Search found 421 matches

by hightower
Wed Feb 21, 2018 3:46 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Balance in Marriage and Student Loans
Replies: 26
Views: 1770

Re: Balance in Marriage and Student Loans

My initial thoughts are that if you two are getting married and plan on combining finances, it's in both of your best interests to get rid of those relatively high interest student loans asap. I would do the following: 1. From your savings, hold on to about 6 months of living expenses as an efund in...
by hightower
Wed Feb 21, 2018 1:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Home Refinancing Advice - First Home Buyer
Replies: 9
Views: 595

Re: Home Refinancing Advice - First Home Buyer

I'm guessing you didn't own any property during the 2008/2009 housing and market crash? That's a risky loan you have right now. I'd refinance (no cash out) and get a 15 year or 30 year fixed with the proper 80-20 loan to value ratio or better.
by hightower
Wed Feb 21, 2018 6:50 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: The Age Old Question: Invest or Pay Down Student Loans
Replies: 8
Views: 530

Re: The Age Old Question: Invest or Pay Down Student Loans

I agree, refinance and make paying them off a priority now. The longer you hold on to them, the longer they will be a thorn in your side. At 26 years old, you've got plenty of time to save. I would get rid of the loans first. Take advantage of any employer sponsored retirement plan matches, but outs...
by hightower
Wed Feb 21, 2018 6:45 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Will REIT funds ever see another drawdown like 2008?
Replies: 51
Views: 4403

Re: Will REIT funds ever see another drawdown like 2008?

Buy and hold. 30 years from now they'll be up
by hightower
Tue Feb 20, 2018 10:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What big item (>20k) are you saving up for?
Replies: 133
Views: 9590

Re: What big item (>20k) are you saving up for?

I’m saving up $88,000 to pay off my student loans
by hightower
Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Signed up for American Express - "Premium" car rental insurance
Replies: 46
Views: 2693

Re: Signed up for American Express - "Premium" car rental insurance

Just to add my experience with American Express. First, they offer rental car insurance without paying for it, just by using your amex to book the rental. We used this option a couple years ago when we rented a car in Hawaii. While parked in a parking lot, someone backed into the car and caused som...
by hightower
Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:43 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Signed up for American Express - "Premium" car rental insurance
Replies: 46
Views: 2693

Re: Signed up for American Express - "Premium" car rental insurance

Just to add my experience with American Express. First, they offer rental car insurance without paying for it, just by using your amex to book the rental. We used this option a couple years ago when we rented a car in Hawaii. While parked in a parking lot, someone backed into the car and caused some...
by hightower
Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:05 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Sell me on the benefits of an emergency fund
Replies: 119
Views: 6771

Re: Sell me on the benefits of an emergency fund

For me keeping an efund depends on how secure I feel in my job. I'm well insured against disability so i'm not worried about losing my job for that reason. But, if I were concerned about my line of work drying up at any time, I'd be more inclined to keep at least 3-6 months cash on hand to cover me ...
by hightower
Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Used Chevy Volt - Which year should I look at?
Replies: 33
Views: 2484

Re: Used Chevy Volt - Which year should I look at?

My brother in law drive a Volt and he now wishes he would have waited for the Bolt. He says he hates that he has to plug it in every single day whereas with a bolt he could drive for multiple days in a row without charging it. If you don't drive a lot, you'll have very low cost of ownership with a ...
by hightower
Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:34 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Please critique my portfolio and savings
Replies: 9
Views: 1195

Re: Please critique my portfolio and savings

55% of your total portfolio is cash. That's a bit crazy. You're missing out on growth of over half of your portfolio. Reduce that to just 6 months living expenses and you'll still be in great shape if an emergency arises. Invest the rest according to your target AA and stop worrying about it. In fac...
by hightower
Wed Feb 14, 2018 10:19 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you think it is worth the money to travel to warm weather destinations during the winter?
Replies: 77
Views: 6427

Re: Do you think it is worth the money to travel to warm weather destinations during the winter?

I was pricing a Na Pali boat tour yesterday for our June Hawaii trip and the price was higher for the summer months because it was during their "high season". I would think Hawaii's high season was the winter months. Winter is the more heavily visited season in Hawaii. But, boat tours and things in...
by hightower
Wed Feb 14, 2018 10:16 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Used Chevy Volt - Which year should I look at?
Replies: 33
Views: 2484

Re: Used Chevy Volt - Which year should I look at?

I finally need another car, and I've been eyeing Chevy Volts for a long time. I don't want to lease, as my plan to is to keep it for a long time, and I'm not that bothered by technology changes. As long as I can handle the range anxiety, I'm good. Not that I drive a lot - I barely average a couple ...
by hightower
Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you think it is worth the money to travel to warm weather destinations during the winter?
Replies: 77
Views: 6427

Re: Do you think it is worth the money to travel to warm weather destinations during the winter?

