Search found 38 matches

by MastersChampion
Mon Apr 27, 2020 6:58 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: WHAT TO DO for family of 5, tiny house, extra $: Mortage payoff vs. 529 vs. taxable retirement
Replies: 27
Views: 2066

Re: WHAT TO DO for family of 5, tiny house, extra $: Mortage payoff vs. 529 vs. taxable retirement

Was there a decision point when you decided to pay off your house? Or did you just aggressively/consistently pay down until it was gone? IIRC, there were a couple events that contributed to that decision other than the fact that DW and I dislike debt. First, we received a small inheritance about 3 ...
by MastersChampion
Mon Apr 27, 2020 5:15 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: WHAT TO DO for family of 5, tiny house, extra $: Mortage payoff vs. 529 vs. taxable retirement
Replies: 27
Views: 2066

Re: WHAT TO DO for family of 5, tiny house, extra $: Mortage payoff vs. 529 vs. taxable retirement

Just to give you a data point on the other side. We were in a similar situation as you 16 years ago: early 40s with small, paid-off house in good school district, 3 kids, saving like crazy, not sure where to put money. We decided to prioritize funding housing, then college. We added onto our existin...
by MastersChampion
Fri Dec 06, 2019 3:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Washing Machine is loud - replace the bearings?
Replies: 9
Views: 582

Re: Washing Machine is loud - replace the bearings?

We ended up not doing anything in the way of a repair. We simply decided we would live with the noise until it totally breaks down and then we'll replace. Maybe this is an issue with these washers at a later age? This is where we're at with our LG. I think the bearing repair difficulty is that it's...
by MastersChampion
Tue Sep 24, 2019 7:57 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: College Student Internships
Replies: 45
Views: 2588

Re: College Student Internships

I both co-op'ed when I was an engineering student and hire interns from time to time at my tech employer. How important to get internships these days for engineering and comp sci? I think it's important to get oneself embedded into a particular employer. If you can get a coop job (working semesters ...
by MastersChampion
Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chicago - What to see, do & eat in two days
Replies: 71
Views: 4350

Re: Chicago - What to see, do & eat in two days

Agree totally with bfixx: with kids in summer, I'd suggest the free Lincoln Park zoo (and conservatory) and one of the beaches. The lake is really high this year so there's not as much sand as usual, but kids always love a beach. Oak St. beach, North Ave. beach, or 12th St. beach (near the Shedd Aqu...
by MastersChampion
Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Boston for a few hours with young kids
Replies: 20
Views: 1175

Re: Boston for a few hours with young kids

Second the duck tours. When we went, the driver even let the kids drive the boat for a time. I'm not sure the age of your kids, but my kids liked the North End with Paul Revere's house and the North Church, plus cannoli at Mike's (or any other place). My kids were 8-14 at the time. They also liked B...
by MastersChampion
Wed May 15, 2019 8:19 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: My bicycle ride from Florence, Italy to Bern, Switzerland [journal added]
Replies: 52
Views: 5461

Re: First few days of my bicycle ride from Florence, Italy to Bern, Switzerland

I don’t camp so I have arranged to go via Sestriere, Briancon, Bourg d’Oisens, Grenoble, Albertville, Chamonix as it is possible to find lodging every night on this route. There is more than one pass and I don’t know all their names. Bourg d'Oisans! Are you going to try Alpe d'Huez? Thanks for the ...
by MastersChampion
Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Clipless pedals for a hybrid bike
Replies: 48
Views: 2832

Re: Clipless pedals for a hybrid bike

Regular (2-bolt) Shimano SPD cleats work better for shoes that you want to walk in off the bike. Look-style (3-bolt, or Shimano SPD-SL) work better for if you walk in the shoes very little. I use 2-bolt cleats/shoes/pedals on my camping/hybrid/around-town/off-road bikes so I can walk easily. I used ...
by MastersChampion
Thu Apr 04, 2019 11:13 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: New Investor, Porfolio checkup
Replies: 9
Views: 1141

