Search found 345 matches

by Smorgasbord
Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How Much Is Your Sewer Bill?
Replies: 78
Views: 3885

Re: How Much Is Your Sewer Bill?

At my current house, pumping the septic every three years is ~$250, and every few decades there is a $10,000+ charge. At my old house, the sewer averaged about $50 a month plus another $20 in storm water fees. The town had a combined storm/sanitary system that tended to discharge raw sewage into the...
by Smorgasbord
Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: I'm an employer looking to get the best 401k deal for my employees!
Replies: 17
Views: 1198

Re: I'm an employer looking to get the best 401k deal for my employees!

About two years ago I also got to choose the 401k for my company. I forget the exact fees/expenses, but I remember the two finalists were Vanguard managed by Acensus and Employee Fiduciary. Employee Fiduciary was better when the plan has less than about a million in it, and Vanguard was better over ...
by Smorgasbord
Tue Oct 02, 2018 8:11 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying a bigger home
Replies: 7
Views: 1122

Re: Buying a bigger home

While the standard advice is that you need to put the money in low risk investments if you are going to withdraw the money in 5 years, I would probably be putting at least a portion (~25%+) in stocks. The reason for this is that you have a great deal of flexibility in when you make the move. For exa...
by Smorgasbord
Mon Oct 01, 2018 11:12 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Suze Orman - "I hate the FIRE movement."
Replies: 75
Views: 9039

Re: Suze Orman - "I hate the FIRE movement."

It seems that Orman's threshold for retirement is being able to spend $350,000 a year in perpetuity. At that spend rate, the vast majority of people would be wiped out pretty fast regardless of whether they continue to work or not. If the outcome is the same either way, I don't really see that as mu...
by Smorgasbord
Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:39 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles
Replies: 89
Views: 5960

Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Given the choice of following the instructions of the highly trained team of engineers that built your car, or the wrench monkey at your local garage, always go with the engineers. I change the oil in my famly's cars (full synthetic) every spring when the weather turns nice.
by Smorgasbord
Sat Sep 22, 2018 12:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Physical Banking - Any benefits anymore?
Replies: 139
Views: 8732

Re: Physical Banking - Any benefits anymore?

My local bank is where I get my $2 bills for handing out to street musicians / performers.
by Smorgasbord
Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:27 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Video Game Collection
Replies: 39
Views: 2313

Re: Video Game Collection

Sell them. If you want to return to classic gaming, emulation is the way to go. I've been having fun with the arcade emulator called MAME. Check it out sometime. On the higher end, play-ability has little to do with value of old video games, so emulation has little impact. For example, the 1990 Nin...
by Smorgasbord
Tue Sep 04, 2018 12:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home-spun Weed Killers
Replies: 21
Views: 1570

Re: Home-spun Weed Killers

Of course, that is the concentrated solution. It is meant to be diluted for use anywhere. And of course, glyphosate will not kill insects and other pests. It is not a pesticide. At least according USDA / EPA, weeds are considered pests and glyphosate is a pesticide. http://www.ag.utah.gov/documents...
by Smorgasbord
Mon Sep 03, 2018 12:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do I get rid of big project t.v.?
Replies: 21
Views: 1124

Re: How do I get rid of big project t.v.?

My old TV was a 57 inch Hitachi rear projection TV that clocked in at about 270 pounds. It was located in my basement, and the easiest/cheapest way of getting rid of it was to throw it away piece by piece over the course of a few trash days. Most pieces could be removed with a screw driver, but a re...
by Smorgasbord
Mon Aug 27, 2018 7:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: LLC for one rental property?
Replies: 28
Views: 2335

Re: LLC for one rental property?

The annual cost of an Oregon LLC is $100, so I would probably skip it. My answer would be different if you were in a state where the annual cost was $10 and a quick filing. While it's foolish to think that a single member LLC by itself is going to save you, if someone is coming after your assets the...
by Smorgasbord
Thu Aug 09, 2018 5:39 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I pay for a 401k?
Replies: 32
Views: 2300

Re: Should I pay for a 401k?

