Search found 213 matches

by alaskantraveler
Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:02 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help With Poor 401k Options
Replies: 11
Views: 699

Re: Help With Poor 401k Options

Personally I would just put it all in BlackRock Basic Value Fund - Investor A Class (MDBAX) ER - .82. That is about the lowest ER US equity option you have from a reputable company. The ER isn't great, but not that terrible either.
by alaskantraveler
Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What are my options with the current mortgage?
Replies: 35
Views: 2014

Re: What are my options with the current mortgage?

Not following. Just pay more than the minimum payment. You can pay it off in 15 yrs, 10 years, 5 years, whatever you want. The benefit of going with a 15 year loan is that the interest rate is generally lower than the 30 year rate. Todays 15 yr fixed rate is 3.7% where as todays 30 yr is 4.51% There...
by alaskantraveler
Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Schwab AMEX Platinum Card
Replies: 14
Views: 1058

Re: Schwab AMEX Platinum Card

michaeljmroger wrote: ↑
Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:17 pm
Out of curiosity, what kind of credit score is needed to get approved for this card?
American Express is pretty lenient with credit scores. Looks like 700 plus is preferable.
by alaskantraveler
Tue Jan 08, 2019 7:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Schwab AMEX Platinum Card
Replies: 14
Views: 1058

Re: Schwab AMEX Platinum Card

How does the Schwab Amex Plat card and benefits differ from the "plain" Amex Plat card? RM Benefits are basically the same plus with the Schwab card you can convert MR points 1000 points to $12.50 cash into your Schwab investment account making points worth 1.25 cents each in cash. If you have $250...
by alaskantraveler
Tue Jan 08, 2019 4:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bonus toward student loans or 401(k)?
Replies: 18
Views: 918

Re: Bonus toward student loans or 401(k)?

Will only add that the decision needs to factor in your current federal tax rate. Will contributing more to your 401k bring into a new lower marginal tax rate? If so, I would prioritize the 401k more. If for example, you drop from the 22% tax bracket to the 12% tax bracket.
by alaskantraveler
Fri Jan 04, 2019 7:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New to "CC Game/Shuffle"- How do you effectively access CC offers?
Replies: 25
Views: 1815

Re: New to "CC Game/Shuffle"- How do you effectively access CC offers?

STOP! Before continuing in the credit card sign up/ Churning game, I suggest you stop and read up before applying for any more credit cards. As stated before. Doctor of Credit is a create resource for the best credit card sign up offers. There are many credit cards that offer of $1,000 worth of valu...
by alaskantraveler
Fri Jan 04, 2019 2:47 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help With Poor 401k Options
Replies: 11
Views: 699

Re: Help With Poor 401k Options

As someone else mentioned. First max out your Roth IRA with $6,000, or Max out a new T-IRA if you want tax deferred with $6,000. Are you currently contributing more than $6,000/ yer to retirement? If you are, only put anything over $6,000 into the 401k. I'd probably go with the lowest ER equity opti...
by alaskantraveler
Fri Jan 04, 2019 1:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does a PMI in lieu of 20% down ever make sense?
Replies: 48
Views: 2888

Re: Does a PMI in lieu of 20% down ever make sense?

I'll chime in an say paying PMI is ok as long as it is seen as a temporary solution. I paid 5% down on my house, but paid the mortgage down below 20% within 1 year, and the mortgage insurance was dropped.
by alaskantraveler
Thu Dec 27, 2018 6:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I invest in a ROTH to the top of the 12% tax bracket
Replies: 10
Views: 1167

Re: Should I invest in a ROTH to the top of the 12% tax bracket

You can't know if the 12% bracket will last or not. Even so, the general guideline is that it does not matter much if you stay in the same tax bracket before and after. If you do have 0 income years, then the TIRA and converting to Roth during those later years makes sense. Why pay 12% now when you...
by alaskantraveler
Thu Dec 27, 2018 6:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I invest in a ROTH to the top of the 12% tax bracket
Replies: 10
Views: 1167

