Search found 2279 matches

by jharkin
Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:24 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Prepare for Recession?
Replies: 63
Views: 7366

Re: Prepare for Recession?

I survived both those recessions with my job intact - in high tech! I did it by busting my #(*&$#% to become known as one of the best at what I do in the division, along with networking to build visibility and gain high level management "mentors" (aka playing office politics) While there are no gua...
by jharkin
Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:15 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I skip scheduled car maintenance?
Replies: 26
Views: 1770

Re: Should I skip scheduled car maintenance?

I doubt that the Lexus service lamp reset is different, but would like to hear from an owner if in fact a code read is required. The Lexus reset is likely same as Toyota. On Toyota's resetting is is a procedure of switching to one of the trip odometer readings and holding down the odometer reset wh...
by jharkin
Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Fixing roof with missing tiles
Replies: 5
Views: 487

Re: Fixing roof with missing tiles

+1 we need to know what kind of roof it is. Besides asphalt and adobe clay tile there are also cedar shingle and slate roofs that would fit the description of a "tiled roof" . All of them require different approaches to repair.
by jharkin
Fri Aug 23, 2019 7:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Prepare for Recession?
Replies: 63
Views: 7366

Re: Prepare for Recession?

You should always be prepared for a possible recession, even when the outlook is very bullish because nobody knows when a recession will arrive. +1000 Recessions dont happen on schedule when people are expecting them. I lived though 2000 and 2008... both times the bottom fell out right when the pun...
by jharkin
Fri Aug 23, 2019 7:27 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Budget for a new professional out of college
Replies: 42
Views: 2456

Re: Budget for a new professional out of college

Is she in a field where it's likely she'll be highly compensated in the future? If so, consider whether or not you're willing to make a bet on that...don't sacrifice living your life when you're young by saving too much. Being "401k poor" is just as bad as being "house poor". Just saving the allowa...
by jharkin
Fri Aug 23, 2019 7:17 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I skip scheduled car maintenance?
Replies: 26
Views: 1770

Re: Should I skip scheduled car maintenance?

I think you made a typo and you meant to write 25,000 rather than 30,000. Assuming yes, what that list is telling me is they want a tire rotation every 5,000 miles and an oil change every 10,000 miles. THe rest of it is just hte usual "visually inspect x,y,z" language in every service manual. Cabin ...
by jharkin
Fri Aug 23, 2019 6:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: White collars- How much is your work downtime?
Replies: 177
Views: 12043

Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

I hate to say it, but is this a generational issue? I come from the part of the US where the Puritans instilled a work ethic into us. Sorry if this sounds condescending. If I were working for a place that let me float around doing nothing for more than half the day, I'd go crazy. IMO, definitely ge...
by jharkin
Thu Aug 22, 2019 7:58 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I paint dark brown wainscotting?
Replies: 28
Views: 1630

Re: Should I paint dark brown wainscotting?

All depends on taste... One nice look that would really make that room updated: 1 - paint that paneling a semigloss white 2 - paint the walls in a light earth tone or pastel... something to give enough of a contrast to the trim but not too dark. If you really want to make it look nice & fully update...
by jharkin
Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:44 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anybody else enjoy sitting around and doing little in retirement?
Replies: 64
Views: 6948

Re: Anybody else enjoy sitting around and doing little in retirement?

Im NOT retired and honestly I would go out of my mind without hobbies to keep me busy.... but I did want to say thanks to the OP for proving I'm not the only one who doesn't feel the drive to fill every waking moment of my life with exotic travel and "experiences" which seem to be the rage all over.
by jharkin
Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: White collars- How much is your work downtime?
Replies: 177
Views: 12043

Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Mechanical engineer by degree, but I have worked my entire career in software development for large specialist engineering/scientific software companies. Mostly in quality assurance, project management and program management roles from IC though director level management (30-50 reports). I'd say ove...
by jharkin
Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:11 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?
Replies: 111
Views: 6781

Re: Are there advantages to being married to a teacher?

I am married to a public elementary school employee (non-teacher) and have elementary age kids so I have some insight.. Pro's 1- Yes there is access to both 403b and 457b... but currently we dont have the income to max both and my own plan. We are using the 457 first. 2 - There is also a pension, wh...
by jharkin
Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:11 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are we financially okay?
Replies: 64
Views: 8086

Re: Are we financially okay?