Sandtrap wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:55 am

Other friends have homes in cold climates and condos or townhouses in Hawaii. They are year round snowbirds.
That is my dream
by hightower
Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you think it is worth the money to travel to warm weather destinations during the winter?
Replies: 77
Views: 6427

Re: Do you think it is worth the money to travel to warm weather destinations during the winter?

You would have likely found a lot better deals if you had booked something a few months ago. Many of the best deals are booked by people that make reservations up to a year in advance so many of the nicer or more affordable hotels are fully booked now. So it is true that airfare goes up the closer ...
by hightower
Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you think it is worth the money to travel to warm weather destinations during the winter?
Replies: 77
Views: 6427

Re: Do you think it is worth the money to travel to warm weather destinations during the winter?

In my opinion it's totally worth it. I wouldn't do it if it's going to break your bank account though. My wife and I have been fortunate enough to travel a lot over the last 5 or 6 years. For at least the last 3 years, including next month, we've gone to Hawaii in February. I can't tell you how amaz...
by hightower
Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New car - how much can we afford?
Replies: 78
Views: 5622

Re: New car - how much can we afford?

I dont remember where I first heard it, but I like the 20% of salary rule of thumb. For you that would mean 28k and pay cash. I know..standard thread that appears every other day on the board, today is my turn. Me: 29 Girlfriend: 30 We are expecting a baby end of the year and we need a bigger car. I...
by hightower
Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:54 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What's your U.S. : International ratio?
Replies: 169
Views: 31623

Re: What's your U.S. : International ratio?

I have 10% of my total portfolio in VXUS. The rest is all US based and includes 10% REITs. No judgments here, but I'm curious as to why so many people on here have such large or increasing holdings of international equities? For example, since inception, vanguard total stock market has done quite a ...
by hightower
Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:52 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 26yr old - Check Up - How am I doing?
Replies: 9
Views: 1437

Re: 26yr old - Check Up - How am I doing?

Thank you all for the responses. Great feedback and advice so far. Do any of you all have suggestions for reputable online savings accounts? I see Ally mentioned a lot on here... I've been using Ally for over 10 years now and love it. Great company, great online platform, easy to use. I remember wh...
by hightower
Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: House renovation financing
Replies: 17
Views: 1207

Re: House renovation financing

If you can not afford to pay for renovations out of your annual income [while saving for retirement], you can not afford to do the renovations. I disagree with this. House renovations can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and not many people have that kind of cash sitting around. Using a mortga...
by hightower
Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:43 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: House renovation financing
Replies: 17
Views: 1207

Re: House renovation financing

I recently finished a whole house renovation with my wife on an old building (1880s). We bought it cheap and started pouring cash into it. Initially we used some savings and borrowed from the in-laws. Once the value of the home started to rise we refinanced and took out a HELOC. Over 5 years we refi...
by hightower
Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:37 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 26yr old - Check Up - How am I doing?
Replies: 9
Views: 1437

Re: 26yr old - Check Up - How am I doing?

You guys are killing it for your age. Not many 24-26 year olds have this kind of awareness of their finances. I certainly didn't. I was 34 before I started to pay attention like this. Great work! I would not contribute to a taxable account though for savings for things like vehicles or house down pa...
by hightower
Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:23 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: advice for too much student debt and a bit of extra cash
Replies: 3
Views: 256

Re: advice for too much student debt and a bit of extra cash

Hello! It makes zero sense to hold on to $95k cash when you are strapped with 280k of student loans and an 11k car loan. You need to pay off the car loan asap...like today. Empty your traditional IRA and use that and any remaining funds to pay off a big chunk of your student loans. Pay off any small...
by hightower
Sun Feb 04, 2018 6:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How risky is Med school student loan debt?
Replies: 151
Views: 9446

Re: How risky is Med school student loan debt?

As others have said, as long as a medical student matches in to a categorical residency and completes it, things will be generally OK. You need to add to this: "AND passes specialty board certification exam." Very few hospitals and physician groups will consider non-board certified physicians these...
by hightower
Sun Feb 04, 2018 6:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How risky is Med school student loan debt?
Replies: 151
Views: 9446

Re: How risky is Med school student loan debt?

If you want to avoid debt in medical school, some combined MD/PhD programs waive tuition and even provide a stipend. Doing a PhD definitely isn't for everyone, and it adds years of schooling. But it can allow you to graduate with much less debt, possibly debt free. MD/PhD programs are incredibly di...
by hightower
Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How risky is Med school student loan debt?
Replies: 151
Views: 9446

Re: How risky is Med school student loan debt?