Re: Should I invest in a ROTH to the top of the 12% tax bracket

Alaskan Make sure you are clear on your terminology. You want to CONVERT from tIRA (traditional) to Roth. From your post, you have already CONTRIBUTED to a tIRA and contributions to an IRA (Roth or traditional) are limited to $5500 per person per year (plus $1000 if over age 50). To answer your que...
by alaskantraveler
Wed Dec 26, 2018 7:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I invest in a ROTH to the top of the 12% tax bracket
Replies: 10
Views: 1167

Should I invest in a ROTH to the top of the 12% tax bracket

I know there are alot of posts asking a similar questions, "Should I invest in a Roth or Trad IRA." In the past I have not contributed much to ROTHs as I expect to be in the same or lower tax bracket when I retire. As well, I have always had access to a Traditional IRA because or our relatively low ...
by alaskantraveler
Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:37 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Retiree aka my Dad
Replies: 4
Views: 909

Re: Retiree aka my Dad

The portfolio is unnecessarily too compicated and fees are likely high. Personally I would go with a 3 fund portfolio. Likely 50-70% equities / %30-50% bonds. If you cannot get access to low cost etf s from Vanguard / Schwab/ Fidelity, etc... then move the funds out of Morgan Stanely. If you move ou...
by alaskantraveler
Wed Dec 05, 2018 6:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Advice on an expat assignment in Vietnam
Replies: 6
Views: 1059

Re: Advice on an expat assignment in Vietnam

A few things come to mind. I have traveled a fair amount, and I spent time in HCMC. Its hot! - Not sure what you like to do, but outdoor activities are restricted due to hot humid climate. Traffic is terrible! I use to laugh at the sea of motor scooters everywhere, its almost mind blowing. If you ar...
by alaskantraveler
Wed Dec 05, 2018 3:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why is Costco gas so much cheaper
Replies: 119
Views: 10807

Re: Why is Costco gas so much cheaper

Im my hometown, Costco Gas is not usually more than 10 cents per gallon cheaper which doesnt make it worth it to me to go out of my way to Costco. Where I have noticed the biggest price difference for Costco Gas is in Hawaii. Just left Kona, Costco is on the way to the airport. 80 cents per gallon c...
by alaskantraveler
Wed Dec 05, 2018 3:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why is Costco gas so much cheaper
Replies: 119
Views: 10807

Re: Why is Costco gas so much cheaper

If you are using the Costco VISA you also get 4% cash back on all Costco gas purchases which has the effect of chopping an additional $0.12 off the price for $3/gallon gas. You don't always get the cash back at stations other than Costco. Depends on the location so if you want to be sure you are ge...
by alaskantraveler
Wed Dec 27, 2017 9:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Living Trust - Will
Replies: 55
Views: 5855

Re: Living Trust - Will

My wife and I and friends were just discussing the issue of setting of a will or a trust over dinner. My wife and I are in our mid 30s, one child. Starting to develop greater net worth. My work will allow me to set up a living will for about $30, but the question came up about setting up a trust. It...
by alaskantraveler
Wed Sep 27, 2017 2:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Social Security Survivor Benefits
Replies: 21
Views: 4129

Re: Social Security Survivor Benefits

In researching I did find out that the windfall elimination provision does not affect survivor benefits. It only affects spousal benefits. So even though my mother was subject to a 50% reduction from WEP, my father's survivor benefits Will not be reduced by the WEP.
by alaskantraveler
Tue Sep 26, 2017 11:31 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Social Security Survivor Benefits
Replies: 21
Views: 4129

Re: Social Security Survivor Benefits

Jumping on this old thread because of a similar situation. This is in regards to my father. Wife passed away at age 61. Father currently age 63. He has the higher RIB. He has just retired. I believe he can claim survivor benefits now at a reduced amt, then claim on his own record at FRA? Claiming su...
by alaskantraveler
Tue Aug 15, 2017 11:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to get best deal on a rental car ?
Replies: 34
Views: 4791

Re: How to get best deal on a rental car ?