Pay off your mortgage rather than keeping so much in cash and equivalents. Then you will have a significantly reduced monthly expense, and can be perfectly fine on one income where you are for as long as you want. And you will still have $1.2MM to move into the stock market/bonds whenever you are r...
by jharkin
Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Close on first home on Wednesday, might not take possession until 30 days... advice please
Replies: 48
Views: 3560

Re: Close on first home on Wednesday, might not take possession until 30 days... advice please

30 days rent free? Thats absolutely not typical in my area... if your realtor told you it was I would at least have got a second opinion or attorney review. Where I live the usual practice would be a rent back with a written rental agreement and rent roughly equal to the PITI of the loan the buyer i...
by jharkin
Mon Aug 19, 2019 7:30 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HCOL savings rates
Replies: 43
Views: 3437

Re: HCOL savings rates

We spend whatever we want but things we enjoy just don't cost very much. We also don't spend on things we don't care about and don't use shopping as entertainment. (A lot of older relatives seem to do that.) Here's last year's breakdown. mortgage - none; property tax is $7k on a home worth ~$1.2 mi...
by jharkin
Sun Aug 18, 2019 6:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can we afford a $400k house?
Replies: 44
Views: 4382

Re: Can we afford a $400k house?

You can easily afford it. As mentioned above a bank will probably approve you for twice that (scary don’t do it) but what you are looking at is well within the 2-3x income safe rule of thumb. Just think about how your family may grow in the coming years and be careful not to “underbuy” a small house...
by jharkin
Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buy historic, walkable home or stay in blah subdivision with short commute?
Replies: 54
Views: 5384

Re: Buy historic, walkable home or stay in blah subdivision with short commute?

Another +1. We just sold our Federal period Cape (1790s) and bought a 1990s contemporary as it was the only house in our location and price range that has come up in a year of searching that met our needs. I will say that the space and modern amenities of the newer house are nice and fit our lifesty...
by jharkin
Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are you refinancing now?
Replies: 73
Views: 6745

Re: Are you refinancing now?

Why do people refi to a 30 year? You can always pay more principal but you can never pay less than the minimum amortized payment without putting your house at risk. So getting a 30-year if you could afford a 15- is a bit of an insurance policy. Maybe it's expensive insurance and it would be better ...
by jharkin
Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:09 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: I am buying a new house soon ( first buyer ...) advice ...
Replies: 10
Views: 1625

Re: I am buying a new house soon ( first buyer ...) advice ...

+1, your lender should (or will upon ask) give you an estimate of closing costs along with the rate. This will have: Fees for obtaining the mortgage - which are often negotiable and can vary greatly lender to lender: * origination fee * points (to buy down the interest rate) ... Misc. escrow fees (s...
by jharkin
Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buy historic, walkable home or stay in blah subdivision with short commute?
Replies: 54
Views: 5384

Re: Buy historic, walkable home or stay in blah subdivision with short commute?

Just one example, a broken window pane, instead of being repaired with a standard pane of glass it had to be hand blown, imperfect glass and then lead soldered into the window. So a S12 piece of glass and $75 of labor becomes a $450 repair for 10 inch by 6 inch piece of glass and $75 of inspection ...
by jharkin
Tue Aug 13, 2019 11:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much house can we afford (Another One...) and Rent vs Buy decision
Replies: 12
Views: 1371

Re: How much house can we afford (Another One...) and Rent vs Buy decision

Biggest challenge I see for you guys is the income variability. In years you get all that bonus money it will be smooth sailing, but just one year at zero bonus could put you into negative cashflow with your fixed expenses and expected childcare. Deep into the negative if you add a 1MM+ house. At yo...
by jharkin
Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:57 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: House being sold as 2553sqft livable, but tax records show 2053? Cause for concern?
Replies: 37
Views: 2878

Re: House being sold as 2553sqft livable, but tax records show 2053? Cause for concern?