I see lots of posts from Docs on this site with mounds of student loans, and following that mounds of income. How many people end up saddled with 150k+ debt but miss out on the high income jobs afterwards? I think right now it's still a pretty solid career to "invest" in, but could change significa...
by hightower
Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: general "am I on the right track" question
Replies: 29
Views: 2561

Re: general "am I on the right track" question

I like your overall strategy. People are commenting on your stocks because bogleheads.org is the land of index fund investors;) I agree with renting in that market, but it's a hot topic on these forums so you'll likely get different opinions on this.
by hightower
Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:31 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Why do many bogleheads feel they can time the housing market but can't time the stock market?
Replies: 63
Views: 4653

Re: Why do many bogleheads feel they can time the housing market but can't time the stock market?

So, another question that would be equally fair to ask is "Why do so many bogleheads think it's okay to invest most of one's net worth in a single, risky asset such as a piece of real estate, but discourage stock picking shares of a single company?" The word "invest" that I bolded in red in your se...
by hightower
Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:24 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: The big 5-0 and financial check up-advice please
Replies: 9
Views: 1663

Re: The big 5-0 and financial check up-advice please

Looks like you're on track to me. Not much to add other than stay the course.
by hightower
Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:15 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Why do many bogleheads feel they can time the housing market but can't time the stock market?
Replies: 63
Views: 4653

Re: Why do many bogleheads feel they can time the housing market but can't time the stock market?

if its possible to time the housing market then why not time the stock market? It's a fair question, I'll give you that. But, I don't necessarily think people are trying to time the housing market, rather prevent others from paying too much for a place to live. I think housing gets more of the "wai...
by hightower
Sun Feb 04, 2018 4:48 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Anyone else cashing out on *some* of the crazy earnings?
Replies: 74
Views: 8282

Re: Anyone else cashing out on *some* of the crazy earnings?

Going to throw this out there, pretty much knowing what people are going to say. But how many others are out there, thinking the same way. Account is up a very healthy amount the last year, not to mention just the last 4 weeks (well into the 5 figures). I think the run up in the last year is 80% em...
by hightower
Sun Feb 04, 2018 4:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can I afford this house?
Replies: 50
Views: 4376

Re: Can I afford this house?

@panchilly The point is not to argue whether or not the housing market is about to crash in California. The point is that the OP is placing all of their eggs in one basket...a single property. That is inherently risky because a housing market crash could wipe out a significant portion of her net wor...
by hightower
Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can I afford this house?
Replies: 50
Views: 4376

Re: Can I afford this house?

I’m having anxiety and need some advise.. . . The monthly cost on this townhouse will be about $8500 and that’s after giving up about $750k to put as a down payment. Once we sell our condo, we will have about $500k in liquid assets (not including retirement Accounts that are at about $700k) My fami...
by hightower
Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can I afford this house?
Replies: 50
Views: 4376

Re: Can I afford this house?

I’m having anxiety and need some advise.. . . The monthly cost on this townhouse will be about $8500 and that’s after giving up about $750k to put as a down payment. Once we sell our condo, we will have about $500k in liquid assets (not including retirement Accounts that are at about $700k) My fami...
by hightower
Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can I afford this house?
Replies: 50
Views: 4376

Re: Can I afford this house?

I’m having anxiety and need some advise. I live in the Bay Area where housing is crazy, as everyone knows. Every year we think the market can’t go any higher and my neighborhood went up 20% in 2017. Sigh My family (me (35), husband (35), daughter (1), and probably baby #2 in the near future) lives ...
by hightower
Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:21 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: A Not Paying Off the Mortgage Thread
Replies: 38
Views: 5276

Re: A Not Paying Off the Mortgage Thread

As requested I am editing this post. Updated January 29 around 9:45PM EST. Portions in parentheses are not integral to assisting me here; I only chose not to remove them because they do offer some insight into my personal situation and because many have already utilized the information to respond t...
by hightower
Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:55 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Can I afford this home?
Replies: 25
Views: 1823

Re: Can I afford this home?

Hi all, Trying to figure this out, and would appreciate the input. We recently saw a house we like, in the right location, good public schools, the right size, etc. But it's price is significantly higher than we thought we would spend, at 2.2 mil (we live in an expensive metro area). We have never ...
by hightower
Sat Feb 03, 2018 9:05 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: U.S. stocks in freefall
Replies: 5600
Views: 1266483

Re: U.S. stocks in freefall

Wake me up when VTI hits $100/share. This is nothing, but I hope it turns into a big time bear market. I'm young and need to buy a lot of shares.
by hightower
Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:44 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying a house, 15yr vs 30yr loan?
Replies: 29
Views: 2930

Re: Buying a house, 15yr vs 30yr loan?