This is who I always use: https://www.autoslash.com/ - Ron +1 for autoslash, the difference with this site is the store a bunch of public promo codes for various rental companies and try to automatically apply them when you search for a vehicle. Often comes back cheaper than other options. They wil...
by alaskantraveler
Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Do I have enough to retire-retire from the military
Replies: 42
Views: 5284

Re: Do I have enough to retire-retire from the military

My opinion, you have more than enough to retire. You are estimating that you want to live on $90k per year. In many areas of the US this is more than sufficient. I live in a Medium COL area and my DW and I and one child have $48k per year of expenses. One of the biggest factors will be housing cost....
by alaskantraveler
Wed Aug 09, 2017 4:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best Credit Card Bonus to fly to Japan (From west coast)
Replies: 5
Views: 645

Re: Best Credit Card Bonus to fly to Japan (From west coast)

If you have both a CSR and CSP, then you get the 1.5 multiplier for that person as you can combined UR from both your cards. Your wife having a CSR will not extend the multiplier to your UR accounts. I should note though that it is possible to combine UR points from one spouse to another. So inadver...
by alaskantraveler
Wed Aug 09, 2017 4:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Long term car rental vs buying a used car vs leasing
Replies: 22
Views: 3576

Re: Long term car rental vs buying a used car vs leasing

Your friend is paying $1000 per month including insurance, as others mentioned it is quite possible to buy a used car, and resell leading to a much cheaper monthly expense. As with buying any used car, there is always risk involved. If it were me, I would look for a used car in the $3000-$5000 range...
by alaskantraveler
Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best Credit Card Bonus to fly to Japan (From west coast)
Replies: 5
Views: 645

Re: Best Credit Card Bonus to fly to Japan (From west coast)

I'd agree mostly with the post above, except that you can just apply for the Chase sapphire preferred for the 50k bonus and avoid the $450 annual fee unless you will utilize the other benefits of the CSR including the lounge access, travel credit, global entry, etc.. Do the comparison for yourself. ...
by alaskantraveler
Thu Aug 03, 2017 1:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Retire early, live abroad until 65 and come back
Replies: 72
Views: 10730

Re: Retire early, live abroad until 65 and come back

There are a lot of great responses in this post that I second. A few other things to note. I am in 30s. My gf(now wife) and I were under employed for about 3 1/2 years and traveled long term to 30 countries in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. We love to travel, we are open minded, we love to experien...
by alaskantraveler
Mon Jul 31, 2017 4:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Moving to the suburbs - how much can i afford?
Replies: 22
Views: 1556

Re: Moving to the suburbs - how much can i afford?

From another forum post about living in a boat to save money and reduce commute time, read this blog post from MMM. http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/06/the-true-cost-of-commuting/ Most people who take on long commutes to work fail to understand the true cost. My wife and I bought a house in 20...
by alaskantraveler
Mon Jul 31, 2017 4:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit recommendations from Credit Karma?
Replies: 7
Views: 1002

Re: Credit recommendations from Credit Karma?

Hello, Last week I opened an account with Credit Karma and something that caught my attention is how Credit Karma gives probabilities for getting approved for various credit cards. Does anyone have feedback on how accurate these assessments are? Two cards Credit Karma said I have a "very good" prob...
by alaskantraveler
Thu Jul 27, 2017 2:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Rewards Cards
Replies: 16
Views: 2220

Re: Rewards Cards

Is a credit score of 730 low enough to make a difference in mortgage rates? Even a fraction of a percent is worth more than $42k if the loan is big enough. I'm early, ok mid, 30s with a score over 800, though now that I have my mortgage I might start doing this more. The cut off to obtain the best ...
by alaskantraveler
Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Rewards Cards
Replies: 16
Views: 2220

Re: Rewards Cards

I am a churner. See reddit r/churning. Combined my wife and I have signed up for 29 new credit cards in the last 12 Months. Over that period we paid $940 in annual fees. We have a stash of over 2.8 million rewards points that I conservatively value is worth around $42,000. We plan to fly Cathay Paci...
by alaskantraveler
Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:56 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Living on a boat in HI to save money
Replies: 17
Views: 4413

Re: Living on a boat in HI to save money

It's possible. A lot depends on the harbor space rent. You still have to pay for utilities like electricity, internet? If you have a car, you have to pay for parking. You have to be kind of a minimalist to live full time on a boat as the sq ft is so small. If he has run the numbers and he says he wi...
by alaskantraveler
Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:11 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Helping MIL get to retirement
Replies: 12
Views: 1957

Re: Helping MIL get to retirement

1. I'm not totally sure about the SS on the exs record for in the past (you may not want to know), but going forward your MIL needs to go talk to the SS administration as soon as possible, they can advise the best path forward. Has she filed for medicare already? There are penalties for not filing a...
by alaskantraveler
Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:25 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Pausing 401k to Pay Debts?
Replies: 48
Views: 3581

Re: Pausing 401k to Pay Debts?