I work for a small company that does not offer a 401k. The company would establish one if the participants covered the cost. Obviously, there would be no matching employer contribution. Vanguard's small business plan would cost us about $3500/year. We would have 5 employees participating. So that's...
by Smorgasbord
Sun Jul 29, 2018 12:31 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Small caps are getting crushed today
Replies: 20
Views: 3061

Re: Small caps are getting crushed today

Doing a little more work, if we ask "what sized drop happened about annually," the answer is that a drop of -5.2% or farther has happened 15 times in the last 14.49 years. In other words, one-day drops of over 5% have happened about once a year. While I don't doubt the numbers, the conclusion may b...
by Smorgasbord
Sun Jul 22, 2018 8:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: High voltage powerlines near house
Replies: 72
Views: 5392

Re: High voltage powelines near house

How about those cell towers? They can popup anywhere and probably produce a lot more EM radiation, right? Tin foil hats do a good job of keeping it out.:) The evidence for any health effects from these types of sources is beyond sketchy. But a lot of buyers will do what the OP did and draw conclusi...
by Smorgasbord
Sun Jul 22, 2018 8:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: High voltage powerlines near house
Replies: 72
Views: 5392

Re: High voltage powelines near house

I recall that there was a study a while back showing that people who lived near high voltage power lines did have a higher rate of cancer, but it turned out that this was a correlation rather than causation. Big power lines are unsightly causing the houses near them tend to be less expensive, and th...
by Smorgasbord
Sat Jul 21, 2018 10:43 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: House foundation repair with Helical Piers - urgent request
Replies: 22
Views: 1645

Re: House foundation repair with Helical Piers - urgent request

My concern: Has the problem that was discovered solved? Is this an ordinary/normal problem considering the age of the house and soil conditions in the area? Would he have problem selling the house a few years from now? Should he go ahead and buy the house? Thank you. My current community was develo...
by Smorgasbord
Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Grandpa's 88 and has term life insurance
Replies: 39
Views: 3111

Re: Grandpa's 88 and has term life insurance

So he's paying $11k a year for $100k insurance. That doesn't sound like a terrible deal for an 88 year old man, and if it makes him happy to have it then I'd say keep it.
by Smorgasbord
Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tick Tubes and boxes. Permethrin Fipronil
Replies: 22
Views: 2037

Re: Tick Tubes and boxes. Permethrin Fipronil

Bifen is what the professionals in our area use. We used to have part of our property treated but it got expensive. What do you use to apply it - a regular hose-end sprayer? I apply the Bifen XTS with a backpack sprayer that has been modified so that the spray nozzle is at the end of a ~10 foot pol...
by Smorgasbord
Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tick Tubes and boxes. Permethrin Fipronil
Replies: 22
Views: 2037

Re: Tick Tubes and boxes. Permethrin Fipronil

I live in a community generally bounded by a lake and a national park. We have a lot of wildlife, and a lot of ticks. For 2016-2017 I tried tick tubes with minimal results. Even applying DEET based repellent when going outside, I still was pulling off half a dozen ticks per year. This year, I went w...
by Smorgasbord
Sun Jul 08, 2018 12:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Monthly Water Usage
Replies: 61
Views: 4442

Re: Monthly Water Usage

My family of four is at 3-4,000 gallons per month. Considering that I live less than 1,000 feet from a reservoir that holds 20% of the world's liquid fresh water I should probably increase my irrigation usage, but I despise grass.
by Smorgasbord
Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:37 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Can't participate in 401k for 1 year
Replies: 33
Views: 2603

Re: Can't participate in 401k for 1 year

I set up my company's 401k plan, and went with the 1 year option as well. The main benefit to the employer is that the one-year requirement makes it so that any temporary workers that are brought on do not need to offered the 401k plan. While some dollars are saved by not having to contribute to the...
by Smorgasbord
Sat Jun 30, 2018 9:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What are your property taxes?
Replies: 212
Views: 14236

Re: What are your property taxes?

In Indiana, property taxes are capped by the state at 1% with state/local income taxes running about 4%, but we also have a generous 20% tax credit on the first $5k contributed to a 529 plan per year.
by Smorgasbord
Fri Jun 29, 2018 6:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Landlords- How Many Months of Expenses Do You Keep?
Replies: 8
Views: 1270

Re: Landlords- How Many Months of Expenses Do You Keep?

1 SFH rental, and I keep $10,000 in reserves based on the same rationale as togb and clutchied. My rental reserves also double as the family emergency fund. It's been a long time since I've had to dip into it.
by Smorgasbord
Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home Theater PC Uses?
Replies: 15
Views: 1409

Re: Home Theater PC Uses?

I use my home theater PC to emulate old video games. Also, it's good for video conferencing between the grandparents and the toddler age grandchildren. Other than that, we just use an old wifi enabled DVD player for most TV watching. Note: I really hate that every damn time windows updates I have to...
by Smorgasbord
Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:15 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is there a way to avoid bad companies in S&P 500?
Replies: 92
Views: 4994

Re: Is there a way to avoid bad companies in S&P 500?

To filter out the bad companies you just need to know the future, and for that you'll need a working time machine. Of course, the fundamental problem with this concept is that if you had a time machine you'd get much better returns from the Grays Sports Almanac than something boring like the S&P500.
by Smorgasbord
Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Family dynamics/in laws/am I being petty?
Replies: 143
Views: 7817

Re: Family dynamics/in laws/am I being petty?