Re: New Investor, Porfolio checkup

Your 401k fund selection looks good, but your AA and asset placement are a little off. You'll want to have your bonds in your 401k and not your Roth IRA so switch the Roth IRA to something like VTSAX (US) and up the bond allocation in your 401k to compensate. Can you explain why there is a differen...
by MastersChampion
Wed Mar 20, 2019 8:16 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Toyota Sienna minivan for road trips
Replies: 23
Views: 1668

Re: Toyota Sienna minivan for road trips

We have a 2008 Sienna, currently has 135k miles on it. We've been very happy with it. We've used it to tow a pop-up camper and we use it often to haul 2-3 bikes in the back. In my opinion, this is much preferred to a back or top bike rack for security, weather, and potential bike damage issues. The ...
by MastersChampion
Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Southern California Vacation Questions
Replies: 39
Views: 2432

Re: Southern California Vacation Questions

I don't think it's been mentioned, but I recommend the Diddy Riese ice cream/cookie joint on Boxton just south of the UCLA campus. The Original Farmer's Market was also interesting. If you get down to Long Beach, I second the recommendations for the USS Iowa and the Long Beach aquarium. The scale of...
by MastersChampion
Mon Nov 12, 2018 7:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 20th Anniversary vacation ideas wanted
Replies: 29
Views: 2404

Re: 20th Anniversary vacation ideas wanted

My wife and I celebrated our 25th in the Canadian Rockies last year. Lake O'Hara is the most beautiful place I've ever been in my life. It was summer though, I'm not sure how comfortable it would be in April. Also, I would recommend the Fairmont in Banff rather than the one in Lake Louise if you're ...
by MastersChampion
Mon Nov 12, 2018 7:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How long have you had, or did you have, your HP-12C calculator?
Replies: 72
Views: 3492

Re: How long have you had, or did you have, your HP-12C calculator?

My 11C is 34 years old and works perfectly. I can remember being a poor EE student about to purchase it thinking "boy I hope this thing is worth the money." I NEVER imagined I'd be appreciating it some 3 decades later! I just wish I could have afforded the 15C. BTW, I'm surprised by how mu...
by MastersChampion
Thu Oct 25, 2018 4:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Seeking temporary health insurance in Chicago
Replies: 17
Views: 1149

Re: Seeking temporary health insurance in Chicago

I remember one tactic brought up on this forum was to enroll in a class at your local community college and use the student insurance. It's usually comparatively cheap, since the risk pool is better, I imagine. I've never used this idea, but always thought it might be useful if I found myself withou...
by MastersChampion
Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dayton, Ohio -- Worth Visiting?
Replies: 41
Views: 3880

Re: Dayton, Ohio -- Worth Visiting?

We stopped in Dayton for a daytrip a couple years ago after staying in Cincinnati. I am an aviation nerd and I found Huffman Prairie to be particularly poignant after reading David McCollough's excellent book on the Wright Brothers. The last chapter is set at Huffman Prairie and it almost brought a ...
by MastersChampion
Tue Jun 05, 2018 8:13 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tool board for basement - plywood or pegboard?
Replies: 29
Views: 3237

Re: Tool board for basement - plywood or pegboard?

I suppose I'm also too late, but I vote for plywood. I have two 4x8 plywood tool boards in my shop and I love them. I looked at pegboard but it would have cost me a fortune to buy all the hooks I need. I figured more people on a BH board would have chosen the ply+screw route. The other feature I lik...
by MastersChampion
Thu May 10, 2018 4:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Reccommended Minivans
Replies: 31
Views: 3218

Re: Reccommended Minivans

Our 2008 Sienna will be 10 years old this summer and just turned over 120k miles. No issues with powertrain at all, ever. Our only issue was with a power door that stopped working. I would buy one again based on our experience. Our previous kid-mobile was a 98 Dodge Caravan. We loved that vehicle. 1...
by MastersChampion
Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 529 Withdrawal TIming
Replies: 17
Views: 4008

Re: 529 Withdrawal TIming

I'm interested in other answers on this because I don't know. I suspect it may depend on the 529 plan you are participating in. I will say that I manage my expenses by year. That is, I pay all the college expenses as they come from my bank account, then in December I make a contribution to the 529 p...
by MastersChampion
Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bicycle wheels - what's a reasonable budget
Replies: 48
Views: 4133

Re: Bicycle wheels - what's a reasonable budget

Not directly applicable, but I will direct you to "The Rules" as kept by the Velominati: http://www.velominati.com/the-rules/

The ones that apply to you in this situation are 8, 10, 25, 40 and 60. And of course rules 4 and 5 ALWAYS apply.

