Search found 321 matches

by Smorgasbord
Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 529 Plan For Rest of Masters
Replies: 1
Views: 194

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: 55
Views: 4767

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: 1564

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
Tue Jun 19, 2018 8:51 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Messy Divorce -- Forensic Accounting Help....
Replies: 120
Views: 9718

Re: Messy Divorce -- Forensic Accounting Help....

I can see that whenever her account accumulated too much money, she would cut a check for $3000 or $5000 or $8000, but I know not to where. If I add up those funny checks, it probably totals about $85k (after tax, obviously) from 2003-2012. I thought she was a spendthrift....she actually might be a...
by Smorgasbord
Sun Jun 17, 2018 5:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much (green) cash at home for emergency ?
Replies: 114
Views: 8509

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: 114
Views: 8509

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: 19
Views: 1261

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: 1598

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: 1347

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: 1347

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: 194

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: 2565

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: 4266

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: 1797

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: 1356

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: 787

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: 30
Views: 1353

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: 30
Views: 1353

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: 186
Views: 15390

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: 2930

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: 1631

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: 380

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: 1199

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: 13352

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: 13352

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: 13352

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...
by Smorgasbord
Wed May 23, 2018 10:11 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Parents with pre-K kids and 529 target
Replies: 50
Views: 2959

Re: Parents with pre-K kids and 529 target

My question is that if you have a child or a few do you have a target for their 529 at a certain age before you plan to flip your investing strategy to taxable? My state, Indiana, has a very generous tax deduction for the first $5,000 per year so that's what I contribute. With a three year old, a n...
by Smorgasbord
Sat May 19, 2018 3:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Finance a $28,000 house for Brother?
Replies: 73
Views: 5416

Re: Finance a $28,000 house for Brother?

About nine months ago you wrote the following. How have these numbers changed?
UTgrad wrote:
Sun Aug 27, 2017 9:40 pm
Age: 26
Married, 2 kids
Income: 90k net
Debt: 200k houses (1 primary 1rental)
Emergency fund: 15k
Investments: none
Expenses: 36k (incl mtg)
by Smorgasbord
Fri May 18, 2018 12:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mitsubishi wall air conditioner
Replies: 34
Views: 2248

Re: Mitsubishi wall air conditioner

Oman is hot, but not that hot. It's cooler than Arizona. The average high temperature in the hottest month of the summer is only 105 degrees in Muscat, Oman. It's 115 degrees in Phoenix, Arizona. Phoenix has higher highs, but I'd still call Oman hotter. For example, this coming Sunday, Muscat will ...
by Smorgasbord
Fri May 18, 2018 9:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mitsubishi wall air conditioner
Replies: 34
Views: 2248

Re: Mitsubishi wall air conditioner

How much cooling you experience depends solely on the cooling capacity installed. Your local climate makes a HUGE difference. I live in a very hot climate and we need around 12,000 BTU (one ton) per 120 sq ft of typical floor space. Either that is a typo or you live on Mercury. Even in US Zone 5, 2...
by Smorgasbord
Wed May 16, 2018 9:43 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can a <median household save 1 year of expenses every year?
Replies: 158
Views: 8122

Re: Can a <median household save 1 year of expenses every year?

I think that is key...filtering by criteria as no city has all housing, etc. like that. I think relying on mass transit isn't the way to go as our transit system changed and now walkable is the only choice. Most everything is walkable from our house so if our old cars fail to start, we can walk to ...
by Smorgasbord
Tue May 15, 2018 12:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can a <median household save 1 year of expenses every year?
Replies: 158
Views: 8122

Re: Can a <median household save 1 year of expenses every year?

I didn't meant to "limit" it to multiple people households. There are single folks living alone and making six figures or more as well, right? How about established households... not grad students living on a cot and eating Ramen in someone's basement? :happy Sure, there are single people making mi...
by Smorgasbord
Tue May 15, 2018 12:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can a <median household save 1 year of expenses every year?
Replies: 158
Views: 8122

Re: Can a <median household save 1 year of expenses every year?

To those talking about grad school days and to Triceratop... could you pull that off with a family and all involved there? That's what I think of when the median household is talked about. Not single folks with little responsibilities and minimal bills. If we are limiting households to just familie...
by Smorgasbord
Mon May 14, 2018 5:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can a <median household save 1 year of expenses every year?
Replies: 158
Views: 8122

Re: Can a <median household save 1 year of expenses every year?

In grad school I was making about $19,000 a year and was investing $8400 a year ($700 a month). Assuming I spent everything else, that would mean I was saving a year's worth of expenses every 15 months, so I was close to the hypothetical situation. Had I not bought a $4000 TV, or taken up aviation a...
by Smorgasbord
Sun May 06, 2018 1:22 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Start 529 Plan?
Replies: 45
Views: 2118

Re: Start 529 Plan?

Smorgasbord,What is the AA of your 529 versus your main portfolio? That is the complication. KlangFool Right now they are both structured for draw downs to begin in 15+ years, so they are approximately the same. I suppose if I wanted to avoid the complication of adjusting the 529 plan I would go wi...
by Smorgasbord
Sun May 06, 2018 11:07 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Start 529 Plan?
Replies: 45
Views: 2118

Re: Start 529 Plan?

How much extra effort is it to use a 529 plan? For me it took maybe an hour or so to set the thing up, and then 10 minutes a year (2 minutes to enter the numbers into TurboTax and 8 minutes to do the ACH transfer) to get my state's $1,000 a year 529 tax credit.
by Smorgasbord
Sun May 06, 2018 8:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do we spend too much on food?
Replies: 71
Views: 6227

Re: Do we spend too much on food?

