Search found 51 matches

by johan_s
Sat Jan 11, 2020 8:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What are you listening to now
Replies: 155
Views: 8280

Re: What are you listening to now

As a drummer, I did bust out the Rush albums last night.

Lots of Miles Davis responses; I’ve really been into Ambrose Akinmusire recently. He’s an outstanding trumpet player. I have tickets to see him with Jack DeJohnette in March down in NYC.
by johan_s
Tue Dec 24, 2019 7:03 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Mexico Camping in June with Kids
Replies: 12
Views: 984

Re: New Mexico Camping in June with Kids

Bandelier National Monument is a spectacular park, with Native American cliff dwellings that your kids would probably love to visit. I haven't camped there myself, but I have seen their campgrounds and they look very nice. The park is close to Los Alamos, with the Bradbury Museum, and about an hour...
by johan_s
Mon Nov 18, 2019 6:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Federal Blue Cross Standard versus Basic
Replies: 66
Views: 28059

Re: Federal Blue Cross Standard versus Basic

I’ve had BCBS Basic for the last 15 years: 7 years single, and eight years with a wife and child. (I’m 41.) We’ve never had any issues with coverage/doctors, having lived in Downeast Maine; Lawrence, Kansas; and now central Vermont. I have a chronic condition requiring regular visits and have six pr...
by johan_s
Sun Oct 13, 2019 3:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Deleted
Replies: 14
Views: 1542

Re: Deleted

No one actually answered the questions I posted, so deleting the body of the post. It looks like your question was only up for 3 hours and 10 minutes. It may often take longer than that to get an answer you find useful. Especially on a Sunday morning, many of us may not have even had our morning ca...
by johan_s
Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Subaru and the oil consumption problem
Replies: 6
Views: 1027

Re: Subaru and the oil consumption problem

My ‘13 Forester had the excessive oil consumption issues also and had the short block replaced. It took numerous oil consumption tests and some elevation beyond the dealer to corporate, but it finally happened. The dealer kept telling me it passed and I showed time stamp dated photos that it failed ...
by johan_s
Thu Aug 15, 2019 3:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ponder this, BH's... is Ben & Jerry's worth it?
Replies: 142
Views: 11758

Re: Ponder this, BH's... is Ben & Jerry's worth it?

Yes, it is. Especially when it’s on sale for $2.99 a pint. Freezer gets much more tightly packed.
by johan_s
Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2015 subaru forester 96k, replace or run into the ground?
Replies: 24
Views: 2194

Re: 2015 subaru forester 96k, replace or run into the ground?

Hi, I have a 2015 subaru forester with 98k miles that I purchased in 2014, edmunds calls trade in value $10k, paid $24k. Typically we try for at least seven years for our cars but we didn't have a lot of luck with our last subaru and consumer reports gives it a 3 out of 5 for reliability. sell and ...
by johan_s
Sat Jun 01, 2019 6:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Resources for Federal Employees
Replies: 16
Views: 1366

Re: Resources for Federal Employees

Check with your agency’s HR department or training/learning and development branch. My agency offers regular benefit/retirement seminars for employees. There are usually two versions: one for mid-career employees and one for employees looking to retire in the next couple years. Some are webinars, ot...
by johan_s
Sun May 26, 2019 2:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Three days In Montreal
Replies: 21
Views: 1653

Re: Three days In Montreal

Contemporary Art Museum
Au Pied de Cochon (for foie gras everything)
Les Enfant Terribles (rooftop brunch/bar great views)
Jean Talon market (go hungry)
by johan_s
Wed May 08, 2019 2:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Backpacking/study abroad for young folks
Replies: 31
Views: 2325

Re: Backpacking/study abroad for young folks

I spent my senior year on exchange at a university in England, roughly 11.5 months total. I didn’t want to study with a cohort of American students embedded in a foreign university, and unfortunately I didn’t have the foreign language capability to study in a non-English speaking university. So, I o...
by johan_s
Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Weekend in “west” ... recommendations
Replies: 17
Views: 1313