:D
by MastersChampion
Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What is a virtual private network (VPN) and how will it help me?
Replies: 14
Views: 2234

Re: What is a virtual private network (VPN) and how will it help me?

As I understand it, the KRACK vulnerability involves weakness between a WiFi device and the access point it communicates with. A VPN will route your traffic to the VPN company using an encrypted connection. So, using a VPN encrypts your data between your device and the router (and beyond) outside of...
by MastersChampion
Wed Sep 20, 2017 5:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Spray Foam Insulation
Replies: 20
Views: 4021

Re: Spray Foam Insulation

I would do it. I have read a lot about the stuff and the consensus seems to be positive. I have no direct experience with it, though. The issues I have read about include: - Some foams losing adhesion to walls. - Some insects loving to eat the stuff. However, the positives seem to outweigh those rem...
by MastersChampion
Sun Aug 27, 2017 1:21 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Should I be doing more
Replies: 8
Views: 1564

Re: Should I be doing more

What is your plan for health insurance when you retire? Is it covered by your current employer? I'm not sure why you are increasing your emergency accounts to 3 years when you are retiring in less than that. Perhaps you can take some of that and invest it in something with potentially higher returns...
by MastersChampion
Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Xfinity Mobile
Replies: 140
Views: 25845

Re: Xfinity Mobile

I am thinking about switching to Xfinity Mobile and getting the phones that they offer. However, other sites I have looked at warn that the phones that are delivered come with Verizon "crapware" apps on them that cannot be deleted. Can anyone who has made the switch and used the Xfinity ph...
by MastersChampion
Wed Jul 26, 2017 7:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sonoma/Napa or Banff for anniversary?
Replies: 18
Views: 2327

Re: Sonoma/Napa or Banff for anniversary?

I wanted to close the loop with a follow-up note on our trip. We decided to go to the Canadian Rockies and it was indescribably spectacular. It was one of the best times we have had on vacation yet. We stayed in Field, BC, and went around to all the sights: Icefields Parkway, Banff, Lake Louise and ...
by MastersChampion
Mon Apr 24, 2017 7:53 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Understanding 529 State Tax Benefits
Replies: 1
Views: 484

Re: Understanding 529 State Tax Benefits

In Illinois, what you say is true. The contributions are tax deductible and the earnings grow state tax-free. Two of my kids are in college and we've spent out our Coverdell accounts for them and now we pay out of current earnings. We never saved in 529s for them. However, we still hold 529s because...
by MastersChampion
Mon Apr 24, 2017 7:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Fiberglass batt in basement ceiling
Replies: 20
Views: 3523

Re: Fiberglass batt in basement ceiling

I say leave it. It provides marginal sound insulation. Removing it doesn't help anything, doesn't hurt anything, IMHO. You don't need any designed air flow between those spaces. You will already be getting some through spaces in the doorway, and flooring. Note that batt insulation does not prevent t...
by MastersChampion
Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone have sod installed?
Replies: 16
Views: 2707

Re: Anyone have sod installed?

This was almost 10 years ago now, so I don't remember the price. We had just added onto the house and had most of the back yard sodded to replace grass trashed by construction. It was a mixture of types, but mostly Bluegrass. It required watering attention the first year. Now, I hardly ever sprinkle...
by MastersChampion
Wed Mar 22, 2017 5:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Costco Auto and Home Insurace
Replies: 3
Views: 1059

Re: Costco Auto and Home Insurace

We bought homeowners through Costco about 4 years ago. It was Ameriprise here in Illinois.
It was great until, like most insurance companies, they jacked up the prices almost 50% over the next 2 years.
So, we left after that.
by MastersChampion
Mon Mar 06, 2017 1:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Shopping Homeowner’s Insurance
Replies: 1
Views: 410

Re: Shopping Homeowner’s Insurance

They can corrode to the point of failure on horizontal runs.