Its been mentioned by a few posts - but where I live (Mass) this is also typical. Tax assessments only consider "above grade" space in the livable area published on the town property card. Real estate agents will add finished basement space typically on MLS/zillow listings so its normal for this num...
by jharkin
Sat Aug 10, 2019 1:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buy historic, walkable home or stay in blah subdivision with short commute?
Replies: 54
Views: 5384

Re: Buy historic, walkable home or stay in blah subdivision with short commute?

You guys are in great shape financially... I’d jump on it in a heartbeat. Old houses have such character, once you live in one you will never want blah blah souless new construction ever again. Oh and 1870 is not that old. It will have recognizable stud framing,etc. maybe an old brick or stone found...
by jharkin
Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Real Estate Negotiation Came to a Halt
Replies: 67
Views: 5042

Re: Real Estate Negotiation Came to a Halt

I'm not sure $/sqft is really a valid metric to hang on. As you say, the lot is larger. But also, the size of the house makes a big diffrence. You wouldn't expect a huge 5 bedroom house to sell at the same $/sqft as a small 2 bedroom house even if everything else were identical. What does your real...
by jharkin
Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Recommendations - Selling & Buying Home
Replies: 8
Views: 643

Re: Recommendations - Selling & Buying Home

In terms of sell-rent buy or buy then sell... you need to take a look at the market temperature and look at your existing home relative to other listing and judge the risk. Also calculate if you can afford to carry both mortgages. In my case just this year we did the same and took the risk to buy fi...
by jharkin
Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:04 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bogleheads, give me strength to resist a car purchase when I find myself way ahead of our financial goals
Replies: 61
Views: 4151

Re: Bogleheads, give me strength to resist a car purchase when I find myself way ahead of our financial goals

[edit: see you mentioned you are 30] I admire your planning but Id advice that you let go of the obsession with hitting specific goals down to the penny on specific dates. You have a long time horizon and the market will go up and down . Someday another big 2008 (or 2001 or 1987 or 1929) like crash ...
by jharkin
Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Largest spending category - is this an outrageous amount?
Replies: 56
Views: 3598

Re: Largest spending category - is this an outrageous amount?

The other thing that stands out to me is the car maintenance costs. If i assume 2 cars you are spending almost $200 per car per month in maintenance. That's more than I have ever routinely spent maintaining a car for a year let alone every month. Even dong routine maintenance at jag dealer at the h...
by jharkin
Thu Aug 08, 2019 10:57 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How many bids/estimates do you get for services
Replies: 36
Views: 1525

Re: How many bids/estimates do you get for services

Generally just one for small jobs. I ask him how much and if it sounds reasonable I tell him to proceed. Small is under say $10k. Too much work otherwise. +1 If I followed the standard advice to get 3 bids for every job I dont know when I would sleep.... And most of the stuff that would be under 5k...
by jharkin
Thu Aug 08, 2019 10:45 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage Lender won't give rate with pre-approval
Replies: 11
Views: 677

Re: Mortgage Lender won't give rate with pre-approval

Agree wit the consensus to walk... but Ive never been a fan of mortgage brokers. You could try a few online banks - good places to look: Bankrate Mortgage Professor ZIllow lender marketplace Lending Tree Aimloan.com NBKC ( use the Costco program for no points and $275 orig fee) - disclaimer I have d...
by jharkin
Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Save for new downpayment by paying current mortgage?
Replies: 17
Views: 816

Re: Save for new downpayment by paying current mortgage?

For those saying you will need the money when you buy the next house - I say get a bridge loan if needed. Or get a home equity loan on your old house before you list it for sale. +1. I did this literally a month before I start talking to a buyers agent. Its was a surprisingly easy process, all onli...
by jharkin
Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:14 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Oh geeze. How should I pay for this? Walk me off the ledge
Replies: 52
Views: 6306

Re: Oh geeze. How should I pay for this? Walk me off the ledge

However you end up covering this bill, get ready for more.. a lot more. This is only a drop in the bucket,kids are expensive. Wait till you see the bills for diapers, formula, clothing, cribs, strollers, daycare, etc. And then as they grow older its books and school supplies, after school programs/s...
by jharkin
Tue Aug 06, 2019 7:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HVAC System Replacement
Replies: 28
Views: 2492

Re: HVAC System Replacement

*why* are they breaking down at only 12 years old? You need to figure that out first. That’s an awe fully short life.