Re: Weekend in “west” ... recommendations

Rupert wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:52 am
A resort in Santa Fe
+1
by johan_s
Sun Dec 23, 2018 9:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: French Press recommendations
Replies: 24
Views: 1598

Re: French Press recommendations

I’ve used several different glass Bodum French presses over the last 12 years, especially the ~34 oz, as my daily driver. They do the job.I wouldn’t worry about the insulation factor. If you’re leaving the coffee in a press, for more than a couple of minutes, you’re over-extracting it anyway. If you...
by johan_s
Fri Jul 27, 2018 7:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Talk to me about Le Creuset
Replies: 53
Views: 6835

Re: Talk to me about Le Creuset

Muri wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 7:42 pm
That's all I have. Everything else is All Clad Stainless and some cast iron pans.
Ditto.
by johan_s
Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Toughest Purchase of my Life. Engagement Ring time
Replies: 229
Views: 15721

Re: Toughest Purchase of my Life. Engagement Ring time

I found out what her favorite stones were (not diamonds); had the engagement ring custom made with her favorite stone (and wedding band). She much preferred the custom band work and the thoughtfulness of the stone selection over the ‘classic’ I spent a bunch of money on a diamond because everyone el...
by johan_s
Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: A week in Montreal in August, advice/suggestions?
Replies: 14
Views: 931

Re: A week in Montreal in August, advice/suggestions?

Good recommendations in the multi-day itinerary above. I like to eat: Smoked meat sandwich at Schwartz’s deli; bagels at Fairmount; brunch at Les Enfants Terribles (downtown rooftop with amazing views of the city); dinner at Au Pied de Cochon is quite an experience. For lighter dinner fare, we’ve ha...
by johan_s
Mon May 14, 2018 5:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Update] Grand Canyon or other Nat'l Park in October?
Replies: 49
Views: 4166

Re: Grand Canyon or other Nat'l Park in October?

Grand Canyon is spectacular, but Death Valley is the geologists paradise. I’ll just preface by saying my wife also has a masters in Geology. And we’re both park rangers that have worked here. So, I might have a sense of where you’re coming from. ;) It can still be warm, but tolerable, probably up to...
by johan_s
Sun May 13, 2018 7:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Subaru Crosstrek vs Outback
Replies: 32
Views: 3691

Re: Subaru Crosstrek vs Outback

I second the suggestion for Blizzaks on the Subaru in winter. I bought a set for my Forester when we moved up to central Vermont a few years ago and they are excellent winter tires. Performance is much improved over all-seasons.
by johan_s
Sun May 06, 2018 3:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Open-ended question about vacationing in Yosemite or a different national park
Replies: 49
Views: 4647

Re: Open-ended question about vacationing in Yosemite or a different national park

We did Yosemite in early Sep of 2016. Was very crowded. Wife got car sick going round and round the mountain road to get there with the 10 or 15 mph constant turning. Yosemite is relatively small. 3 or 4 million tourists pack into an area that is only maybe 3 miles by 2 miles. In contrast is Yellow...
by johan_s
Tue May 01, 2018 5:07 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: New Poster Asking for Portfolio Review
Replies: 6
Views: 1105

Re: New Poster Asking for Portfolio Review

There is a Wiki on Approximating Total International with the TSP. We do as previously suggesting and hold Emerging Markets Admirial and FTSE all-World ex-US Small Carp holdings in our Roth IRAs. https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Approximating_total_international_stock_market We’re utilizing this stra...
by johan_s
Sun Apr 29, 2018 6:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Visiting OK and KS with family
Replies: 31
Views: 2714

Re: Visiting OK and KS with family

Depending on the interests of your family, there is also a swath of history museums. Truman library and Presidential home in Independence, MO. Brown v. Board of Education National Historical Site in Topeka, KS is the former all-black elementary school that become the icon of the decades long legal c...
by johan_s
Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Waterbury, Stowe, Burlington, VT
Replies: 12
Views: 1074