We had this happen and needed to replace a section.
No insurer has ever asked us about our piping, though.

Cast iron is still common practice for parts of houses where you want drain lines to be quiet.
by MastersChampion
Thu Mar 02, 2017 10:13 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Climate and happiness revisited
Replies: 111
Views: 10586

Re: Climate and happiness revisited

You are not alone. I live in the Chicago area and almost every winter I wonder what the heck we're doing here. I decided the bigger net benefit would be to not uproot the family rather than move to a more enjoyable climate. I know others that have moved and seem to have done it successfully, so I ma...
by MastersChampion
Thu Feb 09, 2017 10:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sonoma/Napa or Banff for anniversary?
Replies: 18
Views: 2327

Sonoma/Napa or Banff for anniversary?

Hi all, DW and I have our 25th coming up and we're trying to decide on a destination. We've narrowed it down to Banff/Yoho/Jasper area or the Sonoma Coast and Valley area. We plan on hiking, cycling, drinking, and relaxing. Our budget is ~$4k not including flights, and we plan to go for a week in Au...
by MastersChampion
Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to build passive income
Replies: 45
Views: 8573

Re: How to build passive income

I was a landlord of a triplex for 11 years. I would definitely not consider this to be passive income... My portfolio is split between two different strategies for passive income: dividend growth investing and the Boglehead index 3 fund method. Both have been successful over many years. :moneybag A...
by MastersChampion
Wed Mar 02, 2016 3:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: IRA vs Roth IRA vs 529 for college expenses
Replies: 87
Views: 5561

Re: IRA vs Roth IRA vs 529 for college expenses

RandomGuy alluded to an important fact we have here in Illinois: you get a tax deduction for 529 deposits without regard to the date of withdrawal. We have two in college right now. We have no savings in 529s, but both kids have 529s that I deposit their tuition in, then immediately withdraw it to p...
by MastersChampion
Wed Feb 17, 2016 9:14 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I pursue a Masters in Computer Science?
Replies: 60
Views: 7055

Re: Should I pursue a Masters in Computer Science?

I am a BSEE and got my MS CS at age 45. I'm really glad I did. It filled in my understanding of things and raised my technical confidence quite a bit. My company also paid for it entirely. I would not have done it if I had to pay full-price for it myself. If my company did not pay for most of it, I ...
by MastersChampion
Thu Jan 28, 2016 5:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: wife needs phone. Android, iPhone or Windows phone?
Replies: 49
Views: 5162

Re: wife needs phone. Android, iPhone or Windows phone?

Count me also as one that is very happy with my Windows Phone. The OneDrive integration is great, and I've never found a problem with lack of apps except for Snapchat, which I would never use anyway. Plus, the hardware is invariably cheaper. We have iOS, Android, and Windows phones in our family, an...
by MastersChampion
Thu Jan 14, 2016 3:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is Your Plan B if Quicken dies? [Intuit selling Quicken unit]
Replies: 105
Views: 18926

Re: What is Your Plan B if Quicken dies? [Intuit selling Quicken unit]

I made my switch to GnuCash late last year.

My upgrades of Quicken never worked flawlessly, and my latest version started gagging intermittently when loading.
GnuCash imported my Quicken stuff pretty easily, and while it has it's quirks, it doesn't crash on me.
by MastersChampion
Thu Jan 14, 2016 10:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Are Online/Distance Graduate Degrees Respected?
Replies: 28
Views: 9156

Re: Are Online/Distance Graduate Degrees Respected?

I have an MS in Computer Science from a well-known Chicago university. I got it 100% online, and the degree is indistinguishable from one I would get if I had attended in person. I only showed up to a local office for exams and went downtown once for a presentation (although I could have done it onl...
by MastersChampion
Wed Dec 16, 2015 1:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Coffee maker
Replies: 38
Views: 5575

Re: Coffee maker

2nd the descaling solution. Our cheapo coffee maker was doing the same thing (slowing down) earlier this year. I was ready to buy a new one, but my inner Boglehead won out and I tried to fix it. I took it apart and found the little one-way valve was gummed up, probably due to minerals in the water. ...