You also didn’t mention what these units are?
AC? Heat pump? Mini split? Furnace? Boiler?
Electric? Gas? Oil?
Worlds of difference in cost, complexity and lifespan....
by jharkin
Tue Aug 06, 2019 7:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Increase in Income...do I need a "tax guy"?
Replies: 12
Views: 1228

Re: Increase in Income...do I need a "tax guy"?

+1 to the above. Also the recent tax law changes make it highly likely you will end up taking the standard deduction even with real estate. Stick to TurboTax and save a few bucks.
by jharkin
Mon Aug 05, 2019 10:42 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is our spending crazy?
Replies: 111
Views: 7210

Re: Is our spending crazy?

The numbers are reasonable relative to your income, but I dont blame you for being shocked as they are very high compared to statistical averages. I haven't read all 3 pages in detail but did you break it down line by line yet? FWIW my wife and I combined make a bit less than half of what you do but...
by jharkin
Mon Aug 05, 2019 7:43 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: HVAC questions: asbestos-insulated ducts need replacing? A/C costs?
Replies: 21
Views: 1162

Re: HVAC questions: asbestos-insulated ducts need replacing? A/C costs?

I feel the same way about this that Teague does: that looks like fiberglass wrap. Here's a link on identifying asbestos that might be useful, though I have no expertise to evaluate what they are saying. I would suggest that if the insulation is fiberglass, the existing ducts can probably be sealed ...
by jharkin
Sat Aug 03, 2019 6:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 12k off car sale, now what? pay mortgage or car...maybe save?
Replies: 14
Views: 913

Re: 12k off car sale, now what? pay mortgage or car...maybe save?

OP is retired so emergency fund needs might not be so high as a working person who could loose income, but I agree that Jeep is still WAY too expensive relative to your (assume SS, pension?)income stream. BTW, how did you get that car free? Considering you didn’t pay for it, the sale proceeds may te...
by jharkin
Sat Aug 03, 2019 6:12 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Has anyone taken out an online mortgage?
Replies: 55
Views: 6349

Re: Has anyone taken out an online mortgage?

I’ve done both a refi and a purchase with NBKC. Both where complete online/over the phone. All docs signed electronic, and you get an assigned loan officer who is available by phone for questions any time.

Very easy.
by jharkin
Fri Aug 02, 2019 2:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do we move or add-on? Need some grounding...
Replies: 37
Views: 1797

Re: Do we move or add-on? Need some grounding...

I'd wait. 2,100 sq feet may not feel huge but it is bigger than most American families of any size had up until the last couple decades. My wife and I lived in 1300sq and 1 bathroom the first 10 years of marriage/kids. Its *cozy* but it can be made to work. The bottom line is you probably cant affor...
by jharkin
Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:43 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Lightweight, small, window ACs with well-designed installation?
Replies: 9
Views: 909

Re: Lightweight, small, window ACs with well-designed installation?

The OP refers to antique wooden storm windows (shame they where replaced with plastic). so 99% chance we are talking single or double hung sash window here. Frigidaire makes an ultra compact 5k bedroom AC that will fit in windows as narrow as 23 inches. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00W2KG92Y/r...
by jharkin
Wed Jul 31, 2019 7:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What should I do about my father's stock market speculation/gambling problem?
Replies: 22
Views: 2527

Re: What should I do about my father's stock market speculation/gambling problem?

As said above, you cannot MAKE him do anything. You have expressed your concerns but beyond that its his life and HE has to be the one to make the decision to change. Further, your parents are not poor. They have 375k in retirement saving between them which is more than 85% of households in their ag...
by jharkin
Tue Jul 30, 2019 12:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: F150 Repair advice
Replies: 39
Views: 1903

Re: F150 Repair advice

Pickup drivers disagreeing on which truck is best? Impossible!!! This is Bogleheads. I'm waiting for someone to say to just get a Tesla. Or a 5 year old, beige Camry. Either way. I think you meant to say 10 year old Corolla ;) In any case, I third (or fourth) the proposal to take the free engine an...
by jharkin
Tue Jul 30, 2019 11:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: loan settlement at home sale closing question
Replies: 6
Views: 633

