touched once. Buying new is expensive (new book depreciation must rival new car depreciation), so I buy books at our local lib...
by skylar
Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:18 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: views on "Empower Retirement" as a 401k provider? fees? ease of use etc?
Replies: 40
Views: 4839

Re: views on "Empower Retirement" as a 401k provider? fees? ease of use etc?

My state 457b plan is through Empower. As others have mentioned, the platform is nice, but YMMV with the fees. For this plan, the fees are very low — there's an admin fee of 0.1283% of assets, and then the expense ratios of the funds themselves, which range from 0.13% to 0.25%. Most of the non...
by skylar
Fri Dec 29, 2017 8:40 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What non fiction book will you be reading in 2018?
Replies: 147
Views: 11023

Re: What non fiction book will you be reading in 2018?

OMGoodness I am so not one of you. I read books with vampires in them. Or dragons. Or magic. Or shapeshifters. Or ... ALL OF THE ABOVE! I prefer "bubble gum" reading -- gets me out of my own brain. Not my cup of tea but my spouse reads nearly any novel focused on vampires. Any recommendations, part...
by skylar
Thu Dec 28, 2017 10:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What non fiction book will you be reading in 2018?
Replies: 147
Views: 11023

Re: What non fiction book will you be reading in 2018?

I don't tend to plan reading far in advance, but the next non-fiction book on my list is Telescope in the Ice, which is about building an instrument in Antarctica to detect neutrinos.
by skylar
Wed Dec 20, 2017 7:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much do you spend on food per month, per person?
Replies: 151
Views: 10547

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

Over the past year, we've spent about $200/month/person. This is a combination of a local food coop, Trader Joe's, and farmer's markets, but does not include alcohol purchases or other non-grocery purchases (tissues, toilet paper, etc.) at grocery stores.
by skylar
Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much did you contribute to your 401k in 2017?
Replies: 155
Views: 12140

Re: How much did you contribute to your 401k in 2017?

1. I contributed the maximum to both a university 403b and a state 457b.

2. Early 30s
by skylar
Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:54 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is HSA Bank + TD Ameritrade still the best HSA choice?
Replies: 61
Views: 13087

Re: Is HSA Bank + TD Ameritrade still the best HSA choice?

I am surprised to learn that so many HSA custodians use a brokerage window at TD Ameritrade. My employer just switched to HealthEquity, which offers Vanguard funds with an administrative fee and a $2000 cash minimum. If you make frequent trades (monthly or per paycheck) or hold a lot of funds, Heal...
by skylar
Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:47 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Health Equity HSA
Replies: 8
Views: 1652

Re: Health Equity HSA

. My employer uses HealthEquity, and I do a transfer from them to HSA Bank a couple times per year . I keep a small amount of money in HSA Bank to pay the $5.50/mo fee, and everything else in TDA. Like you, I don't feel like paying an AUM fee to HE and an ER to Vanguard; at least the HSA Bank fee d...
by skylar
Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:42 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why is Vanguard switching all accounts to brokerage accounts?
Replies: 90
Views: 15550

Re: Why is Vanguard switching all accounts to brokerage accounts?

I converted my account and both of my partner's accounts a few months ago. I was worried we would need to get another signature guarantee to maintain our shared account access, but it turns out that we could transfer that access online. Overall, it was a non-event and took less than 30 minutes of wo...
by skylar
Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:03 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Health Equity HSA
Replies: 8
Views: 1652

Re: Health Equity HSA

My employer uses HealthEquity, and I do a transfer from them to HSA Bank a couple times per year. I keep a small amount of money in HSA Bank to pay the $5.50/mo fee, and everything else in TDA. Like you, I don't feel like paying an AUM fee to HE and an ER to Vanguard; at least the HSA Bank fee doesn...
by skylar
Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:18 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: TD Ameritrade user? Question regarding selling Free ETFs
Replies: 55
Views: 6374

Re: TD Ameritrade user? Question regarding selling Free ETFs

Since it was only $6.95 and I feel it was my fault not enrolling at the first place, so I did not ask for waive. I did ask for the waive of those $19.99 I was charged at a local branch office because I did not understand why I was charged multiple $19.99 on my monthly statement. It seems very trick...
by skylar
Wed Oct 18, 2017 6:57 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Fellow TDA bogleheads [TDA dropping Vanguard ETFs from commission-free list]
Replies: 562
Views: 65192