Re: Waterbury, Stowe, Burlington, VT

Sorry, I live 90 minutes south of Burlington, so I haven’t stayed in any of the hotels or resorts. We usually camp at one of the state parks in the area if we’re doing an overnight.
by johan_s
Fri Apr 06, 2018 9:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Waterbury, Stowe, Burlington, VT
Replies: 12
Views: 1074

Re: Waterbury, Stowe, Burlington, VT

Off the top of my head. Too many breweries to choose from: Hill Farmstead Brewery in Greensboro has been rated near the top for the last couple years; about 90 minutes from Burlington, but if you’re headed to Stowe, you’re half way there. It’ll be a long wait on a holiday weekend, which I’m sure you...
by johan_s
Fri Mar 16, 2018 3:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which Day Hiking Trails Do You Recommend?
Replies: 44
Views: 4422

Re: Which Day Hiking Trails Do You Recommend?

A visitor to Yosemite once asked an old ranger, “What should I do if I only have one day to hike here in Yosemite?”
Ranger responds, “Weep.”
by johan_s
Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know
Replies: 54
Views: 7650

Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Just got back from two weeks in Maui. We decided to just do one island and move around every couple of nights. Great beaches in Ka’anapali; stayed in Lahaina to save a bit of money. Splurged and stayed at the Wailea Beach Resort for a few nights, which was my favorite resort. Road to Hana was great;...
by johan_s
Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: National Park trip w/1 year old infant
Replies: 35
Views: 2810

Re: National Park trip w/1 year old infant

Good for you! You could take several trips to the icon parks (Yosemite, Yellowstone, Glacier, etc. and still not see all the park’s features, so if your heart is set on one them, I’d say go for it. My wife and I have an almost five year old. We took him in Mammoth Cave at four months and backpacking...
by johan_s
Thu Sep 28, 2017 5:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Good camping sleeping pad
Replies: 20
Views: 1913

Re: Good camping sleeping pad

I finally ponied up for a Thermarest. I have the ProLite; my wife has a Basecamp for car camping. Well worth the money.
by johan_s
Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cheapest way to upgrade iPhones ?
Replies: 37
Views: 5613

Re: Cheapest way to upgrade iPhones ?

+1 for the iPhone SE.
by johan_s
Sat Aug 12, 2017 5:52 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: TSP only vs TSP and Vanguard IRA
Replies: 19
Views: 3238

Re: TSP only vs TSP and Vanguard IRA

My wife and I are both federal employees. We contribute about 12% to the Trad TSP and try to max out two Roth IRAs at Vanguard. In the Roth, we try to approximate Total International and fill in the gaps in the TSP I Fund. We also hold some REIT and other stock index funds to meet our overall asset ...
by johan_s
Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:45 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: 85/15 too aggressive at age 35?
Replies: 104
Views: 16815

Re: 85/15 too aggressive at age 35?

My wife and I are also at 85/15, with about $325 in retirement assets. I'm 38 and DW is 35. We are both career federal employees, so we'll have two pensions with 30-35 years of service each.
by johan_s
Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Which Credit Card Companies Do You Like?
Replies: 57
Views: 6451

Re: Which Credit Card Companies Do You Like?

I have stuck with Chase, with the Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, and just downgraded the Preferred to Freedom. The rewards and shopping portal suit our spending habits quite well. The online interface is really easy to use. Most importantly, we can get a human being on the phone immediately. ...
by johan_s
Sat May 06, 2017 5:32 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Aggressive index funds
Replies: 15
Views: 3265

Re: Aggressive index funds

Hello all. I have been learning a lot about investing for the past year or so, but have finally decided to make an account on here to get advice from some of you more educated folk. Little background: I am currently in the Marine Corps and have been saving quite a bit of money over the past 3.5 yea...
by johan_s
Wed May 03, 2017 12:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: have you accepted a lower cost lifestyle to retire early?
Replies: 71
Views: 11947

Re: have you accepted a lower cost lifestyle to retire early?