Re: loan settlement at home sale closing question

When I have sold houses and closed out conventional loans, a payoff statement gets requested from the lender which is sent to the closing attorney/escrow company. The payoff statement states: * The payoff amount * The date the payoff amount is good through * A per-diem interest amount to be added ea...
by jharkin
Tue Jul 30, 2019 11:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The Quality of a Retirement with no Retirement Savings
Replies: 30
Views: 2965

Re: The Quality of a Retirement with no Retirement Savings

According to the Social Security Administration, 21% of married couples and 44% of single seniors get more than 90% of their income from SS benefits. So your relative will have lots of company. My MiL has relied on $1k of monthly SS benefits for the last 14 years. Having a small nest egg to draw up...
by jharkin
Mon Jul 29, 2019 11:58 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you buy the highest trim car ?
Replies: 120
Views: 7132

Re: Do you buy the highest trim car ?

I tend to buy higher trims, but not automatically the highest if I dont see the need for the features. We bought a pilot 2 years ago and got the EX-L. Reasoning: (These comments are for the 2017, 2019 may be different) - Edmunds review recommended EXL as the best balance of features and price. There...
by jharkin
Fri Jul 26, 2019 12:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Way out of financial catastrophe?
Replies: 80
Views: 10766

Re: Way out of financial catastrophe?

Actually, yeah, now that I think about it, it's kind of crazy that a house bought for $1.4 million a few years ago has $1 million in "renovation" costs... The closest example I know of is someone who paid, let's say $1-2 million for a "historical" house a while ago, and spent another $1-2 million t...
by jharkin
Fri Jul 26, 2019 10:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?
Replies: 43
Views: 1990

Re: Oil to natural gas conversion anyone?

Ive never converted, but I have lived in homes with oil, propane and natural gas. If natural gas is available on your street.. convert. period. end of discussion. - Where I live right now gas costs about $1-$1.40 a therm delivered and oil $3.50 a gallon. A therm of gas is 100,000 BTU and a gallon of...
by jharkin
Fri Jul 26, 2019 10:22 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Be aware of Verizon!
Replies: 34
Views: 4356

Re: Be aware of Verizon!

In my mind the big strike against Verizon FiOS in my book is the inability to own your own modem, but I get why as, again, FiOS is a fiber product that requires enterprise gear to handle the GPON signalling technology as opposed to carrier ethernet. The only consumer-grade product that handles GPON...
by jharkin
Fri Jul 26, 2019 10:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Be aware of Verizon!
Replies: 34
Views: 4356

Re: Be aware of Verizon!

Pretty bad, but Comcast/Xfinity's service/business model much worse. Yep, and their infrastructure is far behind Verizon to boot. Once upon a time I had Comcast (before it rebranded Xfinity) and even used RCN for a while as well (shudder). Ive been a FiOS customer for at least 12 years now and I pu...
by jharkin
Fri Jul 26, 2019 9:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Worthwhile to repair Honda Push Mower or buy new?
Replies: 28
Views: 1316

Re: Worthwhile to repair Honda Push Mower or buy new?

As others have mentioned, the handle bolt and pull cord are really easy DIY fixes. New wheels shouldn't be hard either but it depends on how they are attached. The self propel mechanism is thing that may be a pain - some are serviceable, but some require you to replace the entire transmission/axle a...
by jharkin
Wed Jul 24, 2019 2:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Feel like we are spinning our wheels (financially speaking). How far behind are we?!
Replies: 63
Views: 6455

Re: Feel like we are spinning our wheels (financially speaking). How far behind are we?!

wife and i are 33 and 32 years old respectively. we both make modest incomes ($100 and $105K respectively - with my ceiling much higher and expecting a ~15% raise at YE) given the high COLA (NY) we reside in and sometimes i feel like i am spinning my wheels. anyway, i am curious as to how far "behi...
by jharkin
Tue Jul 23, 2019 7:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bigger house?
Replies: 43
Views: 3267

Re: Bigger house?

I would usually agree with the idea that 1.6MM house is major lifestyle creep, but you have some major mitigating factors: #1 - Even given your very high income, accumulating 6MM before your first child is impressive and demonstrates you are not a spendthrift outside housing #2 - You can easily buy ...