Re: Fellow TDA bogleheads

Currently I have most of my HSA at TDA invested in the Vanguard Total Bond Market Index ETF (BND). Is there an equivalent to BND in the new ETF lineup? I took a glance and couldn't identify any based on name; the ones that seem sort of close also have exciting things in the name that turn me off ("...
by skylar
Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:37 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Fellow TDA bogleheads [TDA dropping Vanguard ETFs from commission-free list]
Replies: 562
Views: 65192

Re: Fellow TDA bogleheads

Currently I have most of my HSA at TDA invested in the Vanguard Total Bond Market Index ETF (BND). Is there an equivalent to BND in the new ETF lineup? I took a glance and couldn't identify any based on name; the ones that seem sort of close also have exciting things in the name that turn me off ("...
by skylar
Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:26 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Fellow TDA bogleheads [TDA dropping Vanguard ETFs from commission-free list]
Replies: 562
Views: 65192

Re: Fellow TDA bogleheads

Currently I have most of my HSA at TDA invested in the Vanguard Total Bond Market Index ETF (BND). Is there an equivalent to BND in the new ETF lineup? I took a glance and couldn't identify any based on name; the ones that seem sort of close also have exciting things in the name that turn me off ("e...
by skylar
Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:12 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Health Savings Account recommendation
Replies: 22
Views: 3519

Re: Health Savings Account recommendation

We use HSA Bank+TD Ameritrade, and also HealthEquity (no choice there, as that's through my employer). At this point we make enough in dividends from the TD Ameritrade account to more than cover the low balance fees on the HSA Bank side, so we only leave enough in HSA Bank to cover ~6 months worth o...
by skylar
Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?
Replies: 313
Views: 22514

Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Brown paper lunch bags: approx. $0.10 each at Amazon.com Reusable lunch bags: approx. $5-10 each at Amazon.com So you're wasting $20-30 a year if you're not using a reusable bag. Disclaimer: I almost never bring my lunch. Special circumstances only. Otherwise I would eat at my desk too often. I nee...
by skylar
Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?
Replies: 313
Views: 22514

Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Great post on the financial savings. I bring my lunch to work almost everyday. One downside is networking. Do you feel not going out with everyone you are impeding your career? I bring lunch almost everyday as well. I actually find that I'm more temperamentally compatible with the other people that...
by skylar
Sat Apr 01, 2017 2:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Saving 50% of salary; what does it really mean?
Replies: 142
Views: 14116

Re: Saving 50% of salary; what does it really mean?

We save 87% of gross income. We save 78% of net income. An employer match is in that numerator so maybe subtract off 5% for that if you want. Also "save" means put in tax-advantaged accounts, but we are depleting our taxable account, so maybe subtract off another 5% for that too if you want. Still ...
by skylar
Sat Apr 01, 2017 9:10 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Saving 50% of salary; what does it really mean?
Replies: 142
Views: 14116

Re: Saving 50% of salary; what does it really mean?

Well, for those of us with salaries that aren't in the mid six figures, just maxing out a retirement plan at work gets us a good percent of it without the tax hit. So that may help. Employer matching maybe counts in some figures? In any case, I have no idea what my savings rate is. My spending each...
by skylar
Fri Mar 31, 2017 11:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What career helped you become wealthy?
Replies: 75
Views: 11719

Re: What career helped you become wealthy?

Having a high-paying job might help you find wealth, but being frugal and finding non-monetary meaning in life is what lets you keep it.

To answer the actual question, IT. And as far as investing goes, I ignore it as much as possible, tune out the noise, and check stuff at most once a quarter.
by skylar
Thu Mar 23, 2017 10:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How did you do your income taxes?
Replies: 96
Views: 6877

Re: How did you do your income taxes?