My wife and I lived in Lawrence, Kansas for a couple of years. We loved it. A charming and progressive college town: independent theater, great music scene, endless cultural events at the university, Sprouts and a fantastic local food co-op. Only a 40 minute drive to Kansas City for TJs/Costco/pro s...
by johan_s
Fri Apr 28, 2017 2:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Senior Lifetime National Parks Pass Fee Going Up
Replies: 77
Views: 13990

Re: Senior Lifetime National Parks Pass Fee Going Up

Why get one per spouse if they always go together? Asking for my parents... Because one of you always forgets the pass! The next time, we both forgot our passes, so I bought a second one. The next time, we both forgot all our passes, but paid $7 for a day pass for the car so as to visit Red Rock pa...
by johan_s
Tue Mar 14, 2017 7:22 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Utah, besides the national parks?
Replies: 21
Views: 2843

Re: Utah, besides the national parks?

Check out the drive from Bryce Canyon up Route 12 to Teory UT - one of the very best in the US and there is a 4 star restaurant at the end of the drive (El Diablo). Capital Reef NP is just a few minutes due east, great hiking. Utah 12 is a great drive. We enjoyed our meals at Hell's Backbone Grill ...
by johan_s
Wed Mar 01, 2017 6:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gutter Replacement
Replies: 17
Views: 2565

Re: Gutter Replacement

I upgraded to 6" gutters and 3x4 downspouts on my two-story house in Kansas after experiencing frequent overflow, even with very regularly cleaning. Cleaning the second story gutters was not fun, so I also had them install the relatively inexpensive and simple leaf guards. I had an excellent real es...
by johan_s
Thu Feb 16, 2017 7:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Appalachian Trail thru-hike in retirement?
Replies: 72
Views: 11755

Re: Appalachian Trail thru-hike in retirement?

Awesome, you are going to have a blast.
by johan_s
Thu Feb 16, 2017 2:43 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2014 Subaru Forrester 2.5i vs 2010 Lexus RX 350
Replies: 25
Views: 4282

Re: 2014 Subaru Forrester 2.5i vs 2010 Lexus RX 350

Please know that Subaru recently settled a lawsuit regarding excessive oil consumption in several models and years, including the 2014 Forester. As part of the settlement, Subaru extended the engine warranties and is replacing short blocks if the car fails a dealership administered oil consumption t...
by johan_s
Sun Feb 12, 2017 4:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: iPhone SE 16GB - is memory adequate?
Replies: 43
Views: 3549

Re: iPhone SE 16GB - is memory adequate?

I got the 64 GB SE when it came out. I was always just pushing the limit of the earlier generation 16 GB phone and getting those annoying messages that my memory was full. It takes great pictures, to boot. I'd spend the very modest amount for the 64GB and never have to worry.
by johan_s
Mon Jan 30, 2017 5:15 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Suggestions for Retirement Portfolio - Dual Career Feds
Replies: 23
Views: 2280

Re: Suggestions for Retirement Portfolio - Dual Career Feds

You said that you think 80/20 is aggressive and that's why you are in the G Fund instead of F. Just to compare (not to judge, as everyone's idea of "aggressive" is different): I am 47, my DH is 42. I am a FERS Fed, and we plan to both retire when I hit my MRA at 57 (so, about 10 years). We will hav...
by johan_s
Sun Jan 29, 2017 3:27 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Suggestions for Retirement Portfolio - Dual Career Feds
Replies: 23
Views: 2280

Re: Suggestions for Retirement Portfolio - Dual Career Feds

---Another good point. So, correct me if I'm wrong here. The annual contribution limits for TSP is 18K, so we could potentially contribute 12.5K to Traditional and 5.5K each to Roth TSP. Or we could contribute the 5.5K each to a Roth IRA at say, Vanguard. The benefit of contributing to Roth TSP wou...
by johan_s
Sun Jan 29, 2017 11:19 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Suggestions for Retirement Portfolio - Dual Career Feds
Replies: 23
Views: 2280