As others have said switching 401k contributions to pre-tax will put 25% to 28% of the amount contributed back in your pocket in tax savings. Contribute up to the employer match. I also agree with others. How much are your cars worth, how much do you owe? You may be able to free up some cash and inc...
by alaskantraveler
Tue Jul 25, 2017 10:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Family ski trip without breaking the bank
Replies: 39
Views: 4841

Re: Family ski trip without breaking the bank

This is going to seem like an outlier, but a ski trip to Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, AK near Anchorage, Alaska is a very affordable ski destination if you do it right. Because of its relative remoteness, Alyeska sees few non-locals during much of the season. Midweek lift tickets are $60 ea, weekend ...
by alaskantraveler
Thu Jul 20, 2017 10:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Helping Father Plan for Retirement (messy)
Replies: 26
Views: 3416

Re: Helping Father Plan for Retirement (messy)

Schwab has no commission low ER short term and intermediate term government bond funds available. I would consider splitting the excess cash between them. It sounds like he will be in the 15% marginal tax bracket, so I am not sure a tax exempt muni bond fund is the best. After 2017 he will be in a ...
by alaskantraveler
Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Flying first class/ business......
Replies: 21
Views: 4852

Re: Flying first class/ business......

If the airline is the one that forces you to change your flights then they will make it good. Even up to refunding your money. When you book first or business class generally change fees are waived as well.
by alaskantraveler
Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Helping Father Plan for Retirement (messy)
Replies: 26
Views: 3416

Re: Helping Father Plan for Retirement (messy)

Op here. I added an update to the original post. My father has decided to move forward with retirement. Retirement assets now at $1 million. He has some excess cash available. I recommended that he keep one years cash in his checking account and make one withdrawal per year from his retirement accou...
by alaskantraveler
Mon Jul 10, 2017 3:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Helping Father Plan for Retirement (messy)
Replies: 26
Views: 3416

Re: Helping Father Plan for Retirement (messy)

Are the fees on all those timeshares really only $4-5k a year? Sounds low. If you are going to help your father. the first thing to do (after he agrees to you helping him, of course) is a full, thorough assessment of his financial situation. That is necessary before any planning. The spending behav...
by alaskantraveler
Mon Jul 10, 2017 3:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Helping Father Plan for Retirement (messy)
Replies: 26
Views: 3416

Re: Helping Father Plan for Retirement (messy)

What's wrong with a $60K sports car? I'm serious. Maybe he has always wanted one, and if he doesn't get it soon maybe he never will. I hope my kids don't think they have a say in my vehicle selection. I understand the multiple accounts are complicated, and the time shares are an issue if he doesn't...
by alaskantraveler
Mon Jul 10, 2017 3:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Helping Father Plan for Retirement (messy)
Replies: 26
Views: 3416

Re: Helping Father Plan for Retirement (messy)

And I'm sure you know it but you can consolidate his 457s and other governmental savings plan into an IRA (but your mother's will need to remain separate from his). The big difference was that the governmental plans would allow access without penalty once one separated from service. Since he's olde...
by alaskantraveler
Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Helping Father Plan for Retirement (messy)
Replies: 26
Views: 3416

Re: Helping Father Plan for Retirement (messy)

The timeshares thing is maybe the biggest red flag here. And it's not just about the fact that he has 5 of them, it's that he's kept buying them, and that, in the future, he may make comparably questionable purchases. Perhaps not more timeshares (though of course that's a possibility), but maybe it...
by alaskantraveler
Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: September short trip ideas
Replies: 32
Views: 2980

Re: September short trip ideas

With Just one week, and on a budget, I would look at what direct flights are available from your home airport. The Caribbean is close by. Cruises can be had cheaply check out vacationstogo (90 day ticker).
by alaskantraveler
Mon Jul 10, 2017 1:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Helping Father Plan for Retirement (messy)
Replies: 26
Views: 3416