My wife and I used the IRS free fillable forms (free arithmetic, not much else), since our situation isn't that complex. Assuming nothing has changed since the previous year (good bet for us), we can look to see which forms we used that year to see what we need to do for the current year. I think it...
by skylar
Thu Feb 23, 2017 8:25 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard versus Dimensional
Replies: 22
Views: 4001

Re: Vanguard versus Dimensional

I can access a few DFA funds without an adviser through my 403b. I wouldn't use them at all if I needed to pay for an adviser.
by skylar
Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is it safe to use debit cards? Anybody here have one compromised?
Replies: 67
Views: 7299

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

My wife's debit card was compromised last year. It was only a few hundred dollars and she eventually got it all back, but it was a stressful few weeks. Fortunately it was with a credit union, so they had more of an incentive to care about their customers. By contrast, a few weeks ago, her credit car...
by skylar
Sat Nov 05, 2016 9:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to run a background check on people
Replies: 34
Views: 5446

Re: How to run a background check on people

Your state patrol might offer this service for a modest fee, but note that even name + DOB is not guaranteed to find anything, nor is it guaranteed not to return false positives.
by skylar
Sat Sep 10, 2016 12:28 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Do Bogleheads Budget?
Replies: 113
Views: 16205

Re: Do Bogleheads Budget?

We just track expenses, but have no strict budget. We've always saved 40-60% of our take-home pay, and have very few discretionary expenses. We just have phone, Internet, and rent (no Netflix, no TV, no gym, etc.) as recurring payments, and maybe eat out once a week. We discuss big purchases, but th...
by skylar
Tue Sep 06, 2016 7:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Emergency radio with hand crank
Replies: 30
Views: 3868

Re: Emergency radio with hand crank

I live in Oklahoma (a.k.a. Tornado Alley), so a decent emergency radio was one of my first purchases when I moved here. Amazon has a variety of decent options from "Ambient Weather". You can get one for less than $30, and most of them all include a flashlight, hand crank, solar panel, AM/FM/NOAA ra...
by skylar
Tue Sep 06, 2016 7:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tipping Practices
Replies: 18
Views: 2231

Re: Tipping Practices

I don't go out much (cheap + prefer eating in peace&quiet at home most of the time), but when I do I tip at least 15% even for "fast casual" if the service is friendly. None of us live in a vacuum, and I recognize I've been very fortunate and would like to help others less fortunate. I certainly wou...
by skylar
Mon Sep 05, 2016 10:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: RFC: WA teacher retirement system, maxing out the 3 plans?
Replies: 5
Views: 713

Re: RFC: WA teacher retirement system, maxing out the 3 plans?

I agree that using the 457 plan is a good idea. I work for WA state as well and max out contributions to that plan since they can be taken out anytime after employment ends, also using the dirt-cheap S&P 500 fund.
by skylar
Sun Aug 21, 2016 7:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What is your system for dealing with coins?
Replies: 123
Views: 10736

Re: What is your system for dealing with coins?

We have a bin of coins, and take them with us for public transit when we travel, if it doesn't make sense to get a transit card at the destination. We'll pre-count them into baggies of single trip fares so we're not fumbling when we're paying. Most transit agencies will even take pennies.
by skylar
Sat Aug 06, 2016 10:06 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Any renters just focused on maxing out retirement accounts?
Replies: 13
Views: 2413

Re: Any renters just focused on maxing out retirement accounts?

We did that for nine years - lived in a apartment that was ~50% below market rate due to having a very nice landlady. Eventually she retired and the deal went away but we saved a lot of money while it lasted. Those savings are giving us a lot of flexibility now - it definitely drives home the import...
by skylar
Sat Jul 02, 2016 10:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Your Favorite Factory Tours?
Replies: 70
Views: 6516

Re: Your Favorite Factory Tours?

Call me crazy, but I really enjoy sewage treatment plant tours. I find the combination of mechanical and biological processes pretty cool, and you get to see the other side of something you do several times a day.
by skylar
Sat Jul 02, 2016 9:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How many of you have cut cord?
Replies: 172
Views: 19151

Re: How many of you have cut cord?