With the loss of full SALT deductions, I will no longer be itemizing on my tax returns. Therefore it is best for me to pay off my mortgage faster and have a lower interest rate. I am currently in the process of refinancing to a 15 year mortgage at 3.25%. Just had my appraisal the other day and shoul...
by hightower
Sat Jan 27, 2018 8:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Take loan off net worth?
Replies: 17
Views: 1099

Re: Take loan off net worth?

I never understand why people don't consider their property (cars, motorcycles, boats) as real assets. Sure they go down in value each year (usually), but that doesn't mean they are worth nothing. I own 2 cars, one worth around $14k the other around $40k. No loans on either of them. That's $54k I co...
by hightower
Fri Jan 26, 2018 5:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I focus on paying down student loans during a Bear Market?
Replies: 14
Views: 1075

Re: Should I focus on paying down student loans during a Bear Market?

I have a large medical student loan >$200K that was refinanced at a fixed interest rate of 2.95% over a 10 year term. Each month I pay the minimum balance due. My wife and I are in our early 30's and just started saving for retirement 2 years ago. We max out our 401k's, backdoor Roth's, and periodi...
by hightower
Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are 100-year old homes junk?
Replies: 62
Views: 2268

Re: Are 100-year old homes junk?

I don't know what you really do to take care of plumbing and electrical except not put things in the drain that you shouldn't. Not really sure what you are asking in that respect. How can you be sure that every outlet is designed to handle the load you put into it. For example, if I plug an iron in...
by hightower
Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are 100-year old homes junk?
Replies: 62
Views: 2268

Re: Are 100-year old homes junk?

NO they are not JUNK! If properly maintained over the years and updated with modern amenities (proper insulation, new mechanics, restored windows fitted with storms, etc) they are arguably better than modern homes. The materials used to construct homes 100 years ago aren't even available today. Wood...
by hightower
Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New tax law and changes to paycheck
Replies: 20
Views: 2016

Re: New tax law and changes to paycheck

FWIW, don't expect changes anytime soon. My HR dept told me it would likely be April or May before the changes finally take effect on our paycheck :shock:
by hightower
Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Kauai Travel Tips
Replies: 43
Views: 2303

Re: Kauai Travel Tips

OP: My wife and I were just in Kauai with her family and one of our friends this past February 2017. We LOVED it there. I would recommend you stay in Hanalei. There's a group of cottages called Dolphin Cottages that we stayed in and they were perfect for us all. They include laundry machines too! Se...
by hightower
Sun Jan 21, 2018 7:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How does Tax Reform affect Refi with Cash out?
Replies: 13
Views: 926

Re: How does Tax Reform affect Refi with Cash out?

I currently have a 15-year mortgage at 4.25% with a remaining balance of about $30K. I am thinking about refinancing with cash out to cover unexpected expenses that have exceeded my emergency funds. If I were in a position to itemize, would all the interest on the new loan be deductible as mortgage...
by hightower
Sat Jan 20, 2018 4:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can We Retire in Hawaii? Please Critique
Replies: 146
Views: 13560

Re: Can We Retire in Hawaii? Please Critique

I'm not afraid to admit I was wrong. I initially looked at your finances and thought there was "no way" you should be contemplating a move to HI, but after hearing further detail regarding your situation (especially the military medical coverage) and the specifics from some actual locals, I think it...
by hightower
Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tracking progress to $1M portfolio and no mortgage by 40
Replies: 85
Views: 19160

Re: Tracking progress to $1M portfolio and no mortgage by 40

I think you're doing all the right things at this point. I don't necessarily think you need to pay off your mortgage at such a young age. You could try refinancing to a better rate and do a 15 year term? That would allow you to put more cash in investment accounts now, which ultimately will pay off ...
by hightower
Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:21 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 4k UHD TVs worth it?
Replies: 66
Views: 5053

Re: 4k UHD TVs worth it?

Well, I'm certainly glad I asked. It sounds like most of you don't think they are worth it. I did go and look at these TVs yesterday and I could definitely tell there was a fairly big difference in picture quality compared to my current TV, but it wasn't "shocking." The OLED TVs were pretty darn imp...
by hightower
Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:07 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: To the doctors on the forum
Replies: 88
Views: 5370

Re: To the doctors on the forum

I just have to ask all the Drs here... Why, in this day and age of HDHP, is it still so difficult to get a Dr, or the office, to tell you what a procedure will cost? Recently had an issue where wife needs and MRI. We wanted to shop this to some MRI specialist places. Ortho response was “why? You ha...
by hightower
Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 4k UHD TVs worth it?
Replies: 66
Views: 5053

4k UHD TVs worth it?

I don't know if I'm just bored or what, but lately I've been looking into buying a new TV even though we don't "need" one. We have a 6-7 year old Samsung LCD 1080P TV now. I'm amazed at how cheap the new 4k UHD TVs are right now and it's tempting me to upgrade, especially now that all the streaming ...