Next time, just make sure your wife and you both have the surf and turf so that the split is more even. :D
by Smorgasbord
Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 529 Plan For Rest of Masters
Replies: 1
Views: 250

Re: 529 Plan For Rest of Masters

If you qualify for it, taking the lifetime learning credit is probably better.
by Smorgasbord
Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:22 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Do you invest in Real Estate ? Why ?
Replies: 75
Views: 9627

Re: Do you invest in Real Estate ? Why ?

I own a single family rental. I do so because A) I generally enjoy being a landlord in my small niche, and B) it provides an bit of investment diversification.
by Smorgasbord
Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: $1M Term Life Insurance
Replies: 14
Views: 1816

Re: $1M Term Life Insurance

I am looking at cashing in my whole life insurance policy for term life. I see there's a max of 35 years. What kind of health do you have to be to get the best rates? $1M seems to be $1K annually. I am thinking about maybe $500K-$750K for ~$500/annually.Thoughts? Based on your previous posts, you'r...
by Smorgasbord
Sun Jun 17, 2018 5:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much (green) cash at home for emergency ?
Replies: 169
Views: 15616

Re: How much (green) cash at home for emergency ?

Unless you are running from the law and need to stay hidden, why would ATMs and banks not be available at the safe area? Power outage, natural disaster, etc. Okay, if fleeing a natural disaster why would you stop at an area that's been so badly damaged that there wouldn't be banks or ATMs available...
by Smorgasbord
Sun Jun 17, 2018 3:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much (green) cash at home for emergency ?
Replies: 169
Views: 15616

Re: How much (green) cash at home for emergency ?

burt wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 2:29 pm
My question is: how much cash should I have to evacuate and reside in a safe area for 2 months or longer?
Is $10,000 green cash hidden on the premises reasonable ?
Unless you are running from the law and need to stay hidden, why would ATMs and banks not be available at the safe area?
by Smorgasbord
Thu Jun 14, 2018 6:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: cooling upstairs floor without central AC
Replies: 26
Views: 2461

Re: cooling upstairs floor without central AC

My house has a finished attic that gets rather hot in the summer, and it also only has two windows. I put a dual fan in each window, and when the outside air is warmer than the temperature of the main floor one of the window fans blows in and the other blows out to create a breeze through the attic ...
by Smorgasbord
Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:26 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Renting vs Buying a Home
Replies: 24
Views: 1918

Re: Renting vs Buying a Home

I know this is a very complicated question that has a ton of facets...but I want to try and broach the topic of whether I should look into buying a home vs. continuing to rent (because of the 'why not pay towards equity rather than paying someone else's mortgage' thought). *** paying about 1200/mon...
by Smorgasbord
Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:57 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is the Dow Jones Industrial Average a useful metric?
Replies: 28
Views: 1707

Re: Is the Dow Jones Industrial Average a useful metric?

I would also add that, in my opinion, reporting the SP500 isn't useful at least 95% of the time.
by Smorgasbord
Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:47 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is the Dow Jones Industrial Average a useful metric?
Replies: 28
Views: 1707

Re: Is the Dow Jones Industrial Average a useful metric?

Sure, it's a useful metric in that it has a long record so modern events can be put into a larger historical context.
by Smorgasbord
Sun Jun 10, 2018 9:28 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 529 Grade School Strategy, all excess Cash to 529?
Replies: 2
Views: 237

Re: 529 Grade School Strategy, all excess Cash to 529?

Indiana really has a great tax benefit, but before making long term plans I would suggest taking a good look at Indiana house bill 1039 that appears to have quite broad support from both sides of the aisle. https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2018/bills/house/1039 My kids are a bit younger at 3 and 2 mon...
by Smorgasbord
Sat Jun 09, 2018 7:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Foreign language immersion daycare
Replies: 50
Views: 2970

Re: Foreign language immersion daycare

My preference would just be to hire a nanny fluent in your language of choice rather than having a marathon commute with a fussy toddler in the back. In a previous post Cash mentioned they lived in Florida, so it should be pretty easy to find one that speaks Spanish.
by Smorgasbord
Thu Jun 07, 2018 9:10 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much to budget for a week long vacation for 2?
Replies: 79
Views: 4827

Re: How much to budget for a week long vacation for 2?

My opinion would be $2,000 and up for a week. The low end of the spectrum assumes the destination is within driving distance, the hotel room is sub-$150 a night, and daily event tickets are not needed (e.g., week at the beach vs a week skiing).
by Smorgasbord
Wed Jun 06, 2018 6:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is there a forum for legal matters?
Replies: 18
Views: 2012

Re: Is there a forum for legal matters?