I just ran through the math and realized that our monthly groceries (including household items) average about $1300. In addition, we spend about $600 per month dining out...How does this match up with others? Those numbers are tough to gauge without more background, so here's an older post: My wife...
by Smorgasbord
Fri May 04, 2018 5:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Growing Fruit Trees and Shrubs
Replies: 30
Views: 2523

Re: Growing Fruit Trees and Shrubs

I'm in the suburbs of Chicago, right on lake Michigan, so I can't do citrus or anything that can't stand the cold, but last year I put in 200 pawpaws and 100 persimmons into my yard (planted 3 per hole since they were small and from state nursery) along with 6 blackberry bushes. The main pest in my ...
by Smorgasbord
Fri May 04, 2018 9:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Warning: avoid Windows 10 update 1803
Replies: 91
Views: 9604

Re: Warning: avoid Windows 10 update 1803

Nothing specific to that particular update, but Windows 10 really like changing my settings back to default after every stupid update. Luckily, after the 10th time reengaging Loudness Equalization or adjusting the screen overfill I've gotten quite speedy at it. :happy
by Smorgasbord
Thu May 03, 2018 9:21 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying a house and High tax state.. Does it make sense anymore??
Replies: 28
Views: 2247

Re: Buying a house and High tax blue state.. Does it make sense anymore??

So each year your landlord hands over the first 7 months of rent collected to the state? Ouch. Seems like a lousy deal for your landlord and a great deal for you. I'd keep renting. Also, your "I fear if the price keeps raising, it may one day become too much for me to buy" comment reminds me of the ...
by Smorgasbord
Wed May 02, 2018 4:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New AC - Brand/SEER
Replies: 16
Views: 1050

Re: New AC - Brand/SEER

I'm also in the Chicago suburbs (NWI). Last year I put in a brand new AC system in my house, and it got used all of one time. With the big lake still in the mid-40s in early May, it is not looking good for much use this year either. :oops:
by Smorgasbord
Wed May 02, 2018 3:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Not Wasting Food
Replies: 60
Views: 3659

Re: Not Wasting Food

At least twice a week I eat rice & beans, and twice a week I eat oatmeal. It has been a very long time since I've had leftovers that didn't go well into at least one of those meals. Back in Grad School, I would often do my part to reduce food waste (and get a free meal) by walking around the upper f...
by Smorgasbord
Tue May 01, 2018 5:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When/how did you start teaching your child about personal finance?
Replies: 34
Views: 2614

Re: When/how did you start teaching your child about personal finance?

When my son was 2 I started trying to get him to understand the concept of delayed gratification in a manner similar to the Standford Marshmallow Experiment. It's still a work in progress. :D
by Smorgasbord
Tue May 01, 2018 3:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Nontraditional Cruising
Replies: 21
Views: 2402

Re: Nontraditional Cruising

I did a three day trip down the Yangtze before the Three Gorges dam was operational. The only westerners on the boat were myself and another guy; it was pretty neat and definitely not the standard Caribbean Cruise. I also did a two week cruise to Antarctica on a Quark boat. I believe there were 80-1...
by Smorgasbord
Mon Apr 30, 2018 4:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Must See in South Dakota
Replies: 58
Views: 4229

Re: Must See in South Dakota

About 25 years ago I went on a month long road trip with the Boy Scouts, and one of the places we stopped was Mount Rushmore. From the perspective of a 13 year old, I remember it being interesting for maybe half an hour and then was ready to leave.
by Smorgasbord
Thu Apr 26, 2018 6:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: COMCAST - Modem / Router recommendation
Replies: 28
Views: 1795

Re: COMCAST - Modem / Router recommendation

Back around the first of the year I was planning to switch my DSL to Cable for a couple months (to qualify as a new DSL customer :oops: ), and ended up buying a DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem Plus N300 Router Model MG7310 Modem/Router Combo for $30 off Ebay. I was planning on getting Comcast's 60 meg servic...
by Smorgasbord
Fri Apr 20, 2018 11:47 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Interesting vs higher paying job
Replies: 40
Views: 3230

Re: Interesting vs higher paying job

I'd say a lot depends on the actual salaries of the two jobs, and the higher they are the more I'd go for the interesting work. If the interesting job was $55,000 and the boring job was at $110,000, I'd take the boring job. If the interesting one was at $500k and the boring one was at a million, I'd...
by Smorgasbord
Fri Apr 20, 2018 9:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Effects of 20% Down payment over time, thoughts?
Replies: 19
Views: 2493

Re: Effects of 20% Down payment over time, thoughts?

I don't see inflation factored into the calculation. Total amounts paid are somewhat meaningless because a 2048 dollar will likely be quite different than 2018 dollar.
by Smorgasbord
Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Too much rent?
Replies: 21
Views: 1978

Re: Too much rent?

$2,000 a month rent on a $500k house seems like a screaming good deal to me. Using this random GA house as a guide, you'd be paying about $6,000 a year in property taxes for that house. Add in 1% ($5k) for maintenance and it seems that the landlords are subsidizing the renters in hopes of continued ...
by Smorgasbord
Fri Apr 13, 2018 12:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is a reduction of my home's assessed value a bad thing?
Replies: 21
Views: 1320

Re: Is a reduction of my home's assessed value a bad thing?

I don't dispute being a bit odd, in my last three real estate purchases I definitely looked at the assessed value...and I always favored the one properties that were under-assessed.