Re: Helping Father Plan for Retirement (messy)

Does he want your help? It sounds to me like you have capacity to help him, if he will listen to you. What does he say when you ask him why he keeps buying time shares he can't afford? He values my advice. As for buying the timeshares, he is pre-disposed to making emotionally charged financial deci...
by alaskantraveler
Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Helping Father Plan for Retirement (messy)
Replies: 26
Views: 3416

Helping Father Plan for Retirement (messy)

Details for my father My father wants to retire. His health is in question. He is currently on medical leave. Age: 63 Filing Status: 2017 Married Filing Jointly, Single after that (my mother passed in January from long term illness) 25% tax bracket Mortgage: $250k loan on $325k house. 15 year, 2.5% ...
by alaskantraveler
Fri Jul 07, 2017 6:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Residential Home for $125K. Rent for $1,400 / mo.
Replies: 43
Views: 3884

Re: Residential Home for $125K. Rent for $1,400 / mo.

On the surface it would appear to be a good environment to invest in rentals. In my city, a house that rents for $1400 would sell for more like $200k. Here is a mortgage calculator that I love and use all the time. https://www.vertex42.com/Calculators/home-mortgage-calculator.html A good rule of thu...
by alaskantraveler
Fri Jul 07, 2017 6:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Am I on track, or just crazy...
Replies: 38
Views: 7071

Re: Am I on track, or just crazy...

We actually currently live on $75 / week for food. We are planning on anchoring all the time unless we have a repair and need to dock for it. Healthcare is much cheaper outside the US. Our current monthly budget is $2000 which includes PITI for house and all other expenses. Maintenance is an unknow...
by alaskantraveler
Fri Jul 07, 2017 2:26 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Am I on track, or just crazy...
Replies: 38
Views: 7071

Re: Am I on track, or just crazy...

So you estimate your net worth to by about 800k in 2020. How much do you plan to spend on the boat? $18-20K per year, does that include maintenance, mooring fees, fuel for the boat when not sailing? Where do you plan on parking your boat? Mooring fees can easily exceed $30/day. So unless you always ...
by alaskantraveler
Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: storing loyalty/membership cards digitally?
Replies: 10
Views: 776

Re: storing loyalty/membership cards digitally?

I use awardwallet to track all of my loyalty programs.

You don't need to keep the loyalty membership cards. I have mine in an old cigar box.
by alaskantraveler
Thu Jun 15, 2017 12:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Having someone else pay our mortgage
Replies: 13
Views: 3261

Re: Having someone else pay our mortgage

Proximity to your rental is important. If you have maintenance issues or tenant issues are you close enough to reasonably drive there? If not, will you hire a property manager? Is the rental market strong enough where the rents will pay for the mortgage? Most people far underestimate the cost of rep...
by alaskantraveler
Tue Jun 13, 2017 11:58 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can't decide how to get [paid: W-2 or 1099?]
Replies: 15
Views: 2192

Re: Can't decide how to get pay.

If you decide to take the 1099 you will have to pay 15.3% payroll taxes on top of your income tax. As a W2 employee you pay 7.65% and the employer pays the other 7.65%. So you make 7.65% more with the W2. This math is not quite right. As an employee if you made $100k, you would pay $7,650 and the e...
by alaskantraveler
Mon Jun 12, 2017 5:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can't decide how to get [paid: W-2 or 1099?]
Replies: 15
Views: 2192

Re: Can't decide how to get pay.

If you decide to take the 1099 you will have to pay 15.3% payroll taxes on top of your income tax. As a W2 employee you pay 7.65% and the employer pays the other 7.65%. So you make 7.65% more with the W2. If your goal is to maximize tax advantaged space, then the 1099 may give you access to a SEP IR...
by alaskantraveler
Mon Jun 12, 2017 4:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best way to book multi-city international airfare itinerary?
Replies: 23
Views: 3215

Re: Best way to book multi-city international airfare itinerary?

I was able to price out your itinerary for $1466. Looks like the cheapest flights to SCL are through Miami. So find one round trip ticket from MIA to SCL ($688) with skyscanner or google flights (found the cheapsest with skyscanner) then I found a multi stop itin from XNA-PDX then pdx-mia, then mia ...