For the niche of patent prosecution I suggest http://www.intelproplaw.com/ip_forum/index.php.
by Smorgasbord
Wed Jun 06, 2018 4:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Masonry Wood-Burning Fireplace Issues
Replies: 25
Views: 1544

Re: Masonry Wood-Burning Fireplace Issues

I have a rental property with two fireplaces/chimneys, and get them inspected / swept every year. At least where I am, sweeps are quite reasonable (especially if done outside of the busy fall/winter season). Last year, I paid about $160 for the inspection / sweep process. That being said, my primary...
by Smorgasbord
Wed Jun 06, 2018 8:47 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage interest during life of loan
Replies: 6
Views: 888

Re: Mortgage interest during life of loan

I was curious as to whether some context was left out, so here is a link to the investopedia question: https://www.investopedia.com/advisor-network/questions/should-i-use-my-extra-money-each-month-invest-or-pay-towards-balance-my/ It seems worse than what RetiredNewbie quoted as Steve Kaplan include...
by Smorgasbord
Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I replace my water heater?
Replies: 50
Views: 3333

Re: Should I replace my water heater?

Am I the only one who expects that a drain pan will include a drain to allow the water to "drain". In my case, while the bottom didn't fall out of the water tank, it certainly did leak at a pretty good rate. The drain easily prevented the pan from overflowing. A 3/4" pipe can output 20+ gallons a m...
by Smorgasbord
Tue Jun 05, 2018 3:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I replace my water heater?
Replies: 50
Views: 3333

Re: Should I replace my water heater?

How far away from the drain is the water heater located from the drain? Assuming it's not super far, if I were in your situation I'd probably just spend a few dollars lay down a clear caulk channel around the water heater leading to the drain, and then wait for the thing to start leaking.
by Smorgasbord
Thu May 31, 2018 4:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?
Replies: 191
Views: 18473

Re: $5

I once took a bourbon tasting class and my one take away from the instructor was to never pay more than ~$50 for a bottle of bourbon. Up to $50 can be justified in taste and quality, however anything above that is paying for marketing. I'd add that if you're mixing the bourbon with anything other t...
by Smorgasbord
Thu May 31, 2018 10:00 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Roommate in a house?
Replies: 32
Views: 3171

Re: Roommate in a house?

At one point, a friend and my (now) wife were living in a house that I owned. We just split things up with a bit of rent collected under the table since I was the one covering the PITI. One year, the friend decided to take the state's renter's credit on her taxes and I distinctly remember having to ...
by Smorgasbord
Wed May 30, 2018 5:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Family Summer Beach / Lake House Destinations
Replies: 16
Views: 1770

Re: Family Summer Beach / Lake House Destinations

Every summer growing up, my extended family would rent a big house at Rehoboth Beach Delaware. There was enough there to keep 25 people ages newborn to 80 entertained for a week.
by Smorgasbord
Wed May 30, 2018 6:41 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can 529 plan be used for overseas k12 school?
Replies: 4
Views: 510

Re: Can 529 plan be used for overseas k12 school?

I'm not sure about the overseas part, but I know the K-12 part now depends on the state the plan was set up in.
by Smorgasbord
Sat May 26, 2018 9:06 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Misuse of the word "technology" in finance
Replies: 19
Views: 1398

Re: Misuse of the word "technology" in finance

On this list of tech companies (using my definition of "having lots of patents"), I was a bit surprised that Cannon is number three.
https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/09/ibm-l ... irst-time/
by Smorgasbord
Thu May 24, 2018 8:50 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Renting vs Owning Your Home
Replies: 166
Views: 14715

Re: Renting vs Owning Your Home

This is a neat data point -- thanks for sharing. Not sure I understand the $20K investment loss due to down payment. Isn't there an investment loss associated with all costs, not just the down payment? You're absolutely right that potential investment losses should also be factored in for the other...
by Smorgasbord
Thu May 24, 2018 5:05 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Renting vs Owning Your Home
Replies: 166
Views: 14715

Re: Renting vs Owning Your Home

This is good. Did you factor in home owners insurance vs renters insurance? $1,300 vs $70, so $1,230 per year more being in the house. Our home utilities are more than if we rent, but I can see why excluding that makes sense. Utilities and related vary quite a bit. There is also a time/money factor...
by Smorgasbord
Thu May 24, 2018 8:44 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Renting vs Owning Your Home
Replies: 166
Views: 14715

Re: Renting vs Owning Your Home

Before I bought my house, it was a rental so I have a good idea of what it would actually rent for. Running the numbers comparing the cost of renting the house vs buying it, it looks like buying was about 8% less expensive than renting. I was in the house for 7 years, and had I moved out much sooner...