Re: Suggestions for Retirement Portfolio - Dual Career Feds

Can you explain how losing the credit adds 5% to the fed marginal rate? Thanks for your response. For every $1000 your AGI is over $110K (rounded up) you lose $50 of the child tax credit (technically it is more than 5% because of the rounding, sometimes a lot more, but in the limit it approaches 5%...
by johan_s
Sun Jan 29, 2017 11:14 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Suggestions for Retirement Portfolio - Dual Career Feds
Replies: 23
Views: 2280

Re: Suggestions for Retirement Portfolio - Dual Career Feds

johan_s- Your saving habits have you on a path to financial independence. Keep up the good work. Good government jobs put you a unique position of darn near guaranteed income. I would never recommend living paycheck to paycheck, but you can take some risk. While it would be best to buy a car with n...
by johan_s
Sun Jan 29, 2017 10:04 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Suggestions for Retirement Portfolio - Dual Career Feds
Replies: 23
Views: 2280

Re: Suggestions for Retirement Portfolio - Dual Career Feds

Given your time horizons, I would favor the F fund over the G fund. Over the past 10 years, F out performs G by almost 2 percentage points. Of course, with rising interest rates, this out performance may not hold in the short term. I was under the CSRS retirement system, which had a more generous p...
by johan_s
Sun Jan 29, 2017 7:09 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Suggestions for Retirement Portfolio - Dual Career Feds
Replies: 23
Views: 2280

Re: Suggestions for Retirement Portfolio - Dual Career Feds

With two career feds who will both have pensions and Social Security, I don't see the need to max out your TSP unless you are planning to retire before you get to your 30 years/MRA. Bogleheads tend to push the maxing out, but that is more important for those without pensions. Even if your salaries ...
by johan_s
Sun Jan 29, 2017 6:35 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Suggestions for Retirement Portfolio - Dual Career Feds
Replies: 23
Views: 2280

Re: Suggestions for Retirement Portfolio - Dual Career Feds

Will you be receiving pensions? If so, that would affect the Roth vs Traditional decision. Where do you stand relative to the child tax credit? You will want to contribute to Traditional before Roth to avoid losing this credit. Adds 5% to fed marginal rate. Yes, we will have pensions under FERS. I'...
by johan_s
Sun Jan 29, 2017 6:17 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Suggestions for Retirement Portfolio - Dual Career Feds
Replies: 23
Views: 2280

Re: Suggestions for Retirement Portfolio - Dual Career Feds

aristotelian wrote:I would get out of all those funds in her Roth with high expense ratios and replace with Vanguard Total Stock Index. What are G F S C and I?
I'm leaning that way, thanks. I see someone else has posted the link to the TSP Funds already.
by johan_s
Sun Jan 29, 2017 6:16 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Suggestions for Retirement Portfolio - Dual Career Feds
Replies: 23
Views: 2280

Re: Suggestions for Retirement Portfolio - Dual Career Feds

The argument for the Roth (which I contribute to as well as a Fed) is the substantially greater potential flexibility it offers. Since you can use it for college expenses, it really is a better option than the 529 (unless matching is still involved) for starters due to the greater potential flexibil...
by johan_s
Sat Jan 28, 2017 7:10 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Suggestions for Retirement Portfolio - Dual Career Feds
Replies: 23
Views: 2280

Suggestions for Retirement Portfolio - Dual Career Feds

Hello everyone, I have been lurking for a few weeks. I wish someone had told me about this website when I became a federal employee back in 2005. Better late than never! My wife and I recently moved to a new location and into new jobs. Our son will enter kindergarten in 18 months (freeing up those d...
by johan_s
Sat Jan 28, 2017 2:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any Backyard Chefs out there? Do you have any specialties?
Replies: 54
Views: 5139

Re: Any Backyard Chefs out there? Do you have any specialties?

CABob wrote:No Santa Maria tri-tip experts here?
:confused
I do miss me some tri-tip. And California.