Does never having it count as cutting it? We get our entertainment in other ways:

1. We read a lot
2. We get DVDs from the library
3. Occasionally we can find something worth watching on our library's free streaming service
by skylar
Mon Apr 04, 2016 8:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: led vs cfl
Replies: 102
Views: 9149

Re: led vs cfl

Note that if you're in Seattle, City Light offers discounts on LED bulbs at some retailers: http://www.seattle.gov/light/homelighting/ The discounts can easily bring the up-front cost of a LED down to the cost of a CFL, which makes it definite bargain over the long run. It would be worth checking wi...
by skylar
Mon Mar 14, 2016 7:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Landlord wont return deposit
Replies: 76
Views: 8124

Re: Landlord wont return deposit

Lesson learned: If you expect a deposit back, you better clean the place and inspect the apartment with the landlord in person. Let them tell you to your face what is wrong. Or just tell them you are moving down the street :D I had a similar experience, though local law gave me some leverage. In Wa...
by skylar
Sat Mar 12, 2016 4:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Landlord wont return deposit
Replies: 76
Views: 8124

Re: Landlord wont return deposit

What you're describing is known as a one-way lease, that is, you're required to give much more notice than the landlord. At least in Seattle, this type of lease is illegal. Month-to-month leases requires only 20 days notice for either party to terminate the tenancy. I would check your local tenant'...
by skylar
Sat Mar 12, 2016 4:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Landlord wont return deposit
Replies: 76
Views: 8124

Re: Landlord wont return deposit

What you're describing is known as a one-way lease, that is, you're required to give much more notice than the landlord. At least in Seattle, this type of lease is illegal. Month-to-month leases requires only 20 days notice for either party to terminate the tenancy. I would check your local tenant's...
by skylar
Mon Feb 22, 2016 11:19 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Best 457 plan administrator (I'm looking for one to offer to employees)
Replies: 11
Views: 1667

Re: Best 457 plan administrator (I'm looking for one to offer to employees)

We also have Great West Retirement Services administering our 457b. We don't have any Vanguard or Fidelity funds, but we do have a number of Blackrock CITs (S&P 500, International Index, Small Cap Value Index, Emerging Market Index). The fees are quite reasonable (0.13% admin fee plus a small expens...
by skylar
Tue Feb 16, 2016 7:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is your decline in Net Worth as of today?
Replies: 96
Views: 13152

Re: What is your decline in Net Worth as of today?

Started from close to 0 10 years ago, so I'm still up by a lot from there. :)

Not really sure that looking at six weeks of gains/losses is a great use of time, unless you want to rebalance.
by skylar
Wed Jan 20, 2016 8:10 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why buy now, why not wait until the market really crashes??
Replies: 79
Views: 13465

Re: Why buy now, why not wait until the market really crashes??

I've already done my and my wife's Roth IRA contributions for the year. Do I wish the market were higher now than two weeks ago? Sure, but here's why I feel OK: 1. I invested according to my asset allocation 2. Historically, stocks appreciate over time. Statistically, buying as early as possible has...
by skylar
Thu Jan 07, 2016 7:53 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard Customer Service
Replies: 301
Views: 37167

Re: Vanguard Customer Service

In almost 10 years with Vanguard, I don't think I've ever had to contact a real person (website was enough). My wife, though, has used the concierge service for rolling a 401k into an IRA three times over the years (last one was middle of last year). My wife is smart but not the money person in the ...
by skylar
Mon Jan 04, 2016 11:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: CIT
Replies: 5
Views: 796

Re: CIT

FWIW, I have CITs from Blackrock in my state-run 457 plan. I only use the S&P 500 fund, but its expenses are quite low (0.13%) and it even has been rated by Morningstar in the prospectus so I would assume it's legit. Like others have mentioned, it won't have dividends or capital gains distributions ...
by skylar
Sat Nov 21, 2015 10:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Getting a bonus this year?
Replies: 75
Views: 10480

Re: Getting a bonus this year?

As a public employee, my bonus has been in extra time off that must be used in the current calendar year (regular leave rolls over). Definitely appreciated, especially since it forces me to take a vacation...
by skylar
Thu Nov 05, 2015 8:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is a $100 drip coffee machine significantly better than a <$50?
Replies: 57
Views: 6789

Re: Is a $100 drip coffee machine significantly better than a <$50?

I'm pretty sure the caffeine extraction levels for drip coffee machines are about the same, so I would go for the cheaper one. I'm with you, where I was honestly surprised to find out that some people drink coffee for the taste rather than the kick. :)